Not very Super: With no knockout punch, the GOP brawl rolls on

March 8, 2012 12:00 am

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Tuesday's primaries and caucuses, billed as "Super Tuesday," left Republicans and everyone else with a little more clarity but no closure on the question of who will be the party nominee for president in November's elections.

Mitt Romney's victories across the country Tuesday, in Alaska, Mormon-influenced Idaho, predictable Massachusetts, keystone Ohio, Vermont and Virginia, and in Washington state's caucuses Saturday, gave him seven of the 11 states in play. Rick Santorum was a distant second, with wins in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee, while Newt Gingrich took his home state, Georgia. Ron Paul has yet to win once.

The first conclusion to be drawn is that American voters -- even sturdy Republicans -- are becoming weary of the extended, ugly, inconclusive battle. This is reflected in the generally low turnout in Tuesday's contests.

They are also tired of the remaining field of uninspiring candidates. The fact that Mr. Romney hasn't iced the nomination by now with his superior organization, bulging war chest and smooth act (despite occasional gaffes) has enabled the others, generally marginal contenders, to stay in the race and prolong the torture.

The other element that serves to keep Mr. Santorum and Mr. Gingrich in the race is the millions of dollars that billionaire super-PAC contributors continue to put behind them. In past campaigns, candidates have dropped out when their losses in primaries and caucuses caused their money to dry up, but not this time, thanks to the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision.

There is probably nothing in the world more exhilarating for an egomaniac than to jet around the country running for president with millions of dollars to pay for it. That -- and maybe the hope of a deal on the vice presidency at the Tampa Bay convention in August -- could keep three of them in the race until then, in spite of the damage they do in the meantime to the ultimate nominee and their party.

First Published 2012-03-07 23:14:22

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