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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

After The Iowa Caucus - ANOTHER Lurch To The Right?

Jan 4th, 2012

It's official; Mitt Romney is in serious trouble. Sure, he "won" the Iowa Caucus by an entirety of eight votes. But, he is still in very serious trouble.
Screengrab from the Des Moines Iowa Register

It's not merely the near-upset by Santorum that we predicted might happen yesterday which endangers him. Nor is it the strong likelihood that Romney will be unable to resist pandering to the Dominionist voters who nearly defeated him.

No. What Romney should be very afraid of is Newt Gingrich.

Of all the post-caucus speeches, it was Newt's that gave us an idea of what to expect as the field heads into New Hampshire and South Carolina. If I were to have closed captioned it, his praise for (and apparent endorsement of) the Santorum campaign would have actually read, 'Mr. Romney? I am going get you if it takes me the rest of the year.'

It's clear that Newt is now on a mission to do just that.

Newt telegraphed that he intends to move the discussion so far to the right that the following will become GOP litmus tests:

-- Permawar is necessary.
-- An endless war budget is the only option.
-- Iran is an existential threat. (It's not, dammit)
-- There is no difference between that nation and a suicide bomber.
-- The judiciary is an enemy of the state.

Romney now has two AIPAC bookends to squeeze him. One, a Dominionist Christianist who supports banning all contraception, alleges that all welfare is going to "blacks" and chides the sitting President for not allowing his race to guide his views on abortion. The other, a neo-conservative - pseudo-intellectual who would like to arrest judges with whom he disagrees, turn low income children into laborers and openly endorses a return to torture.

These are the views which will dominate the coming debates. The more they are repeated, the more they will be treated as something other than insane. Also, It doesn't matter that neither Gingrich nor Santorum (he didn't even file petitions) are actually on the Virginia primary ballot. Super Tuesday is just over two months away. That's plenty of time throw bombs before either candidate would actually have to exit the race.

Whether any candidate could return to the center after the coming fight is a legitimate question. Considering Romney's lack of core principles, what we once quaintly referred to as "character," this could doom the GOP's chances.

Let's hope so.

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