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Wednesday, January 2, 2008
By Steven L. Taylor

–Rounding-up, analyzing and handicapping the 2008 election–

Part III: The Republicans

(For Parts I and II of the Iowa T-o-M, go here).

Polls and Such

Peering into the shiny stainless steel of the Toaster:1 In all honesty, the GOP side of things is more interesting than the Democratic side (at least for the moment), as it looks like the Dems are set for a two-way race between Clinton and Obama (with Clinton having a decided edge at the moment).2 However, it is unclear where the GOP is headed, although I still expect that there will be a winnowing shortly.

Here’s how the loaf stacks up at the moment:

The bag is currently empty.

Mike Huckabee

Even if Huckabee wins in Iowa, which the polls indicate is likely at the moment, the Toaster still finds it difficult to see him winning the nomination. He’s White Bread for the nonce, and he should savor the flavor while he can.

  • Time: Huckabee’s Growing Pains
  • The LAT: Huckabee’s faith cut both ways
  • Via The Caucus: Huckabee’s Remarkable Play
  • Michael D. @ Balloon Juice: Running For President A Lot Like Hunting Turkeys
  • Yglesias: The Huckabee Void
  • California Yankee: Huckabee Lashes Out (at Romney on MTP)
  • The Politico: Attack ad decision cost Huck $150K
  • Alex Knapp @ OTB: Huckabee Criticizes Romney For Lack of Executions in Massachusetts

John McCain

Given McCain’s strategic choice to focus on New Hampshire to the exclusion of Iowa means that a third-place finish will result in him being cast in the press as a winner and certainly will give him a boost going into New Hampshire. Further, such a finish would indicate general dissatisfaction with the GOP field, giving McCain the opening to fill the void, even he isn’t the base’s favorite candidate.

  • The LAT: McCain losing votes to Obama in N.H.
  • OTB: McCain, the Comeback Codger?

Mitt Romney

Romney needs a win to propel himself into NH with momentum. A second place finish, depending on the margin of that loss, will be considered a loss—especially since Romney is supposed to have the best organization in IA amongst the GOP candidates. A loss in Iowa could mean a toasty future shortly.

  • CNN: Romney takes aim at Huckabee for ‘mocking’ Bush
  • CNN: Analysis: Romney ads misrepresent
  • David Brooks in the NYT:
    Road to Nowhere

    And yet as any true conservative can tell you, the sort of rational planning Mitt Romney embodies never works. The world is too complicated and human reason too limited. The PowerPoint mentality always fails to anticipate something. It always yields unintended consequences.

    And what Romney failed to anticipate is this: In turning himself into an old-fashioned, orthodox Republican, he has made himself unelectable in the fall. When you look inside his numbers, you see tremendous weaknesses.

  • Andrew Sullivan: The Chameleon Shifts Again
  • BoGlo: More of Romney’s fortune is plowed into campaign

Rudy Giuliani

Certainly when it comes to Iowa Rudy is Toast, if not Burnt Toast. Really, he is pretty close to overall Toast, as I am not buying the Florida Firewall stratagem. A loss in Iowa, followed by ones in New Hampshire and South Carolina will mean Florida won’t mean a thing (and a win there means no delegates, anyway). Rudy’s web site has a “memo” which details the reasons why the strategy will work. I sill ain’t buyin’ (even from the day old bakery).

Rudy, while still looking White Bread-ish on the national scene is really more the rotten bread that one leaves behind as one goes down into the loaf looking for the good bread3.

  • The Des Moines Register: Grassley: Giuliani’s curtailed Iowa campaign ‘a big mistake’

Fred Thompson

Not only is he kind of crusty, he is also rather toasty. A single digit showing in Iowa and Thompson will start the NH edition of the Toast-o-Meter as Burnt Toast.

Ron Paul

Yes, I risk incurring the wrath of the Ronulans, but so it goes. While Paul may yet have a low double-digit outcome in NH,4 he is not even going to sniff the nomination and will likely end up with single digits in Iowa. As such, burn toast. His fundraising and his clear support amongst the faithful keeps him from the crispy crumb category.

  • Via the CSM: Ron Paul: an absolute faith in free markets and less government
  • Could Dr. Paul finish third in New Hampshire?
  • TMV: Is A Ron Paul Double-Digit Surprise In New Hampshire’s Future?
  • OTB: Ron Paul Excluded from Fox Debate

Duncan Hunter (To which you say to yourself: “he’s still running?”)

When Moe is beating you, you are beyond Toast.

