I have pity for Mitt. He's the most sensible choice for the general election (Paul would be slaughtered), but the girl he's waiting for keeps dancing with all these bad-boys. He's even tried to be more bad-boy himself, but it's not working.
Despite the reluctance of the national party, I do think Romney will win in NH. I was up there this past weekend, and Romney had the most and largest signs. Ron Paul is second.
Romney will do well enough to stay in the race past Florida, and he'll have stronger wins after that. Gingrich will win a few, but people will find him less and less charming. He'll enjoy the campaign, avoid becoming nasty to his rivals, and be cordial when he bows out.
Paul will keep up the fight, but he doesn't have a shot. He'll have to decide whether to run as an independent.
I haven't mentioned Iowa because don't think it's going to be important. The only exception to that is if Paul does really well (1st or very high 2nd) and the same in NH. If Paul gets two wins or near-wins, he'll finally get some press. Once he gets some coverage, the merely curious will drop out, and he'll have only his die-hard 15%. (Because he really is Nader crazy.)
The final scorecard will look like this:
- Romney - gets the nomination, is gushingly grateful. The bride has her doubts all the way to the altar and beyond.
- Gingrich - his good cheer wins him elder statesman status--less than Reagan, but more than any other Republican. He remains very partisan, with frequent visits to Fox News and all the right-wing think tanks.
- Paul - 80% find out for sure that Paul IS crazy. Fifteen per cent know for sure he's a genius. The remaining 5% are split between lizard-alien, regular alien, and "who?"
To me, it's almost as though the Republicans are a contestant on Let's Make a Deal. The only difference is that they can see the prizes, and still the choice is difficult. "... Do I want the RV, the Mediterranean casino cruise, or the goat? Oh no, I can't decide."
Bonus predictions: Callista divorces Newt and takes over the Huffington Post. Both Newt and Ron Paul will be contestants on The Apprentice. Pirate videos of Ron Paul grabbing Trump's hair will go viral. Newt will get a Christmas special on TV and dress up as an elf. Lots of Christian stars will sing. Sarah and Bristol Palin will visit. President Romney will visit on the second season. Newt dies happy and fulfilled. The End.
Update 12/30/11. This post is already a bit out of date. I know it stuck out like a red flag: "Gingrich will win a few..." It now looks like this part of my prediction won't pan out. And I couldn't be happier--I loathe Gingrich.