As 2007 drew to a close, I was making unverifiable assertions to friends and associates not to discount Mike Huckabee as a dark horse among the Republican presidential nominees. As 2008 opened, I declared on air (free bumper sticker to the careful listener who can help me figure out which podcast it’s in) that John McCain would be the Republican nominee. Now, I don’t have the public track record of a Sarcastro, and I haven’t been willing to put my money where my mouth is on Intrade, but I am willing to offer my predictions for the general election.
Because the Democrats use a presidential preference system where everybody’s opinion matters a little, and because they have two candidates who are tearing at the seams of a generational gap rather than at the policy soul of the party, Sens. Obama and Clinton will find themselves on the single ticket that Wolf Blitzer dangled in front of cable audiences everywhere during their first head-to-head match-up at a debate in California. Obama, after surprising in Texas, will be at the head of the ticket, but because the Clintons, like political cockroaches, cannot be finished off, the superdelegates will negotiate the equivalent of a plea bargain on Hillary’s behalf. You heard it here: Obama/Clinton ‘08. Dream ticket or nightmare? You make the call.
John McCain, per my earlier prediction, is already the presumptive nominee. Now he just needs a running mate. He’ll find it in Tim Pawlenty, the Republican governor of Minnesota. A recent Politico article makes the case nicely, but I’ve had my eye on this “rising star” ever since he received the blessing of Karl Rove a few years back. An old edition of The Note picks up on this tidbit:
“Eibensteiner said that he had invited Rove ‘a long time ago’ to appear at a state party organization fundraiser, but that Rove said he preferred to help Pawlenty’s campaign specifically.”
If you think anything Karl Rove says/does is a coincidence, think again. McCain/Pawlenty ‘08
Inaugural Address 2009
John McCain. Having deftly parried Obama’s Generation Next cachÃ© with Pawlenty’s disarming youthful conservatism, McCain stands aside as the Republican attack machine and dominance of terrestrial radio eviscerate Hillary and Clintonism, as well as Obama’s Kennedyesque (read: inexperienced) sheen. Get ready for four more wars!
At age 75, John McCain decides not to seek a second term, and Tim Pawlenty becomes disturbingly difficult to dislodge from the White House. He’s like a Mike Huckabee who believes in evolution–charming and disarming and a natural political talent. Who said Karl Rove’s vision of a long-term Republican majority was over?
There’s a chance that Obama is a defter political talent than anyone could’ve foreseen and actually beats back the Clinton machine in the superdelegate mythical backroom. If he does so, look for another woman (maybe Janet Napolitano or Kathleen Sebelius, both of whom come with the benefit of executive experience and important regional constituencies) on the ticket.
There’s also a chance that Clinton’s inevitability turns out to be as strong as McCain’s, and she ekes out an earned delegate win. In which case, you’ll find a Clinton/Obama ticket. The Clintons might stand ready to tear apart the party to get back in the White House (such as if Obama winds up with more earned delegates), but they’re not stupid enough to commit a political homicide/suicide by getting rid of Obama’s next generation political machine when they’re calling the shots.
Right now, the only way I see the Democrats losing in 2008 is if Hillary is on the ticket. And the only way I see Hillary not being on the ticket is if there’s a wholesale rejection of neo-Clintonism as not-self on the part of a cresting wave of superdelegates after the Mar. 4th or maybe May 6th states have had their say.
March madness, indeed.