Four years ago yesterday, Mitt Romney bailed out of the 2008 Republican Presidential contest. The people had spoken.
Things were looking better than they did back then until Mittens took a serious body blow in the heartland of America last night. Sure, they shrug off these primaries and caucuses off beauty contests, but that's not what they were saying last week. . .
What are his spinmeisters saying tonight? "It's always darkest before the dawn," or "we've only begun to fight?" The Missouri and Minnesota losses weren't that shocking--these folks are going to vote mainly for the conservative candidate. But Colorado? What the Eff happened? A few days ago, Romney was polling ahead in the double digits. And tonight, Ex-Senator Rick Santorum whipped him by more than 5%. Romney had plummeted 16% in a few days? Maybe you can attribute this to his recent comments about the poor, or his recent financial disclosures, on top of his earlier verbal slips? Or maybe people are just finally coming to their senses? But that's not it, because those votes are going to Rick Santorum.
Mitt has been regularly tarred and feathered by his opponents as practically a Molotov-cocktail throwing Bolsheviki, or at best, a shameless flip-flopper and closet liberal, he walks into these next contests almost crippled. As Bob Dylan wrote "It's not dark yet/but it's getting there."
In the battleground states, however, Mitt Romney and President Obama are polling neck and neck. And, in the end, the battleground states are all that matter. The center of the party would like to get focused on Romney and away from the opponent du jour. But those damned voters keep getting in their way.
This could change rapidly, but in general, Romney now has to score in Arizona, Washington State, and the other states that vote/caucus before Super Tuesday, not necessarily to win, but to at least show he has some stuffing left. But Super Tuesday is where his focus will be. Super Tuesday is not as big as it has been in the past, but ten states is a pretty significant data point. It may tell all. But that's hard to know in this genuinely fragmented and bizarre nomination contest.
If anything, as a political dweeb, this is all great news. We now see the race, presumably with all four candidates, head into the next primaries and Super Tuesday. No one is going to bail out before then, not now.