As I suggested earlier this month, Giuliani effectively left his campaign in the hands of the Fates by waiting until Florida to really campaign. McCain’s victory in that state demonstrates that his choice was a poor one – the hare spent so long sleeping under the tree that the tortoise was already approaching the finishing line by the time he got up.
Clearly McCain is the Republican front-runner – Giuliani’s has endorsement will help him in large states such as New York, New Jersey and California. Not all votes will go McCain’s way, but Romney is kidding himself if he thinks he can win a majority of Rudy’s backers. Although Super Tuesday may not give McCain an automatic victory in getting the magic number of delegates, I believe he will get enough to ensure the following states fall into line.
So, after McCain was written off a few months ago, how did it all turn around? I’m not sure anyone can easily put their finger on it. It’s many things, such as Huckabee stopping Romney gaining momentum in Iowa so New Hampshire could go to the senator from Arizona. News reports from Iraq improved and the immigration debate disappeared from many people’s minds when the legislation in question was killed off.
But at the end of the day I think his one strong point has been his image (I make no comment on whether that is true or not) as the “Straight Talker”, the guy who does actually believe in something and will stick with that even if people don’t like it. Romney, who was happy to tell people what they wanted to hear, was unable to come across as a reliable, honest candidate despite spending millions of dollars in every state to get his message across. This should please even Democrats, as it shows Americans can’t be fooled by someone just throwing money at the TV and radio stations.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.