Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mitt's day of judgment

Next Tuesday, February 28th, is the Michigan state primary.  Judgment Day for Mitt Romney and for the Republican party.

Michigan is, in many ways, Romney's home state, as he points out with regularity.  His father, George Romney, served as Michigan's governor from 1963 to 1969.  Romney the Elder was a popular governor and Mitt himself defeated John McCain in the 2008 Republican primary, which did much to keep the Romney campaign alive in those early months.  So the Romney name would seem to be an asset in the Wolverine State.  Up until recently, anyway.

As the countdown to the Michigan primary ticks away, all of a sudden Romney is looking rather weak. Polls show him in a dead-heat with hate-spewing conservative Rick Santorum.

Rick Santorum!  The guy who said of birth control:  "It's not OK, because it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.  They're supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal... but also procreative."

If the Santorum "surge" (gads, what an image!) isn't proof positive of Romney's weakness as a candidate, I can't possibly imagine what would be.  He could shrug off his loss to Newt Gingrich in South Carolina as an outlier, a protest vote by the neo-Confederate wing of the party, outside the mainstream.  He could ignore the string of defeats he suffered in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota since those contests awarded a mere 67 delegates between them.

But Michigan?  That's a problem. 

Rick Santorum owes a lot to Newt Gingrich.  Hard-core conservatives never did trust Romney very much, and Gingrich played on that mistrust in spades after Newt's big win in South Carolina.  He made Romney into a pariah to the point that Santorum, who lacked a campaign organization and had little money, is now the non-Romney candidate and a serious contender.  In Michigan!  In Romney's home state!

To repeat, Judgment Day is fast approaching for the GOP.  If Romney loses Michigan, Santorum will have to be considered the favorite to carry the Republican banner in the fall.  That is mind-boggling!

Just how far has the Republican train jumped the rails?

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