Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

New Hampshire is best time for conservative GOP candidates to rise to the top

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Yawn! Mitt Romney will win New Hampshire. We won’t even have to stay up that late to find out who won and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Yes, Romney will likely win New Hampshire. Not because he is a jamming, awesome candidate, but because Romney hasn’t suffered as much from “foot-in-mouth” disease (not a pre-existing condition under Romneycare, er, Obamacare).

Sen. Rick Santorum gets some momentum, and how does he spend it? Telling us that we shouldn’t use the term “middle-class” and how that builds a class system. The Republicans have spent the last 30 years trying to get rid of the middle class; some Democratic politician have piled on, but the GOP did start the fire.

We got proof that just because you have money doesn’t mean you’re smart: one of Newt Gingrich’s benefactors gave his PAC $5 million — now. Why now? Because Gingrich is finally in it? Gingrich’s best chance was Iowa. As much love as he has for Santorum, he sees Santorum’s virtual win as one he should have had.

Giving Gingrich $5 million at this point won’t get Gingrich the nomination, but it could add to his fuel against Romney. Gingrich had better get that fire going. If Romney wins New Hampshire by a substantial margin, the MSM won’t have much to say about anyone else.

Santorum says a shrinking middle-class isn’t the problem; it’s calling them middle-class. Gingrich identified himself as not rich, though he has a net worth of over $6 million. Gingrich isn’t Romney-rich, but he is better off that more than 99% of the rest of us. This is who you want to lead in an economy still racked by unemployment and housing crises.

Rick Perry is doing his best Rudy Giuliani impression. Giuliani figured if he didn’t campaign in the early states, people would forget the crazy stuff he might have said. Perry seems much more normal this week, but only because we haven’t heard from him. Michele Bachmann beats him as sounding more normal, only because we won’t hear from her starting tomorrow from South Carolina.

For all the pundits who deride Romney for not exceeding 25%, the other 75% really has no idea who or what they want. They stare at the menu, as if the menu will change, insisting on a steak in a vegetarian restaurant. In the meantime, Romney is cruising along.

We have said little about Jon Huntsman, who feels like he is in a time warp. Mocking Iowa might get a few applause points, but if you want to be president, you get to be president of more than New Hampshire. Quite frankly, the world knows more about Huntsman’s adult daughters than in anything he has done or said.

While very rich candidates such as Gingrich and Romney have thinly disguised PACs trashing the other candidate, Ron Paul said he couldn’t do anything about his supporters running ads questioning Huntsman because his two young daughters are adopted from Asia. You can’t coordinate, but you can denounce. Pulling out the sleazy John McCain’s “fathering of a black baby” trick before the race gets to South Carolina is going even more backward than the horrible incident of 2000, and we didn’t think it could get worse.

One of Gingrich’s lines about Romney is that he is a “career politician.” Romney’s argument against that idea is mostly semantics. But everyone, including Romney, knows the former Massachusetts governor has been running for president in 2012 since he ran for president in 2008. The conservatives have had to decide which candidate they want to rally around. The “king of the hill” game the Republicans played throughout the summer and fall of 2010 proved that they couldn’t get serious about doing so.

Mitt Romney will likely win New Hampshire, but that doesn’t mean the race is his to win. The upcoming Southern states will help the conservative candidate, whomever that may be. But the GOP could have 7 straight Southern primaries, and they won’t help unless someone can step up. Until — if — a conservative candidate steps up, Romney may not be on fire in GOP minds, but he is warmer than the rest of the GOP field.


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