Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Long Road to November

Just like that, the Republican nomination process effectively ended this week with Rick Santorum's withdrawal from the race.  Sure, Mitt Romney technically is yet to secure the necessary delegates to win the nomination, but with just the chronic 10%er Ron Paul and the near-broke Newt Gingrich to contend with, he should very easily make short work of wrapping up the nod.  I'd expect there won't even be much coverage of the primaries a week from Tuesday in Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware, which Mitt will easily win.  It is certainly possible that as a protest, Newt Gingrich might carry one or more of the very conservative states voting in May, but it won't matter.  Romney is the guy.

So it's game on to the national election in November.  Mitt Romney - who is either a Massachusetts moderate, a severe conservative or perhaps both depending on who you believe versus Barack Obama who is either a center-left Democrat or a raging socialist, again depending on who you believe.

Interestingly, as much as both candidates will try to draw a stark contrast - in Romney's case highlighting President Obama's economic record, in the President's case, it appears, Romney's more socially conservative views towards women's issues, among other things, the contrast in how both would govern is, perhaps, the smallest that it has been in any cycle that I can recall since 1992.

Obama has Obamacare, which, whether Mitt Romney likes it or not, is more or less a carbon copy of Romney's plan in Massachusetts.  Obama has his foreign policy record which, let's face it, looks a lot like the last GOP President.  Romney's tax policy when he was governor looks a heck of a lot like Obama's tax policy as President, even if Romney tries to draw contrast now.  President Obama and Mitt Romney are both in favor of civil unions and against gay marriage.  They both supported the bailouts.  They both are for the payroll tax cut.  It goes on and on.

So we may have a very emotional election over very limited differences.  But don't think that there won't be big passion involved on both sides.  Republicans have been dying for a chance at "anybody but Obama" virtually since the day he took office.  And Democrats are still loyal, even though some are upset at the timid pace of change the President has pursued.

Romney has seen a bump in the polls since effectively wrapping up the race, so I'll do a complete rundown on the now-tighter battleground in my next post.

But, rest assured, over the almost 7 month general election campaign that we are about to embark on that may include up to $2 billion spent, probably 3 or 4 debates and hundreds of daily cable news cycles, whatever I post next will change a lot before the actual voting begins.

So game on and here's to the greatest game in global politics.

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