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Well, the Gingrich bubble has burst.  I'd say "I don't like to say I told you so," but that would be a lie.  I love to say I told you so.  In fact it might be my single most favoritest thing in the whole world.  Which says a lot about why I'm almost forty and alone.  But that's neither here nor there.  The fact remains:  I told you so.

Heh.

Seriously, though, I have to say I was more than a little surprised at how quick the media, and even Kossacks, were to buy into the Anti-Romney Flavor of the Month.

Michele Bachmann
Rick Perry
Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich

And now, here we are at the end.  Well, at the end of the beginning, anyway.  And Mitt Romney looks poised to either win or come in a strong second to the irrelevant Ron Paul in the Iowa Caucus.  Either will be spun as a win.  And Newt Gingrich?  He'll be lucky to come in fourth.  His moment as the Antimitt has passed, but who knows?  Maybe Rick Santorum will have a turn.  But it's probably too little, to late.  Santorum's not ready for prime time, anyway.  Let's face it, the last time he was in a national spotlight campaign he got his ass handed to him.  That's not a path to the White House.

No, the Republican nominee is gonna be who it was always gonna be: Mitt Romney.  He's kissed all the right rings, made all the right promises to the right people.  The former businessman closed the deal.  Mitt Romney is nothing if not proof that while evangelicals are the Republican rank and file, it's Wall Street that really calls the shots.  GOP = God & One Percenters.  And the wealthy triumph over the Creator of the Universe.

Here's what I see in my crystal ball:

• Mitt Romney wins or comes in a close second to Ron Paul in Iowa.  Either way, the media reports it as a victory.

• Gingrich skips New Hampshire, where Romney is expected to trounce all comers (which he will do) and decamps to South Carolina.

• Here is where it gets interesting.  Does Romney essentially skip over South Carolina, which he is unlikely to win, or does he take Gingrich on there, hammering away at him in hopes of affecting the upcoming Florida vote?  Or does he leapfrog SC and go right to the Sunshine State?  Either course has its appeal.  My guess is that it will depend on the polls.  If momentum from Iowa and New Hampshire bolsters Romney's numbers in South Carolina, he might just try to fight for it.  If he looks like he stands a decent shot of at least coming in a strong second, I bet he goes for it.  Either way, the spirits tell me Gingrich will win in South Carolina, bringing the fight to...

• Florida.  This is it, make or break time for the Gingrich campaign.  After this come a string of Romney-friendly states until Super Tuesday in March.  A win here is Gingrich's best argument for continued viability.  If Romney beats him here, it's over.  Expect Florida to be hard fought on all sides.  If I had to call I'd bet that Romney's money wins the day.  If so, it's hard to see how anyone has a realistic shot of stopping him.

Bottom line:  There are lots of ways for Romney to win this, but there is really only one way for Gingrich to do so, and it would require such a confluence of circumstances (an unexpectedly strong showing in Iowa and New Hampshire, for example) that the likelihood is essentially nil.  Ron Paul's a sideshow, Bachmann's a freakshow, and the rest are no-shows.  As long as Romney doesn't make some disastrous misstep it's hard to see how anyone else is the nominee.

It is as it always was.  The outcome of the Republican nominating race has been preordained since it was clear no other A-listers were running this time around.  Rick Perry had the one realistic chance of stopping Romney, but then he opened his mouth.  The Gingrich thing had a lot of people in the Romney camp spooked, but it too proved to be fleeting.  Why this should surprise anyone is puzzling.

I mean, I did tell you so.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

    by Jon Stafford on Fri Dec 30, 2011 at 05:33:02 PM PST

  •  Do you believe Romney is the easiest one (0+ / 0-)

    for Obama to beat in the general?

  •  some will hold their nose to vote fer Mitt (5+ / 0-)

    like some will hold their nose to vote fer Barack.

    2012 will be the year of stench.

    vote for the weather vane? or the wall street shill?

    (and if you're not sure who's who, that is the point.)

  •  Lock away your dogs, friends . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Stafford, SherwoodB

    you are in for a last minute Rick Santorum surge.

    "I want my Obama back!!!"

    by Pale Jenova on Fri Dec 30, 2011 at 07:04:59 PM PST

  •  Too Many Strong Conservatives (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Stafford, Flyfish100

    diluting the soup, good news for Romney.  Santorum is nipping at Gingrich's heels and Perry will put in a respectable showing probably above 10% in Iowa.  Romney has a good storm of each of them playing interference since he'd be toast with just one conservative in the race.  

    Gingrich's national  organization also sucks, he doesn't have good ground game (GGG) since hes only surged recently.  Perry has a lot more money but his own stupidity will keep him back.  Yet, Perry has so much money that he can put up respectable showings, helping Romney.

    Take care of all humanity as if they were your brothers and sisters.

    by skidrow on Fri Dec 30, 2011 at 08:18:49 PM PST

  •  the biggest question to me is how (0+ / 0-)

    does Mitt Romney compete in the Southern states, like South Carolina, which have been so crucial to determining Republican presidential nominees in recent years?

    The answer is most likely this: the exact same way that another perceived "moderate" Republican ("compassionate conservative who wasn't anywhere near as hate-filled towards Hispanics, Blacks and other minorities as the rest of the Republican field) in 2000...when he decided to disingenuously toss aside all restraints and paint himself as the pro-confederate, anti-Black right-wing extremist, even going so far as to engage in filth politics, such as the possible "horror" that John McCain had fathered a child with a Black woman (oh my God, not that...)...in...South Carolina, which still harbors massive numbers of racist, homophobic bigots in the Republican Party there.

    The only question is...how filthy and dishonest can Romney be...how low can he go, to to speak...my guess, passed on his past...he, like most Republicans, are capable of saying and doing anything to get and obtain power.

    If you liked the pro-confederacy, racist campaign of George Walker Bush in the 2000 presidential primary...you probably haven't seen anything yet when it comes to what Mitt Romney is capable of to try to win that state.

    •  South Carolina may not be that important this year (0+ / 0-)

      Romney probably won't win it, but it might not matter, because it's the last real Southern state until Super Tuesday.  Florida is a different animal entirely.  There are no recent polls for Florida, but two weeks ago Romney was only 7 points behind Gingrich in the Sunshine State, and that was before the former Speaker's slide.  If Romney wins there, then he's on to a string on virtually sure victories until early March.  How many of his opponents will even be left by then?

      "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

      by Jon Stafford on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 11:10:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree it'll be Romney (0+ / 0-)

    ..but suspect that Gingrich is already "history" even in the South. Look at what negative ads did to him in Iowa in a short period of time.

    The money trail will usually lead to the winner, especially with the Republican Party.

    Voice in the Wilderness here - but I won't be surprised to see a spoiler candidate stirring things up next year. Maybe not   Ross Perot's 19% in '92 - but a player nonetheless.

    •  Ron Paul (0+ / 0-)

      I could see Ron Paul pulling Perot numbers as the Libertarian candidate, especially with Romney as the GOP nominee.  Frankly I'd love to see that because it all but assures an Obama victory.

      "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

      by Jon Stafford on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 11:11:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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