Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Round One to Mitt

The football bowls aren't over with just yet. We're bound to see some more strange things before they are. I am willing, however, to nominate Whitney Mersilus of Illinois as having the coolest football name. Stanford's quarterback Andrew Luck, by comparison, played a great game but ran out of, ah, luck when the Cardinal field goal kicker flubbed on two attempts, one of which would have won the game immediately. So it goes.

The Iowa caucuses were held last night, and the phrase which still applies is "you couldn't make this stuff up". Mitt Romney was publicly low-keying his chances in the Hawkeye state until some unknown allies in unknown places exercised their corporate right to speak with millions of dollars, not so much for Mitt as against his opponent of the week, Newt Gingrich. The effort by the big money boys earned Mitt a virtual tie with Rick Santorum, ex-senator from Pennsylvania, who was considered a likely first round washout just a few weeks ago.
Newt, seeing his chance at the White House evaporate before his eyes, didn't take his own fourth place finish well. His concession speech wasn't just ungracious, but declared a totally new role for himself in the campaign, that of the anti-Mitt, tied, like it or not, to Santorum's quest. So much for holding off on the negative campaigning.
Ron Paul doesn't look a day over ninety, but he IS 76 years old, and he finished a close third last night. Fox News can't stand him, so he's unlikely to be the nominee, especially since he's left a long paper trail identifying him as a closet Libertarian, a mindset current Republicans only pretend to respect.
The rest of the list is, shall we say, unpretty. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann took 6% of the caucus vote, good only for 6th ahead of Jon Huntsman who abandoned Iowa for New Hampshire some time ago. She's out of the race as of this morning.
Texas governor Rick Perry's numerous public gaffs were funny, unless you were him. He finished fifth with 10%, and still has plenty of money, but no momentum heading into New England. You might next see him working on his line dance moves or signing all those backlogged death warrants back home in Austin.
As for the Mittster, the news isn't all good. Short of the actual deaths of his rivals, nothing seems to move his numbers over the 25% mark. No keys to the Oval Office unless you get 100% of the GOP vote, and some others, as well. He got the same numbers this time as he did in '08, when Mike Huckabee was the Iowa winner. Mitt gets plenty of endorsements, but they have yet to pay off, especially with that self-described leaderless bunch of Tea party folks and the usual Mormon haters clustered in the Deep South. And the prospect of Newt constantly in his rear view mirror can't be pleasant, either.
Still, Santorum has his own paper trail of wildly off the wall statements that may now take center stage, and he has neither the money nor the organization to go toe to toe with Romney. But the longer he lasts, the less time Mitt has to concentrate on bashing Obama full time.
We've already been at this for a year, but we'll have a nominee in about eight months and a winner in just over eleven. Only a large earthquake could keep Mitt from winning in New Hampshire, so the next bloodletting might be in the Palmetto State, a polite name for, uh, South Carolina.


Blogger Matt said...

He literally got 12 more votes this time around than last. For the millions of dollars that were spent in that state in support of Mitt Romney only 12 people changed their minds about him... Oh Mittens this is going to be a long and painful road for you...

cue photo of him and his buddies with their pockets stuffed full of cash. this one...

5:00 PM  

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