John McCain’s win tonight in South Carolina makes him the day’s only clear winner.
Consider – the Clinton/Obama muckfest threatens to alienate and dishearten the Democratic party in ways that could make it almost as depressed as the Republican party. Between them which constituency aren’t they ticking off? Perhaps only Democratic bass fishermen and there aren’t that many of those.
The Romney win in Nevada was nice but hardly a momentum builder after New Hampshire. It isn’t entirely clear if he will beat Fred Thompson in South Carolina… and Thompson is probably dropping out of the race.
Huckabee has done a masterful job of going from compassionate conservative to heartless and soulless conservative since Iowa. The winsome man who said he didn’t want to go negative in Iowa because it was wrong became Pat Buchanan part deux saying illegal immigrants should all be shipped home and the Confederate flag really isn’t such a bad thing after all. Mike – it is time for a spiritual retreat.
But McCain won. Eight years after getting smacked around he won South Carolina. And if the exit polls are to be believed, lots of different groups like him – evangelicals like him, independents like him, veterans like him.
To say he is the front runner, however, is a bit of stretch right now. Romney’s got the money. Giuliani’s strategy of going for the bigger states – the more moderate states – is yet to be tested. Things don’t look very good for him right now but in this year who knows. McCain may well win but look for it to get a LOT uglier before anyone is named the nominee of either party.