McCain’s win in Florida undoutbedly will lead to a Super Tuesday sweep in my view. Romney was already polling poorlyÂ in states like California, New York, New Jersey and Georgia and they’re only going to get worse for himÂ now. Ron Paul might take a caucus state or two Feb. 5Â but most Republicans will now want to close ranks behind McCain and end this thing. Romney would have to launch an all out attack on McCain to try and stop him and I just don’t see him doing that. He doesn’t have the stomach for it and he would have toÂ dip into his personal fortune to do so and he won’t do that either. Rich peopleÂ don’t continue to spend money on lost cause (see Steve Forbes), otherwise they wouldn’t be rich. The raceÂ will be officially over Feb. 6.
So why did McCain, supposedly the dead campaigner last summer, suddenly make like Lazarus and win the GOP nomination?
1). He stopped being the front runner and started being the “maverick” again. Instead of pandering to Jerry Falwell and George Bush II,Â he basically hit the road in New Hampshire and does what he does best. He won there and it saved his campaign.
2). He wins across the board. He was evenÂ winning amongÂ anti-war voters in New Hampshire because they interpreted his opposition to the way the war was being fought as opposition to the war itself. He wins among moderate and liberal Republicans, still a good chunk of the GOP electorate (40%Â in Florida) because they like the fact he ticks off conservatives. And while he doesn’t win among conservative voters, he’s done well enough among themÂ to win. I think you have to divide such voters between those who think and vote constantly along ideological lines, who think of the movement (or what’s left of it)Â and listen to talk show hosts and are interested in politics. Those persons are more than likely anti-McCain. The rest are just conservative and Republican by nature and culture and who don’t concern themselves politically. I know a lot people who are like this. So there’s not getting a five-day-a-week bash McCain message from some talk show host they don’t listen to. When it comes time to vote they vote whom they like and this year they like McCain.
3).Â McCain has tapped into the dissatisifaction the rank n’file have towards the party. Huckabee and to a lesser extent Ron Paul has as well, but McCain the “maverick” has been the most effective.Â Â GOP votersÂ don’t like pork barrel spending, he attacks it. GOP voters didn’t like the way the war was going in Iraq, he demands a different strategy and says we have to go all out to win it and they like that. And because he’s opposed to abortion rights, he’s not running against a major shibboleth within the party unlike Guliani. Do you think its any coincidence Guliani’s fall and McCain’s rise coincided with each other?Â Once McCain became a credible candidate again, Guliani took a major nose-dive.
4).Â So why has immigration and his support for amnesty not sunk McCainÂ if most Republican voters hate it and say its a big issue? Even McCain himself has become concerned about border security, which wasn’t true a year ago. But weÂ have to realize that voters’ views towards immigration are based entirely on where they live and what they do for a living. For every Hazelton, PA., you will have persons like the Florida fruit growers I saw on the newsÂ concerned about their crops rotting in the fields because there wasn’t enough slave labor to pick them. Who do you think they voted for yesterday? What about other small businessmen and contractors who depend on such labor too? And do you think Cuban voters in Florida are going to vote for an anti-immigration Republican? I think not. Immigration may very well be a big issue but it doesn’t cut the way people might think it does. That’s why Tom Tancredo dropped out of the race.
5). Perhaps the most important constituency in the GOP these days is not the Christian right, it’s the military-industrial complex. And when I say this, I don’t mean just defense company lobbyists. I include veterans (which there are a lot of in places like New Hampshire, Florida and South Carolina) and their dependents, people who work on military bases, persons on active duty or are in the reserves plus their families. This is a hugeÂ pool of voters.Â McCain’s a military man so who do you think they’re going to vote for? Mitt the coporate exec? Huck the preacher? Ron Paul who wants to reduce the military?
6). The Surge. It froze GOP support for the war and the President and McCain took advantage of this. I was of the opinion GOP support for the war would collapse last fall and Paul would benefit..But that did not happen. Instead, the opposite happened and who better to benefit from it than the man who’s the surge’s biggest propornent? For better or worseÂ this isÂ a Republican war now and they will go down withÂ itÂ if necessary unlike the Democrats who rejected their Frankenstein monster in Vietnam.
7). In 2000 there was a powerful GOP establishment ready to block McCain. That no longer exists and if anything, it’s been discredited. Rick Santorum and Tom DeLay can throw all the brickbats they want at McCain. They no longer hold elective office. Rush can say McCain will destroy the GOP all he wantsÂ but no one is listening anymore.Â The Rush Limbaugh of 1995 or even 2000 might have been able to derail McCain, not the Limbaugh of 2008 who lives in a Palm Bech mansion, smokes fancy cigars and plays a lot golf at posh country clubs, who’s had drug problems, who’s been divorced three times and who, withÂ other talk show hosts, were basically suck-ups and enablersÂ to the GOP establishment in Washington (especially when they were hiding Jack Abramhoff and Mark Foley)Â which McCain has effectively attacked.
8). Voters want authenticity this electionÂ yearÂ who markets himself as being authentic better than anyone else? Â It’s hard to attack McCain on immigration considering the other candidates, even Ron Paul, have shifted and flip-floppedÂ on this issue over the years. Mitt panders and tries to sell himself to whomever is looking, McCain says what he thinks. You and I may not like what he thinks but there it is.