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« Refighting the Civil War | Main | Day 7 - Snowbound in Kayenta »

Granite State Predictions

I've never been a fan of over-emphasizing the horse-race quality of primaries and elections. There's something that seems lacking in a from-a-distance, by-the-numbers analysis, sort of like looking at a profitable company and failing to notice that their CFO and CEO have both resigned to spend more time with their money families.

Nevertheless, here we go.

For the Republicans, I think Romney helped himself a lot last night, maybe enough to pass McCain. That's important, because Michigan is up next, and it's shaping up as a titanic struggle between the two main Republican political families there, one for Romney and the other for McCain. Rudy misjudged the overall dynamic of the campaign, and I'm afraid that the third-place finish for him is going to hurt rather than help. Look for Thompson to move up a little on the outside here, too. He also did well last night, and it's clear that he's surprised a lot of people, myself included, by the time he's spent over the years thinking closely about the issues.

For the Democrats, Obama's energy and sunny disposition win over a tired-sounding Hillary. (This may also hurt McCain, since they're both looking for independents to help them win, and should also serve as a big, red, flashing neon sign for Republicans who think McCain can beat Obama in November.) Hillary's Crying Game is going to hurt her, not because it reminds everyone of Ed Muskie, but because it reminds everyone of...her. Like having her 2nd-grade phonics teacher, or whatever it was, materialize out of nowhere in Iowa, it looks staged. Bill may have been good at charming the country, but his choices of proteges have suffered by the comparison. Edwards may even come in second again, but since he is as phony as she looks, it's unclear as to whether that helps him enough in the event of an Obama stumble in Nevada or later on.

In the meantime, once again, today we got a reminder that this country is at war, and it appears to have had virtually no effect on either side. This is bad news for Hillary, and may, unfortunately, be good news for Huckabee when the race heads south.

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