GOP Primary Update

So… this happened.

Rick Santorum swept both Southern primary states of Alabama and Mississippi last night and Mitt Romney finished in 3rd in both. Not a good night for Romney, especially considering that Newt not winning either state might make him more likely to drop out. Rumors are that Sheldon Adelson has “written his last check,” which would leave Newt unable to compete.

It’s also interesting to note that Nate Silver, who has built his reputation by being incredibly accurate in his projections, gave Santorum only a 9% chance of winning Alabama and a 2% chance of winning Mississippi. He did warn that polls of these states for primaries are often inaccurate, and last night they proved him right in that sense, at least.

I still think Romney will be the nominee, but my earlier statement may have been overly confident. Then again, maybe not. Hawaii and American Samoa also voted last night and Romney won 18 of the 23 delegates allocated between them. Even in Mississippi, where Romney finished 3rd, he managed to get more delegates than Santorum, 14-13. As I said before, Romney is the only candidate running a professional campaign, and it shows in the delegate counts from states like Mississippi.

So I still doubt that Santorum can overtake Romney in the delegate count, but there is at least a chance for a brokered convention, and then who knows. On that note, let’s take another look at the only race that seems competitive: Romney vs. the field, or Brokered Convention.

In the last update, Romney was winning the race to securing the nomination before Tampa by 81 delegates. After last night’s performance, the spread has been reduced to 62. Brokered Convention is gaining, but slowly.

These numbers are from The New York Times, and… they changed their colors! I’ve added in the Brokered Convention and although they have dropped Jon Huntsman from their chart, I’m keeping him in there because his 2 delegates matter for the purposes of the Brokered Convention, although they most assuredly will be Romney’s if it gets there.

GOP Brokered Convention Race

As I mentioned before, the only real GOP Primary race to watch now is the race to see if there will be a brokered convention (oh please oh please) or if Mitt Romney will be able to wrap this up before Tampa.

Yesterday, Rick Santorum seemed to have taken a large step towards making a brokered convention possible by absolutely crushing in the Kansas Republican Caucuses, winning with 51.2% of the vote. Romney came in 2nd with 20.9%. This was good enough to give Santorum 33 of Kansas’ 40 delegates, and Romney got the other 7.

However, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and the Northern Marianas Islands also held contests yesterday and Romney won all of them, getting most of their delegates. That brings the total for the day to 33 for Santorum and 32 for Romney.

Updating the Delegate Counter from The New York Times we see this:

Romney still has over twice as many delegates as his next closest competitor in Santorum, and still has the majority of the assigned delegates so far, putting him ahead of Brokered Convention for the time being. Tuesday’s contests in Mississippi and Alabama could cut into that Romney lead with 38 and 49 delegates up for grabs.

However, currently Nate Silver projects Romney to win Mississippi and finishing 2nd in Alabama to Newt Gingrich, with Santorum projected at 3rd in each state. If that happens, then the brokered convention becomes tougher to imagine.

Your Weekly Presidential Address

One of the many things that have changed since Barack Obama became president is that the Saturday Weekly Presidential Address has moved from hard-to-find-participating radio stations to YouTube. Obviously this is evidence that Obama is a better president than Abraham Lincoln, who was too lazy to even do a radio address. (Note to conservatives: that was a joke. A bad one, but still a joke.)

Most people are unaware that the president does one of these every week, which is a shame, really, since it’s an opportunity to hear the president talk about a current event or issue in a four- to five-minute video. Regardless of your political ideology/philosophy/leanings, the ability to hear a five-minute status update from a man who is both the leader of the free world and your employee deserves some attention.

(Does it deserve as much attention as Rebecca Black’s “Friday”? At 32,000 views to over 200,000,000 for Black, the market says no. Still.)

Here is this week’s address:

This week the president has chosen to continue talking about energy policy. One point he makes is that the number of miles that Americans are driving each year is relatively unchanged, but we are actually using less gas due to cars becoming more efficient. He also reminds everyone that US oil production is currently at an 8-year high.

What he didn’t say, but I will, is that oil production has increased every single year he’s been in office, which doesn’t seem to get mentioned much by Newt Gingrich in his stump speeches about drill, drill, drill and promises of $2.50 per gallon gas.

