The New York Times ran a story yesterday about the way Newt Gingrich’s campaign is trying to harness the anti-Romney sentiment so prevalent in conservative circles. This was notable for the fact that it established NEWT GINGRICH, he of the multiple affairs and ethics violations, as a leading Republican candidate in a presidential primary race in 2011. More importantly, it was yet another indicator of how far conservatives are willing to go to avoid a moderate Mormon on the ticket. They’ll vote for him, but it’ll go down about as easy as their sons getting the gay.
As a result, there’s been a lot of accusations tossed at the news media that Romney has been pre-anointed, that the race isn’t over yet. Why, just today New Hampshire’s Union Leader endorsed Gingrich!
Well, yeah, but the Union Leader is so conservative that it makes Rick Perry look downright Scandinavian. And the reality remains that Romney is the most likely candidate. Here’s why the media thinks so:
First, Romney has the fewest skeletons in his closet. As that SNL skit from a few weeks ago pointed out, good ol’ Mitt is almost creepily controversy-free. Even Obama smoked pot, for chrissakes. Romney tried beer once as a teenager. Actually, I think that admission may come back to hurt him. Do we really want a president who’ll be toasting sparkling cider whenever he meets world leaders?
Another good reason Romney leads the ticket is that Obama would tear apart Cain or Gingrich (at this point, probably the only other realistic primary winners) in a general election. The leader of the free world (yeah, that title is looking increasingly archaic) for four years vs. a former pizza executive. Who ya got?
And then there’s Gingrich, who plain and simply just doesn’t seem electable despite a vast wealth of political experience. I do think that in this election, so-called “moral values” will sit on the back burner compared to any perceived competence in economic matters, and that the usual “Washington insider” tag won’t be nearly as harmful as it has been in the past. Gingrich, though, is just crusty. As the Occupy protests are showing, there’s a deep mistrust of big business and Washington in this country that’s taken a turn towards malevolence. Gingrich embodies both. He can’t beat Obama, and the media knows it. So that’s why Romney has been crowned the winner preemptively. It’s not media bias, just common sense.