Rick Santorum to visit Worldwide Christian Center in Florida
What you should know about Mitt Romney and Mormons

A political hurricane hits Florida today

ElerIt is just a week before South Carolina voters are to go to the polls when Crowley Political Report is asked to contact Florida supporters of Newt Gingrich.  A French television crew wants to meet with Gingrich supporters, interview them and get video of them in action waving signs on a street corner.

 “We don’t have signs yet,” says Tami with the enthusiasm of a supporter who can’t wait to start waving at motorists.

 Two days later, they have their signs and a couple of dozen Gingrich supporters wave and cheer at passing motorists in Boca Raton.

 On Saturday, we drop by the home of Melissa who is in her garage with a group of Mitt Romney supporters. They are putting together Romney yard signs. The plan is to have 2,000 signs throughout Palm Beach County.

 Melissa and Tami are best friends.

 These two women are the kind of folks who make campaigns tick. The volunteers are the ones who go door-to-door, call their friends, meet with supporters, organize their neighborhoods and beyond.

 Despite all the hoopla of the big campaign machine – often the most successful primary campaigns have been smaller and more agile.

At this point, there is a question as to whether the precision movement of the Romney campaign is agile enough to compete with the more erratic Gingrich campaign.

The conventional wisdom is that Romney is better organized, better financed, and a more disciplined candidate than either Gingrich or Rick Santorum and therefore a sure-bet to win Florida on Jan. 31.

Conventional wisdom is a dangerous thing. In 1980, Crowley Political Report was in New Hampshire with a small group of national political reporters who declared that the candidate being interviewed by local television would never be president.

Reagan seemed to do okay that year. It was a good lesson about conventional wisdom. Voters often surprise.

One problem is that many of the political analysts who occupy chairs on cable news programs spend little time talking to actual voters. They could learn a lot from speaking with Tami, Melissa or many of the other folks who volunteer their time.

And if you have not visited a Tea Party gathering in Florida, you have missed some deeply felt, passionate views – often extreme – that will influence the outcome of the Florida primary.

 This is a complicated state. There are factions within factions within factions in the Florida Republican Party.  Many of the most active voters in this primary will go to the polls with a deep, abiding hatred of President Obama.

 It is not uncommon to hear these hard core conservatives describe Obama as a communist, a Muslim, a man who wants to bring about One World Government. In many meetings, candidates for U.S. Senate are quizzed about their stand on Agenda 21.

 If you are not familiar with Agenda 21, you are missing one element of what makes some of these voters boil.

 Remember, these are voters who were ready to politically lynch former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, in part, because he hugged Obama.

 Voters have been turning in absentee ballots for days now. And Florida’s early voting started the same day South Carolinians were going to the polls. The political hunch is that Romney is doing far better with absentee ballots than his rivals. But all bets are off for early voters and the majority of voters who will show up on Jan. 31.

 After the results were counted in South Carolina, CNN, MSNBC and FOX took a microscope to their exit polls in an effort to find clues to what might happen in Florida.

 Well, the exit polls from Iowa didn’t help with New Hampshire. The New Hampshire exit polls didn’t help with South Carolina. The exit polls from South Carolina will tell us little about Florida voters.

One thing does appear certain – a political hurricane hits Florida today and the winds could do serious damage to the Republican party - but Melissa and Tami will weather the storm just fine.

 Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Art by Patrick Crowley



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I've found the Ronulans to be just as cult-like as the obama donres. In a lot of ways they are like liberals. The only real difference I've found between them is that they want almost no government at all.Reply

Matthias Klein

LESSON Learned from SC: Do not underestimate the folly of voters

- how easily they are moved by shrewd 30seconds/30minute ads and 30minute debate performances. SuperPacs seem to have changed outcome results by 10% to 20% as seen in Iowa against Newt Ginrich and in South Carolina in favor of Newt Ginrich.
- how easily they can forget former convictions: The Tea party was against the Washington establishment. Mr Washington, Newt Gingrich, won. Christian conservatives focus on family values and Mr Ginrich wins although he has the wildest past in this respect .
- how difficult it is for them to follow wisdom. Anger is not a good advisor for reasonable decicions.

Watch: German preacher's thoughts on 2012

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