Reviewing my Presidential Predictions, or I Like My Eggs Sunny-Side Up
Today is the official end of the beginning of the primary season, as the last “early” state, Florida, votes. One way or another, the Republican race will be transformed in a fundamental way, either with Rudy Giuliani emerging as a viable candidate in a three-way race with John McCain and Mitt Romney heading into Super-Tuesday, or, as seems increasingly likely, Giuliani fading fast after a poor showing, and the race becoming a two-way between McCain and Romney.
However, if you go to the tape, and review the Presidential predictions I made in my last appeared on On the Record with Jim Hummel (WLNE-TV, ABC 6), you may decide to disregard anything I have to say about Presidential politics anyway.
1. On the Republican side, my big predictions were 1) John McCain was dead (oops) and 2) we were waiting to see how organized the Fred Thompson campaign was, to determine how it would impact the race.
Since then, we’ve learned that McCain wasn’t dead and Thompson wasn’t organized enough to impact the race at all. I missed Mike Huckabee completely. Even if McCain doesn’t win the nomination, there’s really no way to spin this as me having coming anywhere close.
My error was buying into the idea that the compressed primary schedule meant that early state momentum wouldn’t matter as much as it has in the past, but whatever the primary schedule is, to win a national campaign, a candidate must be able to effectively campaign across the nation. If a candidate can’t make him or herself competitive in at least one early state (when there’s a diverse mix of early states voting), it means that there’s a good chance that he or she may not be able to connect with voters anywhere. Future prognosticators, learn from my experience, go forth and be wise.
2. On the Democratic side, I predicted that Hillary Clinton would probably win the nomination, barring a perfect Barack Obama campaign combined with a Clinton gaffe.
Though the Democrats appear neck and neck now, this prediction was closer to the mark. I don’t know if I’d call Obama’s campaign “perfect”, but it’s certainly been solid, while the Clinton campaign’s decision to turn former President Clinton lose as a raging pit-bull certainly looks to have become a serious and unnecessary negative, reminding everyone (including some Dems who would never admit it publicly) what they didn’t like about the Clinton years and giving establishment Dems a respectable reason for breaking ranks with the Clinton machine.
And now on to Super-Tuesday, for which I will be offering no predictions (just incredibly insightful analysis)…