Monday, January 2, 2012

Mitt Romney Waits at the Back of the Church

Tonight Mitt Romney stands at the back of an Iowa church waiting for the last bridesmaid to make it down the aisle and the organist to strike up "Here Comes the Bride."

It has been a long procession as a succession of bridesmaids wowed the assembled Republican congregation across the nation. In April it was Donald Trump. In May Tim Pawlenty. In June it was Jon Huntsman, who travelled the farthest returning from China for the occasion. In July Michele Bachmann. In August and early September it was Rick Perry.

Then came Herman Cain in late September, October, and early November. He lingered so long that many thought Cain would be the bride, until it came out he'd had a little too much fun at the bachelorette party. Newt Gingrich finished out November, followed by Ron Paul in early December and Rick Santorum in late December.

Over at, where the online wags bet on such things, Mitt Romney is given an 80% chance of becoming the Republican nominee. They give Romney a 48% chance of winning the Iowa Caucus on January 3 tomorrow night, with a 28% chance for Ron Paul and a 19% chance for Rick Santorum.

Things look much better for Mitt Romney after Iowa, with odds now giving him a 91% chance to win the New Hampshire primary on January 10, a 60% chance to win the South Carolina primary on January 21, an 80% chance to win the Florida primary on January 31, and a 90% chance to win the Nevada caucus on February 4. But those are the odds today, and they could very well change if Romney fails to win Iowa.

You see, this is a shotgun wedding. Mitt Romney is certainly Mr. Republican. As a successful businessman who served one term as a state governor, it is hard to think of anyone who is more Republican than Mitt Romney, certainly no one in the current field of candidates. But he isn't Mr. Conservative, at least in the eyes of the social conservative and tea party voting base of today's Republican Party.

Yes, Mitt Romney claims he is pregnant with the conservative cause. But the conservatives aren't all quite ready to believe it. You see, the state Romney was governor of was liberal Massachusetts. And while the truth of it is that he tempered his conservatism to the views of the voters who elected him governor to represent them, the conservatives still have insisted on DNA tests. With flip-flops alleged on health care reform and abortion, they aren't happy with the results.

And then there is the one flip-flop Mitt Romney would not make. Romney is a Mormon, a card-carrying member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mitt had his chance when marrying his wife Ann to switch to her mainstream protestant upbringing, but instead she converted to the LDS church.

Those latter-day saints are a big problem for many evangelical Christian voters and an even bigger problem for many liberal voters. When it became apparent that Mitt Romney would run for President in the 2008 election, Hollywood came out quick with the HBO series Big Love about a fictional fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah still practicing polygamy and the movie September Dawn about the Mountain Meadows Massacre of the Baker–Fancher wagon train in southern Utah on September 11, 1857.

So it is entirely possible that the groom will run off with one of the bridesmaids. Mitt was left at the altar twice in the 2008 election when he has passed over in favor of John McCain for the presidential nomination, and passed over again by McCain in favor of Sarah Palin for the vice presidential nomination. Even after Mitt Romney is finally called to march down the aisle, there is bound to be a tense moment or two when it comes time in March for the minister to ask for anyone who objects to the Mitt Romney nomination to speak now or forever hold their peace.

Putting Mr. Republican in a bridal dress doesn't mean to suggest this is a same-sex wedding. The Grand Old Party of the past was a man's man but in the last couple of decades it has completely lost its masculinity. Now the Republican Party has become all about show me that you still love me, constantly bringing up old shit, wearing its emotions on its sleeves, and always threatening to go home to mother. One can only hope that at the end of this process Mitt Romney will be allowed to take off the dress and put on the pants.

And what of Barack Obama and the Democrats? The betting line gives Obama a 51% chance of winning reelection.

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