Epic GOP Firewall Fail

Firewall. It’s a scary word that evokes the medieval era, a wonderful little period when everybody in Europe discarded the finer concerns like literacy and culture in favor of perfecting creative ways to rip each other limb from limb. But it’s a straight-up modern term, and one that ends up flung around a fair bit in discussions about the presidential primary.

New Hampshire is the candidate’s firewall, a talking head might opine. In other words, it’s where a particular contender, having built a veritable battleship of a campaign organization, will now pulverize his or her rivals and march unchallenged to the nomination.

If one thing’s defined the Great Republican Slapfight of 2012, though, it’s how the GOP Establishment’s firewalls have so far failed to burn up the gibbering mutants (metaphorically speaking, of course; it’s not 900 A.D. anymore, except in Rick Santorum’s head) intent on seizing that big brass ring of the nomination. If everything had proceeded according to the plan, Mitt Romney would have systematically demolished the opposition by Super Tuesday, freeing him to proceed with his Bain-style hostile takeover of the United States of America. 

But the gibbering mutants keep hanging on, a little blackened around the edges but apparently more than willing to fight this puppy out all the way to Tampa. The longer they hold on, remember, the higher fees they can eventually demand for their inevitable speaking tours. But it can’t be doing wonders for Romney’s blood pressure (another bad round of primary contests, and his chances of transforming into ANGRY MITTENZ at an inopportune moment skyrockets roughly a billion percent), or his prospects in the general election.

Every time another firewall fails to end the primary drama, Romney needs to veer a little more right, in order to shore up his base and hit the mutants where it hurts. At this point, he’d probably start imitating Torquemada if it secured him the Conservative Psychotic vote. But that’s not going to do him any favors post-Tampa, when he’ll have to convince a much broader base of voters that he’s a moderate, reasonable human being. The GOP’s firewalls may have failed, but it’s Romney who could end up getting burned.

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