The Real Reason Romney is Stuck in Neutral

Bookmark and Share    Mitt Romney went in to this campaign with everything going for him.  While his two major criticisms, flip-flopping and RomneyCare were hurdles, they weren’t and aren’t insurmountable obstacles.  Especially since he had far more going for him than working against him.  He was the next-in-line which the G.O.P. traditionally nominates for President, he had an extensive fundraising operation, high name recognition, experience in elected politics, the private sector, and in campaigning for President, as well as one of the most well organized and most professional campaign operations of all the candidates.  He already had a base of support and network of political operatives and connections in place since 2008, and most of all, Romney has the talent and ability to be a good President.  He is a genuinely talented manager and problem solver, a man who has proven that he can manage crises, a track record of achieving all the goals he sets out to, and offers a reasonable, conservative vision for the nation.   And while he may not be the most passionate speaker presidential politics has ever seen, he is certainly an articulate and above average speaker.

He also had the lead over all his potential rivals going in to this election.

So why is Mitt Romney now having trouble sealing the deal?

You may think it is because the conservative base distrusts this former blue state governor who has changed his positions on four or five issues.  But that is not it.  Such problems did not prevent Joh n McCain from being nominated in 2008.  You may think it’s because someone better came along and proved they are more conservative, more electable, and have a better managed campaign than Romney.  But that’s not it. Newt Gingrich is running a very under-managed campaign and if you listen to many conservatives, Newt is suddenly not a real conservative.  So it would not explain why he is the new frontrunner.

While those factors are a part of Mitt’s problems, none of them are the real reasons why Romney is now in trouble.  The true source of Romney’s problem stems from his unwillingness to take any chances in this campaign and his inability to offer bold new ideas and reforms.

So far, Mitt Romney’s campaign has done nothing to appeal to the electorate’s desire for reform.  Especially reform of the process and the way that Washington, D.C. does business.

Instead, everything that Mitt Romney has proposed, every program he has outlined, and every statement he has made, seems to have been designed to make himself out to be exactly what a vast majority of the electorate is not looking for……..another establishment politician.

In this highly charged TEA movement environment, the establishment is the first thing people want to get to rid of.  They have come to understand that the establishment will never deliver change.  Yet in every way, shape, and form, Mitt Romney has been selling himself as the establishment candidate.  This is one of the major reasons why Romney has found himself, like Ron Paul, stuck at a ceiling of support which he has not been able to break through.

As someone who supported and worked for Mitt Romney in 2008, I looked for every reason I could find for supporting him again in 2012.  I like to be consistent and I pride myself on having one thing that is very rare in politics…………….loyalty.  However, in the end, while I found many good reasons to support Romney and many reasons to believe in him, I found that my loyalty to the strength of our nation and the preservation of our American values through the political process, was stronger than my loyalty to any one politician.  And I am of the opinion that what this nation needs is not only someone with a conservative vision that is based on the conservatives principles that are at the heart of the G.O.P. and our nation’s founding, but someone who is bold enough to stand up to the status quo and say that if democracy is going to continue to preserve freedom in the 21st century, we need to modernize our democratic processes and practices.  Practices and processes that preserve freedom by adopting ways to allow our economy to grow at a decent rate.  practices and processes that will allow America to compete int the burgeoning Asian markets and improve the quality of education in our nation so that future generations can compete in the the future world economy.  I know that if we intend to preserve our founding principles, we need a leader who will stand up to the political class and remind them that it is the people who tell them what to do, not the other way around.

Such bold new leadership has not yet been offered by Mitt Romney.  Instead his campaign shows nothing other than the very same establishment qualities that people are tired of.  At the same time, Newt Gingrich, despite once being the ultimate political insider, is showing his willingness to oppose the establishment.  Newt Gingrich has bold news ideas.  He has a record of reforming not just government, but the rules governing the politicians.  When Newt became Speaker of the House, part of his Contract With America forced members of Congress to live by the same rules they make for others.  And a long the way, he made enemies in Congress.  But that is not necessarily a bad thing.  With approval ratings at around 9%, many voters might view those who members of Congress of consider to be their enemies, in a very positive light.  The more the establishment dislikes Newt, the more the anti-establishment electorate likes them.

