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The Gop Follows Giuliani's Lead

I have my own concerns about anyone who's gone from supporting Bush to supporting Giuliani to supporting Romney. That said, Patrick Ruffini has for a while now offered some of the sharpest analysis of the Republican race that I've seen anywhere. Today, for instance he notes:

The conservative establishment has taken a lot for granted since late December. They watched McCain win New Hampshire, and waited for South Carolina. They watched McCain win South Carolina, and waited for Florida. They then watched McCain win Florida, and switched into panic mode. In effect, they followed in the electoral footsteps of Rudy Giuliani’s wait-and-hope strategy.

For a long time, I was like most conservatives. I didn’t think John McCain could win. As soon as that assessment changed mid- to late-December, my blogging honed in on McCain. At the time, most of the ’sphere remained obsessed with taking out the niche candidacy of Mike Huckabee.... Six weeks later, here we are, with the hated Mike Huckabee with the same shot he had months ago (little to none), but fighting a desperate rearguard action against McCain with less than a week to execute. Sorry folks, but it’s probably too little too late.

If you wanted Romney to be the nominee, you needed to be attacking McCain early and not in the usual ways. You needed to allow for six weeks for a narrative to develop. Huckabee posed a short-term tactical threat to Romney in Iowa; though he hurt Romney, he had no chance of winning the nomination. McCain posed a strategic threat starting in New Hampshire, as evidenced by the floodgates that were opened by that first win. He didn’t hurt Romney so much as he cleared the field of acceptable alternatives for the less partisan rank-and-file.

Read the rest here.

--Christopher Orr