paid tribute to two fallen Democrats, and we’ve seen one moreleave the political landscape since. Soon they’ll have a Republican to keepthem company in the political afterlife. Here’s our concession-rankings as Nevadansand South Carolina’sRepublicans go to the polls Saturday:
Dead on arrival
Fred Thompson –After a disastrous campaign, it will be sad to see him go. Thompson is like thesleepy uncle at Thanksgiving who doesn’t say much, but it doesn’t matterbecause everybody likes talking about his personality quirks anyway. Thompsonis an unwavering fourth-placer in South Carolina, and anything but a close second or a winthere means he’s done. Fred, I channel Sarah McLaughlin’s classic when I say, I will remember you— Doobe dah dum dum.
John Edwards – He’s gearing up for another third-place finish in Nevada, astate where his pro-union rhetoric could have done him some good if he had moremomentum coming out of the early primary states. Instead, Obama has the unionmomentum and Clintonleads in the polls. But Edwards’denial will not waver. There’s an embarrassment waiting in South Carolina—and it’sat the polls, not the mills.
Ron Paul – He’s campaigned hard in Nevada,where his campaign thinks his libertarian message might finally resonate withvoters for a strong third-place finish, with support in the mid-teens. But thelonger this race draws on and the more often Paul finishes with 8-9 percent ofsupport, the more likely he’ll stay for the long haul and hope the other candidates’withdrawals will somehow send him support. A fine idea in principle—he’s gotthe money—but none of the other Republicans’ message mesh with his, so it’sunlikely GOP voters will jump on the bandwagon.
Dennis Kucinich – Since our last death watch he’sasked for a recount in New Hampshire , was beaten by anameless, faceless aggregation of candidates in Michigan , filed a lawsuitthat endedup in the Nevada supreme court . Yet, the peace warrior soldiers on.
Mike Gravel – Mike, we miss the days of Rock .
Duncan Hunter – Somehow, there’s always at least onemore piece of Hunter news for every death watch.
John McCain and Mike Huckabee – Conventional wisdom says both of thesecandidates could be wounded by a poor showing. But they pull their support fromsuch different bases that a vote against one isn’t necessarily a vote for theother. That’s why even when one of these guys falls, theother is likely to pick him up . It’s like a GOP buddy cop movie, without thehomoerotic tension.
Not going anywhere
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – At this point, it seems likely thatClinton and Obama are in the race past Feb. 5, when most votes will havevoted. With Edwards sticking around, neither candidate will probably be able tograb the overwhelming majority of delegates that will force the other out.
Rudy Giuliani – The question for Rudy: Has the press become bored by his Florida and Feb. 5theatrics? Or will they flock to the mayor once they’re in the same state ashim again? We think the latter, but it won’t mean much if Florida residents don’t reward Giuliani forhis loyalty and non-stop campaigning in the state.
Mitt Romney – A win in Nevada would makehim the Delegate King going into Florida.But kings risk uprisings unless they hammer down on their rivals, somethingRomney (and every other former-frontrunner in the party) hasn’t figured out howto do yet.
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