Over the last few weeks, we have heard a lot of bellyaching from the pundits that Mitt Romney was going to be a wounded nominee when he sets off to face President Obama this November.This is likely true, but a lot will still depend on the shape the president is in going into the election.The nomination is not even over yet, and there is still some reasonable chance that one of the other candidates steps up and starts to dominate. Reasonable does not mean likely.
There are differences in how these candidates think. Is Romney the right choice, or would it be better to risk going with one of the other candidates?
Mitt Romney has the best chance at winning the nomination, but he has also shown he has a propensity to say elitist things. If there is one thing conservative voters cannot stand, is their elected leader thinking they are better than they are. Mitt Romney’s success should not bother anyone, at least not for being successful, how he got it is up to the voter to decide if it was just. What should worry Republicans is that there is a narrative growing around Romney, and it plays perfectly into the Presidents class warfare argument. We have heard the argument ad nauseam, no need to repeat it here, but it plays right into the fears many people already have about the GOP.
Some people feel Romney is the most electable because he is seen as the least extreme, or the non-nut job. The idea is that the middle will understand why Romney had to lie to the right wing extremist in the Tea Party. Coincidentally that is the same reason many on the right don’t trust Romney, they know all to well that he would say anything if it meant he could be president.
Then came the news that Romney had written a op-ed in USA Today urging Barack Obama to use the individual mandate at the national level like they did why he was governor. I am sure Romney has denied doing this already. Everyone understands that he will say whatever it takes to win the nomination. The problem is, many people still do not trust his opponents that they can win, if they did, Romney would have already lost.
Newt Gingrich is betting it all on a win in his home stateand some other southern states like Tennessee and Oklahoma. The strategy is sound only in that no other strategy is feasible. Many people have already written Gingrich off, with good reason. Nevertheless, of all the candidates, he is capable of the quick artifice that has brought him back from longer odds. This summer he was written off, and it happen again after Iowa. We should not expect Gingrich to acquiesce to falling in line behind Mitt Romney.Lucky for Gingrich, he has a billionaire financier that is holding his campaign afloat.
Rick Santorum has given Romney his toughest test yet, and doing it without a real national campaign, not much more can be expected. You can tell how worried the Romney camp has become over the success Santorum has had by the fact that the Michigan Republican Party is now changing the rules after the game. It makes no sense to cause such a stir just to add one lousy delegate.
Santorum’s real problem now is the same thing that has helped him get to this point. Because he has become a proprietor of social issues, or allowed it to seem like he has, some in the party are convinced he cannot win the general election.
No one is but Paul and his team understands what his real plan is. Surely, it is not winning the nomination; if it were then he would probably want to start attacking the front-runner instead of whoever is threatening the front-runners position. It was very strange for him to run negative ads in Michigan, while not even campaigning to garner votes. Paul’s team was said to have skipped Florida in order to line up caucus state wins, so why would they waist time hitting Santorum in a state they clearly had no chance of winning.
The Republican Party designed this primary system to look more like the Democrats had in 2008. Having primaries that rewarded delegates proportionally vote on the front end of the calendar, and saving most of the winner- takes-all states for the back half. So if this was the goal of the Republican Party when they had written the rules, then why all the angst now.
Romney started throwing the body blows at all the other candidates; but when he was hit back, notably, by Rick Perry, is when the pundits first started to remonstrate. What did they think was going to happen, that the other candidates would just lie down and allow Romney to walk away without a fight. Did they really expect that after the debacle in 2008 that conservative activist would allow them to choose the winner, while there would be no other candidates that would be more attractive?
If Newt and Santorum were so unviable, then why did they wait until it was down to them and Romney before they started to speak up? It is not hard to deduct that they were hoping the final anti-Romney’s would be weak enough for Willard cruse right past them. Well, they over exaggerated the Strength of the so-called most electable candidate. Conservative activist are being told it is either pick one of the three unelectable candidates, or Romney, who will be weakened by the process.The same people, who wanted a drawn out battle, are the same people now complaining about the outcome.
Even though Romney is likely to be the nominee, beating President Obama look like it is something that is less attainable, at least not by the weakened presumptive nominee. It is enough for anyone to hope beyond hope that another candidate jumps in and saves the Party from this potential disaster. This time, let it be someone who is not a East coast elitists. There is a reason that lately we have heard more than a few people mention Bobby Jindal; oh one can still dream at least.