With the presidential elections still over 6 months away, it seems odd that the primary races are essentially over, and the national race is starting up. Sure there are more states to go. One must be rather nonplussed on primary day in the remaining states, knowing that any vote is essentially voicing one's opinion rather than actually having an active say in the results.
Up until recently, all but 4 contenders had dropped out of the Republican race. Ron Paul will never drop out. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were holding on, buoyed by enough financing to keep them at least somewhat relevant against the Romney inevitability factor (not to mention his funding and experience at doing this on a national level). After the last round of losses for Santorum, though, he pleaded "family emergency" and shut down his campaign. His major loss last night in his own home state sealed that deal.
Gingrich has still been talking like he's a contender, despite only winning his home state of GA up to this point (plus SC), and his poorly organized campaign bleeding dollars and in debt. For some reason, he felt the tiny state of Delaware was do or die, and - well - he died. This, after reqesting (and getting
) Secret Service protection in early March (maybe he's hoping to get in on some of that hooker action). Now he is going to "reassess" his campaign
. Here's a clue Newt: You are only marginally more popular than Ron Paul. It's over. It was never there to begin with.
Despite Romney's big wins last night, he still has not clinched the nomination. President Obama, on the other hand, has clinched the Democratic nomination
. It seemed a foregone conclusion. There had been a lot of noise on the Sparkle Pony Left about replacing President Obama. I've read countless diatribes from these people snarling "WE
need to primary Obama!". Who is this "we"? What have you done to accomplish this? More empty rhetoric from the Keyboard Brigade, who wail and gnash their teeth, but don't actually do what's necessary to field a candidate. They'll probably settle for a "protest vote" for whomever the Green Party candidate is, despite being reminded that moving votes from Obama to a 3rd party will help Romney win, not accomplish what they say
they want accomplished.
Romney will face mirror-image opposition of his own. He has tried (unsuccessfully) to convince voters this primary season that he is an "Ultra-conservative" leader, despite his own record to the contrary. This has helped cement his reputation as being two-faced, which will definitely hurt his chances. Sure he will get the vote of the "anybody-but-Obama" crowd. The problem for him will be the hard-core conservative crowd that knows better, and those in the middle who have been paying attention this primary season.
Already, he is shaking the Etch-a-Sketch, and changing his positions. During the primary, he came out in favor of the Ryan budget plan which - among its many heinous provisions - would allow the student loan rate to double (ie: let the 5-yr rate cut expire). Now that he's a national candidate, however, he is backing a proposal to extend the rate cut
, which - interestingly enough - is President Obama's position too. Welcome back to the Political Center, candidate Romney!
Besides changing all of his political stances to better attract voters in the middle, he also needs to pick a running mate. There has been a lot of speculation on this, and names get tossed around like confetti. One such name is Marco Rubio. Rubio has stated emphatically that he is not interested, perhaps not wanting to trade a guaranteed Senate seat for a probable losing bid as Romney's veep. Strategists believe Rubio would help the Republicans attract the Latino vote, even though he is not that popular with them
, because he's - you know - a Republican (ie: a sell-out in their eyes). There's also the little problem that Romney does not support Rubio's position on the DREAM Act.
Romney says his search is still in "the early stages"
. The notion of the vice-president is one who can step in for the President in a worst-case-scenario situation. Looking at some of the previous picks by Republicans (Quayle, Cheney, Palin), one has to wonder if they choose based on the idea that no one will want them assassinated. It will be very interesting to see who Romney chooses.
Until then - prepare for the ad onslaught, and let's see how many of Romney's primary positions he changes now that he's in General Election Mode.