The never disappointing, always entertaining and sometimes enthralling reality show known as the Republican presidential primary will soon lose its train wreck persona and return to a more traditional campaign where the American voter will finally be able to compare and contrast the views, policies, and personality of the Republican nominee with those of President Obama. What a ride it has been.
This is the race that has brought us a heretofore unknown Congresswoman from Minnesota, a tough talkin' Texan, except when it matters; a pizza mogul with a penitent for nines (and, apparently, other things as well) and, at least for this moment, the formerly omnipotent and subsequently disgraced former Speaker of the House, all to the front of the pack for their 30 seconds of fame. Oh, that The Donald had actually run. Sadly for the viewer – but happily for the voter – that is all about to change.
Newt has already seen the top of the mountain so it is all down hill from here. Ron Paul, everybody's favorite libertarian, will win Iowa with Romney and Newt coming in second and third. But the bunch will be tight and most, if not all, will claim that they are still alive and are marching forever onward.
Romney will “go home” to enjoy a victory in New Hampshire where Newt will continue his slide. Then, as we head down the coast to South Carolina, Mitt and Newt will duke it out in a state where the Republican establishment has made it an imperative for Mitt to win but where Newt is actually closer to the hearts and minds of the Republican voter. But Newt is damaged goods by now and Mitt will win with a slim margin. (By the way, how did this ever come down to two guys named Mitt and Newt?)
As we head to Florida, Romney's sizable ground operation and his extensive campaign dollars will deliver a decisive win for the man from Bain Capital and essentially pave the road to his nomination.
By the time Super Tuesday rolls around, we will be waxing nostalgic about the good old days of the campaign, wondering where all of the fun has gone. Michelle, Herman, Ron, Rick, Rick, Jon and, yes, Newt, you all will be missed. And let's not forget the Huntsman daughters. They may be missed most of all.
This is all a guess, of course. Who really knows what will happen? The Republican primary has been such wild ride thus far that nothing seems out of the realm of possibility. Where is Sarah Palin anyhow?
Robert Mathias is president of Ogilvy & Mather Washington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.