I’ll be posting these every Saturday as the White House releases them, because I think more people should be aware of them, and what is said in them. I will even continue to do so if we have a new president next January, for as long as the internet and this blog remain legal, that is. I kid!

The only GOP race that matters now

So yesterday was Super Tuesday. As George Will would say, “Well, <dismissive hand gesture>.” (Or as the kids these days say, “Welp.”)

I’m already on record as saying that I think that Mitt Romney will win this thing and that all of the hype around Super Tuesday or any other Tuesday is more about networks trying to get ratings than about any real drama about who will “win” this thing.

But I have to admit that, even believing that to be the case, I was still watching last night with interest to see if Rick Santorum could pull of an upset in Ohio. He didn’t. Would it have effectively changed the ultimate outcome? Like I said before, I don’t think so. Mitt Romney will be the nominee. But it would have made it a harder and potentially more damaging slog.

The New York Times has a very nice delegate counter that shows their estimation of what the delegate counts currently are. (The GOP nomination and delegate assignment process itself makes this more of a guess than an actual measurement, and that’s a whole other subject.) Here’s a screenshot of the race, as viewed by The Times.

As you can see, Mitt Romney has a commanding lead on his three remaining rivals. But the only real drama that is left is whether Romney will be able to reach 1,144 delegates before the convention in Tampa. Either he will reach 1,144 or the combination of his opponents will, sending us to every pundit’s fevered dream: the brokered convention.

With that in mind, I modified The Times’ chart as follows:

That’s the only race that matters now, and Romney is still winning. But with a bunch of Southern States to go, it is very possible somewhat possible not impossible that Santorum and Gingrich might collectively earn enough delegates to send this to Tampa. Fingers crossed.

What to Watch For Tonight

First of all, I’d like to apologize to the legions of SomeDisagree readers who have bemoaned by absence over the past…oh, I don’t know how long.  As some of you know, I’m in my first year at an Ivy League law school (hint: it’s not Cornell) and this shit cray.  So, this post, along with the vast majority of subsequent ones from me for the foreseeable future, is gonna have to be fairly short and sweet.   Here’s what I’m looking for in tonight’s Super Tuesday results:

(1) Turnout.  I neglected to make a Turnout Watch post after the Feb. 28 states, but I’ll note here that though Arizona held true (turnout was down 15%), Michigan bucked the trend I had been tracking from the beginning of the primary in rather dramatic fashion.  There, turnout was up almost 15% compared with 2008.  That’s a South Carolina-like jump in turnout, and it happened in Michigan, which has been as reliably blue as states get for the past several Presidential contests.  I won’t get into a deep analysis of why that might have been, but it will be very curious to me if the Blue and swing states in play tonight (Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, and the big prize of the nigh, Ohio) revert to the previous turnout pattern or if excitement and engagement remains on the rise.

(2) The Tennessee Primary.  It has been a foregone conclusion for a month or more that Newt Gingrich will win the primary in his home state of Georgia.  However, in the post-Florida era of this primary season, the key question is whether or not he can actually come back to win any other state again.  Recently, Newt has experienced a resurgence in Tennessee – a state I identified as a key opportunity for him in my post-Feb. 7 post.  FiveThirtyEight is projecting Newt to finish in third place, 6 points behind the favorite Santorum, and gives him only a 5% chance to win, but as we all know, “momentum” can be a tricky thing.  If Gingrich can come in a close second or even pull off a stunning victory (particularly if this is paired with a Romney win in Ohio), I think Gingrich’s campaign would be well-positioned to resume its former place as the alternative to Romney.  Conversely, if Gingrich should fail to produce a strong result in Tennessee,  I think his campaign is officially over.  So in this way, I think Tennessee is highly important.

(3) Ohio.  Obviously this is pretty important.  I’m not sure I’m convinced by the narrative that if Romney wins Ohio its all over, but the situation is something close to that.  The Romney campaign has been extremely unimpressive to me up to this point, but there’s no doubt they are headed for a “big” night tonight.  Should Romney capture half the states available and capture Ohio on top of it, it will be hard for any of the other candidates to make a plausible argument that they are a strong alternative.

(4) The Caucus states.  Ron Paul is poised to finish 2nd or 3rd in the popular votes in caucus states, but what really matters is that his rabid supporters are positioning themselves to take all of the acutal delegates for themselves, increasing his accumulation of real delegates that he’ll take into the Convention and

Just kidding.  Ron Paul is done and has been for a long time.

