Still in the lead, Still not the front runner.
By John D. Turner
22 Jan 2008

Well, the Nevada Caucuses and the South Carolina Primary are over. It’s on to Florida. And who is the front runner? Why McCain of course!

But wait. Didn’t Romney win in Nevada? What about that?

Well, it seems that Nevada, like Wyoming, really didn’t happen; except for the Democrats that is. In the Democrat Caucus, the Nevada race was billed as a big event. Nevada was portrayed as the fastest growing state in the nation. Things Are Happening In Nevada!

For Democrats that is. Remember, Nevada is where Harry Reid comes from. And the Democrat event was supposed to be a big victory for Obama over Hillary Clinton, so the media was all over that one. It didn’t work out that way, of course; Hillary won, with Bill on the side muttering darkly about voter disenfranchisement. It’s always good to have an excuse just incase.

So now that the dust has settled, what exactly is the delegate count thus far. Remember the delegate count? That is what ultimately decides who the winner will be.

Once again, the four sources are not in sync. Fox News claims to get their tally from Real Clear Politics, but as you will notice, the numbers are different, which is why I included them. They clearly show Mitt still in the lead thus far.

Candidate CNN Real Clear Politics The Green Papers Fox News
Mitt Romney 66 59 59 59
Mike Huckabee 26 40 26 38
John McCain 38 36 41 32
Fred Thompson 8 5 11 5
Ron Paul 6 4 8 4
Rudy Giuliani 1 1 0 1
Duncan Hunter 1 0 1 1
Alan Keys 0 0 0 0
Totals 146 145 146 140

Apparently, whoever was updating the Wikipedia site has stopped; their posted numbers are the same as before the last round of voting, and they were inaccurate then. I have dropped them and substituted instead the CNN reported totals. I hope this is not indicative of the accuracy of all their articles.

And yet, despite his victory in Nevada, bringing his total to three thus far, more than any other candidate, and despite the fact that he is leading the delegate count, Mitt is still not the front runner.

No, on the Republican side, the focus was in South Carolina where, as we are constantly reminded, the winner historically has ultimately won the Republican nomination for President. And that winner was John McCain – coronation to follow.

Nevada, like Wyoming, as far as Republicans are concerned, is flyover country. There is nothing out there but cows, cactus, and lots of nothing. And Mormons, which is what they credit Romney’s victory in Nevada to; that and the fact that he was the only Republican candidate to even bother to go to Nevada.

Nevada, you see, is so backward that the folks there don’t even have television sets. They obviously voted for Romney because that is the only person they thought was running. And obviously, being as the Mormon population in Nevada is around 20%, they all flocked to the polling stations en masse to vote for their guy Romney. This despite the fact that some of them have to be Democrats; witness the fact that Harry Reid, the senate majority leader, senator from Nevada, is Mormon – and Democrat. If all the Mormons are voting Republican, how did Reid get elected, if only Mormons will vote for Mormons? Does that mean that non-Mormons will actually vote for a Mormon? Obviously.

So let’s see. Mitt won Wyoming, but that doesn’t count. Mitt won Michigan, but that’s because of “family connections” – the “favorite son” factor. Mitt won Nevada, but that too doesn’t count because nobody cared. Mitt’s ahead in the delegate count, but that’s a statistical fluke, and soon to be erased by the Florida primary. Three victories and two second-place finishes; that’s better than anyone else has done so far. But it doesn’t matter because McCain won South Carolina and the focus is on him. He is the front runner; this despite the fact that most conservatives in the Republican Party can’t stand him.

But then again, McCain has always been the media darling. They love a Maverick. Read that as someone who is nominally Republican but consistently pursues a policy at variance with the party. He’s bi-partisan in the Democrats definition of the word.

Wyoming and Nevada? They really didn’t happen. Literally. Last night on Fox News, Bill Kristol was asked who the front runner was, and he said McCain; then backed up his statement by saying that McCain had won two primaries, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and so far was the only candidate to have done so!

Technically speaking, if he were called on it, he could say he is correct. Wyoming was a convention, and Nevada a caucus, so technically, Romney has only won one “primary”, that being Michigan; a nuanced response worthy of the Clintons, in my opinion.

It will be interesting to see what happens in Florida. McCain has had strong support in states where Independents, even Democrats can vote in the Republican primary. Indeed, only 30% of McCain’s support in South Carolina came from actual Republicans.

Florida’s primary is a closed primary; only Republicans can vote in the Republican primary. According to the RCP poll averages, McCain is leading there as of now. We will see what happens when actual voters vote. There is obviously a media drive to get Republicans to jump on the McCain bandwagon – he won South Carolina; history says he is going to be the nominee. You don’t want to throw your vote away on someone else, do you?

Hopefully, people are smarter than that. The primary isn’t a horse race, even though that is how the media likes to characterize it. Your vote isn’t a bet on the eventual winner, whereby you will “win” something if he does. Your vote is your personal endorsement for the candidate you vote for. In my opinion, McCain as the nominee will be a disaster, despite the conventional media wisdom that a McCain/Giuliani ticket would be a sure winner.

Indeed, it would be a winner for them. I’m sure they would get lots of mileage out of such a ticket. But for Republicans it would be just as disastrous as Bob Dole’s candidacy in 1996, with the same result.

A lot is made of Hillary’s negatives. McCain has a whole truckload of them with conservatives as well. There is an assumption that if it comes down to a choice between McCain and Hillary, conservatives will hold their nose and vote for McCain anyway. Anyone but Hillary goes the mantra.

Perhaps. I suppose there are conservatives that will do so. But as for me, there is no way. I am supposed to vote for someone who doesn’t represent my political philosophy simply so that I don’t get someone else in office that doesn’t represent my political philosophy? Run that by be again? There comes a time when one just has to stop swallowing the bilge they are being fed, and say enough is enough.

There was a point where Ronald Reagan and the Democrat party parted ways.

If it comes to Hillary vs. McCain, I will either vote third party or sit it out. I will not pull the lever for McCain. I would much rather see Hillary get the “credit” for the coming train wreck than to have a nominal “Republican” up there that Democrats can point the finger at and assign the blame.

If it comes to Obama vs. McCain, I may well vote for Obama. I like his politics even less than I do Hillary’s, but I like him personally much better. And the same train wreck argument above applies.

Can Romney beat Obama or Hillary? I don’t know. And to me, it doesn’t matter.

I will not vote for McCain. Enough is enough.