It must really suck to be Mitt Romney. I mean, if you took away the rugged good looks and the vast personal fortune you'd start to wonder just what was left, and then, upon reciting your (extremely short) list of remaining virtues, slowly begin to understand just why it is that Mr. Romney can't seem to break the 25% mark in most presidential polls these days.
Before we begin to explore the primary reason behind Mitt's relatively abysmal showing thus far, let's take a good look at some of the tertiary issues that plague the Romney candidacy.
The first issue is the man himself. Mitt Romney just isn't a very good candidate. He has some issues with telling the unvarnished truth, and he's got a layer of slick on him that would rival that of Bill Clinton's vaunted slipperiness. His biggest shortcoming is the millstone of RomneyCare, that forerunner of the ObamaCare abomination, hanging about his neck. Romney is unable (or unwilling) to tell the truth about this issue: that, all things considered, the Massachusetts health Care Laws and ObamaCare are barely distinguishable in terms of cost, efficacy, and legality.
For an electorate for whom one of the biggest marks against the current regime is the underhanded methods by which socialized medicine is being foisted upon us, this makes Romney vulnerable to the charge that he's no different than Obama. Romney could have defused this ticking time bomb a long time ago by simply saying "Gee, I guess I was wrong about state-run healthcare systems, but I've learned some important lessons about why this is a bad thing, and here they are..."
Whether he actually believed that his own state-run healthcare system was a bad idea or not is irrelevant; he would have still been on record as having repudiated his own bad policy in this area, and that might have led more people to believe him when he repudiates ObamaCare. Without a denunciation and a public mea culpa on this issue, Romney is pretty much dead meat. GOP voters are notorious for forgiving a flip-flop if the resulting mental somersault results in the candidate arriving at the 'right' position (i.e. GHW Bush's painfully-transparent flip-flop to the Pro-Life agenda for the purposes of being Reagan's VP choice).
But then this would have left Romney open to the second most-often-repeated charge made against him, particularly by 'real' conservatives (small 'c' intentional), that Romney flip-flops without a second thought and as he deems necessary, as evidenced by his 23 or so previously-held positions on Abortion. I find it laughable that a portion of the electorate infamous for it's own hypocrisy and self-interested twisting of logic should hang this tag upon another under the misguided belief that no one ever notices.
Then again, they believe in an invisible man in the sky who is alternately responsible or not responsible for everything, depending on which argument you need to make today, so maybe I shouldn't be so shocked. But, I digress...
With the health care disaster and the untruthful flip-flopper appellation hung on him, the wonder isn't that Mitt Romney's not running away with a race in which Ebola Virus should be able to beat Obama in a straight-up vote, but that he's still in it and maintaining the support he has garnered to date. You have to give the guy some credit for hanging in there in a game in which the deck has been stacked against him.
The real reason why Romney hasn't broken away from a GOP pack that seems to include all of the following; a dingbat (Bachmann), your crazy Uncle George with the War Wound(Paul), a lazy bastard (Gingrich), a complete dipshit (Perry), the creepy next door neighbor you don't want talking to your kids (Santorum), and a guy with no political experience at all (Cain), is because in a GOP wedded to a southern strategy of bringing in the Evangelical Christian vote, Romney is basically running into the proverbial brick wall without a crash helmet.
Romney can't win a southern primary, and even if he does, it'll be by a razor-thin margin against a guy who, personally, has no business being in this race in the first place, and that's Rick Perry. And those razor-thin margins (assuming there are any) will have yet another unintended consequence in that they will embolden democrats to make a play for some of those southern states.
The problem for Romney in the south is that he's a Mormon, which is the next, best thing to being a convicted sex offender in some parts of the Bible Belt. Rick Perry's meteoric rise within sixty seconds of announcing is due entirely to the support of the religious fanatics in the GOP. Unless someone produces a credible report that Rick Perry is a serial donkey abuser, he'll continue to get the support of those who would rather pray than think.
