Much excellent reportage at Esquire‘s Politics Blog today, including John Richardson taking a well-deserved victory lap concerning the second Mrs. Gingrich and Newton’s “character issues”. And Tom Junod on the GOP Establishment’s choice:
… Her name was Cindy Costa — “that’s the old-fashioned spelling of Cindy, not the New Age one.” She was here this morning because she had given her official endorsement to Mitt, and because she thought that his coronation was as inevitable as he did. She was celebratory, but also tense, because even as Mitt was talking up establishment Republicans, Rick Perry was dropping out of the race, and endorsing Newt Gingrich. “It doesn’t matter what happens here,” she said. “I still think he’s going to win South Carolina, but even if he doesn’t, he’s going to win the nomination. He’ll pick up as many Perry votes as Gingrich does, or Santorum. That’s because Mitt is everybody’s second choice.”
And with that, the handsomely turned-out establishment Republican Cindy Costa had captured the strange appeal of Mitt Romney and at the same time explained the air of tense inevitability that surrounds his campaign. He is a blatantly inauthentic candidate for president — a guy whose fake laugh carries like a siren every time someone tries a joke; a guy who looks like he goes through life expecting a compliment, if not a crown; a guy who speaks of his father “becoming head of a car company” the way another candidate might speak of his father opening a hardware store; a guy whose supporters worry, as one of the establishment Republicans in the crowd worried aloud here this morning, that “he better sew up the nomination before people find out that he’s paying 15 percent because he’s making his money on carry trades”: that is, a form of currency manipulation. And yet if he is going to win the nomination because “he’s everybody’s second choice,” his very inauthenticity becomes his calling card, because it makes him less threatening than first-choice candidates like Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum.
I mean, the Romney event wasn’t particularly inspiring; but at least it wasn’t weird. The Rick Santorum event three hours later? That was weird…
Much more at the link. Esquire‘s become my second-of-the-morning go-to political blog, right after this site… their coverage isn’t exhaustive, but it’s always informative and usually entertaining, too.