Thursday, March 08, 2012


Another Super Tuesday has come and gone in the world of politics. It sure won't replace "Super Sunday," which is what we called the day that featured the Super Bowl when the game was first created in 1967.

Those who follow such things (in politics, not football) notice that the three major candidates (sorry, Ron Paul, but you really need to have won something at this point to qualify) all got at least one win on Super Tuesday. Mitt Romney won the most delegates, which is the idea of the process. He's slogging away toward the nomination.

Even so, no one outside of a few Wall Street types and the immediate Romney family seems too enthusiastic about the possibility of a Mitt nomination. As commentator Jeff Greenfield more or less put it, Romney's bumper sticker slogan could be "I guess I'm for Mitt." Not exactly "I like Ike," although a little less prone to irony than "Nixon's the One."

The Tea Party set looks more and more as if it will be stuck with a Republican nominee who practically invented universal health care in this country and who used to be more or less pro-choice. Before we get to the point where those people will have to decide whether to swallow hard and vote for Romney in November or simply stay home, there's basically one last chance to change the course of the election.

Someone has to drop out, and soon.

That someone probably is Newt Gingrich, who seems to have run out of comebacks despite his win in Georgia. Rick Santorum's only chance, and it's a small one, is to get Romney one-on-one and hope that Gingrich's supporters jump to him. It still might be late for that in terms of the delegate race, but it's probably Santorum's only path to a possible nomination.

The Republicans have primaries coming up in Alabama and Mississippi, and they would seem to be Gingrich's last stand. If he wins, he'll be encouraged to hang around long enough so that Romney's nomination is a done deal. Gingrich clearly doesn't need much encouragement to carry on, since he is running more of a Crusade than a campaign. After all, this is someone who told staff members while Speaker of the House that his goal was merely to save Western civilization.

We all more or less figured that the nomination process would have to come down to two finalists, and that Romney -- a relative liberal by the standards of the field -- would be one of them. But which candidate would do best as the other finalist?

The answer seems almost comical at this point. It's Rick Perry. You do remember the Governor of Texas, don't you?

Perry came in with lots of money, credibility for the far right on social issues, and an economic program of pro-business and anti-regulation that had a chance of making a sale with a cross-section of voters. The problem was that once Perry actually announced his candidacy, he had to actually campaign for the office and take part in debates. If you recall, he essentially poured lighter fluid all over his chances, and then lit up his own victory cigar. Poof.

This all remains a fascinating process. Can't wait to see what happens next.

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