I predicted that as the dust cleared, Gingrich would start dominating Romney as the primaries rolled on, with Ron Paul polling decent numbers and having just the slightest outside chance to make some noise.
Then the story broke today that Newt asked is ex-wife for an open marriage. GAME OVER.
Perry is done. Bachmann is done. Cain is done. Santorum actually won Iowa. Ron Paul is showing well but has not shown well enough to pick up too many delegates, even under the proportional system in place this time around.
Let's hope Newt bows out soon, either late this week or right after S.C. votes. Ick. That leaves Romney-Santorum-Paul.
The beauty of that is each significant wing of the Republican Party has it's representative: Moneyed pseudo-aristocrats (but a Mormon?), bible-thumping conservatives ('ol Rickey actually compared homosexuality to bestiality - somewhere Jerry Falwell is beaming with pride), and the libertarians (though could Ron Paul have looked any more confused and bumbling in answering foreign policy questions at the last debate?)
Romney is maxed out at 35%. Paul is maxed out at 20% (most places). That leaves 45% for Santorum on his worst day as the polls look right now. If I'm 'ol Rickey, I'm channeling my inner Reagan for the convention. In other words, I like my chances.
But Romney may also benefit, ironically, from the field thinning. The CW was this was his only real threat, that the field would thin too soon and the "anti-Romney" would take human form, rather than be ephemerally defined as 65% of registered Republicans. But if Romney had to pick someone to go head-to-head with (as Paul is a given in any scenario), Santorum is ideal. He can't outshine Romney in the debates as Newt did. He can't hang in the fundraising game as Perry, or Newt could have. And now the un-electability argument really holds sway for Romney, because Santorum looks a whole lot like Pat Buchanan, a guy that practically defines un-electable right-wing figures. Don't be surprised to start hearing that name here and there among the MSM.
The problem for Romney is that now all the money sitting on the sidelines has a place to go (Santorum) if Romney doesn't finish him quickly. Romney must win decisively in South Carolina and Florida, at which point the conservatives will admit defeat and Romney will just simply ignore Ron Paul. And so will the media. However, if Santorum soaks up that anti-Romney vote with some immediacy (which I believe he will) he can do some damage. If I were him, I'd stop agreeing to debates as soon as possible. He talks too fast, and Romney just looks more presidential on the stage.
Bottom line, this is Romney's to lose more than ever, because Santorum just isn't ready for primetime. He's a below-average debater, inept fundraiser and is a lot better retail politician than a mass market one. If Paul had developed a clean and concise way to express his foreign policy positions, he'd be much more formidable, but he doesn't have the discipline or skilled handlers necessary to make it happen.
If I were Chris Christie, I'd be looking long and hard about jumping into this race. Romney hasn't amassed too many delegates, and if Santorum quickly demonstrates he's not up to the task, there WILL be an opportunity for someone to jump in late. It may require convincing Santorum to step aside, but that could be arranged - he's definitely VP material. If I'm Christie, I'm quietly making calls today. Without Perry, Cain, Gingrich and Bachmann sapping both votes and fundraising dollars from you, you've got a heck of a shot. But, you've got to time it all perfectly and essentially replace Santorum after a bad showing in Florida.
With a 0.3% chance of getting the nomination according to Intrade, Christie is the ultimate value bet. Santorum, at 1%, is a darn good bet too.
Okay, you posted, now I'll bite.
The "Republican Debates" are the most postured and biased bunch of political theatre that I've ever seen in following elections very closely.
John King's hosting on CNN was far from even.
John King started a discussion on healthcare and promptly ignored Dr. Ron Paul's expertise for 15 minutes. The other three politicians have no healthcare experience, no healthcare training, and adversely impacted tens of millions of citizens with their signatures. For some reason John King decided to exclude Ron Paul from every discussion except as an after thought.
I found tonight's South Caroline debate to be awful.
Fox News Channel a few nights ago was no better.
By the way, did I repost tonight that Bain Capital (partly owned by one of those candidates, Mitt Romney) is an owner of the Weather Channel and therefore is a business partner of NBC Universal. Oh by the way, Romney's Bain Capital also owns Clear Channel (Rush Limbaugh fans). Oh by the way, Bain Capital also owns CHINA COMMUNIST TV's advertising arm.
So, Bain Capital sends money to the Chicoms. Funny to hear Romney talk about the Chinese when he's the one partnered with the CHICOMs.
While it took a bit longer for the wheels to fall off the Gingrich bus than I thought, it happened. Apparently S. Carolina voters hate Mormons so much that they voted for Gingrich just to prove their point. An open marriage Christian is preferable to a (by all accounts) devoted monogamous Mormon. Ouch.
But Santorum's rise has in fact materialized, and if he wins Michigan Romney is in serious trouble. I personally think Santorum is difficult to watch, he just always seems so anxious and talks so fast. I don't think he matches up well in a debate with Obama. But Republicans keep pushing the plate of Brussels Sprouts that is Mitt back across the kitchen table. With Obama leading both contenders in head to head polls there is really no reason for them to hold their nose and do otherwise. If you're going down, why go down with a phony you didn't really like in the first place?
Christie endorsed Romney, effectively removing that piece from the board, and Paul Ryan is making absolutely clear he won't jump in the race. It is really Romney vs. Santorum for all the marbles.
I'm ignoring Ron Paul in this analysis because everyone else is. Would he make the best president of the five remaining possibilities? Yes. Is he the victim of a media conspiracy? Hard to say. He's not polling well, and when Santorum wasn't polling well he was also ignored. The MSM is more a creature of laziness, groupthink and ignorance than it is an arm of any conspiracy, in my opinion. By and large these are people that are mediocre at their jobs punching a clock, trying to avoid getting fired so they can make their next mortgage payment. Good journalists write books, they don't cover Republican primaries. The rest follow the herd lest they stand out and garner unwanted attention.
If you took my advice and bought shares in Santorum 1/19, you earned a 1040% return in just over a month. If you bought an equal amount of Christie shares, you more than tripled your money there, too, meaning your total profit on $100 would have been $503.50 in just 33 days.
The precious metals markets are for suckers!
Santorum is still a buy, though in the next 30 days you will either see less dramatic returns or massive losses, depending on Michigan. Sell Christie as fast as you can. You can also make a quick buck buying Jeb Bush puts - shares are trading at $0.024 and will likely go to near zero in the very near future.
Busy day so I'll make this fast...
Any realistic chance of Romney losing the nomination is now gone. If you held out hope (or even shares) of Santorum after Michigan you were really playing the lottery. I haven't checked prices today but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that everyone but Romney has plummeted.
The media has begun their full-scale assault on Romney as someone who "just can't connect" with voters. They've already moved on to their role as Obama cheerleaders, and that's the tack they're taking... for now.
I know there is a huge contingency of folks who see no difference between Obama and Romney - they're both "Republicrats". I disagree with that assessment. There are huge differences, and if Romney is elected along with a R senate you'll see some real changes. They just won't go far enough.
BTW, did you notice that in VA where it was Romey and Paul mano a mano, Paul got 41% of the vote? If Ron Paul wanted to bomb Iran he'd be our next president. I'm just saying.
North Dakota GOP basically cheated Ron Paul delegates and stacked the deck so Romney would get the majority even though he *lost* in the caucuses there...infuriating!
... that Ron Paul actually did better in the caucuses than is being reported, and that for a variety of reasons he may show up in Tampa with a shocking number of delegates. The reality check on that, however, are the actual primary election results. Paul has not done very well. I wish it weren't the case, but it just is.
I think it's time to start a new topic or two, now that the primary season is over...