Has The Romney Express Already Run Out of Gas?

As best as I can figure, Mitt Romney has 989 locked-in delegates as of this writing. That’s the Real Clear Politics number and it seems the most accurate. It’s a hard number to pin down. As most of the world knows, he needs 1144 pledged delegates to make his nomination as Republican Presidential candidate official. Two of his primary opponents, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have dropped out of the race. The last opponent standing, Ron Paul, has decided to sit out the remaining primaries having suspended campaigning.

Unless I missed it, Santorum has not released his 259 delegates (he’s apparently unhappy that Romney won’t put a picture of Jesus on the front of the podium in each of his stops). Doesn’t seem that Gingrich is in any hurry to release his 141 brain dead delegates either and Ron Paul is still officially in the race with 108 addled followers lined up behind him.

Nobody is suggesting that Romney won’t be the nominee, but as the avuncular John Houseman, as TV spokesman for Smith Barney (now Morgan Stanley Smith Barney) put it back in the 80’s TV commercial, “they make money the old fashioned way – they earn it!” Thanks to his less than generous former opponents, that’s how Romney is going to become the official presidential nominee of his party; he’s going to have to ‘earn’ it.

Texas may or may not be the scene of that final push toward legitimacy. There are 155 delegates to be wooed and won in The Longhorn State. A sweep gives Romney the nomination right on the nose at 1144. I’d be surprised if Romney sweeps however, as numerous Ron Paul meetups have taken place in the last month. His supporters still insist he’s ‘trending’. So if Romney falls short in Texas that would necessitate at least a journey to a few of the states representing 339 total delegates June 5th. New Jersey might be the best bet to put Romney over the top given the state is in the first time zone that will finish the vote count. The other June 5th states are South Dakota, New Mexico (home of the possible Romney VP selection), Montana and mighty California. The whole thing comes to a merciful conclusion with the Utah primary, June 26th.

The Texas primary was originally scheduled for April 3. Texas has had a population explosion since 2000. There are well over 4 million newly-arrived residents calling the state their home sweet home. That represents four additional congressional seats. An estimated 65% of these newcomers are Hispanics with their tendency to vote Democrat. That would never do so the legislature busily went about doing what Texas Republican politicians do best, redrawing districts in their favor. So politically unbalanced was the process that it ended up on the Federal Court agenda in San Antonio. The three-judge panel did a little scribbling of their own in what they perceived as a fair shake for all concerned. The Republicans were pissed. They went where every good Republican state legislature goes – Washington D.C. and ‘the fix is in’ Supreme Court. Sure ‘nuff, the court ordered that the original legislative redistricting be given more weight. So with the molding of the state in favor of one party and a couple of months delay, the time has finally come for the primary.

Be assured that Texas Republicans weren’t just relying on redistricting to tilt things in their favor. The ever-popular and reliable Voter ID obscenity comes into play here as well. Seems the Voter ID requirement of a Texas Drivers License or a state-issued photo ID is something that hundreds of thousands of Hispanic voters may not posses. The Justice Department has sent the question to the courts along with South Carolina’s obstructive Voter ID law for a final determination. Depending on whether the judges are closet Tea Party types or ‘fair and balanced’, their decision could further erode voting rights in our once great democracy.

Hard as it may be to believe, less than a year ago, Texas Governor Rick Perry was actually atop the leaderboard for the Republican Presidential Primary. Then he opened his mouth and tumbled like an out of control downhill skier. But in the thick of the campaign he fired off some pretty mean salvos in Romney’s direction. Among other unpleasantries, he called the guy who hides his profits offshore, untrustworthy. He ripped ‘Romneycare as a total debacle and saved some of his heaviest ammo for the greed and job loss during Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, calling Romney a ‘Vulture’ Capitalist.

The power has since shifted and Perry is nothing if not practical. He now endorses Romney (probably in exchange for the head of the DC Mensa Chapter) having given up on his former BFF, Newt Gingrich. The fickle Perry recently gushed, “Mitt’s vision and record of private sector success will put America back on the path of job creation, economic opportunity and limited government.” He included all right-wing bona fides designed to cement the base to the Romney bandwagon. But ‘job creation’? It’s a well-know fact that during Romney’s tenure as Massachusetts’s governor, the state ranked a dismal 47th in job creation. Oh well, never let facts get in the way of a good endorsement.

The endorsement notwithstanding, the intransigence of the Paul parrots is still spike-stripping in front of the Romney bandwagon, thereby keeping Mitt on the road for a few more days after Texas, needing but a handful of delegates.  There is sort of the exigency of getting this thing over with for Romney who is in the odd position of still running without portfolio as the presumed nominee as he bangs relentlessly on the current president.

In summation, the nomination is Romney’s, even though it remains officially unofficial. For those who survived the first elimination round, Ron Paul has the most coin left over. He’s sitting on 2 ½ million and owes nothing. St. Santorum has a million bucks in the coffers, but owes 2.3 million. Newt emerged in the worst shape of any of them. He’s got a niggling $800,000 in campaign monies, but owes about $4 million more than that.

Tiffany’s may have to wait a few months for their next score.





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