Thursday, February 7, 2008

Willard's Writing on the Wall

What a political bombshell.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney suspended his campaign today. "This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose," Romney told a crowd of people at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this morning.

His chief rival, John McCain has now sealed the Republican presidential nomination. It takes 1,191 delegates to win the nomination. At last count, McCain was leading with 707 delegates. Compare that to Romney's 294. Mike Huckabee scored 195. The writing was on the wall.

Romney's decision to leave the GOP race leaves the top man standing. The delegate hunt was going to be a mathematical impossibility for the former Massachusetts Governor. Romney was counting on winning Iowa and New Hampshire, two key states that never delivered the win he was hoping for. Super Tuesday left him with mostly small caucus states.

Romney, who is also a venture capitalist poured more than $40 million dollars of his own money into his campaign.

Romney labeled himself a Reagan-era conservative. He used 12 months of campaigning to talk about his strong family values, his opposition of abortion and gay marriage and support for tax cuts for the middle-class. But he was charged by the public and his rival, McCain as a flip-flopper. That may have been part of his downfall. John Kerry (2004) was also a so-called flip-flopper. But perhaps, what brought Romney into the spotlight to begin with is his Mormon faith. It's a topic that was not only questioned by voters, but vigorously be the media as well. Skeptics pressured Romney to explain his faith. His speech on December 6th in College Station, Texas assuaged the media, but were voters ready to accept a Mormon president?

This leaves an open discussion on religion. I found it particularly interesting since I live in Salt Lake City, the heart of Temple Square and the LDS Church. Was America, a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities ready for Romney?

Willard, by the way is Mitt Romney's first name.

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