This political primary has been almost impossible to prognosticate. Every time you think someone's done, they come back surging (you hear that, Bush? That's a damn surge!). Huckabee continues to defy the pundits. Obama is starting to overtake Clinton, and this race seems like it's far from over. The picture is starting to become a little clearer myself, and I'm going to share a few thoughts I've had in the past few hours.
We've got a final 4 in Obama, Clinton, McCain, and Huckabee. Just like a game of poker, we have the chip leaders. I'd have to say it's McCain on one side, Clinton on the other. The chip lead is just that, the lead. The game is not over. Nothing is more indicative of that than the shift in the polls. Obama is again ahead. The polls have been off a few times, but they've been more right than they have wrong. The momentum in the game is most certainly on the Obama side, it really is. Clinton fired her campaign manager, which indicates to me that she isn't happy with the path of her campaign right now, and that's probably the right move. Obama is catching her. But I don't think that there's really anything she can do to slow him down. He's just spreading his message, and the public is responding. The Republicans have been trying to play up Obama's 'lack of experience', and unfortunately, he's managed to turn it into his greatest strength. He's not a part of the old boy system...
Speaking of, let's look at the GOP side of things. Mitt Romney dropped out, because he realized that he was splitting votes with Huckabee. McCain is not popular with the conservative base, and his pro-war stance virtually guarantees his imminent demise in the general election. So I think Huckabee can see his longshot is really not nearly as long as some might imagine. I don't think that the GOP believes that McCain has a true shot against Clinton, and I KNOW they know better than to think that they can beat the Obama-mania Movement. Hollywood loves this guy... the Internet loves this guy. McCain doesn't even yet have the love of his base. How is he going to change the minds of the people who don't customarily vote Republican?
So looking at the table, I think that we've not NEARLY seen the last of Huckabee, and if he stays in the race, he'll eventually overtake McCain for the nomination. Clinton isn't done yet, but she's going to have to come with a message that will resonate with the same intensity that Obama has, or she can sit and watch him whittle away at her lead. If the two of them are serious about their concern for the party itself, they should probably start planning to take each other for 2nd chair in the general election. The two of them together can obliterate any pairing that the GOP can come up with at this point, the incumbent party is really on the ropes right now. Fluctuations in the markets and continued violence in Iraq will provide more towards the slide of the Republican popularity. If they don't get over their fear of all things Bush and begin to denounce some of his action, they are going to continue to head downwards.
So at the heads-up portion of the game, I think it's going to be Huckabee/Obama. I could be wrong, but that's kewl, it will be no less interesting. So gentlemen and ladies, place your bets and let's play some poker.
-ere'bodee's favorite mega