Romney Still Winning the Election in the Electoral College But Wisconsin and New Hampshire Are Becoming Critically Important

Bookmark and Share   The latest White House 2012 analysis of polls, conditions, and circumstances in individual states projects a slightly smaller Electoral College vote total for Governor Mitt Romney than he had last week, but Romney still remains above the magic number of 270, that he needs to win in the Electoral College.

This week, WH12 has seen the battleground states of Iowa and Nevada taken out of Romney’s column and designated as toss-up states.  This switch has taken away 12 electoral votes from the Romney-Ryan ticket and brought  them from last week’s total of 291 electoral votes , to 279 electoral votes this week.  But as Mitt Romney sees 12 votes go from him to the undecided column, President Obama sees his previous Electoral College projection decrease by 10 votes as WH12 now takes Wisconsin out of the President’s column and classifies it as a toss-up state.  So President Obama now finds  his Electoral College vote drop from 247 last week, to 237 this week.

But the big story here ends up not being the new numbers projected in White House 2012’s analysis.  The real story here is the increasing importance that these numbers places on New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and probably most of all… Wisconsin.

Based upon WH12’s  current level of confidence in Mitt Romney having solid leads in all his base states* and strong leads in the once very competitive states of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, combined with our increasing confidence in Romney’s ability to at least squeak out a win in Ohio, what we find ourselves with here is a race that really hinges upon Romney’s need to win any combination of New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and or Wisconsin.

With former toss-up states like Colorado, Virginia, and Florida projected to be solidly behind Romney, as seen in the map below, all the Romney-Ryan tickets needs to secure victory is Ohio.    With Romney’s base states, and locks on the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina,and Virginia, if Romney can squeak by in Ohio, he can lose New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and  Wisconsin and still win with 5 more electoral votes than he needs to secure the presidency.  That would produce an electoral vote of 275 for Romney, to 263 for President Obama.

But Ohio is too close for comfort for Romney to count on.  So the Romney-Ryan ticket must secure an optional path to victory to rely upon.  Based upon the current projection which gives Romney the battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire, ,  if President Obama wins Ohio, the only state that Romney needs is Wisconsin.   In that scenario, even if the Obama-Biden ticket won the remaining battleground states of Iowa and Nevada, Mitt would still win in the Electoral College with 271 electoral votes to Obama’s 267 electoral votes.

Without Ohio, this New Hampshire plus Wisconsin combination to victory for Romney is currently the best and most logical strategy to pursue.

In New Hampshire, the Romney-Ryan ticket is behind Obama-Biden by only approximately 1%.  That is well below the 2.2% margin of error that WH12’s projection formula adds to Romney’s numbers in an attempt to compensate for the erroneous turnout models that pollsters are using in their polls.  So by WH12’s standard, Romney is actually ahead of President Obama in New Hampshire by approximately 1.2%.    Then there is Wisconsin.

While Real Clear Politics has Obama ahead of Romney by approximately 2.8% in Wisconsin according to White House 2012 that is only a .06% lead for the President.  It is a lead so small that that it could easily by overcome.  Especially if its favorite son, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan,  focusses on Wisconsin during this last two weeks of the election. That is a point White House 2012 made last week in a post entitled  “Checkmating Obama with Wisconsin: A Romney Win in the Badger State Dooms Obama“.   Furthermore, Ryan’s focus on Wisconsin could also produce an overflow effect that impacts the close contest in Iowa which borders Wisconsin and possibly provide the margin of victory for the G.O.P. ticket there.

What this all means is that if projections that give Romney his base states and the critical battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, but he losses Ohio, the Romney-Ryan ticket can still win the election if they take Wisconsin and either New Hampshire, Iowa, or Nevada.   But under this situation, if Romney does not win Wisconsin,  Romney would have to win all three states of New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada.

So it becomes clear to us that while several states remain quite important in this election, if Mitt Romney’s momentum  continues to hold, Wisconsin and New Hampshire may be the states that offer him the best assurance of a victory in the Electoral College. Especially if Ohio remains as tight as it currently is and goes down to the wire as a state so close that its results might not be known until days or even weeks after they are litigated in the courts.  However, the outcome of such litigation would be meaningless  if Romney can put New Hampshire and Wisconsin safely in his final Electoral College vote total.

