Times are getting desperate for many in the republican field and ugly for others. The Iowa caucuses are next week and New Hampshire's primary follows quickly. After all the debates, ads, campaigning, and bizarre dallying with Donald Trump, the herd is in for some serious culling.
Latest polls show that in Iowa Ron Paul is in the lead with 23%, despite the disclosure of some extremely nasty racial comments written in his name decades ago. Paul, of course, has claimed he never actually wrote the offensive remarks, despite them appearing in a "Ron Paul Newsletter." The New York Times notes that while Paul has disavowed extremist views he has never disavowed support from extremists. The fact of the matter is a Paul victory in Iowa may do nothing more than prove how irrelevant those caucuses are. He has no chance of winning the nomination and by throwing their support to him, Iowa republicans will do nothing but illustrate that they are completely out of touch with the remainder of the nation.
Newt Gingrich's numbers have, not surprisingly, taken a nose dive. In three weeks the former speaker and over paid shill for Freddie Mac has gone from a 27% rating to 14% which puts him in a distant third place. News for Newt has grown increasingly sour. He failed to qualify for the Virginia primary despite living there and now the Wall Street Journal has unearthed a memo which quotes him as saying, "We agree entirely with Governor Romney and the Massachusetts legislature that our goal should be one hundred percent insurance coverage for all Americans." It would seem his fifteen minutes are about done, although because of places like South Carolina he will probably last until at least May. Gingrich's main problem, as it turns out, isn't even major league flip flops like the latest one involving Romneycare. It is that everyone who has ever worked with him in Washington, especially members of his own party, simply hate his guts.
Romney is running a fairly tight second right now in Iowa with a 20% rating. What the governor has proven in Iowa is that he can take a succession of punches. It seems everyone in the world, including pizza delivery guys have taken a run at him and he has been able to weather each storm. Despite their dislike of the man, the conservative wing of the party has not been able to come up with a viable and sustainable alternative. Now, Mr. Romney, who when running for the highest office in Massachusetts, aired ads that proudly proclaimed him to be a "moderate and progressive" seems on his way to the nomination.
There is still along way to go and unforeseen disclosures and scandals could change the nature and face of the nomination process. However it appears the rest of the field, when it comes to Iowa and other places, are staring at a very large sign that says something along the lines of "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here".
No, despite all the fads and flavors of the moment, it appears this race is going to boil down to three people and only one of them has proven staying power. A second place finish in Iowa will not put a severe dent in the Romney campaign. No one else can say that.
The nomination is Mitt's to lose.