The Corner

Simple Arithmetic

Some people today seem to have trouble with my formulation that the consistent anti-Romney sentiment (for such it is) of around 75 percent — reflected in the Iowa caucuses results — is somehow logically fallacious, and that one could just as easily make the same short-end equation regarding Perry, Paul, Gingrich, Bachmann, et al. 

They entirely miss the point. From the start of the GOP race, the contest has been divided between Mitt Romney on one side and Everybody Else Plus Ron Paul on the other, as conservatives examined possible alternatives to the front-runner, Willard. This explains the sine-wave shape of the race so far, with various not-Romneys rising and then falling as they have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

It’s instructive to note that Romney has gained not at all from the successive collapses of the second-tier candidates, and that while it may have just been dumb luck on Santorum’s part to be the last man standing, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Does anyone doubt that had Rick Perry not proven himself to be a tongue-tied imitation of George W. Bush that he would have put Romney away handily? It wasn’t Perry’s position on immigration that did him in, it was his sheer ineloquence. 

The Mittbots might want to ask themselves this: if Romney is so great, why did Santorum — a guy who was barely a blip on the radar screen a couple of weeks ago — come out of nowhere to nearly nip him at the wire, while Mitt stayed stuck at . . . 25 percent?

As John Podhoretz put it yesterday:

The results last night make it clear that Romney is unquestionably the weakest party front-runner in contemporary political history, scoring fewer caucus votes in Iowa in 2012 than he received in 2008.

As I said on the most recent NR cruise, if Romney is the nominee, he will lose. He has no idea what Axelrod & Co. are capable of, nor of the depths to which they will stoop to destroy him. They will attack him as a flip-flopper, as a panderer, as a rapacious and heartless one percenter, and, yes, as a Mormon. They will damn him with faint praise as a liberal accomodationist, as the spiritual father of Obamacare. He’s a gentleman in a mug’s game, and this is no time for gentlemen.

UPDATE: It’s already starting.

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