BOSTON (CBS) – I don’t know if this is necessarily true of all other cultures, but it’s undeniable that Americans love a good circus.
Check: Primary Results
And the history of our robust, often messy, sometimes nasty politics speaks to that love affair.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
Other countries are content with brief presidential elections that last a few weeks; ours go on forever.
In fact, they go on for so long, and feature such a parade of candidates, debates, conventions, disputes, attack ads and public hysteria of all types, that it’s easy to forget how little all the hoopla has to do with the real business at hand.
Last night’s decisive New Hampshire victory for Mitt Romney, which sets up a likely sealing of the GOP nomination by Romney in South Carolina and Florida over the next few weeks, is a case in point.
After all the invective that’s been thrown at Romney over the past four years, it’s somewhat astonishing that anyone would vote for him to be the animal control officer, let alone president.
He’s been portrayed as a cold, ruthless robber baron, an unprincipled con man, a pathological flip-flopper and – in the elegant language of the oh-so-distinguished Prof. Newt Gingrich – a liar.
But a resounding plurality of New Hampshire voters didn’t seem to believe all that.
Or if they did, they made a decision that he was still the best-equipped person to make the change they want in Washington, so they voted for him anyway.
I prefer to believe that people simply took the measure of Romney, and found him to have been unfairly maligned.
And it’s no coincidence that arguably the most moderate GOP contender, with all due respect to Jon Huntsman, is on track to be the nominee.
The squeaky wheels of left and right get the grease, but I notice most presidents wind up governing mostly from the center, even our current one, and the candidates who run that way usually win out.
Circuses are fun.
But the presidency is serious business.
That’s why Romney is in the driver’s seat, and Gingrich, Santorum and the rest were relegated last night to a dog carrier on the roof of his car.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.