Much has been made of Rudy Giuliani’s “Florida Firewall” strategy, and it may yet pay off, despite the mixed results of his “9/11″ strategy in the race’s early contests (though he appeared every bit the political savant Tuesday in New Hampshire, coming in with between 9 and 11 percent of the vote [and coming within a nose of having to pick up Ron Paul’s dry cleaning for him]).
The campaign hasn’t been an easy one for the man once anointed the Republican front-runner for his once-vaunted leadership through the 9/11 aftermath. But Campaign ‘08 has been a tough row to hoe for “America’s Mayor”, from the seemingly endless stories of his marital travails, his cozy relationship with his disgraced and indicted former police chief, the use of the public coffers for his extramarital trysts, the less-than-flattering recovered memories of his mayoral tenure previously obscured by his Sheriff Rudy 9/11 performance, and that his children are not only nowhere to be seen near his campaign but would likely rather have Murray Wilson as a father.
And the Pat Robertson endorsement certainly didn’t help.
In Iowa, he got little traction from his anti-terrorism bonafides (his only bonafides, actually, if you don’t count his almost pathological America-First xenophobia that stops just short of demanding a Constitutional amendment to make Taco Bell’s menu English-only), where polls show that people don’t spend their waking hours fearing an Al-Qaeda attack on Des Moines or that Osama Bin Laden is hiding out in a one-bedroom apartment in Ottumwa. Ditto New Hampshire where he very nearly lost to Paul, and might even have been steamrolled by Fred Thompson if the former Senator and “Law-and-Order” actor had woken up from his campaign-season-long nap and wiped the drool off his chin.
Of the upcoming contests, there’s Michigan, where John McCain has already won the endorsement of the Detroit Free Press and where Mitt Romney was born and his father was Governor. There’s Nevada, where Obama has already won the endorsement of the service industry workers (and where none of the old-schoolers who are left are going to cast their vote for a man who spent the 80s trying to put them into prison). And South Carolina? Well, you can only guess how a philandering New York Italian Catholic will fare in Baptist Country.
That leaves Florida, and Rudy’s best hope: Besides being a hotbed of electile dysfunction where anything can happen and usually does, there’s a motherlode of delegates and a sloganeering bonanza awaiting him in South Florida and its New York retirees ready to shill for the former mayor with every irresistible variation on “Jewliani” and campaign signs proclaiming “Rudy: My Kinda Goy!” Also, 2000 Census statistics show that Florida is one of the nation’s leading states in the tolerance and practice of adultery.