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The Inevitability of the Romney Campaign

Might as well just begin the triumphal chorus right now: Mitt Romney's going to win the Republican nomination. For a minute there it looked like maybe Rick Santorum might make a miracle run to front. Even I thought so. But then, I forgot one of the Cardinal rules of politics, as stated by Jimmy the Greek.

Along with being a native of Stubenville, Ohio (minutes from where I grew up), The Greek was a world-famous bookie and sports commentator. He took bets on absolutely anything and everything sports-related. Few people know, however, realize he was also a politics junkie and loved to make bets on elections. Anyway, the Greek used to say that--except in times of extreme duress, like say, post-WWI Germany--the most centrist candidate will always win. I think Romney's latest wins in Michigan and Arizona have borne this adage out quite well.

Look at the two Republican front-runners:

Romney is this plastic, air-brushed, shrink-wrapped Barbie doll, middle-aged corporate white man who will say whatever it takes, stand on whatever side of whatever issue he has to, to get elected. He puts his foot in his mouth daily trying to sound like a "Joe Sixpack" kind of guy who can connect to normal people, one of whom he clearly is not. It seems he's incapable of saying anything genuine or truly speaking his mind. It's only when he makes these terrible gaffs that we get a window into his psyche.

On the other hand, you have Rick Santorum, an off-the-cuff, straight-shooter who speaks his mind (even if he's crazy and full of shit) and riles people up. Say what you will, when he speaks people listen, if for no other reason than just to see what he's going to say next. In this bullshit-choked modern world we live in, somebody like Santorum really cuts through the static an appeals to people at a gut level, however...

...he's way too far to the Right to get elected in this country. Period. Even though Santorum is much more genuine, consistent, and determined in his convictions, he will not get elected because at that same gut-level his convictions scare people. People would much rather have Mr. Waffling, middle-of-the-road Romney over some wacko like Santorum.

Contrary to public belief, most people out there in this country (and yes, I'm generalizing here) are pretty normal; they want to be kept safe, they want to have jobs, they want to live in dry, warm homes, they want to eat, they want to provide for their families. Frankly, if most people are able to do this--and, in spite of what you hear in the media, things are still pretty good in this country--they are not going to give a shit about radical views on abortion or gay marriage or universal health care or the tax code. They're gonna want someone who, even if they disagree on a few issues here or there, is going to be level-headed, rational, and stable.

Radical views scare people, whether those views are liberal or conservative. What's more important, in my opinion, is someone who has a well-defined set of beliefs, meaning you know where he's coming from, but who's also reasonable and open to compromise; someone who can be flexible about his own set of beliefs--when necessary--in order to get things done.

That's why Santorum is never going to win at the National level. That's why, despite his woodeness, Romney has this air of inevitability as the Republican nominee; he's the closest to the center. Fortunately it's also inevitable that he's going to lose to Obama. Obama has his own authenticity issues, but he's a hell of a lot more charming than Mitt Romney and he's already had the job for four years. Furthermore, he's also closer to the center than Romney and doesn't come off as being so woefully out of touch with the needs & concerns of the average American as Romney does. But I'm getting into a whole other bag of issues here, that's best left for another time...

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