If you haven’t heard by now here is the bad news. McCain won Florida tonight.
I now see no other scenario where Mitt takes it from him. He will win all the lefty states on the 5th, it sounds like Huckabee will stay in for some freakin reason which will prevent a Mitt vs. John slugfest.
And that will be it.
Maybe I’m being pessimistic but I don’t see it shaking out any other way. In November our most left leaning, liberal Republican will take on a even more left leaning liberal Hillary or Obama.
And I will have to vote for McCain.
Hillary or Obama cannot be allowed to have the keys to this country. While its no certainty McCain will nominate a conservative judge to SCOTUS, it is a absolute certainty that Hillary/Obama won’t. I believe McCain will prosecute the war well, instead of running like cowards as Hillary/Obama would.
So for those two reasons, and only those two, I will vote for McCain in November. I will be sick to my stomach doing it but you deal with the cards dealt you.
Lastly, what the hell kind of strategy did Rudy try to pull. That has to be the worst ever.
Here are a few select quotes from The Corner I posted to our Live Chat tonight that may interest some.
Looks like it’s over. The Panhandlers are giving McCain bigger margins of victory.
This is a tough night for the Romney campaign. Fred’s withdrawal should have benefited them more than McCain. If Huck stays in, there’s no prospect of southern victories for Mitt on Super Tuesday. And, if Huck and/or Rudy pull out, their votes on balance are likely to break for McCain.
Rudy’s bizarrely unnecessary suicide strategy will be put out of its misery tonight. The national frontrunner’s sole consolation from his kamikaze kandidacy will be what looks like (at the moment) a second-place finish in Miami. Good to know pulling out of IA, NH, MI, NV and SC to devote all your resources to Florida wasn’t entirely wasted.
Following up on this speculation by Bill Bennett, Time’s Mark Halperin reports: Giuliani expected to endorse McCain, as early as Wednesday — in Los Angeles or Simi Valley.
Huckabee comes in Fourth. He won’t leave. As I and some others said almost from the start, he is vying to be Veep and will continue to try to hold down Romney’s numbers in future primaries. Romney is running against McCain-Huckabee, which will be difficult for him.
Looking at the exits, it seems clear to me that if John McCain edges Mitt Romney tonight, it will be because of the effect of Mike Huckabee splitting the base conservative vote with Romney. You can see it on the abortion questions, the church-going questions, and others. If Huck wasn’t in the race, or was closer to Ron Paul in support, Romney’s total would tick up several points.
The old Rudy Giuliani scenario was to count on multiple GOP candidates splitting the conservative vote and giving him time to gather momentum, most likely with a win in Florida. It turns out that this was a reasonable scenario, just not for Rudy. It would further make sense if, as some are reporting, the mayor will be endorsing the senator soon.
If McCain wins tonight, Mitt can hang in as the Anyone-But-Mac guy. But it would seem clear that, for a significant number of GOP voters, McCain’s “narrative” outpunches his record on amnesty and everything else. If you can’t get out the truth about him in the early single-state primaries, you aren’t going to be able to do it on Super-Duper Tuesday.
The only reason to stay in would be if McCain does something to self-destruct. He tends to get a bit careless, as in 2000, when he attacked “the religious right”. If he were to do something similar on Pre-Super-Duper Monday, Mitt might have a shot at the south. But, absent that, I think we’d be looking at a run of respectable second-place finishes. I think McCain is a weak frontrunner, but a weak frontrunner with high name recognition versus a weak challenger with less name recognition can do well enough to win the nomination.
AP and Fox News call Florida for McCain.
A close second place isn’t any reason for Mitt Romney to hang his head in shame over.
But here’s where it really hurts. We’ve had three major McCain-Romney showdowns – New Hampshire, Michigan, and now Florida. McCain won in New Hampshire, but hey, he won there in 2000, it was home turf for him. Romney won Michigan, but hey, it was a state where his dad is fondly remembered. Now, on pretty much neutral turf, with a diverse set of key demographics, with a lot of voters, a lot of population centers, a lot of driving issues… McCain comes out on top.
And Romney had an 8-to-1 advantage in television advertising.
If the story of Giuliani is endorsing McCain is true, you figure New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut slip into the McCain pile next Tuesday.
Romney’s chances aren’t dead, but his path ahead is rocky and difficult.
With Rudy endorsing McCain, how likely is it that the ticket will be McCain/Rudy now?