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Winners and Losers: Republicans can't shake Romney; Inslee circles the wagons

No one's jumping up and down about it, but Romney's holding on, Inslee's getting serious, and war's back (or should we say still) on the national agenda.

Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, stop to talk with reporters after voting in the Massachusetts primary on March 6, 2012.

Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, stop to talk with reporters after voting in the Massachusetts primary on March 6, 2012. Hyunah Jang of Boston University News Service/Flickr (CC)

Congressman Jay Inslee.

Congressman Jay Inslee.

Rick Santorum captured a couple of victories, but the winner this week is still Mitt Romney. He survived cheesy grits, y'alls, and redneck pandering (has he ever listened to the lyrics of "Sweet Home, Alabama"?). Despite losing in key Southern primaries, he's still considered the inevitable, if undesired, presumptive "eh" nominee. He's proving that he has at least one huge asset as a candidate besides having way more delegates than everyone else: dipped in shellack, Romney is proving impervious to reality. 

Confronted on his own network, FOX News, about his onetime support of national health care mandates, he said that he has already explained it hundreds of times before, therefore it's not true despite what the video tape shows. Like Bill Clinton explaining Monica, Richard Nixon explaining Watergate, or Ronald Reagan explaining arms for hostages, he's showing his presidential timbre.

Other winners and losers of the week:

Winner: War. Remember 2008? Pundits predicted that the election issue would be war. Then the economy collapsed and James Carville's Clinton-era truism ("It's the economy, stupid") was reconfirmed. Now, in 2012, this election was also supposed to be about the economy, and still largely is if you count gas prices. But war decision-making looms big and ugly: Afghanistan (how to end it), Iran (when to start it), Iraq (is it really over?). If they don't yet dominate as defining issues, they serve to remind that current and wanna-be presidents have more to think about than basketball brackets, cheesy grits, or the legality of TelePrompters.

Loser: Barack Obama. The poll numbers dip because people care less about the energy policy of tomorrow than prices at the pump today. Obama should be crushing his GOP competitors, but they're all within striking range. Plus, it is never good to be seen paling around at a basketball game with a British Prime Minister. Think ahead a bit. How will Obama look when David Cameron reciprocates by getting Obama to a cricket match? A snob-watch extravaganza.

Loser: Poor Newt Gingrich. He's reduced to whining about his relevance, like a supervillian in his collapsing bunker. He lost the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, what was supposed to be his turf. Some compare him to Lincoln in 1860: He might, just might limp into a brokered convention at number three and win after first-ballot deadlock.

It's a funny comparison since just this week Gingrich was running to be a 21st century Jefferson Davis of the GOP's New Confederacy. Newt assesses the situation like Bill Gates at a Microsoft staff meeting: "The thing I find most disheartening of this campaign is the difficulty of talking about large ideas on a large scale, because the news media can’t cover it and, candidly, my opponents can't comprehend it." Stupid, silly hu-mans. 

Winner: Jay Inslee, for quitting Congress to focus full-time on losing the gubernatorial race. Inslee had a tough choice: Quit the House and get tagged a "quitter" by Danny Westneat or campaign part-time againts a tough opponent. An open question: Will Inslee win? Fellow Democratic Congressman Adam Smith warned this week that it would be foolish to under-estimate Inslee, who has won tough underdog races before. But, Smith also contrasted his own "OCD"-style of getting things done with Inslee's tendency to operate under "chaos theory." Chaos theory: Does Olympia need more of that? Or do you need someone who understands it to run it?

Loser: Rob McKenna, whose biased ballot wording on marriage equality was rejected by court order.

Winner: Seattle rain. Mother Nature is sending us a message for the political season: Winter ain't over just because the crocuses are up. Beware early bloomers, late bloomers, and — politically speaking — hold on to your bloomers.

Knute Berger is Mossback, Crosscut's chief Northwest native. He also writes the monthly Grey Matters column for Seattle magazine and is a weekly Friday guest on Weekday on KUOW-FM (94.9). His newest book is Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes On Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps, and the Myth of Seattle Nice, published by Sasquatch Books. In 2011, he was named Writer-in-Residence at the Space Needle and is author of Space Needle, The Spirit of Seattle (2012), the official 50th anniversary history of the tower. You can e-mail him at mossback@crosscut.com.


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Comments:

Posted Fri, Mar 16, 6:02 a.m. Inappropriate

Has Mitt ever listened to the lyrics of Sweet Home Alabama?

Has Knute ever listened to the lyrics of The Three Great Alabama Icons?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MIztbe1_e8

BlueLight

Posted Fri, Mar 16, 8:04 a.m. Inappropriate

It must be something in the air during an election year. Folks just can't help suiting up with the political teams closest to their hearts. Journalists, commentators, editors, doesn't matter much. It makes the game of figuring out the narratives in which people live boringly easy. Bummer that.

Posted Fri, Mar 16, 8:57 a.m. Inappropriate

You should have added to the "loser" column the people of the First Congressional District, who were denied representation in Congress for the rest of the year by Congressman Inslee's calculated decision to quit his seat two days after it was too late to call a special election to fill his seat. I can't decide which is more egregious: his decision or the explanations that followed. Congressman Inslee explained that "they will be represented by Senators Cantwell and Murray." Last time I checked, Senators were not allowed to vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. Then there was Dwight Pelz's lame comment that "Congress is in gridlock, so what diffence does it make?" How cynical is that? Maybe we should just call the whole thing off and let all the incumbents focus on the upcoming election.
In my opinion soon-to-be-ex Congressman Jay Inslee is "The Biggest Loser," and his decision to shirk his responsibility to the people he represents should be recognized for what it really is: yet another selfish -- and shameless -- act of self-promotion.

JoeMentor

Posted Fri, Mar 16, 9:11 a.m. Inappropriate

Not so much self-promotion as Party Puppetry. The Democratic Party is Jay's largest campaign contributor. The Party ordered Jay home. He came like a good dog.

He who pays the piper calls the shots.

BlueLight

Posted Sat, Mar 17, 2:11 p.m. Inappropriate

I applaud Jay Inslee's decision to resign from Congress and campaign full time for the office of Governor. He is a very able man with a vision for our state and the talent to get things done. I also wish McKenna would resign and campaign full time for Gov...the sooner we get him out of the Attorney General office, the better it will be for the citizens of Washington.

TaylorB1

Posted Sun, Mar 18, 10:42 p.m. Inappropriate

Oh the irony of Willard asking Randy Owen to step up and sing a tune, and one that Owen had no connection. Alabama's signature song - The Closer You Get - could well be Romney's swan song, which begins: The closer you get, the further I fall, I'll be over the edge now in no time at all; I'm falling faster and faster and faster with no time to stall

dmark

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