My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Florida Post-Mortem 

I hate to say "I told you so," but . . .

Me: There's a very large military population in Florida, . . . I'm imagining that that particular dynamic favors either Rudy--who had a huge cache of goodwill early on and who campaigned hard in Florida all along-- or it favors McCain, whose record of personal heroism is naturally endearing to the military.

Exit polling: Fourth, McCain won a decisive victory on the question of who is most qualified to be commander-in-chief, beating Romney by 18 points. He beat Giuliani by 30 points, which is unbelievable considering Rudy's "Test. Ready. Now." slogan. Relatedly, he beat Romney among military vets by 7 points.

Yeah, it's not exactly perfect evidence, but I've been wrong about so many things so far this year, I'll take whatever small victories I can get.

Um, kinda like Romney.

Here's the thing: the same exit polling has McCain beating Romney on the economy, and that's Romney's strong suit. That leaves precious little room for Romney to move forward a line of attack.

Likewise, I think the margin of victory makes it really tough for Romney to claim a moral victory here. I had it pegged to about 2 points--5 points is a pretty big margin. In a campaign in which Romney outspent McCain 8 to 1, there's no real explanation for the loss.

Except that, for whatever reason, Romney is just not breaking through to the voters. As much as I like Romney, and as much as I think the Republicans would be a lot better off if they picked the smartest kid in the class, I need to remember that the rest of the class didn't particularly LIKE the smartest kid in the class. Especially when that kid came across as an insufferable suck-up.

So, given the lack of vigorous campaigning on anybody else's part, the campaign has been reduced to the guy nobody really likes because he's screwed us before, and the guy who nobody likes because he's all too happy to screw whoever he needs to to get ahead (metaphorically speaking, of course).

Unfortunately for Mitt, he really IS a nice guy--I just don't think he knows how to deal with the unwarranted dislike. Again, like the kid in the front of the class.

So Florida has established John McCain as the front-runner for the GOP nomination, and given the way the RCP polling averages look right now, I'd say Super Tuesday may just cinch the deal for him.

Which probably leaves me a lot of free time in the Fall. I didn't work for Bob Dole in '96, I don't really see me working for Bob Dole 2.0.

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