Iowa Is Over: It’s Still Romney

At last.

Our long national nightmare is finally over.

No, we’re not talking about Watergate or the Redskins’ football season.

We’re talking about the endless debates, rise and falls, and media obsession with the political events leading up to the Republican race to “win” the Iowa caucuses, the first actual voting event in the grinding road to the presidential nomination.

It’s over.

Mitt Romney, the other Mormon candidate, squeaked out an eight-vote win over Rick Santorum, the surging ex-Pennsylvania senator and darling of the Christian right.

And now, it’s on to New Hampshire, where Romney, who has yet to get more than 25 percent in preference polls or this last vote-count in Iowa, is expected to get a little more than an eight-point margin of victory.

Still, let’s face it. This race so far has been a farce, a joke, a circus, a media obsession, and anyone who still thinks anyone can actually beat Romney—loved or unloved—is smoking something funny.

With the climax of the Iowa caucuses — aren’t you glad we don’t have to revisit that state anymore? — it’s time to say that Romney has won the nomination, and just give up on the idea that somewhere out there, there will come a man, or even Sarah Palin, who will ignite the fury of the Tea Party and smite down the bland, Gore-like Mitt, whose only known stand so far is the opinion that he is opposed to President Barack Obama.

I know—there’s dozens of primaries left all over the country stretching into the next few months—but there’s no chance that Romney can blow this nomination. He has too much money, too many good-looking children, and a blasé, murky, fuzzy, spin-like-topsy approach to issues that add up to a winner.

Maybe not a popular winner, maybe not an inspirational winner, but a winner nonetheless. Just ask Newt Gingrich, who was erased by a Romney SuperPAC attack in the blink of the time between two polls.

But seriously, folks, let’s take a look at this so-called race for the GOP lineup for the race to the presidential nomination.

All those pictures of the stalwarts lined up next to one another on a stage in debate after debate—truthfully, didn’t you just feel like giggling a little bit?

Except for Romney, who’s been there before, and who in the very least looks presidential, and can out debate anybody, that bunch looked more like a future “Dancing With the Stars” or “Celebrity Apprentice” cast than a group running for President of the United States. And don’t think that Michelle Bachman, now at last out of the race, might not show up and kick butt on one of those shows, not to mention Herman Cain, the pizza king, dial 9-9-9?

Romney was Mr. Steadfast in these proceedings, never really ahead of the pack but always the front runner, hovering around 25 percent in the polls. Every week, it seemed that there was a new leader: Bachman herself was the briefest of leaders in the polls after winning the Iowa straw poll which is something less than a caucus but something more than drawing straws for designated driver.

Along came the mighty Rick Perry, who figured if Bachman could win one thing, why he could probably win the whole thing just by showing up and throwing a Texas hat in the ring. He soared in the polls, running past Romney like a sprinter. So well-heeled and financed was Perry, so successful a politician in Texas (he could at no risk not return calls to Karl Rove) that there was a lot of boot-quaking going on, at least in the media.

Except that he showed up for the debates, where he proved to be as adept as Elmer Fudd, and even worse than the previous governor of Texas. Perry proved to have trouble with complete sentences, ideas and memory.

That was probably better than having trouble with women. Just ask Bill Clinton, I mean Herman Cain, the African-American former Pizza company executive with the 9-9-9 plan, who, for no discernible reason, rose in the polls and became the darling of the Tea Party, which by now had adopted a stance of anybody-but-Mitt. There came a time when Cain started behaving like he was in a national primary campaign and not a book tour, and further, he thought he could win. Right up until those pesky women showed up with their sexual harassment talk, including the last one who said she had a lengthy affair with him. Soon enough and inevitably, Cain folded up his campaign tent, went home to sleep on the couch and, as far as we know, has not been heard from since.

Enter Newt Gingrich the former Speaker of the House who caused Bill Clinton no ends of trouble, often married, author, intellectual, smart guy and, well, loose cannon. Still compared to the rest of the bunch, he looked like Einstein, although a portly Einstein. Romney, in fact, acted as if he were worried because chances were good that Gingrich could hold his own in a debate and had a blonde wife.

No worries. The Romney Superpac blasted Gingrich out of the water and into fourth place in the Iowa caucuses which he had led in the polls only 15 minutes ago, causing him to call Romney someone who didn’t tell the truth. Nobody dared call Romney a liar, but the word disingenuous came up quite a lot, which nobody paid attention to.

Enter — after lurking in the campaign and debates like a stalker — , who talked values, had little money and only recently said he would annul all gay marriages when he became president and that he would attack Iran’s nuclear reactor if he became president.
Nobody paid attention. Santorum was surging, and urging, and that was all that mattered. Give it another two weeks, and that will be the end of that.

The media — especially all the lads and gals with their iPads at the ready, their pie-charts and projections and their thumbs on the pulse of regular folks — can take a lot of the blame for this Iowa obsession. Media folks love the race itself, and ponder every vote and percentage point like high priests at a ceremony blessing the new consul in ancient Rome, pulling out hearts of chickens and rabbits feet to make their predictions. They love the process — so much so that they hang on every word a Perry, a Santorum, a Gingrich, a Cain has to say as if they meant something.

Did any of them seriously think that any of that bunch beside Romney was a serious presidential candidate?

And, oh, I’m sorry I forgot to say anything about Ron Paul, mainly because finishing third is like kissing your sister. And I’m sorry I forgot to mention Jon Huntsman, the other Mormon in the race because … well … I forgot.


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