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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Louisville Courier Journal Sees "Mitt Romney's Escape", But Reveal Democrats Prefer Him. That Means Republicans Shouldn't!

Editorial | Mitt Romney's escape

As he did in the Jan. 31 primary in Florida, where a victory revived a campaign that had been flattened in a South Carolina upset, Mitt Romney avoided political disaster Tuesday.

His win in Michigan wasn’t impressive. He won by only 3 percentage points, falling far below expectations just weeks ago for a cakewalk in the state where he was born and his father had been a popular governor. But he did win, beating Rick Santorum and reversing the momentum Mr. Santorum gained Feb. 7 with stunning triumphs in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado.

If Mr. Romney had lost in Michigan, the panic of the Republican establishment would have been uncontainable. (Mr. Romney carried Arizona handily on Tuesday, but that race had not been seriously contested by GOP rivals.)

The stage is now set for next week’s Super Tuesday showdown, including in states like Ohio, Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee where religious conservatives who distrust Mr. Romney will have a big say. Mr. Romney has a wide edge in money and will benefit from a possible splintering of the anti-Romney vote, but he stumbled previously after seeming to get the upper hand with triumphs in New Hampshire and Florida.

If Mr. Romney wins decisively next Tuesday, the GOP race may be effectively over. If not, this could go on awhile.

Meanwhile, Democrats, supporters of President Obama and others appalled by the Republican field should contain the schadenfreude they experience as they watch the GOP rivals savage each other — and as they pull secretly or not-so-secretly for Mr. Santorum to defeat Mr. Romney. Yes, it’s true that when Mr. Romney calls Mr. Santorum an “economic lightweight,” or when Mr. Santorum says Mr. Romney is a fatally flawed potential nominee, it’s hard to imagine how an opponent could say it any better.

And when a respected moderate Republican like Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine throws up her hands and declares that she won’t seek re-election because of the “partisan rancor” that consumes Washington, it’s clear that is partly an indictment of her own increasingly radicalized party.

But non-admirers of contemporary Republicans should be careful what they wish for. As a practical matter, the conventional wisdom that Mr. Romney would be the stronger GOP candidate in a general election isn’t necessarily so. Mr. Romney thus far has proved a robotic caricature of an out-of-touch venture capitalist with no serious ideas beyond the failed notion that tax cuts all around are the answer to what ails the American economy. Mr. Santorum, as a potential lion-killer with populist appeal to the tea party types, could be just as tough, even tougher.

The bigger concern, however, is that the nominee of either of the two major parties always has a chance to win the presidency. Mr. Romney gives every indication that he would be a terrible president. Mr. Santorum would be a catastrophe. He is obsessed with settled social issues. His views on women, sex and gays are medieval. He opposes even contraception, and says a baby conceived by rape is a gift from God. His understanding of the role of religion in a secular political society is counter to bedrock American principles. He seems eager to wage war against Iran.

No thinking American should be willing to risk a Santorum administration. For the sake of the nation, even the most partisan Democrats should hope Mr. Romney can prevail within his own party.

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