OK, he won – now what?
By John D. Turner
16 Jan 2008

It’s over. Romney won, by a convincing margin, in Michigan. That makes him the front runner, right?

Well, apparently not.

If McCain had won, coming off his win in New Hampshire, then he would definitely be the anointed front-runner. Had Huckabee prevailed, then he would be the man to beat, particularly since the next campaign is in South Caroling; evangelical country, where he is expected to do well. Had by some fluke of nature, Giuliani won, then there is not doubt that he would have vaulted into the lead.

But when Romney wins? Well, there’s no clear front runner. This despite the fact that going into the Michigan primary, Romney was the candidate with the most delegates won so far. This despite the fact that Romney is the only candidate who has posted two victories so far, one in Michigan and one in Wyoming.

Wyoming? Is that even part of the United States?

Almost nowhere do you read of Romney’s victory in Wyoming. A person arriving from Mars and reading accounts of the Republican primary so far would think that only three contests had been held to this point; Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan, since those are the only three ever reported. It’s true that by conveniently leaving out Wyoming, you can pretend that each of the top three candidates has only won one gold apiece (using Mitt’s terminology).

But it goes even deeper than that. Romney’s win is spun as a “do-or-die” for him, after losing Iowa and New Hampshire. So how come aren’t Thompson and Giuliani out of the race? So far, Thompson has only eight delegates, and Giuliani has only one. Why isn’t McCain now out of it? After all, he lost both Iowa and Wyoming, and now Michigan. Likewise Huckabee, who hasn’t won since that first victory in Iowa.

But no, they are still in, and the result now is that there is no clear front runner. I actually agree with this assessment; that there is no clear front runner – at least no one is definitely out of the running at this point. My only objection is the way Mitt is being reported. There seems to be a clear bias against him in the media. Or for the other candidates, however you want to look at it. Mitt seems, despite the success he has enjoyed so far, to be right down there with Ron Paul when it comes to favorable media coverage. You’d almost think they really would prefer that he lose.

And maybe that’s the case. In some regards, Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination would be akin to the Spurs winning the NBA Championship.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my Spurs. It tickles me pink to see them win the championship. I think it’s great to have a team win and not have to worry about waking up the next morning to find that riots broke out in the city to “celebrate” the victory. I like seeing the “good guys” win.

For the NBA however, the Spurs in the finals is not a happy time. They would much rather see LA, or Dallas, or New York there instead. San Antonio may be the 10th largest city in the country sizewise, it is only 28th or so by population, and we only rank as the 37th largest television market in the country. And whereas I like watching a good defensive basketball game, many people do not. Many find watching a Spurs game, well, rather boring actually. If you are looking for controversy or “bad boy” players, the Spurs are not your team of choice.

Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination is sort of the same thing. With Rudy, much can be made of his three wives and the juicy details and speculations concerning his private life. Rudy is a colorful character. If you are looking for controversy, McCain is your man; controversy is his middle name. And like Rudy, he is colorful besides.

Huckabee lets you play the religion card. And what’s even better, he’s an evangelical, one of the few groups in the US that are actually still fair game. The liberal press likes nothing better than painting practicing Christians as religious kooks. Like George Bush, he looks sort of funny and talks sort of funny; and what could possibly be better than a match up with the new man from Hope, Arkansas against the wife of the old President from Hope, Arkansas? Is that cool or what?

Thompson gives you the possibility of a lawsuit to force Law and Order off the airwaves for the duration of the Presidential campaign. Sound far-fetched? Such a lawsuit was in fact filed a number of years ago when George Takei ran for office in California. His opponent sued to have Star Trek taken off the air in California, claiming that it was unfair advertising that Mr. Takei did not have to pay for and which he could not match. George dropped out of the race, rather than risk having the fans do without Star Trek while he campaigned for office.

But Romney? Well, he’s a Mormon...

Gee, do you think anyone will vote for him?

Well, if he gets the nomination, then it will be apparent that someone will vote for him. I guess we can continue to do that theme to death for the remainder of the election cycle vis-à-vis the American public at large. Let’s see what else. He’s been married to same woman, his high school sweetheart (they actually met in elementary school when he was a Cub Scout), for 38 years. Their first date was to see the movie “The Sound of Music”. He doesn’t sleep around. Doesn’t smoke or drink, doesn’t do drugs. He might say “heck” or “darn” every once in a while, but doesn’t curse. He smiles a lot, some might say too much. Maybe it’s because he’s happy, or optimistic, but many think it makes him look like a used car salesman. He’s active in his community and church. No known scandals (other than transporting his dog in a car carrier on the top of his car once during a family vacation).

He is on the national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America. Perhaps something can be done with that. The Boy Scouts are, after all, a subversive anti-homosexual group, at least according to the MSM. Perhaps between that and belonging to a church that did not allow blacks to hold the priesthood until 1987, some sort of bigotry campaign can be mounted, however when it comes to Mitt Romney, juicy headlines are “slim pickins”.

Not a whole lot of riveting gossip and innuendo there to hold the public’s interest; the Tim Duncan of political candidates if you will. Tim’s one of the best to ever play the game; Mr. Fundamental they call him. But he isn’t flashy, doesn’t talk trash, and hardly ever gets a technical foul. He’s the parent’s choice for a role model, but kids would rather pattern themselves after someone like Shaq, or a bad boy like Latrell Sprewell.

A campaign featuring Rudy or Huckabee, or McCain against either Hilary or Obama would be something the media could really sink their teeth into. Romney? Not so much. They would be reduced to actually discussing issues and reporting news, unless they simply made things up out of whole cloth.

You could go broke covering Mitt Romney, comparatively speaking. And perhaps that is really what it is all about in the final analysis.

As for total delegate count, I have pretty much given up trying to count it. Every site I visit seems to have a different total. You’d think it would be easy to do, but apparently not. Here are four different sites I have visited, each purporting to have an “accurate” delegate count for the four races completed thus far:

Candidate Wikipedia Real Clear Politics The Green Papers Fox News
Mitt Romney 53 42 42 42
Mike Huckabee 23 32 17 21
John McCain 21 13 19 19
Fred Thompson 3 3 8 6
Ron Paul 0 0 4 2
Rudy Giuliani 0 0 1 1
Duncan Hunter 1 0 1 1
Alan Keys 0 0 0 0
Totals 101 90 91 92

As you can see, these four sites can’t even seem to agree on total delegate count, with the Wikipedia site being the worst despite, supposedly, the concept of open source peer-review providing greater accuracy. I suspect that their delegate count for Romney is off by 10, which would at least put them in the ball-park. With the requirement to obtain at least 1,191 votes to claim the nomination, we obviously have a long way to go.

It looks to be a long campaign season ahead.