Romney came away with an easy victory in Nevada, providing him that all important “momentum.”
This equates to Romney coming closer to cementing in the minds of those who are on the fence that Romney will be the candidate. Some Republicans will only back a winner, others go with the herd, and still others are just pragmatically aligning themselves with the inevitable. Many Republicans are starting to realize the longer the nomination process continues, the more smears and gaffes are being gifted to Democrats.
Romney polls well among Republicans who are concerned about the economy, which is also one of the primary concerns of all voters. For some reason, Republicans feel comfortable putting the country in the hands of a man known for bankrupting companies and walking away with millions.
But what’s not to love about Romney? The guy is got rich the old fashioned way: he was born into it. America loves a good tale of nobility and privilege. He lived the American dream, which is to do very little and get very rich. Who wouldn’t want that?
It’s been quite a ride, and it looks more and more like Gingrich and Santorum will just coast into Super Tuesday on their respective victories in Iowa and South Carolina. They really don’t have a prayer (which I imagine won’t stop them from praying), and I wouldn’t be surprised if Santorum drops before the 10 state March 6th contest. It won’t be much longer until it’s down to Romney and Paul.
It will be interesting to see whether there will be any debates between just Romney and Paul. It’s sounding more and more like Paul will stay in until the convention (though I still have my doubts). Will Romney even participate in a debate if Paul is the only other candidate?
Romney (or his advisers) have to realize Paul isn’t in it to win it, he’s peddling his ideology, probably in the hopes of paving the way for his son. Paul is more about getting his message out there and spreading his views than he is about being a serious contender. He has been effective at gaining every delegate he can, but he’s ultimately fighting over table scraps.
Romney has nothing to gain by appearing opposite Paul. It provides Paul a stage, and Paul’s brand of libertarianism is often not in line with Republicanism. What’s more, it just opens up the possibility for Romney to say something he’ll regret. At this point, Romney wants to speak as little as possible, because it seems like the more he’s in the spotlight, the worse he sounds. Romney has to tear down his opponents, because he has so little to offer. The more time spent talking about Romney, his “business” history, his political record, and his current views (whatever they might be, today)… the more Romney seems unelectable.
There will be two big races this Tuesday in Minnesota and Colorado, as well as a non-binding Missouri primary. All three are likely to fall right into Romney’s lap. There isn’t another debate scheduled until February 22nd, which is 6 days before primaries in Arizona and Michigan. Romney’s father was the Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and he’s polling very well in Arizona at the moment.
Speaking of debates, Romney arguably bounced back in Florida thanks to strong debate performances. This was in stark contrast to Romney’s poor showings in the debates leading up to South Carolina. In response, Romney hired Brett O’Donnell, a professional debate coach. Clearly, it worked.
But perhaps too well… because O’Donnell was fired, reportedly after Romney staffers decided it painted a poor narrative. We wouldn’t want to know that Romney will find the right man for the job. It is more important that Romney appear to pull himself up by his own bootstraps, without the aid of anyone else.
If he continues to fire everyone whose success threatens a mediocre man like Romney, the general election will be even more lop-sided than I ever imagined. I was kind of hoping for a close race this year, but it’s shaping up to be a run-away blowout win for Obama. Republicans have run some of the most embarrassing and vicious campaigns, largely targeting each other. While all the candidates take blind stabs at Obama (or some Muslim socialist with a name sounding very similar to Obama), there has been so much mud-slinging between candidates that it’s hard to believe they are in the same party and all believe basically the same exact things.
Each candidate spent millions convincing us all the other candidates can’t be trusted, and the end result seems to be that few voters trust any candidate. There is a serious risk for Republicans that voter turnout will be low, because Romney is just not very compelling. Democrats, on the other hand, are actually rather excited about Obama… I don’t know why, but statistically, 80% of Democrats approve of the job he’s doing. Maybe they’re watching a different president than I am, perhaps that Muslim socialist that Republicans think they’re running against.
In any case, I am looking forward to the Olympics, as I’m hoping it provides a little relief from the campaigns. It’s hard to believe the Republican national convention isn’t until August 27th, though it’s already almost a foregone conclusion. Expect Romney to shift his focus to Obama by Super Tuesday, regardless of who’s still limping along.