It seems Mitt Romney has won the Republican primary in Michigan, defeating Rick Santorum in a close race.
As a Democrat who is going to vote for Barack Obama in the fall (a pointless action in red-state Oklahoma!), I am glad to see him win.
While I understand the Michael Moore Operation Hilarity perspective, I think having Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate for president keeps a lot of issues that I would consider important on the front burner. Issues like privilege and wealth and income inequality. With Mitt Romney as a candidate, allies of Barack Obama will be making arguments that the system that rewards the wealthy at the expense of the 99% will be perpetuated and strengthened under a Romney administration. We will get to continue asking questions like, "why is it fair that Mitt Romney pays an effective 14% tax rate when those who make a tenth of what he makes pay almost twice what he does?" and "why was it logical for Mitt Romney to be against the GM bailouts but for the bank bailouts?"
We may also get to hear debates about policies long taken for granted, like "why should capital gains be taxed lower than wages; has this economic theory been proven?" and "what is the cost/benefit of a government's increasing regulation in terms of the overall welfare of its citizens?"
This is in addition to the fact that Mitt Romney is an unlikable candidate. He does not inspire that warm fuzzy Reaganesque feeling in his fellow Republicans. He inspires more of the McCain/Dole/Kerry "hold your nose and pull the lever" feeling that has lost elections in the past. He has been saying all the right things for Republicans in this primary, but many Republicans don't believe that he means them. He has an inauthenticity problem. Although it's not entirely true. I have no doubt that he really does have friends who are NASCAR team owners, and that he really does believe that "corporations are people."
And if I'm wrong and Barack Obama loses? The consequences of a Republican victory in November are less dire with Mitt Romney than with Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul. Romney has flipped before, and he is perceived as one who would flip again. And even if his electorate holds him to his word in the campaign, his campaign has for the most part been perceived as more moderate than his fellow Republicans. Did he say he'd get rid of Obamacare on day one of his presidency? Maybe. Do I think he's going to actually do it? No.
So, all in all, I'm feeling pretty good about the 2012 presidential election. And that feeling will carry me all the way to 2016, when our nation will elect President Marco Rubio to the first of his two terms.