Florida Chooses Safe and Electable

In a repeat of 2008, Florida is betting on electability.  The only difference is that this time around Mitt Romney is the one who has been deemed “electable”.  After pouring millions of dollars into off the wall, and in some cases outright dishonest, advertising portraying Newt Gingrich as a disgraced philanderer, hated by anyone who worked with him, Mitt got one huge point across.  Newt can’t stand up to a multi-million dollar smear campaign.

The argument for Mitt in Florida seems to be, “if Mitt Romney can do that to Newt, imagine what Obama would do”.  The implication seems to be that Obama has more money and could even be dirtier and more dishonest than Romney was.  That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for Mitt Romney.

Romney made a bit of his own gamble.  He won Florida with a scorched earth campaign that pulled out all the stops.  Frankly, most Floridians have a sour taste in their mouths.  Forgiving Mitt and getting excited for him may end up being a tough pill to swallow for Newt supporters, and Santorum/Paul supporters are pretty well disgusted with both candidates. McCain used some of the same tactics against Romney in 2008 and many Floridians had a hard time getting excited for McCain.

Had Gingrich performed well in the last debate and won Florida, this race would be close to done.  Instead, Romney is now back in front and has a clear path to the Republican nomination.  He is once again the presumed nominee.  At what cost?  That is the question leaving Florida.

In an interesting development, Romney garnered more votes than Newt and Santorum combined.  Just further proof that Florida conservatives surrendered to electability.

My Endorsement

In the interest of full disclosure, today I voted for Newt Gingrich and I am officially endorsing him for President.  Newt has one thing the other candidates lack, bold accomplishable ideas.  Newt’s 15% flat tax plan is the best tax plan of the remaining candidates.  Unlike Paul who talks about how we should leave the Middle East alone, Gingrich actually has a viable American energy plan that would help us avoid the next war in the Middle East.  Newt has a proven track record of being revolutionary and putting better policies above political games.  He leashed Clinton and accomplished welfare reform and balanced budgets.  Newt also has the determination and vision to argue the 14th amendment in the abortion debate to protect the unborn.

I have forgiven Newt for his personal past, as I think all Christians should.  Newt testified against Freddie Mac, against giving them money, and in favor of reforming them.  Mitt Romney has a funny idea of what lobbying is.  I also have no issue supporting a conservative who has made enemies among establishment, middle of the road Republicans.  We used to call moderates RINOs before we started consistently nominating them.

Don’t get me wrong, I will support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.  I’ll even get a yard sign and show up at rallies like I did with McCain.  But Newt is my first choice, and Romney has greatly disappointed me with the way he ran his Florida campaign.  Shame on Mitt Romney for not having enough bold ideas and vision to keep him from having to resort to negative campaigning to get elected.

How Far Will Perry’s Endorsement Go?

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Rick Perry bowed out of the race for the Presidency and endorsed Newt Gingrich. Given how poorly Perry was doing in the polls, his endorsement isn’t worth squat if all it gives Newt is Perry’s voters. What Newt needs and Perry has are money and contacts. With the Florida contest only a short way off, Gingrich needs to hit the airwaves there with ads right now.

We should find out within 24 hours if Perry’s endorsement comes with real campaign support (donors, contacts, etc.) or not. If Newt goes in for a significant media buy in Florida to capture early voters before the weekend, then we know that Perry is fully behind Newt. If not, then Perry’s endorsement may not matter at all. The Texas primary is too far off to matter if Gingrich can’t get money for ads and an organization going on the ground in upcoming States.

Perry may have failed in his run for the nomination, but the reason he was considered a major player was not for his debate skills. Even when he struggled in the debates he was still considered a danger to the other candidates. The reason is simple: money. Perry is an effective fund-raiser and the only one thought capable of challenging the Romney war chest. If that power is fully behind Gingrich, then Romney could be in serious trouble.

Money not only buys ad time, but also the organization necessary to keep Newt from going off the deep end another time. Sometimes the candidate needs to be managed for his own good to protect his campaign image. Newt has benefited from basically running his own show and not getting bogged down in ‘candidate packaging’, but as he becomes the de facto conservative alternative to Romney – he’s going to need to be more careful. Having the money to blanket the airwaves helps with that as it will relieve some of the pressure he’s been under to ‘score a knock-out blow’ against Romney. With money, Newt only needs to be smart, responsible and conservative and he’ll defeat Romney.

The next 24 hours are the tell. If Newt hits the Florida airwaves with a large buy before the weekend, then he’s expecting money from former Perry donors. If he waits until after the SC results, then he’s expecting to have to raise money on his own. It may only be the matter of a day’s difference in buying ad time (before or after SC votes), but that day speaks volumes as to the level of help Perry will actually be.

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