Editorial: The inevitable candidate

With his 15-point spread in the New Hampshire Republican primary over second-place finisher Ron Paul, Mitt Romney’s victory there and his eight-vote squeaker in the Iowa caucuses has some media pundits bemoaning the prospect that the gala may be over after the opening dance. True, the primaries are scheduled through mid-June and Super Tuesday isn’t until March 6, when 10 primaries (including Vermont’s) put 466 delegates up for grabs. But will it matter, by then, if Mitt has become the inevitable candidate after the first four contests?
Iowa delivered 28 delegates; New Hampshire half that, and prophetic South Carolina adds just 25 more out of the 1,191 delegates a candidate needs to win the nomination. But if Romney’s organizational advantages take South Carolina and a week later he grabs Florida’s 50 delegates (he is leading the pack in both states), does anyone doubt he will be the party’s nominee less than 30 days into the show?
While that likely scenario may deny voters in the other 46 states an opportunity to influence the nomination, workable alternatives have yet to be found. A few years ago, the idea of regional primaries were considered, but the early states wouldn’t give up their preferred  status, dooming the effort.
Does it matter? Maybe not. In fact, mounting campaigns for a regional caucus may take too much money for little-known candidates to get that needed start in Iowa and New Hampshire. As it is, a Howard Dean, Barack Obama, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum can mount a credible campaign with scant funds, and then see if their skill, message and integrity can pull off the upset as Barack Obama did in 2008.
Anything short of a stellar campaign by challenging opponents, however, gives even a mediocre establishment candidate with big money a likely win — and that’s likely to be the case this year as Mitt cruises to victory early on and is cloaked in that shroud of inevitability.
Should supporters of President Obama worry? Not according to a entertaining post in the liberal Green Mountain Daily blog, which calls Romney, “the very embodiment of the man who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. He has never, ever had to worry about anything in his silver-spoon life. Well, we all find things to worry about — but he’s never really had anything to worry about, beyond miss-timing a short-sell order or leaving a few dollars behind when he looted a takeover target… In other words, he’s a soft target. And now he’s on the political equivalent of third base — not on his own merits, but thanks to the utter incompetence of the rest of the Republican field. If there was another Republican candidate who could tie his goddamn shoes, he would have eaten Mitt’s (very expensive) lunch by now. As it is, Mitt is shambling unsteadily toward the inevitable when he should be enjoying a triumphal march to the convention.”
It’s not the election analysis from Fox News, but at least it’s equally pithy.
Angelo S. Lynn

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