The McCain Defeat ScenarioNBC News Political Director Chuck Todd has hit the nail on the head when he says that "civil war" awaits the loser of the 2008 Presidential Election. On the Republican side, Todd hypothesizes who will fight for control of the GOP should John McCain come up on the short end:
Expect the loudest critics to be movement conservatives.
They'll claim that McCain was doomed from the start because he failed to win the hearts and minds of conservatives during his primary run.
And because conservatives were letdown by primary results, they never came around for him in the general election.
These folks will make their point by claiming the follwing: McCain won the Republican nomination without the significant support of any movement or social conservatives.
Think about his primary wins which set the stage for wrapping up the nomination.
They occurred in New Hampshire (where he was buoyed by an influx of independents), South Carolina (where social conservatives split their support three ways between, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney) and Florida (where moderate Gov. Charlie Crist threw his considerable political muscle behind turning out casual — translation: moderate — Republicans).
He didn't win a single important primary where he proved he could win over social conservatives.
John McCain's biggest difficulty is that he does not unite the conservative movement behind him, but instead causes conservatives to mistrust or have an outright dislike of the Republican nominee. McCain's choice of a running mate could help him win, only because many conservatives believe that whoever McCain's Vice President happens to be could be the next Commander-in-Chief.
If Mike Huckabee is on the ticket with McCain and the ticket goes down to defeat, Rockefeller Republicans will attempt to blame Huckabee's presence on the ticket for the loss. The reality will likely be more unease with McCain than Huckabee among the party base, and one would hope that a McCain defeat would teach the national GOP that they should never again nominate anyone but a bona fide conservative. Much will depend on who John McCain's running mate happens to be. If the man chosen really is Mike Huckabee, than Huckabee people will likely be wondering how a McCain loss would impact Huckabee's 2012 chances. One thing a McCain loss would likely do is solidify conservative control of the Republican Party for 2012
(Tomorrow: An Obama defeat scenario.)