After yesterday's Republican debate and Newt Gingrich's lacklustre performance, I think it's time all of us started to come to terms with what looks like the most likely outcome of the GOP primaries: President Mitt Romney.
Rick Santorum is not going the be the Republican nominee. Even the GOP isn't so self destructive that they want the abortion debate and Santorum's other extremely socially conservative positions to be the focus costing them independent voters leading up to November. Don't get me wrong, Santorum's a pretty good Senator, but he isn't Presidential material. Certainly not yet.
Ron Paul is saddled with a conspiracy theoried, racist past that makes him completely nonviable. As total no-hoper, he may be running on principle or his perennial nomination efforts might just be for the purpose of keeping his speaking fees high.
John Huntsman, the candidate that intelligent, moderate Republicans all over really wanted to win, but in whose candidacy they never really put any faith, is climbing in the polls. Who knows, he may emerge on top soon; after all, he's the only "not Mitt" that hasn't yet.
But with Romney's massive, overflowing coffers, and his improved confidence and presidential bearing, the likelihood of him emerging as the nominee seems very close to a reality.
It could be worse. Much worse. Romney is reasonable and has generally sound policies. For all his talk about wanting a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as being only a condition between a man and a woman, given the difficulty in amending the Constitution, that's probably just talk to pander to the social conservatives. Therein lies the problem for many of them, they suspect that Romney's nods to that part of the party are just empty rhetoric.
I hope that's true. Because it's not the extremists who are going to win the election for the Republicans. They aren't going to decide Romney's too liberal and vote for Barack Obama. The worst that could happen, from the GOP perspective, is that they stay home on election day. But realizing that doing so helps keep President Obama in office is probably not going to make that risk a great one. And even if it did, Romney is likely to pick up more disaffected Democrats and independents than he'll lose in Republicans.
President Mitt Romney. If the economy stays the way it is, and Obama continues to blunder his way through foreign policy by leading from behind, it's a phrase we should be prepared to get used to.
It could definitely be worse.