While the Barack Obama coronation parade marches on, it's worth taking a breather from the Obama maniacs, devotees, and apologists to ponder what happens if he comes in second tonight. Sure, it may not happen, but what if it did?
- Obama is only sort of screwed. The culinary union in Nevada will probably still endorse him tomorrow, and his colleagues in the Senate will probably still come out publicly in support. Plus, black voters in South Carolina will probably still vote, and probably vote for Obama . Note the number of times I had to use probably . All of a sudden, the falling dominoes that once seemed like a sure thing aren't nearly as wobbly.
- Clinton is still sort of screwed. Clinton is still going to have a hard time competing in Nevada and South Carolina, which means the glow from her New Hampshire win may wear off by Feb. 5 (just like the glow from a New Hampshire loss may evaporate). And now there are rumors that she's strapped for cash (which we find hard to believe). It gets easier, but it's not a done deal.
- Mitt Romney and John Edwards are definitely screwed. Romney has been grafting a bastardized, Republicanized version of Obama's change message on to his platform since Iowa. John Edwards is convinced that every vote for Obama is a vote for change, which is a vote for Edwards. He thinks this will somehow magically trickle down and help him once Clinton is out of the race.
- Crying will be the new nuclear option. If Hillary wins, then the press will need to attribute the shocking outcome to anything concrete they can get their hands on. They'll turn to 2008's water works . "The Diner Sob" will become legendary.
- The press will have a meltdown. Chris Matthews will have to find a way to one-up his grandiose claims of what would happen if Obama won Iowa. Plus, he'll have to start being even more "obsessed" with Hillary. NBC News reporter Lee Cowan will have to find a way to stay objective, even though it's hard . Conservative writers (i.e. Andrew Sullivan , David Brooks , and the New York Sun 's editorial page ) will have to retreat back into their hyperpartisan corner.
Now, with rumors of record turnout and ballot shortages (which suggests independents are voting for a Democrat), this is all very unlikely. But, as Obama likes to remind us, so was a black guy named Barack winning Iowa.
We also have a breakdown of
what happens if Hillary wins
. Yes, there's a distinction.