Election 2008: February 2008 Archives

Obama akbar!

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There is no God but Obama and Mrs. Obama is his prophet!


(AP photo from April 16, 2007, found at Salon.)

From the First Lady aspirant's recent speech at UCLA:

Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.

You have to stay at the seat at the table of democracy with a man like Barack Obama not just on Tuesday but in a year from now, in four years from now, in eight years from now, you will have to be engaged.

Jim Geraghty reacts:

Does anybody on the left side of the aisle find this rhetoric a little creepy? Isn't this describing an authoritarian presidency way beyond anything George W. Bush has done or proposed?

Do the powers of the presidency really encompass everything Michelle says Obama wants and plans to do? Based on this rhetoric, isn't he actually running for messiah?

Here's the non-sailor-blush-inducing part of Ace's reply:

Pardon the overstatement, but this is creepy stuff, suggesting, as it does, that your lives are now required to have meaning and purpose -- and that the government will be providing that meaning and purpose to you.

Via See-Dubya, who says it gets weirder:

But that's not what got some people I know fired up. My dad called me from Oklahoma last night to ask if I'd seen the Obamessiah's victory speech. I hadn't--still haven't--but the laid-back See-Dad was seriously freaked, noting that the rhetoric and atmosphere was "like a Nazi rally", "full-bore socialism", "like Stalin", and the guy kept it up for 45 minutes like Castro. And as soon as it was over a family friend, a cattleman of some means and again, a calm demeanor, had called him to ask "Did you see that?"

Donkey songs

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This Hillary jingle seems to have zoomed straight out of the '70s. Kept expecting to see little pre-op Michael Jackson spinning and strutting with Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon.

As Democratic presidential fan jingles go, I still rather listen to (and watch!) Super Obama Girl:

(For all her super power, Super Obama Girl wasn't able to zip over to her polling place on Super Tuesday.)

Actually, this might be the best Democratic presidential music video: Christmas with Mike Gravel. (And he's still in the race!) (Mild language warning.)

One more, from the makers of Super Obama Girl. This makes John McCain look kind of lovable:

Potomac Primary

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Tomorrow, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia will vote in a sort of regional presidential primary -- very handy for the campaigns, who will be able to maximize the value of ad time purchased on Washington television. On the Republican side, Virginia and DC are winner-take-all, awarding 63 and 16 delegates respectively. Maryland is winner-take-all by congressional district: 3 delegates for winning each of eight congressional districts, and 13 statewide delegates. The RNC members for all three jurisdictions, who are ex officio national convention delegates, will be bound to the winner of their respective jurisdictions.

Virginia has an open primary. Will centrist, Independent types, John McCain's electoral bread and butter, decide the Republican primary is all but over and decide to use their influence in the Hillary-Obama war? Will that allow Huckabee to sneak in and take Virginia?

Maryland and DC have systems much like Oklahoma's -- they have closed primaries, the registration books close a few weeks before the election, and there are restrictions on when you can change parties.

John McCain, by my estimate, has only 683 delegates bound to vote for him. Including tomorrow's delegates at stake, there remain only 725 bindable delegates to be allocated. He will need to win 70% of those remaining delegates in order to be guaranteed the nomination.

Last Saturday, Mike Huckabee was the only delegate winner, taking the 36 Kansas delegates at stake. The Washington event was a non-binding straw poll.

Huckabee might have won 20 more in the Louisiana primary, but he fell short of the required 50% of the vote. That means all of Louisiana's delegates will be elected at Saturday's state convention. They will not be bound in any way, but the state convention will likely choose national delegates based on presidential preference. Which candidate the state convention is likely to support is unclear, as the bulk of the delegates to the state convention were elected on a "pro-family, pro-life" uncommitted slate.

MORE: Jim Geraghty links to a good explanation of the actual process in Saturday's Washington State precinct caucuses and why the reported straw poll results are meaningless in determining the makeup of the state's delegation to St. Paul. What the Sound Politics blogger says about the Washington caucuses is true in other caucus states where non-binding straw polls have been taken, such as Iowa, Maine, Nevada, and Minnesota.

Just heard it again on Fox News: Karl Rove stated earlier in the week that Mike Huckabee would have to win 85% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination. I'm not sure how Rove came up with that number, but I looked through the remaining contests at thegreenpapers.com. Including today's events in Kansas and Louisiana, there are only 781 delegates remaining that will be bound to any candidate. John McCain currently has 683 delegates. McCain will have to win 72% of the remaining delegates that could be bound to a candidate in order to go into the convention with a sure majority.

The 608 unbound delegates will have been elected in caucuses and conventions and are more likely to reflect the GOP grassroots distaste for McCain's record. If Huckabee can win about 600 delegates, things could be interesting in St. Paul.

Kansas Republicans held their presidential caucuses today. The event might be better described as a party-run primary.

