Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 12, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

VIRGINIA AGAIN....And how about the Republican race? What's going on there? Answer: the exit polls have Huckabee beating McCain 45%-44%. This is obviously well within the margin of polling error, so McCain might still win. But even in the best case, not by much.

Isn't that great? I don't actually want Huckabee to win the nomination, but I'd love to see him continue to humiliate the presumptive nominee as long as possible. Let's keep that anti-McCain sentiment seething for at least a couple more months, OK?

UPDATE: Damn. CNN calls it for McCain. But still mighty close for a guy that Republicans should be rallying around by now.

Kevin Drum 7:47 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (37)

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Comments

When you say that you don't want Huck to win, I presume you mean the nomination. I'd like to see him beat McCain in Virgina narrowly.

Go, Huck, go! And Johnny...they don't like you, they REALLY don't like you!

Posted by: JoshA on February 12, 2008 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

This is terrific! Isn't it great that while Democrats are going to be split between disappointed and ecstatic about their race tonight, they can all come together and giggle with kindergarten glee at the Straight Talk Express' flat tire?

Posted by: KobayashiMaru on February 12, 2008 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

JoshA: Right you are. I've fixed the post.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on February 12, 2008 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

If I were a Republican, I would just cancel all the remaining primaries and caucuses. They're a waste of money, nothing is at stake, they're merely serving to humiliate the frontrunner, and people have to stay up past their bedtimes to hear the results.

I mean, we want to spread democracy abroad, but at home, well, let's not get crazy.

Posted by: lampwick on February 12, 2008 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Virginia evangelicals (heart) Huckabee!

Posted by: Vincent on February 12, 2008 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

WE LIKE MIKE!!!! GO HUCK!!!!

Posted by: Teresa on February 12, 2008 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

At least a few republicans I know were planning to vote for Hilary in the VA democratic primary, instead of McCain in the republican one, since they figured McCain had it wrapped up and he can beat HRC.

Doesn't seem to have worked out so well.

Posted by: Luke on February 12, 2008 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Despite appearances, this is good news for straight-talker John McCain.

More attention will be paid to the Republican primary, which will in turn give more attention to straight-talking maverick, and then the U.S. public will fall in love with him, just like us.

Posted by: The Mainstream Media on February 12, 2008 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

If a Republican should become the next president, Huckabee would be a better choice than McCain.

Posted by: Brojo on February 12, 2008 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

If I were a Republican, I would just cancel all the remaining primaries and caucuses. They're a waste of money, nothing is at stake, they're merely serving to humiliate the frontrunner, and people have to stay up past their bedtimes to hear the results.

Hey, Washington state tried their best, but the mean ol' em-ess-em called 'em on it.

Posted by: Jeff Fecke on February 12, 2008 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Let's keep that anti-McCain sentiment seething for at least a couple more months, OK?

Not eight?

Posted by: Swan on February 12, 2008 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

CNN just called it for McCain.....not sure why, with 62% of the vote in he's only leading 47-45...must be McCain heavy counties that have most the votes left to be counted

Posted by: Joe on February 12, 2008 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Let's keep that anti-McCain sentiment seething for at least a couple more months, OK?

OK.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on February 12, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

It's over. McCain has won.

Posted by: Brian on February 12, 2008 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

https://www.voterinfo.sbe.virginia.gov/election/DATA/2008/F88C865B-87AB-494E-8C2E-599FED2DF7C6/Unofficial/1_s.shtml

McCain's had that 47-44 lead for a long time, now with 62% in. Doesn't look like it's going anywhere.

Posted by: David in NY on February 12, 2008 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Current delegate total for the GOP:

McCain 729
Romney 288
Huckabee 241

1100 left (including tonight's delegates)
1191 needed to win

Huckabee might gain momentum and win Texas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Mississippi and then he's pretty much done. Romney will throw his votes to McCain to get him the nomination regardless. But the REALLY GOOD PART is if it approaches the convention and Huck hasn't stepped out and has gained momentum and states the whole time and embarrasses the shit out of McCain...

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 12, 2008 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

If a Republican should become the next president, Huckabee would be a better choice than McCain.

I think it's a tough call. McCain seems more likely than Huck to start wars. But Huck seems more likely than McCain to nominate fundamentalist-friendly SC justices, and if he could get them confirmed the damage could last for a very long time.

And McCain is more likely to serve a single term, which could limit the damage.

I also think McCain has more potential to splinter the Republican party, too, which would limit the damage he could do. Not to mention the long-lasting positive consequences of fragmenting the GOP.

