The charmed candidate
January 9, 2012 1 Comment
I was giving an interview to the local news today about Romney, the SC primary, etc., and could not help but thinking what an amazingly charmed candidacy Mitt Romney has had. Sure, he’s done his part just fine, but in terms of all the factors he could not control, he could hardly have planned it better had he tried. His opponents have self-destructed or inevitably self-imploded of their own weight once their deep and fundamental weaknesses were exposed to the light of front-runnerdom. Yet, almost none of them have dropped out, preventing the very strong Tea Party/anti-Romney vote from coalescing behind any single opponent. Gingrich and Santorum’s numbers together surpass Romney in SC, but neither of these guys is dropping out. Had Santorum never had his Iowa surge, much of that vote would surely go to Gingrich. And even Gingrich didn’t possess a truly Herculean ego, surely some of his vote would go to Santorum. Meanwhile, Ron Paul’s supporters just keep sucking up 15-20% that just isn’t going anywhere else and allows Romney to win/lead primaries with the support of only 1/4 – 1/3 of voters. In short, it’s good to be Mitt.
I like the way Chait describes all this:
The unchallenged march of the formerly pro-choice, self-described “progressive” father of national health insurance to the Republican nomination is one of the most bizarre political spectacles of my life. I am running out of explanations for it, including explanations that require party-wide conspiracies or science fiction. (Perhaps Romney has a force field that turns to mush the brain of anybody who threatens him.)
Not to mention the others that didn’t run, or those who clearly made a huge mistake by dropping out so early (yes, I’m talking about you, Tim Pawlenty). Anyway, hard to imagine a candidate who inspires so few voters, has such real weaknesses, and such narrow and begrudging support, having a more charmed path to the nomination. That said, like most Democrats, I think he’d easily make the best president of the lot. Of course, that’s also because I believe he is a soul-less, conscience-less panderer who will say whatever it takes to get elected who also happens to have pragmatic and technocratic tendencies he’s doing his best to hide.