How's that for a bold prediction? Seriously, I think Mark Steyn had it exactly wrong this afternoon, when he wrote:
A McCain victory in SC has to be good news for Giuliani because the narrative becomes "Stop McCain!" and Rudy's best poised to do that - not just because his numbers in Florida haven't yet collapsed to the same undetectable levels as they have everywhere else, but because Huck and Mitt and Fred will be fairly proven failures at the "Stop McCain" game. So, if stopping him's your priority, then Rudy's the one-stop shop after everyone's stopped shopping around. He'll be the last ABM (Anyone-But-McCain) in with a shot.
A Huck victory in SC, by contrast, keeps the other fellows alive, which makes it more likely that the attrition in Rudy numbers will continue.
If Romney hadn't won Michigan, I could almost imagine something like this happening. (Indeed, I did imagine it, back when it looked like Romney might flame out early.) But with his "three golds and two silvers" and his delegate lead, Romney still looks sufficiently viable that he, not Rudy, is shaping up to be the natural "stop McCain" candidate in Florida for movement conservatives who can't stand the Arizona Senator. Moreover, everything we've seen so far suggests that Giuliani and McCain are competing for a similar demographic within the GOP primary electorate, and I expect that whatever momentum McCain gets from South Carolina will win him more Floridian votes at Rudy's expense than at Romney's or Huckabee's. Which will make the Sunshine State - and the primaries beyond - essentially a two-man McCain-Romney race, with Huck playing spoiler and Giuliani dropping out of sight.
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