Mitt Romney: Frontrunner?

Mitt Romney: Frontrunner ?
        By all accounts this should have been Mitt Romney’s turn to win the Republican nomination and the presidency.  In a survey last week he was the only Republican who topped Barack Obama in national polls.  Now, post Bin Laden, one has to wonder.
What still makes Romney strong?
        First there is the money.  Insiders have told me that Karl Rove has been advising the campaign and some insist that he is the mastermind behind this new formidable fundraising juggernaut for Romney.  Of course, fundraising was never a problem for Romney.   Not to mention the personal funds the former governor has at the ready.   This time Romney has multiple state political action committees, raising the limit, with Obama’s lawyers crying foul.
        Then there are all the ways that the money can be spent.  It means that Romney can compete in every state.  It means his campaign can endure early loses and still be a factor.  He will be able to advertise in the big wholesale state contests.  He will be able to use that money to support local candidates who can return the favor by delivering their influence at the state conventions where the bulk of the delegates are still chosen.
        In the endorsement contest Romney again stands tall.  And that, again, is partly because of the money, including large amounts yet to be doled out.  But also because most of the establishment figures in the GOP now believe that he would make the best president.  My former boss, George Herbert Walker Bush is among those, although he is savvy enough to know that endorsements can hurt as well as help a candidate.
        Winning the “Insiders Primary” has brought great advantages to the Romney campaign.  The GOP has moved some of the early contests into Mormon territory.  And there are multiple contests there, allowing for him to recover from an early Iowa defeat should he be ambushed again about his religion as he was in 2008.
        Evangelical insiders tell me that Romney is tapping public relations guru Mark DeMoss to help with the evangelical Christian voters.  DeMoss was Jerry Falwell’s right hand man.  And the same sources insist that big money is being given to Ralph Reed who has worked closely with Karl Rove and speaks to evangelical voters through mailing lists, Richard Viguerie style.  It did not work for George W. Bush in 2000.  Bush told Iowa voters that his favorite “philosopher” was “Christ because he changed my heart.”  But the mailings and evangelical voter i.d. program did very poorly.
        Evangelical turnout was dismal and Bush won the general election only with the help of the Supreme Court.  Ralph Reed worked closely with Pat Robertson and was the central figure in organizing the Christian Coalition.
        The greatest Romney advantage in the refigured GOP nomination process is the decision to allow for proportional delegate assignments from the state primaries.  No more “winner take all.”  Most see this as helping Romney who can use his money to pick up delegates from every region.  Even if he gets beat in some of the primaries and regions such as the South, he will keep adding to his aggregate total.
        Romney has challenges to be sure.  There is Romney-care, his Obama-like health care program for Massachusetts, which Romney championed as governor.  It will dog him in the primaries.  And his change of positions on some of the issues.  What it took to get elected governor in the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts won’t do in most Republican primaries.  But the most controversial issue, his faith as a Latter Day Saint, seems to have been resolved in his favor within the GOP.  He took his lumps last time around and most conservative evangelical fears on that subject seems to have passed.
        Even more promising for Romney are signs of a growing rapprochement between conservative Mormons and evangelicals.  The Mormon’s are coming to understand that they can’t win a national election without those 48% of Americans who claim to be born again Christians.  And they certainly can’t see one of their own win the GOP nomination.
        In 2008 I warned of an evangelical reaction and a  Romney collapse in Iowa. (See YouTube below.)  But this time things are different.  Romney has lowered the expectations in Iowa to zero.  And he has good showings likely in Nevada and Arizona and New Hampshire as backups.  His fundraising prowess, which speaks well of him as an executive, guarantees he will be in the fight for California, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, New York and other expensive campaign states.  Being the establishment candidate has made the nominating process as friendly as he can expect.
        The Obama campaign recognizes all of this.  As demonstrated by their lawyers at work trying to block the fundraising of Romney’s state pacs. Most of all, they read that poll last week, showing that if an election were held then, Mitt Romney would have beaten Barack Obama.    If Romney wins the nomination expect a shrill and bitter battle, with the mighty elitist new media in top form, doing their best to influence the outcome.   And be assured that nothing, including both candidates religious views, will be off limits.
        
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5 Responses to Mitt Romney: Frontrunner?

  1. Rita Silic says:

    Mitt Romney, today might best Obama if elections were held. However, things change in a heartbeat. There are others out there who have yet to garner attention for the Rebpubs. How pretty much late in the game in the 2008 that ANYONE heard, much less knew of Barrak Hussein Obama? It would have seemed Hillary Clinton was a shoe in. It amazed me how well kept Obama was away from Media in the early primarys. Information was guarded, metted, and strategically presented so it kept interest high and voters salivating. Brilliant. What was brought to mind was this senario: An adult holds a piece of candy high, just beyond the reach of an excited child, making him jump, grab for the prized candy, teasing and building desire. Once the fever pitch is at frenzy,is it given. The child realizes the sweetness was good while it latest, it did nothing for nourishment or fill his hungry belly.

