Representatives for leading social conservative groups in Iowa held a secret meeting Monday as part of an effort with one main goal: find and support a Republican presidential candidate who can stop Mitt Romney in Iowa.
The idea: avoid splintering the conservative vote in the state by rallying around one GOP rival who could win Iowa's Jan. 3 caucus and then challenge Romney in New Hampshire and the other early voting states.
Many social conservatives and other religious leaders in the state have openly labeled the former Massachusetts governor as a "flip-flopper," a criticism the campaign frequently beats back, while others have seen Romney's Mormon faith as an issue. And many of them have openly hoped for someone to emerge as a viable alternative to the former Massachusetts governor.
So what lessons can we extract from this? First, it's a little early for Obama to focus on Romney as the nominee-apparent. Lots can happen even in the few weeks between now and Iowa's caucuses (January 3) and who knows what surprises are in store for any candidate up to then? Second, it seems apparent that the "enthusiasm" gap that the Republicans claim to enjoy over Democrats will dwindle should Romney win, and while that enthusiasm could be bolstered by selecting another of the colicky dwarves, those people would scare off the independent voters who will turn out in droves to defeat a nutcase.
The way the race is shaping up, and with the positive employment news released yesterday-- overall, jobless claims rose but in 45 states and territories, they declined, a first in this recession-- it seems all Obama has to do is stay in the Oval Office and sign executive orders until January 2013, and he'll have a second term.