Ron Paul’s second place finish is New Hampshire is more a symptom of the weak field he’s competing in than his actual viability. And that “ticket” out of New Hampshire that Jon Huntsman is claiming with his third place showing? For the love of Joseph Smith, someone please tell him it’s only a Greyhound coupon.
It is beyond unlikely that any of the remaining Republican hopefuls will be able to muster the needed money, boots on the ground, or momentum to head off Romney’s eventual coronation.
That doesn’t mean they won’t try. And why wouldn’t they?
With South Carolina next on the GOP primary calendar, the other 2012ers lose nothing by sticking around just a little while longer.
Let’s be honest. Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry will never be the Republican nominee for President. Not in 2012. Not ever. They will never be Romney’s running mate. They won’t be appointed to senior Romney administration positions should he actually win in November.
So why quit? Why give Romney a break so he can prepare for the nomination?
Those left on the GOP dais can take solace in the fact that as they stay in the race and continue to bloody Romney while only delaying his inevitable nomination, they earn street cred with the Tea Party Republican base — a base that clearly dislikes Romney.
These are the same people who count themselves as avid Fox News viewers and conservative talk radio listeners. The literate among them buy every right-wing book and magazine they can find.
Forget the future of the country or the prospects of their party in 2012, these candidates have their eyes firmly affixed on their own bottom lines. And should Romney win, the gravy train they are gearing up for will run dry without Obama to kick around.
It’s the free market at work baby and these also-rans plan on taking it to the bank.
So, what will Mitt Romney do?
For starters he’s going to keep his eye on the delegate count and move as quickly as possible to shore up the votes needed to lock this thing down as quickly as possible. That means we’ll continue to see the pro-Romney super PAC spending millions going nuclear against anyone seen as being even remotely threatening. It’s the same super PAC, by the way, that Mitt Romney raised money for and which currently employs a former member of his media team and his former head fundraiser, chief counsel, and political director. But Mitt Romney isn’t coordinating with them — pinky swear.
That should keep team Romney busy through Super Tuesday in early March.
With Romney hustling on the campaign trail, tremendous pressure will begin to mount on the Republican base to come home or risk living under President Obama for another four years.
That effort is already beginning thanks in no small part to George W. Bush’s political brain and current Fox News analyst Karl Rove.
When Rick Santorum surged to an extremely close second place finish in Iowa, Rove called it a “big win for Romney.” When Romney proved himself utterly incapable of connecting with working Americans by attempting to bet Rick Perry $10,000 during a Republican debate, Rove said he “didn’t think it was a big mistake.” Heck, the only candidate about which Rove can’t seem to find anything negative to say is Mitt Romney.
Mark my words. In short order, Fox News and the right-wing blog and talk radio apparatus will begin to circle the wagons around Romney regardless of what they’ve said about him during this long primary season.
Enter the Democrats.
Until now, Mitt Romney has faced attacks geared primarily to the Republican base. We’ve heard about his flip-flops on abortion and gay rights. We’ve heard about his hiring of undocumented workers. We’ve heard about Romney-care and mandates.
These issues have been raised by Romney’s rivals to win support from base voters. Conservatives. Evangelicals. Racist xenophobes. Not exactly your typical mainstream General Election targets.
Only recently have folks like Gingrich and Perry begun to talk about issues Democrats are likely to bring up in the Fall campaign — mainly Romney’s long history at Bain Capital of taking over U.S. companies, firing their workers, and sending jobs overseas to turn a few bucks. It’s issues like these that will seal his fate with Democrats and Independents alike.
If Romney thought it was tough to win the Republican nomination while facing off against jokes like Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry, wait until he tries to unseat President Obama.
Copyright © 2012 KarlFrisch.com.
Karl Frisch is a syndicated columnist and Democratic strategist at Bullfight Strategies in Washington, DC. He can be reached at KarlFrisch.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube or sign-up to receive his columns and updates by email.
Distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. For information on carrying his column in your publication, email Cari Dawson-Bartley or call 800-696-7561.