Sunday, January 20, 2008

Have fun with this

All right, NOW it's time for a little predicting.

I know, you've all been waiting eagerly for it. Thank you for your patience. But I think after last night, there are some things that are gaining more clarity, and I'm gonna run with it. So here goes:

Pats and Packers in the Super Bowl.

Thank you, and have a nice day.

What, did you think I was going to blog about the election stuff?

Well, as I said, after last night, there are some things that are gaining more clarity. One of those "things", however, is not the GOP race for the nomination.

McCain clearly isn't going to go away. Neither is Huckabee, which (as has been pointed out in a lot of places) is probably helpful to McCain since Huck will siphon off social conservative votes from other candidates.

I wrote not long ago that it's hard to make head's or tail's of this election until we figure out what kind of a campaigner Giuliani ends up being when the lights are finally focused on him. Well, now we get to find it out. His strategy has been vindicated to some degree (he was probably hoping for a Huck victory in SC last night, but it's hard to know for sure)--now we get to see if he can still be persuasive when the fight is afoot.

HERE'S what I think happens in the next 9 days: McCain's record gets pummeled in Florida. Not just by Romney, who has shown some willingness to point out the Senator's record in the past, but also by Ru-dee, who sees McCain as the chief threat to his long-scripted plan. Looks bad for McCain, right?

Wrong. He will get some help, too, in the form of Fred Thompson's departure from the race--but not before he says some very kind things about McCain. I wouldn't think an all-out endorsement is in the offing, but rather a calming soliloquy about how John McCain does possess the kind of traits that Thompson finds appealing in a Commander in Chief, that kind of thing.

With Fred's approximately 10% of support back "in play", an already tight race becomes very very interesting.

One thing that the last week has shown is that Romney, on a playing field that doesn't already favor another candidate (like the populist bent in Iowa and the fierce independence of New Hampshire), can really multiply his support. He's going to be "in" Florida (maybe not "all in", but definitely at the table), and he won't be the only one taking shots at McCain--who is probably HIS biggest competition, too. Romney's RCP trends are in the right direction, and I think that his actual campaigning in the state will produce some results for him.

Huck will finish a not-distant 4th in Florida, but his presence in the race is critical to how the whole thing plays out. He is to the GOP nomination what H. Ross Perot was to the Presidency back in 1992--not really viable, but definitely a factor.

So it all comes down to this: will Rudy deliver under the gun? It is no small stretch to say that Florida is his make or break moment, and he should campaign as such for the next 9 days.

Romney needs Florida less than Rudy, but he's in a good position to provide his campaign a HUGE boost--so he won't back down.

So THAT'S the next 9 days; what happens on the 10th day (the day of the actual primary) I'm not willing to say. . .yet.

3 candidates working hard for about 75% of the race (I figure Ron Paul and Huckabee will draw a combined 22-25% of the votes), with the whole enchilada on the line. THIS is where we're going to see just what kind of candidate these guys are.

Fun fun fun.

And, about the Super Bowl thing: I really don't want the Pats to win the whole thing--I don't want Randy Moss to be part of a team that goes 19-0--but I don't want the Chargers to be the ones who knock them off. On the NFC side, I wouldn't mind at all to see my prediction wrong--I love the Pack, but I pull for both Eli and Tom Coughlin. I do think the Pack will win, though, setting up what promises to be a pretty darn interesting football game in two weeks.


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