Looking for Mr. Good-Enough

Elizabeth Wurtzel at The Atlantic takes a swing at a different theory about Mitt’s status as “Mr. 25%” than the usual memes making the rounds. Could it just be that people like Mitt Romney more than the conventional wisdom would dictate?

Have you heard the news? It’s hot off the wire services. Drum roll please: Mitt Romney cannot get more than 25 percent of the vote in the Republican presidential primary race. That’s what they say. He is the Mr. Good-Enough of the GOP, the guy you settle for because the rock stars that got you hot and bothered all ran off with supermodels and you can’t be single and brokenhearted forever. So dull that he actually shines, Mitt Romney is surely the least-sure sure thing in elephantine memory.

All right, so that’s not big news. I lied. This is actually not just mostly what is being said about Romney — it’s ALL that’s said about him. I cannot figure out if pundits keep repeating this trope because they are senile or because they think that we are. No one even so much as makes the inverse point that he consistently polls with 25 percent of the vote, which, given the Keystone Kops hullabaloo of candidates hovering around him, seems like good work. Romney’s a leveraged-buyout guy: He’s making sure the bad stuff — each 999 looney talking crazy — is tossed out piece by piece. But that solid quarter he’s starting from is a keeper.

While I’m not expecting the entire base to suddenly slap their foreheads in one of those, “I could’ve had a V8” moments and jump on the Mittens Express, she writes a very amusing, entertaining article that’s worth a look. But at the same time, beneath the humor, Wurtzel does bring up an interesting point of discussion in this 25% theory. Why is it that we always assume that this “25% ceiling” means that 75% don’t like Romney and won’t take him?

The most recent polling in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida would indicate that it’s not all that solid of a ceiling. The general lament is that if we could only get the rest of these pesky candidates to step aside, then Mr. X (insert name of your particular favorite here) would scoop up all of that support and crush Romney in a 75-25 landslide. But just maybe that’s not the case? Maybe some of those folks are truly undecided. Or, perhaps some of them would prefer Newt or Perry or Santorum, but failing that, their fallback position is Mitt. Is that really such a crazy idea?