John McCain racked up a decisive number of delegates (Total:720) and Hillary Clinton exceeded expectations with a slimmer victory over Barack Obama; however, their status as standard bearers is contested by factions of their respective Parties.
If any other Republican did as well as John McCain there'd be a celebration that would rival the world champion Giant's parade in New York City. McCain swept the winner take all states in the North East. He creamed Mitt Romney in California and eked out a nail biter in the bell weather State of Missouri.
Polls gone wrong
California delivered a knock out blow to McCain hating conservatives in southern CA and an eye opener about pollsters like John Zogby who seem to ignore the actual voters and inject their own prejudice into the product. Zogby/Reuters Poll showed Romney ahead by 15 pts on Tuesday; McCain won CA by 8%. Zogby also posited that Obama would beat Hillary by 13%; she won the State easily. Beware of polls.
Tug of War
McCain showed his gutsy nature by throwing his supporters to Mike Huckabee in order to deny the faux Conservative Mitt Romney an early momentum building win in West Virginia. Furthermore, McCain benefited from Huckabee inflicting significant losses on Romney in the Southern evangelical/social Conservative dominated States which totally devasted the RW base's rally for the so-called "True Conservative" candidate in hopes of stopping McCain's march to the Nomination.
McCain is being advised by some pols to pander to the base in order to get them on board. However, when McCain's ego is bolstered by a TKO, he's more likely to gloat than to kiss up to critics who have battered him mercilessly. After all, he did thumb his nose at his captors in Viet Nam when they offered him comfort if he would just cooperate; he resisted torture far worse than the mean spirited attacks thrown at him by fading-fat-cat-blabber-mouths that are losing their grip...petty attacks, which did afterall prove inconsequential.
That's not to say that McCain will tell the "base-icks" to take a powder, he is speaking at CPAC Thursday and may try to calm their concerns by promising strict constructionist Judges for the Supreme Court and perhaps a VP pick that will meet their standards...some one like the Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist.
But I doubt that he'll try to placate every Conservative demand and risk alienating the broad constituency that is his strength in a general election...namely, White Men..including millions of disgruntled moderate Republicans who've been marginalized by the dominate RW base for years, Reagan Democrats who'd never vote for another Clinton and right to center leaning Independents who welcome his contrariness, his strong stance on National Security and his positions on Foreign Policy and the Military.
Dems:War of Ages
Gender, Race, Generational Divide
The diversity of the two major Democratic candidates seemed like an advantage this year, but it has turned out to foster an unsettling divide between the myriad of special interests and the well grounded Clintonian establishment power-brokers.
The Media and the masses are enthralled by the inspirational movement of Barack Obama; especially blacks who've understandably embraced the first truely credible candidate of their own for the Presidency. He's energized new voters, particularly the younger set of usually self-absorbed neophytes. He's an idealist that promises hope and unity; now is the time..yes we can.
With the endorsements from the Kennedy family, the Media spent days "passing the torch" from the denizens of Camelot to the one term senator from Chicago. In reality Obama has neither the experience or the bio-power to warrant a comparison to JFK or Bobby. All the hyperbolic praise and longing to return to past glories raised the expectations for Obama's performance far beyond what was possible. The Kennedy influence did him no good in Massachusettes or California where Hillary Clinton triumphed.
No you can't
Unfortunately for Obama he's up against the unscrupulous Clinton Machine that will stop at nothing, including destroying the reliablity of the black base voting block for them and other Democrats, to annoint Hillary Clinton as the most powerful woman in the World; thereby granting Bill Clinton a back seat in the White House and a stellar addition to his tawdry Legacy.
So far they're tied..The poetic momentum is with the Obama movement thanks to his speaking skills and uplifting gatherings of thousands of curious fans; but most practical predictions side with the hard core, experienced politician, Hillary Clinton.
The next few weeks of caucuses look good for Obama, then comes Ohio and Texas. Hillary has had to dip into her own fortune, a cool 5 mil, to keep on keeping on. Hillary who does better in debates than Barack has challenged him to one debate a week for the duration of the campaign. If he accepts, debates have not show-cased his experience or ability to be CIC or President.
As a Republican and an optimist, I'd like nothing better than to see Barack Obama defeat Hillary Clinton in Primary; but alas, I'm not an idealistic youngster but an elder cynic, part of the Right Wing Conspiracy that has learned the hard way not to underestimate the Clintons under pressure.
The vast majority of UNDECIDEDS, although ignored by pollsters, are in the drivers seat; lurking, biding their time, taking it all in, dispassionately evaluating both candidates until they close the curtain and pull the lever for who they think is the strongest person to WIN.
Absent wishful thinking, a pragmatist like myself would guess that in the end, Hillary Clinton will convince them all..that the choice of older feminists, underpaid women and men, gimme folks without health care, Latinos looking for amnesty and welfare freebees, combined with knowledgeable politicos will vote for her not the hopeful dreamer, Barack Obama.
It'll be Mama not Obama representing the Democratic Party against grand-dad John McCain in a nail-biting race to finish in '08.
Hmmmm..OR NOT. :)<