Okay, enough crap. It’s Romney

Last night, Mitt Romney won Arizona by 21 points and his home state of Michigan by 3. We all had our fun trying to figure out ways he could end up losing this thing, but it’s time for us in the reality-based community to stop pretending: Mitt Romney will be the 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate.

I am as guilty of anyone at performing the mental gymnastics that were required to somehow turn Newt “love ’em and leave ’em” Gingrich or the Frothy One into plausible winners of the nomination, but after last night, anyone peddling a horse race at this stage probably has stock in the track.

That Santorum was able to lose Michigan to a guy who argued for letting Detroit go bankrupt is just testament to his awfulness as a candidate. Attacking JFK over separation of church and state? Contraception is not okay? All Santorum had to do was to keep pounding the message that he delivered in his Iowa victory speech and he could have won easily. But, like Bono said, he has political Tourette’s.

This isn’t to say that Romney is a good candidate. He’s not. He’s terrible. But he does have the money and the organization and he will win this thing.

Case in point: in Ohio, where Santorum currently has a sizable lead over Romney in the polls, Santorum hasn’t bothered to secure delegates in three of the districts. So even if he wins Ohio, there are 9 of the 66 total delegates that are completely off the table for him.

Want more? Okay, how’s this: go try to find how Santorum is doing in polls in Virginia. Can you find any polls that include Santorum? That’s not a rhetorical question; I honestly don’t know, because I don’t care. And the reason I don’t care is because Santorum didn’t bother to collect the signatures necessary to get on the ballot in Virginia. Romney will win that state.

Santorum is running a pretty good amateur campaign, but the key word is amateur. Romney is running a terrible professional campaign, and will win.

So if you tune into your favorite cable news station and they are earnestly talking about how important Super Tuesday is, or Mini Super Tuesday, or Not Quite Super Tuesday, or whatever, they aren’t talking about importance to the candidates and their chances of securing the nomination; they’re talking about how important those days could be to their ratings.

Now, having said all that, is it possible that Mitt Romney could still lose this? Sure. Nothing is settled until it’s all over. But is it likely? No. At all? No. Intrade currently has Romney trading at 83% to win the nomination and I think that’s low.

I’m willing to listen to scenarios where Romney loses the nomination, but at this point, in my mind, the burden of proof has shifted. You need to show some pretty compelling evidence for me to even consider it.

Those of us who call ourselves “liberals” or “progressives” or just “not crazy” need to face the reality that neither Rick Santorum nor Newt Gingrich nor even Ron Paul is going to save us from the hard work required to keep a sane, competent, and pragmatic president in the White House. The opponent will be Romney. The election will probably be much closer than it should be. We need to get to work.

Which GOP Candidate Should Liberals Be Rooting For?

In light of the emergence of Rick Santorum as an actual contender for the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney’s sudden resurgence in this week’s polling, and tonight’s debate – sure to be a major moment in the Michigan, Arizona, and Super Tuesday races – many liberals may be feeling a certain anxiety.  Which Republican should we be rooting for to face President Obama?  To answer this question, I humbly present this guide.

But before I get into the meat of this post, I feel it’s necessary to begin with a bit of biographical information about myself.

As a teenager, I was enamored with The West Wing, the long-running NBC drama about a fictional Democratic President and his key advisers.  I loved everything about The West Wing, but nothing so much as the fact that all the characters were constantly involved in a dogged, earnest quest to use government to make our country better.  Yes, there was a strong degree of “us-versus-them” partisan animosity, and yes, sometimes political or practical reality forced characters to compromise on or even abandon principles they deeply believed in.  But even as Josh Lyman used power politics to beat adversaries (including his girlfriend) into submission and as President Bartlet gave orders that violated his conscience, there was a deep commitment to The Public Good; a bubbling idealism that said “we can succeed at politics and help the world too.”

