January 29, 2008

IMAGINE HOW WELL HE'D HAVE DONE...:

McCain Defeats Romney in Florida Vote (MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM and KIRK SEMPLE, 1/29/08, NY Times)

Senator John McCain won a closely contested Florida primary on Tuesday night, capturing the biggest delegate prize of the primary season and adding a crucial jolt of momentum to his campaign as the nominating fight expands into a national race next Tuesday.

...if Republicans didn't hate him, CFR, immigration, Mel Martinez, the NY Times....


MORE:
If you heard the Senator's victory speech, it sure sounds like Rudy and Huck will be dropping out and endorsing him this week.

And, to answer a question from earlier, 20% of GOP voters said Charlie Crist's endorsement was "very important" to them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 29, 2008 9:58 PM
Comments

One thing that's obvious from tonight's results: The Florida GOP is a superior political machine. Jeb left it in excellent hands.

Posted by: Brad S at January 29, 2008 10:17 PM

If McCain is the candidate, I'll vote for a 3rd party candidate.

Posted by: Iggy Dalrymple at January 29, 2008 10:26 PM

As if the Republican Party was ever going to nominate anyone other than McCain. The defining feature of the Party, and conservatives, is the respect for tradition and history.

Posted by: sam at January 29, 2008 10:30 PM

Congrats to McCain. He has yet to break 40% or win the conservatives (lost the conservatives again by 10pts in FL to Romney) but it appears that the nomination is his. Despite your mocking tone OJ conservatives still aren't comfortable with McCain. And if he begins to move left for the general it will get worse. It will take a big anti-Hillary vote to put him over - against Obama he is in trouble.

Rudy will bail. Huck will stay in a bit longer and continue his role as Romney spoiler and angling for the McCain VP slot. Romney, unless he does surprisingly well next Tuesday, will probably then drop out for the good of the party.

And then we can sit back and watch McCain self-destruct over the summer and get pounded by Hillary/Obama and the MSM.

Posted by: AWW at January 29, 2008 10:33 PM

Commenters,
Thanx for reminding me why the GOP continues to be known as "the stupid party".
Like Guiliani/Romney/Huckabeen could ever be elected President?
I was/am a Fred Fan, but the MSM pretty much killed that opportunity.
In agreement with oj, we're a really minority, McCain's immigration views are what's put him over the top for me, I'll even forgive CFR.
That said, I've voted for President since 1964, but, vote or not vote, this election, it all depends on who John selects as VP.

Posted by: Mike at January 29, 2008 11:05 PM

On the contrary, McCain has an opportunity to do very well in November. He has to mend fences with some conservatives, and he has to start directing his bile towards Democrats (and the media), but in a divided field, he has become the prime candidate. If Romney were a strong conservative, he would have already vanquished McCain, but he isn't. The rest all had problems of one sort or another. And I suspect the results show that immigration 'reform' is more of a bogeyman than a real defining issue, no matter what happens on talk radio.

McCain can blow it all, of course. Any candidate faces that possibility, with an intemperate remark (macaca, anyone?, or Tom Dewey's rude joke about shooting the train engineer), a sudden health issue, or the wrong tack (Al Gore in 2000). But the biggest danger for McCain now is to assume he has a base. He has until Labor Day to build one.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 29, 2008 11:06 PM

Commenters,
Thanx for reminding me why the GOP continues to be known as "the stupid party".
Like Guiliani/Romney/Huckabeen could ever be elected President?
I was/am a Fred Fan, but the MSM pretty much killed that opportunity.
In agreement with oj, we're really a minority, McCain's immigration views are what's put him over the top for me, I'll even forgive CFR.
That said, I've voted for President since 1964, but, vote or not vote, this election, it all depends on who John selects as VP.