Posted by: bobb on February 12, 2008 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Do the news network sites, like CNN, TPM, etc. have a database of candidate photos that they just pull out when appropriate? Obama_sad, McCain_Stoic, Hillary_shrill... I would love to see how deep this database goes... Huffington Post had a picture of Hillary, hands shading eyes, looking off into the distance, while the headline read something about her campaign looking towards march.

Sorry, off topic.

Posted by: enozinho on February 12, 2008 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

I sure hope Obama gets the Dems nomination. Can you imagine presidential debates between him and McCain? Ol' McCain will be demolished! He'll never get off the flight deck.

Posted by: slanted tom on February 12, 2008 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

More proof that Virginia is turning blue. McCain is winning in blue states. This will not help the GOP in November. Can't say that I feel bad about this.

Posted by: Christopher on February 12, 2008 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

There's a very conservative woman I work with who recently moved to New York from Maryland. She is mortified that McCain is the nominee. I imagine a large number of Republicans share her sentiment. McCain seems to have a certain ceiling within his own party, and I wonder how he would have done if the Republican field had been much smaller in the beginning.

How really different do you think a McCain presidency (or for that matter, a Romney presidency) would be from a Huckabee presidency or Bush even? In order to be any kind of president, McCain needs the support from his own party because barring some sort of Republican landslide, does anyone expect that the Democrats will give him any support at all? If McCain acts like the maverick he's pitching himself as being to independents, he'll lose his Republican support, and be a completely ineffectual president. If he were to say try and appoint a justice like Kennedy, he would be crucified by his own party like Bush was when he appointed Miers and the nomination would go nowhere. The same thing if he were to try and eliminate the Bush tax cuts or any number of other Bush initiatives or for that matter work for immigration reform the way Bush did.

As for his foreign policy, well, we know about that. We may all find ourselves pining away for a reasonable foreign policy like we had in 2005 if McCain is elected president.

Posted by: Guscat on February 12, 2008 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Take heart.

The beagle may win at Westminster tonight.

Posted by: paxr55 on February 12, 2008 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhere in the middle of Kenya right now an old woman keeps hitting the refresh button on her browser, trilling, in a musical accent, 'Why haven't they announced the results for D.C. yet?"

Posted by: lampwick on February 12, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Couple of quick points.

1. Why should republicans be rallying around McCain this early in the contest?

2. If you are a republican and don't feel the need to vote in the republican primary concerning local and state offices why wouldn't you just swing on over to the democratic primary and vote against all the candidates you don't want to see on the ballot in November? Really, why wouldn't you? Or do you guys really think that Obama can win 60% of the democratic vote in a Southern state?

#2 is so logical and makes so much sense and in fact many republican pundits are actually even admitting to doing this. #2 also explains how so many states have had record voter turnouts in democratic parties while subsequent republican turnouts have been very lackluster. Honestly, I have no doubts that Obama will win the primary and we'll be denied a decent president yet again because of the unwarranted arrogance of both the far left liberal wing and the democratic party elite. One thing I don't get about the unwavering support for Obama of the far left. How do you get past the fact that he refuses to claim that he is a liberal? I am a liberal. I proudly tell everyone that. But you want to nominate someone who loathes liberals?

Posted by: nostradamus on February 12, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Man, is McCain reading his speech from a teleprompter? Looks awful!. I've never seen him looking as a loser like this. It really terrible.

Posted by: Palo on February 12, 2008 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Palo, and he sounds like a sick Obama. Hope. Change. Sheesh. I can't take it much longer. Are we going t have to listen to the whole speech???

Posted by: nepeta on February 12, 2008 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Obama wins more votes than Hillary and McCain put together in Virginia -- and it was the closest margin of the night for him!

Posted by: Jerome on February 12, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

and Clinton got more votes than McCain in Virginia.

Posted by: lou on February 12, 2008 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is building a solid popular vote lead that will overshadow "I won the big states." What makes anyone think that he "won't win the big states." The exit polls suggest that 88% of Hillary voters will enthusiastically support Obama. Additionally, Virginia and Illinois are big states, and Obama has won a vast majority of large urban areas, even in the states Hillary won (NYC, Boston, Atlanta, SF). Either can make a case but Obama's case makes a lot more sense to me.

Posted by: Hawk on February 12, 2008 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Huckaberry up in the old gum tree,
Merry, merry king of the bush is he.

Well, if we must have an affirmative action president for the PC brainwashed sheeple, let's get it over with so we can stop glorifying media puffed up bladders (like the last two female duds hyped to the sky by the libs). Then maybe the media and the country can advance beyond anti-white racism and choose on the basis of competence.

