“NASHUA, N.H., Jan 6 (Reuters) – Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney said on Sunday he would balance the U.S. budget deficit within “a few years” if he won the 2008 race for the U.S. presidency,” writes Jason Szep in a reuters release titled Romney says would balance budge in “few years”

Asked by a voter at a rally in the southern New Hampshire city of Nashua whether he would balance the budget by March 2009 if elected, Romney said he wouldn’t give a timetable because of the cost of financing the U.S. war in Iraq […]

This is beneath comment. So let’s consider another point.

“At the Intrade Prediction Market, Romney has dropped to fourth place with only a 12.6% chance of winning the Republican nomination, behind McCain (who is now the favorite), Giuliani, and Huckabee,” writes the writer of Half Sigma in a post titled Time for Romney to withdraw?

When Romney loses to McCain in New Hampshire tomorrow, it’s time for him to withdraw. If he can’t win New Hampshire, which is sort of a suburb of Boston, where is he going to win besides in Utah and Massachusetts? […]

We’re beginning to wonder about what Romney’s plan truly is. The so-called “data driven” candidate must know by now that the primary process—as it is conventionally construed—will not support a Romney nomination. Here may be the secret of Romney’s intentions:

[…] “Romney’s campaign team is already preparing their Wolverine State campaign and they’ve already filled his schedule with retail events there, hitting conservative-dominated western Michigan for the first few days before turning to population centers like Detroit and Lansing,” Jonathan Martin and Jim VandeHei in a politico.com feast-for-the-mind titled Romney dials down expectations hard
In mail and TV spots there, they’ll drive the candidate’s change message, and if he loses here, they will continue to contrast with McCain on Washington experience, immigration and taxes.Should Romney’s New Hampshire loss be close, an adviser previewed their spin as: “Look at our body of work over 10 days. We came in first in Wyoming and second in Iowa and New Hampshire. Who else can match that?” […]

Translation: In what Team Romney specifyies as Romney’s receding regional stronghold strategy, you can detect the outlines of Romney’s new national strategy. It consists in fighting to remain a player until the convention, accumulating delegates by means of grim attrition. It is a hard, despairing, and enormously expensive strategy.

Think of it this way: the task of the primary campaigner is to develop the coherent story of a message passing into a general movement from the fragmented, particular, and variable character of the contests themselves. Romney’s strategy now becomes the precise opposite. He must simultaneously

Resist like grim death the other candidates’ attempts to beat their way out of their regional redoubts—holding them off until the convention

-and-

Eke out as many victories, near-victories, or rationales for non-victories (Iowans are religious bigots!) as possible to maintain the semblance of vialbility—again: until the convention

For Romney to prevail, he needs to develop disorder, disunity, and fragmentation. How do you accomplish this?—relentlessly negative campaigning. Every one must get slimed beyond viability. This is what happens in a game when you have a player who neither respects the game nor even the field it’s played on.

Meanwhile: expect lots more grandiosity from the hapless candidate as he fights to stay in the headlines.

yours &c.
dr g.d.

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