If Romney loses Michigan …

A marketing pattern has occurred in presidential races now, following Reagan then Romney: If you want to be president you should run twice, the first time for practice. It seems to be going well for Romney, who knows how to do things. But all hangs on the Michigan primary, in which Santorum and Romney are in a virtual tie.

If Romney loses Michigan it will indicate that the Republican Party has lost its taste for management and governance and has gone over to ideology, marginal religious factions and regional eccentricities. That means it has come to the end of things and a new party needs to develop. This might not be a bad thing. Jon Huntsman has said as much, but he brings no new thinking to the table. Ron Paul does, and he carries with him substance. The Pauls bring substance and good ideas, but the eccentrics in this race (Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann, rednecks like Herman Cain, others in the wings) represent birth pains and a repudiation of America’s globalist path since Wilson.

A Romney victory will bring needed stability. In my opinion we have not had a stable presidency in 20 years and have afflicted the world with political neurosis. Romney is a stable politician, a family man and a personal man. He is not married to ideology as the others are. He is not a maverick. He is not “born again” anything. He has always been the same and can trace stability and strength in his family for generations. His choice for VP will not come from art or sociology. His work history shows that he will choose the individual most suited to the job. The safety and progress of America demands it now. My guess is he will choose Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

But if Romney loses Michigan, America will fall in a malaise. And in 2016 we will see a motley batch of contenders giving it their second try; the one that really matters to them. Some of them have been depending on an Obama victory in 2012, which raises questions of character. Rick Perry has already implied that he intends to run in 2016. Certainly Gingrich will run and Michele Bachmann and Santorum and probably Cain. And of course Jeb Bush and sidekick New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, which might be considered the pre-Enlightenment team as their vision of governance precedes that of Elizabeth I. But Mitt Romney will not be running.

The only other post-Enlightenment, post-Jefferson, post-Second World War, post-Elvis candidate with a practical vision of America will be Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. His vision and that of his father’s is right and sensible. It is a coherent vision that responsibly challenges the orthodoxy and opens to the future as did Martin Luther’s challenge to Roman governance. It could well be suited to America in the future, perhaps the near future. It will develop in time to maturity. Perhaps a hundred years, and it will invariably require a revolution. That is what the eccentricity in this race means: It is prelude to a revolution.