1. Listen (let me repeat), there’s no way McCain can be stopped. The (very un-democratic) winner-take-all process that Giuliani had put into place to help himself now pretty much guarantees McCain will simply have the delegates on Feb. 5. McCain was perfectly right to give an I’ve won the nomination speech last night.
2. Let me repeat what I said at the beginning of all this: Giuliani and Huckabee were both obviously too extreme to get the nomination.
3. On balance, McCain and Huckabee remained the authentic candidates from beginning to end. McCain on character/leadership and Huck on "values."
They were the over-performing candidates, and their strange man-love connection is not merely a marriage of convenience.
4. Some Corner people are grousing that without Huck in the race Romney would have prevailed as the socially conservative candidate. Studies don’t back that up: Lots of Huck voters in Florida reported that their second choice was McCain. There’s surely some anti-Mormon bigotry there, but there are other reasons too. Actually Romney did take a lot of Huck voters. Romney and McCain surged as Huck and Rudy faded. And they faded almost exactly the same amount. One-on-one in FL: McCain would have beaten Romney pretty easily. One-on-one in SC: Probably McCain beats Huck, but maybe not.
5. If Huck were to drop out of the race, McCain would probably sweep the South. The best Romney could reasonably hope for would be some close contests and maybe a victory in winner-take-all MO. That would not be anywhere near enough to make any difference. It’s still conceivable that Huck could win Georgia, for example. But his concession speech in FL seemed too much like a concession speech in general. Unfortunately, it’s not very authentic for him now not to assert in a manly way his superiority over McCain on all the domestic issues.
6. Let me also repeat that Romney would be a good president. It’s just not so clear he’d be a good candidate. McCain is very chancy, in my view, on both fronts.
7. I also should add that it’s crazy that this thing is over before the overwhelming majority of Republicans have had a chance to vote. Not only that, their candidate is a man who carried the plurality of Republicans (barely) in only one state and never topped 40% of vote.