In the meantime, while White House 2012’s current projection classifies 22 electoral votes as toss-ups, no matter which way they ultimately go, the most Barack Obama could get is 259 electoral votes.  That would leave and Romney with at least 20 more electoral votes than Obama and nine more than Romney needs to win in the Electoral College.

Meanwhile, if Barack Obama fails to curtail the Romentum that we currently see, it won’t be long before White House 2012 finds itself issuing the very best but still realistic projected outcome that Mitt Romney could see.  That projection may end up with a far more lopsided Electoral College than anyone is expecting.  As seen in the map below, existing trends may soon establish a projection that looks like th e map below.  It’s a Romney led Electoral College result of of 302 electoral votes to 236 electoral votes.

Right now, that is the best case scenario for Romney but if current trends to continue, it is the result we are most likely to see.  It is also a result that would include something new… the splitting of Maine’s electoral vote between Romney and Obama.  Maine, like Nebraska splits their electoral vote between their congressional districts.  Some recent polling has shown that in  Maine’s second congressional district, Romney was leading Obama 49 to 44%.  If that holds up, it would be the first time Maine ever actually split it’s electoral vote.  And it would also give Romney at least 1 electoral vote from a region of the country that Romney has been all but written off in.

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The VP Matrix

Excitement continues to brew about who Mitt Romney might choose as his Vice President.  Today a story hit the news circulation that Marco Rubio is not being vetted, but Tim Pawlenty is being given serious consideration.  Romney found himself on the defensive this evening.  But before you get too excited about a Marco Rubio candidacy, or too upset about it, you may want to take a breather and consider who Romney is and what kind of campaign he is running.  Flash and splash are not the orders of the day.

Mitt Romney’s campaign need do no more than promise a stronger economy and let Obama continue to create a weaker economy.  In fact, Mitt Romney’s tour through small town USA promoting the private sector and values of competition is exactly where he needs to be.  Obama is spouting a controversy mixed with a gaffe every day.  Why jump in front of a train wreck?  Romney’s VP choice will be about as blockbuster as a sandwich from a WaWa vending machine.

Get out your VP scorecards and consider the following:

Mitt’s VP choice will not be a fresh face.

Mitt Romney is not looking for a candidate with little national experience.  Nor is he looking for a candidate who everyone on the far right loves.  Romney doesn’t need a shot of adrenaline or steroids.  The last thing he needs is someone who is going to distract from the national disaster of the Obama Presidency.  Romney does not need a divisive TEA party figure.  He certainly doesn’t need someone who could be perceived as inexperienced.  If Romney picks a veteran, the media will be cautious about trying to embarrass them as a rookie.  But media types smell blood in the water when there is fresh meat.  Even a studied, prepared candidate might not be able to field a trick question like “do you support the Bush doctrine”.  However, a veteran is less likely to be asked that question.

Obama’s inexperience took a back seat in the media when McCain brought in Palin

This is bad for Allen West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan.  Could be good for Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, Condi Rice, or Rudy Guiliani.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be old and tired.

The death knell for a Republican candidacy, fair or not, is being old and grey.  Nothing plays into stereotypes of Republicans more than an old, grey haired, slow talking wrinkly man.  While Romney doesn’t need a shot in the arm, he also doesn’t need something contributing to the stereotypes more than he does already.  Right now Romney is Reaganesque in his looks and style.  But an older veteran running mate would turn his campaign into the old rich white people’s ticket.  Again, it may not be fair or right, but don’t expect a VP over 55 years old.

Don’t expect Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, or Rob Portman.  Could be good for Bobby McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie

Jack Kemp and Bob Dole combined had nearly two centuries of experience

Mitt’s VP choice may not be female or minority.

There is this idea that the only way to defeat Barack Obama is by running a female or minority VP candidate.  Aside from that strategy failing miserably with Sarah Palin, the problem is that Republicans pay far less attention to race and gender than Democrats do, and Democrats virulently hate conservative women and minorities.  We have seen in recent years just how much visible hatred has been directed toward Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Allen West, Nikki Haley, Michelle Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, etc.  There is a clear desire on the left for female and minority Republicans to fail.  In Mitt Romney’s case, he is not looking for diversity for diversity’s sake.  That’s not to say he won’t pick a female or minority candidate, but if he does it will be someone respected by both sides and unassailable.

