Well, he pulled it off. After a circus season of Republican follies, Romney cleared a large hurdle last night, winning the Iowa caucuses by a margin of eight votes. With the moniker of ‘Landslide Mitt’ already surfacing in the media, the nomination now moves to New Hampshire, another Romney stronghold. With a commanding lead there, he ought to be able to winnow the field to such an extent that he’ll be the presumptive nominee. Rumors are circulating that Bachmann and Perry are contemplating exiting the race, and even though Rick Santorum came in a strong second, I don’t really see a viable path forward for the former Senator.
The prognostications still abound, painting various scenarios involving Paul, Gingrich, Huntsman and Santorum. The media feels compelled to spin such stories, because that’s what they do. They don’t deal in predictions, they deal in the possible. But the fact of the matter is this: Even though Romney does not have a lock on the nomination, at this point, it’s his, and his alone, to lose. Given the inconsistency of the field this year, that Romney has been if not a compelling candidate, but more of a consistent one, able to marshal both his message and his money in a competent, if not inspiring fashion, is key to close the deal.
So here it is: Game and set for Romney. The Republicans are going to have a nominee about which they’re not wild, but he’s what they have. To their benefit, he’s also more electable than any of the rest of the lot. And while there’s yet to be a few more skirmishes en route to the nomination, the next big one, the match, will be between Romney and Obama.