Saturday, February 11, 2012

Race for the White House

I had a lot more to say about the week in politics, that I was planning to quickly write a short while ago, but hearing the news about the death of Whitney Houston and wanting to listen to the coverage is distracting me a bit. So, this may be a bit truncated.

For political junkies and for the media, where a long Presidential primary contest is economically lucrative from a business standpoint, every little up and down of the 2012 GOP campaign gets amplified, and some events are given far more significance than maybe they really deserve.

However, perception moves news cycles in the age we live in. With that in mind, Mitt Romney went from having a great day last Saturday, to an absolutely horrible one on Tuesday, and now a very good one today. With the next contests in Arizona and Michigan not for another 17 days, it is a very positive thing for Romney and his supporters such as myself to enter this mini-news lull on a high note.

This past Saturday, as expected, Romney rolled up a big number in the state anchored by Las Vegas, taking Nevada with a majority of the vote. After Romney delivered a strong victory speech, second place finisher Newt Gingrich took the podium at a press conference, in which news reports stated he would begin to embark on a new positive angle to his campaign. It was anything but, as Gingrich unloaded on Romney and wallowed publicly in campaign despair. Again, I have to think psychological professionals could write books analyzing Gingrich's life and performance on the campaign trail. The media noted about how ill advised the Gingrich event and tone was and indeed it's been a horrible week for the candidate who won a large victory in South Carolina just three weeks ago.

Very quickly, I just want to make note about how openly Gingrich ascribed Romney's victory to the fact that so many Mormons live in Nevada. Besides the fact that Romney still would have won the state, according to entrance polls if not a single Mormon had voted, I find it amazing that Mormons can be talked about as a voting bloc in a way that would be completely politically damaging for someone to talk publicly about Jews, African-Americans or any other group.

I really want to hear more about Whitney Houston, who apparently died at a pre-Grammys event at the Beverly Hilton, so I will soldier on and try to finish this...

Last Saturday, before the Nevada results, I predicted that Santorum would soon surpass Gingrich as the "anti-Romney" alternative and that certainly happened as the former Pennsylvania Senator revived his campaign by sweeping non-binding, small turnout contests on Tuesday nights, winning by very large margins in Missouri (where Gingrich was not on the ballot and where a caucus will select delegates in March, in Minnesota, where Romney won four years ago, but finished a distant third behind Ron Paul this year, and in Colorado, by a very narrow margin which was supposed to be a solid Romney state.

In my view, the biggest story of the night was the way Gingrich had fallen at the expense of Santorum and how ultimately it could be a positive development for Romney, due to two continuing and competing anti-Romney factions, but the media all but declared the night a disaster for the supposed frontrunner from Massachusetts.

Due to the breaking Whitney Houston news, I will save for another week, a discussion as to what might happen if either Gingrich or Santorum dropped out of the race and what it could mean for the Romney campaign. As of now though, they both seem prepared to stay in, and Romney is probably in the somewhat ironic position of wanting to see Gingrich remain viable in the race, despite the poisonous rhetoric being thrown against him from that direction.

After the Santorum sweep, which I believe was aided by the votes of Evangelical Christians, coming on the heels of all the news of recent days involving the Obama Administration, the Catholic Church, same sex marriage, and contraception coverage mandates, the candidate has begun to surge in national and state polls. I think much of this is due to the fact that he has yet to experience any real vetting or much in the way of negative ads against him. I consider Santorum's support to be quite soft and I think he does not seem financially or organizationally in a good position to sustain a long national campaign.

Again, because of the news, I will save some more general election related aspects involving the Obama Administration and the news it has made this past week, especially what it could mean for the Catholic vote. I definitely have strong opinions on the issue, but for now, the GOP nomination contest is more pertinent.

So, Mitt Romney was once again in the position of needing a rebound, for the reason of getting the media to stop talking about how much trouble he was in alone, and he came to the annual CPAC Conference in Washington D.C. , not expected to make much of a splash.

On Friday, Romney gave a fairly well received performance, in which he curiously referred to himself as a "severe conservative" before the gathering, but the real surprising news came on Saturday, when he won the straw poll of the participants (who tend to skew quite young) by a 38-31 percent margin over Rick Santorum.

The news got even better for Romney later today when he was declared the winner of the caucus in Maine. Going in to the day, many believed Ron Paul would achieve his first victory there, but he finished nearly 200 votes behind Romney. A solid showing to be sure for Paul, who worked the state hard, but I believe if he could not win there, he is not going to win anywhere this year.

And that is where we now are. I think it is probably wise not to read too much into Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado which were bad for my candidate, or CPAC and Maine which were good, but all in all, Romney fans like myself can breathe a sigh of relief now today. He is still the frontrunner and can hopefully pull off a great showing in Arizona and his native state of Michigan.

I will have to cut it off here, despite having much more I could say about politics. What a great talent Whitney Houston was. I remember her first album so well from when I was a young child and I was a huge fan at that time. What a shame she struggled with all those demons for the past decade plus.

I believe the children are our future.... I believe in Mitt Romney and I believe in America....