Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mitt Math

Trying to predict the results of a national election ten months before the voting is stupid, but I've still been trying to sort out the possibilities.

Like most people, I think Obama will have a hard time winning in November. Every Republican hates him, and he's disappointed most Democrats by continuing to try crawling into bed with Republicans in Congress long after it was clear they hated his fucking guts. My crystal ball as of today (January 8th) tells me that Obama can only win if (a) the economy continues its recent pattern of incremental improvement, and (b) the GOP nominee is someone that drives nearly all the independents so crazy that they decide to stick with the devil they know. I think both conditions must exist for Obama to have a chance in the Electoral College.

Here's where Mitt Math comes in. There are two things that we know are absolutely true. First, Republicans don't fall in love; they fall in line. Second, Republicans as a rule hate Ns even more than they hate Mormons. I live among Texas Republicans of the yahoo variety, and have witnessed both of these truths as part of my lifetime of experience.

Right now, Perry is sucking hind tit, barely ahead of Huntsman. There are still four Republicans actually in the race -- Willard, Pappy, the Newt, and S-Rick -- but Gingrich is fading and Pappy is too weird in too many ways to win a single primary. Willard is projected to win New Hampshire, and early polls show he might even win South Carolina. If he does, that blows the last remaining reason for Santorum's existence out of the water -- South Carolina is supposed to be in the same class as Mississippi and Alabama as a bastion of cultural conservatism (evangelunacy), and religious crazies should be S-Rick's natural constituency.

So let's say Mitt fights his way through and eventually wins the GOP nomination. He will have been forced to steer hard to the right to win states like South Carolina, but after the convention, when everyone has signed on the dotted line, he won't be dragging around a loose cannon like Palin as his running mate. My gut feeling is that pragmatic Mitt will replace pandering Mitt, and he'll make course corrections toward the center. He'll get away with it because Republicans hate the N even more than they hate the Mormon. It'll be too late to rescind the nomination, so the voters will fall in line as they always do. Given a choice between moderate Mitt and Obama, the independents switch back to the (R) column on the ballot. Obama's looking for work a year from now.

That's why I'll be watching the results in South Carolina. If Santorum really does emerge as the Anybody But Romney choice and wins the nomination, Obama still has money in the game. That'll be important if the GOP holds their House majority and takes over the Senate. 

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Dedicated to Jim Ferguson. If you don't know who Jim Ferguson is, you (a) haven't seen The Missouri Breaks, or (b) have an inadequate ability to fully assimilate movie trivia.