Meh. Romney’s going to win it, someone else will come in second place (why not Huntsman?) and then it’s on to South Carolina, where Romney will win it and someone else will come in second place, wash, rinse, repeat through the rest of the primary season. It’s amusing that the remaining candidates, particularly Gingrich, are castigating Romney for being a rich corporate suit, but, you know. In the particular case of Gingrich, when you’ve got a six-figure line of credit at
a high-end department store Tiffany’s, get paid millions to be a “historian” and have billionaire pals willing to slip you five million here and there to run nasty ads about your opponents, there’s only so far the outrage can go before it gets clubbed to death by the irony.
That said, as an outside observer it’s fascinating to watch Gingrich go Full Gingrich at this point. I give him credit for trying to be nice for a while there, which suited him about as well as a vegan smorgasbord suits a hyena, but now he’s giving full throat to his petulant rage and he is imperial. In his tiny black heart he knows the presidency will never be his and now he’s set on Romney with the philosophy “I may not win but I can promise you will lose.” And of course the rest of the field is doing the same, because, hey, dogpile.
Too late. Romney isn’t likely to lose the nomination at this point, and if he did there’s no one left in the GOP field who could beat Obama (I’d say Huntsman could strictly on policy, but since he actually worked for Obama, I think that’s poisoned the well among the core “Obama’s a Nigerian Socialist” demographic). It’s possible Romney could beat Obama, but inasmuch as Gingrich et al seem devoted to hamstringing him as much as possible between now and the end of the primaries, the Democrats are seeing about half their job being done for them already. Mind you, Romney’s not helping himself either, with utterances like “I like firing people,” joining “Corporations are people” as Lines That Make Your Opposition Gleeful. Yes, in context it makes more sense. It’s still a pretty clueless blunder.
(Bear in mind that come the general election, the GOP will be doing their damndest to suggest that it’s Obama who is the clueless elitist, not Romney, despite his being the scion of a political family, a business history as a corporate raider, and a personal net worth of $250 million dollars. Obama’s not exactly hurting for cash, I would note (he’s a very successful author, you know), and I’m not going to suggest that the former editor of the Harvard Law Review and former senator of the State of Illinois (not to mention, you know, the President of the United States) has not, in fact, ascended into the ranks of the nation’s elite. And lord knows that the GOP did a fine job of framing George Bush, scion of a political family with a personal net worth of millions, as an ordinary guy. I just think that job’s going to be harder with Romney.)
Still, at the end of the day, things are as they were. Romney’s going to win New Hampshire, and I strongly suspect the nomination, because deep in their hearts GOP voters actually want a chance to win the White House. Gingrich is too toxic. Ron Paul is too out there. Santorum is too unapologetically bigoted. Huntsman is too late. It really is Romney or electoral oblivion.
What Romney really needs to do at this point is win New Hampshire and the next several primaries in a convincing enough fashion and quell all dispute, before Gingrich and the rest of the GOP field stab him enough to bleed him out before the general. Despite the Republican delusion of Obama as a stumbling buffoon, let’s remember that a black man named Barack Obama doesn’t get to be president in the United States, even now, without knowing a little bit about how to win an election. If the GOP field spills most of Romney’s blood before he even gets to the general, that will suit Obama just fine.