And the Winner Is?

Well, not my homies in the California Community Colleges. We saw our ballot Prop 92 go down to a 3:2 defeat tonight proving that in politics, like in comedy, it’s all in the timing. Had the prop cutting tuition fees and raising funding for the Cal Comms been on the ballot in November 2006 my bet is it would have passed by 55% or more. Such is life. The pity is, of course, it is in the economic hard times that funding for higher ed — especially Community Colleges–is even more of a public need. You can send people to colleges or prisons when the economy heads south. Colleges cost less and yield a heck of a lot more.

Californians proved they’d rather lose their money to Indian Casinos than the tax man approving all four casino compacts. And Californias also proved they don’t like their legislators but they also know the current system of term limits doesn’t work that well–notice the narrow 4% points the prop lost by is much narrower than the 16% (58% to 42%) Governor Gray’s term limit proposal was defeated by in 2002. Most striking, both the liberal Bay Area and conservative San Diego and Imperial Counties voted for the measure while liberal LA and the conservative Central Valley voted against it. Go figure.

Oh, and there was something about presidential primaries going on tonight too, as I reccall. Romney is a dead man walking. I expect him to pull a John Edwards sometime in the next fortnight and drop out of the race even as he insisted tonight he was in it to the convention. And Huckabee has VP, not P, written all over his primary showings.

Meanwhile the Hillary and Barack dance continues though her heir-apparentness’ large victory in California has got to give the party pause. Given the size of her victory and the distribution across the state, I figure she wins 260+ of the 441 state delegates which will put her clearly in the delegate lead. Clinton won New York, New Jersey, Florida and California — exactly the big states Dem’s have to win to triumph come November. Barack (like Romney) did best in the smaller state caucuses where turnout is skewed to the party left (or right, in Mitt’s case.) I’m still betting that post-Super T day the double big Mo’s — momentum and money-swing back to Clinton. Then Obama will have to decided how long he wants to draw out the Democratic contest to the Republican’s benefit.

OK, time to pack it in. Just spent 4 1/2 hours in the studios of KGTV with Hal Clement (yes, he’s as nice in person as he seems on TV) doing election pontificating. Tomorrow it’s These Days with Tom Fudge and Gloria Penner (9a-10a on KPBS 89.5) and then a keynote speech tomorrow night to the San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association’s annual Trustees dinner at USD. Topic: today’s election, of course.

And if you have a chance, check out my article in this week’s print edition of City Beat.

On to the Conventions.

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Children of the Corn

The Iowa caucus results are in. A rational person may, of course, be tempted to say—would be justified to say, even—“So what? A couple of hundred thousand Iowans have had their say. Let’s get on with life.” But politics, like other, more worthwhile things in life, is occurs largely between the ears. And in American politics Iowa does matter to some degree, rationality be damned.

So what does a reading of the corn husks tell us? On the Republican side, John McCain may turn out to be the bigger winner. Mike Huckabee can win the rural heartland vote but before he returns to those fertile, evangelical fields, he has to face more secular New Hampshire where he will probably still, despite Iowa, come in third behind McCain and Romney. Huckabee might survive a bronze in NH and go on to silver or gold in South Carolina but doesn’t have the legs or pockets to carry both the home of the Confederacy and the home of old northeasterners (that would be Florida) within twenty four hours of each other.

Romney, meanwhile, may have taken the biggest hit yesterday having outspent Huckabee decisively only to come in second. While McCain’s finishing fourth behind Thompson wasn’t stellar, a) he didn’t contest the state heavily; and b) He’s more popular in NH. Thompson and the rest of the GOP crowd–except for Rudy—meanwhile, may limp through NH but will be gone before the first votes are cast in Dixie. If McCain can pull out a first or second in New Hampshire and South Carolina and a win in Florida, he’ll be well established for a decisive upset win on Super Tuesday. Move over Bill Clinton. Meet the new comeback kid. Read the rest of this entry »

Doppelgänger

The 2008 Republican Presidential race might just possibly turn into a replay of 1996–with some tweaking. In 1996 Pat Buchanan upset GOP frontrunner Bob Dole in the New Hampshire primary. Buchanan received so much of a bandwagon effect from all the media hype over his unexpected win that, for a short time, Dole went back to Kansas to nurse his wounds and consider dropping out of the race. Then Buchanan was defeated by Stevo “Flat Tax” Forbes in Arizona, where conservative retirees liked Forbes’ fiscal policies more than Buchanan’s xenophobia. That allowed Dole to jump back into the race and trounce Buchanan and Forbes in the South Carolina primary and then march on to the nomination unimpeded. A Huckabee win in Iowa may do the same thing to Republicans in 2008, with the possibility of the GOP nominating a candidate perceived to be too far to the right wing of the party to win nationally may precipitate the party rallying behind a more moderate candidate. Like John McCain.

Yes, THAT McCain. Read the rest of this entry »

I Couldn’t Have Said It Better

OK, maybe not better but certainly earlier. In his column yesterday, Washington Post pundit David Broder stated that:

“If the Republican Party really wanted to hold on to the White House in 2009, it’s pretty clear what it would do. It would grit its teeth, swallow its doubts and nominate a ticket of John McCain for president and Mike Huckabee for vice president — and president-in-waiting.”

Which is what I’ve been saying about McCain as top of the ticket since May and about Huckabee as Veep for a month. The McCain nod is based on my theory of legacy candidates (such as McCain) historically doing better in their party nominating processes than establishment candidates like Romney and Rudi or insurgent candidates like Huckabee. The Huckabee pick is pure politics — if the Republicans are going to win (which is an up-mountain struggle, at best) they are going to have to get out the conservative Christian vote big time, not just in Red States but in the Purple ones like Ohio and even Florida. Either marriage and abortion flip flopper Rudi or abortion and everything else flip flopper Romney will have a very hard time doing so. McCain-Huckabee just might.

So, early projections: Romney comes in first, Huckabee second and Rudi third in Iowa on Jan 3.. The story the next day is not McCain number four, it’s Rudi’s a loser. The story is also not Romney came in firts , which he has been forecasted to do for months but is Huckabee’s a near winner. Meanwhile a Huckabee win in Iowa basically turns both Mitt and Rudi into dual losers. Then, a week later, Huckabee comes in 2nd or 3rd in New Hampshire (as he’s bet the farm, so to speak, on Iowa) and John McCain (you know, the guy who won the Granite State in 2000) ends up well postioned to win again. Then it’s off to South Carolina where Uber-Yankee Rudi and kinda-Christain Mitt (not my slur — bottom line, as offensive as it may seem to social inclusionists, a lot of the conservative Christian voters in the state that brought you the Civil War may not see through Romney’s Utah roots) may have a hard time against southern Governor Huckabee and solid social conservative McCain. By Tsunami Tuesday, it may all be over.

At least, that’s my betting odds. Let’s see if Broder copies that, now…..