At 8:23 p.m. ET, with 63 percent of precincts reporting, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney dealt a powerful counterpunch to former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, 47.1 percent to 31.5 percent in the Florida Republican presidential primary. Politico called Florida, “five states in one,” and a “political behemoth.” Certainly it is, and certainly it was, knocking Gingrich down to size and giving the GOP establishment its first good news since New Hampshire. S-A-L-U-T-E, Old Gringo!
Gingrich is a bully, and Romney — true to form — is a tad robotic. It’s what made him so successful in the corporate arena. His personality is set to accomplishing tasks, point by point. Fortunately, he hired good people, who told him that his task in Florida was to go toe-to-toe with Gingrich. He must have taken them for their word because the bloodsport of this week’s Florida Primary made South Carolina look like a game of powder-puff football, and that’s sayin’ something! Throughout the campaign, the former speaker was being, as ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser likes to say, “chesty.” It was as if he’d moved the ample girth around his waist a little higher, puffing up like a bird in mating season. This classic bully behavior was easily solved by Mitt’s handlers, and once Willard got aggressive with Newt, Gingrich backed down, cowered, griped and slunk off to blame others for his failures.
Newt’s schoolyard bully routine worked in South Carolina because so many politicos make that behavior standard operating procedure. If you’d listen to the liberal-leaning MSNBC, the Palmetto State could even be viewed as having a perpetually immature political culture. If you were to listen to the more Right Wing-Oriented FOX News, Florida, on the other hand, has pretty much developed into the epitome of the GOP establishment, which is why former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani camped out there in 2008, in the hopes he could save his campaign. The Sunshine State was the perfect place for Mittens to bounce back, and only contained toil and strife for Newt.
As for the Li’l Duce, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, he’s done. Or let’s hope so. There’s a story about President Lyndon Johnson calling up Ala. Gov. George Wallace to the White House to discuss implementing civil rights legislation. To get Wallace on his side, Johnson asked him how he wanted to be remembered — as a man who built, and who cared for those who needed it, or as a man who hated. Santorum will go down as the latter, and that’s why he’s a distant third. Few people want to vote for hate or anger. They want hope, promise, and a better tomorrow. As for me, I just think he’s starting to look like a WHINEY ASS!
Where do we go from here? It’ll be a slug-fest into April, but with a big state behind him and the momentum, Romney has yet again claimed the title of front-runner for the Republican nomination. Now it’s your turn. Who’s your money on at this point?
by J.L. Mann Cromer, Jr., who served as the only true independent member of the South Carolina General Assembly from 1990-1998. Currently, he is a general practice attorney in Columbia, S.C., concentrating in probate and estate planning, criminal defense and personal injury law.