Felix: You're Done
Iowa won't have George Felix Allen to kick around anymore. Charlie Cook delivers the goods to Ryan Lizza:
To answer your question, I think Allen's presidential hopes had dimmed considerably from last fall when insiders might -- and many did -- say that he was a co-frontrunner for the Republican nomination (as measured by the December National Journal Insiders Poll that showed that 39 out of 100 GOP Insiders picked Allen as the most likely nominee, 38 said McCain. I think it was seven that chose Giuliani as most likely.)
First, as the contender who was stylistically and ideologically most similar to President Bush, as the President's fortunes have fallen, so has Allen's. Republicans, today at least, seem much more likely to nominate an "agent of change," a John McCain, a Mitt Romney, heck, a Newt Gingrich, than a traditional conservative who is philosophically comparable or perhaps more conservative than Bush.
Thus, we saw Allen's hopes diminish, as measured by the May NJ Insiders poll when McCain went from 38 to 63 while Allen dropped from 39 to 20, with Romney moving up to 10. I only use that as a measurement of conventional wisdom.
To be honest, your TNR piece raised a ton of questions about Allen, that further eroded his position, but more than directly hurt him, simply put some suspicions up in the air, floating around. Then when the macaca hit the fan, this incident just began to corroborate some of the questions you raised.
In the end, I think the party needing to go in a different direction from a conventional conservative approach was the primary reason for his diminished position in the race for the 2008 nomination. This just puts an exclamation point on the view that Allen is no longer a real contender for the nomination. [Emphasis added]
I still don't buy that McCain is a slam-dunk. He still has a lot of problems with the base which would come back to haunt him if they coalesce around another candidate. That candidate would have been George Felix Allen, but now he'll be lucky just to remain in the Senate. Now, who knows? Mitt Romney has been moving up the ladder. And it's significant that he's a governor; Republicans have picked Senators twice since 1964, and both (Goldwater and Dole) were disasters. I don't think Mike Huckabee, governor of Arkansas, should be overlooked either.
But the point is that George Felix Allen has essentially ended his career for higher office, as a function of a tough Senate race. That's why you contest everywhere.