Somebody's Looking Out For Mitt Romney

| Thu Jan. 19, 2012 12:59 PM EST

Jonathan Chait:

Mitt Romney’s run of luck during the Republican nominating race is beginning to defy belief. Begin with the fact that Rick Santorum turns out to have won the Iowa caucuses. Finding this out now is approximately 0.001 percent as valuable as having it announced the night of the caucuses. There was an old Fed Ex commercial depicting an aging pool cleaner suddenly discovering a 20-year-old acceptance letter from Harvard he had never received, and imagining the life he could have had. That man is Santorum. He has to wonder if the Iowa vote counters were gay.

What's equally remarkable is that even with Romney's incredible string of good luck, he's still having trouble sealing the deal.

At least, that's the conventional wisdom. But is it really true? Not counting Ron Paul, who will stay in the race to the bitter end because he was never really running for president in the first place, the GOP race is already down to three candidates. In 2008, we still had five major candidates remaining at this point. So Romney is doing at least as well as McCain did. If Gingrich and Santorum drop out by the end of February, things will have unfolded almost identically to 2008.

So maybe Romney isn't quite the pariah that he's been made out to be. But he's still incredibly lucky.

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