Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Frontrunner

The 2008 election is still a long way off. But that isn’t keeping ostensibly intelligent people from parading their inanity for all the world to see. Case in point: Dick Morris, who writes for The Hill, which is considered a respectable journal, has concluded that Hillary Clinton and Rudolph Gulianni will be the nominees. In doing so, he offers this priceless nugget of political strategy:
The key for the candidates is to become the early front-runner and hold the position for the first three quarters of 2007. Once that is accomplished, the nomination is probably in the bag.
On what does he base his blinding strategic insight? History, of course:
No clear front-runner, except for Rockefeller in 1964, has ever failed to win the nomination since the primary process became pivotal in party nominations in 1960.
Say what? Morris elaborates:
Among Democrats, Kennedy in ’60, Humphrey, once he entered the race, in ’68, McGovern in ’72, Carter in ’76 and ’80, Mondale in ’84, Dukakis in ’88, Clinton in ’92, Gore in ’00 and Kerry in ’04 were front-runners who held their leads. Mondale, Clinton, Gore, and Kerry were front-runners who were briefly shaken by challengers (Hart, Tsongas, Bradley and Dean) but held on to win their nominations.
Let's review. Kennedy, perhaps.
Humphrey in 1968? He became the frontrunner only after a sitting president bowed out and Bobby Kennedy was assassinated.
McGovern in 1972? Ed Muskie was the frontrunner until he broke down in tears in New Hampshire.
As for Carter in 1976, could someone please tell me who was touting him for the nomination in February of 1975?
Mondale in 1984? Probably.
Dukakis in 1988? Again, tell me who had him picked as the nominee in February of 1987.
Likewise Clinton in 1992; I don’t recall him being a clear frontrunner in February of 1991. I had hardly heard of him.

In 2000, Gore was a sitting VP.
Again in 2004, I don’t recall Kerry being the clear frontrunner; he won the nomination after a surprising win in Iowa.
On the GOP side, the nominee has been easier to predict, though in 1968 many said that a governor named Romney would get the nod.
Much as it may irritate the know-it-alls in Washington, people do actually get to vote—and that doesn’t happen for another eleven months.


Blogger Paul Smith Jr. said...

I still think McCain will take it on the GOP side. Rudy's too liberal on social issues and his campaign's a mess from what I hear.

I really don't see anyone on the D side taking it from Hillary, though. She's too good a candidate and will have too many advantages in her favor.

3:58 PM, February 09, 2007  

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