National Journal reports that Newt Gingrich leads 41-20 among Florida tea party voters. Among those who do not support the tea party, Romney trounces 47-24. I know that anything could happen in the next couple of days, but with Romney's fantastic debate performance last night, and with all of the early voting he'd locked up back when he was inevitable, this should be an easy win for him in Florida.
Now, I'm an original Gingrich critic -- I have often joked about how bad so many of his ideas are. I also struggle with Romney and everything you need to know about why was said -- by him, no less -- in one sentence last night. I was hoping against hope that somehow we could get to a brokered convention. And yes, I realize that it was always an almost impossible dream.
But I am interested and possibly worried in how Romney is winning this nomination. And it's not even Romney so much as those around him. The establishment really did flip out over the possibility of Gingrich winning the nomination and winning the presidency. I was at one of those D.C. cocktail parties on Wednesday night (an awesome bash with people from all over town) and people really were just openly mocking the idea of Gingrich. I'm fine with that but wondering why people aren't more critical of Romney.
Even little things. Today we learn that Jeb Bush has told National Review that it's "ridiculous" for Gingrich to point out that Romney's Florida operation includes folks who worked for Charlie Crist. But did Jeb Bush think it was "ridiculous" for Romney to criticize Jon Huntsman for working for Obama? Why not? More importantly, what in the world is ridiculous about pointing something like that out?
Now, Romney has a wonderful operation, an airtight campaign with the discipline of Obama's 2008 campaign. He is to be commended for this. But I wonder if the establishment are thinking about how they're going after those portions of the party that aren't enthused by Romneycare and Obamacare. What will the downticket effects be? Am I worried over nothing? Will opposition to Obama simply carry the day?
Mitt adviser on why some downmarket Rs can't warm to Mitt: "They like preachers"
Ah yes, we cling to our God and our guns, basically.
I'm elated that Mitt Romney is learning how to debate more effectively. He had a great first half of the debate last night. But I'm wondering how we downmarket types will view this over the long run. In other words, does it help Romney or hurt Romney that he was most passionate and articulate and effective when debating the conservatives' pick but stammering through debates otherwise?
I'm really just thinking this through -- which means I should probably think some more before posting on this. But what do you think the long-term effects of a Romney nomination victory are? Is there something he could do to reach out more to conservatives and independents who don't love the establishment? Do you see those downmarket activists who like their preachers coming out and helping him and other establishment favorites on the road to November?