Thursday, February 07, 2008

The McCain conundrum - Updated

By Libby

For the life of me, I can't understand McCain's crossover appeal to moderates and independents, much less the hatefest that is going on among movement conservatives over his candidacy. Despite his rhetoric, and all the tripe about the 'straight talk express", I don't see how it could be any more apparent that he is at heart, a far right ideologue. I find it incredible that he's gained so much momentum when his postions barely veer from the White House's obstinate line in the sand.

Sha posted an excellent analysis on how his blue state appeal could hurt him in the general and how that plays against Obama's strength in the red states, as evidenced by Tuesday's contests. But here's what worries me. McCain could snatch Obama's edge in the south by choosing Huckabee as his running mate.

The GOP's only hope is to energize the voters that Huckabee appeals to with his evangelical fervor. I watched Huck's victory speech on Tuesday. It strikes me he's just the right kind of crazy for that crowd and they do vote. I'm afraid that pairing, along with a unreliable voting system and a press clearly smitten with McCain, could leave us with the kind of closely contested race that resulted in the debacle of the last seven years and counting.

Update by shamanic: I've been considering this too, pretty extensively. Here are my thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of a McCain-Huck ticket:

First, Huck would shore up McCain's support in the south, but I'm not certain that Obama could flip southern states anyway. His nomination would just mean more resources dropped into southern states, and with Huck on the ticket that might just mean fewer.

Second, McCain's age makes his choice of VP an issue that it wouldn't necessarily be if McCain were 60. I think that a Huck VP choice would make it entirely reasonable to raise the issue of McCain's age and run ads featuring Huckabee in swing states like Colorado and Ohio, where having a potential president saying he doesn't believe in evolution will be a real turnoff to independents.

Third, conservatives don't like Huckabee either. Remember that just a few weeks ago, the establishment was having a conniption about his potential nomination, and that it was someone high in his campaign who announced to a reporter that the Reagan coalition was finished.

In short, Huck as VP would help McCain in states he's already likely to win, but do very little to enhance his appeal in swing states and red states that are trending blue. But McCain would definitely win Arkansas.

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