At the Iowa, Maine, and Nevada caucuses, a straw poll was taken, a "winner" was declared, but in fact no national convention delegates were bound to support any candidate. The process of selecting national convention delegates in those states will involve county, district, and state conventions, and at each phase, it will be up to those voting to decide whether presidential preference will play any part in their choice of delegates to represent their state in St. Paul in September.

But in Kansas, as in North Dakota and Montana on Tuesday, the results of the poll of caucus-goers will bind the national convention delegates to support a certain candidate. The winner in each congressional district will win three delegates, and the winner statewide, if he has also won two of the four CDs, will win all the at-large delegates, including the three national committee members. While the CD delegates would have been awarded to the top vote-getter, even if that person had less than 50%, the 24 statewide delegates would only be bound to a candidate winning a true majority; otherwise they would be uncommitted at the national convention.

The official website for the Kansas Republican caucuses now has the final results: Huckabee won all four CDs, ranging from 53% to 67%, with just shy of 60% statewide. McCain's best performance was 27% in the 3rd CD, his worst was 18% in the fourth, mirroring Huckabee's weakest and strongest showings. So Huckabee will have all 36 Kansas delegates at the national convention. The results then:

Huckabee, 11,627, 59.6%
McCain, 4,587, 23.5%
Paul, 2,182, 11.1%
Romney, 653, 3.3%
Keyes, 288, 1.4%
Uncommitted, 84, 0.4%
Thompson, 61, 0.3%

The BatesLine Strict-Constructionist Delegate Count now has:

McCain 683
Huckabee 194
Romney 143
Paul 11
Uncommitted 12

This is subject to revision, as many of the Tsunami Tuesday states allocate delegates proportionally and by congressional district, and congressional district results have been hard to find. It has also been hard to find specifics on the method by which proportional delegates would be allocated in each state.

I have put the 12 national delegates elected at the Wyoming county conventions in the uncommitted column. 8 county conventions elected a Romney supporter, 3 elected a Thompson supporter, and 1 elected a Hunter supporter. These delegates were always free to change their minds, and now that the three candidates are out of the race, they are no longer bound even by the declarations of support made at the county conventions. The formally bound primary delegates won by Romney are still in his column since he has officially only suspended his campaign and has not released them.

Given the result in Kansas, it's reasonable to wonder what might have happened in two neighboring states, Missouri and Oklahoma, had Romney not been in the race. Huckabee might have won 90 delegates that instead wound up in McCain's column.

Louisiana's primary today will allocate 20 delegates, but only if a candidate receives a true majority of the statewide vote. Otherwise those 20 delegates will be uncommitted. There are 24 more national delegates to be selected at next Saturday's state convention. The delegates to the state convention were elected at district conventions on January 22, and a majority of those elected were from a pro-family, uncommitted slate. Some of those uncommitted state delegates have announced for McCain, but there has been some controversy.

The Washington caucuses today will not result in any national delegates being bound to a presidential candidate. As in Iowa, Maine, and Nevada, the real delegate decisions won't be made until a state convention in May. A primary on Feb. 19 will allocate 19 delegates, one to the winner of each CD, and 10 allocated proportionately statewide.

UPDATE: Here's video of Sen. Tom Coburn introducing John McCain:

Here's the transcript. From Coburn's office:

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn's speech at CPAC

February 7, 2008

As prepared for delivery

I'm honored by the invitation to be here today. I want to thank each of you for your devotion to our country, and for the sacrifices you have made to participate in this event.

I have the privilege today to say a few words about John McCain, a man of rare courage and character, who I believe is uniquely equipped to lead our nation through the difficult challenges ahead.

As conservatives, I know that most of us are sick and tired of politicians who tell us what we want to hear then govern in the opposite way. We won't have that problem with John McCain. He may not always tell us what we want to hear, but he will say what he means and do what he says.

John McCain has the unique blend of character, guts, and experience to tackle the two greatest challenges facing our country - radical Islamic extremism and the looming financial catastrophe that will hit our economy when the Baby Boomers retire.

The fact is, we haven't had a president over the last eight years who had the guts to take on the excesses of a Republican and Democrat Congress. Our government wastes $200 billion every year. Every year. John McCain will lead a top down review of everything government does and actually cut wasteful and duplicative spending. If we don't elect a president who will challenge the excesses of Congress we will wreck our economy. John McCain will heed Will Durant's warning that, "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within."

I trust John McCain because he possesses the rarest virtue in politics upon which all else depends - courage. He has risked his political life during this presidential campaign. In defense of the unpopular surge in Iraq, John McCain said, "I'd rather lose the presidency than lose the war." John McCain may win the presidency precisely because he was willing to let it go in service to his country.

Courage matters most in Washington, especially when dealing with Congress. Just as no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, no presidential agenda - however conservative - survives contact with Congress. John McCain has the courage, grit and conviction to tell Congress no and fight for the reforms we need to secure our future.

Maybe it's John McCain's disregard for his own personal political safety and the opinions of other politicians that led an appropriator to say the thought of McCain presidency sends chills down their spine. Anything that sends a chill down the spines of big spenders in Congress should warm the heart of every American taxpayer.