Yet while Newt is being criticized by many of his fellow colleagues from within the political establishment, Mitt Romney is getting more and more endorsement from the establishment. While certain names like South Dakota Senator John  Thune may help Romney in certain states like Iowa,  on a national scale, the long list of Members of Congress endorsing Mitt is merely confirming that Romney is the establishment candidate.  And for now, that hurts Romney, more than it helps him.

For me, the tipping point which led me away from Mitt Romney and towards Newt Gingrich, was the day when Romney released his 59 point economic recovery plan.

The plan is a solid pro-growth, conservative proposal that would create jobs, free up the free market, and help us get the American economy back on track.  But the Romney plan did little more than tinker with traditional conservative economic ideas and tweak some regulations .  This for me was not enough.  We need a leader who is willing to do more than tinker and tweak things like our arcane tax code.  And we need leaders who are not going to put forth a typical bureaucratic program of 59 bureaucratic measures that are designed to do one thing………stregnthen our economy.   But Mitt did not show himself to be such a leader.  So I looked elsewhere and like many others, I liked what I saw when I looked at Newt.

Had Mitt Romney indicated the slightest anti-establishment sentiment, I may have stuck with him. But he hasn’t.  Which is why, when Herman Cain dropped out of the race, Newt Gingrich, not Mitt Romney picked up his supporters.   It is why the TEA movement has not rallied behind Romney, and it is why Mitt Romney is in trouble.

Bookmark and Share

An Interview with Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share

In an ongoing series by the Nashua Telegraph, Mitt Romney addresses the major issues of the day as he faces some tough questions in an indepth editorial board interview.

From ObamaCare and RomneyCare to Iran and Afghanistan, Mitt Romney aggressively defends his record, attacks President Obama’s, and articulates his conservative vision for the nation.

This interview provides a much more comprhensive look at where Mitt Romney stands on the issues, than have the many debates which essentially are designed more souindbites than detailed discussion.  It is a an interview well worth watching.

Bookmark and Share

Is Romney Signaling that He Will Tap Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell for Vice President?

 Bookmark and Share   Praise for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell by Mitt Romney during a Wednesday campaign stop in Virginia, has many speculating that if nominated President, he will tap McDonnell as his Vice presidential running mate.

Speaking at Virginia’s  Fairfax County Republican headquarters, Romney called McDonnell one of the “great leaders of the Republican Party.” He added, “He’s a terrific governor doing a great job here in Virginia.” and stated “I say nice things about Governor McDonnell every time I have a chance”.

The remarks do not necessarily indicate that Romney is ready to pick McDonnell if he wins the G.O.P. presidential nomination.  What it does mean is that Romney is smart enough to appeal to Virginians by agreeing with them.  Governor McDonnell receives extraordinarily high approval from Virginia voters and to do anything other align himself with McDonnell would quite frankly, be a sign of severe brain damage.

Governor McDonnell is doing a fine job in Virginia and a look at his near perfect conservative record would make one believe that he might be a better Republican presidential candidate than those now running.  However, even though Barack Obama won Virginia in 2008, that is unlikely to be repeated.  Virginia is normally a reliably Republican state when it comes to presidential politics, and is likely to be that way in 2012 regardless of who the G.O.P. nominee is.   So for electoral purposes, McDonnell is not going to be needed to deliver Virginia’s electoral college vote to the Republican presidential ticket.

For the purpose of having an edge in the electoral college, Republicans may want to look at more truly competitive swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada or even, to a lesser extent, Florida, where the obvious choice is Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

No matter what though, Governor McDonnell will be and deserves to be on everyone’s short list.  Which is why there should not be too much read into Romney’s remarks in Virginia about their popular Governor.  The only remarks about McDonnell that should raise eyebrows would be negative ones.  Had Romney stood in the headquarters of one of Virginia’s county Republican headquarters and said of their popular Governor something like “Bob McDonnell is okay, but I can take him or leave him”, that would deserve attention.

Meanwhile, I remain reluctant to discuss vice presidential contenders until we know for sure who the Republican presidential nominee will be.  However I will say that my initial instincts tell me that if Romney is the nominee, Bob McDonnell is not his most likely choice.  As I previously pointed out, Virginia should easily go Republican in the presidential election no matter who the G.O.P. nominee is.  Add to that the imagery of Romney and McDonnell together and what you have is a ticket that looks almost too perfect.  Kind of like the cake topper of gay wedding cake.

