There can be no down time after Iowa and New Hampshire; this week — Michigan and South Carolina for the GOP and Nevada for the Democrats — is as important as the tumultuous first week.
Michigan’s Republican primary is make-or-break for Mitt Romney. It’s simple for him: win and he’s back in contention for the GOP nomination. Lose and he’s all done; stick a fork in him.
McCain and Huckabee don’t have to win Michigan, but they’d love to knock Romney out of the race and thus shuffle the deck.
The polls are all over the place: Some indicate that Romney, who is from Michigan, has pulled ahead of McCain, with Huckabee in third place. Zogby, the best pollster, shows McCain slightly ahead.
The issue in Michigan is clear: the economy and lost jobs. This should be ideal for Romney, the state of his childhood, where his father was a popular governor, and topics, jobs and business, which are his strong suit.
So if he can’t do it there, he clearly can’t do it anywhere.
Then, on Saturday, is the crucial South Carolina GOP primary. This is where McCain stumbled in 2000 against G.W. Bush. The re-written — by McCain — history of that race is that the Bush campaign "slimed" McCain and that is why Bush won.
The truth? Yes, he was slimed. But McCain would have lost anyway because GOP primary voters don’t like McCain. And they don’t trust him. His strength is among the (suspect) media: Chris Matthews, Imus, Russert etc. who fawn all over him, and he does reasonably well among Independents and Democrats who vote in some open GOP primaries like Michigan.
Just hitting South Carolina voters this week is a powerful article in the US Veteran Dispatch by publisher, and former Green Beret and two-tours-in-Vietnam veteran, Ted Sampley about John McCain’s past and perhaps future judgement in a time of war. In a hypothetical situation, Sampley asks McCain what he would do if he was president and his own son, Jimmy, who McCain announced to the press in Iowa was now in Iraq, was missing in action and an E&E (escape and evasion) code was spotted by a U.S. spy satellite in the desert?
Sampley asks this question because we already have evidence of what John McCain did do in a similar situation. In 1988 a U.S. spy satellite photographed a 39-foot long E&E code drawn by a downed U.S. pilot in a rice paddy in Laos. The Department of Defense told the U.S. Senate — and McCain — in 1992 that it “had to be considered valid.”
But, no, that wasn’t enough for McCain.
He claimed it was “the handiwork of a young Laotian boy who copied it off an envelope.”
This is the judgement of a man who wants to be our commander in chief?
This must-read article can be found at http://usvetdsp.com/jan08/questions_mccain.htm.
In South Carolina, Fred Thompson, suddenly awake and on attack against Huckabee, needs to do very well or else he’s finished. He will then drop out and endorse McCain, hoping to be his running mate in the fall.
Huckabee is hot in South Carolina among the evangelicals and is hoping McCain loses Michigan so he can then knock McCain out in South Carolina.
If McCain were to lose both primaries this week, he would be seen as a one-state wonder (New Hampshire) but incapable of winning anywhere else.
So, this week is crucial for Romney and McCain. Not as crucial for Huckabee. Thompson is almost toast. And Rudy is fading fast in Florida with his odd “I don’t run so I don’t lose in any primaries” strategy.
A big debate in Nevada tomorrow and then the Nevada caucuses on Saturday. This race is turning nasty and may polarize blacks vs. whites inside the party.
Ignore these national polls which say Hillary is going to be the nominee. We do not yet know that; the voters are roiled. There is angst out there. Obama may tap into that better than Hillary.
There is a long, long way to go in both races.
Many unexpected twists and turns.
We may not know the nominees until the late summer.
Oh, and forget Bloomberg. He is irrelevant, billions or not. And if he does run he takes votes away from the Democrats because he is a liberal Democrat.
Stay tuned — there will be some great surprises in the near future.
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