Other critics have said that John McCain stood in the way of the conservative GOP agenda. But, as conservatives, we have to look at the whole picture. In fact, due to a failure of leadership in Congress, I'm not sure we've had a comprehensive GOP conservative agenda since 1995.

Was the Bridge to Nowhere and an explosion of earmarks part of the GOP conservative agenda? John McCain was one of only 11 Republicans who supported me in my fight to kill the Bridge to Nowhere. Most Republicans were marching off the bridge we were trying to de-fund. What John McCain's record tells me is that we won't have to wait until the last year of his presidency to see him pick a fight with Congress over wasteful Washington spending. John McCain will declare war on pork - the gateway drug to spending addiction in Congress - on day one. There will be no earmarks for teapot museums, First Lady Libraries and taxpayer-funded hippie flashbacks in a McCain administration.

The new prescription drug entitlement our party leadership pushed on us was part of the GOP agenda but it wasn't part of the conservative agenda. John McCain had the foresight to vote against Medicare Part D, the largest entitlement expansion since Lyndon Johnson, when many Republicans were AWOL. John McCain believes Congress should keep the promises it has already made before making new promises it can't keep. He also has the most comprehensive and conservative health care reform plan of any candidate. John McCain will fight the government-run, universally-controlled health plans supported by Clinton and Obama with common sense, free-market principles that work.

Even if John McCain has taken some positions we don't like as conservative, I don't believe you can ignore the fact that he took many bold stands against the Big Government Republican agenda that destroyed our majority. When most Republicans were trying to build a governing majority through pork - and were growing the government faster than the Democrats who came before us - John McCain was pushing the party in the opposite direction on key issues.

Let me touch on some other issues.

On judges, I wouldn't have endorsed John McCain if I wasn't confident he will nominate judges like the ones he has voted to confirm in the Senate: Bork, Thomas, Roberts, Alito, Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown. I also know that he shares my desire to see the Senate approve conservative judges now.

On immigration, John McCain was trying to solve a problem which, incidentally, hasn't improved much. He listened and learned and decided the facts were on our side. He doesn't have a secret plan to enact blanket amnesty as president. And, if he did, he knows I'd kill it.

McCain-Feingold misdiagnosed the real problem as too much money to politicians rather than politicians whose votes are for sale. Even though I disagreed with McCain-Feingold, John McCain's desire to tackle corruption in the congressional neighborhood was correct. The source of Washington's corruption isn't K Street; it's Congress' lack of restraint, and John McCain has taken bold steps to tackle that problem at its source.

Still, I have to say that the concerns I hear about John McCain pale in comparison to the two greatest challenges facing our country - terrorism and a Congress that refuses to correct our unsustainable fiscal course. If we get all of those other issues right but those two issues wrong we won't survive as a nation. John McCain's record on the issues that are paramount to our future is a record conservatives can support. John McCain also has a conservative record on what is arguably the transcendent social issue of our time: the sanctity of life. He has been pro-life for 24 years and has record that matches his principles.

And, on national security, John McCain is by far the most qualified candidate on either side. He will meet not only the security challenges we know about but, more importantly, those we don't know about. Tyrants and terrorists will think twice about challenging the United States with John McCain in the White House.

Is John McCain perfect? No. Will we disagree with him sometimes? Yes. But, elections are about choices. I'd be happy to debate anyone who thinks staying home or supporting Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is a better choice for our future than John McCain.

Now, I'd ask you to welcome the person who is best equipped to talk about his own record and vision for the future, the next President of the United State, John McCain.

I trust Tom Coburn to have the right motivations, and he knows John McCain from working side-by-side with him. I wouldn't expect Coburn to be swayed by personal or social considerations. Still, it's possible Coburn is overlooking some facts that might change his perspective. What do you think?

So far this evening, all but three of my predictions have been borne out: McCain won in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York. Huckabee won in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Romney won in Massachusetts, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah. (Romney appears to have also won non-binding straw polls at caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota.)

McCain appears to have won by a very slim margin in winner-take-all Missouri. With 3355 of 3371 precincts reporting according to the Missouri elections website, McCain has an 8,000-vote lead. In percentages, McCain 32.9, Huckabee 31.6, Romney 29.3. Talk about a situation that cries out for Instant Runoff Voting! Suppose the other 9 candidates had not been on the ballot -- depending on where their voters went, you could have had any possible order of finish among the top three.

McCain also won here in Oklahoma, 36.7% to 33.4% for Huckabee and 24.78% for Romney with 2194 of 2220 precincts reporting. It's close enough that it's possible that Huckabee won one or two of the congressional districts, but we can't tell because, unusually, the Oklahoma State Election Board has only posted statewide totals. Normally they show returns by county, which lets you know which parts of the state have reported and which have yet to come in.

At this point, I'd like to say, "See, I told you so." Huckabee had the best shot of beating McCain here. He had a base from which to start, while Romney had been in single digits here until Thompson left the race. Romney was not going to be able to peel off enthusiastic supporters who had been with Huckabee since before Iowa.

