Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Congress and the presidency since 1900

Things to do when you are sick and taking the morning off of work... The moral is, unless it is 2008 or your initials are JFK, the Senate or House are not resume items you want when running for president. And trust me, you do not want what Warren Harding had.

2008 - Senator beats senator
2004 - President beats senator
2000 - Governor beats sitting VP/former senator
1996 - President beats senator
1992 - Governor beats president
1988 - Sitting VP beats governor
1984 - President beats former VP/former senator
1980 - Governor beats president
1976 - Governor beats president
1972 - President beats senator
1968 - Former VP/former senator beats sitting VP/former Senator
1964 - President beats senator
1960 - Senator beats sitting VP/former senator
1956 - President beats governor
1952 - General beats governor
1948 - President beats governor
1944 - President beats governor
1940 - President beats corporate lawyer
1936 - President beats governor
1932 - Governor beats President
1928 - Sec. of Commerce beats governor
1924 - President beats solicitor general/ambassador/representative
1920 - Senator beats representative/governor
1916 - President beats Supreme Court Justice/Governor
1912 - Governor beats president and former president
1908 - Secretary of War/Provisional Governor of Cuba
beats representative
1904 - President beats judge
1900 - President beats representative

It's all over... Is it all over? Who knows... (Post-Wisconsin Blues)

So, about a week and a half ago I sketched out my Huckabee theory, which was vaguely...

McCain really isn't able to coalesce the party right now, so Huckabee is keeping the debate on the soul of the GOP open even though the candidate has been decided. Until this housekeeping is completed, they cannot turn their attention to the Democrats. Huckabee's involvement also keeps the hard core social conservatives involved with the GOP. They won't bail on the party or look for 3rd party option as long as he is involved. Perhaps, he is doing a good thing for the GOP, in the long run, though it may damage them in this general election. It may also help them in the general this year in the long run by not allowing McCain to abandon and lose the far right.

I am not sure where I stand with this now. Things are gelling up for McCain, and Huckabee appears to have lost his momentum. I suppose he'll hang out until March 4 and then quietly slip away.

On the Democrat side, yesterday appeared to be the end for Hillary. It's all over but for the all over. I actually thought that the media would wait until Texas and Ohio before sticking their forks in her, and maybe not even then, but last night, all the talking heads on CNN, at least, were convinced, she is done.

Of course, McCain stepped up and is now declaring himself the Republican nominee. He was being polite about this until last night, but now he is starting in on the Democrats, namely Obama. Now, I believe that this is less because he believes that Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee, but almost more to help Hillary. All along, the Republicans have seen her as the candidate they would most like to take on in the General (I'd say the fall, but this is going to be a long general election campaign and it will start no later than the first week in March, if it hasn't already).

Hillary is not technically out. If anything, they are tied. And, except for last night, she was ready to give up nine of the last ten contests and then bounce back on top with Wisconsin, Ohio, and Texas, so she is not even that far off of her game plan. Unfortunately, there is something that her and Rudy missed about momentum and perception. Also, I do not think that she was expecting to lose those nine by such large margins. People are noticing, she is in trouble. She is starting to stink of defeat.

But she could get back into this, and if McCain goes hard negative against Obama, and she can pick up her own end of things, there is a chance that she can revive her campaign. Let McCain do the dirty work, refocus her campaign on substance and likeability issues, and forge on ahead.

For McCain, this is a win-win. If Obama doesn't mess this up, and it is his to lose right now, McCain gets an early start on taking on his opponent. If McCain can damage Obama enough to give Clinton a shot, then he gains an opponent that the GOP feels more confident in beating (and if it is Hillary, the dirt they throw at her will probably make Kerry's swift boating look like amateur hour ).

But my call is that this is too late. I am looking less at Obama's winning streak than I am at the percentages in those victories. His campaign has done some remarkable work here. And, bottom line, listening to his long speech last night, boy, there is someone who sounds like a president to me. More so than the other two left standing at this moment.

It's been a long time since we've had a decent orator in the presidency, and the last one? Well, after eight years of Skippy, I actually miss Reagan. The GOP is disappointed because they could not find a modern version of the Gipper. The Democrats found one, and they, it seems, are going to do anything it takes to get him through into November.