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The Collective
Friday, February 8, 2008
By Dr. Steven Taylor

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


~If Sabato can use a crystal ball, why can’t I use a toaster?~

Saturday, February 9th. If Tuesday was Super, then I am guessing that it is appropriate to dub this next round of contests as “Sidekick Saturday” as they hardly pack the same punch, important though they may be. No doubt there are a series of Boy Wonder jokes to be deployed here, but since the established shtick is bread, I had better stick with the puns that brung me…

Saturday there will be Democratic contests in Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington and the Virgin Islands, while the Republicans will have them in Louisiana, Kansas and Washington—these are all caucuses, save for in Louisiana where both parties have primaries, although the LA GOP contest has its own specific eccentricities.

The GOP. At any rate, there have been some noteworthy changes since the last slices were taken from the toaster on Tuesday, most notably the removal of one Mitt Romney from the race before he caught fire. As such, given that Mike Huckabee needs something like 96% of the remaining Republican delegates (and Dr. Paul even more than that) to best McCain, the Toast-o-Meter is going to go out on a limb and declare the following:

=

If the iconography is too technical, let me be direct: McCain is now the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for the 2008 presidential contest. As such, shockingly, the notion of a brokered GOP convention was, as this guy noted back in December, a fantasy yet again. Indeed, the Super Tuesday contests played out the dynamic described in the linked post…

While the ToM will continue to look at the GOP side of the bakery, the focus will shift to the Democratic loaf going forward (apologies to Governor Huckabee and Congressman Paul, but really, there are only so many bread puns a guy can conjure to describe your toastosity).

The Race So Far. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this election cycle to date has been the advent of widespread delusion regarding the candidate pool. I am not sure how much of this is because in the internet age there is greater access to all, and therefore a higher probability of encountering passionate (if not insane) supporters of a given candidate, how much is the result of the fragmentation of the electorate due to the large number of candidates this year, and how much is because the Earth is tilting slightly off its axis and no one has noticed yet.

While the Earth’s axis theory has a certain poetry to it, I will go with the first two explanations, although they are still in many ways inadequate to the task of explaining the delusion that lurks in many corners of the body politic these days. It is clear that the Ronulan Encounter1 is part and parcel of the internet age, which allows small numbers of actors (in relative terms) to let their voices be heard in ways that were heretofore impossible (although, despite the technology, it didn’t allow them great feats of numeracy).

The broader fragmentation question is more old school electoral study kind of stuff, as one would expect that the more viable candidates competing for the nomination the more it would bring party factions to the fore. What has been fascinating, and somewhat difficult to fully comprehend, is the delusional arguments and denial that this fragmentation has produced in this cycle. It is like nothing I have seen. One expects fragmentation to bring passion to the fore, but it is wholly unclear why it should create such bizarre arguments. This phenomenon has been especially marked on the Republican side. For whatever reason neither Gravel nor Kucinich generated the kind of denial that Paul did, nor did the ardent supporters of Edwards have as much false hope about their candidate as did some Fred supporters.2 The ongoing vitriol (not just dislike, not just disagree, but reality-denying hatred) aimed at McCain continues to astound.

Checking the Bread: Movement Since the Last ToM

Barack Obama

Dough is on the rise

Hillary Clinton

Dough is on the rise

Mike Gravel

Like that moldy piece of French bread that fell behind the crock pot, it is really time to toss Gravel from the discussion, so henceforth, we can use the two-slicer only.

Gazing into the Polished Stainless Steel of the Toaster. Well, much of the ToM’s commentary for this week is above. As far as the only real race at the moment, i.e., Clinton v. Obama, one expects that they will continue to split the delegates fairly evenly on Sidekick Saturday. The real issue is whether any closure can be obtained in the race without a brouhaha emerging over the role of Superdelegates and whether there will be some sort of pre-convention deal.

Along these lines:

  • PoliBlog: SuperDilemma
  • James Klurfeld in Newsday: Democrats’ next concern: super delegates
  • Matthew Yglesias: How The Supers Could Matter

The other issues of interest this week is that of money, as it seems that Obama has plenty, but Clinton, not so much.

When it comes to the current state of the race, all I can say is that both candidates remain:


The Vice-Loaf: Who will play second-slice?

It is time to start talking about the veepables.

  • Kevin Drum: Who’s Your Veep?
  • Daniel W. Drezner: The vice presidential paradox
  • Lee Sigelman @ The Monkey Cage: The Democratic Veepstakes, 2008 Edition
  • McQ @ QandO: The Rep Veep Sweepstakes
  • McQ @ QandO: The Dem Veep Sweepstakes
  • Jon Henke @ QandO: McCain and Huckabee?
  • PoliBlog: McCain/Romney?
  • Abe Greenwald @ Contentions: Huckabee an Unlikely VP
  • Pat Toomey in the WSJ: McCain’s Veep Options
  • Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard: McCain’s VP


Sphere: Related Content

  1. Soon to be a new ride at DisneyWorld, I hear tell []
  2. Please note, I am not saying that all Paul supporters are delusional or that all Thompson boosters were unrealistic, but such people clearly existed. []
Previous Posts

Filed under: US Politics | |

5 Comments

  1. What do you think of the idea that the Obama candicacy is a dry run?

    I’ve thought since the convention in 2004 that he was being set up for a run in the future, but not before Senator Clinton had her day.

    The republicans ran Jindal in Louisiana against Ms. Blanco. Now he has won.

    No, I don’t think that they choreographed the Katrina mess so he could be elected.

    Comment by Janis Gore — Friday, February 8, 2008 @ 10:21 pm

  2. Who's the Veep?

    Steven Taylor collects links.

    Trackback by StephenBainbridge.com — Saturday, February 9, 2008 @ 3:31 am

  3. […] Steven Taylor has some veep-related links. « Grassroots Launch McCain-Thompson ‘08 […]

    Pingback by VeepWatch » PoliBlog’s Taylor On The Race — Saturday, February 9, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

  4. […] REQUIRED READING FOR ALL POLITICAL JUNKIES!! Political scientist Dr. Steven Taylor’s newst Toast-O-Meter is up where he takes a concise but thoughtful look at where the campaign is — who’s up, down and gives you some vital links. But this week he also looks an a fascinating issue which merits quoting here: Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this election cycle to date has been the advent of widespread delusion regarding the candidate pool. I am not sure how much of this is because in the Internet age there is greater access to all, and therefore a higher probability of encountering passionate (if not insane) supporters of a given candidate, how much is the result of the fragmentation of the electorate due to the large number of candidates this year, and how much is because the Earth is tilting slightly off its axis and no one has noticed yet. […]

    Pingback by Around The Campaign 2008 Sphere — Sunday, February 10, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

  5. […] 714 to 217: Based on CNN’s count, that’s the delegate differential between McCain and Huckabee. This means that McCain needs 476 and Huckabee needs 973. One suspects that one would rather be McCain going forward than Huckabee, losses on Sidekick Saturday or no. […]

    Pingback by PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Going Inside the Numbers for February 9th on the GOP Side — Sunday, February 10, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

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