By R.B. Scott
Boston, MA - A few days before Tuesday’s Alabama and Mississippi primaries, a senior advisor to presidential candidate W. Mitt Romney was grumbling that former Republican party chairman Michael Steele’s shakeup of his party’s primary election process was a gift to President Barack Obama.
Still, it probably it didsalve the Republican nerves when Steele confessed to Mother Jones magazine that the new schedule and rules he concocted were intended to give the Grand Old Party the good teeth rattling it needed. What he had in mind was ahard fought brokered and negotiated convention with all the histrionics, a dealmaking and arm-twisting that once were hallmarks of the Democrats.
While Romney would likely fare well in a brokered battle, he could be sandbagged should his opponents conspire against him, a likely scenario now that the campaign has once again turned mean and, at times, unfomfortably personal. Unannounced popular leaders like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie could suddenly emerge as the healing compromise solution.
Apparently, Steele did not anticipate hand-wringing from Senator John McCain, the party’s major domo of the moment, who now calls the grinding, chaotic process a Greek Tragedy. Even New Jersey’s charming and popular governorChristie turned dour, noting that choosing delegates proportionately was the dumbest thing to come down the Jersey Turnpike in a good long while.
Understandably Team Romney’s concerns were measured in the burn rate -- “$100 million a month we should be spending on the general election. I’ve seen the numbers” a senior advisor said. “Meantime, Obama doesn’t have to spend one nickel. Can that be good for the party? Thank you very much Mr. Steele!”
Meantime, downplaying the significance of Romney’s third place finishes in Mississippi and Alabama, senior spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom made a persuasive, numbers-based argument to CNN viewers as to why the nomination would be Romney’s based on his strength with moderates in big states like California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. “If someone can explain to me how Santorum gets from here to the 1,144 votes, I’m all ears,” Fehrnstrom said.
The fact is, Romney did a little better than initially predicted in Mississippi and Alabama. His reasonably solid performance was obscured by some election eve polls suggesting he would do even better. Instead of downplaying those heady forecasts, Team Romney, including the man himself, bought into the optimism once again as it had in Iowa and South Carolina.
“We are going to win tomorrow,” Romney declared boldly. Better that he had hedged “given the uncertain playing field, we may do a little better than expected tomorrow. ” Enough said. Let the record show W. Mitt Romney has become known as a man who chronically says way more than he needs to, which is why he may need to continue to fund a $100 million-a-month primary campaign for a few more months.