Wednesday, January 09, 2008

You Can't Always Get What You Want....

The conventional wisdom regarding GOP primaries is that what the establishment wants, the establishment gets. It's part of what makes it so difficult to believe Mike Huckabee is going anywhere in the primary process, despite his impressive victory in Iowa and his meets-expectations third place in New Hampshire. After all, if there is one candidate this side of Ron Paul the establishment is lined up against, it's Huckabee.

But there's a kink, as DJW of Lawyers, Guns, and Money points out. Even if you believe that the GOP house always wins, that presupposes that the house has a favored candidate. But there is no George W. Bush this primary season. No GOP candidate really has united the party apparatus. McCain was the establishment guy for awhile, but despite his best efforts to jettison the slightest hints of his former maverick-status, he's retained too many enemies in high places to solidify his position.

Keeping that in mind, Huckabee actually has at least a tenable path to the nomination. The next big primary is South Carolina, where Huckabee should do well. Michigan is Romney territory, but he can't claim too big a bounce because his father was the governor of the state. Then it's a question of how things shake out on Super Tuesday. Huck has to look good in Alabama, Arkansas (his home state), Georgia, Missouri, and even possibly Tennessee (Fred Thompson's home), and he could definitely compete in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. He won't get a resounding victory that day, but in my opinion he only has to hold position that day. If he's still standing strong after February 5th, then he'll be in position to make a strong challenge for the #1 spot the whole rest of the process.

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