When the television talking heads talk about a division within the GOP ranks that makes it difficult for them (because they're mostly douchebags who need to know what they'll be pontificating about for the next year, in order to keep a steady paycheck) to see a 'clear front-runner', they're missing a far bigger point (which is not surprising, since they don't really have to think about anything, just spout conventional wisdom); there is no division on the overall goal of the GOP -- defeating Obama -- there is simply a division over which religious denomination should be recognized and given precedence in American Life.
Is it to be Perry's brand of constipated Evangelicalism, or Romney's more-moderate Mormonism, which most snake-handling, speaking-in-tongues Evangelicals regard as twice as bad as a Gay Marriage?
Perry manages to stay in the race because he has managed to convince the Godbots that he prays in the 'right' fashion, despite the fact that he's a raging fucktard who probably couldn't find two braincells to rub together. Perry is no conservative (given his positions on HPV vaccines, Illegal immigration, and the laughable position that you can't be pro-life without believing the government has the right to be involved in your abortion, it's hard to see the conservatism), and is dumber than a sack of wet dogcrap, but it is his ability to draw the attention and money of Evangelicals willing to (hypocritically, of course) overlook these shortcomings that is the primary reason why Romney can't break 30%.
Yet another reason why Romney can't get much more traction is Herman Cain.
If Perry has tied down a sizable portion of the dumb-as-dogshit Southern Evangelical vote that Romney needs to top Obama, then Cain has him outflanked on the even more important moderate GOP/Reagan Democrat/Independent voter front. Cain resonates with people who haven't been brain damaged by too much Bible Study. He's plain-spoken, he isn't a professional politician, and he has a great deal more economic acumen than even Romney's handlers reserve for their man. Romney is stuck in neutral, and will probably remain there come primary season.
Of course, there's still time for events to sort themselves out to Romney's advantage: perhaps those pictures of a drunken Rick Perry and Barack Obama getting matching tattoos in that Thai whorehouse could still surface, but that's an exceedingly-long shot.
Personally, I don't even believe Perry is Romney's greatest long-term threat, anyway; that's Newt Gingrich, or would be whenever Newt decides to get his fat, bloated carcass out of his fucking Lay-Z-Boy and begin to take this thing seriously. I think, when all is said and done, we're looking at a GOP race between Cain and Gingrich in the end, with Romney becoming a distant third just as soon as the southern primaries begin in earnest. By then, Perry will have shot himself in the foot with his own inarticulate and untenable positions, no matter how many times he recites the Lord's Prayer, and done so in such a manner that you'd have to be completely braindead to pull a lever for him afterwards.
Romney is doomed by his Mormon faith; Perry's supporters have unabashedly said it, Herman Cain has even tepidly alluded to it, and there's your Modern South in miniature: the brain-dead Bible Thumpers who complain about religious persecution when they can't get a creche into a Synagogue are quite happy to persecute Mormons at arm's length, and southern blacks who have experienced the sting of Segregation are pretty certain they know what their white neighbors are thinking, religion-wise. Even if the chips were down, and the final choice was between Obama's Second Term and Anyone With A GOP label, the Godbots would still be more than happy to stay at home and not vote at all (and sulk about it!) if Romney were to be the only one left standing.
They'd rather elect a philandering Gingrich, or another black man, than to turn the White House over to a Mormon. And then complain that only if the GOP had stood a 'real' conservative, they might have won. The ultimate goal for this branch of the GOP is a creeping theocracy under the guise of republican politics. Don't ever let them tell you otherwise. The only reason they haven't succeeded is because there's (thankfully) still more people interested in this world than in the next.
In the unlikely event of a Romney-vs.-Obama election, never underestimate the ability of the 'real' conservatives to cut off their collective nose to spite their face, or their inability to make a pragmatic choice when confronted by an issue which touches upon their faith.
Mitt Romney had better start praying for a miracle.