Posted: 09/12/07 17:10
by Dave Mindeman
The 2008 political season is bearing down on us faster than we could have ever expected. And there are going to be a number of incredible stories to play out. But the biggest one could happen in Minneapolis next year.... the spectre of a brokered GOP convention. Let's look at the candidate details:
Mitt Romney: Nobody can put a label on this guy. He courts the evangelicals, but has not sealed the deal. His conservative credentials are always suspect.... but he raises money like a machine and has incredible ties to the corporate community. I keep looking for him to fizzle out, but he keeps buying his way back in. It looks like he will probably win Iowa and New Hampshire, and in a normal year that would probably propel him to the nomination.... but he trails badly in South Carolina and Florida and the February 5th delegate glut holds too many opportunities for his opponents.
Rudy Giuliani: A pro-choice, anti-gun, pro-gay rights, frontrunner for the GOP nomination? That's crazy, but there he is. He tries to nuance his way past all that, but his record is pretty clear. Now the fact is, that if he had only one major opponent for the nomination, he would have a tough time defending his record to the conservative base.... but his 9/11 act still gets him attention and a base of support. He has a virtual lock on the Florida and California primaries and is competetive in most of the early states, plus he has the money to work Feb 5. Rudy is not going away.
Fred Thompson: It is not easy to look at this guy as some kind of Reagan reincarnation. He just doesn't seem to have that kind of connectivity. Yet, despite a mediocre and very late announcement, he seems to be doing well in the national polls. Probably says more about the field than Fred Thompson. Charlie Cook talked about the main Thompson problem saying that the Law and Order star's character has that slow talking, slow moving personna... but, well, he's actually not acting! Fred is going to need a solid campaign staff and the recent turnovers are not a good sign.
John McCain: I wrote John McCain off a few months ago. It looked like his immigration stand and the surge would kill him off. But the surge has gained popularity with the base and immigration is out of sight, out of mind. McCain's favorables in New Hampshire are still very high and if I were Mitt Romney, I'd be looking over my shoulder frequently. I see a McCain comeback in the works and that will furthur complicate the convention.
Mike Huckabee: Huckabee hasn't broken into the first tier yet, but in a brokered convention, Huckabee could become that alternative candidate. Evangelicals like him; he's acceptable to conservatives; he is an ordained minister; and he has all sorts of campaign commercial value because he comes from the same town as Bill Clinton -- Hope, Arkansas. If Huckabee can hold Arkansas delegates and pull in enough others to keep himself in the ball game... hey, anything goes.
The Rest of the Field: With delegates divided among several candidates, the second tier group has more incentive to stay in the race. Any delegate counts they can muster can translate into convention relevance. They get a voice and they get a chance to make deals. The longer this field remains evenly split, the less likely you will see candidates dropping out.
However, taking everything into account, you would have to still say for this "brokered" convention to become a reality, the stars would have to align just right..... but up to this point, the stars have been moving into the right spots, and I don't see any campaign "juggernauts" out there to change the dynamics.... at least not yet.
The Twin Cites better get ready for more media credentials.