Tuesday, January 29, 2008

OK Mitt, now what?

Well, I was wrong about tonight's results. Mitt Romney did not win, and now he's in a bit of trouble. In fact, tonight probably couldn't have gone much worse for Willard. Not only did John McCain beat him in a "closed" primary, but Rudy Giuliani will drop out tomorrow and endorse McCain, and Mike Huckabee will not drop out, causing Mitt to split the votes of social conservatives with the Huckster.

It's been clear to me for a while now that Romney just can't stand losing. Not that he is a "bad loser" in the classic sense--it seems that he is gracious to a fault--but he doesn't know how to deal with it. To a certain sense I guess that's a good thing--no one wants to accept failure--but man it's hard to see mi try to deal with it.

In his concession speech tonight, Mitt seemed to be almost on the verge of tears. Perhaps he was just losing his voice a little (it has been a long campaign) but I thought he was going to break down during his speech. He also rushed through it and was almost hollering, like a kid trying to convince himself to be tough in the face of adversity. It was almost uncomfortable to watch.

It will be very interesting to see how Romney responds. When he went negative in New Hampshire, it turned voters away and sealed the victory for McCain. But he can't win without being aggressive. The other part of the problem with ratcheting up the fight is that Mitt doesn't take it nearly as well as he dished it out. His Achilles has always been his loss of composure in the face of direct attacks. He imploded in the final 1994 Senatorial debate when attacked by Ted Kennedy, and his worst debate performances in the presidential cycle have been those where he was attacked by his fellow candidates.

Just as an aside...one of the things that bothers me the most about Romney is his compete inability to do anything original. His surfing for positions and pandering for votes has been well documented, but now it's gotten to the point where he is stealing the campaign signs of his opponents, right down to the font.


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