I'm not surprised by McCain's win. He's ticked off all of us at one point or another, but has also remained sound on most things. For those concerned about national security, he offers strength without being tied to the missteps of the Bush administration. He has been generally reliable on social issues and I can't believe that, in the context of this race, immigration can hurt him. He was wobbly on the President's tax cuts, although his arguments about spending restraint are stronger now given the GOP Congress' failure to exercise any. McCain-Feingold was an awful piece of work, but the Supreme Court has gone a long way to save free speech from its predations. Maybe we can be forgiving about that.
I think that alot of people in the party wanted Romney to be the candidate that we did not have - the one without obvious flaws. But I don't think that people are willing to elect a guy who seems like a construct; someone who sheds those opinions that no longer serve him and offers little more than picking the right boxes and portraying himself as a competent manager. It seems too bloodless. The perfect looks and, as unfair as it might be, the seemingly "odd" (or at least unfamiliar) religion add to the aura of unreality. I don't think he's through. He could win Michigan and that would return him to the land of the living. But, if he loses, he ought to quit spending his money.
There was a time when I thought that Giuliani could overcome his apostasy on social issues. If he is nominated, I still think that much will be forgiven him as long as he makes clear that he intends to do the right thing on judicial nominations. But the chance that he had to get past all that was predicated on a perception of him as a winner. Sitting out the early races and letting other people win is undercutting that. I think there may be too much risk of leaking ethical messes (something that would probably be true of any big city mayor). Even if, as I suspect, they won't amount to much (like his alleged "failures" around 9-11), what is entertaining in NYC is offputting in the rest of the country. As for his personal life, I don't think that you have to be Dr. Huxtable to get elected, but it helps if your kids talk to you.
Huckabee isn't going to happen, so we are left with McCain and that may be a very good thing. There are worse things than experience and courage. His most obvious weakness is that he is 71 years old in a youth obsessed culture, but the likely Democratic candidates are so callow that this may yet be a virtue.