This makes Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez less likely.  However, it doesn’t necessarily knock Condoleeza Rice out of the running, although she will carry the stigma on the left of being chosen for diversity’s sake.  Again, might not be fair, but since when were politics fair.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be controversial.

It’s bad when your VP candidate has almost as many quotable gaffes as Joe Biden

Mitt Romney is not looking to cause trouble for himself.  He doesn’t need a loudmouth or a controversial character.  Don’t expect any candidate who is going to make serious waves.  As I said before, Romney doesn’t need a distraction from the freak show of the Obama economy.  Expect a well respected candidate who is as smooth politically as Romney himself.

You can scratch the Donald, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Allen West, and Newt Gingrich off your list.  This is a strike against Jeb Bush and Condoleeza Rice as well.  But it favors Mitch Daniels, possibly Bob McDonell, and John Thune.

Expect a strategic pick.

Romney’s not going to choose a popular governor from a red state.  But he might choose a popular candidate from a purple or blue state.  And there are a few to choose from.  Rubio would lock of Florida.  Bob McDonnell could secure the nearly must win blue state of Virginia.  Tim Pawlenty could inspire votes from the teetering Great Lakes states.  Rick Snyder of Michigan could really bring in some blue states, but he is likely disqualified for being old and a fresh face at the same time.  Brian Sandoval might help swing Nevada to Romney while also providing the opportunity to highlight Harry Reid’s role in the destruction of our economy.

This set of criteria will hardly provide a definite pick.  In fact, some points are contradictory.  But it should provide some ideas for people who are looking at the potential VP picks.  I could hardly make a prediction even based on this criteria.  But I do believe it comprises the factors that Romney will be looking at when making his pick.

Is Mitt Bouyant? Or Santorum Sinking?

The day before Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney is looking good.  It’s looking like he will take the key state of Ohio and could take Tennessee.  Both of these are very close races.  But Romney’s ascendency back to the top is marked by Santorum’s dive in the polls, and Newt’s resurgence again.  Newt will win Georgia, which has the most delegates of any Super Tuesday state.  Newt is also now tied with Santorum and within one point of Romney in Tennessee according to one poll.  Just last week, Santorum was looking good in both Ohio and Tennessee.

If Santorum is suddenly seen as faltering, we may see the polls seesaw back to Newt on fears of unelectability.  However, at this late stage that may serve to only help Romney, unless Santorum loses big time.  If Santorum comes in third in Tennessee or Ohio and Gingrich easily wins Georgia, the shift back to Newt could be significant.

Consider this, if Santorum was not in the race and his voters went to Newt, Newt would sweep Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia.  On the other hand, the same could be said for Santorum if Newt dropped out and his votes went to Santorum.  In either case, Romney is the beneficiary of the social conservative split.  Meanwhile, Ron Paul is fleeing from social issues as he descends back into below 10% irrelevancy.

This could be short lived however, as Republicans revisit the myth that social issues are losers in elections.  As I pointed out the other day, a one dimensional economy candidate is going to struggle against Obama.  Republicans are more likely to be inspired to go to the polls for a bold conservative, and Romney is all pastels.  If Santorum falters tomorrow and Newt remains on message, this one could be far from over.

Bloomberg’s Joke of a Headline Hides True Story

Obama wins in poll as investors resist Gingrich

What does that headline say to you?  The description below the Bloomberg headline was “U.S. investors are rooting for Mitt Romney and those overseas are for Barack Obama. Newt Gingrich is generating little enthusiasm anywhere. ”

From reading that, you might be fooled into thinking Bloomberg ran a poll of investors where Newt lost and Obama was the big winner.  But if you read the story, and parse their words, you will discover a completely different story.  Mike Dorning skips back and forth from the global stage to US investors to create some great quotable lines, while obscuring the real story behind dishonest turns of phrases and ambiguity.

Mixed in with all sorts of good news for Obama, the real story can be found here:

In a potential election match-up between Obama, 50, and Romney, 64, a former private equity executive, global respondents are split, with 41 percent choosing each as better for the world economy. U.S. investors sided 3-to-1 with the Republican and those outside the U.S. 2-to-1 with Obama.

