So concludes Charles Pierce, in a dead-on post over at Esquire.
GREENVILLE, S.C. — There's one basic thing about the electability argument. At its essence, electability is not about who is better suited, better financed, and better able to beat somebody else. Electability is about whether or not you will vote for me. Electability is about whether you and you and you will vote for me. Electability is about whether All Of You — or, at least, Most Of You — will vote for me. This sounds very simple, but it is a lesson that Willard Romney quite obviously never has learned. It is even possible that he doesn't realize it even now that he has been beaten like a drum by Newt Gingrich in every part of this state...
Romney has a problem: People don't like him. Not only that, but the more people see him, the more they dislike him. The panel on MSNBC was particularly keen on pointing out, as the results came in, that Newt Gingrich's unfavorability ratings in this country at large are whopping, and indeed they are. But Willard's unlikability is of a different sort. It is chronic and general. Gingrich, at least, for the several moments when he goes into highest dudgeon and starts raving about "elites" and Saul Alinsky, can give you a few seconds of pure entertainment for which you might briefly wish to thank him. (emphasis added)And this is the GOP's problem. Gingrich's unfavorable numbers are abhorrent. Obama's plus-minus number, favorable minus unfavorable, is effectively neutral. He's polled anywhere from +5 to -3 as of late. Romney has polled between +7 and -18. And Gingrich? -29 to -34. America might be indifferent about Obama and cool to Romney, but America hates Newt, and that's not going to change in nine months.
However, as Pierce goes on to say later, "If he is to be nominated — and I still think he probably will be — Willard Romney will be nominated by a party that would move en masse to the other end of a subway car rather than listen to him talk any more."
So there you go. America hates Newt Gingrich but finds him somewhat entertaining, and so will suffer him on a grand stage where he will provide us with many interesting stories. But Romney, increasingly, is just that insufferable rich douchebag that everyone just wishes would go away.
Anyone want to get Mitch Daniels on the phone and start begging for a brokered convention?