The national conservative commentariat boosted Romney's numbers in the South with the mantra, "A vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain," but only enough to make it close for Huckabee where he won and to cost him Missouri and Oklahoma.

Here's how effective that slogan was: Someone I know who lives in Arkansas and who is a Huckabee fan and supporter wrote to say she'd voted for Romney because "a vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain." Huckabee won Arkansas with over 60% of the vote.

Someone who heard me on the radio Tuesday morning, whom I won't embarrass by naming -- although I reserve the right to publish, with name and e-mail address, any especially funny hate mail you send me -- wrote me this note about my explanation of the state-by-state situation and the importance of tactical voting:

Your logic for voting for Huckebee makes about as much sense as voting for Satin. I have been an avid listener of KFAQ for years now and have always agreed with you but after hearing the crap I heard this morning from both you and Chris Medlock appalled me as a conservative. Yeah, let's give as many delegates to Huckebee, the candidate that has a snow balls chance in hell of winning the nomination!! You should be encouraging voters to vote for the only candidate that has a chance of winning the nomination! Instead you & Chris encourage the voters to vote for the likes of Huckebee and give all the delegates from OK to Huckebee instead of rallying behind a candidate that has a true chance of beating McCain. I am seriously thinking of turning my radio off in the morning to KFAQ and go back to 740 at least while the morning show is on!!!!!! Because after the CRAP I heard this morning it makes me really question listening to KFAQ's morning show!!!

You might want to read the below transcript from Rush Limbaugh - YOU and CHRIS could learn something from HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow!!!!!111!!eleventyone!! I'd vote for satin, but only if silk wasn't also on the ballot.

I wrote back:

In my opinion, Romney has too much ground to make up in order to win in Oklahoma. The latest SurveyUSA poll, taken over the weekend, had McCain at 37, Huckabee at 32, and Romney far back at 23. So Huckabee only needs to make up 5 points to win Oklahoma and deny those delegates to McCain, while Romney would have to make up 14 points. Huckabee has a certain core support in the state which has been fairly constant, and while Romney has gained some ground since Thompson left the race, I don't think he's likely to cut into Huckabee's base enough to overtake McCain. Instead, Romney would just succeed in splitting the conservative vote and letting McCain squeak by with a tiny plurality.

That SurveyUSA poll was almost dead on. Locally-based Sooner Poll, which had McCain at 41 and Huckabee and Romney far back at 19 and 17, needs to recalibrate.

Another oddity about the Oklahoma vote -- John Edwards gets 10%. Dissatisfaction with the field? Are these DINOs who always vote for the GOP candidate in November?

California polls haven't been closed long. Nearly all of the delegates will be allocated based on congressional district results, but so far, McCain is leading in every single district. What's curious is that Giuliani is winning 10 to 15% of the vote in nearly every district. Most likely this is an artifact of early voting. Remember that Giuliani was leading here until he dropped out after Florida. Here's another case where Instant Runoff Voting would have helped; it would have allowed early voters who liked Giuliani to still have a say in the choice between McCain and Romney.

There are a few California districts -- and it's early yet -- where Huckabee may have cost Romney some delegates.

One more thing about Oklahoma: I read on NRO's Corner that the South's support for Huckabee is because of a large number of evangelicals who could never vote for a Mormon. It's worth pointing out that just two years ago, Oklahoma Republicans gave a Mormon the nomination for governor, with a clear majority of the vote in a race against two well-qualified opponents (one an evangelical and one a Catholic). The difference between Ernest Istook and Mitt Romney for Oklahoma conservatives: Istook was a consistent conservative from his days in talk radio to his years in Congress. There were no flip-flops or conveniently-timed conversions.

On the second ballot at the Republican state convention, Mike Huckabee was awarded the 18 West Virginia national convention delegates at stake today.

Here's the first ballot result:

Mitt Romney had 464 votes (41%)
Mike Huckabee had 375 votes (33%)
John McCain had 176 votes (16%)
Ron Paul had 118 votes (10%)

Convention rules allowed only the top three vote getters to move forward, so Paul was eliminated. The second ballot result:

Mitt Romney has 521 votes
Mike Huckabee has 567 votes
John McCain has 12 votes

It's surprising that McCain's supporters defected to other candidates, rather than sticking with their man through a second round. Had no one received a majority on the second ballot, the top two would have gone on to a third round.

So the first item in my rosy scenario has come true. The next waypoint is Georgia, where polls close at 6 p.m. Central, and where the latest poll has Huckabee and McCain tied at 32% each, with Romney close behind at 29%.

The last poll taken in Oklahoma before today's primary was done over the weekend. SurveyUSA interviewed 445 likely Oklahoma Republican primary voters on Feb. 2 and 3, with all surveys completed before the Super Bowl kickoff.

