Is It Over Yet?
(Editorial cartoon by Tom Toles and published by the Washington Post April 3, 2012. Click on image to enlarge, then come back.)
As anticipated, Mitt Romney won in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington DC yesterday, pushing his delegate count to about 50% of what is needed to win the GOP nomination for president. Romney is finally where he wanted to be in January: with a commanding lead and with the kind of momentum to carry him easily to his party's nomination at the convention in August. He can now focus on Obama rather than on his Republican opponents and he has made that campaign shift.
Also as anticipated, Rick Santorum is not giving up. He's staying in, at least for the next three weeks. His speech last night pointed out that it's only "half-time," there's still Pennsylvania (April 24) and a few more socially conservative states ahead (in May) which he thinks he can win and which will keep the race alive. The key, of course, is Pennsylvania: Santorum's home state. The problem is that the last time he campaigned for office in Pennsylvania (for re-election to his senate seat), he lost.
There is, nevertheless, a certain air of inevitability at this point. Romney appears to have the nomination locked up. But he has a problem as well, one that I think the Toles cartoon captures nicely. Republican conservatives still aren't thrilled by the etch-a-sketch candidate. His job at this point is to find a running mate who will fire those conservatives up enough to turn out for him in November.
The political pundits at the Los Angeles Times had a twitter-fest in which several issues were discussed including media fatigue with the race and with possible selections for the vice-president's spot.
Now I had thought that Romney would select a Southern conservative, someone such as Florida's Rubio. That would give the ticket both geographical and ideological balance. Rubio might also appeal to the Latino bloc, a group the GOP has pretty much alienated even though there are a lot of very socially conservative Hispanics in this country.
The Times pundits surprised me by suggesting Wisconsin's Paul Ryan might be tapped, an economic conservative whose latest deficit reduction bill has been passed by the House. And, with a hat-tip to my friend Ralphie;, they aren't the only ones who think Ryan is just what the ticket needs.
So, I guess the Republican race really isn't over yet. There's still some popcorn to consume.
Labels: Election 2012