Pay attention.  While investors on the global stage are split evenly between Romney and Obama, Obama looses 3 to 1 with American investors.  Now, let’s look at what they had to say about Newt who was “generating little enthusiasm anywhere” and being “resist(ed)” by investors:

Faced with a choice between the Democratic incumbent and Republican Gingrich, 68, on who would be better for the world economy, global respondents back Obama 52 percent to 25 percent. Those in the U.S. give Gingrich a 44 percent plurality against 35 percent for Obama with 21 percent unable to tell how they would resolve the dilemma.

Did you catch that?  Among US investors Gingrich wins 44% to 35%. Or, as Bloomberg put it, a “44 percent plurality”.  It should be no surprise that foreign investors like Obama better.  In addition to supporting European economic policies, Obama has also done a great deal to bail out European banks and don’t forget when he gift-wrapped Chrysler and sold it for a huge discount to Fiat, an Italian company.  If foreign investors didn’t like Obama, we would have to call them ungrateful.

So what should the headline have been for this story?  Here are some thoughts.  Feel free to add your own suggestions:

Romney and Newt Kick Obama’s Butt in Poll of US Investors

US Investors Prefer GOP, Non-US Investors Like Obama

America Likes Romney and Newt, Europe Likes Obama

Three Times As Many Investors Like Romney Over Obama in US

US Investors Like Newt Over Obama, Like Romney Even More

There Will Only Be One American Running for President In 2012

 

A Populist Agenda?

There will only be one American for president in 2012, and I am not talking about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

The 2012 election is in effect a Referendum on American Capitalism. If the Republicans choose Mitt Romney, as they surely must, he will represent American Capitalism. President Barack Obama will represent Europeanized State Capitalism. Go ahead America, make your choice.

President Obama wants the decision about who is too wealthy and who is not to be made by government. He wants a universal healthcare system. He wants a government-sponsored state capitalism to engineer poverty reduction. His “populist” agenda is nothing of the sort, it merely appeals to the lowest common denominator and will lead to European-style dependency and an entitlement culture.

What he doesn’t seem to want to do is create wealth. Who will create the wealth? His program can in no way be financed by the current parlous state of the nation’s finances, after all you can only print so much money and make so many promises. Look at the current state of Europe, do you want an America where states will be forced to bail out other failing states; a new republic of economic basketcases?

In President Obama’s “State of the Campaign” address, he sought to deflect from the campaign that on his watch there are now more than 13 million people out of work and the government debt stands at a record high of $15.2 trillion, up from $10.6 trillion when he took office. State? A complete mess!

Yet, conservatives in America have joined the baying OWS crowd in calling for equality, but in so doing they are asking the government to control the economy. There is a cultural shift which lies behind the attack on “big business”, “Wall Street” and “Fat cats.” This shift is best described as “resentment,”a well known emotion in Europe.

Whoever you support for the GOP nomination, the attack by conservatives on Romney’s wealth is the most absurd aspect of the current debate. I always thought doing well was to be admired in America. There was a good piece by David Brooks in the New York Times recently, where he made the wise observation of Romney: He may have character flaws, but he does not have the character flaws normally associated with great wealth. His signature is focus and persistence.The wealth issue is a sideshow.

Indeed, it is a sideshow! Front row spectator, with a wide grin, is President Obama. Think on that my friends.

The practical outcome is that “big business” becomes state-owned business instead, as it is in China, Russia, and the Middle East. The free market if not reaching an end becomes state-controlled markets. Who will defend the world against this State Capitalism if America, the paragon of liberal Capitalism, does not?

President Obama, OWS, and conservative attacks on Mitt Romney are all part of weakening America’s ability to ensure free markets, but, hey, if that’s what you want America, it’s a free country…but not for much longer.

The issue at the heart of the 2012 election will be whether America wants to continue with American Capitalism, in spite of its flaws, or embrace the intellectually flawed and alien European style State Capitalism. Get it right folks, President Obama is not a Socialist, and Europe is not Socialist. Communism and Socialism have failed, and they have been replaced by coalitions of single issue groups and state power interests.

President Obama is a statist. Europe is statist. The economy is the tool of state power and control over our lives, not in the interest of the working classes, and certainly not the middle class, but in the interest of the elite statists who “know better”.

The Italian Marxist writer Antonio Gramschi stated: “The revolutionary forces have to take civil society before they take the state, and therefore have to build a coalition of oppositional groups united under a hegemonic banner which usurps the dominant or prevailing hegemony.” What he argued was that leftists don’t need a revolution, they need to get their hands on the levers of power, which they have done in Europe for a number of decades…and now in the White House.