The percentages: McCain 37, Huckabee 32, Romney 23, Paul 3, Other 2, Undecided 2. McCain's support remained level from the previous week's SurveyUSA poll, Huckabee gained 4 points, and Romney gained 4, while Paul lost 3. Huckabee leads McCain by three points among voters under 50 (49% of the overall sample), but trails McCain by seven points among voters over 50. Huckabee's strongest group is voters 35-49 -- he leads McCain by 8 points. McCain does best among voters over 65. Of self-described conservatives (68% of the sample), Huckabee had 37%, McCain 29%, Romney 28%.

What this seems to show is movement toward Huckabee, who is firmly in second place, nine points ahead of Romney, and Huckabee appears to be the only candidate with a chance of overtaking John McCain and winning Oklahoma. As I explained earlier, Oklahoma Republicans who want anyone other than McCain to be our nominee are best served by casting a tactical vote for Huckabee. These new poll numbers confirm that judgment.

Final polls elsewhere show a tightening of the race in the five other southern states. Huckabee leads in Alabama, is tied with McCain in Georgia, and is two points behind McCain in Missouri and Tennessee. Huckabee should have no trouble winning his home state of Arkansas.

In the South at least, a vote for Romney is a vote for McCain to sew up the nomination today. A vote for Huckabee is a vote to keep the door open for anyone but McCain to emerge as the nominee.

SurveyUSA also polled Oklahoma Democrats: Clinton 54, Obama 27, other 15, undecided 3. Hillary Clinton leads in every category. The only place it's close is among 18-34 year olds, where she has only a four-point lead over Barack Obama.

A friend asked me about the candidates for Office 3 on the Tulsa Technology Center board and for Union Public Schools, specifically about their party registration and background. School board races are non-partisan, but party registration is a piece of information that some voters like to have.

You may also want to look over the complete questionnaire responses submitted to the Tulsa World and the League of Women Voters (400 KB PDF).

Bea Cramer, the incumbent, is the only Republican running for the Tulsa Tech seat. Tim Bradley and Mitchell Garrett are Democrats. Garrett, son of Muskogee trial lawyer David Garrett, parachuted into House District 23 to run against State Rep. Sue Tibbs in 2004. During that election campaign Mitchell Garrett was simultaneously registered as a voter in both Tulsa and Muskogee Counties.

The incumbent for Union Public Schools Office 3 filed for re-election, but Jim Williams announced on January 24 that he was withdrawing his candidacy. His name will still appear on the ballot. The only other candidate is Albert Shults, a Republican. The choice for voters in the Union district is to elect Shults or to let the other board members pick a replacement for Williams. If Williams is re-elected, he would presumably resign, with the vacancy to be filled by the board.

In Broken Arrow, both Keven Rondot (the incumbent, appointed to an unexpired term about a year ago) and Shari Wilkins are registered Republicans.

In Glenpool, the incumbent, Michael J. Thompson is a Democrat; Kenneth Ball is a Republican.

In Jenks, Joseph Hidy, the incumbent, and Kanna Adams, are both Republicans.

In Liberty, Richard L. Moore, Jr., the incumbent, is a Republican, and Billie Blackburn is a Democrat.

In Sperry, Tim Teel, the incumbent, and Derrell Morrow are both Republicans.

In Tulsa, Radious Y. Guess and Brian T. Hunt are both Republicans. (No incumbent -- it's an open seat.)

Tsunami Tuesday guide

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I don't do predictions, but I will set out a rosy scenario: If John McCain is to be stopped from all but clinching the nomination, the following is the way the evening would need to unfold.

All times Central. Delegate numbers will differ from what you see elsewhere, because I only include delegates who will be elected or bound by tomorrow's events. In many states with binding primaries, the state's three RNC members are not bound to any candidate. I am relying on the excellent The Green Papers website, along with state election board and state Republican party websites, for information on rules, delegate counts, and poll-closing times.

Going into Tuesday:

The BatesLine Strict-Constructionist Delegate Count has McCain with 86 delegates, Romney with 32, Huckabee with 13, Thompson 3, and Hunter 1. That accounts for primaries in NH, MI, SC, and FL, and the Wyoming county conventions which elected 12 delegates. I don't make any estimates based on the straw polls taken at the Iowa, Nevada, or Maine caucuses; the real decisions about national delegates won't be made until later stages of the process and will be influenced by what happens between now and then.

Sometime during the day:

West Virginia state convention (official website): It's only for 18 delegates, but this could be the most fun event of the entire day. The state party designed a process that got thousands of West Virginia Republicans to register and vote for state delegates online and got the attention of the major candidates. Huckabee, Romney, and Paul are all showing up to speak; former La. Gov. Buddy Roemer will speak on McCain's behalf. Over a thousand delegates have been certified; most were selected earlier this month by Internet voting. The candidates for state delegate identified themselves by their presidential preference. Elected officials and members of county and state executive committees make up the rest of the convention.

