What would surprise you most on Saturday?

I’m doing a number of interviews these days. I was interviewed by Canadian public radio yesterday, and taped a segment for Jeff Greenfield’s show on PBS (to air Friday). Then I had a couple of beers last night with E.J. Dionne. This morning, before I left the house, I spoke with Tom Finneran (former speaker of the Massachusetts House) on his Boston radio show.

When I got in, I was interviewed by email, which is a twist. Karin Henriksson of the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet asked me two questions:

– how has the dynamics in the state changed compared to four years ago (I was here then, too)?
– what would surprise you the most on Saturday night after the votes are counted?

Here’s how I answered:

Question 1: This is the complicated one. After 2008, the GOP in South Carolina — and elsewhere as well, but I know SC best — was traumatized. Sen. Jim DeMint and others on the right said the party had lost the White House because, in nominating McCain, it had failed to be right-wing enough. This was the start of DeMint’s rise as a national power on the far right of the party. Then, in 2010, Nikki Haley — a small-time back-bencher — rode a populist, Tea Party, Sarah Palin-flavored tsunami right over more establishment Republicans to become governor. Ever since then, observers — and the GOP itself — have been left to wonder what it means to be Republican in this state. As 2011 arrived, many of the Republicans who usually backed the winner in SC lined up behind Jon Huntsman, while others went to Rick Perry. Almost none of them backed Romney. And throughout the last few months, we saw the GOP electorate bounce from Perry to Cain to Gingrich, and then, reluctantly, start to settle for Romney.

So… while the electorate that will vote Saturday is different from four years ago, it is expected to do what it usually does: Back the closest thing to an Establishment candidate, the candidate whose turn it is.

Question 2: What would surprise me most? A win by Rick Perry. Which is ironic, since several months ago he looked like the perfect candidate for South Carolina, like he was assembled according to a South Carolina recipe. But now he’s farther from the nomination than anyone still in it.

So what do y’all think? What would surprise you the most?

8 thoughts on “What would surprise you most on Saturday?

  1. `Kathryn Fenner

    A win by Herman Cain, who is the person Stephen Colbert wants you to vote for since you can’t actually vote for Colbert (no write-ins and he didn’t make the ballot).

    Reply
  2. bud

    Obviously a victory by anyone other than Romney would be a resounding surprise. That would probably be the biggest all-time failure of the polls in American political history.

    Reply
  3. benton williamson

    As you speak to those out of state journalists here for the primary, can you please speak out for all of us here who were very embarrassed for our State when in the debate in Myrtle Beach there were resounding cheers, etc for Newt’s announcement that President Obama had added more people to food stamp list. The seeming disdain for those forced by events beyond their control (and largely by Republican policies) during the time of this great recession to resort to public assistance was unkind, heartless and down right wrong. Will not even get into the “janitorial jobs for juveniles” issue that elicited equally embarrassing responses from those so gathered.

    When will this end? As I have said before, next time SC secedes, the rest of the country may just let us go.

    If this is gathering in Myrtle Beach is representative of the group of South Carolinians who smuggly claim to “nominate presidents”, then I am glad for our country they did not elect their president, and hope they will have no role in the election of our next one.

    As for a suprise on Saturday, can we call for a boycott by all concerned moderate citizens in SC of the primary?

    But there will be no surprises as Romney the establishment/big money candidate will win; as has been the case in recent SC primaries.

    Reply
  4. Steven Davis

    What would surprise me? If the Romney retards would lose my home phone number. Three more robocalls between 8:00 and 5:00. Do all Romney supporters suffer from ADD or short-term memory loss? All they’re doing is turning me into a Ron Paul supporter.

    Reply
  5. Mike

    Actually, I am delighted that you have been contacted by these journalists. Your are giving the best representation of our we feel in SC. Thank you

    Reply

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