Florida GOP Running on Empty
It was as if the candidates ran out of Raw Meat to throw to the Lions. Apparently on the ride south to Florida, they realized it was time to spin to the middle. With the states large Latino, Elderly and Independent contingent, the rhetoric was exceedingly tame.
Indeed the candidates appeared exhausted from their Grand Finale in South Carolina. The subdued audience seemed to be sitting on their hands, not sure what to make of the on stage exchanges.
That’s not to say Mitt did not try to engage. It’s just that he couldn’t even land a significant body blow. The bout was not quite worthy of the infamous Roper Dope. It was more reminiscent of Moe holding Curly’s head while Larry stood idly by.
I’ll substantiate the Three Stooges reference, which certainly is not meant as an indictment upon the characters or seriousness of the candidates. Mr. Romney’s attack focused upon Mr. Gingrich’s Speakership in 1994, which ultimately ended in disgrace. Mitt continued his attack on Newt, citing Gingrich’s Lobbying stint, Cap and Trade policy and Social Engineering remark; that would be Curly flailing his arms wildly at Moe.
Newt responded calmly and with a measured response and soothing dismissal stating; “… I’m not going to spend the evening trying to chase Governor Romney’s misinformation…He just went on and on and on, making a whole series of allegations.” Newt then turned the tables citing Mitt as “a good financier, but not a good historian”.
That would be Moe defending himself, creating distance, with an effortless hand to Curly’s face, diverting the futile attempts of landing lefts and rights. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum share the role of Larry, merely as the onlookers.
Mitt undeterred, proceeded to attack Newt regarding his consultant gig with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Once again, Newt turned the tables citing Bain Capital as analogous to that of Romney’s circumstance. Its only when Mitt traveled to K Street, Newt acquiesced.
The otherwise quiet audience found the whole conversation quite amusing, breaking their silence with a well placed chuckle or two, to emphasis the comical moment of how the contenders made their fortunes.
Those are the relevant highlights of the evening, although other moments were a matter of interest. As the contenders made their way to neutral corners, preparation for the next round is in the foreseeable horizon.
Rick Santorum should bow out soon. He most likely is awaiting a VP commitment from Newt. Mitt will explain his Tax return effective rate of 13.9 % for 2010; which translates to about $65,000 income per day. Newt will cash another $5 million check from the Vegas Casino owner Billionaire Sheldon Adelson and wife, and Ron Paul will be Ron Paul.