I bet you’d like to know what’s going to happen on March 4, when Texas finally gets to have a say in the presidential race. Beats the heck out of me. Over the past twelve months, I’ve been asserting, with arrogant certainty, that the November combatants would be Clinton and McCain, then Obama and Romney, then Clinton and Giuliani, and then … aw, who can say? This thing has traveled switchbacks more often than any election I’ve lived through. Thankfully, I’m not the only member of the chattering class who’s been routinely wrong—pundits, pollsters, and political consultants have amounted to an axis of feeble—but just as thankfully, my Texas Monthly mates and I have been able to reverse editorial calls made on the basis of fast-changing information.
Case in point: As recently as a few weeks ago, we assumed that Mike Huckabee’s momentum from the Iowa caucuses (not to mention John McCain’s catatonia) was reason enough to make the upstart Baptist preacher with all the Texas connections my interview for this pre-primary issue. I spent an hour on the phone with him, arranged to talk again before we shipped pages to the printer, and set a date and time for him to be photographed near Navasota at the ranch of his celebrity booster, Chuck Norris. Then he lost South Carolina to the suddenly reanimated McCain. (But not before comparing homosexuality to barnyard nooky, arguing for a merge-purge between the Bible and the Constitution, and threatening to shove a flagpole up the bum of anyone who opposed flying the Confederate flag. We may have been right all these years about Arkansas.) Well into our production cycle, we scotched the photo shoot and pulled the interview, and I raced to spend some time instead with McCain’s media adviser, Mark McKinnon, at his Austin office (see Texas Monthly Talks).
McCain’s rebirth, which we could affirm