The GOP race gets crazier and crazier with each passing day. The conventional wisdom is that there is no conventional wisdom. Just a few days ago we were all talking about the inevitability of a Mitt Romney victory in South Carolina and Florida. Today, after an outstanding debate performance by Newt Gingrich and continual miscues by Romney about his taxes have sent shock waves through the race.
Voters are obviously uncomfortable with Romney's evasive answers about how much he pays in taxes and where his money is. Even if he does have answers that are truthful they still sound like the fishy nuances we are used to from people like John Kerry. Moreover, Gingrich's home run on the very first question last night about how his second marriage ended drew rave reviews from the GOP rank and file in the Palmetto State and will translate into votes tomorrow.
Now that there are four candidates left many conservative voters will have to decide between Rick Santorum and Gingrich. If they begin to feel a Gingrich surge they'll vote for him (as everyone wants a winner). I think Newt will probably beat Mitt by 8 points or more with Paul and Santorum coming in 3rd and 4th respectively. If Santorum has a bad showing and drops out he'll probably endorse Newt. If that happens this primary season could go on for several weeks and may not get resolved until the convention. If Romney can still do well in South Carolina and win Florida he'll still have the inside track. But if he does not do as well as he should have in South Carolina and Florida is a close race (just a week ago it was a Romney blowout) he'll have a much harder time closing the deal.