    It is far too early to set on any frontfunner until the debates begin. General media is set heavily away from the conservative idea, so matter who may come to focus they will indeed be faced with over the top critism. As you say, nothing will be off limits, and it will be a shrill and bitter battle.

    Rita

  2. Stefan says:

    Thank you for another interesting post, Doug. Now things have changed overnight, as you mentioned. The OBL killing is neautralizing the neocons. criticism of obama as being “weak” on security. Ron Paul’s letter of mark and reprisal would have had the US the minimum loss of life and financial costs, with a strike against the Al Qada bases in Afghanistan, for say 2 weeks and then return and setting up a specialist unit (mark and reprisal to go after OBL and it would definitely NOT have taken 9,5 years, but much less).

    Romney did not attend the SC debate, while he has set up an exploratory committee already, and most SC voters would not like that (see the SC GOP chairwoman Karen Floyd’s as well as gov. Nikki Haley’s reaction, and without winning SC no candidate has won the presidency. We all know only one conressman (James Garfield) managed to get elected president and Paul did not won any state in 2008, but not only has his won been elected senator in KY, e.g. a state-wide race, the whole situation in the country has changed radically, in favor of Paul, who predicted the economic collapse and recession while Romney and others laughed at him during the 2007/2008 debates. And of course while Romney won CPAC in 2008, Paul won two times consecutively in 2010 and 2011.

    Important is that just before the debate CNN put Paul in second place in NH and overall in the country he has moved to double digits (10%)(very important psychiological hurdle) along with Gingrich and only 6% separating from the front-runner. It has been said that Romney fares the best among Independents in the past of most candidates. Well, not anymore. Paul is faring better than him and given that the majority of Americans are for a pull-out from Afghanistan, iraq, tired of the TSA and crony capitalistic bailouts, Paul certainly has the edge. And we all know Independents decide ultimately who the president will be. Paul has a lot of cross-ever appeal to a certain segment of Obama voters, while not Romney not the same or to the same extent in any case.
    Also consider that a Bloomberg poll showed the majority of Americans in favor of an audit of the Fed, and this is Paul’s major partly accomplishment (not a full audit yet, but he got ALL Republican and some Democratic congressmen/women to support this). Romney is on record as being more against an audit of the Fed and recently on CNBC, where also Larry Kudlow (monetarist) is sharing (austrian) Paul’s criticism of the Fed, Romney considered it as not relevant or necessary. (What monetary school of thought does Romney belong to, BTW?). Kudlow did not seem impressed with Romney’s response. This is a very important point in light of the inflation and higher prices for food, oil, petrol etc. that ordinary people are paying. (Note to Romney: you cannot blame only Obama for the high oil price, or the happenings in the Middle-East, it has a lot to do with the debasement of the USD. And I also remember Romney praised Obama’s selection of Geithner in 2008 and Geithner is not exactly viewed most favorably by Republicans, to put it mildly).

    Here is the detailed report:
    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/05/06/rel7b.pdf

    Oh, another thing: Paul has not only the tea party as base, his appeals extends beyond them as well. ( have read several people write in commentary they do not care about the teaparty (some also refer to them as teabaggers), and will vote for Paul because he is against the wars, pro civil-liberties etc. Paul needs lots of PAC money before he announce officially and a very good campaign manager and team, some crucial endorsements and he should bring David Stockman (who has endorsed him) and is now in the news again, into his team. This will be a major boost for him among Republicans (e.g. Reagan’s first budget director, Independents as well as some fiscally conservative Democrats). James Dobson has switched his endorsement in the GOP KY primary and if he could endorse Rand Paul, he can endorse Ron Paul eventually as well. This will be excellent for Iowa, and you could also be an excellent contact in facilitating this. Paul is very principled, and apart from his strong pro-life credentials (he also got the endorsement of “Roe” in January 2008), his remarks about Christmas, interpretation of the Founders as seeking a robust Christianity (with tolerance of other religions), his defense of judge Roy Moore’s Ten Commandments in AL a few years ago and his strong homeschooling policy record and defense of prayer at school (which Reagan could not enact) should be very convincing for any evangelical (and catholic) Christian. (I think Dobson carries a stronger voice than Pat Robertson for instance……BTW Paul’s Iowa director Drew Ivers also worked on Pat Robertson’s campaign).

  3. David Anderson says:

    Mitt Romney would have no change against Barack Obama in 2012, but not because Romney is a Mormon or advocated a form of “Obama-care” in Massachusetts. It is because the American people are averse to a big businessman in charge of the Federal government (and have never elected one). Romney’s lack of integrity is all over YouTube, and he has little going for him except his ties to the GOP elite, and that will disqualify him in the general election if he gets that far.

    • JoeydaCat says:

      Agreed! His biggest setback with Conservative Christians is not his Mormon faith, but his flip- flopping on the abortion issue.

      As far as his CEO status… just look at Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina during a banner year for anti-incumbent elections.

      Love the series Doug

  4. [...]  Obama – Romney – Gingrich – Trump – Huckabee – Huntsman [...]

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