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Posted at 03:21 PM ET, 10/14/2011

It’s not easy being the Inevitable Mitt Romney


“Sometimes I feel like you take me for granted.” (AP Photo/Jim Cole) (Jim Cole - AP)
Death. Taxes. Mitt Romney.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell which of the three people are talking about.

He’s the Inevitable Man.

The word has a dull and leaden sound to it. “Inevitable” suggests that we were trying desperately to evit it until just before the curtain rose.

The inevitable tends to have bad PR. Why bother? Toothbrushes need to advertise. Tooth decay doesn’t.

Right now Romney is up there with loss of everything we hold dear and the destruction of the world when the sun explodes into a giant fireball.

No one is enthused about the inevitable. We only get excited about the improbable. Romney is far too plausible for his own good.

Donald Trump? Chris Christie? Sarah Palin? All exciting in direct proportion to their unlikeliness.

If anything, the Romney candidacy reminds us why arranged marriages went out of fashion. It’s the application of spoiler alerts to the marriage plot. We like at least to pretend that there’s some doubt how things will wind up.

And what’s funny is, there might be some doubt. We’re certainly flirting with — well, I don’t want to say disaster, but have you seen the rest of the field?

The rest of the Super Eight are neither inevitable nor intoxicatingly improbable.

“Wait,” Perry says. “Look at all this money I raised before I opened my mouth! Once you get me out of forums where I will be
expected to respond to questions using words, I will totally be the
front-runner again.”

Perry approaches the English language as though he thinks it might ambush him later. So far, he’s been right: Every word he’s said, and some things he’s merely squinted at while driving past them to a hunting lodge, has come back to haunt him, and not in the benign Patrick Swayze way. The English language clearly has it in for him. Treasonous, treacherous — potato, potato, blammo! This is also why he has declined all Romney’s invitations to play Words with Friends.

At the rate we’re going, we’ll get up-close and personal with all nine
of the candidates. Bachmann was first. Next Perry. Now Cain.

Meanwhile, Romney looms inevitably in the background, like one of those dead rabbits in still life paintings.

Still, this is an improvement on Romney’s former status. In the eight-person production of Waiting For Godot, No, Not That Godot, The Other Godot, that has been the nominating process thus far, he starred as The For Want of Anything Better Guy. He was the Plan B the field has in its pocket. The backup. He’s that friend you agree to marry at age 30 if you’re both still single by then. As you attempt to demonstrate an elaborate recipe on a cooking show, he’s the one you made earlier — lumpy but serviceable, if this one doesn’t turn out as planned.

He’s inevitable in the way one member of the field of Bachelorette
contestants always seems inevitable. “Hopefully someone actively exciting will show up,” you say. “But if not, there’s always that guy in the corner. He seems clean and presentable and appears to have no communicable diseases,” you say. “Not visibly anyway.”

Then no one else shows up. Newt Gingrich winks at you and murmurs something about how he's feeling “extra patriotic” this evening. Jon Huntsman waves, but who is he? Also, he just said something about evolution that might be problematic later.

I hate to compare the field to dating again — that’s been done and
done and done — but the comparison makes sense. Dating is weird these days, and none of the old rules apply, and some mornings you really wish they did.

Right now, the front-runner has a mustache.

“Guys, sometimes I worry you aren’t taking this seriously,” Mitt says. “Here I am in a suit and tie speaking in complete sentences, appearing awake, and I have a plan that isn’t just a series of random numbers that would summon emergency personnel if we were in Britain.”

When Godot definitely fails to appear, For Want of Anything Better moves up a notch to Inevitable.

Chris Christie has sufficient avoirdupois that you’d think the
announcement that he’s thrown his weight behind Romney would settle
the matter. But no. We’re still dancing with one eye on the door, hoping Godot will change his mind. Herman Cain? He’ll be gone once summer ends.

Romney’s here, waiting, coughing and looking at his watch. Looming. Inevitable, like going grey, rounding out, and losing control of your mental faculties no matter how much Sudoku you do.

“Please don’t flirt too long,” Mitt begs.

After all, Hillary was inevitable.

By  |  03:21 PM ET, 10/14/2011

Tags:  GOP 2012, Mitt Romney

 
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