Conventional wisdom has told us for some time that Willard Mitt Romney, erstwhile presidential candidate, was the inevitable nominee for the Republicans this time around. He paid his dues, got in line and had a monumental amount of money and good will when he got started on this campaign many months (seems years) ago.
Well, a few of things have changed. The first one being that people have finally gotten to know Mitt Romney and don't like what they are learning about the guy. Oh, he looks like a president. He has businessman chops and he's reminded us over and over again that he knows how business and the economy works, and buy gosh he can fix all those nasty problems that President Obama has caused. He has a lot of money, and he has a great organization. He's next in line as well. One thing about the Republicans, they respect tradition. Usually, it is the guy who lost the last time around that gets the nod for the nomination. This goes as far back as Reagan, who lost to Ford in 1976, then became the nominee in 1980. George Herbert Walker Bush lost to Reagan in 1980, then won the nomination in 1988, and so on. So, it's not surprising that they would look to Mitt as the potential standard bearer.
The other thing that has happened is that the more Mitt talks, the more trouble he gets into with his groupies. It's like when we were in high school, and from afar the great looking girl or guy that we wanted to go out with look so terrific, until you finally get the date with them and find out they are either stupid or mean or both. The let down is pretty significant. I think this is what the GOP is learning about their crush on Mitt. He's not "All that and a bag of chips". From the story of strapping his dog on the roof of his car, to his ridiculous comments about firing people, to his revolving door of positions he takes on issues, to his wooden interaction with people at large. They are just not into him.
Mitt's spent millions of dollars attempting to get the GOP's love. He spent $18M in January while only bringing in $6M. That $18M won him two primaries: New Hampshire and Florida. He is polling behind Rick Santorum in his "home state" of Michigan. Rick Santorum. Who would have thought Mitt Romney would be in a dead tie on Primaries (4 for 4) with Rick Santorum, a man who's views on social issues make even some of the most puritanical in this country say "Hey, Rick, lighten up man"?
What's certain in this election cycle is that money will rain from the sky as we have seen the influence of the Super Pacs already bombarding the GOP primaries with cash. Santorum and Gingrich would have been gone a long time ago without the likes of Sheldon Addelson or Foster Friess, who between the two of them have pumped about $20M into Santorum's and Gingrich's campaigns through their Super Pac donations. What is also certain is that this nomination process is far from over. Both Gingrich and Santorum have enough cash to stay in the raise and Gingrich at least has not been quiet about the fact that he's in it to Tampa (meaning the convention). Ron Paul's supporters are still there and he will as well along with Mitt, Rick and Newt.
Who will be the candidates for President in the general election? The only one we know for sure is President Obama. As to the GOP, for the first time in my life, we may see a brokered convention. Wouldn't that be interesting? Who might emerge from that? Jeb Bush perhaps? Chris Christie?
Money is not everything in politics as Mitt is finding out. There has to be some substance to the candidate that the money is supporting. So far, all the candidates for the GOP nomination are in pretty good shape financially. They are also so flawed politically as candidates that it seems like if any of this crowd gets the nomination and the economy stays in recovery that President Obama would be reelected rather easily. But, as anyone knows, stranger things have happened. After all, we elected George W. Bush twice.
Tell me what you think,