It seems like every analysis piece on the state of the Republican race is the same. And that makes them boring to read. Here’s the narrative:
The mornings of conservative panic came after Mike Huckabee won Iowa and John McCain won New Hampshire. Each candidate enrages elements of the Right, especially (but not exclusively) those focused on economic issues. Earlier this week, Rush Limbaugh sounded as if he needed someone to talk him off a ledge about the two men’s ascent. “If either of these two guys get the nomination,” Limbaugh declared, “it’s going to destroy the Republican Party.”
Conservative leaders exhaled Wednesday after Mitt Romney (who earlier captured the Wyoming caucus) slowed Huckabee and McCain by defeating them in Michigan. But the Right’s respite is likely to be brief. That’s not only because McCain or Huckabee could revive by winning in South Carolina on January 19.
The larger problem is that no Republican candidate has energized the social, economic, and foreign-policy components of the modern conservative coalition. That means that whoever wins this competition could inherit a fractured party in which at least one significant bloc of voters will be unenthusiastic, at best, about the outcome. “That’s one of the biggest dangers right now for the Republican nominee,” says Wehner, a senior fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Here’s what I don’t understand. Romney and Huckabee have virtually no chance to win the presidency. A look at the head-to-head polls shows Romney getting beat by Edwards 52%-36%, by Obama 55%-33%, and by Clinton 51%-39%. The numbers for Huckabee: Edwards 48%-36%, Obama 52%-39%, and Clinton 49%-43%.
If Romney and Huckabee can’t crack 40% in a two-way election they could spell doom for Republicans down ticket. John McCain’s numbers are much better.
McCain 49% Clinton 45%
McCain 46% Obama 45%
McCain 44% Edwards 42%
So why is Rush Limbaugh apoplectic at the prospect of a McCain nomination? Seems to me like he is the only chance the Republicans have to avoid a complete trouncing all up and down the ticket on election day.
Do they seriously want Mitt Romney? Why?