The constant whining “civil society” approach of Leftists is the tactic they use, and it is being used to usurp American Capitalism. President Obama has been reading Gramschi’s playbook, and conservatives are falling for it.

 

Effect of Debates vs. Campaign Fatigue

South Carolina is within reach for Newt.  However, he must now combat something other than superpacs and media.  Newt now has to overcome campaign fatigue.  I’m sure that all of the candidates are tired and have been traveling a lot, but that isn’t what I was referring to.  You probably noticed about a month ago that every time there was a new debate, you were sure to have a friend who commented “Really?? Another one??”

Add to the non-stop debates at least 5 major lead changes among social conservatives, a growing, wearying Ron Paul movement, and the constant drum-beat from the establishment that Romney always was going to be the candidate and it is purely undeniable fate, and Romney gets the advantage among Conservatives who are tired of the infighting and want to get on to the main event.

Romney has flaws.  In fact, as I watch his superpac advertise Newt’s baggage (more than an airliner, according to the ad), I have to wonder why Romneycare, running on a pro-abortion platform, and all that does not count as baggage for Romney.  He has not yet been able to get the social conservatives to give him the unanimous thumbs up.  But one thing he has been flawless at has been this particular campaign.  His biggest missteps seem like manufactured class warfare attacks that only make him stronger among conservatives.  For example, he tried to bet $10k in a debate.  Who cares?  So he has $10k to throw around.  Duh, he’s rich.  Not only that, but only a moron, leftist, or member of the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) would think that Romney was actually trying to get Perry to make a financial wager, not just making a point that Perry was off his rocker.

Romney’s comment that he would like to fire his insurance company led to dishonest attacks from fellow conservatives, and perhaps one of the most boring Saturday Night Live opening sketches in history.  Attacks on Bain capital have left most conservatives scratching their heads, wondering if suddenly supporting small businesses and risk taking is no longer GOP approved.  The funnier thing was Obama attacking Romney’s record at Bain, after Obama used our tax dollars against our will to do the same thing with Chrysler against their will.  At least with Bain they were using investor’s money willingly given to help companies who came to them for help.  I can’t imagine the Chrysler bond-holders were hoping Obama would steal Chrysler, sell it to Italy and give the proceeds to the unions.

A couple days before South Carolina, Gingrich’s biggest advantage in the debates may become his worst liability.  Yes, the New Hampshire debate earned top ratings.  But Romney remains unflappable.  On the other hand, in Huckabee’s South Carolina forum on January 14th, the viewership was not quite so wide but Gingrich’s attack on Bain and the crowd’s booing response can be quickly found on youtube.  Going forward, more average voters are going to start relying more on soundbites and replays than taking time away from the playoffs to watch these debates from start to finish.  Without something to rally behind, Newt will not be able to recover the lost ground.

Romney won Iowa and New Hampshire, continuing to cement his front runner and assumed nominee status.  A South Carolina win will make it nearly impossible for any other candidate to catch up despite the fact that Romney continues to come no where near grabbing a majority of Republicans.  By the time Santorum and Perry drop out, Romney may have enough momentum to convince conservative holdouts to stop fighting him and start fighting with him against Obama.

Where New Hampshire Leaves Us

Bookmark and Share    The results of the Live Free or Die State’s first in the nation primary, did little to change minds or establish any great degree of certainty about the final outcome when Republicans gather to nominate a President in September.  Yet despite all the hand ringing, flavors of the many different weeks, sniping about who is to liberal, and general exasperation over the lack of perfection in the presidential field, I do believe that just as was the case in Iowa and now New Hampshire, Mitt Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee.  However, nothing is set in stone and as masterfully noted in a recent post by MDuminiak, there are a number of unique circumstances facing the now undeniable Republican frontrunner, Mitt Romney.

As I have mentioned in the past, there is a significant possibility for Republicans to see their first brokered convention since 1976.  In his post “Hollow Victories”, MDuminak cites several factors that could lead up to such an event.  They include the penalties which strip several states of half their delegate counts for holding earlier than allowed primaries and the proliferation of states that have moved to a proportional allocation of their delegates rather than the usual winner-take-all system that dominated the process in the past.

