Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Will Michigan Go CRAZY!? Today ...

The gutcheck says maybe ... It's a genuine tossup. Here's why:

1. The candidates — Any objective appraisal of the candidates must recognize Rick Santorum's growth as a credible presidential candidate. It's one of those intangibles, in which voters will look at a candidate and see a president for the first time. Rick Santorum, I believe, has crossed that Rubicon, passed the test. And that happened, in large part, with his appearance on the Sunday shows. Anyone who tuned in to the Sunday shows saw an impressive candidate. Santorum was poised, relaxed, answered every question without equivocation — and even though one disagreed with his every  point — he looked presidential.

Mitt Romney, by contrast, has regressed. Clearly. He has been running for president so long that his test with the voters is competence, confidence, and electability. He's failing on every count. He represents the unfortunate adage that "familiarity indeed breeds contempt." In sports terms, one could say Mitt Romney is off his game and mired in a slump at the worst possible time. He's pressing, trying too hard to get too many messages across. He's not connecting with voters; whiffing on the 'regular guy' scale (one that Santorum hit out of the park) and, most significantly, on the competence scale.

Today, in what smacked of desperation, Romney accused Santorum of being "a lightweight" on economics. A laughable charge, considering Mitt is being rightly hammered for having penned an Op-Ed in the New York Times, Let Detroit Go Bankrupt. Indeed, President Obama wasn't about to allow one million jobs and the crown jewel of U.S. manufacturing to go belly-up. Call it a bailout, a rescue plan, a restructuring; call it what you will. But the fact remains, decisive government intervention saved Detroit. And today the President was basking in the glow of a great American success story, as Detroit came roaring back and GM reclaimed its position as the world's no. 1 automaker, posting the highest profits in its history. President Obama brought down the UAW house with a barnburner of a speech, taking on both Romney and Santorum. Speaking of an economic "lightweight" Romney gave the same tired old "drop dead" Republican non-solution for the housing market woes. 'Nuff said.

2. Sparta ... what Sparta?! — No elaboration is necessary (asked and answered in this blog). Unlimited money does not a nimble, competent campaign make. Sometimes, it's just the opposite when there's a failure of leadership, negative internal dynamics, and too many "chieftains" with not enough foot soldiers. Suffice it to say, Romney's campaign comes off as clunky, confused, lacking message discipline or even an overarching message — sort of like a gargantuan headless chicken. Who's in charge? Meh ... Do they have a counter-narrative to the Beltway true refrain that Romney "can't close this deal"?! They should, if they're as competent as Alex Castellanos claimed.

3. The Wild Card — Mitt Romney is already whining about partisan Democratic mischief — "OPERATION HILARITY" as Michael Moore called it gleefully —that a plan is afoot by Democrats to cross party and ideological lines to vote for Rick Santorum with Rick's blessing. Well, you know what they say — and this is delicious — "what goes around, comes around," Mittens. What did you expect, Mr. 1%, after bashing the unions repeatedly, to the last, calling them "stooges" and telling the auto industry that sustains more than one million jobs to drop dead. What did you expect, asshole, after using unions as a verbal piñata, because it worked so well for your Koch brothers fellow neighborhood stooge, Scott Walker, that Democratic union households won't be energized to come out and throw a wrench in your dreams of doing to the country what you did at Bain Capital?! Think again, rich boy with the magic underwear. (Is that why you walk so funny? Srsly ...)

The only silver lining in this scenario, if there is one for Mitt Romney, is that some Democrats are so alarmed by Santorum that they actually went out and voted for the "lesser of many evils" Romney — "be careful what you wish for" ... "law of unintended consequences" ... Blahblahblah. That's typical wimpy Democratic, skeert, WRONG thinking. Sure, if he's the nominee Rick Santorum has an infinitesimal chance of being elected. Nothing in life is certain. But that would depend on highly unlikely outside factors, including an epic stumble by the Obama campaign. The more likely scenario with Santorum heading the GOP ticket is an electoral defeat for Republicans, up and down the ticket, of Goldwater proportions. There's too much upside here for Democrats to behave like hand-wringing wimps.

And if it comes down to late deciders who watched  the Sunday shows, they may put Rick Santorum over the top, regardless. Santorum by 1.

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