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When Perry tried to interrupt, Romney shot: “I’m still speaking. ... We have less than 1 percent of our kids uninsured. You have a million kids in Texas uninsured.”
An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll taken just before the debate and a Rasmussen poll taken just after showed Romney tied with Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO. But Cain is not going to be the GOP nominee.
Why? Because the Republican Party always picks its presidential candidates by the rule of primogeniture — the next guy in line gets to be the king.
So, in 1960, Vice President Richard Nixon got nominated. In 1964, arguably the party abandoned the rule by nominating Barry Goldwater, but after he was wiped out, it went back to Nixon in 1968.
When Nixon resigned, he was succeeded by Gerald Ford despite a challenge from Ronald Reagan. After Ford lost, Reagan got nominated, and after his eight years, it was his vice president, George H.W. Bush.
And after Bush lost in 1992, the next guy in line was his 1988 challenger, Sen. Bob Dole (Kan.).
Maybe George W. Bush wasn’t next in line, but his name was Bush and he beat Sen. John McCain (Ariz). And when 2008 rolled around, the party ended up with McCain as the nominee, with Romney as the runner-up.
So I think it’s historically next to inevitable that Romney will be nominated.
And as to betting, Romney is who the oddsmakers favor, too. Ladbrokes in London has him at 8-to-13, Perry at 3-to-1, Cain at 8-to-1.
Intrade, the U.S. betting site, put Romney at 63.9 percent before the debate, 66.6 percent right after and 67 percent two days later. By the end of the week he stood at 66.9 percent. Perry fell from 13.9 percent to 9.6 percent. And Cain fell from 10 percent to 9.1 percent.
Bad reviews of 9-9-9 — it’s regressive, won’t raise enough revenue and creates a national sales tax — will finish off Cain, as will his endorsement of Alan Greenspan, father of the 2008 crash, as the best Federal Reserve chairman ever. Perry is monied but cratering.
And Romney is favored not only by the GOP “establishment,” but by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who’s beloved by the tea party. And even Rush Limbaugh, while declaring Romney “no conservative,” says “I like him very much.”
So, I’d bet on Romney. But the odds are such that I wouldn’t win much money.