Watching the four candidates on Florida primary night. To hear the candidates talk, everybody but Barack Obama won. My impressions:
- Mitt is fired up. Romney is almost animated. The man likes to win, and he won in Florida.
- Rick Santorum says Newt’s time is over. And he, Rick, is the true Mitt alternative. Or perhaps the VP.
- Newt wins by coming in second. He says that coming in second, even if he was a distant second, proves it’s a two-man race. Gives a grumpy “victory” speech that ignores Mitt and notes all the things Newt will do on inauguration day. Actually, the best he can hope for is an invite to a minor Mitt ball. If Obama is re-elected, he won’t even get that.
- Ron is Ron. Caucuses are coming. Maybe only 7 percent liked him in Florida, but the brush fires of freedom are burning. And get rid of the Fed.
Of all the speeches, the oddest one was Newt’s. Both Rick and Ron were energized and forward looking. Newt was bellicose and feisty, but didn’t sound like a happy warrior, more like a whiney looser.
So it goes. It’s clearly too early, the results have been too split and the fight isn’t over—but Romney had a good night and clearly has the mo of the moment. Whether he keeps it is an open question in this odd up-and-down election year, but personally, I find myself in a rare moment of agreement with Rick Santorum.
Yeah, I know, it’s dangerous to declare Newt’s campaign to be over. He’s the zombie candidate—when you think he’s dead he’s suddenly pops out and tries to eat your brains.
Despite that, even a cat runs out of lives eventually. And Newt is running out of places to make last stands. Sure, there are 46 states to go, Newt, but unless there is a game-changing event soon, you won’t be in all of them.
Then again, you never know. It’s been a year of sudden ups and downs and quick surprises.