Take these goddamn leg irons off me!
"Sorry, we were just so anxious to get you in the studio to expound on this, we got a little carried away. Can you forgive us?"
I'll forgive the leg irons. The tranq darts will take a little longer.
"...heh heh...So! Rick Santorum quit on the race yesterday. It's now Romney vs. Obama."
Don't get me wrong, I would never support a candidate that, back in 1776, would have been a friggin' Tory. But Santorum was forced out. It was a mercy killing.
"Well, we've known for a while the R's were trying to get him to quit so they can focus on Obama."
They were fine with him initially because they were expecting to get what the D's got with Hillary vs. Obama. When they saw it wasn't working, they put the screws to him.
"What do you mean, what they got from Hillary vs. Obama? Lots of negative campaigning?"
No. Hillary vs. Obama rewrote political science in 2008. Usually, a long, protracted campaign is a bad idea because the voters get bored and annoyed and bail. But with HvO, record numbers of people registered to vote and supported one of the candidates. There was an unprecedented increase in registered voters, and they were ready to go by that election. Anyone could have won with those numbers.
"So why aren't the R's getting the same thing out of a protracted campaign between Romney and Santorum?"
History. HvO was a chance to actually write history instead of living it. One way or the other, the first female Presidential candidate or the first black candidate, it was a new era, and the people could usher it in. Romney and Santorum don't have that kind of dynamic, they are the status quo. Santorum is a bully who uses the Bible to justify his assholery. Romney is such a wooden politician, he doesn't get crabs, he gets termites. The only politician more wooden than him is Al Gore. They don't sit together, not because of party affiliation, but because they constitute a fire hazard.
"You're such a bitch."
Get it! * snap * Anyway, voters are more disinterested in what happens than interested because the choice is between a douchebag and a lump. It doesn't help Santorum's future among the "America! Fuck Yeah!" crowd that, last week, Italian magazine Oggi did some genealogy and found that distant Italian cousins of Santorum's were full tilt communists after WWII. They saw the numbers, and forced Santorum out.
"You think he was forced out?"
His political future means nothing to them. They've been building the pressure without even allowing him a graceful exit. Cameras caught him swearing at reporters in the rope line. One of his daughters was with him, and they saw her roll her eyes. She knows better than her dad, and she's not an actual politician yet.
"So you don't think the poll numbers in Pennsylvania have anything to do with it."
Nope. The party wanted him out, the fix was in, and bailing after his daughter was in the hospital was the best he could do and save some face.
"You think he faked his daughter's illness?"
No, he just took advantage of it like he did before that one primary vote to drum up public sympathy. If he just quit, his following won't support him again in 2016 or 2020 because he pussed out. This gives him that magic shield made of Plausible Deniability. +10 against anyone with a Cap Of Wisdom +3 or lower.
"So, where does that leave the R's?"
Running like hell. The R's don't want Romney, but he has a national network already in place to raise awareness and funds. The R's still haven't recovered from the $14 mil spending spree that Michael "License To" Steele went on when he was RNC chairman. They want the White House back, and the only one with resources independent of their financial problems is Romney.
"How do you think Obama will handle it?"
Very carefully. Obama is vulnerable. The only reasons he's not toast are because of the lack of funds the R's have and Obama's $1 bil plus war chest. There are fewer endorsements and the ones he have are a bit more tepid. If the R's still had their money, they probably could have won 2012 by a close but solid margin. Romney's biggest problem among the party faithful was that he was too moderate. Moderates appeal to the general populous, so Obama runs the risk of making Romney look better if he isn't precise. Romney is an unknown quantity. Obama has had four years on the job. He has a history he has to defend against a blank slate like Romney.
"Who do you think will Romney's running mate?"
Smart money is on Paul Ryan of Wisconsin or Gov. Christie of Noo Joisey. Both of them have beliefs more in line with the crowd Santorum was courting, so it will help pull support his way. It'll never be Santorum, Romney will put a bullet in his own head before he asks him to be veep. Same with Gingrich. Gingrich is saying he's staying in the race to keep Romney from straying too far from the conservative agenda. Romney is doing what is politically expedient. Gingrich thinking he's got Romney under control is the rooster thinking he makes the sun rise.
"No chance for any of the others?"
No, but there is one longshot -- rumors are flying that Romney's staff has been talking with Condoleza Rice about being veep. It would help Romney's Q score and also keep the people who supported Santorum and Gingrich since she was part of Shrub's staff.
"Where are we in the polls?"
Keep in mind, polls more than a few weeks before election day don't mean shit. Obama is in the lead, 49% to 45%, margin of error 4 points. It's probably the biggest political contrast we've seen in an election since Johnson-Goldwater in 1964. And we know how THAT turned out.
"Well, thank you, Peter, it's always a pleasure. And sorry about the tranq darts."
Actually, can I have a few of those? I saw the most awesome stuff because of them....