Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On Campaign Fluidity

So Guiliani is down and Huckabee is up and Romney - - well, where is he headed, really?

On the other side, Hillary Clinton is down and Obama is up.

McCain, with Des Moines, Iowa and Boston, Massachusetts newspaper endorsements in hand, is resurrected. John Edwards makes Newsweek's cover.

So if you're down, does that mean you automatically defy political gravity and head up?

Is this a surprise, as Iowa's wacky caucuses loom and the big states' primaries are still many weeks away?

Not really. Voters and writers and activists fall in and out love with candidates faster than 10th graders logging onto Facebook.

It's a long, long campaign. Candidates declare, look sharp, stumble, disappear, find new life, bust out, wobble, fall back.

Imagine if there were Mayoral campaigns that ran close to two years, with 15 or 20 candidates at the beginning, and even instant contenders like Alan Keyes were beamed in to make cameos at debates.

In addition to the sheer confusion and complete fatigue that would set in after about six-to-eight weeks, there'd be no way to predict the winners.

And it'd be a certain impossibility to guess who might be crafty or lucky enough to peak at just the right time, or better yet, find the right chords to connect with voters who had actually managed to hear them, then freed themselves from the repetitious, daily horse-race-and-poll-stories to cast a thoughtful, consequential ballot.

When the primaries are over, two (ideally) candidates with some blend of money, charisma, experience and, for want of a better word, balance, should find themselves standing, maybe in bewilderment, that they are the winners and now have to campaign some more.

On the Democratic side, and yes, it's stupid doing this kind of prognostification, I know - - I think Obama offers Democrats, dare I say, the country, the best, most exciting option?

And on the Republican side, maybe it's Huckabee after all, because, like Obama, he's a relatively fresh face. (Put another way, he's no Fred Thompson.)

And he's got the right religious base that the right's base in the GOP needs its candidate to have.

Both of the major parties would embrace their candidates, and a relatively unexpected battle would be on - - but Obama and Huckabee wouldn't be out there as the first choices of many party regulars, donors, insiders and other king-makers.

That's not half bad, you know.

Could have the makings of a big turnout - - Democracy in action, if the voting machines are rigged.

And an election that would prove this tired old double-negative to be absolutely true:

You couldn't say when it was over that "they" didn't give you a choice.

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