Watching the ebb and flow of the race for the republican nomination is rather like watching the tide come in and go out at Mont Saint-Michel. It happens fast and utterly changes the landscape.
Iowa thrust Rick Santorum into the picture as some sort of dark horse darling who might give the big names a run. He suddenly seemed a viable alternative to Romney's suspected liberalism and Gingrich's stench ridden past. That lasted until New Hampshire where Romney ran away from the field and was virtually declared the presumptive nominee. Then came South Carolina and the national media went all abuzz about a Gingrich campaign that appeared to be gathering the steam and power of a run away train. Now Florida is over and according to wonks everywhere Romney is back in command.
It is hard to tell whether the press is just run amok fickle, or is so in love with telling everyone who will be the eventual winner that they simply keep babbling nonsense and hope people won't remember what they said a week before. Because of this age of instant information and partisan op-ed broadcasting it is probably a combination of both. You get the impression everyone on the net and more than a few on Fox and MSNBC got their degrees from the University of Central Northeastern Yakistan's, National Enquirer School of Journalism. When this election season is over one thinks the anchors and writers will, thankfully, return to important things like, ancient aliens and the Mayan calender.
To belabor the obvious. Romney won in his back yard and now in Florida. He was edged out in Iowa. Newt Gingrich won in a state whose main claim to fame is that it is the psycho ward that started the civil war. Doesn't it look a bit obvious to anyone out there that these guys are simply winning where their base constituencies are in the majority?
The latest cold numbers are that Mitt won Florida with 46% to Newt's 32%. However, the demographics look doggedly familiar. Gingrich carried those who considered themselves "very conservative" and the evangelical Christians. Think South Carolina. He got waxed by those who consider themselves moderates and not surprisingly among married women. Think New Hampshire and people who look at his ex-wives and say to themselves, "what an absolute slime." The only real news coming out of this is that Romney won 53% of the Hispanic vote. He also won three of every five republicans who said that a candidate's character or true allegiance to conservative issues didn't matter, that beating Barak Obama was the top priority. That is the half a loaf crowd, desperate now that the campaigning has turned dark and ugly. The same ones who, while not completely comfortable with Romney, see Gingrich getting whacked during a general election in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey and Indiana.
To put this all in perspective it takes 1143 delegates to win the nomination. A total of 110 are now in someones pocket. Romney has 70 of them which means he is still well over 90% short. This thing, much to the delight of Sarah Palin and the Obama people, still has a long way to go. As much as everyone wants to anoint a winner right now, fulfilling that McWhopper urge that infests the entire culture, we're just going to have keep waiting until the burger is fried.