Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Two More Notches In Romney's Belt As He Stumbles On To Super Tuesday

Never mind that Mitt Romney won the Michigan Republican presidential primary yesterday by the hair of his chinny chin chin. If he is the eventual nominee he has no chance of carrying the state where his father was a beloved governor. This because this favorite son has managed to alienate auto executives as well as assembly line workers because of his opposition to the auto industry bailout and pathetic attempts to rationalize it.
As it is, Romney finds himself in dire straits although he once had the most money and has the best campaign organization. This is for two reasons: He is the ultimate empty suit who played the expectations game far too long and he is being nibbled to death by Rick Santorum, a sanctimonious demagogue who acts like he is running for Pope and stands even less of a chance of prevailing in November than he does.
Oh, yeah, Romney also won in Arizona yesterday.
Is there anything that Romney hasn't flip-flopped on?

He decried efforts by Democrats and Santorum to get Democrats to vote in Michigan's open primary as "a new low," but that is exactly what he did in the 1990s in Massachusetts in voting as a Republican in a Democratic presidential primary.

Michigan has no voter registration and voters could request a Republican or Democratic ballot. Voting booths were open only to Republicans, but party rules allow anyone to declare themselves a Republican on the spot — temporarily — and then vote.

From all indications, the efforts in Michigan to undermine Romney did not bring Santorum a substantial number of votes, let alone may a difference.


People like Romney, of course, live in a world where money is how you keep score, as one pundit put it, and by that standard he is a huge winner. But you would think he would be a little more modest when he climbs onto the soapbox.

Yet the real Mitt keeps saying stuff in Tourette's Syndrome-like outbursts that remind us of his wealth and privilege. In the run-up to the Michigan vote he stepped in it twice, first when was asked whether he follows NASCAR, to which he responded, "“Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

And then for good measure actually bragged at another appearance that his wife drives "a couple of Cadillacs," this in a state where nearly one in 10 workers are unemployed.


It is hard to imagine the vituperation among the Republican presidential wannabes getting worse, but they have the better part of a week to prove me wrong as they hop-scotch across the country campaigning for the Super Tuesday primaries on March 6.

The name calling has resulted in an unprecedented level of public scolding from GOP bigs ranging from Maine Governor Paul LePage , who told a meeting of his fellow governors that the primary season has been “too messy” for any of the candidates to enter the fall campaign on a strong footing and urged his party to pick a “fresh face” at the Tampa convention this summer, to Jeb Bush, who says he has found the campaigning "a little troubling" because the candidates are appealing to voters' emotions rather than more overarching political concerns.

"I used to be a conservative and I watch these debates and I'm wondering, I don't think I've changed, but it's a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people's fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective and that's kind of where we are," Bush said.


Bush is considered by some Republicans to be the last best hope to derail President Obama although he has repeatedly said he would not accept a convention draft.

This is just fine with Ann Coulter, who says that "I think on closer examination, Jeb Bush would be the worst of all candidates to run, for one thing. We don't need another Bush. That would be embarrassing to the Republican Party.


Even with Santorum's second-place finish in Michigan, the campaigning is far from over.

Polls in forthcoming Super Tuesday states show that Romney is ahead in Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia, Santorum is ahead Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and Newt Gingrich (remember him?) ahead in his native Georgia.

A split will insure that the campaign slogs on indefinitely.

Cartoon by KAL/The Economist

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