Despite his wins on Tuesday in Arizona and Michigan, Mitt Romney remains the convictionless centrist who simply can't inspire the right, or even the center for that matter. Analysts across the ideological spectrum deem him a dud candidate -- a flawed and wounded frontrunner who pays for his demoralizing squeakers and empty victories on his debit card.
Even a paltry win in Michigan is a loss, said a few pundits, noting the erosion of support Romney saw in his home state since winning it easily in 2008 over John McCain.
Romney's success in the primaries, to the extent that it exists, appears largely artificial -- a function not so much of his personality and political philosophy but his fat wallet, SuperPac assassination team, and the sheer luck of finding himself in a field of wan and cashless candidates.
"Thank you, Kid Rock," said Ann Romney not long before surrendering the floor to Mitt at his Michigan "celebration." Some celebration. Is this really the best that the GOP can do? If so, may God help us all.
Obama vs. Obama lite -- this is the race ahead unless conservatives derail Romney's candidacy in the Deep South. Newt Gingrich is quietly biding his time in Georgia. Santorum's loss may make the former Speaker of the House relevant again.
Where is the outrage, conservatives? Why would they, almost two years after the Tea Party restored the GOP to Congressional power, want to nominate as their head a Northeast RINO who embodies the antithesis of the Tea Party movement? This makes no sense, either philosophically or politically. I repeat: a party that chooses "power" over principle will lose both.
Romney's "electability" argument, which already sounded ludicrous, looks even weaker this morning in light of his struggles to win Democrats in his home state's open primary. "Santorum Democrats" is a phrase I heard from pundits. I didn't hear any of them refer to "Romney Democrats." Some pundits said that Santorum, despite losing, could end up winning more counties in Michigan than Romney, owing to the latter's weak showing.
When will the GOP ever learn? Centrists never win the center. They lose it and demoralize the right.
Perhaps a charismatic RINO could win a slice of the center. But Romney suffers from a lackluster personality for a candidate who aspires to unseat Obama. At times, Romney almost seems like an acharismatic robot, so fundamentally boring and plastic even his supporters strain to show enthusiasm for him. Some pols lack style but boast substance. Others lack substance but sparkle with style. Romney displays neither.
On top of all these problems lies the most troubling one: he is not and never will be a conservative and can't even learn how to play one on TV. To see him trot off to the Daytona 500 as a "NASCAR Republican" is laughable -- yet another phony moment in the campaign which he managed to make worse by citing his rich pals who own some of the cars in the race and by jesting at the expense of the pancho-wearing hoi polloi.
Liberals pundits, who normally rejoice at the sight of a RINO reclaiming the GOP from the Tea Party, have had to admit that Romney is a lousy candidate. Romney isn't improving on the campaign trail and is even getting worse, says Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post. Other members of the liberal chattering class called his wooden campaigning -- in which he praised the height of Michigan's trees and enumerated his wife's Cadillac collection -- farcical. It is never a good sign when your "frontrunner" generates belly laughs from your opponents.
Campaign correspondents on Fox News delicately describe Romney's frontrunner status as "fragile." Like Jon Huntsman -- the Obama diplomat who pledged to campaign against Obama diplomatically (at the start of his nothing campaign, he promised to run a wholly "positive" race and avert his gaze from the president's disgraces and failures) --
Romney leaves the rank and file cold. In fact, he sounds more and more like Huntsman, particularly in moments of fatigue when the real Romney -- the Bay State liberal who voted for Paul Tsongas, gave money to Planned Parenthood, and forefathered Obamacare -- comes back out to play.
Romney had one such moment the other day when he disparaged his opponents for "incendiary" remarks lobbed at Obama. Apparently that offends Romney's ingrained moderate sensibilities. Santorum shot at him and missed in Michigan. But conservatives better keep firing or they will find themselves stomped by this RINO the establishment is riding.