With Mitt Romney going 3 for 3 last night in Wisconsin, Maryland and D.C. has his long stalled inevitability finally arrived? The folks at FNC, as noted this morning by Stacy McCain, seem to think so and were pretty much in consensus in calling for Rick Santorum to step aside lest he face a humiliation in Pennsylvania later this month.
The argument was that Romney will just fill Pennsylvania’s airwaves (especially the TV market in Philadelphia)with negative ads about Santorum as he has done in other states. But it’s not like people in the Keystone state don’t know Santorum. Whatever Romney’s ads about Santorum, it’s not like they haven’t heard it before and too much of it could backfire against Romney.
But Santorum is damned if he does win Pennsylvania and damned if he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, calls for him to exit will reach a fever pitch. But if he does win then I suspect the analysts at FNC will say he ‘was supposed to win his home state.’ There are also primary contests in New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island that night and Romney is heavily favored to win all of those states. Unless Santorum scores an upset in one of these other states (preferably New York), there will still be calls for him to exit the race even if he does win in Pennsylvania.
Hugh Hewitt argues this race ended in Florida. I don’t buy that argument. I think if Santorum had beat Romney in Michigan (its primary a full four weeks after Florida) I think the complexion of the race would be different. I’m not saying Romney wouldn’t still have an advantage but I don’t think anyone would be talking about Mitt’s inevitability the way it is being discussed now.
With that said, unless Romney is caught with both a dead girl and a live boy, Santorum’s chances of winning the nomination is about as slim as Angelina Jolie. And even if Romney were caught with both a dead girl and a live boy, I’d still say his chances were about 50-50. I’m not saying Santorum should drop out but the math is against him.
Look I’m not sold on Romney. Every time I see his key supporters (i.e. Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie) I ask myself, “Why aren’t they running?” I am certain that I am far from alone in thinking this way and that does not bode well for Romney.
But let’s say that Romney is, in fact, inevitable. Well, he faces an opponent who can not only outspend him but is prepared to “kill” him. Throw in a sympathetic, if not a sycophantic media and President Obama will be a far more formidable foe than either Santorum or Newt Gingrich.
Complicating matters is a significant portion of the conservative electorate part of which doesn’t trust him and part of which is grudgingly beginning to embrace him. The only way Romney fully wins over this crowd is if he bloodies President Obama in the debates. But given that he won’t call Obama a socialist this isn’t likely.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think President Obama is intelligent enough to be in the same room with Mitt Romney much less qualified to be an entry level employee in one of his companies. But yet that might not matter.