As the Sunday morning political talk shows covered and re-covered the Herman Cain sexual harassment mess, it became increasingly clear that the GOP field is as disheveled as ever.
Herman Cain may not be ultimately crushed by the sexual harassment allegations, but they are proving to be a distraction that is feeding into the idea that Cain is simply, as former Virginia Rep. Tom Davis put it on Face the Nation, “the flavor of the week and his week is up.”
Even if Cain survives the exposure of the harassment claims, the claims have been enough to wound him for the long haul. Bill Clinton showed you need a special personality and charm to overcome a sex scandal. From what we have seen so far, Cain doesn’t have that kind of personality and the GOP doesn’t have that kind of patience.
That brings us to what the GOP should do now.
It’s easy to assess the current situation. Christie refused to join the race, Perry has flared and fizzled and now Cain has a significant albatross around his neck. All of the upstart newcomers like Bachmann and Santorum have failed to catch on beyond a headline or two. No unnamed candidate is waiting in the wings to ride in on a white stallion, ready to remind the GOP of Ronald Reagan. The GOP candidate field is complete, whether the GOP likes it or not.
And like it or not, the GOP needs to get behind one candidate, right now, if they want any chance of taking the White House from President Obama.
And that one candidate is Mitt Romney.
Romney may not be setting the polls on fire, but he’s consistently been able to weather the storm of all of the various GOP flavors of the week. And every time he was expected to wilt, he withstood the wave and he remains the frontrunner.
There may be many in the GOP that agree with George Will and find many faults with Romney and his history. But the fact of the matter is this, Romney is the GOP’s best chance to defeat Obama, but only if a unified GOP stands behind him.
If the GOP spends the rest of the fall simply beating up each other and not building up Romney for his fight against Obama, they may lose any advantage that they have over the President.
Defeating a sitting President is far more difficult than many pundits are currently making it look like. Even though President George H.W. Bush was a one-termer, it wasn’t the economy of 1992 that defeated him, it was Ross Perot. Bill Clinton didn’t even win 50% of the votes that year. As bad as the economy was in 1992, and as charismatic as Bill Clinton was, if it wasn’t for Ross Perot, Bush likely would’ve won re-election.
The 2011 GOP candidates have had plenty of debates and ample time to show GOP voters who they really are. The GOP can waste the next three months and wait for the primaries to officially cull the herd or they can use those three months to bolster the candidate that they all know is going to be their guy.
I can’t imagine that GOP operatives really want to waste any time getting ready for the title fight. The question is, are the GOP faithful ready to finally name the starting QB and get into the game, or do they really want three more months of costly scrimmages?
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.