Personally I believe that when it comes to Romney, he is going to have to go with a conservative but unconventional running mate.

So far Romney is tied too closely to the establishment and his reluctance to be bold in his policy choices leaves the selection of a running mate to be one of the few opportunities to step out of the establishment mold.  All things considered, I can see Romney picking someone like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley or even more likely than her, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.  Like Marco Rubio, she is conservative, strongly appreciated in the TEA movement, from an important swing state and offers the opportunity to make inroads into the increasingly important and influential Hispanic vote.

Another bold choice could be Herman Cain.  His strong TEA movement appeal and anti-career politician profile will make him attractive on an ticket, and helps Romney shore up his conservative credentials.

Then there is a real wildcard choice for Romney……… former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee may have very well cost Romney the nomination in 2008 and there is undoubtedly still some bad blood between the two men.  But they have seemingly warmed up to one another since 2008.  Huckabee even had Mitt Romney on his weekly Fox News program.

Picking Huckabee could be a way for Romney to inject new blood and new life in to what will be a news weary electorate by the time the Republican National Convention is held in late August of next year.  Adding Huckabee to the ticket will also appeal to the evangelicals that Romney really needs to appeal to and overcome their prejudices toward his Mormon faith.  As an ordained Southern Baptist minister, Huckabee could go a long way in helping Romney among the evangelical flocks that will be important to a Republican victory.  Mike Huckabee does have some luggage of his own, but when it comes to Mitt, Huckabee would be more compensation than burden.

Bookmark and Share

Is it Coming Down To Romney, Cain, South Carolina, and Florida?

 Bookmark and Share    While there is a great deal of focus on the view that the bickering during the recent CNN  G.O.P. debate in Nevada hurt Republicans and helped President Obama,the truth of the matter is that the bickering of today, is the meaningless and forgotten history of tomorrow.  Just ask George. H. W. Bush who called Ronald Reagan’s economic policy, voodoo economics and then went on to serve two terms as Reagan’s Vice President.

The only truly relevant factors concerning the success or failure of any of the Republican presidential candidates at this point concern three key elements………, their organization and its effectiveness, their fundraising capabilities, and their individual standings within the first four nominating contests, especially the last two of those four…..South Carolina and Florida.

While national trends have a role, it is important to remember that nominees are chosen through individual state contests and at different times.  So while the entire nation participates in the process, it is far from being accurately described as a national election.

For those reasons, I am less concerned with what Rick Perry said about an illegal immigrant cutting Mitt Romney’s lawn, in an attempt to defend his own pitiful position on  illegal immigration.  More important than any of that is the current snapshot taken by two new NBC News-Marist polls.

To get a real sense of how things are going, one needs to remain focussed on what really matters.  And with just a few months to go before voting in the Republican nomination contests begins, that focus needs to be less on any overall national impression of the current field and more on where the individual candidates stand in individual states. Although polls are merely a snapshot of a fleeting moment, the cumulative effect of each of these moments offer an indication of the way things are going and at the moment newly energized Herman Cain narrowly leads Mitt Romney in South Carolina’s Republican primary, and is running neck and neck with Romney in Florida.

Click Here for Complete October 19, 2011 South Carolina NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete October 19, 2011 South Carolina NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

More so than Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida will have a profound effect on establishing the future trajectories of all the candidate.  The only real way for Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two contests, to have as much as an impact as Florida and South carolina is if Mitt Romney can win both of those states, or if someone is able to defeat Mitt Romney in New Hampshire.  If Romney wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, he will establish an almost unstoppable momentum that will lift his chances for victory in all the state contests that immediately follow them.  If someone like Jon Huntsman or Herman Cain pulls off an stunning upset victory over Romney in New Hampshire, they will be in the catbird seat as they go in to the Palmetto and Sunshine state contests.

No matter what though, South Carolina and Florida will really set the tone for all the following contests, especially in the delegate rich South which Mitt Romney faces his stiffest competition in as he vies for votes among the region’s uber-conservative, evangelical base, and must also contend with evangelical Christian bigotry towards Romney’s Mormon faith.

