So, how did I do?
1.) Mitt Romney- 37%
2.) Ron Paul- 23%
I wouldn’t say any of my picks, other than Romney, were exactly scientific. I thought that Paul would experience a lag in support in the last days, but Fox is saying that Independents seemed to break for him in larger numbers than Romney. I was expecting that to happen to Huntsman; if I were in the Huntsman camp, I would have walk away from this even more despondent than a week ago. Huntsman had to know that he wasn’t going to beat Romney, but he should have been able to beat Paul.
And, I would hardly say I was wrong regarding Gingrich and Santorum. New Hampshire voters were probably never going to be inclined to support Santorum in larger numbers, but I had assumed Gingrich had alienated people, guess not.
Poor, poor Rick Perry. I’m sure that New Hampshire would never be his strongest state, but you have to feel sorry for the Republican governor of the largest state in the lower 48.
So, where does this leave the race? Well, not much different than what I wrote about last evening. Romney is winning states but gaining no momentum.
Real Clear Politics had a bevy of articles about the Romney problem.
Jonah Goldberg, writing in the LA Times, had an article today entitled: “Romney’s Authenticity Problem“. Goldberg sums up quite well Romney’s major problem from the debate last Saturday night:
Romney’s claim that he’s just a businessman called to serve — Cincinnatus laying down his PowerPoint — is nonsense. Romney, the son of a politician, has been running for office, holding office or thinking about running for office for more than two decades. “Just level with the American people,” Gingrich growled. “You’ve been running … at least since the 1990s.”
For some reason, Romney can’t do that. Or at least it seems like he can’t. His authentic inauthenticity problem isn’t going away. And it’s sapping enthusiasm from the rank and file. The turnout in Iowa was disastrously low, barely higher than the turnout in 2008 — and if Ron Paul hadn’t brought thousands of non-Republicans to the caucus sites, it would have been decidedly lower than in 2008. That’s an ominous sign given how much enthusiasm there should be for making Obama a one-term president. It’s almost as if Romney’s banality is infectious.
First impressions are a killer. People decided four years ago that they didn’t like Romney, and he hasn’t done anything to change those opinions. Matt Bai, a political writer for The New York Times, equally sees problems with Romney’s past with Bain Capital:
Mr. Romney’s private equity firm routinely made money by buying struggling companies and shuttering their plants — including one in Gaffney, S.C., where more than a hundred steel workers were reportedly laid off…
Mr. Romney seemed plastic and programmed, an impression that could only be exacerbated by the idea that he was laying people off and sleeping just fine.
Read the whole thing. Bai is referencing comments Romney made over the weekend that he enjoyed firing people. Huntsman and Gingrich both pounced on the horror that a businessperson may fire people.
By the way, to be fair, here is the quote:
“I want individuals to have their own insurance, that means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.
“You know, if someone doesn’t give me a good service that I need, I want to say I’m going to go get someone else to provide that service to me.”
Not exactly a radical statement, but It’s thin gruel in this economy.
So, anyway, Romney won with less than 50 percent of the vote in a state bordering the state where he formally governed. This isn’t an earth shattering win. I think Republicans are going to be throwing down some stiff drinks tonight or saying a few hail marys.
The fact of the matter is that Romney has won this thing. South Carolina is going to be a bare knuckle brawl, but, regardless, Romney is going to come out on top. He’s the only one with a large source of money and connections and party endorsements. It’s also just what the GOP does. At the American Scene, Noah Millman makes the case that this is just the standard GOP game.
The final thought on this for tonight is: What must those Tea Party voters be thinking? Did Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell kill the Tea Party? My later example, Christine O’Donnell, is a fairly interesting case. On one hand, she ran a hopeless senate campaign in Delaware, after defeating Mike Castle in a primary; on the other hand, she ended up endorsing Romney for President–Is she potentially looking for a job? By the way, I know this is old news, yes blogging is supposed to be timely and all that jazz, but you gotta love O’Donnell’s explanation on Romney’s flip flops: “He’s been consistent since he changed his mind.”
The South Carolina primary is Saturday, January 21st. Romney is polling at around 30 percent in South Carolina. Rick Santorum is the next closest with about 21 percent.