Even so, while right now it does look like there is a good possibility for a brokered convention , I am convinced that all the speculation will be proven wrong and by the time September comes along, many will find it hard to remember just how contested the nomination seemed to be, or that most of us tried to make it out to be.

Many may find that hard to believe, but if history is any indication, that is exactly the way it will be when Mitt Romney accepts the nomination and nominates his running mate.  To believe that though, requires an interpretation of exactly where New Hampshire leaves us.

 Mitt Romney:

Romney finally cracked that 25% mark that has helped many to question his electability as a Republican.  But it was in a state friendly to Mitt and that is seen as less conservative than many other states.  Nonetheless, he did exceed his 25% high watermark and achieved what can only be called a landslide victory.

But there is more to consider as Romney moves on to the next battleground.

Mitt has played it safe.  He has not offered a single bold initiative or major reform other than his promise to repeal Obamacare.  This has made it difficult for him to win over the reform minded TEA movement wing of the G.O.P. and nearly impossible for him to tap in to the general anti-establishment mood that permeates the electorate.  His lack of innovative, revolutionary, ideas have left many uninspired by him, myself included.   Yet all that Romney has carefully proposed can not be considered anything less than conservative.  They are just not things that could easily be painted as “extreme”.  That may not be a big hit with conservatives, but it does give Romney an advantage in the general election and that is exactly what Romney is trying to do…….run a general election campaign.  It was, and is a calculated risk that he decided on many months ago. when it became clear that conservatives were not going to have a single conservative alternative to Romney  to unite behind.

So Romney has been playing it safe, and for good reason.

While the rule of thumb is that Republicans must run to the right to get the nomination and then run to the middle to win the election, that old concept may not apply in 2012.

With Barack Obama accumulating a war chest of more than a billion dollars, Romney knows that if he runs too far to the right to get the nomination, Obama’s money may make it impossible for him to run back to the middle.   Obama’s historic spending could go a long way in painting Romney as the extremist who is more out of touch with Americans than the President himself is.

Then there is the fact that Romney is not exactly quite as condemned by conservatives as many would like you to believe.  Here is a man who for several years  priors to 2011, was elected the favorite conservative by CPAC.   In 2008, Mitt Romney was also the conservative alternative to John McCain.  And since then, Romney has only become more conservative, not more liberal.

This is probably why recent exit polling showed Romney beating all other candidates among even conservatives.  In many ways, according to the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, Mitt Romney is the conservative alternative that conservatives were looking for.

Add to that the most well financed and organized campaign, combined with significant endorsements from people like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and what you have is candidate who can buy,  organize, and win over all the delegates he needs to win the nomination.

Then of course there are all the factors working against each of  Mitt Romney’s rivals;

Ron Paul:

Ron Paul is performing far better than he ever has before.  Some may see this as a sign that his rhetoric is resonating.  And it is.  But not with Republicans.

While Republicans agree with much, if not all of Paul’s fiscal ideas and platitudes about the Constitution, they know that he is really not quite as unique as some of his worshippers think he is.  Many Republicans understand that Paul is more rhetoric than action and that when it comes to foreign policy and national defense, he is just irresponsible.  This is why polling, including exit polls from both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary, show :

a).- Ron Paul losses among self identified Republicans.

 b).- Ron Paul loses among self identified conservatives.

c).- Ron Paul, the mythological father of the TEA Party, even loses among those who identify themselves as TEA Party members and supporters.

Which leads us to the electoral irrelevance of Ron Paul.

Ron Paul’s inflated vote totals are arrived at through a unique coalition of liberals, independents, and youth who look upon their parent’s  days as hippie, love and peace, revolutionaries,  with nostalgic admiration and see it as the days when America had meaning.

Some suggest that we must thank Ron Paul for bringing these people in to the Republican Party.   Some do, but I don’t.

First of all, I have no need for liberals in my Party.  It’s bad enough that as a New York born resident of New Jersey, I am living among far too many Rockefeller Republicans already.  But more than that, none of these people are going to stay in the Republican Party, and none of these Paul fanatics are going to ever vote Republican.  They will either cast their lot with President Obama, vote for a third Party candidate, or not vote at all.  No matter which one of those three alternatives they choose, none of them were or are ever going to vote Republican.  Not unless Ron Paul becomes the nominee and that is just not ever going to happen.

