I am getting worried.
A few weeks ago I was sure that Mitt Romney would win the US Republican Presidential nomination. He’d be nicely battered and bruised and the Democrats would have a fat file of YouTube and news clips to use against him (“I like firing people“/”I am not concerned about the very poor“/”Let Detroit go bankrupt” etc). But he would win.
However, it is now becoming possible that he might not win the nomination. Oh dear. Rick Santorum has been ahead in a string of national polls and is fourish points ahead in Michigan. Yes, Michigan, where Romney’s father was Governor and which Romney (sort of) claims as a “sort of” home state.
Veteran commentator Walter Shapiro has put it all very pithily:
THE MITT ROMNEY CRISIS transcends the seven straight national polls showing Rick Santorum in the lead. It goes beyond the embarrassing reality that the son of an auto executive and two-term governor has been behind in every Michigan poll conducted since Groundhog’s Day. Even more devastating for Romney is that elite Republicans have begun to conclude that he cannot, if nominated, beat Barack Obama. About the only argument that still works for Romney among GOP insiders is that he would be less of a drag on the ticket than the strident Santorum or the mercurial Newt Gingrich.
With the exception of Mike Dukakis (what is it about governors of Massachusetts?), it is impossible to recall a top-tier presidential contender who aroused such little passion among the voters.