Posted by: Mike at January 29, 2008 11:11 PM

Jim - He could do well in November but things need to change. He has directed his bile much more at fellow GOPers than Dems over the past 7 years - can't see that changing. Note his going ballistic on Romney over Iraq when Dems have been saying much worse over the past 5 years without a peep from John. He won't go afer the MSM because he knows they have built him up with moderates and independents and he can't risk that.

it appears that McCain will get the nomination due to a perfect storm of events (i.e. Huckabee derailed Romney, Fred never got going. Rudy blew it by skipping the early states, NH favored McCain due to independents which created the MSM buzz for him, etc) that will not be repeatable in the general when he is facing Hillary/Obama and the MSM. And given his temperment I'm not counting on a good VP choice.

Posted by: AWW at January 29, 2008 11:20 PM

Hard to believe we got to this point by random selection. It's as if Fred and Rudy ... maybe even the Huckster ... have been executing a multi-state game plan to block the Moneyed Mittens Machine.

It's certainly playing out that way as Johnny Mac trots towards the end zone.

Posted by: ghostcat at January 29, 2008 11:40 PM

Ghostcat - it certainly looks that way. Huck treats McCain with kid gloves even after Huck wins Iowa. Fred emerges enough to help split the vote in SC to help McCain. Rudy abandons the moderate voters to McCain until he is too little too late.

If so bravo to them for orchestrating this. But shame on them if it leads to a GOP loss in the fall with Bob Dole II heading the ticket.

Posted by: AWW at January 29, 2008 11:57 PM

Johnny Mac is way more marketable than Bob, bless him, Dole. Way more telegenic, especially.

And remember, we Independents constitute roughly 1/3 of the electorate.

Posted by: ghostcat at January 30, 2008 12:09 AM

Did Bob Dole ever break 40% in pre-election polls? McCain already has outperformed that standard.

If "mainstream conservatives"--Rush, Hannity, National Review--couldn't play kingmaker in the Republican primary, why should anyone think they'll have appreciable impact on the general?

Posted by: AC at January 30, 2008 12:17 AM

conservatives don't have to be happy, they need to think of more than their own hurt feelings. If they can't they aren't conservative. Obsession with self is the disease of the Left.

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2008 12:22 AM

Storm? He was always next in line. It's a hierarchical party.

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2008 12:32 AM

Although in my opinion McCain is the next to the worst of a bad lot, I still won’t have any problem voting for him in November. Why sit it out or vote for some third party nitwit, when a vote for Maverick is the only realistic means to cast a vote against Hillary/Obama? Someday I’d like to see the election rules changed to allow negative ballots. (Your vote subtracts from the total of whomever you select. Besides boosting turnout, this minor reform should help cut down a bit on “winners” boasting about their “mandates”.)

Posted by: sog at January 30, 2008 12:37 AM

I sure hope all this sackcloth and ashes on the Internet isn't systematic of what will happen in November. I certainly consider McCain a far-from-ideal candidate, particularly due to his past role in CFR, but these folks who say they will sit out the election unless Romney/Mitt/Anybody but McCain wins the nomination need to buck up and stop whining to the rest of us.

Assuming the worst regarding the Democratic race, it is imperative to keep Hillary out of the Oval Office. Got that? I-M-P-E-R-A-T-I-V-E. Triple-word score.

Everyone in the GOP needs to keep their eyes on the ball.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 30, 2008 1:02 AM

The interesting thing about McCain's V-P selection is whether he picks a consequential running mate (a la Cheney or Gore) or a placeholder. Bush chose Cheney partially to cement things with conservatives, and partially because he wanted strength and gravity. Will McCain think it necessary to do the same, or will he pick a puffball (he wouldn't choose little Lindsey, would he?).

At his age, he needs someone who can do the job, and perhaps someone groundbreaking. Too bad Ken Blackwell lost. Too bad Michael Steele wasn't governer. What about J.C. Watts?

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 30, 2008 1:24 AM

If JC Watts was picked, it would seem far too much of a selection based on race, like Keyes being selected to run against Obama in IL. Powell has more stature but that would annoy conservatives even more.

