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Sunday, January 27, 2008

SOUTH CAROLINA SURPRISE

It's not really a surprise that Obama won Saturday night. That had been projected for a while. But the margin of victory is really quite stunning. 28 points? Wow. Hillary only won by 15 when she was running against "uncommitted" in Michigan two weeks ago.

One rather comforting result of South Carolina's primary has been the voting public's rejection of some of the uglier aspects of this race. The Clintons have been mean and nasty and ugly over this past week. The idea was they could make the race do dispiriting that Obama's true believers would stay home. As it turns out, the mud slinging appears to have motivated more people to come out to the polls to vote against Hillary. Every now and then, there is a little justice in this world.

Saturday's result makes things even more wide open for the super-Tuesday contests on February 5th. Conventional wisdom says Obama has the momentum. But momentum hasn't meant jack squat this year. It's quite possible the race will look much more confusing on February 6th. But political nerds love when it's confusing.

It's not all that confusing for John Edwards, however. He's done. That's all there is to it. If he can't win in South Carolina, he's not winning anywhere. Edwards says he's not dropping out of the race, and I'm sure he's got his motivations. If he picks up enough delegates on Super-Tuesday, he may be able to be a power player in the event of a brokered convention (a term that makes political junkies pee their pants in anticipation).

On the Republican side, Florida looms large this Tuesday. Huckabee? Mitt? Rudy? McCain? Who knows? Polls say Mitt and McCain are running neck and neck in the state. This is certainly amusing as both men have had their political obituaries written at various times in the last 6 months. Rudy is going to lose, though, and that's a good thing. His "start in Florida" strategy was stupid. I flunked out of high school and I knew that. So it's a bit surprising that his high paid staff didn't figure it out. Allow me to be the first to say "good bye, Rudy, we hardly knew you."

The Democrats technically aren't allowed to campaign in Florida because of some stupid scheduling thing and the fact that their delegates won't be seated at the convention this fall. But I've got this feeling that Clinton will find a way around that. Perhaps some "well-meaning third party with no ties to the campaign" will just so happen to buy up some ad time and run pro-Clinton ads. I'd almost be willing to bet money on that.

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