by Rod D. Martin
January 30, 2008
In this vein, here’s the view from the extremely pro-Giuliani FrontPageMagazine, which is to say, David Horowitz:
But as the mayor’s poll numbers cratered in the days ahead of yesterday’s primary, it became clear that the numbers would not add up. In desperation, Giuliani turned to the trusted rule of politics: when all else fails, pander.
It was not a pretty sight. There was little, in the days before the primary, that Giuliani did not promise Floridians. Massive funding for the NASA space program? It would be “a priority for a Giuliani administration from day one,” Giuliani pledged. A “national catastrophe fund” that would require the whole country to shoulder the higher insurance premiums of Florida residents? Sign the mayor up. Where previously he stressed the necessity of immigrants learning English, even patronizing a Philadelphia cheesesteak stand whose owner famously urged customers to order in English, Giuliani now released a Spanish-language ad to appeal to Florida’s large Hispanic immigrant community. For admirers of Giuliani’s fierce independence and empiricism, it was dismaying to see his campaign reduced to cheap calculation.
Worse, from a political standpoint, was that none of this helped Giuliani’s campaign. Though his third-place finish in Florida was his best showing to date, exit polls make clear that Giuliani was never a serious contender, finishing 16 percentage points and more than 300,000 votes behind second place Mitt Romney. Indeed, Giuliani barely held off Mike Huckabee, beating the former Arkansas governor by a single percentage point — a major embarrassment for the Giuliani campaign considering how little time and money Huckabee invested in the state.
There is little sunshine ahead after the Sunshine State. McCain has been leading Giuliani in New York. Reports are already circulating that today Giuliani will endorse McCain in California. After months of hard-fought campaigning, Giuliani’s long-shot bid for the GOP nomination can only be described, as an unflattering book about the mayor had it, as a “grand illusion.”
I repeat: this is from the pro-Giuliani side. I seem to remember someone saying these things about a year ago.
But never mind that. The bottom line remains that, Ed Rollins (and Rudy Giuliani) notwithstanding, the Reagan coalition is very much alive: social, fiscal and defense conservatives — the three-legged stool — are all essential. Mike Huckabee, perhaps the most brilliant retail politician of our time save only Bill Clinton, is reeling now in no small measure because of the identity politics which cast off two legs of the stool. Giuliani was dead before he began — early national polls notwithstanding — because he cast off just one leg: the social conservatives who love Huckabee but, who for the most part last night, actually voted for Mitt Romney.
This is an overwhelmingly important lesson for Mssrs. Romney and McCain. All of their problems notwithstanding, either could be successful in November. But neither will have a prayer going forward if they can’t do that simple Reagan math: one, two, three.
The same goes for the entire Republican Party.