As we speak, Romney is leading in SC. We have yet to see if the new attacks by Gingrich will provide enough cognitive dissonance among the white working class voters of that state that they'll reconsider.
Let’s also note the target audience. Ed Kilgore noted the video is “a heat-seeking missile aimed directly at the white working class id.” This is incredibly important in a 2012 context — if Romney is going to win the presidency, he’s going to need to crush President Obama with white working-class voters who tend to support the GOP anyway. This short film, with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, tells this constituency that Romney is not only indifferent to their struggles, but he and people like him caused their economic plight.
But let's say he pulls it off - either winning SC or going on to win the nomination anyway. BooMan picked up an interesting article by Dave Weigel yesterday and took it just where I've been going in my head about all this over the last couple of days.
Weigel suggests all of the ways this primary is playing out the same way the Republican primary did in 2008 - the one that led to the nomination of McCain. The crux of the argument is that in both cases the establishment beat the base. Last time around, that meant that once McCain got the nomination, instead of pivoting to the middle for the general election (conventional wisdom about how these things play out), he had to win over his base and attempted to do so by choosing Sarah Palin as his VP nominee.
That pretty much sums up the dilemma I've been thinking will face Romney come August. In naming his running mate, will he be in a position of having to reach out to the tea partiers and christian right in order to shore up and excite his base? Or will he be able to use that choice to assure the rest of the country that he's not associated with the radical fringe of his party? Perhaps he can attempt a little of both with a pick like Marc Rubio. And yeah, I can't wait to see someone like that go up against VP Biden in a debate.