The Fix Is In, and Jesus Saves
Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza's latest entry on his blog, The Fix, handicaps the presidential race. Cillizza does these handicapping posts fairly regularly, and he's usually on point. Of course, I have my own long history of political predictions, and I've been right a lot more often than I've been wrong. But in this case, Cillizza speaks for me -- at least as far as the Democrats go. He's got the top 5 Dems as Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Richardson and Dodd. The Top 5 Republicans come in at Giuliani and Romney tied for first, then Fred Thompson at 3rd, Huckabee at 4th and McCain at 5th.
Dodd at 5th for the Dems seems more of a "why not?" than anything else. He stands about as much chance as Biden, Gravel or Kucinich, which is to say, no chance at all. The top 4 Dems have been the same, in the same order, for almost the entire campaign season thus far.
I disagree with Cillizza's take on the GOP. Like him, I was quick to dismiss Giuliani as a serious GOP contender, but unlike Cillizza, I still am. He may poll well, but when Republicans step into the voting booth, that's gonna change. It seems odd that the Christian conservative base has been all but forgotten, in Cillizza's take on this thing and elsewhere. That base would probably swing Thompson, assuming the guy finally gets in the race. At this point, Thompson's like Ted Kennedy in the late 70s and early 80s -- a constant presidential threat that never actually materialized. If he dries up the way Kennedy always did, who do the so-called values voters turn to? Pro-abortion, pro-gay rights Giuliani is out. And Romney's Mormon faith dooms him to a lot of these voters, right or wrong. Believe me, ace, I spent four years in Colorado Springs, the beating heart of American Christian fundamentalism. Romney's faith is a problem, no matter what touchy-feely platitudes about tolerance the fundies may throw out.
So, now that we've discounted both the front-runners, and if Thompson fails to show, we're once again left with Huckabee. (McCain, as we all know, is finished, and this is the only time I'm mentioning him). I keep coming back to the preacher from Arkansas.
And indeed, the forthcoming rise of the Huckster may take place here in Fort Lauderdale, at the Values Voter Debate on Sept. 17. They call themselves the largest voting bloc in the country, ace, and they're really not willing to concede things like abortion and gay marriage. And when they tune in to the debate in mid-September, they will see:
1) A relatively liberal New Yorker
2) A Mormon
3) A Baptist preacher
See that? And, hell, ValuesVoter.org has only confirmed the presence of seven out of nine candidates. They haven't released names yet, but the chances are good that Giuliani and Romney are the ones skipping the event. After September, if Thompson isn't in yet, and especially if the other "values voter" candidate, Sam Brownback, has dropped out, expect Huckabee to be No. 3 with a bullet, if not No. 2.