"The opera ain't over 'til the fat lady sings," is a phrase coined by San Antonio sports reporter Dan Cook. He was talking about an NBA playoff series between San Antonio and Washington in the 1970s. But he could have been talking about Campaign 2008.
Republicans could hear her getting ready to sing Super Tuesday night, standing just off stage, perhaps, practicing a scale or two. John McCain isn't the nominee, but he's way ahead of Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, who surged surprisingly back to life with support from evangelical Christians in Southern states. He won five, including Georgia, a biggie. Nobody thinks he's going to win (nobody I've talked with anyway), but lots of people were wondering out loud if McCain should choose him as his running mate. Evangelicals have never had one of their own on the ticket; it might energize them.
I don't know where Mitt Romney goes from here--down and out, quite possibly. McCain won the big states--California, New York, and so on. If momentum means anything, and it often does in politics, he's well on his way. Romney may simply have taken too many positions on too many issues to be credible by the time voters went to the polls.
The Democrats? That's a real race. Proportional representation, of course, makes it harder to roll up landslide majorities. So Clinton won California, but Obama will get delegates there, and she'll get some in states he carried, like Missouri. They're fairly close in delegate count and can look forward to a Louisiana primary and Nebraska caucus this weekend; Maryland, Virginia and D.C. primaries, next Tuesday; and two big states--Texas and Ohio, March 4th. If the fat lady hasn't found her voice by then, we might be headed for something we haven't had in years--a contested, multi-ballot convention. I went to my first convention in 1960 and I've never seen one.
Now that would be really something. Delegates caucusing in this corner and that; pundits pondering. And what about Michigan and Florida, the two states the party punished by saying they would get no delegates because they scheduled their primaries early, in defiance of party rules? Would they show up? Could they play a role?
There are enough plots and subplots here for several operas. I can't wait.