Winning dirty in Florida and the fight goes onFebruary 1, 2012 12:20 PM
In politics, when the going gets rough, the tough get dirty and divisive. Even though voters say they don't like to see it, when a campaign is desperate to have a victory, going negative really works.
Florida was so nasty, we can't even call what they were throwing mud. It was fecal.
And now that it's over, it takes a fine acting job (and some nerve) to show your pearly whites through the crusted residue, and declare how it all hasn't diminished one's stature and claim to the White House, but has only prepared one for the big fight.
Makes you wonder what Romney would throw at Obama?
Ah, but a victory speech lets you reset, clean up, and move on.
Romney didn't mention Gingrich in his opening remarks and acknowledged this morning that the Speaker didn't call him last night. But then again, Gingrich didn't call him after Iowa or New Hampshire either. "I guess Speaker Gingrich doesn't have our phone number," Romney quipped on NBC. But maybe Gingrich was still cleaning up after being doused in doo by the Mitter.
No matter, Romney's focus in his speech was all Obama and those in the "faculty lounge."
I guess that means the Romney administration will be full of all those top University of Phoenix grads.
Romney's speech was barely eloquent, but then his mode of victory hardly inspires poetry. The speech did seem to have a mixed message. Yes, he'll repeal Obamacare (or the parts that aren't too much like Romneycare). He'll also not just slow government spending, he'll cut it. But can you really cut the government and balance the budget without raising taxes, and do all that without hurting ordinary people already without a safety net? Can you have such a lean America and still "insist on a military so powerful that no one would even think of challenging it"?
Victory speeches are always short of details, but we needed something major to elevate Romney's status.
Didn't hear it.
Can you really be taken seriously about "saving the soul of America," after the kind of Florida campaign he waged?
Gingrich, for his part, was happy to be equally delusional, acting as if he had just won in South Carolina ten days prior.
He skipped over the last ten days and mentioned the 1994 Contract with America. (Get the preposition right. It wasn't "on" America, though it may have felt that way.) He said he'd have a working presidency from day one and take care of business by executive order.
But I knew he lost it when he explained how he could even think about Nevada next, let alone his inauguration day.
He would move on with "People Power."
"People Power will defeat money power in the next six months," said Gingrich in his speech.
People to Newt: You are no Cory Aquino.
But there's no stopping Gingrich. The big finish of his speech was so damn dramatic, you'd think he was one of the "Three Musketeers."
Said the speaker: "I pledge to you my life, my fortune, my sacred honor."
Or what's left of it.
Whatever Romney's dishing, Gingrich apparently likes it.
The Latinos apparently didn't care for Gingrich much, giving Romney some exit poll props. Latinos were in excess of 54 percent for Romney, just 28 percent for Gingrich. There was a similar polarization for married women, where 51 percent went for Romney and just 28 percent for Gingrich.
The pace of diversity should pick up now as the campaigns move west. Remember a real Pac Man, boxer Manny Pacquiao, was used by Harry Reid to save his political carcass last time out. The Asian American voter does make a difference in Nevada.
But it's also the home state of Gingrich's personal Pac Man, billionaire Sheldon Adelson.
If you liked Florida's nastiness, one can presume whatever happened in Florida will not stay in Florida.