On Pins and Needles in Florida

The race remains excruciatingly close in Florida, and the InTrade numbers provide no insight. Romney and McCain keep trading the lead, although McCain is up more often than not. Still, when it’s this close, I doubt a 53/47 InTrade split has much predictive value. The investors, it seems, are looking for a winner, and they can’t decided on anything except that Giuliani ain’t it. (He’s at 3.o.)

Nobody knows anything. And I do mean nobody

Polls provide little or no insight. McCain is up in the RCP average by half a point, yet the outlier polls that show Romney significantly ahead aren’t included. I take some comfort in the fact that there are no outlier polls that I know of showing McCain with a surprisingly big lead. The usual polling suspects – Rasmussen, Zogby, et al – significantly underestimated Romney’s strength in Michigan and New Hampshire, although they may have overestimated it in Iowa. That could be the case here, too. Then again, maybe not. 
Nobody knows anything. 
Talked to a political insider who was actually in Washington for the State of the Union. He’s pessimistic, thinking that the Iraq kerfuffle hurt Romney more than McCain. When I cited article after article pointing out exactly the opposite was true, he perked up. “That’s the reaction, huh?” He was far more confident after talking to me. And I don’t know anything. 
He doesn’t have any idea what’s going to happen today. 
I wonder if the people of Florida realize that what they do today will determine the course of the Republican Party for decades to come. If McCain pulls it out, then the Republicans will no longer be the intellectual home of the conservative movement.  McCain will go down to ignominious defeat against a candidate, who, unlike McCain, will be more interested in battling Republicans than Democrats. 
The thing that sticks in my craw is the reprehensible justification for a McCain vote that maintains that McCain is “the only Republican who can win in November.”  This is asinine for two reasons:
1. It’s not true, and
2. Winning with McCain is worse than losing. 
After the roller coaster ride that is this nominating process, who in their right mind thinks that a poll taken in January has any predictive value for November? Two months ago, Rudy Giuliani was unbeatable. Now it looks like he will have fewer delegates at the Republican Convention than Ron Paul, if he has any delegates at all. You really think polls showing McCain beating Hillary by a point or two matter at all? 
And say he does win. You then have a president who is far more interested in what the New York Times thinks of him than the Republican base, which he hates with a vitriolic passion more intense than anything the Clintons could muster. Imagine how the NYT editorial page will praise him when he nominates a David Souter lookalike to replace Justice Stevens to “reach consensus” and “maintain the ideological balance of the Supreme Court.” Consider how CNN will wax rhapsodic as McCain  jacks up taxes on “the rich” in the name of “equality.” Tremble in fear as Al Gore soils himself in delight over McCain’s trillion-dollar global warming debacle that will bankrupt this country and solve nothing. 
In what sense, then, is a McCain victory a victory for the GOP, who will be stuck running him for reelection in 2012 whether they like it or not? The GOP that can support a John McCain is not a GOP in which I can rightfully belong. The GOP might be able to win if it nominates George Clooney, too. It’s a bad scene when your candidates win and your ideas lose. 
It’s all up to you, Florida. What are you going to do about it?
Nobody. Knows. Anything. 
Romney Up By 7?
Mitt handily winning the first Florida exit polls

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