Thursday, December 13, 2007

GOP: It now looks like Romney

While there may be no real GOP front-runner, it's becoming more of Romney's game now. Giuliani, while a strong candidate because of his 9-11 halo, has some insane skeletons in his closet. The most recent is Shag-Gate (TPM has done great work on this) wherein Rudy spent millions of my tax money to have the police walk his then mistress' dog. While this is run-of-the-mill New York City graft, that doesn't play well outside the cynical world of Nu-yawk. The scandals (and there are now quite a lot) plus his disastrous personal life (which echo each other) plus his liberal policies on abortion, guns, immigrants and Da Gays, may be enough to sink Giuliani for good.

And on Tuesday Romney got a crucial endorsement by National Review. That endorsement, plus his successful speech the other night defending his right to be a religious whackjob, has established him as the candidate of the GOP establishment. Combine that with his money, and with his movie-star looks and persona, and I think he's the guy. Unless he makes some spectacular gaffe, his money and acceptance by the GOP machine politics should get him the nomination.

While I don't discount Huckabee's success in Iowa is impressive, Huck doesn't have the money, the support of local GOP machine politicians, the policy-knowledge, or the staff to make it much farther. Being a media darling is great, being a populist is great, but it's hard to defeat the candidate of The Money and The Machine (note, this is why I still haven't ruled out Hillary... but, like above, her current wounds are all self-inflicted and gaffes can kill anybody).

If it is Romney, then I am worried about who his Veep pick would be. TNR has said a few times now that the rest of the candidtaes hate him and won't work with him. Will that matter if he offers them the VP slot?

I believe Romney will choose a rock-ribbed conservative as his running mate; I believe it will be Rick Santorum. By doing that, even when Romney flops over to the center-left in general election (which he is guaranteed to do), he can thus pander his true centist bona-fides while winking at the cultural conservatives with Santorum.

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