09 January 2008

New Hampshire postgame

Well, I didn't go on record with any predictions yesterday, but rest assured I'd look just as silly as everybody else does today. Jonathan Stein at MoJo has a list of reasons for Clinton's surprise comeback, the most likely of which, I think, is the irritability of New Hampshire voters, who decided they didn't want the race to be over.

Bad news first: I'd have been quite happy, frankly, if the Clinton machine had been crushed in its infancy. Now she's managed to restore Inevitability and picked up Momentum along the way. The good news: She needed a lot of breaks to squeeze out a narrow win after she had a big lead in New Hampshire just a couple of weeks ago. I've read some libloggers extolling the primary season's extension, believing it will eventually force both candidates to the left as the race gets hotter. I'm less enthusiastic about this possibility, given that both candidates have been eagerly bashing each other with right-wing talking points. (Clinton even broke out OMG TEH TERRISTS! during Saturday night's debate. Yeah, I couldn't wait for that one.)

The wild card will be what Edwards decides to do. Over the weekend Edwards claimed he's staying in through the convention. This might be based on the hope that Obama and Clinton battle to a stalemate and he emerges the compromise candidate at a brokered convention. More likely, given that far-fetched scenario, he was hoping to outlast Clinton when Obama swept through the early states and then take on Obama one-on-one. That's now squashed, and with it any possibility for Edwards to win is probably closed.

I've been assuming, without seeing any poll data, that most of Edwards' support would shift to Obama if he withdrew. Edwards himself has been hanging on Obama's coattails in recent weeks. Is Edwards waiting to see who'll give him the best offer to do what they want? What could Obama offer anyway? Edwards has said he won't take a veep slot, and given his wife's cancer, I'm taking that as sincere.

If you aren't depressed enough today, Jonathan Shwarz considers a couple of potential Clinton veeps. Clinton/Biden? C'mon, not funny. Clinton/Bayh? Oh, God, just take me now.