A new spin on the GOP race is hard to find as the chips fall into place for Mitt Romney to snag the nomination. There are only so many ways you can say Romney will win, and there’s only so far you can stretch the continuing credibility of the other three remaining GOP candidates. Some reporters and pundits have already begun to fantasize about the 2016 race, but there is still plenty to say about the general election. One surprising thing: This is gearing up to be the best campaign season for comedy since the salad days of the Bush years. In 2008, Sarah Palin was the saving grace in a contest between two politicians who defied easy comedic characterization. This year, the Republican nominee isn’t likely to be outshined by his running mate.
Frank Rich wrote today: "Comedy is the only business we can be certain that a Romney presidency would grow." But we don’t even need to wait to see if he wins for the laughs to begin—the man has already established himself as the class clown of the election season. Who knew he had it in him? Romney's Republican rivals seem more fitting for parody on the surface, but in the end, Willard is the one who delivers. The verdict’s still out on whether Romney is in on the joke, but the comedic renaissance he inspires is unquestionable. In the past two days alone, there’s been a viral hip-hop/Romney mash-up, an unwitting Brick Tamland-shout out from the candidate, and countless memes inspired by Romney communications chief Eric Fehrnstrom's quip that "I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch." The candidate is even capturing the comedian vote! Although much of the electorate seems to still think the guy's meh, you can count comedians among his legion of high-powered friends, loving Romney almost as much as he loves trees, cars, freedom, and lava lamps.
So They Say
"It's a form of welfare."
—Ron Paul, striking a novel stance on Secret Service protection
Daily Meme: Things Mitt Can't Shake Away
- Too bad for Romney a general election campaign isn't quite like shaking an Etch-A-Sketch and watching all your mistakes fade away. Some things, unlike a fine Beluga caviar, stick in your craw.
- Universal health care in Massachusetts is pesky for Mitt, making him look like a freedom-hating, mandate-loving ball of contradictions.
- People aren't wild about abortion flip-flops, either. No matter how complicated your conversion story, voters like a steady Eddie.
- Evangelicals voters are looking uncomfortable with the whole Mormon thing. Who knows whether they'll stay home come November.
- Getting rich from laying people off will never be popular. It doesn't help when your opponents have been making attack ads about it for the last two decades.
- Talking casually about how rich you are is a big voter turn-off in a bad economy. It means that you opponents can easily paint you as out-of-touch.
- And then there's the fact that statistically, people appear to be generally suspicious of Romney. The whole Mitt-bot thing doesn't help.
What We're Writing
- Paul Waldman predicts that we'll have a pro-marriage equality Republican presidential candidate by 2024.
- Jamelle Bouie notices that Mitt Romney has changed his tune on Barack Obama's job-creation record, focusing on "economic freedom" instead.
What We're Reading
- The Tea Party is finally ready to say "fine" to Mitt Romney.
- Jeb Bush has jumped on the Romney bandwagon too.
- There's a new super PAC trying to rally minority voters to the Democratic Party.
- Obama is ahead in the money game—for now.
- When the Republican Party is in doubt, they go with the establishment candidate.
- Is this the "What he meant to say was" campaign?
- Slate updates its great "horse race" animation to show the delegate count after Romney's win in Illinois.
- Young Mitt Romney writes home to the 'rents from camp.
Poll of the Day
52 percent of Virginians oppose the new law requiring women to get an ultrasound before getting an abortion according to a new Quinnipiac poll, a clear sign that women's reproductive rights are not something to take away if you want to impress voters. Governor Bob McDonell's approval ratings have also reached their lowest ebb, perhaps partly a result of his support of the unpopular legislation.