It was this, more than anything else, that persuaded the 18-year-old me that I wanted nothing more than to join this amazing world of professional politics, where I could help lead the country to incredible heights of justice and prosperity.  On the strength of a special essay about how I wanted to be James Carville when I grew up, I was admitted into the highly competitive Political Communications program at The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.  Despite the fact that GW was the worst-ranked school to which I was admitted, I decided to go.  Political Communications at GW was supposed to be the practical equivalent of boot camp for up-and-coming political operatives, a place that would put me on the fast track to really relevant jobs in the way that a regular old Political Science degree from Tufts or USC or North Carolina never could.

In this, I was absolutely correct.  In my four years at GW, I learned more about both the general theories of practical politics and the nuts and bolts of actually performing in the political arena than I could have hoped, and I would have been extremely well-prepared to work in a variety of arenas – campaign staffing, corporate communications, lobbying, political journalism, anything – if I wanted to.

Unfortunately, it turned out that I didn’t really want to.  Unlike the world of The West Wing, the political world I was exposed to was a dark, cynical, quietly sad sort of a place, where the accumulation of power was the end in and of itself, not a means to some greater goal, where some of the more ethically questionable tools at a practitioner’s disposal were deployed more out of contempt for their targets than for any particular noble purpose.   From an academic perspective, I was fascinated by the things I was learning, but I knew that the work of a professional political aide could never be my career.

So, this has all been a long and rather indulgent way of introducing the following point:  ever since I decided that I couldn’t pursue a career in politics, there has been a war in my 23 year-old psyche between the idealism of my 18 year-old self and the pragmatic/cynical views of my 21 year-old self.    The idealist fondly remembers “CNN can now project that Barack Obama, 47 years old, will become the 44th President of the United States” as perhaps the best moment of his life (and in fact, I got three distinct waves of goosebumps while writing that sentence; the memory is that powerful for my inner idealist) but now has vague wishes that “a real liberal” would challenge President Obama in the primaries.   It was the idealist who angrily took to the SomeDisagree twitter account and the comments section of Wiesman’s story to denounce the President’s deal on contraception coverage.  Meanwhile, the cynic was roaring his approval at the deft way the President had gotten Republicans to fall all over themselves to oppose him on contraception, of all things.

So, inuyesta, what does all of this have to do with rooting for GOP candidates?  It seems to me that deciding which candidate you would like your own candidate to square off against in the general election is the ultimate test of idealism vs. cynicism, and particularly so in this specific election.  I feel that in making this choice, many liberals must be feeling the same divide I experience on such a regular basis. To my mind, the key feature of this election is the intense vulnerability of President Obama’s position in office.  Despite his recent uptick in the polls, the fact remains that Obama has presided over the most unemployment in decades and the highest national deficit of all time.  Obama belongs to a party that was routed in midterm elections not two years ago and has only rarely creeped over the 50% mark in his approval rating.  In this vein, though Obama has pretty much always been ahead of his specific potential rivals, polls have consistently found that “Generic Republican” would beat the President by a few points. Furthermore, looming above everything is The Potential Crisis in Europe, which every analyst says could cause another collapse in our economy that would surely doom Obama’s re-election chances.  So all sober decision-making with regard to which Republican to root for should begin with this premise: there is a distinct chance President Obama might lose.

Of course, once you’ve established this fact, it can lead you to two very different conclusions, depending on how you choose to interpret it.  I will call the first conclusion the “idealist” one and it goes like this: Because President Obama might lose, I should root for the Republicans to nominate the candidate who would be best for America should he win.  The second conclusion is the “cynical” one: Because President Obama might lose, I should root for the Republicans to nominate the candidate who would be easiest to beat, so as to maximize Obama’s chances.  In an ideal world, of course, the Republicans would have one candidate who is both very likely to be beaten in November and not so bad should he actually be elected.  But do any of this crop fit that bill?  And if not, how should we balance the idealist and cynical perspectives to determine who to root for?

I’ll start by stating emphatically who liberals should absolutely not be rooting for: Rick Santorum.  Santorum is the worst of both worlds, an eminently electable Republican who would be absolutely horrible as Commander-in-Chief.

If that characterization strikes you as odd, I can’t blame you.  Conventional wisdom, and the dominant narrative of the campaign to this point, says that there’s no way someone this far out of the mainstream could ever be elected President.  (Note: normally I would have turned several of the words in that sentence into links to Rick Santorum saying crazy shit, but there’s so much of it out there, I couldn’t choose).

