Columbia University's Thomas Edsall, contributor to the NY Times' "Campaign Stops," surveys the self-limiting anthropology of the Republican Party's thinning tribes of a base, only to add this final insult to Mitt Romney's elaborate struggles with it:
Gallup found that only 35% of [the GOP base] would "enthusiastically" back Romney in the election, far fewer than the 47% percent who said they enthusiastically supported McCain at this time in 2008.
Romney may be the GOP's first nominee to suffer from a ravaging, untreatable case of Stockholm Syndrome. Every serious contender of yore made some concessions to his party's base -- George W. Bush, for instance, faked and even agonized his way through 2000's politically requisite "compassionate conservatism" and "humble" foreign policy; Barry Goldwater resisted but buckled under socially conservative pressure; and internationalist Wendell Willkie was made to grovel before his party's isolationist wing -- but no one ever endured such a remorseless gauntlet of 'Opposite Days' like the long-enduring Mitt Romney.
And to what end? Observes Prof. Edsall:
These lukewarm Republican primary voters are, in effect, threatening to abandon the nominee after forcing him to pass ruthless ideological litmus tests ...
... such as evangelical Christians -- "now a majority, 50.53 percent, of all Republican presidential primary voters," according to the Faith and Freedom Coalition -- who are contemptuous of any Republican pol so foolish or bold as to acknowledge the human contribution to global warming, a damnable heretical act which Romney has been captured on film committing. Then of course, too, there's the governor's little "cult" problem, an inescapable self-identity ready-made for the punishing bigotry of right-wing Christians.
And all this while, as Mitt Romney attempts the placation of the implacable, he's alienating and thus bleeding the potential of the possibly game-deciding independent vote.
Though delightful, the entirety of Romney's essentially incontrovertible reality of electoral doom meets with the media's persistent campaign narrative of: "Close, very, very close the Obama-Romney race shall be." It's like rewatching the run-up coverage of the Clay-Liston fight.