No one is probably more surprised by the red meat antics of the Republican primary season than President Obama – unless it’s Mitt Romney.
Governor Romney, who really has been running for president since he announced his first campaign in 2007, has been the perceived frontrunner in this Republican race – until South Carolina. Prior to that, back in the days when Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann were still in the debates, Romney elevated himself from the pack and stayed out of the fray. He had an air of invincibility about him; as though he had decided that the others were nothing more than also-rans and that he would coast to the nomination.
Well, things didn’t work out the way the former one-term governor of Massachusetts had planned. Now, with Newt Gingrich nipping at his heals, Romney has realized he needs to bite back. President Obama and the Democrats can just relax and watch the bloody mess unfold. And what a bloody mess it is.
Only in the Republican Party would a rich candidate who made over $3 million last year, Newt Gingrich, present himself as a populist in contrast to a super rich candidate, Mitt Romney, who is said to be worth over $250 million dollars. One candidate has a six-figure account at Tiffany while the other had money in Swiss bank accounts. Neither seems to understand that while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars at Tiffany or investing millions in Switzerland isn’t illegal, it just doesn’t look good. Not when you are running for president.
When it comes to investments, however, Gingrich might have the upper hand over Romney. The quarter of a billionaire didn’t do himself any favors by offering Rick Perry a $10,000 bet. Romney’s lame explanation of his investments and Swiss bank account – that “my investments are not made by me” – doesn’t really cut it. And the man who manages Romney’s blind trusts who called the Swiss account “an ordinary bank account” indicates a certain level of out-of-touchness with the majority of Americans who would be happy to have a passbook account at Wells Fargo.
But if Gingrich can bloody Romney over his wealth and investments, the monogamous Mormon can clearly jab at the cavorting, converted Catholic on anything related to ethics and morality.
It’s one thing to have an affair while married. Though, in Gingrich’s case it’s actually two things: two affairs in his first two marriages. It’s quite another thing, however, to lead the charge of the impeachment of President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal while the former speaker of the House of Representatives was himself having an adulterous affair. Clinton, you might remember, completed two terms as president. Gingrich paid a $300,000 fine, resigned from Congress and was, according to The New York Times, “the first speaker ever disciplined for unethical conduct.”
Barring some late entry into the race by a more acceptable candidate who could sweep in at the last minute and grab the Republican nomination, it seems likely that the nominee will either be Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich. No doubt, Democrats are already preparing ads to remind voters, come this fall, of just how bruising this primary season has been.