John Cox

Don’t know who he is? Didn’t know he was running? He’s the quintessential crumb at the bottom of the toaster.

  • Cox continues Oval Office run despite a deck stacked against him
  1. Note: evaluations are a combination of the candidate’s status in the next contest(s) as well as their national standing. There is a dash of assumed future position in the recipe as well. []
  2. Apologies to Edwards, whom I don’t see going very far []
  3. Which puts me in mind of the classic George Carlin bit, Icebox Man, and the following clip in particular: “When you make a sandwich at home, do you reach down past the first three or four pieces of bread to go down and get ‘the good bread’? It’s kind of a self preservation thing, y’know? What you’re really saying is, “Let my family eat the rotten bread! I’ll take care of Numero Uno!” And down you go into the loaf. Down, looking for the two that you want, a matching pair. And you have to be careful pulling them out so they don’t tear. And then when you get them to the top, the upper eight slices fall the other way. I never straighten them out. I think, screw it, let ‘em think a burglar made a sandwich. Not my job, straightening out the bread.” []
  4. I will not be surprised if Paul manages a sub-20% tally, but similarly, I shan’t be shocked at something in the 5% range, either []
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The views expressed in the comments are the sole responsibility of the person leaving those comments. They do not reflect the opinion of the author of PoliBlog, nor have they been vetted by the author.

11 Responses to “It’s the Iowa GOP Edition of the Toast-O-Meter”

  1. PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » The Return of the Toast-o-Meter! Says:

    [...] The GOP edition of the Iowa T-o-M is here. Sphere: Related ContentIf Sabato can use a crystal ball, why can’t I use a toaster? [↩]If you can’t takea healthy helping of flippancy with your political analysis, then the T-o-M isn’t for you. Also, if you find bread-based metaphor offensive, move along [↩]Wherein you can also see how wrong I was about Kerry… [↩]Or, as I liked to call them, the ReCal [↩]With apologies to Senator Obama, but the functional analogy here is bread types, so I’ll stick with “white bread” as generic bread. However, it does make me think back to Chris Rock’s Nat X character and his rants about The Man [↩]With apologies to Matthew [↩] Filed under: US Politics | | [...]

  2. Punditry Says:

    Return of the Toastmeter

    Political scientist and right-leaning blogger Steven Taylor brings back his Toast-o-Meter, his periodic evaluation of how the various candidates are doing. It was great fun (and often dead on the money) back in 2004, so I'm glad to see…

  3. Angry Guy Says:

    Sad Duncan Hunter has not received more support, hopefully a VP nod will be in his future.

  4. B. Minich Says:

    I like the Ronulans moniker. Very nice.

    Veepables and Toast: part of this balanced breakfast.

  5. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    I wish I had coined it. However, I first saw it over at OTB.

  6. B. Minich Says:

    Aaaaand the Ronulans have arrived on James’ OTB predictions for 2008 post (in which James predicts, I think rightly, that Paul won’t win a single state primary for 2008). I still have no clue how people can be so deluded. Also, a fair warning that they may see a link to your toast-o-meter.

  7. Political Mavens » Fresh from the Toaster Says:

    [...] It’s the Iowa GOP Edition of the Toast-O-Meter [...]

  8. Jan Says:

    This morning on the tv news (maybe the Today Show, I’m not sure, it was in the hotel lobby) a political expert was being consulted on the impact of the Iowa caucus. He said that Iowa doesn’t affect New Hampshire, and that the winner of Iowa is almost never the winner of New Hampshire. Obviously this wasn’t an in depth analysis, nor was there any real explanation of the statement, at least not that I heard. What is your take on that conclusion? Is it true, or true in some respects, to your knowledge?

  9. Your Mom Says:

    John and Kerry and George Bush won Iowa and New Hampshire in 2004.

  10. PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Thomspon to Exit! Thomspon Surges! Says:

    [...] Now, that all makes logical sense. First, Thompson is clearly tanking (indeed, he has been declared to be Toast in some circles) and the likelihood that he can sustain a campaign much beyond next week if he does poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire is small. And an earlier exit gives him more clout in terms of an endorsement and makes him look less pathetic in terms of clinging on when all hope is already lost (Joe-mentum, anyone?).1 Further, Thompson was a big McCain booster in 2000, so should Thompson exit the race, a McCain endorsement would make sense. [...]

  11. PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Some Bite-Sized Toast for Caucus Day Says:

    [...] If you missed the first two installments of the Iowa T-o-M, they can be found here and here. [...]

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