Ok, a few points.
1. The story on the Republican side tonight and for most of this post-Iowa campaign has been Huckabee essentially running interference for McCain and luring away a lot of conservative voters that would otherwise go for Romney. Huckabee, at least as of 11:15 PM EST (early, I know), is helping McCain especially by grabbing up the Southern votes that Romney would otherwise get, preventing Romney from banking the conservative delegates there, and keeping McCain’s overall lead comfortable. All well and good. Except. Anybody else in the GOP think it’s an issue that their nominee will NOT be the guy that won the Southern states? Huckabee has thus far won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and West Virginia. He stands a good chance of winning Tennessee. Don’t think about it as Huckabee winning those states, think about it as McCain failing to win those states. Bush won them all in 2004, and easily. That’s a problem. A Republican going into the general without firm Southern ground underneath him is riding to war without his cavalry behind him.
2. It’s especially a problem if Obama gets the Democratic nomination, which he very well might. He is doing quite well in Dixie, and black voters are with him in droves. In the states he has shown electoral weakness, primarily the Northeast in states like Massachussetts and New Hampshire, he’s shored up by the fact that Republican candidates are historically even weaker. If McCain gets the nod and goes head to head with Obama, it’s of course ludicrous that the Southern GOP conservatives defect and cast protest votes for the Democrat, but it’s quite likely they just stay home, and the South goes blue. Anybody want to put odds on a Republican, with the national mood soured on the Republican incumbent and the economy in trouble, winning the general election without blowing the doors off in the South?
3. Which leads one to the question: if McCain can’t win the South outright, why not get the guy who did to be your running mate? That would put a guy who only three weeks ago said the following, in public and with microphones in his face, one heartbeat away from the presidency:
“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”
I’ll say this: between the Democrats letting Bill race-bait the electorate after his wife got waxed by Obama in South Carolina and now the GOP facing the prospect of a nominee who alienates the base needing to pick a running mate who alienates the rest of the country, I can’t remember an election in which both parties seemed determined to blow it.