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The Mccain Comeback Cometh

I know Jason has a piece about McCain in the upcoming issue, so I won't dwell on him too much. But this Times story really does make you think McCain's gotten so many favorable breaks lately that he may be able to pull off a New Hampshire upset. There's the rise of Mike Huckabee, which is making Romney spend much more time and money in Iowa than he anticipated; Rudy's decision to scale back his efforts in New Hampshire; the relative success of the surge in Iraq, which makes McCain look not only principled and courageous, but now prescient as well. There's McCain's various newspaper endorsements--the Manchester Union Leader, The Boston Globe (which, although jeered by conservatives, must carry weight with a certain breed of independent voter).

There's also a factor the Times didn't mention: Hillary's Des Moines Register endorsement. Iowa's obviously still a huge toss-up on the Democratic side, but if the Register endorsement changes the narrative there sufficiently to help Hillary win the state--something that looked pretty unlikely prior to this weekend--New Hampshire independents may decide the Democratic race is over and vote in the GOP primary instead. An Obama or Edwards win in Iowa, on the other hand, makes the Democratic nomination look like a jump ball and probably draws New Hampshire independents to the Democratic race.

(Just to reiterate: I'm not saying Hillary will win Iowa; not even that she's likely to. Just that it now looks much more likely than it did last week....)

 --Noam Scheiber