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Friday, August 31, 2007

Politics, Betting, and the Union Thereof.

(Don't forget to vote for our meeting date!)

Some of you know that I enjoy following the online "predictive market" Intrade. For those of you unfamiliar, it allows you to bet on politics and current events by way of trading binary options. Yesterday I bought 100 contracts of Huckabee to win the Republican nomination, which cost me $35, and pays out $1000 if he wins the nomination.

It was a move that I've been thinking about for a while, born out of the idea that the Republicans have such a dreadful slate of presidential candidates. Romney? Giuliani? Old Man Thompson? (Old Man pictured with second wife). I can't get it out of my head that Republicans are just dying for a palatable candidate, and Huckabee seems to me to be able to fit that role. Click "There's more..." for the thinking behind it.

I have a hard time imagining Republicans nominating Giuliani or Romney, for the obvious reasons that they're transparently phony and were pro-choice until minutes before they formed their campaigns. McCain was the obvious choice, but we all know how that turned out. So they decided "Hey! What about Fred Thompson? Isn't he available or something? I like the pick-up truck he drives sometimes!" But I don't buy that either, or as Fred might say, "That dog won't hunt." By all accounts, Thompson is lazy and dull, which won't serve him well in a hot race for the nomination.

Huckabee's support has jumped since his second place Iowa straw poll finish. I think that a lot of the "anyone but those other assholes" voters were waiting to see who support would coalesce around. Huckabee went from 1% in Iowa to 14% after the straw poll. He's still trailing "those other assholes," but 14% is a top tier number.

The Republican nomination is a big wildcard to me though, and Huckabee still has an uphill climb. So here is my assesment of the points for and against his getting the nomination (Keep in mind, I win $1000 if he gets the nom.)

Pros: Governer of southern state, genuinlyculturally conservative, personable (although he needs to be careful about trying to be too funny. Anyone see him on Colbert?), enjoys good media relationships, and he has momentum after Iowa.

Cons: Economic populism may not be a winner with the GOP, he raised taxes in AR, he doesn't have the money/name ID/organization of those other assholes, he won't STFU about losing 100 lbs, and his son is kind of a handful.

I don't think it's likely that he gets the nomination, but I think he has more than a 3.5% chance, so I took those 30 to 1 odds.

Matt and Todd at MyDD are talking about it over at their places. What do you guys think? Would Huckabee have a better shot in the general than those other assholes? Or are they all doomed to get crushed by the blue wave in 08? Frankly, I think Romney would be the easiest to beat in the general. That guy beats himself