Rich Galen

As I was driving home from doing a stint on Wolf Blitzer's CNN program yesterday afternoon, I got a call from an AP reporter Libby Quaid who asked me what I thought was going to happen in Florida.

I said that I thought, based upon the absentee ballot program, that Mitt Romney would win.

I then told her that I was correct in this sort of prognostication exactly 50% of the time.

Good thing, too, because I was wrong about the result in Florida. Not just wrong but, as Vice President Cheney might say, I was wrong, "Big time."

As you know, John McCain won Florida and won with relative ease. McCain who has been living hand-to-mouth since July, beat Romney who had both the money and the time to mount a serious campaign in Florida.

McCain also beat Rudy Giuliani who, despite having spent the better part of the past month in Florida, barely out-polled an absent Mike Huckabee for a third place finish.

This is now a two-man race between John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Rudy Giuliani will likely have left the race by the time you read this. There is no need to for him to spend the air fare flying to the CNN debate at the Reagan Library tonight.

Once the election went from being based upon national security to being based upon the economy, the rationale for a Giuliani candidacy evaporated.

Huckabee is only in the race to see if he can collect enough delegates to get a good speaking time at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul next Fall.

The other day I was talking to a person who is, as we say, "close to the Huckabee campaign." I asked him how they were going to get to the nomination. He told me he didn't think they could get the nomination, but that Huckabee wanted to win enough delegates to be able to influence the Platform, Credentials and Rules committees at the Republican National Convention.

"So," I said, "the Huckabee campaign is reduced to being the equivalent of the small ultra-religious political party in the Israeli Knesset which holds the balance of power?"

He laughed. Ruefully, I think.

Moving toward Über Tuesday next week, the majority of the Republican primaries will be proportional - either by Congressional District or by percentage. That means neither McCain nor Romney will have enough delegates coming out of February 5 to claim victory.

Between Feb 5 and the next big date, March 4 (Texas & Ohio) here are the events:
FEBRUARY 9, 2008:
Kansas - GOP Presidential Caucuses
Louisiana - Presidential Primary
FEBRUARY 12, 2008:
District of Columbia - Presidential Primary
Maryland - Presidential Primary
Virginia - Presidential Primary

FEBRUARY 19, 2008:
Hawaii - Presidential Caucuses
Washington - GOP Presidential Primary
Wisconsin - Presidential Primary

Those of us who, because we got our lunch money stolen from us every day in high school, watch the Discover Channel with regularity know that to launch an object into Earth orbit it has to reach a speed of at least 17,500 miles per hour.

If an object only gets to 17,450 miles per hour it will get close, but it will be nothing more than a really high ballistic missile which falls back to Earth.

It is rare when there is not an incumbent running for re-nomination for anyone to have an absolute majority of delegates to the national convention after Super Tuesday.

What often happens is one candidate is on a 17,500 mile-per-hour trajectory toward the nomination and everyone else drops off so as not to be seen as the spoiled sport.

John McCain will raise millions of dollars over the next few days and will be able to fund a reasonable shot at the February 5 states.

Assuming Ann Romney has given the checkbook back to Mitt, he will be in a position to run in each of the 20+ states on February 5.

The question on February 6 will be: Has anyone achieved orbital velocity?


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.