I ask because the R's seem to have not only reached acceptance, but are now playing dirty to make it happen.
Word is coming out that an Iowan vote counter gave Romney an extra twenty votes, enabling him to beat Rick Santorum by eight votes in the caucus. I mention this because, when electronic voting machines were being readied, I was among the Open Source supporters trying to get an open source implementation accepted as the standard. The government went with a private company with proprietary software. Strangely, there have been all sorts of questions about rigging the voting machines since then, with no way to prove it. And don't forget -- modern voting machines can be hacked with a little practice, a little prep, and about $12 in parts from your local Radio Shack.
Let me explain how primaries work versus general elections. People constantly complain about the party hardliners who wind up getting the nominations. It's how the race is run. The primaries are for the core party base, not the general public. That means the people who take the platform seriously. So candidates run, trying to appeal to these voters by being seen as die hard to the cause as they are. Then comes the general election, when they have to appeal to someone other than the core party base. So they start saying middling stuff, and the general public doesn't trust them, because just a few months ago, they were saying the exact opposite. It's all about the target audience.
In a way, this actually plays to a strength in Romney's campaign. There's so much wishy-washy behavior in his political record, should he survive the primary, he can be easily painted as a moderate. A compromiser. Someone who isn't going to force an agenda down people's throats. Hey, I said how he could be painted. I'm not saying that's what he really is. Remember, politics is all about spin, and Romney should be very easy to spin. The R's should be thankful, because Romney won't be easily lumped with the Tea Partiers who have been strangling any political progress for the past year.
The R's wanted anyone but Romney. Now, they are faced with being stuck with him. The party bosses, in their search for someone who fit their image, spent so much energy searching, they forgot to cover their rear flank. The R's were ripe for an outsider takeover after the 2008 election, when Sarah Palin became a star. When they finally got her constrained (aiding in no small part by not stepping up for her in the days after the Arizona Massacre), they figured that was that.
They didn't expect Michele Bachmann. Then again, they didn't need to. Bachmann was going to flame out sooner or later anyway, thanks to her talent for showing how fucking stupid she is (and if you disagree with me, I will simply point out her little speech about CO2 not being poisonous). Her party may not be completely for gender equality, but her gleefully stating she is subservient to her husband is now out of date, and cast real questions on whether she would make decisions (and those that still believe that "men are superior" bullshit won't vote for a woman anyway). Not one candidate took any swipes or challenged her record, even after she won the straw poll. Hell, I think I was the only one really putting the smack down on her. And sure enough, once her little novelty act got old, her numbers fell.
The R's eventually found and settled on Rick Perry. Modern politics is all about selling the candidate. However, Perry is just too much of a chucklefuck for them. As Clint Eastwood said, "A man's gotta know his limitations." Perry has the Texas friendliness thing down. But he can't think on the fly, as his constantly being spanked at debates and in interviews proves. Obama would eat him alive. Perry doesn't understand the concept of damage control, as the hubbub about his old hunting ground proved -- he pretty much ignored it until it left the headlines. And he just coasted through things, letting his staff handle everything. He's more hands off than Adrian Monk in a strip club. Perry's whole shtick was that he wasn't Romney. Unfortunately, he presented himself as worse than Romney, and voters for once realized that different does not automatically equal better.
They didn't expect Herman Cain. Cain's entire campaign was based on an advertising slogan (9-9-9) instead of actual policy. There were a few attempts to take him down, but Cain was a moving target. The real genius of Cain's campaign was how it was so expertly marketed. All the things used to build interest in a brand of soap or whatever were used to sell Cain. He was presented as a brand, but anything truly negative (read that: most everything) was kept out of the way. He never really said anything the opposition could pounce on, and when they did, it was with a style that was rejected by Cain's cult of personality. They were transmitting on a frequency no one was listening in on. After all, it wasn't the stupidity of Cain's plans that cost him, it was the sexual harassment scandals.
They didn't expect Newt Gingrich. They sure as hell didn't want him. Yeah, he's a classic insider and friendly with the party bigwigs. But his personal life makes him an embarrassment, especially for a party of holier-than-thou assholes who gleefully took cheap shots and the Kennedy clan and their fidelity issues. The R's hypocrisy would go from implied to blatant, and they were relieved when he flamed out.
Cain brought a lot of people into the R's tent to boost his numbers. With him gone, they needed someone else to support, and they drifted to Ron Paul. Paul has been consistent in his stances, voting record, everything. The only things people are attacking him on is heresay, staffers claiming this, that, and the other.
The one constant in all of this is that it violates how elections are usually set up. You usually have three individuals -- the front runner, the challenger, and the also-ran. The challenger is the anti-front runner, there just because people will vote for anyone but the front runner and are content to waste their vote instead of actually backing someone worthwhile. Romney has never had an anti-Romney to compete against. Paul is his own person, his selling point is his stances, not that he's not Romney. Cain, too. There have been efforts to paint Santorum as an anti-Romney, but his investments and stances on social issues put him out of touch with what America is becoming. After all, the vote was rigged to squeak Romney through (you can't tell me, in close elections, there are little things done in order to boost one candidate or deflate another. This is what happens when your political school is in Illinois).
New Hampshire is tomorrow. It's a primary, not a caucus. Romney is looking at a landslide victory. Candidates will get what electoral votes they can, they barter them for a cabinet post or something to help someone win. But not only is no one in a position to get stray electoral bread crumbs, there isn't an alternative to give them to. Santorum is hoping to finish second just to keep his momentum going. Gingrich is seeing his support in the south is not as strong as it used to be, and the general apathy about him not being on the ballot in his adopted home state of Virginia shows the writing on the wall -- no one wants him. A mess of primaries are held the same day through the American South. I'm figuring the day after that is when Newtie's campaign finally goes tits up. Paul is the only other New Hampshire candidate polling in the double digits, 25% to Romney's 41, and he's not going to barter with business as usual types. There is just too much inertia for Santorum to overcome. Perry will probably stay in just long enough to take Texas so he can say he won something, the political equivalent of Miss Congeniality.
So it's looking like Romney is going to be the R's nominee for President.
Christ, I need a drink right now.