Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Florida reax: The race is over, right?

Let's begin with the reasons it's not over:

After yesterday's Florida primary, only 5 percent of the 2,288 national convention delegates will have been awarded.

Also, each time Mitt Romney thrusts his chest out as the front-runner, a lot of his party starts to look to see what's left over his shoulder.

Also, the more conservative candidates - Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul - combined for 52 percent of the vote in Florida yesterday. If one (or two) dropped out ... OK, who are we kidding?

Mitt Romney has $20 million in campaign cash. He has the state-by-state organization. He's found his voice and his fire, thanks to the South Carolina primary. He has a cement-the-nomination month ahead that includes Nevada (neighbor to Utah) and Maine (neighbor to Massachusetts).

And also: He is the candidate with the best blend of conservatism and moderate pragmatism to give Republicans the White House.


It's not over, says the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson.

The right still resists Romney, says the Post's E.J. Dionne.

Romney still has issues, says The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes. (Including this: No big vision to frame his campaign.)

The fat lady hasn't sung, says RedState's Eric Erickson.

Maybe it's Santorum's turn, says Stephen Stromberg.

What's going on here? A few things. Some pundits, like the conservative Erickson, have never liked the idea of the insufficiently conservative Romney. Others, who like a good race to cover, tend to be among the last to declare that race no longer good.

Plus, once Gingrich's candidacy finally expires, that leaves the cool and measured Romney vs. the cool and measured incumbent, President Barack Obama. Frankly, we're going to miss the fundamentally fiery Newt. So there might be a bit of wishful thinking out there this morning. Because, yes, it's pretty much over.

Peter St. Onge