Also I really can't believe anyone would vote for a third-party candidate over the the GOP one. That's the thinking that gave the US eight years of a Clinton last time.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at January 30, 2008 6:30 AM

The "I won't vote for McCain" mantra is probably overdone and will subside. But that is what you get with someone who has gone against his party consistently and in a very public way several times over the past 8 years. Even Bill Bennett, a staunch McCain supporter, notes that he has a lot of work to do to patch things up with the GOP party. I hope he does but as noted above my fear is that, thinking he has the nomination won, will start moving to the center/left and not make any outreach to the GOP.

Posted by: AWW at January 30, 2008 7:01 AM

Matt,

I wouldn't take a lot of the Internet conservative downmouth talk seriously. Those folks (Michelle Malkin, Rush, Hannity) have certain business plans to execute, and a McCain winning would interfere with those plans.

They want Hillary to win so they can tee off on her the next four years. There. I said it.

Posted by: Brad S at January 30, 2008 7:58 AM

Bob Dole nearly beat a popular sitting president at a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity. He'd win this year against Hillary or Obama as he'd have won in '88. His turn just came at a bad time for a challenger.

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2008 8:24 AM

How can anyone take Internet conservative talk seriously when they've demonstrated so conclusively over the last 8 years that they don't get Republicans?

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2008 8:25 AM

The third party candidate would be Michael Bloomberg, which would at least make clear what it is that the lunatic Right objects to: the GOP's social conservatism.

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2008 8:27 AM

Watts has no executive experience, which would be a major McCain weakness were he not going to face another Senator. He needs a governor or a big time businessman.

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2008 8:32 AM

1996 Election results Clinton 49%, 379 Electoral, Dole 40%, 159 Electoral. Perot 8%. Hardly almost beating a sitting president.

conservative Internet/Talk radio is probably more sound than fury at this point. But the fact remains that had McCain not spent the last 7 years ticking off GOP/conservatives he would haven't had to break a sweat to get the nomination.

VP choice will be important given his age. Southern governor makes the most sense (Crist?) but again, given his maverick persona, look for a surprising (and dissapointing) pick.

Posted by: AWW at January 30, 2008 8:55 AM

McCain has his problems, to be sure. OJ blithely ignores all the sniping at Republicans, all the hypocrisy (which wouldn't be a big issue if he didn't claim to be an angel), and his dalliances with the Bush-haters.

My state doesn't have an early primary, so I go with the flow. I will vote McCain in November. But I supported Rudy, despite his 'social' views. When he says he would appoint conservative judges, I believe him. With McCain, we just don't know. No matter what he says about judges, I doubt if he can be trusted. It is far more likely, given his record, that he will 'triangulate' to get a judge through the Senate with 95 votes rather than appointing a Scalia or Roberts, which would mean a fight and confirmation with perhaps 55-60 votes.

Of course, if McCain goes gorilla on the Dems and the media later this year, the GOP will rise up and cheer.

McCain is a hero, but he is also a loose cannon (with a huge chip on his shoulder). Not great for a prospective President.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 30, 2008 9:20 AM

"Watts has no executive experience, which would be a major McCain weakness were he not going to face another Senator. He needs a governor or a big time businessman"

A guy who's won an election in a state more liberal than Arizona would be nice too.

Think McCain & Romney could stand each other well enough? And would Romney be willing to settle for the "bucket of warm spit"?

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at January 30, 2008 9:27 AM

OJ - it is hard to take internet conservative talk seriously when they don't understand the political party system in the US, let alone the Republican Party. They rail on and on about how the Republicans aren't respecting them and when you ask if they are a member of the state and county party, if they attend county party meetings and make themselves available to candidates, if they got to Lincoln and Eisenhower Day Dinners the answer is always "no".

How the devil they think they are going to have any influence in the nominating process if they aren't part of the process and can get their views in early is beyond me, simply too arrogant for consideration.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 30, 2008 9:53 AM

I doubt any of those Perot votes would have gone to Clinton.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at January 30, 2008 10:08 AM

Exactly. Why would Republicans respect them?

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2008 1:01 PM

Romney made himself unpalatable with his nativist pose.

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2008 1:02 PM

Ignores? As I've said, those are positives for him.

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2008 1:04 PM
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