Since the Republican Primary finally died down into a race to pathetically endorse perpetually flippity-gibbit Mitt Romney, news on the campaign front have turned towards the general election show down between Mittens and the Great Hope Monger -- President Barack Obama. This means we've been inundated with "fun" stories like "Is Barack Obama the first gay president (since he thinks gay people deserve equal rights)?" and "Hey, let's try that Jeremiah Wright thing that didn't work in 2008 again." But not all the news is turgid political pap -- some of it's kind of interesting! Like how President Obama is closing in on Mitt Romney in the GOP stronghold of Tennessee (!!!), and now that Romney doesn't have to deal with a constant stream of hate from his Republican rivals some folks actually kind of "like" him. He might have a shot! Maybe! Or something. Or not. But POSSIBILITIES! Washington is a buzz in them!
First off: What on Earth is going on in Tennessee?
Tennessee has been in the news a lot lately because they've decided to fight their high teen pregnancy rate by making sure their children are even more ignorant about their bodies. Purveyors of the popular "if we talk to them about sex they'll do it" myth, the Tennessee legislature has chosen to bury their heads in the sand and pretend like they don't get MTV below the Mason-Dixon line.
Then there's that whole "don't say gay" bill debacle. It's a fun state, obviously run by the real-life version of sex-obsessed Internet trolls.
So with a legislature out fighting the scourge of gay people and children holding hands (rather than poverty, unemployment and poor education), it's not that shocking that some folks in Tenessee might be all "Maybe that half-colored fella ain't so bad."
From The Tennessean:
President Barack Obama has pulled into a virtual tie with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in traditionally conservative Tennessee, according to a new Vanderbilt University poll.
The poll also found that Tennesseans weren’t thrilled with the Republican-led General Assembly’s frequent focus on social, cultural and religious issues this year. But Republican Gov. Bill Haslam managed to remain above the fray, winning approval from 61 percent of poll participants.
“Tennessee is clearly a red state,” said John Geer, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt. “But these data show that the public is much more moderate than our state legislature.”
The poll of 1,002 Tennessee residents who are 18 and older found 42 percent would vote for Romney and 41 percent for Obama if the election were held now. The survey, conducted May 2-9 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for Vanderbilt, had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
But then again, maybe not.
“It’s not that close a race,” Geer said, predicting Romney would prevail with little trouble. “I suspect a lot of hard-core conservatives are still getting used to the idea of Romney as the nominee, and by the time the general election comes along, they’ll be in lock step with Romney. But right now there’s a small chunk that are still being cautious.”
This reflects how a lot of conservative voters are slowly coming around to Romney despite a general dislike of him, fulfilling that old addage of "Republicans don't fall in love. They fall in line."
Which brings us to: GOP to Mittens -- He Ain't So Bad, Maybe, But Not Really
Politico has a story up today titled "GOP discovers that Mitt Romney could win." Which is breath-taking in that it means they didn't think he had a shot before.
“Romney is a lot better off than I expected him to be this quickly,” said former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who cast a primary vote for Newt Gingrich. “A lot of people were concerned that Romney, with his being the least conservative of all the Republican candidates, was going to have to work hard to unite the party — that he would have a serious sales job on his hands. But President Obama has apparently taken care of that for him.”
Barbour said that after a gaffe-filled primary, he expected a bruised Romney “to start down but hopefully not by double digits.
“But that he’s this close has surprised and encouraged me — and I think it has encouraged Republicans around the country.”
GOP leaders are still somewhat daunted by Obama’s seeming advantage on the electoral map, recognizing that the president has, for now, an easier path to 270 electoral votes than Romney. And more than a few are still concerned about their candidate’s penchant for self-inflicted wounds, wondering only half in jest whether they’d be better off with Romney in a bunker for the duration of the campaign.
Nice vote of confidence, folks.
But it is true. The more Mittens talks, the less people like him. If they could just -- somehow -- keep him tied up in a basement with a muzzle on until November while they work on developing a gaffe-free Mittens 2.0 not run on Windows Vista. Because every time that little MS Word "Clippy" thing pops up asking Romney Bot: "I see you're trying to run for the president of the United States. Would you like some help?" he crashes into the blue screen of death and starts talking about how many boats he owns.
Republicans can only dream.