So when it comes to Ron Paul, relax.

He has little to do with the G.O.P. and this is still the Republican presidential nomination we are talking about.  Will Ron Paul continue to get his message out?  Yes.  Will it change the results of the Republican presidential nomination contest?  No.

So Ron Paul is merely a distraction.

Jon Huntsman:

Huntsman did well in New Hampshire, but third place behind Ron Paul does not make him a rock a star and while he claimed that third place was his ticket to South Carolina, he better hope it’s a roundtrip ticket.  His 3rd place finish will not swing big money his way as it did for Rick Santorum after Iowa,  and with the lack of money that he has to invest in South Carolina, what you get is a candidate with no momentum and not enough tread on his wheels to get the type of traction he needs in South Carolina.

Huntsman like Paul, is now merely a distraction.

Rick Perry:

At this point, the only reason Perry is still running is because he wants to be there if the other candidates trip and fall as badly as he did.  Perry does not want to miss the chance to become the nominee by default if Romney or any combination of the others become the next Gary Hart and fall out of favor because of “Monkey Business”.

Perry is not even a distraction. He is just standing by and waiting to fill a vacancy that may never open up.  His only other hope is that the field stays relatively muddled until he can rack up a significant number of delegates from Texas and the rest of the deep South, West of Florida.  And even then he has to hope that fate provides him  with a brokered convention that make his delegate count important enough for him to have a big say as to who the nominee is.

Rick Santorum:

Santorum still has a chance to show some life in South Carolina.  Like Iowa, it is dominated by social conservatives and no one else has really  established themselves yet as the social conservative candidate.  On top of that, he now has money.  After raising significant amounts of money following his virtual tie with Romney in Iowa,  he could not spend it in New Hampshire because its primary was so close to Iowa’s caucus, that all the air time was already bought up.  That is not the case in South Carolina.

However, that is about all the momentum Santorum has left going in to South Carolina.  He was unable to turn his strong Iowa showing into a strong New Hampshire finish and coming in behind Newt Gingrich did not help at all.

So Santorum is not likely to defeat Mitt Romney in South Carolina but he could still emerge as a conservative alternative to Romney in Florida.

Newt Gingrich:

Gingrich is fading fast.  He really needed to at least beat Jon Huntsman if not Ron Paul too.  Instead he now goes in to South Carolina as an underfinanced, unorganized, bottom tier candidate. Yet if there is  any place he could turn things around, it is South Carolina.  Sadly though, I do not see him doing that.  Gingrich failed to ever accept the fact that although he may be an unconventional leader, there are some conventional aspects of a campaign that are so basic, that even he, Gingrich the Great, needed to employ them.  But he didn’t.  between that, a lack of structure,as well as a lack of a clear theme and message, and his experiment with attacking Mitt Romney from the left, it looks like South Carolina may be Newt’s last stand.

Even if Newt does surprise us all in South Carolina, I am afraid it is too late for him to do much with it.  Florida will be tougher for Newt and easier for Mitt than South Carolina, and with Newt’s lack of funds and Romney’s abundance of funds, Florida is where the inevitability factor may settle in for Mitt and help to dry up any remaining opportunities that his rivals might still have.

Does this mean it’s all over?

Not at all.

The game will still be played.

If  for nobody other than Ron Paul, the race will remain contested at least until Super Tuesday and probably beyond.  But the game won’t  be a very serious one.  It will mainly be talked up by political junkies like myself and rating starved talking heads who will claim Ron Paul is tearing the G.O.P. in half, and that he may go to the convention with enough delegates to change the Republican platform or determine who the presidential and vice presidential nominees are.  But such talk will be mere fantasy because in the end, Mitt Romney will reach the 1,128 delegates he needs for the Republican presidential nomination by March 20th or earlier.  And if he happens not to get it by then, he will do so no later than Tuesday, April 24th, when 231 delegates are up for grabs in the Mid-Atlantic version of Super Tuesday that will see the Romney rich states of Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island all hold their primaries.

Then, mark my words, all this talk about about how incompetent the Republican field was and how competitive it was, will all be a part of a hard to remember past, and no matter how much you dislike Mitt Romney now, you will not be disliking quite that much after he delivers his acceptance speech in September at the Republican National Convention.

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