Monday, February 27, 2012

Wildcats and Wolverines !! Arizona and Michigan Finally Vote..

No More Pontificating About Tree Heights, Border Fences, Cars, Satan or High School... Primary Day Is Here at Last!

   If it seems like this has been the longest waiting period for a Primary this year, there's good reason - it has been.  Thanks to Florida jumping the schedule, and forcing all the other states to go along with it, a nice little gap was left in the season... and Arizona and Michigan were the beneficiaries.  All of that jockeying was for not, and now Tuesday's primaries are viewed as make or break for both the Romney and Santorum camps.  As for the Gingrich and Paul teams, they haven't snapped in two yet, but they are bent pretty far backwards...

   This hasn't been the greatest month for either Romney or Santorum.  Romney still perpetually is sticking his foot in his mouth, trying to have himself viewed as the everyman.  Yeah, he was born in Michigan, but it hasn't been his home for decades.  He needs to face facts: he's doesn't have a ton in common with the average Joe in Ann Arbor or Flint - and he doesn't need to.  Instead of coming off as insincere, he should have said 'Look, I'm not like you in every way, but I get where you're coming from.  A President shouldn't be just like you - he should be better than you, and I am.'  Pretty cocky, yeah.  But we appreciate honesty, touched with just a little confidence....

   Meanwhile, Rick Santorum has done exactly what he shouldn't have - he is stuck discussing Social Issues. It may be red meat for the Right Wing, but the rest of America is cringing right now.. We laugh a bit when the Conservatives say we always lose when we pick centrists.  John McCain and Bob Dole lost because 1) they were old, and 2) they ran into buzzsaws named Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  Go ahead and point to George Bush and Ronald Reagan, but neither was a Conservative.  Bush spent like a maniac, and Reagan raised taxes a number of times, and compromised a lot.  Both had great faith in God, but neither really let it affect their policies.  Santorum is short timing his campaign, but long term it will hurt him.  Agree with him or not, most people don't like having morality come from the political lectern....

    OK, onto the races - and we'll be brief. Arizona looked like it may go Santorum's way - and we really couldn't figure out why - but Romney seems to have solidified his shrinking lead this week.  Romney 43%, Santorum 31%, Gingrich 14%, Paul 12%.

     Ahh, Michigan!  This will be the interesting one.  It is much better suited to Santorum, thanks to his coddling of the manufacturing industry, and it's conservative base in towns that don't end in 'etroit'...  Santorum has a line going across the Rust Belt, and Michigan is the buckle of it.  Polls are showing Romney with the slimmest of leads, but we go with trends, and we thinks Santorum pulls off a midnight upset.  We'll make an advance call now: come Super Tuesday, Santorum waxes Romney's ass all over Ohio..  Santorum 39%, Romney 38%, Gingrich 13%, Paul 9%.

    We're sure the media will make a big story out of Santorum beating Romney in his 'home state', but there will be two more important stories.  First, Romney wins the all or nothing Arizona race delegates, and splits the Michigan delegates. So, even though each claims a victory, at the end of the day, Mitt widens his lead a bit.  However, these were all states he was supposed to roll in, and Super Tuesday starts a tough run for Mitt.  In basketball terms, he's on a road trip that includes games with the Celtics, Heat, Mavericks and Lakers. Splitting them will be a miracle.

    In short, barring a Gingrich opt out, we are headed towards a brokered convention in Tampa... There's a long way to it, but that's what we see in the looking glass.


1 comment:

earlcapps said...

Mike, Bob Dole and John McCain ran into very tough environments. Since WWII, icumbent Presidents overwhelmingly win re-election contests (Dole's fate), while parties are almost as likely to fail to retain the White House for three consecutive terms (McCain's fate).

Since 1948, when Truman won a second term, Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton and Bush 43 won second terms. The Democrats also retained the White House for two terms with Kennedy and Johnson and Republicans did with Nixon and Ford. Only Reagan (1980) and Clinton (1992) were able to send an incumbent packing. That's 7-2 odds against a challenger.

Since Truman left the White House in 1952, there is only one instance of the Presidential incumbent party carrying the White House fot three consecutive terms: Bush 41 in 1988. In every other instance - Eisenhower '52, Kennedy '60, Nixon '68, Carter '76, Bush 43 '00 and Obama '08 - the incumbent party lost. That's 6-1 odds in favor of an eight-year flip.

American voters are generally voting with two biases: first, swing voters tend to have to have a strong reason to change horses in a mid-term contest, thus meaning the challenger has to make a stronger argument that change is desperately needed. After just four years, those voters feel that a President usually hasn't screwed up that bad, especially if something happened like a mid-term Congressional takeover by the opposition party which has the unintended effect of keeping incumenbents in check, thus saving them from themselves. By contrast, after eight years, Presidents have built up enough negative sentiment that those swing voters will then decide a change is in order.

Thus Dole and McCain were up against long odds in any event. Both of them knew it was tough and campaign admirably. Dole even changed some of his last week campaign stops to help Congressional candidates knowing he wasn't going to win the White House. That's a class act - but this was the guy who arranged for a loan for Gingrich to pay ethics fines after Gingrich was one of the biggest reasons the GOP surge of 1994 ran out of steam when Dole was a Presidential candidate.

That put you to sleep?