I figured out why McCain was such an upset victor. The Republican candidates are so mediocre that as each one in turn led, they were examined more closely, and the voters barfed. As in musical chairs, McCain was the next one due to be denied a seat, but super Tuesday came before the music stopped, so barfing will come later, and McCain will suffer a historic loss in the general election.

Posted by: Luther on February 12, 2008 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

9 points isn't that close, running in VA against a Baptist preacher. The exits are really weird this season.

Posted by: Derannimer on February 13, 2008 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

I just read this on Daily Kos then checked out WaPo to make sure. Obama is truly kicking butt in Virginia. Not just among Dems, but if you look at all the votes, he has 150,000 more than McCain and Huckabee combined! Even Hillary, with only 35% of the Dem vote, has out polled McCain. I realize that there is likely to be more interest in the Democrats and this may drive the vote count up, but this is a very wide margin. These numbers don't bode well for the republicans in November.

Posted by: blue in AZ on February 13, 2008 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Can you now discern the popular will, Mr. Drum?

Has anyone been beaten that bad in Virginia since Yorktown?

Posted by: southpaw on February 13, 2008 at 4:18 AM | PERMALINK

=I have no doubts that Obama will win the primary and we'll be denied a decent president yet again because of the unwarranted arrogance of both the far left liberal wing and the democratic party elite. One thing I don't get about the unwavering support for Obama of the far left. How do you get past the fact that he refuses to claim that he is a liberal? I am a liberal. I proudly tell everyone that.

Nostradamus, Obama is simply the best choice of what's left -- and he doesn't carry the polarizing baggage Hillary does. I wish he shared more of Edwards' progressivism on economic issues, but I think he'd be easier to sway on those things than the corporate Mrs. Clinton would be.

As for "liberal," Obama is a good politician, and in our culture, that word is close to a kiss of death for a candidate outside the west side of L.A., the borough of Manhattan and Boston/Cambridge, Mass. I don't mind if he doesn't say he's liberal, or even loathes them, as long as most of the time he acts like one.

Posted by: Vincent on February 13, 2008 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Vincent, your innumeracy staggers me.

Look again. Obama received more votes than McCain and Clinton combined in Virginia.

WTF you talking about? He can't win Virginia? Idiot.

Posted by: Manfred on February 13, 2008 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Not to rain on Obama’s parade, but I think the vote totals in the suburban Richmond highly Republican counties of Chesterfield and Henrico reek of Republicans crossing over to vote for Obama, whether out of hatred for Hillary or because they think it’s strategic for the fall. It’s not just me, either. Highly respected political columnist Jeff Shapiro of the Richmond Times Dispatch mentioned it in his column this morning.
It’s sort of a rule of thumb that if a Republican in a general election polls less than 60% of the vote in Chesterfield, it means trouble statewide. In the last gubernatorial election, Democrat Tim Kaine, a former popular mayor of Richmond, while winning statewide, was unable to muster 45% of the vote in Chesterfield against an extremely weak Republican. That he barely won Henrico was considered almost a miracle.

Yet Obama garnered more votes than both Republicans combined in both these counties. I’m not buying it.

Chesterfield is home to Philip Morris, its largest employer and a corporation that is rabidly anti-Clinton, and so indoctrinates its thousands of employees. My neighbors, both of whom work for the company, went to the polls and voted for Obama yesterday. It is the first time in 30 years that I’ve known them to vote for a Democrat, and they were extremely happy last night that he defeated Clinton, who they detest as being anti-tobacco. (Remember, Obama is a smoker) If they don’t vote for McCain in the general election, I’d be amazed. Further, if these two counties don’t vote Republican in the fall election, it would be the first time in modern history.

The other thing is that McCain did so poorly here. These are loyal Republican counties, and, if he is the nominee, expect him to carry them handily in the fall. Yet he got outpolled by both Obama and Clinton, and barely beat Huckabee. It just doesn’t square.

I’m not saying Obama would not have won statewide, as he ran well everywhere, but the pattern of votes in those two counties is very suspect to me. In fact, I expected him to win, not just by the margin he did, particularly in suburban Richmond. Remember that Virginia doesn’t register by party and has a long history of primary crossover voting.

Posted by: leitrim on February 13, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Manfred, just where did I say Obama couldn't win Virginia? I was responding to an earlier comment from someone who signed as "Nostradamus."

Posted by: Vincent on February 13, 2008 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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