It appears the Republican field is set, unless a truly dark horse suddenly announces a run. Yes, Rudy Giuliani is still undecided, and in fact polls reasonably well, but his Hamlet routine is wearing thin, and his exploits on 9/11 a distant memory. We detect no great “wanting” of Rudy.
So who benefits?
With Christie out, Romney won a string of endorsements yesterday, but mostly from political insiders, not major names. There is a consensus growing that he will eventually be the Republican nominee. He has fended off a challenge from Rick Perry, whose impressive fundraising in the last quarter is not matched by public support. Romney may face a surprise competitor in Herman Cain, who’s become remarkably popular in the Republican Party, but Cain has not been fully vetted, and doesn’t really have a presidential campaign organization.
Romney, though, has a huge deficit, one that he’ll carry with him even if he is the nominee: He attracts plenty of “like,” but little love. In 2008 there was the “Obama girl” singing the praises of The One in a popular song. I doubt if we’ll see “the Romney girl.” The Romney accountant maybe, but not the Romney girl.
So, can Romney defeat Obama? He is not the “scary” candidate the Democrats hoped for, and, just as he doesn’t elicit much love, he doesn’t draw much hate either. He is in fact the only Republican candidate who leads Obama in several polls, but only by several points. I would say, based on what I’ve seen, that he has an uphill battle for these reasons:
1) He’s run for president for years, and still hasn’t built a head of steam. People know him, and we hear one hand clapping.
2) Despite his weakness, Obama still has passionate core supporters, if only for ethnic reasons. And his support is in areas where political machines know how to get people to the polls.
3) Much of the media will work for Obama, as it did in 2008.
4) There will be a reluctance, and it will be plainly stated, to turn out the nation’s first black president. Watch how this issue is played.
5) If street demonstrations against “Wall Street” grow, and we expect them to, many voters may fear defeating Obama, believing violence against a conservative president is much more likely than against Obama.
Obviously, conditions can change. Right now, Romney faces a greater struggle than would a GOP candidate who electrifies his party.
FROM URGENT AGENDA (WWW.URGENTAGENDA.COM)
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