Fanning the Flames: The Freedom Project Blog


Eternal Search for Hope into Spring

By Shawn Healy
Sen. Barack Obama's convincing sweep of four state caucuses this past weekend clearly places him on the side of momentum, and he is poised to run the table again tomorrow during the Potomac State primary. Sen. Hillary Clinton saw the writing on the wall and fired her campaign manager as she looks to regain her footing for the WI primary on Feb. 19 and the contests in OH and TX (also RI and VT) on Mar. 4. Obama actually has more delegates assigned as a product of ballots cast, but Clinton retains a narrow overall lead on the backs of pledged superdelegates.

According to an internal memo leaked by the Obama campaign, we should expect a continuation of this protracted battle on the Democratic side as they expect neither candidate will capture the requisite number of delegates to clinch the nomination outright after the conclusion of state contests in early June. This sets up the prospect of a) the superdelegates picking the nominee; b) a lawsuit to seat the delegates from MI and FL, which would throw the nomination to Clinton; or c) an old-fashioned floor fight at the Democratic National Convention in late Aug. The reality is that even letter "d," all of the above, is an option, as is "e," none of the above, where one candidate rides the wave of momentum to seal the deal, perhaps by Apr. 22, the day of the PA primary.

The Republican race is easier to decipher, although too early to call just yet for frontrunner Sen. John McCain. Indeed, former Gov. Mike Huckabee has vowed to continue the fight until McCain clinches the nomination outright. Short of a miracle, Huckabee has no chance to claim the mantle as his own, but he could deny McCain the crown. His hopes are buoyed by a blow-out victory in the KS caucuses on Sat., not to mention a narrow win in LA and a disputed defeat in the WA caucuses.

However, look for McCain to clean up tomorrow in the Potomac primary, followed by a decisive win in the Badger State next Tuesday. The Mar. 4 primaries in OH and TX could all-but wrap up the nomination, although the Lone Star State is a place where Huckabee should find more even footing. The former AR governor appears to be a regional candidate, and as I said last Wednesday, he boasts strong appeal in the South and in states with substantial evangelical populations.

In the spirit of the Freedom Museum's ongoing coverage of the 2008 campaign, we are hosting David Boaz tomorrow for a book lecture. He will present the soon-to-be-released title, "The Politics of Freedom: Taking on the Left, the Right, and Threats to Civil Liberties" at 6pm. Unfortunately, if you have yet to RSVP, the event is booked to capacity, but thankfully Five Freedoms Intern Winne Monu will be there to report and provide a full summary of the evening's events on Wednesday morning.


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Managing Director

McCormick Freedom Project

Shawn is responsible for overseeing and managing the operations associated with the McCormick Freedom Project. Additionally, he serves as the in house content expert and voice of museum through public speaking and original scholarship. Before joining the Freedom Project, he taught American Government, Economics, American History, and Chicago History at Community High School in West Chicago, IL and Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin.

Shawn is a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his MA in Political Science. He is a 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, History, and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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About Fanning the Flames and the McCormick Freedom Project

Fanning the Flames is a blog of the McCormick Freedom Project, which was started in 2006 by museum managing director Shawn Healy. The blog highlights the news of the day, in hopes of engaging readers in dialogue about freedom issues. Any views or opinions expressed on this blog represent those of the writers alone and do not represent an official opinion of the McCormick Freedom Project.

Founded in 2005, the McCormick Freedom Project is part of the McCormick Foundation. The Freedom Project’s mission is to enable informed and engaged participation in our democracy by demonstrating the relevance of the First Amendment and the role it plays in the ongoing struggle to define and defend freedom. The museum offers programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public.

First Amendment journalism initiative

The Freedom Project recently launched a new reporting initiative with professional journalists Tim McNulty and Jamie Loo. The goal is to expand and promote the benefits of lifelong civic engagement among citizens of all ages, through original reporting, commentary and news aggregation on First Amendment and freedom issues. Please visit the McCormick Freedom Project's news Web site, The Post-Exchange at

Dave Anderson
Vice President of Civic Programs
McCormick Foundation

Tim McNulty
Senior Journalist
McCormick Freedom Project

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