Monday, January 09, 2012

It looks like it'll be Romney, whether you like it or not

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Via twitter: 

"SC GOP veteran tells me he sees signs of consolidation around Romney. Growing feeling that SC wants to keep up tradition of deciding nominee"

-- David Gregory (@davidgregory)

Well, sure. All you had to do was watch that ridiculous GOP "debate" Saturday night. It wasn't really a debate, it was a sort of friendly-fire formality in preparation for Romney's imminent coronation. Shots were taken by the various anti-Romneys, but nothing stuck and he left largely unscathed. (Indeed, the most damage done to Romney was done by himself the next day, when, as if trying to cement his plutocratic bona fides, he said during the Meet the Press debate that politics is for the rich.)

It may well be over. With a big win in New Hampshire tomorrow, Romney could sweep into South Carolina and wrap up the nomination. (There are reports that Newt, suddenly flushed with cash, is preparing to go ballistic on Romney, perhaps out of revenge for what Romney and his SuperPACs did to him in Iowa, but I'll believe it when it happens. Newt still has a lot of money to make as a loyal if occasionally renegade Republican, and I doubt he's going to jeopardize his future by trying to destroy the likely nominee.) He's got Gov. Haley's endorsement, after all, and the opposition is divided, mostly between Gingrich and Santorum.

And yet he remains deeply unpopular with conservatives and the non-elite elements of the party, including the grassroots base. It certainly appears that resignation has set in for many of the movers and shakers in the party, but what of the ideologues, the hardcore loyalists, Tea Partiers and social conservatives alike, who refuse to compromise and who rightly see Romney as an interloper, a phony, and worse? How will they take to being told it's Romney whether they like it or not?

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