If no one has a majority after the first ballot, the top three will go on to the second ballot. If no one gets a majority again, a third ballot between the top two will decide the winner of all 18 delegates. (A later primary will choose 9 more delegates.) As of January 18, before Thompson and Giuliani left the race, 520 were uncommitted, Romney 184, Huckabee 132, Thompson 103, Paul 68, Giuliani 41, McCain 12, Hunter 4. It's wide open, and it may come down to how well the candidates connect with the delegates in their speeches. For that reason, I'll predict that Huckabee will win. Huckabee 18.

6:00 p.m.

Georgia primary: 33 statewide delegates (including 3 RNC members who are bound to the statewide winner), 39 congressional district delegates. Winner-take-all by congressional district and statewide. Huckabee wins statewide, but by a very close margin, taking 9 of 13 CDs, losing 3 CDs to McCain and one to Romney. Huckabee 60, McCain 9, Romney 3.

7:00 p.m.

Alabama primary: 24 statewide delegates, 21 congressional district delegates (3 each for seven districts). Proportional allocation with a 15% threshold. Breaking 50% wins all the delegates. Huckabee wins, but close enough that McCain takes a couple of congressional districts. Romney gets a proportion of the statewide delegates. Huckabee 23, McCain 16, Romney 6.

Connecticut primary: 27 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 27.

Delaware primary: 18 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 18.

Illinois primary: 57 congressional district delegates, with each district having 2, 3, or 4 delegates depending on how strongly they supported Bush in 2004. Ignore the statewide "beauty contest" vote. Voters will vote directly for delegates and alternates; each delegate candidate's presidential preference is listed on the ballot. Effectively this will be winner-take-all by congressional district. McCain wins statewide, but Romney wins several CDs downstate. McCain 33, Romney 24.

Massachusetts primary: 10 statewide delegates, 30 congressional district delegates (3 each for ten districts). Proportional allocation with a 15% threshold. Romney wins. Romney 27, McCain 13.

Missouri primary: 58 delegates, winner-take-all. Huckabee 58.

New Jersey primary: 52 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 52.

Oklahoma primary: 23 statewide delegates, 15 congressional district delegates. Winner-take-all by congressional district and statewide. Huckabee wins statewide, but by a very close margin, winning CDs 1, 2, and 3. CDs 4 and 5 go to McCain. Huckabee 32, McCain 6.

Tennessee primary: 25 statewide delegates, 27 congressional district delegates (3 each for nine districts). Proportional allocation with a 20% threshold. Breaking 66% wins all the delegates. The ballot is daunting (PDF sample here of the ballot Instapundit will see in Knox County) -- you cast your presidential preference, then you vote for 12 statewide delegates and three congressional district delegates. Order of finish among delegates for a certain candidate determines who gets to go to St Paul. For example, if Huckabee gets 55% of the vote in a congressional district, the top two vote-getting Huckabee delegates in that CD are elected to go to the RNC. Huckabee wins, but everybody gets some delegates. Huckabee 27, McCain 16, Romney 9.

7:30 p.m.

Arkansas primary: 19 statewide delegates, 12 congressional district delegates (3 each for four districts). Proportional allocation with a 10% threshold. Breaking 50% wins all the delegates. Huckabee wins and breaks 50% in each of the congressional districts. Huckabee 31.

8:00 p.m.

New York primary: 87 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 87.

9:00 p.m.

Arizona primary: 50 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 50.

Utah primary: 36 delegates, winner-take-all. One of Romney's three home states. Romney 36.

10:00 p.m.

California primary: 11 statewide delegates, 159 congressional district delegates. Winner-take-all by congressional district and statewide. Romney wins, but McCain takes 20 congressional districts, winning heavily Democratic districts that don't contribute as much to the statewide total. Romney 110, McCain 60.

Montana presidential preference caucus: 25 delegates are at stake. Each county will hold a caucus. State, county, and local elected officials, and state, county, and precinct party officials will be the only eligible voters. The precinct party officials were elected at precinct caucuses back in December. Each county caucus will take a presidential preference vote toward the end of their meeting. Montana's delegates will be bound to the candidate with the most votes statewide. Caucus times vary, but all the results ought to be in by 10 p.m. our time. Romney should win this one. Romney 25.

North Dakota presidential preference caucus: 26 delegates are at stake. Polls will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. local time. Results are due in to state HQ by 10 p.m. Central. If someone gets two-thirds of the vote, they get all the delegates. Otherwise, delegates are allocated proportionately with a 15% threshold. No absentee ballots. (Sorry, Julie.) No polling. I'm guessing that Romney will win this one, but the other two will pick up delegates as well. Romney 12, McCain 9, Huckabee 5.

Other events:

Alaska Republican district conventions: Electing delegates to the state convention. No national delegates will be chosen and no straw poll will be taken, as far as I can find.

Colorado Republican precinct caucuses: A straw poll will be taken, but no national delegates will be chosen or allocated. Delegates will be elected to the county assemblies and district conventions, but they aren't likely to be selected based on presidential preference.

