Even as the Michigan and Arizona Republican primaries have gone into the record books, I’m going on the record to say what I’ve been saying pretty much since around the primary days of Iowa and New Hampshire.
I don’t know how many times I have to say it. The GOP primary race is over.
Romney will win, has won even as he muddles on. He’ll win even if he loses Ohio on Super Tuesday tomorrow.
I don’t pretend to be a seer here by any means. I mean, even when Romney wins, he loses or ties. If anyone could screw up a sure thing, it’s the honorable Mitt Romney of BYU, Utah, Michigan and Massachusetts.
But still: it’s over.
Why? Because nobody among the rag-tag band of survivors from the original rag-tag band of announced candidates can win.
The media loves to talk about members of the Republican establishment — Bob Dole, a lobbyist or two in New York and Fred Thompson perhaps — who are panicking with almost every vote cast for, at first, Newt, now fading faster than a silver bullet gone astray, and now Rick Santorum, who was unceremoniously booted out of the Senate seat he had in Pennsylvania when last he ran for office.
Santorum has become the defender of true conservatism, and certainly typical of the 2012 crop of GOP candidates suffering from terminal foot-in-mouth disease. Just recently, when he called President Barack Obama a “snob” for insisting that everyone should go to college, GOP governors were reduced to defending Obama. Of late, he picked a fight with President John Kennedy over the issue of separation of church and state, which the former senator apparently doesn’t believe in much.
Santorum, avoiding the jobs issue, has gone all in with no chips on the values issues: abortion, contraceptives, gays and religion. Which is why I repeat: it’s over.
Santorum is heading into Super Tuesday hoping to win Ohio, Gingrich hopes to win in Georgia, and Romney is going to win . . . period. Santorum got swamped in Arizona where he did badly in the debate but got a split of delegates in Romney’s home state of Michigan. So, he figures a tie is not like kissing your sister, of which he would disapprove vehemently in any case.
This GOP race for the nomination has been a farce. As that great political sage and seer Stephen Sondheim wrote, “Send in the clowns, don’t bother they’re here.”
You gotta admit: Romney is a fighter especially with a bunch of opponents that hardly resemble murderer’s row. More like doofus row. He flustered Perry, ignored Bachman, was nice to the pizza guy, shot Newt out of the water in Florida, and now has Santorum by way of Obama in his sights. Romney is like the Harlem Globetrotters who routinely are matched with designated loser teams, which they dispatch with ease after much hilarity. Romney’s opponents have been somewhat similar —they’re not in his class. Yet Romney appears to have trouble winning and winning over the GOP base. This allows him to be the front runner and the comeback kid at the same time, a neat trick come to think of it.
Along the way, the former governor of Massachusetts has shed almost every shred of what could tag him as a moderate to court the party’s base, otherwise known as the Tea Party and Christian right. He’s accepted the endorsement of Donald Trump and, most recently, the governor of Arizona who appeared to notice, after yelling nose to nose at Obama, that Romney had a double-digit lead and made her endorsement on Meet The Press.
Nevertheless, he has failed to seal the deal. The right is suspicious of him, the independents and moderates are aghast every time he says stuff like how nice the trees are in Michigan, that his wife drives two Cadillacs or that $350,000 isn’t a lot of money.
So, why does the Republican Party seem so fragmented, so ill at ease, united on hardly anything except “We don’t like Barack Obama, the lying elitist socialist Muslim from Kenya who’s going to destroy the American way of life”?
The trouble with Romney is nobody really knows what he stands for, what his core principles are — except that what’s good for business is good for America . . . so let’s cut taxes. When you get his slogans — drop Obama care, stay in Afghanistan, lower taxes, you get bromides which sound with every telling a little closer to Tea Party rhetoric.
He’s the spitting image of a presidential candidate — those teeth, that hair, those boys, those blue jeans ensembles. His wife is the perfect candidate’s wife: she’s funny, blonde, gorgeous, smart and down to earth. It’s a wonder Gingrich hasn’t proposed to her.
Nothing sticks to Romney. He has turned detachment into a plus, minus the irony that usually accompanies it. Most importantly, he’s detached from the lives of most Americans. If the nomination process has done anything, it’s to expose that detachment, that disconnect.
One media writer who supports Romney nonetheless admitted he was “a dork” and that he would present himself as the brainy doctor who would cure the economy. Good luck in convincing the middle class of that one.
But the GOP race?
It’s over. Don’t say a word, Yogi Berra.