Note: each contributor at 3BP has their own favorite in the GOP race. One opinion for or against a certain candidate is not necessarily shared by other contributors.
Today is probably the tipping point – either it marks the beginning of a major turn in the Republican presidential primary/caucus process – or practically speaking, it’s the end of the road for Mitt Romney’s challengers.
I’m predicting Rick Santorum is going to come in first in Missouri and Minnesota, and show well in Colorado. By doing so, he will slide Newt Gingrich out of the limelight, and the Republican contest will essentially become a two man race between Santorum and Romney.
However, leaving all that aside, it’s been fascinating to watch how this race has worked itself out – after starting out with ten significant candidates. (You’re a political junkie if you can name them all.) And amazingly, each candidate has had their one moment or so in the sun.
The first one to be shown the door was Gary Johnson. His one hurrah came when he pilfered Rush Limbaugh’s joke about his neighbor’s dogs creating more shovel-ready jobs than Obama. After Johnson’s departure, Tim Pawlenty then sank himself by trying to ram Michelle Bachmann, who herself capsized when Rick Perry jumped in.
Perry then revealed himself to be tongue-tied, Herman Cain’s past caught up with him, and Jon Huntsman realized nobody liked his smarmy act. That left four guys, but one of them, Ron Paul was universally seen as a mere spokesman, and a cranky one at that, for a handful of libertarian positions (some worthwhile, some not). This reduced the field to three: Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum.
For me, it's been a most gratifying thing that Gingrich and Santorum have been able to mount credible challenges to a well-financed Romney while themselves having only minimal funding. Their appeal has been based on their stated positions and debating styles, which have gradually brought them to the forefront. Say what you will, it’s been an entertaining and instructive race to watch.