Here's what blows my mind.
In a multi-ballot election, you can't possibly know who's going to win. Even if you grant a few hard. core. partisans that endorsed candidates for the RNC race, the truth is you can't possibly know who these people are going to go for. Which is why, when I look at Chris Cillizza's blog, The Fix, I can't help but roll my eyes. Really, Chris? You're making bets on this?
The logic is also faulty. No, sorry. It's wacky. Read this:
Dawson is, without question, the candidate with the momentum in the field. All sides acknowledge that Dawson -- once left for dead after revelations that he had been a member of a whites-only country club -- is moving up the ranks quickly thanks in large part to the consolidation of the south behind his candidacy. Dawson allies cast the country club incident as a strength for Dawson, evidence that he can take a hard punch and get up off of the mat. Dawson detractors insist that if the party elects him today, the country club association will dominate news headlines and put the GOP in a very uncomfortable position. Either way, Dawson is now a force to be reckoned with in the race.
Really? The pro-Dawson GOP committeemen think of the racist flap as a possible plus because it means he can "take a hard punch"? OF COURSE THE PRO-DAWSON PEOPLE ARE SAYING IT'S A POSSIBLE PLUS. Isn't it the rule that the chairman should never be the issue? And isn't electing Dawson guaranteeing us that Dawson will be the issue? Who do these "It's an asset!" people win elections for? Are they allowed to speak in their own states? Outside of an IHOP, I mean?
[Blackwell's] movement has slowed considerably, however, as Blackwell has struggled to grow his support beyond the strongest social conservatives on the committee.
Wait. The guy who gets love from the Club for Growth only gets support from the strongest social conservatives? (Also, that Southern consolidation that Dawson's enjoying? Blackwell has Texas and Louisiana wrapped up and a vote from Tennessee. And Maryland's in the south -- Steele country.)
Anuzis is probably the most charismatic member of the race (with the possible exception of Steele) and his personal magnetism has made him a popular figure among committee members. Of late, however, doubts have crept into the minds of some RNC voters about whether Anuzis is more a political operative than a party leader.
Cillizza's man-crush on Anuzis and Steele aside, all of the candidates are charismatic. Really. Blackwell has Facebook stalked me, and Saul and I once quipped about Chip's totally awesome holiday CD idea. But really, when I've gotten a chance to talk to a candidate, it's clear these people are all professionals. Saying that there's a person wearing the sandwichboard of charisma in this race is sort of like looking for a nurse in a hospital.
Steele is currently regarded as the strongest alternative to Duncan and probably must finish no lower than second on the first ballot (and subsequent ballots) to maintain momentum. But, do lingering questions surrounding his conservative credentials and the fact that he is not currently a committee member complicate his path to 85 votes?
Wha? Who is Cillizza talking to that convinces him that he knows, he truly knows, that Steele is the "strongest alternative to Duncan"?
I can understand talking about who you think ought to win based on what the party needs. But the fact that there are reporters working for mainstream outlets who think that Republican political operatives (not even politicians! These people are the cynical of the cynical!) are being entirely candid with them is, well, cute?
Anyone who thinks that he knows who's winning this race either has a DeLorean in his garage, or he's getting smooth treatment from an operative. I'm looking at the vote totals out there, and I'm scratching my head how these people are so confident. It's a secret ballot. It's a multiple ballot. Political operatives lie for a living.
So trust no one. Write your instinct, but then say that's your instinct -- don't report it like it's a fact.