In their editorials, while The Des Moines Register and Oklahoman credit Romney for being a substantive leader but the main reason for thier endorsements seems to come down to the issue of electability. In the case of the more liberal Des Moines Register, it comes down to electability and the ability to work with Democrats.
According to the Register:
Romney’s strategy on taxes is unique among the Republican contenders in calling for reforms that would benefit middle-income Americans and not just those at the top of the economic pyramid.
This ability to see the merits of tough issues from something other than a knee-jerk, ideological perspective suggests that Mitt Romney would be willing to bridge the political divide in Washington. Americans are desperate for the Republicans and Democrats to work together. His record of ignoring partisan labels to pass important legislation when he was governor of Massachusetts suggests he is capable to making that happen.
For those reasons, Mitt Romney deserves the support of his party in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. If he is the GOP nominee, the nation would have a clear choice in November 2012.”
The Oklahoman takes a decidely less non-partisan approach in their endorsement but in the end, like the Des Moines Register, electability and the ability to get things done by working with Democrats would seem to be the decisived factors.
The Oklahoman writes;
The Heartland states contribute significantly to America’s greatness. We must contribute to the restoration of that greatness. This is where the unemployment rate is among the lowest in America, where religion and family values still matter, where people work hard to earn a living and aren’t focused on government handouts and entitlements. This is home to some of the largest military installations in the country, a place where men and women in uniform are respected.
The reddest of the red states stand on a high moral ground. They are not mired in the estuaries of bicoastal elitism. We matter and we must make our voices heard.
This isn’t about pride. It’s about putting a new president in office to lead this country back to its once powerful world position. It is time to get serious about the current and future well-being of the country.
Today we face economic disaster — partisan gridlock in government, unfathomable national debt, lack of moral leadership, threats from terrorists, energy dependence — the list continues to build and weaken the foundation of our nation.
We cannot let a bad president with a bad record walk into a second term because the Republican Party couldn’t unite around a candidate who is not only electable but capable of leading, uniting and governing America.
That leader is Mitt Romney.”
While I have no problem with the reasoning behind these endorsements and in many aspects agree with their praise of Mitt Romney, one of the things that strikes me most is that if you read each endorsement in their enitrity, their fundamental focus is on comapring Romney to Obama, and not neccessarily Romney to Gingrich, Paul, Bachmann, Santorum, Perry, and the other whom he is currently running against the primaries and caucuses. This brings us back to their main reason for theses newspapers endorsement of Mitt Romney…..the electability issue. But the problem with allowing electabilty in the general election to be the determining factor in selecting the nominee during the nomination contest is that it does a disservice to the issues and therein lies a the basis for questioning just how effective these endorsements will be in the Republican nomination contest.
Republicans must decide which is more important to them…….. changing presidents or or facing up to the challenge of changing one president on for for another who will bring about fundamental changes of the process.
If they want to simply change presidents and beat Barack Obama, Romney is the obvious choice. But Romney does not neccessarily mean change in the fundamental way that government works.
The Des Moines Register put it this way;
“Romney disagrees with Democrats on most issues, but he offers smart and well-reasoned alternatives rather than simply proposing to swing a wrecking ball in Washington. He is a serious student of public policy who examines the data before making a decision. His detailed policy paper on the economy contains 87 pages of carefully crafted positions on taxes, energy, trade and regulatory policy, complete with 127 footnotes.”
That sounds like good solid reasoning, but the truth is that many Republicans, especially conservatives, want someone who is willing to propose swinging “a wrecking ball in Washington”.
They want real reforms, not “87 pages” of “regulatory policy” and 127 bureaucratic footnotes.
This is why Mitt Romney has not yet locked up the Republican nomination. Too many TEA movement and conservative Republicans want a leader who will take a wrecking to things like Obamacare, our arcane tax code, and the government mentality of overregulation. And that is precisiley what they do not find in Mitt Romney’s attempts to improve a broken system by tinkering with it. Voters do not want to repair the existing government engine with duct tape and crazy glue. They want a new engine.
Yet the fear of selecting a nominee who may have a harder time beating President Obama is overcoming the desire to hire a Republican mechanic who is willing to install that new engine.
For that reason, in the end, despite my own declared support for Newt Gingrich, I believe Mitt Romney will be the nominee and while I will have no problem with that, I also know that under Mitt Romney, we are prolonging the existence of the establishment and therefor, while we can expect to see an improved economy and a stronger America under Romney than we are seeing under Barack Obama, we will not be tackling the underlying systemic problems in the process which continue to get government in the way of the economy ands our strength as a nation.
Many voters share that same sentiment and it continues to be responsible for the delay in their final decision regarding who they want to vote for in the Republican presidential nomination contest.
Meanwhile, the continuous steady flow of Romney endorsements from the mainstream media and political establishment will be do one of three things for Romney.
It will set up an atmosphere of confident inevitablaity in the candidacy of Mitt Romney as the person who is most qualified to be President and is most capable of beating President Obama.
The more mainstream media outlets and established political fugures like Bod which endorse Mitt Romney, the more likely many anti-establishment voters will vote aginst Romney and for someone like Gingrich, a candidate who has the establishment has made clear they do not like.
The electability and establishment arguments will cancel themselves out and ultimately allow Romney to win the nomination because of the advantages that establishment organizational support for his candidacy will provide him with when it comes to GOTV efforts.
While I am confident in those being the three causes of this establishment and mainstream media support for Romney, I am wise enough to defintively say which one scenario will prevail. I can only say that at the moment, electablity seems to trump radical reform.
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