Last night Mitt Romney won in the Republican Florida primary with 46 percent of the vote. Florida was the first “big” state to have a primary, and the Romney campaign is arguing that this victory shows their guy can win big.
Newt Gingrich came in second place with 33 percent of the vote. Rick Santorum came in third place with 13 percent and Ron Paul came in last with seven percent.
Republicans must now reconcile to the fact that Mitt Romney will, barring some act of God, be the Republican nominee against President Obama.
At NRO, Hugh Hewitt makes the case that will echo throughout the country:
Bottom line in many GOP minds tonight: The Republicans simply cannot win back the White House without Florida reverting red. It is hard to imagine either Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum carrying the state in the fall should lightning strike down the road.
Romney supporters will continue to make the case of electability. And, why not? Experts will endlessly debate why Gingrich was not able to translate his South Carolina victory to Florida, but it seems obvious to me that he lacks the temperament to be president.
Temperament can seem like a red herring. Gingrich, the historian, would argument, and often does, that desperate times call for desperate measures. Lee turned to Grant. Britain turned to Winston Churchill in World War Two and Margaret Thatcher in the trying 70s. America turned to Reagan after the Carter years. The problem is that Gingrich isn’t Grant, Churchill, Thatcher, Reagan or any of the other historical parallels that a clever historian can pull out. But, temperament does matter in the case of Gingrich. Let’s turn to his strongest selling point: the debates. Gingrich’s shouting only appeals to a small segment of conservative voters. Does anyone honestly believe that soccer moms in Ohio are going to flock to Gingrich publicly berating a moderator this September?
I agreed that the media was out of line to air the story about his ex-wife 48 hours before the South Carolina primary, yet the case that Gingrich’s angry persona will go over well with Obama’s typically cool demeanor. I took a customer service class recently, and the instructor pointed out that one of the worst things you can do when talking to someone is to put yourself too deep into an angry person’s problems. It’s good to acknowledge a problem, show empathy and own it. Constantly apologising or becoming emotionally involved will only make you look weaker in the eyes of a person your speaking to.
In politics you must have a similar attitude. a candidate will only get so far by showing rage and shouting people down. How far would Reagan have gotten with his, “There you go again” line to Carter if he’d shouted?
Romney has many flaws, but I don’t see him scaring away independents. The big question, as the tile of this post indicates, will America pick the guy who looks like he fired you?