Despite all the feelings that have been hurt, religions that have been prodded, endorsements that have been given, contentions that have been refuted - and not, and certainly all the arguments that have been had - this GOP Primary has been exceedingly good for the conservative republican voter. I might remind you it didn't start out that way.
Way back when I first wrote of my endorsement of the historic, record setting, earlier than ever before primary race revving up - one thing was crystal clear, Rudy Giuliani was the favored candidate. His lead in the polls was strong. Heck he was even throwing statements around about how he had the Evangelical Christian vote "sewn up."
But look how far we've come...
We've heard from the candidates in what has to amount to a near record number of times in forums and debates, we saw the early starters criticize Papa Bear Fred Thompson for getting in "so late." (In all actuality Thompson entered the primary schedule pretty much on roughly the same time-table traditional candidates have.) In his lead up to it Fred was smooth, intense, and looking like he would wipe the floor up with the other guys.
John McCain got out the jumper cables and tried three different times to get his "Straight Talk Express" back on the road... I'm still not sure if it ever left the terminal.
Lots of conferences CPAC, and Values Voters Summits among them - and even Rudy showed up to pitch his "I'm not really a conservative - but I'm counting on grace points because I'm here talking to you." And in fairness - I think he won some - at least at the time.
Much ado was made about straw polls, the whispers were - that Brownback was going to win Ames and he had Stephen Baldwin, Bobby Schindler, and a bunch of other folks working the rope lines for him. Man those Brownbackers made a lot of noise - especially at CPAC. And oh yes - on the issue of straw polls - with every 5th or 6th place finish in one - Ron Paul supporters would swarm the message boards with predictions of their Messiah's "breakout." For all practical purposes since then Brownback and Paul have both backed out of "contention."