Mitt Romney wins Maine caucuses…and wins CPAC straw poll…net gain of delegates – Zero
Ron Paul tried, but just missed beating Mitt Romney in the Maine caucuses. The margin was probably due to the fact the voting has been going on for a week (i.e., started before Romney got embarrassed on Tuesday) and the caucuses for Washington County were postponed due to a major snowstorm. Meanwhile, “severely conservative” Romney also won the meaningless straw poll at the end of the CPAC conference, beating out Rick Santorum as Ron Paul slid into fourth.
So with Saturday’s two wins Romney gets exactly the same number of delegates that Santorum got with his three wins on Tuesday. Which is, of course, zero, zilch, nada, null. The actual delegate choices come later in some cases and are non-binding in others, which makes one wonder why they spend so much time and money to hold these dog and pony shows.
In any case, this is good news for Romney since losing either or both of today’s non-events would paint him as a serial loser. And that really isn’t a good paint job for the campaign bus heading into a general election. Winning at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, aka, a conservative lobbying event, was actually quite a good outcome for Romney considering two important details. First, Ron Paul won the CPAC straw poll the last two years, and second, it means Romney’s newest bizarre verbal gaffe didn’t hurt him too much. At least with the white guys in the room.
When PGH first heard that Mitt had emphasized his “severely conservative” ideology we were as confused as everyone else. “Highly” conservative? Maybe. “Largely” conservative? Sort of. “Always” conservative? Umm, no. But “severely” has essentially no positive meaning in this context. PGH’s first thought was “time to fire the speech writer.” Seriously. But then this was apparently an ad lib by the Mitt, and since the Republican party has fired pretty much everyone else that was running already, we guess Mitt is safe for now. [Though Gingrich seems to have had a belly bouncing guffaw that Romney had said something even more nonsensical than Michele Bachmann, aka, “the perfect candidate.”]
So Romney survives another day in his inexorably slow bumpy road to the nomination. The next few states (Arizona and Michigan on February 28 and Washington on March 3) seem to be tailor made for him. Notably, Daddy was Governor of Michigan, though this must be balanced against Mitt’s stated desire to have let the automobile industry in Detroit fail and millions of jobs go down the tubes. Who knows, Santorum could surprise everyone and do well in those states. Then comes Super Tuesday on March 6 when there are some substantial delegates available in a wide variety of states – pretty much something for everyone. Even Gingrich has Georgia (though not Virginia).
If Mitt can win all of the above then it’s finally over. If the results look like a blindfolded drunk dart thrower than at least the media have something to talk about. Because, after all, isn’t that the real reason they have these primaries and caucuses anyway – to give the media something to talk about for that boring two years leading up to an election?