Sunday, April 24, 2011


The Atlantic's Chris Good thinks that, in spite of all the craziness, Mitt Romney is the GOP frontrunner right now. To my horror, I'm starting to agree. I say "To my horror" because, in this economy, a Republican who's not obviously stark raving bonkers can beat Obama -- and then, no matter who it is, the entire country will become Wisconsin almost overnight. So, yeah, I'm rooting for Gingrich or Bachmann or Palin, or even Trump, but I don't think we're going to get those guys. I think we really might get Mitt.

Good points to a recent Gallup poll showing Romney tied for first with likely non-candidate Mike Huckabee, and well ahead of the pack in the latest ABC/Washington Post poll. I'd also point (as Chris Cillizza did a month ago, to a Pew poll (PDF) showing Romney in first place among tea party supporters, and a March Post/ABC poll showing Romney with 70% approval among people who called themselves "very conservative." The newest ABC/Post poll shows Romney with more tea party support than Huckabee, Palin, or Bachmann. So, for now at least, they've actually accepted the Romney reboot (or multiple reboots) as legit

I also think the rise of Trump has deprived other nutjobs -- Bachmann, Cain, Santorum, Gingrich -- of media oxygen. They can't get traction as an alternative to Romney; Trump has -- and then he's probably going to withdraw from the fray. (I suppose that won't matter if he bails next month, when his TV show ends, but I fear he's going to prolong this, because whoever's whispering in his ear -- Roger Stone? Roger Ailes? Jerome Corsi? -- thinks his candidacy is harming Obama, even (or especially) the birtherism. (I half-suspect that's true.)

I know Romney is supposed to be vulnerable because of Romneycare, but why is no potential opponent challenging him on that? Maybe it's too soon, and the attacks will come -- but I have to wonder if GOP voters, who are clearly stupid enough to believe birtherism, climate denialism, "death panels," the unconstitutionality of "czars," and all sorts of other codswallop, are also stupid enough to believe Romney is genuinely repulsed now by the health care plan he championed. For now, the attacks are coming in the form of praise for Romneycare from the likes of Deval Patrick, Romney's Democratic successor as Massachusetts governor. But, see, if an evil Obamaesque liberal tries to link Romney to his own plan, while Obama-hating Romney says he has nothing to do with his own plan, who's a zombified wingnut voter going to believe?

Things will change, I'm sure, but right now I'm worried that the nominee will be the sane-seeming Mitt -- and yet, if he beats Obama, he'll be radically right-wing with the zeal of a convert. So I'm worried.

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