November 30, 2011

Anybody But Romney

Herman Cain's hopes for winning the Republican nomination for president in 2012 seem to be fading rapidly. A series of disclosures regarding alleged indiscretions--two allegations of sexual harassment and one report of a long-term extra-marital affair--have scared off potential donors and reduced support among potential Republican primary voters. Assuming the worst--always a safe bet--you have to wonder what he was thinking when he looked at himself in the mirror and decided to run for president. Did he think this stuff wouldn't come out? Really?

Following the principle that one man gathers what another man spills, Newt Gingrich has risen as rapidly as Herman Cain has fallen. This is all the more remarkable given the complete clusterf*k that marked the first two weeks of Gingrich's campaign. But Newt is smart, and he is a pro. He is also an asshole, although that will not hurt him among Republicans. Whether he does as well with independents, especially women, remains to be seen. This is not a guy who wears well. I already can't stand seeing that know-it-all smirk.

All of this activity can be filed under the heading of "Anybody but Romney." The other supposed front-runner in all this--former governor Mitt Romney--is distrusted and disliked by conservative Republicans, who dominate the Republican primary process, so in recent weeks there has been a frantic search for an alternative. Rick Perry's hopes ended as soon as he opened his mouth. Herman Cain's campaign has faltered badly. It remains to be seen whether Newt has the legs to pull off enough primary wins to unseat Romney.

In the end, it may not matter. As always, it's the economy, stupid. Only this time it isn't necessarily our economy that is the problem. The situation in Europe may decide the fate of the American presidency. That could go one of two ways. Either things get so bad here that any incumbent would be swept out, or people get so nervous about the future that they take the cautious road and stick with the devil they know.

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