And fading appears to be the right word for Romney's' campaign. I just got done reviewing RCPs polling summaries for the Super Tuesday states and the numbers tell a story of a perfectly-timed surge by John McCain: There is only one state that shows Romney ahead -- California -- and that's a mixed result, with the polls split.
I'm not trying to pick the general election winner by my primary vote, however; I'm trying to pick who will do best as president and who best reflects my values. Over the last month, with the sputtering of Thompson and Giuliani, and last week's CNN debate, which was really a McCain and Romney show, Mitt has clearly stood out as the best man for the job.
Even though Mike Huckabee shares my beliefs, he doesn't share my values, and he was out of my running almost from the start, as was Giuliani, because we were off on both values and beliefs. Then Thompson failed to show up.
I tire of the "I'm like Reagan!" "No, I'm like Reagan" meme that's been going on. The answer there is simple enough: Ronald Reagan would not have taken Mitt Romney's answer on timetables and played dirty politics with it. In the CNN debate, McCain looked pathetic, ignoble and Clintonesque.
Put that disgusting performance together with the news that he may very well have been close to leaving the party in 2001, his buy-in to global warming hysteria, his long and tight alliances with many of the most liberal voices in Congress, and his legislative record, and he's not going to get my primary vote.
Romney has no legislative record to run from, and he can always excuse his gubernatorial record because it was Massachusetts, after all. So I judged him on temperament and found him superior; on experience, and found his blend of business, Olympic and gubernatorial experience more intriguing than McCain's run on the Hill; on the war, and found that I had tired of McCain's drumming that he called the surge right and had grown more confident that Romney can lead us forward; on the economy, and felt it wasn't even a close call; and on the potential for bipartisanship,the least of all my concerns, and gave that nod to McCain.
But if McCain wins on Tuesday and goes on to get the nomination, I will contribute to the campaign and campaign for him. Even a fool, but apparently not Ann Coulter, can see the differences between either of our front-runners and either of theirs.
The way I see it, McCain's got two days to do something hugely stupid, or Romney won't do well enough to secure the nomination. I'll vote for Romney nonetheless, and hope most of you will, too. Then, if Wednesday dawns with McCain all but crowned, our job is first to help McCain win the presidency, and then, with that accomplished, to work hard to corral him within the confines of the promises he made to win the nomination.
Oh, and also on Tuesday I'm voting against every one of California's initiatives. The term limit initiative extends terms (duh!) and I'm not going to vote to allow more slot machines in the state. We have to figure out how to balance our budget without breaking the backs of the gambling-addicted.