The Romney Inevitability Principle (or, is that the Romney Uncertainty Principle?)
“The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa.” Walter Heisenberg, 1927, physicist and a founder of quantum mechanics.
Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican Presidential Nominee. Well, perhaps he is. It certainly looks that way, with Rick Perry’s stop, drop, and roll into the Texas tumbleweed, Michelle Bachmann’s slowly fading Cheshire Cat grin, Newt Gingrich’s turn as the slightly-off relative with a gift for the inappropriate, Rick Santorum’s earnest Nurse Ratched, and Ron Paul’s…Ron Paul?
I know, I forgot John Huntsman, who might make a good President if he could restrain himself from cracking bad jokes and stop looking like an actor who got a call back for the show he didn’t audition for. And Herman Cain, who has an odd affinity for numerology, reminds me more and more of H. Ross Perot and somehow will get about 19% of the vote without actually saying anything concrete.
So, Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican Presidential Nominee? Well, he has a solid record as a Governor, he was a successful businessman, and he did wonders for the Olympics. He looks like a President, in a sort of a Michael Rennie “The Day The Earth Stood Still” kind of way. He’s obviously smart. He’s been running nonstop since the 2008 primaries. He’s raised tons of money and has Wall Street behind him. He’s smooth and unruffled: the pundits have crowned him the winner of the debates. Nary a wrinkle creases his rather noble brow.
But there are these strange little boomlets. Bachmann performs well at a debate, and draws even with Mitt. Perry gets in the race, and leapfrogs Romney. Now Herman Cain is polling better. Still, Romney soldiers on, never too high, never too low. He’s a bit like George Bush (the good one), who “reminded every woman of her first husband.” Not much of a sense of humor, but he’s a solid guy: the one who wore a tie all the time, the one who picked you up at the train station in his sedan when you lost your wallet, the one who never missed a Rotary Club meeting.
And it’s all paying off. Strange coincidences, the unseen hand, all move things in Mitt’s direction. Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Nice, gets off the zinger of the year with “ObamneyCare,” and then backs away from it. His star falls into the night, and he endorses Romney a few weeks later. Bachmann talks about vaccines and autism, and reinforces her fringe image. Perry soars out of the box, and then, unaccountably, completely loses his footing and starts speaking in tongues. Palin keeps popping up like a jack-in-the-box wherever there’s a camera, and suddenly, on the same day, is identified as the model for the psycho Veep in a novel by a McCain staffer, and Roger Ailes of Fox says he hired her “because she was hot and got ratings.” Hours later, she’s out. Chris Christie steps into the ruby slippers, and, just as quickly, steps out of them, endorsing Romney. The Republican establishment, the true elite, is quietly and firmly closing ranks. They will pick the nominee, not the noisy (and possibly unelectable) Tea Party types. So Romney is inevitable. He’s going to be the nominee, and since Barack Obama is destined to be a one term President, it is Romney who will occupy the White House in 2013, and a new Gilded Age can begin. The Romney Inevitability Principle. It’s like the XFiles. You know something is going on (perhaps in that hanger back there), you are not sure how, but it’s going to happen.
Except, there’s one problem. No one willing to get out front is actually inspired by Mitt Romney. The string-pullers who really run everything like the privacy of their boardrooms. And those folk aren’t ideological, except in believing that their self-interest is in the best interest of the country. There’s a quiet, almost clammy feel to all this. It was said of Obama that he was a blank slate onto whom people projected their hopes. Romney has no fixed positions. He’s currently a Conservative’s Conservative, except that he was a moderate Republican governor of a very Blue state and the architect of the model for the very health plan that drives so many so crazy. He had a positive record on the environment, a moderate record on social issues, except now he doesn’t. Yes, he was a Republican, but, as a Perry aide rather brutally noted just a couple of days ago, after the Christie endorsement, a “Northeast Republican,” and that is surely not a Real Republican. Perhaps the real Mitt Romney, the possibly “President Mitt Romney,” is that Conservative’s Conservative. But none of us really know what Mitt Romney actually believes in (besides a profound yearning for the office), so you don’t know what you are voting for. You can’t measure his positions, and his momentum, at the same time.
The Romney Uncertainty Principle.