Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Their Sign Reads:    It's Mitt

It's official.    Mitt Romney is the 2012 Repub presidential nominee, as declared from Florida.

It's not because there is no way that Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum now can gain the nomination.   You can't tell because of the daunting delegate numbers facing these fellows after Romney's sweeping victory in yesterday's Illinois primary.     None of the three ever had much of a chance.

Gingrich enjoyed one brief moment, his 15 minutes, following his impressive victory in what has in the past been the most important state, South Carolina, for determining the party's nominee.     Then he was overcome by a wave of spending by the pro-Romney SuperPac Restore Our Future and the outburst of animosity from the GOP establishment.     Paul never had a chance to become the nominee, which is precisely the chance Santorum had at the start, after his victories, and now.      The establishment is simply not ready for a man of the mid-20th century to lead its party.       There might be, at some point in a Santorum presidency, a conflict between his fierce cultural views and corporate interests.    Can't have that.

No, just as the blooming of the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. herald the arrival of spring, so, too, do an endorsement and a near-endorsement tell us that it's over for all of Romney's rivals.     First, an ex-Florida governor and one of the Repub Party's leading opportunists declared

I am endorsing Mitt Romney for our Party¹s nomination. We face huge challenges, and we need a leader who understands the economy, recognizes more government regulation is not the answer, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism and works to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed. 

Mitt Romney has been running for President for 40 months, and officially for over nine months.        That's enough time for a fetus to be conceived and a baby born, and evidently just enough time to figure out that the nomination would be unobtainable for a 76-year-old unpopular with his own party's establishment and popular base; a narcissistic, thrice-married egomaniac; and a guy who lost his last election by 19 percentage points and would like to ban birth control.       It appears it took a long time for Jeb Bush to decide that Mitt Romney is against government regulation and in favor of rapacious capitalism- or, rather, yet another Romney victory to convince Bush that a deadlocked convention, which might turn to the former Florida governor, is unlikely.      Bush could have endorsed Romney before the primary in Florida (a state in which, in the aftermath of South Carolina, Mitt trailed Newt), when it would have most helped the former Massachusetts governor.      But that would not have been the scheming, opportunistic thing to do.

And beneath the heart of a braggadocios bigot lies another of the party's leading opportunists, a resident of Florida who has not endorsed Romney, but who today moved closer to his inevitable full-throated support once Romney clearly becomes the sole alternative to Barack Obama.     Rush Limbaugh remarked

Romney's speech last night was his best. Romney's victory speech last night was his best, and it reminded me again of Daniel Henninger's column last year in the Wall Street Journal, which said that Romney was going to have to be nudged to the right. And he was clearly nudged to the right.

Rush won't actually endorse Romney, in part because withholding his endorsement might "nudge" Romney even further to the right.      Moreover, most of Limbaugh's audience undoubtedly prefers Gingrich or Santorum and the talk show host is loathe to alienate a huge chunk of his audience.    

Suddenly, we have king words for the frontrunner from someone who clearly would prefer a President Santorum or a President Gingrich.    The same day, we heard an endorsement from a popular ex-governor, carefully weighing his support in light of his own presidential ambition.         The primary in Illinois was telling, but no more so than the response from two GOP heavyweights.  

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