22 Mar 2008

One Lucky Fellow

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Fred Barnes observes that this year the fates have been playing on John McCain’s team.

John McCain is one lucky fellow. Of course you can make your own luck, as the saying goes. That’s what McCain did with great courage to survive five-and-a-half years at the Hanoi Hilton. And he made his own luck again by advocating a surge of troops in Iraq that later proved to be successful.

In winning the Republican presidential nomination, however, McCain has mostly been just plain lucky, no thanks to his own fortitude or foresight. Conservatives inadvertently aided him by failing to line up behind a single rival. Mike Huckabee ruined Mitt Romney’s strategy by beating him in Iowa. And Rudy Giuliani helped by pulling out of New Hampshire and fading in Florida, allowing McCain to sneak ahead and win primaries in both states.

Now Democrats are boosting McCain’s chances of winning the presidency by prolonging the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination. “They are eating their own,” says Dick Morris, the onetime adviser to the Clintons. The result, for the moment anyway, is that McCain is inching ahead in polls matching him against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

So long as Clinton stays in the race, the bitter divide among Democrats will widen–to McCain’s advantage. And since Clinton still has a chance of winning the nomination, she’s bound to continue her campaign at least through the Pennsylvania primary on April 22 and the Indiana and North Carolina primaries on May 6–and probably until the verdict of Democratic super-delegates becomes clear sometime this summer.

No matter who ultimately wins the nomination, the prospects for electing a Democratic president this fall will have declined. And through no machinations of his own, McCain’s chances of winning will have improved. There’s a name for that happenstance: luck.

Read the whole thing.

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