Political Insight | Editorials from the Habledash Team
- Wednesday, 01 February 2012 12:04
Mitt Romney dealt a massive blow to Newt Gingrich yesterday in Florida's primary. The 14-point victory is a big ego boost to the Romney campaign. It also needs to be noted that the victory was not vindication that Romney is a better candidate when it comes to substance on the issues - he's not. The win is proof that although nobody likes negative ads, they are effective, whether they're lies or not. In Florida, Romney spent 94% of his $17 million on negative attack ads on Newt Gingrich to stifle his momentum from the South Carolina victory. Most of the ads were patently false, as we've noted many times. We now know that Romney has the will, be it by attacking his opponents, to do anything to win the nomination. That being said, though, the race is far from over.
What we saw in Florida was detestable. Romney lied through his teeth time and again with no remorse. It says very little of his character. The 72-hour anti-Newt Drudge Report last week helped Mitt the most, as did his debate performances. On a side note, Drudge today is still posting an overwhelmingly high number of anti-Newt articles in regards to the Florida race. He's not even mentioning Romney's "poor" comment this morning, which the Obama campaign has already started to attack. The tsunami of negative ads and lies against Newt, particularly about the ethics charges that was he exonerated from, were too much for him to get out his positive message. Instead, he didn't adjust his strategy and was flat-footed in his response. Make no mistake, Mitt's win is a loss for the GOP.
With Florida over, this leaves us with 95% of the delegates still up for grabs. Those that said it was over back after New Hampshire should shut the hell up, as they're afraid Romney can't keep his cool, even flow self together while he viciously attacks his opponents. As of right now, Newt is the anti-Mitt vote and he has the greatest chance of succeeding. However, Rick Santorum still has an opportunity to gain momentum. He has a lot of support from the Tea Party, primarily because he has a conservative record when it comes to health care, bank bailouts and global warming. That's not the case when it comes to unions, though.
Santorum may have a chance to sneak in and become the anti-Mitt vote, but it won't be easy. He'll need to not focus on social issues, that's for sure. We support Santorum, but he has one big mountain to climb in order to succeed. Newt is far from perfect and has supported some very liberal, big government ideas in the past. Fortunately, he's admitted his wrongs and now supports the conservative position, but it's still a concern. Santorum doesn't have that problem.
If the battle comes down to Newt and Santorum for the anti-Romney vote, it will be a tough call. Gingrich has a proven record that he can piss off everybody in Washington by ushering in some of the biggest changes it had ever seen, which is exactly what's needed now. This is why the GOP establishment hate him and are leading the smear machine. Santorum does not have that experience, but is a tried and true conservative. And if he gets close to Romney, expect massive negative ads to suppress his momentum, a standard by the Romney machine and GOP establishment. How Santorum handles that will reveal how he acts under pressure, which is important.
So, Florida is over and Mitt won handedly. But don't listen to anyone that says this race is over. Splitting the vote by three when going against Romney only helps Romney. Narrow it down to a one on one race and Romney will be in a tough situation to win the nomination, which is what we need to have happen.
Chuck Justice is the editor-in-chief for Habledash.