The GOP primaries are officially underway and the results so far indicate Mitt Romney as a strong favorite. With 85 delegates won so far, compared to second place runner Newt Gingrich’s 29, Romney is already proving to be a safe bet to win the GOP primary.
Despite Romney’s questionable stance of health care, famously approving a plan almost identical to President Obama’s in his own state yet coming out as opposed to the President’s plan, and Mormon beliefs, he is still clearly the most electable of Republican candidates.
Gingrich led a witch hunt against Bill Clinton in 1998 for cheating on his wife while he himself was cheating on his own second wife. Also, divorcing his first wife because she had cancer was not the most tactful of moves.
Ron Paul is far too extreme in his libertarian stances, such as ending all drug prohibition, dismantling the Department of Education, and returning America to the gold standard to ever be seen as electable by moderates.
Rick Santorum has been crippled from the very beginning by Dan Savage’s campaign to redefine Santorum’s last name, after Santorum went so far as to compare homosexuality to child abuse.
Assuming there is no upset and Romney wins the primary, it seems unlikely he will do so without some damage done to his reputation.
Many of Romney’s opponents have released attack ads, with even comedian Stephen Colbert releasing an ad equating Romney to a serial killer.
Gingrich in particular has been viciously attacking Romney and painting him as wealthy and out of touch with middle America, a tactic which was famously successful against presidential hopeful John McCain in the 2008 election.
Gingrich has also made it very clear he intends to fight things out to the bitter end, being quoted by the New York Post as saying “We intend to compete in every state.”
Having to deal with Gingrich’s intense attack campaign for an extended period of time could tire Romney out for the upcoming presidential race, where he has Obama to contend with, a notoriously skilled campaigner. As voters are already being bombarded by attacks against Romney and these attacks seem unlikely to end any time soon, Romney could be severely tarnished by the time the general election season comes around. This means that Obama could potentially choose not to run any attack ads and benefit from the public perception of running a “clean” campaign, while at the same time benefiting from the attacks made by Gingrich.
Obama on the other hand is looking better and better, having ended the war in Iraq, killed Osama bin Laden, passed health care reform, ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and notably improved homegrown manufacturing jobs. These are notable accomplishments which are sure to resound with moderate voters and liberals alike.
His biggest challenge will be getting past the public perception that he has failed to accomplish much of anything and communicating his accomplishments effectively to voters. This perception has led to several websites cropping up listing his various accomplishments, the most famous of which being www.whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com.
Despite these challenges to both candidates, it is still far too early in the presidential race to make any definitive calls as to its outcome. As always, the world of politics is constantly changing and nothing is ever certain.
As this story was about to go to press, the results of the Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota caucuses came in, showing Santorum with a clear lead. While this is startling news, it is worth mentioning that all of the Feb. 7 contests are non-binding, and only show an upswing in support for Santorum. Whether these states will end up swaying in favor of Santorum in their official primaries is still up for debate.
Photo courtesy Reuters/Larry Downing