Mitt Romney: Campaign in trouble? Photo Credit: World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, http://www.flickr.com/photos/wacphiladelphia/4559102616/sizes/z/in/photostream/
As the Republican Iowa caucus draws nearer, the GOP presidential nomination rollercoaster rumbles on. Following the fall of one-time frontrunner Herman Cain and the rise of previously scorned Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul is the latest Republican candidate to experience a reversal of fortune, and is now tipped to take a surprise victory in Iowa. Commentators have been following the twists and turns of the GOP presidential race with great interest, but can anyone really predict the final winner?
Ron Paul on top – for now. Despite being regarded as a “crank” with a “cult-like” following by the GOP establishment, 76-year-old Texas Congressman Ron Paul is riding high in the polls for early-voting states Iowa and New Hampshire, wrote Toby Harnden in The Telegraph. According to Harnden, Paul’s strength is that, like Mitt Romney, he has “built a nationwide campaign structure and has the money to stay in the race well beyond the early-voting states”. Harnden argued that Paul has little chance of gaining the nomination but that he could still influence the final outcome.
Ron Paul, human tornado. Michael Tomasky made a similar point at The Daily Beast, arguing that if Paul beat Mitt Romney into third place in Iowa, it would create a “tornado” effect, even if the Texas congressman’s support faded away in later votes: “In this scenario, Paul suddenly becomes a kind of a kingmaker in Republican politics, no longer the outsider banging on the door.” A third-place for Romney in Iowa would put his campaign in dire straits and change the face of the GOP presidential race.
Paul can’t win. “There is only one bar to a Ron Paul victory: Mr. Paul,” said Kimberley Strassel on a Wall Street Journal blog, arguing that Paul’s determined anti-war stance is a “disqualifier” to hawkish Republicans. According to Strassel, voters’ main concern is “a Paul philosophy that fundamentally denies American exceptionalism and refuses to allow for decisive action to protect the U.S. homeland”.
At the final Republican debate, Texas governor Rick Perry compared himself to Tim Tebow, a Denver Broncos quarterback known for making dramatic comebacks: “I am ready to be the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses,” he said. Don Van Natta Jr of ESPN tweeted: “Tim Tebow is now praying that he never becomes the Rick Perry of the NFL.”
Romney quiet at final debate. Paul cheerfully attacked Newt Gingrich over his financial past with Freddie Mac at the final Republican debate, reported The New York Times, but Romney failed to engage with his rival: “Mr. Romney reverted to his cautious, make-no-mistakes posture, devoting most of his attention to Mr. Obama.” However, Alexandra Petri at a Washington Post blog thought Romney had hit the right note, describing him as “resurgent” and noting that he had the best line of the evening: “Our president thinks America’s in decline. It is if he’s president. It’s not if I’m president.”
Unpredictable. “Never have the political railbirds so frequently compounded their errors as they reeled from one smug, but erroneous, prediction to another,” wrote Walter Shapiro in The New Republic. Shapiro listed a catalog of inaccurate predictions from the commentariat, including writing off Newt Gingrich, talking up Michele Bachmann and praising Rick Perry. According to Shapiro, the problem is that modern pundits seem to expect US politics to follow a logical pattern: “Our punditry is suffering from an excess of rationality coupled with an unprecedented over-reliance on polls,” he said.
Watch video of Saturday Night Live’s Tim Tebow skit below.
More on the GOP nomination race
- Trump for president?
- The shock rise of Newt Gingrich
- Cain campaign collapses
- Obama hates Christmas, says Rick Perry
- GOP debate: Winners and losers