Minnesota Republican precinct caucuses: A straw poll will be taken, but no national delegates will be chosen or allocated. Delegates will be elected to the equivalent of county conventions, but they aren't likely to be selected based on presidential preference.

Bottom line:

In this admittedly rosy scenario, which requires anti-McCain forces to coalesce around the strongest alternative in each state, Huckabee would win 7 states, McCain 6, and Romney 5, but McCain would win 396 delegates, Huckabee 254, and Romney 252. McCain is doing best in winner-take-all states; Huckabee and Romney's best states have some degree of proportionality. This would bring the totals up to McCain 482, Romney 284, Huckabee 267.

If instead voters jump on McCain's bandwagon, he could easily win 12 of the 18 contests, and come away with over 600 delegates.

Bill Quick has the compiled the "List of Infamy" -- ten specific problems with John McCain's record, with links to backup material. Quick includes the McCain-Feingold bill against freedom of political speech, the McCain-Kennedy bill in support of open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens, McCain's attack on the veterans who served with John Kerry and exposed inconsistencies and misrepresentations in his account of his war record, his support for constitutional rights for enemy combatants, and his flirtations with leaving the Republican Party and handing control of the U. S. Senate over to left wing extremists.

If you're persuaded that Republicans should make the effort to deny John McCain the nomination, here's how to do it and how you can help.

MORE: Charlie Meadows of Oklahoma Conservative PAC, a Ron Paul supporter, had this say about strategic voting on Tuesday:

Let me say this. If you just can't bring yourself to vote for Ron Paul but you don't want to see John McCain win the delegates from Oklahoma, I would suggest you cast a strategic vote. Mike Huckabee started out with a large polling lead in Oklahoma. In recent weeks, McCain has closed the gap. For whatever reason, Romney just hasn't sparked much interest among Oklahomans.

Therefore, if stopping McCain is your highest priority, you should vote for Huckabee. The natural inclination to stop McCain would be to vote for Romney as the liberal media has succeeded in creating the perception, if not reality, that the race is coming down to two candidates, McCain (their pick) and Romney. However, Romney is too far behind in Oklahoma to overtake McCain, so a vote for Romney helps McCain as the two front runners in Oklahoma are he and Huckabee.

If you want to help Mike Huckabee in Oklahoma and other Southern states where he has the best chance to win and deny those delegates to John McCain, you can sign up as a "Huckabee Ranger" and make phone calls to voters in those key states. (I don't know if Mitt Romney has a similar program. I suspect he can afford paid phone calls to voters.)

Before heading off to the symphony, I was on the air once again with Elvis Polo for the first hour of his 6 to 9 pm Saturday night show on 1170 KFAQ, talking about the presidential race and Tsunami Tuesday, which includes Oklahoma's primary.

Elvis asked me if John McCain will have the nomination sewn up when Tuesday's results are counted. I said that there was still a way to stop his momentum and keep open the possibility of Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, or even -- if no one has a majority of delegates going into the convention -- someone else being the Republican nominee. But it will require some strategic thinking by the Republicans who vote on Tuesday.

It comes down to this: If you don't want McCain to be the nominee, you need to vote for the non-McCain candidate who has the best poll numbers in your state.

The people who are saying a vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain are wrong. That's only true in the states where Huckabee is in third place. In Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee, a vote for Romney would effectively be a vote to hand McCain the nomination on Tuesday.

In many of the states that are voting Tuesday, the poll numbers break down like this:

McCain - 35
2nd place candidate - 25
3rd place candidate - 15
Ron Paul - 5
Voters who can't support McCain but can't figure who to vote for - 20

The tricky thing is that Huckabee is that second place candidate in the Southern states and Romney is that second place candidate in the west and northeast.

Here's the problem: If a majority of voters in that undecided anti-McCain category move toward the 3rd place candidate, McCain wins with 35% of the vote. For example, assume that 20% breaks 11% for the 3rd place candidate and 9% for the 2nd place candidate:

McCain - 35
2nd place candidate - 34
3rd place candidate - 26
Ron Paul - 5

If that sort of thing happens in state after state on Tsunami Tuesday, McCain would manage a near sweep despite the fact that there are two Republican voters who don't want him as president for every one that does. The low winning percentage won't fit into a headline or a soundbite, and the TV networks would oversimplify the situation into a won-lost record. Romney and Huckabee would be practically finished, and McCain would be the nominee presumptive.

If instead, that 20% block of anti-McCain voters vote strategically for the second place candidate -- Huckabee in some states, Romney in others -- McCain would win only a state or two, and the rest would be split between the other two candidates. No one would come out of Tsunami Tuesday an overwhelming lead in the delegate count. The campaign would continue, with the possibility of new candidates entering later primaries and no one having a majority of delegates going into the Republican National Convention.

The most recent Oklahoma poll, done about a week ago by Survey USA, had McCain moving into the lead, Huckabee about where he had been two weeks earlier, and Romney moving up from single digits.

