John McCain's stale endorsement of Mitt Romney in New Hampshire reinforces all the reasons that 75% of the Republican electorate either don't like or don't trust the former Massachusetts governor. As with McCain, we find Romney's vaunted moderation nauseatingly unprincipled and sense deeply that he is an unreliable, lukewarm conservative who will drift if not run towards the vapid middle once he gains the nomination.
We are reminded of 2008 when the same Romney couldn't beat McCain who couldn't beat Obama. Now Romney claims along with the establishment punditry that only he is capable of defeating the president.
That Romney can continue to claim the mantle of inevitable victory is really just the product of a mathematical glitch. Without a credible squishy fellow moderate to siphon away votes from the middle kingdom (Huntsman has never catalyzed a real following), Romney has the luxury of standing alone to claim the entire share of the McCain constituency while Santorum, Gingrich and Perry fight to claim what's left for conservatives after Romney and Paul tally their votes. Essentially the votes are split: Santorum, Gingrich and Perry-50%; Paul-25%, Romney-25%.
Clearly, we need a serious winnowing of the conservative field to wage a fair fight against Romney. If Perry's South Carolina performance ends in single digits like in Iowa and he throws his unqualified backing to either Gingrich or Santorum, we will have a real race.
Claude can be reached at email@example.com