Jewish World Review Dec. 8, 2011/ 12 Kislev, 5772
GOP presidential race: What's the rush?
By Jonah Goldberg
In 2008, the Democrats were blessed with two candidates the party's rank-and-file admired almost as much as the press corps did. Ultimately
This time, the
Though to say so is essentially blaming the victim. In 2008, the prevailing Democratic attitude toward the Obama-Clinton race was, "If only we could vote for both of them!" Right now, a significant number of conservatives feel about the Gingrich-Romney contest the same way
While one can find passionate fans of every candidate -- even, according to rumors, former
This is an important distinction. There's a lot of talk about how the base doesn't like the candidates. I don't think that's true. The sense I get from talking to large numbers of conservatives is that the base doesn't like their choices, but they don't actually hate the candidates. In other words, they want to be swept off their feet. That's why for most of the past year, the voters have been listening to the official contenders but somewhat rudely refusing to make eye contact as they look over their shoulders hoping someone more exciting --
It's not that they don't like any of these candidates so much they'd rather President Obama win. It's that people don't want to fall in like; they want to fall in love.
This is undoubtedly the reason why
Romney, meanwhile, is the kind of guy you bring home to mother. Everyone knows that he's sober and responsible. According to his wife, his biggest vice is that he drinks low-fat chocolate milk. His problem is that he doesn't know how to woo the voters. He can say the words, but he can't sell them. He's a bit like
I and my fellow conservative pundits haven't helped anything. We're constantly insisting that so-and-so's campaign is done or that he or she now has no chance. We've been about as right as anybody would be if he simply guessed randomly. Certainly, no one predicted Gingrich as the front-runner after his self-immolation in the spring. One reason for the pundit drumbeat is that we're probably just as eager to see Obama lose as the average caucus-goer. But another reason is that the pundits are working from the old calendar. Since 1980, the winner of the
But the rules this year are different. Many states won't be winner-take-all. Finishing in second place doesn't earn you a set of steak knives; it wins you delegates. That means there's still plenty of time for Romney to grow on people or for Gingrich to stumble again or for some other candidate to rise. This could go on for a while.
That's what happened in 2008 with the Democrats.
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