McCain 37
Huckabee 28
Romney 19
Giuliani 6
Paul 6
Other/Undecided 5

A look at the details shows that Romney's support is softest -- 48% say they could change their minds -- with McCain next at 42% and Huckabee at 39%. Huckabee's numbers have been pretty stable, suggesting that his supporters decided sometime ago, while Romney's backers in Oklahoma have only recently and reluctantly made him their choice. It seems possible for Huckabee to catch McCain here; Romney would have a much steeper hill to climb.

Here's the bottom line for Oklahoma voters:

If you're an Oklahoma Republican and want Mike Huckabee to have a chance at the nomination, vote for Huckabee. You won't be accidentally helping McCain.

If you're an Oklahoma Republican and want Mitt Romney to have a chance at the nomination, vote for Huckabee, even if you don't particularly like Huckabee. Huckabee has the best shot at denying McCain the delegates and the win here in Oklahoma and thus at slowing McCain's national momentum, which would give Romney the opportunity to fight on.

If you're an Oklahoma Republican and you don't like anyone left in the race -- this is my category --vote for Huckabee. Denying McCain a win here helps to stop his momentum and leaves the door open for a new candidate to be chosen at the convention.

Now all this second-guessing and predicting what your fellow voters will do would be unnecessary if we had a sensible voting system like Instant Runoff Voting, where you could vote your conscience secure in the knowledge that your vote will not inadvertently help your least preferred candidate. Using proportional delegate allocation, where you don't have to finish first to gain delegates, would be another way to make the delegate allocation more closely reflect the opinions of the voters.

An article by Newsweek science writer Sharon Begley points to a voting methods demonstration on the American Statistical Association website where you can vote by the traditional method (pick your favorite), by the approval method (check all candidates that are acceptable), and by the instant runoff method (rank the candidates in order). The election method used affects the order of finish. Begley writes:

For anyone who believes in democracy, this is a little disturbing. What it means is that "election outcomes can more accurately reflect the choice of an election rule than the voters' wishes," writes mathematician Donald Saari of the University of California, Irvine. One candidate could win with some rules and lose with others. In fact, as mathematicians analyze voting systems, they are turning up other oddities that can yield a "winner" who does not reflect the will of even a plurality, much less a majority. The discoveries are especially relevant this year. "The severity of the problem escalates with the number of candidates," notes Saari, and one thing this primary season has is a lot of still-viable candidates.

One of the most surprising aberrations mathematicians have found comes in a four-way race. There, of course, one candidate wins a plurality and another comes in last. Saari examines what happens if the third-place candidate drops out and, in the next round of voting, people have the same ordered preference as before (A is the first choice of the most, followed by B, then D).

She then presents a four-candidate scenario where one candidate dropping out completely inverts the order of finish using the traditional single-preference, first-past-the-post voting system.

While we can hope that the Republican convention rules committee will pass improvements to this system this fall, it will come too late for this campaign season.

However much they stink, the rules are what they are, and if you're an Oklahoman who doesn't want one of the least conservative Republicans in the Senate to get the nomination, you need to vote for Mike Huckabee on Tuesday.

UPDATE: Numbers USA, the anti-amnesty organization, explains when to vote for Romney and when to vote for Huckabee in order to cast an anti-McCain vote in each of Tuesday's states. The only disagreement with my list is Georgia, where more recent polling shows Huckabee, not Romney, in second place.

"I'll rely on people to judge me by the company that I keep." -- John McCain, January 30, 2008

I'd hope that, whatever one's opinion on how to deal with illegal immigration, all Americans would agree that the goal is that people coming to live in this country would become fully connected with the American language and culture and to think of themselves as Americans first.

Juan Hernandez doesn't agree. He holds dual citizenship in Mexico and the United States -- he was born in Texas -- and he served in the government of Mexican President Vicente Fox as a cabinet official, head of the President's Office for Mexicans Abroad. He is an advocate for a free flow of people across the US-Mexico border. He is an advocate for keeping Mexicans in the United States from "going native," from assimilating. Instead, Hernandez wants Mexican-Americans -- whether new immigrants or in the US for generations as citizens -- to continue to see themselves as Mexicans first and to retain a closer emotional, linguistic, and, most of all, financial bond to the country of their ancestors rather than the country where they have made their home.

John McCain has chosen Dr. Hernandez to be his director of Hispanic outreach.

Here's a montage of Dr. Hernandez's TV appearances which will give you a sense of the man and his views.

An interview of Hernandez by Michelle Malkin was excerpted in the above video. You can see the entire segment on this Hot Air entry. And here's an entry specifically on Hernandez turning a blind eye to identity theft. And here's more about Hernandez from Michelle Malkin's blog.

McCain claims that he learned his lesson after the conservative grassroots rose up last year to defeat his McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill. But the company he keeps with Dr. Juan Hernandez suggests otherwise.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Election 2008 category from February 2008.

Election 2008: January 2008 is the previous archive.

Election 2008: March 2008 is the next archive.

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