Eric Alterman: What Super Tuesday Means

Roundup: Historians' Take

1) Having spent $1.16 million per delegate, Mitt Romney is now toast. His conversion to conservatism was unconvincing -- except perhaps to the men and women of easy virtue at National Review -- and a significant proportion of evangelical Christians will refuse to vote for a Mormon. So Mitt was wasting his money from the start. I kept saying that, but at the time, nobody else, save Thompson, was plausible either.

2) Nobody really knows who is in a better position to win the Democratic nomination. In my bones, I think Hillary is the favorite because I think her organization is more experienced and more widely in place. She also appears to have a firewall of women, Hispanics and the less-well educated, and my guess is, she's more popular with the superdelegates. I think it is clear that Barack is more electable against McCain than Hillary as he competes for Republicans and independents and she does not, though the fact that Hispanics do not vote for Blacks in large numbers is really troubling. But Clinton turns out her opponents in a way that Barack does not, so that brings the advantage back to him, and explains all the red-state endorsements. Obama is going to win states Clinton will not win, or at least appears as if he might. He is not going to lose any states she will win, even if he lost them to her last night.

3) Barring some unforeseen event, I'd pick McCain as the slight favorite over Clinton going in and Obama as a toss-up. That is terrible news, given how unpopular Republicans have become, and how they should be run out of town on a rail for supporting the catastrophic-in-every-way leadership by Bush and Cheney and the incompetents and crazies who surround them, but the media, and the public tend not to hold candidates responsible for their parties; crazy, but true. What's more, antiwar voters are picking McCain despite his promises of hundred years' war. What's more, the media love McCain and are willing to forgive him everything, save perhaps the old "live boy or dead girl" dilemma they still talk about in Louisiana ...

4) Hillary has agreed to debate on Fox News, after refusing to all this time. I think after MoveOn endorsed Barack (together with the Kennedys, The Nation, etc.), she's decided to run as the centrist/establishment candidate and give up on the netroots. Back when Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean, I thought his calculation was based on the fact that Kerry would lose and the next election would be a DLC vs. MoveOn contest and he was claiming MoveOn. Well, the DLC is dead and it would be unfair to tag Hillary with their hatred of liberals, but that's what we have now, with Barack as Al Gore. (Of course, a Gore endorsement might remake this entire contest, but I think we can be certain that's not coming.) Hillary's decision to do it this way is odd, however, given the fact that Rupert just dissed her with the New York Post's endorsement of Barack. I mean, think about it. Does a single Democratic primary voter take his or her direction from the New York Post? Then what's the point of the endorsement? To dis Hillary, nothing else....

5) Running mates? Again, I dunno. Clinton/Obama in either combo makes no sense. The ticket needs a white male. Jim Webb would work well for either one. So would John Edwards, and Joe Biden. Chris Dodd makes a lot of sense for Obama but not for Clinton. For McCain, if he's worried about Limbaugh-like lunatics staying home, he will have to go to his right flank and pick an anti-immigrant demagogue, though Huckabee could work here, he's also a high-risk choice because of his (endearing) personality quirks and total and complete lack of understanding of foreign affairs. Otherwise, he should go north and make himself competitive in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, though I don't have any names in mind for that. Tom Kean is too liberal and would be a Democrat anywhere else but the Northeast.

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Jonathan Dresner - 2/6/2008

Yeah, because of all the men of color or women of any race in politics or public life, the only two worth considering are already running, right?

Maybe you want to rephrase that, Mr. Alterman?