After last night's absolutely pathetic State of the Union Address, even Mitt Romney looks like an articulate visionary. Now that is the sort of magic trick that only Bush could deliver. He's lowered our standards to "I'd like a President who can speak in complete sentences."
So... the big Republican Primary in Florida is today and Guiliani's once promising candidacy is about to burst into flames. That, my fellow New Yorkers, is how you spell "Karma" with a "G."
I'm predicting a narrow victory for Mitt Romney, against the conventional wisdom. I think Republicans in Florida, especially the Bible Belt at the top of the state, just won't go with McCain. It's incredibly close, but I'm guessing the old guard will go with Romney (who LOOKS like Reagan) as opposed to a McCain, the Maverick-in-Label-Only.
We'll see. Most people are predicting McCain. I'm, of course, hoping for a Romney victory because I think he'll be absolutely pummeled in the General Election. Please God, bring us the Mormon so we may sacrifice him at our political altar. (Does that go too far?)
On the other side, Democrats ARE voting in Florida. The state just has no delegates, because it moved up its primary against the wishes of the party. What's interesting is that Clinton is actually campaigning here, claiming that 1) she thinks Florida's voters should be heard and 2) that Obama broke his pledge not to campaign here so it's fair game.
My take: balderdash and bluster. Obama took out an add on CNN (a National Ad) and since there's no national ad buy that excludes only one state, those ads ran in Florida. In fact, they ran all over the country. But he hasn't campaigned in Florida. Neither has Edwards. Blah, blah...that's all inside baseball and Clinton knows it.
In the end, she's counting on a headline that says "Clinton wins in Florida" to re-establish her momentum after both her loss in SC and the big-media moment where Ted Kennedy decided to endorse Obama. Can't say I blame her for pulling out all the stops, although it might just be a needless gesture as she's still leading in national polls and Obama is still, despite his momentum, playing catch-up.
In the end, how the press reports it will make a gigantic difference as always. Look for them to either actively underplay the Democratic results in Florida, as there was not a real campaign for votes there; or to take on the Clinton narrative that she's still the frontrunner. A lot of that will be the result of turnout. If there's a massive Democratic turnout in Florida, and Clinton wins, that's going to be noted. Delegates matter, but so does the story being told going into February 5th.
Right now...the story is on Obama's side. He's got endorsements from Democratic figures of stature, he's got the press calling his victory in South Carolina a "rout," he's got the Clinton machine off it's gears, apologizing for and explaining the behavior of Bill Clinton. He's winning the spin war, and this is her chance to change that tone.
Exciting day all around, for politics junkies.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.