Political Weather Forecast

In a bid to spice things up while talking about the prospects of the winners and losers now that the 2008 presidential cycle is under way, I thought I would take a different tack and offer posts that frame the issues similar to that which we hear in weather forecasts. Let me know what you think. I’ll start today with forecasting and handicapping the Republican field.

Following the Iowa caucus last week and the New Hampshire primary last night, where do the candidates stand as they leave the Granite State and head to Michigan and points farther south?

The Republican field:

Sen. John McCain: Mostly sunny with a chance of showers developing late. If you believe the stories in the media, the Mac is now back with a vengeance. McCain proved wrong those who wrote off his viability months ago by pulling a stunning upset of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The true test for McCain will occur in the coming days as the senator seeks to replenish his war chest and keep the momentum going into Michigan and South Carolina. While his prospects look good at the moment, the storms that could rain on his parade are the fiscal and social conservatives who question McCain’s credentials.

Romney: Cloudy and overcast, with a chance of clearing developing late. The print and electronic media have been trying to drag down the Romney campaign for months now. From stories about his faith to current questions of whether Mitt can “survive,” the former Massachusetts governor has been on the receiving end of an onslaught of negative coverage. Questions of whether Romney can salvage his campaign are premature — he still has more delegates committed to him after the opening rounds of the 2008 election cycle than any other candidate. I wouldn’t count the former savior of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games out just yet.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: Partly sunny. By all accounts, the Huck has been a phenomenal success: Left for dead just months ago, he has electrified the field by winning the Iowa caucus and storming on to New Hampshire. Huckabee’s victory, however, illuminated the stark reality that the former governor has little infrastructure or money behind him. The question is whether Huckabee will go down as a one-hit wonder or whether he can gain money, strength and support down the stretch. The forecast here is still a bit cloudy.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: Breezy, pleasant, chance of lightning / storms developing late. Invoking Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment not to speak ill of another Republican I nevertheless can’t understand the mayor’s strategy to place all bets on Florida later this month. While the media blathers about the mayor leading in the national polls, the action remains at the state level, with primaries and caucuses. Still, if the former mayor wins Florida and rolls into Super Tuesday with a head of steam on Feb. 5, perhaps his strategy to catch fire late will prove successful.

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