In a year littered with 2-loss teams aspiring to college football's throne, it's only appropriate that the Presidential primary field is filled with flawed pretenders. In an attempt to make this approachable for you blog-reading Neanderthals, we give you The CWATCF Primary Voter's Guide, comparing each wannabe-Reagan to one of this season's college football teams. Go here for links to all of the candidates.
Much like preseason #5 Michigan, John McCain entered the 2007 season with high expectations. As a distinguished four-term senator, veteran, and POW (the man cannot raise his arms above shoulder-level because of torture), McCain initially appeared to be a giant in a field of midgets. McCain had been an early leader in 2000 against George W. Bush, as well, but suffered a bitter -- and decisive -- defeat in the South Carolina primary (someone, presumably Rove, started a whisper campaign claiming that McCain had fathered a black baby ... shockingly, this swayed a number of enlightened South Carolina voters). Michigan's 2006 season ended on a similar note, with a loss to #1 Ohio State (hahahaha ... #1 at the time) knocking them out of a potential National Championship berth. To the delight of Michigan-haters across the nation, the Wolverines followed this up by whining a lot, then bending over for Pete Carroll's USC team in the Rose Bowl.
But hey, 2007 looked bright. Henne and Hart were back, McCain's team was in place. The conventional wisdom was that both parties were experienced, battle hardened, and destined for big things.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand then things went south ... you might remember a certain upset in Week 1, and you probably helped John McCain not raise any campaign money.
Needless to say, nobody handled this particularly well.
Suddenly, the discontent started to fester. Republicans remembered that they hated McCain, a traditional Goldwater Republican (a popular breed in the Southwest, usually with libertarian leanings, especially on social issues). McCain had spent the last three years shamelessly/pathetically pandering to W, Falwell, and other assorted bigots, but it didn't take (Think Lloyd Carr toying with the spread). At the end of the day, the man just doesn't seem hard-line enough on abortion, it's not crystal clear that he finds the homos distasteful ... and dear god, he doesn't hate brown people enough. Like the Michigan fan base, the Republican party had evolved (heh ... it's funny because Republicans don't believe in evolution).
And it seemed that both 'o7 Michigan and McCain would sink into oblivion, good only for a few snickers at OSU keggers or Jonah Goldberg-hosted cocktail parties (note that the respective events would be quite similar in both decorum and collective IQ of the attendees).
But after the initial period of embarrassing floundering, something strange happened: the beast didn't die. I'm sure we all remember looking in the paper in Week 8, seeing a "#15" by Michigan's name, and thinking "Wait -- what the hell?" It's mind-blowing to think about, but after losing to a I-AA team, Michigan had a chance to win the Big Ten and go to a BCS bowl (ed. note: thank God this didn't happen). After we left McCain for dead, the same thing's happening here -- all of a sudden, he's polling second in Iowa, and hanging around within striking distance in a number of early primary states. Could he really pull this off?
Of course, we all know how this ended for Lloyd Carr, with him "retiring" to the great sorrow of at least four Michigan fans. Likewise, McCain's campaign is probably too far behind to catch up, but don't write him off quite yet. A solid second in Iowa (to Huckabee) and New Hampshire (to Romney) might be the launching pad he needs to become a serious contender. Michigan and California will likely decide this thing, and right now they're anybody's game.
Bottom line? Who the hell knows -- this is your dark horse candidate.