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Former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich’s overdue withdrawal from the GOP Presidential primary race didn’t leave the nomination to Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor sealed that deal when Rick Santorum quit in April.
Gingrich’s withdrawal, however, removes the last real irritant to Romney march to the GOP mantle. Soon to be ex-Congressman Ron Paul will continue his third and last hopeless quest for the Presidency but he is little more than a fly buzzing around cow flop.
Romney has turned his full attention to his final roadblock on the road to the White House: Incumbent President Barack Obama. He faces a polarizing President who should be easy to beat but the candidate the GOP will select in Tampa for that job is bruised and battered from a bloody primary that has delivered neither the best man for the job nor necessarily the one who can – or will – win.
As we have said here before, Romney emerges from the GOP primary as the dog with the least fleas – a flawed candidate from what many consider the worst crop of Presidential wannabes ever fielded by a major or minor political party.
Romney will not emerge from the primary season as a winner. He is – if anything – only a survivor, the last occupant of a lifeboat that may have been better off going down the GOP’s latest version of the Titanic.
The Republican party that will be asked to support Mitt Romney is a bitter, divided gathering of extremists that puts dogma above country, politics above patriotism and excess above reason.
The party that screams “America first” is drowning in own hyperbole, gutted from within by right-wing radicals and oppressive ideologues. Republicans can’t claim to represent America because they don’t understand the land of the free or the home of the brave. A nation founded on the belief of freedom of expression and tolerance cannot be served by a party that stifles individualism and preaches homophobia and racism.
Capitol Hill Blue talked with Republican rank and file around the nation and found widespread dissatisfaction with not only the leadership of the party but also with the slate of candidates who campaigned for the Presidency.
“My parents were Republicans. My grandparents were Republicans,” says Sally Akins of Tulsa, Oklahoma. “I can’t vote Republican this election. This party no longer represents me or my beliefs.”
Desmond Hawkins of Atlanta feels the same way.
“I can not with good conscience support the extreme views that now represent the Republican Party today,” he says. “No one who ran for President served the party. Not Mitt Romney, not Newt Gingrich, not Rick Santorum, not Ron Paul.”
While Democrats also appear fractured and unsure whether or not they will united behind Obama, Republicans appear even more divided when it comes to their party.
“The Republican party used to be my party,” says Alicia Haynes of San Diego. “But it has become an abomination. I can no longer owe my allegiance to it.”
One could argue that a primary season that saw – at one time or another – a gaggle of frontrunners that included Donald Trump (who wasn’t even a candidate), Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum was doomed to disaster from the start.
So can Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama? Probably not. With six months to go, anything can happen in the unpredictable world of American politics. But when Americans go into the voting booth in November the number one question on their minds should be: “Is the best we can do?”
Sadly, in 2012 it was – but it shouldn’t be that way.