Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
Wasn't it just a couple of months ago that John McCain was being left for dead by the national press corps? And Rude-Y Giuliani hailed as the likely Republican nominee?
And wasn't just about three weeks ago when a certain Massachusetts Liberal was suggesting Myth Romney was toast? (You can look it up but I'd rather have the clicks that provide the link to that gem).
So take what follows with a shaker of salt...
McCain's Florida win, the implosion of the Guiliani campaign and Myth's one-time "nightmare" about self-financing have left two men standing (OK, Mike Huckabee is still there for a moment), a race between Dead Man Winning and a man whose credibility is approaching that of George Bush.
Our Man Myth has the money to continue soldiering on -- same as after his "silvers" in Iowa and New Hampshire. And he has the possibility of snagging a few Super Duper Tuesday states. But as a confirmed Myth basher, I'm now concerned.
Not that I'd be sad to see him slink off the Utah or Michigan or New Hampshire -- or even his well-manicured Belmont mansion. But Romney would be like shooting ducks in a barrel for the eventual Democratic nominee.
McCain combined an effective flip-flop commercial with the increasing weight of Romney's rush to "change" (but not in a good way) to seize a lead many pundits thought he would not survive politically to see. The rock Romney is pushing uphill next week is huge, particularly if Giuliani, who folded faster than a New York Minute, throws his support behind the Arizona senator.
That sets up potentially the worst Democratic nightmare, McCain versus... If it's Hillary Clinton, you have a Lazarus-like Republican against a woman with 40 percent negatives. If it's Barack Obama, it's youth versus experience.
Of course, there's a lot of time between now and November. McCain's legendary temper has yet to really surface and Rush Limbaugh may hate him almost as much as Hillary. The backlash against the Obama endorsement by Senate President Terry Murray, like the seeming New Hampshire backlash against the polls, suggested Clinton can overcome those numbers.
Democrats have also out-raised Republicans financially and the turnout on the Democratic side of the ledger has dwarfed that of the GOP voters. The press corps actually loves McCain more than either of his potential Democratic rivals, which, in as twisted a year as this, could be significant.
And let's never forget George W. Bush's ability to inflame things by placing his "judgment" against the law.
After all, remember that McCain was washed up in last summer.
(Photo by New York Times)