Monday, January 23, 2012

Presidential Race Gets Interesting

Former House Speaker
Newt Gingrich
Former Massachusetts
Gov. Mitt Romney
Saturday, Newt Gingrich scored a come-from-behind upset by knocking off Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP field in winning the South Carolina Primary.  Gingrich's win was huge, and it signals, yet again, that Republicans just aren't comfortable with Mitt Romney.

As I watched the coverage on Saturday night, I was struck by one statistic.  Evangelical voters voted for Gingrich by a 60 to 40 margin over Romney and the field.  This is Newt Gingrich, a man that is an admitted adulterer and, quite possibly, a fan of an "open marriage" that evangelicals are gravitating to.  Evangelical voters just aren't in Romney's corner.  I mean...they voted for Newt Gingrich.  I don't get that one.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)
Former U.S. Senator
Rick Santorum (R-PA)
The longer that Gingrich is in "frontrunner" position; the more certain I am that he will implode.  Eventually, Romney, I believe, will retake his position as frontrunner, but he needs to connect with Republicans.  He needs to do it fast.

He needs to stop pretending that he's inevitable and get down and make connections.  As Chris Matthews said the other night, Mitt needs to ditch the teleprompter.  He needs to get down and find out what the populist message is out there.  He's so clearly out of touch.

At this point, this nomination should be his to win.  Like Nebraska to his Indiana, Romney is letting the field hang around and isn't putting the game away.  It's up to him to spend this week grabbing this message by the you know whats and making it a comeback for him.  If not, this is going to maybe get to Indiana.

The peculiar thing is that none of the candidates other than Ron Paul seem to have comparable resources to Romney and certainly any of the others would need even more help to compete with the President.
President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama benefited from the long primary season in 2008.  It made him a better candidate to go up against John McCain.  I don't think you can say the same thing for Mitt Romney.  He's been lazy.  To put it in football terms, so far, it appears that Romney was sitting on the football...then fumbled it and Newt lumbered in for a game tying touchdown to extend the game.

Nearly forgotten this time around in South Carolina was Ron Paul.  He needs to work hard to Florida to finish third to keep hope alive, I think.  I think further last place finishes will hurt his viability.

Finally, I think Rick Santorum is done.  He won Iowa, but I just don't see a path to victory if evangelicals are willing to back a Gingrich campaign in a state like South Carolina.  He certainly is not going to do well in Florida.  This is down to a Gingrich vs. Romney fight there.

A win for Romney in Florida may settle the race a bit, but a win for Gingrich makes things look like we're going to be in for the long haul.  That makes this a win for Obama...who unlike McCain four years ago...has the advantage of incumbency.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

Don't underestimate the political sophistication of evangical voters. At the end of the day, they are willing to overlook someone's personal problem if they are confident that person will support their political goals. They have that confidence in Gingrich. They don't have any confidence when it comes Romney because of his dramatic flip flops on issues. Even if Romney was a born-again, evangical Christian, evangical voters are not going to support him because of his record.