Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Money, Love & Headaches

As the Iowa and New Hampshire votes loom over the next six days, Ron Paul has the money -- evidently blowing away the Republican field in fundraising in the last quarter of '07. Of course, if he doesn't translate that into votes, it will only become only a footnote in the '08 primaries (a la Howard Dean in 2003-'04). On the other hand, a third-party run was never an option for Howard Dean. It is for Paul.

And, things are perfectly falling into place for that to happen, because...

John McCain appears to have the love as the only candidate viewed favorably
by a majority of voters .

Simultaneously, he's now surged to
a full-fledged tie in New Hampshire with Mitt Romney and is leading the GOP pack nationally for the first time in more than a year. GOP strategist (and one-time Rudy activist) Patrick Ruffini now predicts a McCain "blow-out" next Tuesday.

This leaves headaches for Mitt Romney -- whose campaign will be effectively dead if he loses both Iowa AND New Hampshire (indeed, a loss in the latter state alone would be fatal) -- Rudy Giuliani and, oddly, Hillary Clinton.

Mike Huckabee is poised to win Iowa -- though his nutty "attack ad/non-attack ad" press conference on New Year's Eve may have been self-inflicted wound that a candidate wants to avoid during the last 48 hours of any campaign. (If Romney ekes out an Iowa win, he can thank both Huckabee's gaffe and Fred Thompson mild resurgence among social conservatives.) And the
latest Zogby tracking poll has Paul ahead of Giuliani! Given early debate exchanges between the two -- and Rudy's demagoguing Paul -- such a result would have to be only too sweet for the wacky libertarian from Texas. Meanwhile, Giuliani's recent comments on Pakistan even received a slap from a usually friendly source.

With strong pro-war candidate John McCain emerging after next Tuesday as the de facto GOP frontrunner, the likelihood increases that Ron Paul launches a third-party run for president. If Mike Bloomberg also throws his hat in, the twin pressures of both an avowed anti-war candidate and a lifestyle billionaire liberal would eat away at so much blue state support that the odds of McCain becoming the next president of the United States are looking a whole lot better than they were three months ago.

So, yeah, Hillary Clinton is popping the Excedrin right about now, too.

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