THE DOM PERIGNON IS A BIT FLAT AND THE CAVIAR IS A TOUCH FISHY
I keep running into Iowa post-moterms that are variations on this:
Dems Can Barely Contain Their Glee Over Iowa Results
It's hard to say who was more excited Tuesday night: Rick Santorum, who came within eight votes of beating Mitt Romney or the Democrats watching on their couches at home.
The theory from the Democrats: if that's the best Romney can do, the general election is looking better and better....
Democrats pointed out that ... about 3/4 of caucus-goers last night chose someone other than the man who's been making the case he's the most electable for five years. More embarrassing for Romney: President Obama -- who faced no competition -- actually pulled out a competitive number of votes last night. Democrats say 25,000 Iowans turned out to caucus for the president....
Sorry, but I'm not ready to do a happy dance just because Romney's support is tepid and the turnout didn't suggest an overabundance of GOP energy. Republicans are lukewarm about Romney for the same reason they eventually became lukewarm (or worse) about Bachmann, Trump, Perry, Cain, Gingrich, and (to some extent) Paul:
Think about it: Every election cycle, Republicans have the opportunity to choose from lots of candidates who promise to do very, very right-wing things the voters want them to do: Cut taxes. Saber-rattle in the Middle East. Gut regulations. Eviscerate the social safety net. Make extraordinarily partisan appointments to the Supreme Court and other federal judgeships. Adopt extraordinarily mean-spirited immigration policies. Restrict abortions. And on and on. Nearly every GOP candidate promises to do most or all of these things. And they mean it -- they will do them.
Now think about Democrats. What do we want? Single-payer health care? Laws that strengthen unions? A genuine, thoroughgoing reversal of military adventurism? Policies that actually reduce economic inequality? Gay marriage? Maybe a Dennis Kucinich will advocate all these things, but he can't be nominated. A minor-party candidate might advocate them all, but that candidate can't win. We can't get what we really want.
But Republicans can get what they want. They get an extraordinary amount of what they want every time they win an election cycle. And it's not good enough for them! They're spoiled! They want more! They propose extraordinary purity tests, and then reject candidates who don't meet them -- or can't meet them retroactively. They develop mad crushes on candidates and then reject them in response to these tests because what they want from every candidate is everything they ever wanted.
It doesn't matter, because once they've got a guy running against Barack Antichrist, they'll fall in line. But really, don't read too much into their current mood. It's just ... ennui.
I'm also reading a lot of predictions of GOP doom of this variety:
...Considering his lack of appeal to evangelicals and his late show of interest in the state, it's no surprise that Mitt Romney didn't seal the deal in Iowa. But that means the fight for the Republican nomination will roll on at least through New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida -- which is good news for President Obama.
Think about it. Ron Paul's going to spend the next two or three months attacking Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum's going to spend the next two or three months claiming he's the real conservative, not Mitt Romney. And Newt Gingrich is going to spend the next six months, or six years, getting his revenge by calling Mitt Romney a liar, or worse. And the longer they direct their fire at each other, the better it is for the Obama campaign....
Wasn't that what Republicans were counting on four years ago -- a protracted primary fight weakening their opponent? How'd that work out for them?