VICTORY FOR JOHN McCAIN IN FLORIDA
McCain won 36% of the vote in yesterday's Republican primary election in Florida - 5% more than Mitt Romney. Giuliani's Florida strategy failed. He might easily have come fourth if Mike Huckabee had won 20,000 or so more votes.
GIULIANI IS EXPECTED TO DROP OUT AND ENDORSE McCAIN
That's what ABC News is reporting and, if true, it will help McCain carry New York and its huge number of delegates when they vote - next week, on 'Super Duper Tuesday'.
Why did Giuliani fail? Stanley Kurtz is convinced it was because he didn't make nice with soc-cons: "The collapse of Rudy Giuliani’s presidential bid is surely one of the most striking developments of the 2008 campaign. Strategic mistake? I don’t think so. Rudy lost because he dissed social conservatives. In fact, the reason Giuliani missed those early primaries is because he dissed social conservatives." Read Kurtz's full piece.
The Politico thinks Giuliani's demise marks the end of 9/11 politics: "Giuliani's national celebrity was based on his steady, comforting appearance in Americans' living rooms amid the terrorist attacks... Giuliani's failure reflects a broader shift in the American landscape, in which Sept. 11 has so diminished as an emotional touchstone that neither The Gallup Organization nor The Pew Research Center has even polled Americans about the attacks for a half year." The BBC's Justin Webb is far from convinced that the threats have gone away. Mr Webb is right.
EVEN KEY ROMNEY SUPPORTERS ARE CLOSE TO CONCEDING THAT McCAIN IS ON COURSE FOR VICTORY
This is Kathryn Jean Lopez from National Review Online:
"I'll shut up after this post, but Romney has been ON since Michigan. It may prove — it may have been proven tonight — to be too late. But this guy speaking right now, is hitting important issues, making you feel good about America, as you should. It's a rallying speech. Maybe it's the silly flip-flopping thing that has been too hard to shake. Maybe he took too long to rise above it. What if Fred had endorsed? What if Jeb had? Ah well. It may not be over. But it's going to be hard to kill McCain's momentum coming out of tonight and a probable Rudy endorsement. He does have the money and the turnaround skills."
McCAIN: THE IMPERFECT CANDIDATE
Commentators like Gerard Baker have pointed out that many conservatives are unfairly critical of McCain. But there are many responsible conservatives who worry about him, too. One is Ross Douthat. He wrote this last night: "His self-righteousness and stubbornness; his thin grasp of policy detail on a host of issues; his (related) tendency to filter policy debates through a Manichaean worldview, in which politics is the extension of war by other means; and his longstanding tendency to squander his reform-conservative tendencies on precisely the wrong domestic causes (campaign-finance reform, immigration, etc.)."