Thursday, January 24, 2008

Yo, Rudy, What Happened?

According to a poll in the Miami Herald, Rudy Giuliani is “fading” in Florida like a whale carcass that washed up on the beach.

Reinvigorated by early-state victories, John McCain and Mitt Romney are jockeying for first place in the Republican presidential race in Florida, eclipsing a fading Rudy Giuliani in his must-win state, a Miami Herald poll shows.

The statewide survey of 800 likely voters reflected an astonishing turnaround by McCain, who just months ago had to pull his campaign out of Florida when he ran low on money. He’s even beating Giuliani by 10 percentage points in South Florida, home to so many of the former New York City mayor’s constituents.


”He may be running for president, but with these numbers he wouldn’t be elected governor of Florida,” said Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, whose firm conducted the survey with Democratic pollsters Schroth, Eldon & Associates. Alluding to the timeworn song, Conway added: ”If he can’t make it there in Florida, he can’t make it anywhere.”

That has to leave a mark.

But it’s not really surprising. Mr. Giuliani has been coasting on his name and 9/11 for most of the race, but when it came to the real campaigning, the votes haven’t been there, and so far, Fred Thompson has gotten more than he has. And this week Fred Thompson rolled over, pulled the plug on his campaign, and went back to sleep.

If Giuliani does indeed crater in the Florida vote next week, where will that leave him on SuperAmazing Tuesday on February 5th? Simply nowhere, and he can join Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson, and Sam Brownback who are already trying to sell their stories under the heading of The Dream Deferred or something. It also leaves the GOP in the rather uncomfortable position of having two front-runners — McCain and Romney — who are disliked and distrusted by important constituencies in the base of the party, with a third player — Mike Huckabee — who appeals to the hard-core right wing but could not win the general election on a bet.

There will be a lot of postmortems about what happened to the Giuliani campaign, but it will probably come down to the fact that in order to win the nomination of the party, you actually have to get some people to vote for you, and based on the actual tallies from Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, South Carolina, Wyoming, and Nevada, that hasn’t happened.