However, in this case, I believe the conventional wisdom is wrong.  Nate Silver has a good analysis up about why Santorum might not be less electable than Romney, but I’m talking about something deeper than numbers.  Watch this clip of Santorum’s victory speech in Iowa to get a sense of what I mean.

Santorum, like George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan before him, is incredibly fluent in that particular language that only Republicans seem able to speak; that nostalgic-yet-hopeful language by which Republicans can connect with working class people on a deeply emotional level (while simultaneously advocating economic policies that rape those same working class people, of course).  Santorum, like Romney, is a clean-cut, fresh-faced, highly telegenic man.  Santorum, very much unlike Romney, comes off as sincere, passionate, and authentic when he talks about the problems beleaguering the middle class and his vision for getting America back on track.   Read a couple of quotes I pulled out of the Iowa speech above:

What wins in America are bold ideas, sharp contrasts, and a plan that includes everyone.  A plan that includes people from all across the economic spectrum.  A plan that says, “We will work together to get America to work.”

I ran in a tough election year, when George Bush Sr. was losing the election by a landslide in my district.  And I got 60% of the vote because I shared the values of the working people in that district.  If we have someone who can go out to western Pennsylvania and Ohio and Michigan and Indiana and Wisconsin and Iowa and Missouri and appeal to the voters who have been left behind by a Democratic Party that wants to make them dependent instead of valuing their work, we will win this election!

This election will not turn on social issues.  If the Republicans can nominate a candidate who can talk like that, one who is from the Midwest, appeals to the conservative base, and has shown he knows how to win even when at a crushing financial disadvantage, President Obama is in for a hell of a fight no matter what that candidate thinks about contraception or homosexuals.

NOTE: The forgoing section was written last week, before Romney’s comeback in Michigan.  Many are connecting Romney’s resurgence with the culture wars debates of the past week (and Santorum’s extreme positions on those culture wars issues).  I won’t claim that that plays absolutely no role, but I would remind everyone that – as was the case in Romney’s comeback in Florida – Romney and his Super PACs have absolutely bombarded the Michigan airwaves with ads, dwarfing the output of the other candidates.  These ads, which are largely attacks on Santorum’s penchant for earmarks, are likely the primary reason for Romney’s rise, not voters being turned off by Santorum’s extremity.

Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, is exactly the man the cynical liberal should be rooting for (though as I’ll discuss later, the downside of him winning is .  I’ve noted on here before, the former Speaker has some of the worst favorability ratings anywhere in politics.  Gingrich has been a polarizing figure ever since his Contract With America led the Republicans in a historic rout in the 1994 midterm elections.  But things have become so bad for Gingrich that the Washington Post ran a piece two days ago calling Gingrich “the most disliked politician in America.”

The 38-point favorability gap is not without good reason either.  Gingrich is the corporeal enshrinement of everything Americans hate about the Republican Party: Gingrich is mean, arrogant, petty, and openly hypocritical.  He is a “family values” conservative who famously divorced his wife while she was in the hospital with cancer.  And though playing on working-class white resentment (of minorities, of education, of science, of changing cultural norms, of “the liberal elite,” of Europe, inter alia) has long been integral to Republican success, voters outside the Republican base don’t tend to respond to that message when it is presented in Gingrich’s particularly angry, ugly, naked style.  To the extent that head-to-head polling is relevant at this stage of the campaign, the head-to-head numbers bear out Gingrich’s unelectability: he performs the worst against President Obama in the polls at this point.

That said, the problem with rooting for Gingrich to prevail is that the downside of his election would be absolutely huge, perhaps the largest among the Republicans still in the race.  I could spend this section talking about any of Newt’s horrible  policy ideas, which are indeed worse than those of the “average” Republican; Newt’s incredibly, ridiculously, unfathomably draconian position on the War on Drugs comes rapidly to mind.  But that’s not even what I’m most worried about.  As I’ve discussed before, the most worrying aspect of a Gingrich Presidency would be the degree to which President Gingrich would be beholden to Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas Sands CEO who has personally kept Gingrich’s campaign alive by writing massive checks to “a pro-Gingrich Super PAC.”  We already worry about the undue influence interest groups and lobbyists and others who can write checks to politicians have; how much more should we be concerned about one individual owning a President the way Adelson would own Gingrich?  We’ve already seen how Adelson’s influence has forced Gingrich into a hard-line position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, so what else might Adelson demand?   Whether its something as “benign” as a more favorable trading environment to boost Adelson’s interests in Macau or something more sinister (am I crazy to think President Gingrich would be much more likely than President Romney or President Obama to send in US troops if tensions between Israel and Iran boil over?  Am I crazy to think Adelson might play just a teensy role in that?), one man having that level of control over the President is unacceptable.

