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Jayne Lyn Stahl Headshot

Miss Congeniality

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President? Bah! After his performance in Saturday night's debate, Mitt Romney should enter a beauty contest as "Miss Congeniality" instead of trying to obtain his party's nomination.

Not only is his smile imperious, it is downright impervious. Romney gives a whole new meaning to the term self-possessed. The man is downright possessed by himself.

By his performance at Saturday night's Republican debate in New Hampshire, he's earned the heavyweight title held by Ronald Reagan. Romney is, without doubt, the Teflon candidate.

When this circus is over, Democratic Party chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, should send former Speaker Gingrich a thank-you note for doing the heavy lifting, and confronting the Mitt face to face with Bain Capital's practice of leveraged buyouts.

Of course, Gingrich wasn't the first to call out the former Massachusetts governor on his practice of buying companies on the edge, and making them viable by massive layouts. That honor goes to another prominent figure back in 1994 -- Senator Ted Kennedy in his senatorial campaign against Romney.

For anyone who was watching, Romney didn't flip flop on the issue of a woman's rights to choose, but said he would like to see a reversal of Roe v. Wade as it was "decided badly," and the legal right to terminate a pregnancy turned over to the states. If Romney gets his party's nomination, expect him to pander to the far right wing of his party in much the same way another first term president, George H.W. Bush, did. That means, don't be surprised if you hear nominee Romney channeling Rick Santorum stands on key issues.

Any uncertainty about whether or not these debates constitute theater of the absurd can be easily put to rest by thinking about Ron Paul's response to questions about his newsletter. How many times has Dr. Paul lamented that these newsletters were written 20 years ago as if that somehow excuses their contents? Well, has anything changed from what Newt Gingrich said 20 years ago? And, for the record, this makes how many times, over the past two decades, Mr. Romney will have tried for an elected office and lost?

But, nobody's thinking about that. Instead, the wing nuts who now control the Republican platform are focusing on a young president who, unlike his Republican nemesis, has won every race he has ever entered.

Watching this final debate before Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, I kept waiting for Diane Sawyer to step forward and ask Rick Santorum the same question that George Stephanopoulos grilled Romney about -- a ban on contraception. How it is that the Mitt was able to monopolize that question, and Santorum, the only one to condemn contraception, was allowed to escape unscathed defies reason.

Stephanopoulos, by the way, came closest to calling Romney out when he tried to worm his way out of a question by pretending not to be an expert in the area. Stephanopoulos said, "Come on, you have a law degree from Harvard." Quite right. Wonder how much it cost Romney's father to buy that one for him, too.

What is it that was so intimidating about any of these candidates that they managed to make it out of New Hampshire with their hair and lipstick perfectly in place?

If you've got something planned for Tuesday night, don't worry about missing the New Hampshire primary. Romney will win, and by a wide margin, too. Romney will win South Carolina, by a smaller margin than New Hampshire, but he'll win there, too, and of course Romney will become his party's 2012 presidential nominee. The Supreme Court, and Citizens United, wouldn't have it any other way.

The only thing left for the Democrats to do is to show that what took place during these debates wasn't really about politics after all, but was instead a beauty pageant. If Miss Congeniality wins the White House in 2012, the American people will be the ones who will lose. The Teflon days are over.