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Matthews: Rep. candidates make 'death march' to White House

Let me finish tonight with this.I have never witnessed a more desultory campaign for president than the death march now proceeding in the Republican party.

Let me finish tonight with this.

I have never witnessed a more desultory campaign for president than the death march now proceeding in the Republican party. It's become downright spectral. 

Why are the Republicans moving toward the nomination of someone who elicits emotions ranging from zero to the nerve centers usually requiring serious anger management?   

Let's put it on the table: the only people excited about Mitt Romney being the Republican nominee for president are those ticked off at the very prospect. Let's go further: do those who are banking the Romney campaign really want him "in" the White House with even a shred of the motive they possess for getting Barack Obama "out" of it?

Of course not.

The one shared observation of those watching this campaign with any degree of interest is that it runs against, not with, the national inclination. Americans either want to take another bet on Obama or they deeply wish the opposite.  

Where's Romney in all this? Because if he truly does have a serious historic problem with the President, it's hard to see where. He created the model for the Obama healthcare plan. He's a fiscal moderate and a social moderate as well. When he was in office up in Boston, the only time he was ever in office, he was an old-style New England moderate. So clearly within the 40 yard lines that you could hardly call him a man of the right. He was barely a man of the center-right.

Now he's clawing his way to prove something that is manifestly "not" true--and everyone on the planet can see it.

What stands in his way? 

It's not clear. Rick Santorum is running a gutsy campaign based on the fact that he is not Mitt Romney, as is Newt Gingrich. These two fellows seem to be offering themselves less as Romney's rivals than his pall bearers. They want him out of contention.

But whom do they offer as the alternatives? 

It's not so clear. Rick Santorum now speaks of the dire need for Republicans to simply run "a conservative." Him? Maybe. Newt Gingrich can't be seriously offering himself for anything, not as the actual candidate anyway. He is not, after all, insane.

So the death march continues through Illinois and on to the rest of the country increasingly sure of only one thing: it doesn't want what the Republicans are offering. 

Perhaps history will tell us why.