Ironically, Romney Means More Tea Party

The spin on last night’s Republican Debate is that Mitt Romney emerged unscathed by competitor attacks and should hold his front runner status. I expected more from Newt Gingrich, but did enjoy one of his jabs at Romney:

“Could we drop a little bit of the pious baloney. The fact is you ran in ’94 and lost (to Ted Kennedy). … You were running for president while you were governor. … You’ve been running consistently for years.”

I’ve felt for a long time that Romney is the only Republican candidate who has a legitimate shot at beating President Obama in a general election, but I’m starting to rethink that position. Not because any other candidates look particularly good, but the more Romney appears in public, the less appealing he seems to be.

Still, it’s looking more and more like an Obama – Romney battle for the White House.

Prior to Romney’s emergence, I thought that the 2012 election could be a referendum on the Tea Party. The consensus views of the Tea Party are far from those of Mainstream America, and I was sure that the base of the Republican Party would nominate someone with whom they fundamentally agree. I guess not.

As a supporter of President Obama, I no longer fear Romney. My fear is now that the Tea Party folks won’t go away if Obama ultimately beats Romney. They will simply believe that the election was lost because their candidate “wasn’t conservative enough”. I guess they’ll have an excuse regardless of the candidate, but this one seems custom tailored to their views.

So ironically, even if Romney loses to Obama, we might be stuck with the Tea Party for a while.

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