You can't make up fiction this good!
A lot of my friends are what I call "closet supporters" of Mitt. Given that I live in Utah, it's a sure bet that they would like to see Romney, a Mormon and local hero due to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, in the White House. They would love to see him win, but they don't have the confidence to suggest that he can do it. They seem to think that the Giuliani steam engine is so strong it can't be beat. Without even knowing where I stand, they say "How's Romney going to beat Rudy?" They can't reconcile Rudy's social policies with his fiscal policies. He's pro-gay rights, pro-gun control, and pro-abortion; Mitt is anything but these.And their worries are legit. The race, due to dynamics unique to this election cycle, will be touch and go all the way down the line.
This year’s unique factors—no vice-president running for his boss's office, lots of candidates, primaries moving up to December and constantly in flux, Super Tuesday, huge amounts of cash, a viable black candidate, a more than viable female candidate and wife of a very popular former president, a very unpopular war, tons of money (did I already mention that?), neither party with any real direction, etc, etc, etc—make for a very high amount of unpredictability. I like what one commentator said when he compared it to trying to predict who will win the World Series in May; October is so far away, how can anyone guess the winner at this point?
It used to be that if a candidate won in New Hampshire and/or Iowa, it would be a good bet to he would win the whole nomination (and that's certainly been Mitt's strategy; he's spent multiple fortunes and practically moved to Iowa and New Hampshire). Today's race, however, with Democratic candidates not even campaigning in Michigan and Florida, and the voting demographics in South Carolina a polar distance from New Hampshire, is anyone's guess.
It doesn’t make it any easier that the GOP is at sea without a rudder. Rudy is an opportunist dressed in fiscal conservative clothes, yet he's still winning the betting donor's cash. Yet, with more in common with Hillary and Obama than with Mitt, Mike (Huckabee), and John, conservatives who are paying attention have reason to pause before giving the New Yorker their vote. The most dramatic indicia of this was the endorsement yesterday of Mitt Romney by an influential evangelist who traditionally shows anti-Mormon films. It’s a well known adage that politics makes strange bedfellows, but who would have ever thought that the list of choices would be so difficult that an evangelist would pass over a Tennessee native (Law and Order's Fred Thompson) in order to endorse a Mormon for the highest political office in the country?
You can’t write fiction this good! No matter what happens in the next few months, voters will need to make some careful analysis of what they want out of the next Presidency. The potential differences in administration between the candidates could not be more significant, and that's without even leaving the Republican party. Don't ask me what happens if a Democrat is November's winner in '08.