Ron Paul, meanwhile, is something of a wild card.  My political sense tells me that no committed libertarian such as Paul could ever win the Presidency; there’s just no way someone who wants to abolish the social safety net, put us back on the gold standard, legalize drugs, shrink the military, repeal the Civil Rights Act, et ceteracould capture enough voters, not in 2012.  That said, Paul’s favorability splits – though negative – are second best in the Republican field, behind only Santorum.  Similarly, Paul is faring pretty well in head-to-head polling against Obama, losing by 8.2 percent.  This sounds bad, but when you consider that Romney loses by 5.9 percent and Santorum loses by 8 percent, this really isn’t a bad showing.

I think the bottom line with Paul is that rooting for him is a bit like rooting for a Cleveland sports team, it’s just not going to be a winner.  As I posted last week, I can see no path to the nomination for Paul; thinking too much about him either way seems pointless.

Thus, we come at long last to Mitt Romney, the long-time front-runner who has slipped in (on?) the Santorum Surge, but has come back to life lately.   To my mind, Mitt qualifies for both the cynic and idealist and thus, should be the one liberals are rooting for this primary season.

I’ll start with why the cynic should like Mitt Romney: I just don’t see how he can win a general election under normal circumstances.   Romney’s “electability” argument has always been predicated on the idea that he can pull in independents the way no other Republican can.  That might be true (although recent polling has cast doubt on that assertion), but there must be a great deal of concern about Romney’s ability to drive conservative voters to the polls.  Romney’s team has consistently argued that antipathy toward President Obama will do their turnout work for them, but as Democrats who remember 2004 can attest, mere hatred of the President is not enough to unseat him.  You have to have a candidate who is generally inspiring, somebody that party loyalists are actually excited to go out there and work and organize for, not just an opposing candidate they want to vote against.  You would think that everyone would have learned this lesson in 2008, but apparently not.  As I’ve been noting since this blog began, GOP turnout in contests held in blue or battleground states has been significantly down this cycle, despite a competitive nomination race and professed loathing of President Obama.  Romney’s deficiencies in the eyes of conservatives must be considered a major part of this.

Furthermore, Romney is incredibly vulnerable to a host of populist arguments that President Obama has already begun making.  Romney is the consummate 1%er, the guy Mike Huckabee once famously said “looks like the guy who laid you off” and who, by his own admission, “likes firing people.”  He has consistently demonstrated a complete lack of any ability to relate to normal people.  And of course, there is the standard perception of Romney as the unprincipled, flip-flopping, twisting-in-the-wind career politician who stands for nothing besides his own election prospects.  The playbook against Romney is both obvious and obviously effective.

Lastly, it should be noted that Romney is yet to win any state outside of New England in which he did not use a massive fundraising edge to carpet-bomb his opponents into submission.  That strategy may be effective against the underfunded Santorum and Gingrich campaigns, but it will not fly against the well-financed President Obama, who may be posed once again to run the richest campaign in history.

So, put succinctly, I really don’t think Romney’s election chances are as high as advertised.

Meanwhile, I think it’s relatively clear that Romney would make the best President  of the Republican candidates.  His flakiness and lack of backbone make me concerned about the things a Republican-controlled Congress would impose on a President Romney, but we should remember that many of the things conservatives hate about Romney are the things that would make him moderately tolerable as President.  Remember that as Governor of Massachusetts, Romney not only instituted the successful “Romneycare” program, but also governed with respect for  abortion rights and other reproductive freedoms and took relatively sensible positions on gun control, global warming, and gay rights.  Just today, Romney paid lip service to the value of a progressive tax code, a move that will surely be derided as an “embrace of socialism” or something similar in tonight’s debate.   I would still never vote for Romney, especially not over President Obama, but the prospect of his election doesn’t make me want to leave the country, either.

So there you have it.  In my opinion, Mitt Romney is the one liberals should be rooting for this spring.