Santorum wins Michigan by 2. Romney will try to spin it as all the Dems' fault, but I don't expect it to carry water. Ultimately, a win is all that matters to the press. And if Romney loses, he'll be in a crappy state to compete on Super Tuesday, after days' worth of everyone wailing about how much he sucks.
Romney wins Arizona by about 15, though if he only pulls out a single-digit win and Ricky wins Michigan, expect lots more sound and fury about how GOP elites will dump Romney. Do act surprised when they don't.
It's absoutely amazing to me that Santorum is probably going to win in Michigan tomorrow. I think it's wrong to say the momentum is in his favor, so much that Romney tripped over his own two feet right before the finish line so badly that the guy who fell on his ass a few moments earlier will cross the red tape first. It's pathetic, but I'll take it if it happens.
But what happens after that, if the probable does occur? I'd say that Republicans would want to dump Romney, though I'm not entirely sure who for. None of the obvious "white knights" are much better than Mitt, or would be after undergoing the process they'd have to undergo to compete. It's impossible for a late entrant to do anything other than ensure a floor fight at the convention, and that's probably the ultimate nightmare scenario for elite Republicans, another six months of "I'm nuttier than you are!" among all the candidates before a true tsunami of crazy in Tampa. Unless Republicans are as suicidal as they insist the Iranian regime is, they're just not going there.
On the other hand, Republicans could just shrug and admit they threw snake eyes with this lot, and just figure out whether losing with Romney, Santorum, or Gingrich would be worst, and throw their support to whoever that might be. The thing is, the answer to that question is obviously Romney. Santorum as a nominee would be a complete disaster, he'd just throw out the same random hysteria nuggets he is now, only he'd be saying them as the leader of the Republican Party, with whatever authority that bestows upon him. Which would be quite a bit worse for their image and downballot prospects, at least. Plus, what about the debates? Romney would probably be able to weasel out of some of the more disqualifying things he's said this cycle, he's good at that, but Santorum would double down and then go off on, I don't know, why the Pure Food Act needs to be repealed. Gingrich would be much the same, only he'd be more nasty and more boring, he'd say "fundamental" and "crossroads" fifty times, plus he'd have the advantage of negligible appeal outside of Washington and some parts of the South. Put simply, Mitt Romney is not only the most (only?) electable Republican, he's the one who would lose the best.
At this point, I figure a pretty good portion of the Republican Party wishes they could just kick Mitt Romney's sorry ass to the curb and pretend they never knew him. I mean, the guy's just awful in almost every way, testy in interviews and debates, no common touch, no charisma, no principles, nothing except entitlement and slickness aspiring to smoothness. But the simple fact is they can't dump him, not without destroying themselves in the process. Losing with Romney would cause the least amount of damage to Congressional and downballot candidates, and the aftermath would be much less complicated to Republicans than what would occur if Santorum or Gingrich lost, or if someone got pushed into the race late. Republican party actors could very easily have dumped Romney at many points, but they didn't. Now they're stuck with him. I don't see them turning on him.
There are a lot of people out there who believe that Mitt Romney is basically a decent person with dignity and decency and everything, and that he just doesn’t think that elections ought to be taken seriously. It’s hard to reconcile a concept of Romney with dignity to this:
With just over a week to go before the Michigan primary, ABC News reports Mitt Romney “is enlisting the help of one of his highest-wattage surrogates: Donald Trump.”
“The real estate mogul is preparing to spread his pro-Romney, anti-Rick Santorum message in a series of radio interviews this week on local stations from Traverse City to Detroit.”
Is this going to convince anyone to vote Romney? Probably not. Nobody’s ever pegged the Donald as having the common touch, and aside from his ongoing birther fixation there’s little there for working-class white conservatives to have much of an interest in there. It would be one thing if Romney were trying to steal the New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut primaries away from Santorum, but Trump has no connection to Michigan or Ohio, he’s just the guy who says “You’re fired!” on the TV to everyone not in the Tri-State Area. Hard to see how he helps Romney, and it could even backfire by making him less credible with elites.
Does this reek of desperation? Of course, but Romney’s been wearing that scent so long it might as well be his cologne. And I do think there’s a fascinating angle here. Back when Romney was the unchallenged frontrunner, he declined an invitation to participate in a debate hosted by…Donald Trump, basically saying it was beneath him. Both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum agreed to participate. But, now that pretty much everyone in America has turned on poor old Mittens, he’s decided that acknowledging the unbearable orangeness of being is now hardly beneath his dignity, and failed alternative football league founder Trump is now cheerleading for the candidate who publicly snubbed him, against one of the two guys who never did, and who additionally is the one whose style he most resembles. How confusing.
What can we conclude from all this? I think (1) that Donald Trump has no memory and is making it all up as he goes along, and (2) that while I do agree that Romney is probably not a horrible person deep down, the depth of his tragic flaw (i.e. an insatiable desire for power) is practically Shakespearean, and the few scruples that he still has today will probably be out the door in a few months if things get desperate enough. He’s like Francis Urquhart without the wit and humor.
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