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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney clinched the Republican nomination for President Tuesday night with a convincing win in Texas, a state where Ron Paul‘s never-say-die supporters carpet-bombed the web with loud predictions of an upset win and who now will undoubtedly claim fraud at the polls.
Romney ended the night with 1,184 delegates — well over the 1,114 threshold. Paul has 129 — more than 1,000 delegates shy of Romney and still in fourth place behind Romney and non-candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.
In many ways, reaching the magic number was anti-climatic in a GOP campaign that had more than enough explosive moments in the early going. The nomination was Romney’s when Santorum dropped out in early April, leaving only perennial gadfly Paul along with financially and morally bankrupt former Speaker of the House Gingrich in the race.
Gingrich threw in towel a short time later but Paul — who suspended active campaigning so he could conserve what campaign cash he has left to convert to other uses after the election — vowed the carry on by concentrating on remaining state with caucuses and conventions where his loud and vociferous following could pack the rooms and subvert the democratic process.
It’s an interesting hypocrisy by a candidate who claims to believe in the will of the voters but now wants to overturn that will by playing an inside game.
In reality, there is nothing Paul can do to stop Romney — then or now. The race for the nomination is over and the only remaining questions if whether or not Paul and his rowdy flock really want to help beat Barack Obama or if they just want to make a mess of the whole process.
In traditional party primaries, bitter rivals come together once the voters speak and work together to put their nominee over the top.
But politics nowadays is anything but traditional. Personal ambition all too often trumps cohesive political action. Disruption outweighs unity. The end goal of beating an incumbent President who deserves defeat is lost amid the chaos and screams of a “revolution” that accomplishes little, if anything.
If the various factions of a fractured Republican party really want to beat Obama they had better find a way to work together for a common — and achievable goal.
Barack Obama can be beat. He is a flawed, inexperienced and all-too-often incompetent President who broke most of his campaign promises, extended the rights-robbing abuses of of predecessor and drove this nation so deeply into debt that it threatens to collapse under the load.
But he can’t — and won’t — be beat by a party dominated by extremists and brawling children who would rather make a failed point than win an election.