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Wednesday, February 29,2012

GOP primary winner: Obama

by Kyle Melinn

The Mitt Romney/Rick Santorum/Ron Paul whack-a-mole road show is mercifully gone — off to torture another unsuspecting state.

It’s fair to say President Obama has never looked better in Michigan.

Attorney General Bill Schuette, Romney’s campaign chief in Michigan, is fond of saying that if Obama loses the Great Lakes State, he can kiss the General Election goodbye. Right now, the lowly Detroit Pistons have a better shot of winning the NBA championship.

Don’t just look at the polls, even though they∆re crummy enough. Public Policy Polling had the incumbent Democratic president up 11 points — 50 percent to 39 percent earlier this month against Rick Santorum if he magically wins the nomination. 

Romney was down 16 points, 54 percent to 38 percent, according to PPP and as much as 18 points according to NBC/Marist.

Even Republicans who aren’t off-the-reservation conservative are privately grumbling about their low level of excitement with the GOP field. Now even former candidate Jon Huntsman and Sarah Palin are wondering if a brokered convention isn’t the way to go. That’s the only way they’ll get someone they really like — Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels or Jeb Bush.

The whole brokered convention talk is just fantasy, really. Romney will have this thing wrapped later than sooner. Lucky us. We can all sit back and watch his painful shift back to the middle.

Michigan voters will need a lobotomy to forget Romney’s pandering to the tin hats of the GOP, which may be why Romney won’t show his face here again barring a family reunion. Given the less-than-warm hug we gave him, most voters obviously don’t care he lived in Michigan 40 years ago. If we did, Michigan would have looked like Arizona on Tuesday and it didn’t.

Instead, Santorum,  a voter-rejected former U.S. senator, hung with establishment candidate Romney.

Rick Santorum? Really? This state didn’t even know who he was three months ago. A Detroit Free Press/WXYZ poll Nov. 13-16 had Santorum at 2 percent.

Charlie Brown and Mickey Mouse could get 2 percent in a poll.

Romney has been campaigning here for practically six years. He got the endorsement of the governor, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the state House speaker, the state Senate majority leader, half the GOP Senate members, about half of the GOP House members, National Committeeman Saul Anuzis and gobs of other activists. 

And yet more than half of the Republican voters wanted someone other than Romney. Nearly an identical amount wanted Santorum, whose socially conservative views are to the right of Captain Caveman.

The average Michigan voter under age 50 doesn’t know Romney. They weren’t voting when George Romney was governor. He sipped Vernors and cruised Woodward Avenue back in the ’60s. But he left and didn’t come back. He traded in his Tigers loyalties for the Boston Red Sox.

When the Michigan-based General Motors and Chrysler stood at the precipice of bankruptcy, Romney said fine, let a financially locked-down private sector figure it out. We can all cross our fingers both companies aren’t sold off as scrap. 

Thanks for the loyalty, Mitt. The government saved Chrysler in the ’70s, but somehow it’d screw it up in 2009? God forbid we use taxpayer money to save an industry that employs so many of our own people.

No, more than 50 percent of voters didn’t give Romney its vote in February, and it’s hard to imagine it’ll happen in November either.

Romney’s best chance to become president is to go to other swing states where the margin between him and Obama doesn’t look like a small canyon. In Ohio, it’s about 2 percentage points. It’s 5 percentage points in Florida and 2 percentage points in Virginia.

Maybe he can steal a few states out East or out in the Mountain West/Pacific Coast like Washington, where Obama’s only up 5 or 6.

Romney left the Novi Suburban Show Center for Ohio and isn’t looking back, which is not the way Michigan Republicans drew this up at all.

The plan was to create an early Michigan primary (at the expense of losing half the state’s delegates, putting it on par with such electoral power houses as Idaho and North Dakota), give Romney an easy victory and segue that into strength going into the General Election to help Republicans up and down the ballot.

After this pitiful showing? The GOP should be sweating bullets.

The Democrats are talking about putting collective bargaining, campaign finance reform and alternative energy questions on the ballot. That’ll draw union stalwarts, good government types and tree-huggers to the polls in November. Not what Republicans wanted.

All of the sudden, GOP majorities on the Supreme Court and the state House are in real jeopardy.

It’s all good news for Obama, the real winner of the Feb. 28 early Republican presidential primary.


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