It won’t matter. Really. Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican nominee.
It’s fascinating that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is dropping out of the presidential face and throwing his support to Newt Gingrich. Think of them as the Vulture Caucus, ganging up on Romney and his Bain Capital millions.
“Another seismic shift,” the cable host tells me. Not on my Richter scale. Gingrich may be surging in South Carolina, and Perry’s announcement may add to the former speaker’s strength there. But whatever Romney’s flaws — his awkwardness with voters, his bumbling handling of tax returns and questions about his wealth — they are tiny compared to Gingrich’s problems.
Case in point: even before Perry’s announcement, the video is out in which Marianne Gingrich, Gingrich’s second wife, explains to ABC how she rejected his alleged demand that she agree to an open marriage. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to play well with South Carolina Republicans. Or Republicans in general. Or voters, for that matter.
Romney’s steadiness, his infrastructure, his financial strength — all of these add up to the ineluctable conclusion that the nomination, sooner or later, will be his.
Gingrich’s terrific debate performances notwithstanding, his record is too studded with land mines and his personality too undisciplined for him to take the nomination from Romney.
Plus, Rick Santorum doesn’t seem inclined to go away and leave the not-Romney stage to Gingrich alone. Perry’s departure is a fun development to watch, but it is no game-changer.