As for the Republicans, the predominant notion that Rudy Giuliani is the frontrunner is a farce. Yes, he leads in just about every poll in every state among Republican voters. But I've been around national GOP politics for too many decades not to know one essential thing: To win, a candidate must have superior grassroots organization. Giuliani doesn't.
The leader in this race is the one who barely scratches in polls right now, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
To borrow Barbara Bush's line from 2004, "I've seen this movie before, and I don't like the way it ends." Well, I don't know about the ending, but I can tell you that Romney has signed up virtually every Bush Republican in every key state. In Florida, he has the Jeb Bush organization and most of the prominent, longtime Republican establishment behind him.
John McCain likely will have Florida's governor, Charlie Crist, in his corner.
What does Giuliani have? The driest, least prepossessing political figure in that state, former Congressman and now state Attorney General Bill McCollum. An odder couple than Giuliani and McCollum would be hard to find.
Yes, McCain has name ID around the country. And, were they to run, unannounced candidates Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich could capture Republican voters desperate to reestablish the party's pre-George W. Bush philosophical ground.
Be all that as it may, you can take this to the bank: Mitt Romney will end up being the man they all have to beat. He will spend his mountain of money on a thing called television, and that will allow him to hide his ultra-sophisticated personality from those wary of having an urbane president. Once he's known, he'll have the might of the GOP's old guard behind him.
The candidates may not know the best road to win the presidential race, but too many in media don't even seem to know what planet the race is being held on.
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