It's been a very bad week for Mitt Romney. Prosperity's child has learned that money can't buy everything.
The Romney campaign, which spits and sputters like an old jalopy, has its good weeks and its bad weeks. Iowa was a yawn that turned into a mild embarrassment when the votes (those that Iowa could find) were recounted and instead of Mitt barely winning, it became apparent that he had barely lost. That was followed by New Hampshire, where Romney owns property and often plays, which he won - though with only 39% of the votes.
South Carolina was next - a state that Romney had bragged would select the ultimate Republican nominee. Unfortunately for Romney, South Carolina selected Gingrich - rather decisively. Oops! Then came Florida, and it put out for Romney, though parts of the state - such as the panhandle - were noticeably cool to his candidacy. And again, Mitt won without achieving a majority of the votes (46.4%). But that was alright because he was headed into the Mormon west where he did very well in the Nevada caucuses (50.0 % - a wisp of a hair short of an absolute majority), though the state's organized working girls announced their support for Ron Paul. (That had to hurt!)
Which brings us up to last Tuesday - February 7th, 2012 - a day that will live in infamy in the Chronicles of the Mittster - for on that dark day he lost not one, not two, but three political contests along the road to the White House. That wasn't supposed to happen. A white frat-boy with the support of the giants of his party and much of corporate America, with unlimited money, should just be accepted as the potential nominee, especially in a field that was otherwise nothing but a collection of kooks and clowns. What the hell was going on?
Romney's best showing last Tuesday was at the Republican caucuses of Colorado where he came in second to Little Ricky Santorum. The former Pennsylvania senator collected 40 % of the caucus-goer's support compared to just 35% for the "inevitable" Mr. Romney. Minnesota was even worse. There he received only 16.9% of the caucus votes coming in a dismal third - behind Little Ricky and Ron Paul.
But Missouri was by far my favorite Romney-drubbing of last Tuesday. Missouri had a primary instead of a caucus, an event designed to increase public participation over the harder-to-access caucuses. (Actually Missouri is in the process of switching back to caucuses, a system that allows party leaders to exercise far more control over the outcome. This year as Missouri slowly transitions back to boss-controlled politics, the legislature somehow decided to have one of each - a primary and a caucus. The primary, now history, was only a beauty pageant, and next month on St. Patrick's Day, the bosses will weigh in, or try to, with their support of Mitt Romney.)
(Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, former Senator Jim Talent, and 7th District congressman and auctioneer Billy Long are all predicting that the caucuses will correct the people's mistake.)
Little Ricky campaigned hard in Missouri, though he will receive no delegates for the effort. Romney, however, decided to hoard his corporate cash and spend it places where he could actually pocket a few more delegates. That was a very poor decision on his part because his abandonment of the state played into a three-way win for Santorum. Not only that, but by not campaigning he left the door open for a massive trouncing in which Little Ricky carried all one-hundred and fourteen Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis! Romney was slaughtered - and that does not fit well into the "inevitability" scenario.
As a native Missourian and as someone who has worked and traveled in many of the state's counties, particularly the rural southwestern counties, as well the two largest metropolitan areas (Kansas City and St. Louis), I have more than a passing knowledge of the show-me state's political whims and vagaries. Mitt Romney got the crap kicked out of him in Missouri for two reasons: 1. He was stupid to have written it off, even if he had been assured that he would eventually get most of the delegates in the caucuses, and 2. Newt Gingrich failed to get on the ballot, thus denying Romney that split in the rabid right (between Gingrich and Santorum) that he has come to count of to supply his minority wins.
Mitt, you are so stupid! And vain! If you were to unseat President Obama, a feat that becomes less likely with each passing day, you will have to carry Missouri. McCain carried Missouri four years ago in his losing presidential effort (though it took several days of counting and re-counting for him to claim the state's eleven electoral votes) - and he still lost the general election - by a fairly substantial margin. You will not be elected President without carrying Missouri, and I now feel confident in predicting that you can't carry my home state.
My friends, the hillbillies who live in McDonald, Newton, Barry, Stone, Taney, Ozark, and Howell Counties, are very conservative and very cranky. Fifty years ago they went crazy campaigning against what they saw as the Catholic Church's assault on the Presidency. These people vote when their pissed off - and they don't like it when some liberal frat-boy pretending to be a conservative takes their votes for granted. If you are the nominee, don't assume that they will all dutifully drive their pick-up trucks down to the polls and vote against the black man. Some will stay home, and if the vote is close (as it was in 2008 when Obama ran against a white war hero), you're screwed.
Also, Little Ricky carrying St. Louis County, the state's most populous county and one that is heavily Republican, is a very bad sign for you indeed. He triumphed there not only because you abandoned it to the kooks, but also because many of those white, conservative suburbanites just plain do not like you.
Mitt, Missouri just ain't a-gonna happen, and if it doesn't happen, you won't either.
And if you choose to "balance" your ticket by naming a vice-presidential candidate from the GOP's loony-bin - Santorum, or Bachmann, or Cain, or Gingrich, or even Perry - you're screwed in so many other parts of the nation.
It is possible that with a bad set of national circumstances, Republicans could take back the White House this fall - but it won't be under the leadership of Mitt Romney. He is just a piece of tea-stained toast!