By Mr. Curmudgeon
This is turning into an odd Republican primary: Mitt Romney wins the GOP Iowa caucus by the slimmest margin in the state’s history; Rick Santorum, whose campaign was written-off as dead by media pundits, comes in a close, close second; and Ron Paul finishes third, which is odd considering that when asked by ABC’s Terry Moran, “When you lay your head on your pillow at night, do you see yourself in the Oval Office?” Paul answered in a slow, whispery gasp reminiscent of a dying man’s final words, “Not really.”
And Fox News revealed in its morning-after poll that chief among the qualities Iowa’s GOP caucus-goers sought in their party’s eventual nominee is that he can beat Obama in November. This is also odd in light of the fact that among Iowa’s 244,448 GOP caucus-goers, only eight – who account for Romney’s thin margin of victory – see the former Massachusetts governor as that man.
And the rousing endorsement by Iowa’s Magnificent Eight inspired the loser of 2008 to crawl out of the shadows. “Some of you haven’t committed yet,” Sen. John McCain said at a Romney rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, “I hope at the end of this appearance … that we will get an overwhelming vote that will catapult this candidate [Romney] to the White House,” – an inspiring commitment from the champion of non-commitment to the uncommitted.
Oh, and Newt Gingrich finished fourth.
It’s clear from the close nature of Iowa’s contest that conservative voters (social and fiscal) are still hunting for the illusive “anybody-but-Romney” candidate. That means it is up to the “anybody” candidates to suck it up and get back in the game. Gingrich and Santorum need to exploit Romney’s many negatives while explaining that his “business experience” means nothing since government does not create private-sector jobs … just ask Sisyphus in the White House.
GOP voters are clearly looking for a Romney alternative. It’s time the remaining candidates give them one. And time is running out.