Looking to New Hampshire and beyond

Yes, I watched the two New Hampshire debates this weekend. No, I’m not a glutton for punishment – I honestly wanted to hear what the candidates had to say. (If you missed them, you can find a transcript of the ABC News debate here and the MSNBC debate here.)

I think it’s always good to hear what candidates would do if elected, not that most of these guys have a snowball’s chance of that happening. Truthfully, I expect the field to winnow rather quickly. At some point in the not-too-distant future, the anti-Romney’s are going to figure out that only one of them can actually carry that mantle. Sorry, Max, but that person is not going to be Ron Paul, although as one of two candidates not in the running to be ABR, I expect him to hang around for a while.

The other candidate not in the running to be ABR is Jon Huntsman. I think Huntsman is actually the best candidate on the Republican side. Except for his embrace of the Paul Ryan budget, he seems to really get it. But I’ll be surprised if he makes it past Florida. (The 2012 primary calendar is here.) Look for him to make another run in 2016, though.

So that leaves Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry. Will Perry even make it to Florida? I don’t know. But he’s incapable of being ABR. Santorum had his moment in the sun in Iowa – and I expect that will be his high water mark.

Speaking of Santorum – I found his remarks Sunday on secularism to be quite interesting. On the issue of Pakistan, Santorum said:

They are not a theocracy. And we’re very hopeful of — of maintaining a — a more secular state than — than is in place today.

But when speaking of the U.S. and President Obama, Santorum said:

… he knows works because he has a secular ideology that is against the traditions of our country and what works.

So Santorum hopes that Pakistan is secular but doesn’t want that for us? Color me confused.

Anyway – Santorum is soon to be gone, leaving Gingrich as the standard bearer.

And that’s where things are going to get interesting. I think Romney and Gingrich are going to slug it out for a while – although not in Virginia.This trailer is just the beginning:

Ouch!

Once we get past March, the proportional allocation of delegates gives way to winner-take-all. Romney, who I expect will win the nomination, won’t have it locked up by then. The prize on April 3 is Texas – and Rick Perry will be relevant again. Who he endorses may very well influence the outcome there.

I can tell you: it’s a heck of a lot more fun watching the primaries from this side than it was in 2008.

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9 thoughts on “Looking to New Hampshire and beyond

  1. Evil versus Evil. It should be interesting to see what happens when this GOP nonstop is complete. I think it will be Romney. The interest thing is that we will be pitting GOOD against EVIL. As it was quoted from ” Once Upon a Time, “Good seldom wins over Evil because Good is destined to play Fair. Evil on the other hand does not. “. Our President is a Good and Fair man. I’m just saying. Both Democrats and Republicans get confused when decisions are made listening to both sides.

  2. I agree, Ron Paul won’t be the ABR candidate. He will be the only candidate to survive the early primaries though. He’s got staff in something like 14 states and the money to take this to the convention floor, which given the RNC rules, is exactly what he’s going to do. Many states, like Iowa and New Hampshire, don’t have pledged delegates anymore. So guess who’s people stayed after in Iowa to make sure their people got delegates elected to the conventions that will eventually determine who gets the national delegates?

    Proportional allocation rules also don’t kick out everywhere until April and even in the winner take all states, there are still unpledged delegates up for grabs. There are a few other rules that work in Ron Paul’s favor that I’m not even going to mention, but basically the RNC set themselves up last year for a long fight all the way to the convention floor. The only way they can avoid that now is for everyone but Romney and Paul to drop out before super Tuesday day so Romney can win all the delegates in the proportional allocation states that turn winner take all if someone get’s over 50%.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Hillary Clinton get more votes than Obama in 2008?

    1. Oh, I definitely think Paul is in for the long haul – at least until Newt drops out 🙂 And yes, the proportional allocation rules are in effect until the end of March, the idea being, from what I’ve gathered, that it prolongs the nomination process. (Plus there were some states penalized for having their caucuses/primaries early.)

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Hillary Clinton get more votes than Obama in 2008?

      Not sure what you mean by “votes” here.

  3. I’m not sure Newt survives his kamikazi run at Mitt in New Hampshire. But he may help Santorum and Paul. (You’re right he isn’t going to be ABR, but he’ll hang around all the way. His support is what it is and it’s not going anywhere. Also it’s best for the Republicans if he hangs in there instead of jumping out to run independent. Paul supporters are NOT going to get behind Romney in any case, but having them sitting on their hands at home in the general would be better for the GOP than having them out actively working for a Paul independent bid.)

  4. for a look at Santorum beyond NH in one little corner of SC where brother Dan is known see Island Packet feature story with comments. http://www.islandpacket.com/2012/01/07/1919748/santorums-brother-cheers-on-presidential.html#disqus_thread

    Listening to coverage today I remembered that when JFK ran in 1960 the concern was that the Vatican would be running the White House. That was before “the pill” and Roe v Wade were part of the culture. I wonder how many Santorum supporters realize the implications of his positions on reproductive rights in today’s America.

  5. Somehow I get the feeling that the crystal ball predictions concerning Paul are tempered by dread and wishful thinking by moderates and status quo. Since Paul clearly sets himself apart than any other than those in the field his message of civil liberties and reduction in military warfare spending, yet maintaining a strong defense posture, will resoundingly resonate. It is to Paul’s campaign benefit that his opponents under estimate his underlying strength among independents and shifting new millennium demographics, which will include some 95 million Millennials, about half of whom are now of voting age. One out of four eligible voters in 2012 will come from this “youth vote”.

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