After yesterday’s New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney is all but guaranteed to be the Republican presidential nominee.
The parallels to 1996 here are hard to ignore; a somewhat weakened chief executive, reeling from bad poll numbers and movement conservatives in the ascendency, a deeply flawed Republican nominee, and a short Texan with a loud, unconventional, populist platform running a likely third party bid, siphoning off conservative votes.
It looks good for President Obama, who has his own problems with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. (Yes, this puts the lie to the whole notion of Obama’s “radical socialism” – a charge none of the Republican candidates would dare repeat to his face).
Gingrich and Santorum went nowhere in New Hampshire, for various reasons. Gingrich is too broken a human, and Santorum is out in left field on social issues. Huntsman’s best chance was in New Hampshire, and he blew it – he’s done. Perry, Gingrich, and Santorum’s last chance is South Carolina; if they can’t convince Bible-belt social conservatives to come out for them over Paul or Romney, it’s over. The analysis from Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight was, as always, most informative.
In his second out of 50 likely victory speeches, Romney assailed President Obama for “apologizing” for America. This is, of course, patently false, and a lie that will come back to haunt Romney. Was Obama apologizing for America when he ordered that Osama bin Laden be shot through the head? Was he apologizing for America when he refused to aid North Africa’s dictators against popular uprising? Was he apologizing for America when he passed the Affordable Care Act, with the promise of affordable health insurance for all? Here’s a list of Obama’s accomplishments, wherein he apologized for no one.
The “apologizing for America” crack is popular with ignorants and cretins, and is code for “socialist“, “Kenyan/Indonesian”, “where’s the birth certificate”, and “black guy”. Romney, whose religious views are sometimes fodder for mocking and dismissal, especially from the evangelicals he so needs, is treading on thin ice. Criticizing Obama for his policies is one thing, but this “apologizing” crack is a racist, xenophobic dog whistle.
Romney also made the choice quite clear – do you vote for the President who wants to create jobs, or the candidate who likes to fire people?