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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Holding service

The Man from Winnipesaukee took one of his home states by a comfortable margin and appears ready to take on Barack Obama in November. Not so fast.

The road to the Republican nomination has been kind to Mitt Romney so far, with New Hampshire giving Landslide Mitt a more comfortable victory margin than Iowa. And GOP primary voters still feel inclined to support a non-starter like Ron Paul than a more viable challenger, whoever that may be.

But Romney's shift to Obama attack mode may be premature with two Southern states coming up in the next three weeks, starting with South Carolina, where politics, to quote Mitt "isn't beanbags."

Our Man Myth currently leads in the Palmetto State, birthplace of Lee Atwater and home to the nasty and brutish 2000 primary between George W. Bush and John McCain. And a newly refinanced Newt Gingrich may be ready to repeat history with a savage video campaign featuring Romney as corporate raider.

Then there's the matter of religion. As we saw in Iowa, fundamentalist Christians are less than enamored with Romney's choice of faith, opting for the bottom of the barrel in Rich Santorum.

Romney's recent gaffes has also provided fodder, if not for his GOP challengers, but also to Obama, who has made an effort to be visible if not dominant during the GOP campaign.

Despite his long time upon the national stage, Romney remains a man with many missing pieces in his personal story, allowing challengers to offer their own portraits. Expect that to step up dramatically in the next few weeks.

Romney has always been the GOP's likely nominee since the day he conceded to John McCain four years ago. But do not expect the upcoming stops on the campaign trail to be a victory lap. And don't expect his perfectly coiffed hair to remain perfectly in place.

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