THE MOST SURPRISING CANDIDATE
Pardon the hiatus, but I suspended further comment because I had said all that was needed in the earlier days of the campaign and up until April. Those who wish to revisit my blog posts in the Politics category will find the following:
1. That Mitt Romney would be the Republican nominee, when the anti-Romney cloud first gathered in the GOP and Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich successively became front-runners in polls of Republican preference. Cain was a bad joke, played not on the nation as on the GOP faithful; and can we imagine what a fine cut of a president Perry would make with his aw-shucks, knee-slapping folks-isms that can only go over in a state like Texas, but not at the expense of, say, foreign heads of state where nuance and real brains are required. And we tired of Newt Gingrich touted as the “intellectual” center of the party.
2. That Obama was and is smarter than all of them–not to say it is he alone but in tandem with those in his inner circle and other brain-trusts accessible to him at a moment’s notice. I truly believe the GOP leadership sensed that early on and felt that they had to strike quick and hard to cast the president as an idiot. But the prez is far too cool for that and has brilliantly outflanked them.
3. That an Obama-Romney showdown would and will result in the former’s re-election, though that pairing is infinitely better than any others the Republican base flirted with at the expense of their own time and self-image. As this election plays out, we will see that Barack will survive not only an intransigent Congress and a brutal Tea Party, but the steady drum-beat of a major news organization (Fox News) devoted to nothing short of his political demise. There must be a god somewhere.
Here’s what I didn’t count on: I predicted that candidate debates in this case would provide a more reasonable forum in which the real differences between modern liberalism and conservatism would be manifest; and that the electorate would clearly see that and reject the latter. But I didn’t guess that, pre-debate, Romney would be such an inept campaigner: everything that is bad about current day Republicanism has surfaced in his preachments and he has become his own worst enemy. Worse, he seems clueless regarding these gaffes and, while seeking to avoid repeats of the exact misakes, is totally unclear on the concepts at stake that should warn him what not to say regarding other issues.
I also had predicted that Mitt would avoid making McCain’s kind of mistake regarding a running mate. Clearly, he could and would not name someone who might outshine him, but he could have done better than Paul Ryan if he really wanted to take his case to the people with a heavyweight at his back. When he introduced Ryan to the musical strains of what could be called a Wagner-esque rendering of “Twilight of Godzilla,” out skips this shave-tail of a choice. Forget about Ryan being athletic–everyone in your local gym these days is buff enough to look as fit. In a trice, Paul tried to play on his athletic repute by exaggerating his marathon-time. Now, no one forgets their real time on such occasions, just as Barbara Bush deftly refuted Bill Clinton’s supposedly poor memory on how often he met with Monica by saying that no man forgets any and every blow-job he ever got.
Ryan already is seen less and less on the trail, and that’s not good for Romney since henceforth he gets to make all the mistakes.
I am on the verge now of predicting an Obama landslide, and let me say this about that before my critics begin to scream again: when I said those many months ago that it would be an Obama-Romney runoff, I got heat from both the political left and right–after which I received apologies from those with the grace to offer them. And I remind readers when Reagan trailed Carter into October of their campaigns and, yep, Reagan won by a landslide.
“Landslides” are not about one candidate drubbing another in total votes but refers to all those running for office nationwide who benefit from the “coattails” of the head of their ticket–in that case, Reagan. I’m not read to say so yet in this instance but it is conceivable because if Romney continues to fall apart, it will inflame not only Obama’s “base” but all others who have been on the sidelines but will turn out to be on the side of the November’s winner.
Oh, of course, nothing is sealed in stone. All kinds of things can happen, and do, in elections where so much is at stake. But none is apt to occur in 2012, aside from spotty instances where the Tea Party may luck out with another brat or two.
I’m grateful for Romney because with any other candidate from his party, this political season would have been a total joke. He is also killing the Tea Party, having thrown cold water on their string of prior successes; presently, they don’t know whether to crap or go blind, as we say in the Ozarks–having been one-upped by a real populist movement in the Occupy phenomenon and lacking their previous enthusiasm.
So, for all of Obama’s cool craftiness throughout a bad economy that was none of his doing; high unemployment; and explosive surprises in the Middle East and elsewhere, it is Romney who is the Surprise candidate.
And if things continue to implode in his camp, we may be looking at landslide. Or something close to it.