The fact that Romney is still maintaining a strong position in both Florida and South Carolina is a testament to both the effectiveness of his campaign organization and the viability of his candidacy.  But this does not insure a Romney win  in either state.  Herman Cain’s current ability to tie and even surpass Romney in early polls in South Carolina and Florida, is a sign that Romney is still quite vulnerable.  Herman Cain does not have a campaign that is organized in a way that is comparable to Romney’s.   Yet despite that lack of organization, Cain  is holding his own.  If Herman Cain hopes to insure his own victory in South Carolina and Florida, he must build an organization that can establish a strong ground game.  Mitt Romney will have a top notch ground game in both of those states.  If Herman Cain’s operation is inferior to Romney’s, the results in Florida and South Carolina could be close, but the winner will ultimately be Mitt Romney.

But if Romney finds himself facing off against a well organized competitor who within striking distance, Romney can definitely go down.

This made quite evident in the current NBC-Marist Poll which shows that in South Carolina, Cain has the support of 30% of likely GOP primary voters, to  Romney’s gets 26%, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 9%, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 6% and Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul at 5%, with 15% of likely primary voters remaining undecided.  According to a broader pool of Republicans in South Carolina, Cain is at 28 % and Romney is at 27%.

In Florida, Cain is at 32% among likely voters, Romney at 31%, Perry at 8%and Paul and Gingrich are at 6%, and  11% say they are undecided.

South Carolina and Florida have both played pivotal roles in past Republican presidential nominating contests.   Since 1980, the winner of South Carolina’s GOP primary has gone on to win the party’s nomination, and in 2008, John  McCain’s win of Florida’s primary  essentially handed the nomination to him.  Both states are likely to play the same role in 2012.

What is particularly troubling for Romney within those numbers is a breakdown which shows that while Romney may be toward the top of the field with Herman Cain, the enthusiasm for Romney is much lower than it is for Cain. In South Carolina, 45% of Cain’s supporters in South Carolina strongly back him, while only 37% of Romney’s supporters describe themselves as strongly committed to Romney. In Florida, 52% of Cain’s supporters strongly back him, compared to 41% who strongly back Romney.

That means that the Republican electorate is quite unsettled and if there is still time for a third candidate to rise to the top.  I believe that that candidate could be Newt Gingrich.

If Gingrich holds his powder in Iowa and New Hampshire, a split decision  in those two states could allow Newt to make his move and startle everyone with either a win in South Carolina and Florida, or at least a stronger than expected showing.  That is unlikely but it is quite possible.  However, much like Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich does not have a campaign that is organized enough compete with Mitt Romney’s.  Unless and until someone can match Mitt Romney’s ground games in several early states, Romney is headed towards the Republican National Convention in Orlando, Florida as the inevitable Republican presidential nominee.

Bookmark and Share

“You’ve Got Mail”. Chris Christie Fundraising Email For Romney Hits

Bookmark and Share    Hours after winning one of the more coveted endorsements that a Republican candidate for President can get, the campaign of Mitt Romney has fired oof persoanalized emails to an extensive list of supporters and potential supporters [see the email below this post].

The email makes a direct appeal for voters to support the Romney campaign with a financial donation. 

In his message, Chrsitie focusses on the economy and credits Mitt Romney as the presidential candiate who can fundamentally change the economy and reverse the past three years of the Obama policies that have failed us.

Support Mitt Romney

Anthony,

This is the most important election in generations. Whether we are able to fix our economy and
get our country on the right track will have ramifications for decades. We cannot afford to continue on our current path.

Mitt Romney has a life history of coming into struggling organizations and turning them around. Right
now, we need someone like him in the White House to fundamentally change our economy and reverse three years of failed policies. Unlike our current President, Mitt Romney understands the economy from the inside out.

Chris Christie stands with Mitt

Fixing the economy will not be easy, but Mitt has shown throughout his life that he has the leadership ability and expertise to lead our country toward a recovery.  Republicans should recognize the importance of this election and realize that if they are serious about regaining the White House, Mitt Romney is the only candidate to back.

I hope you’ll join me and stand with Mitt today http://mittromney.com/donate

Best,
Chris Christie

Bookmark and Share

View Chris Christie Announcing His Endorsement of Mitt Romney for President

Bookmark and Share   In advance of tonight’s Washington Post-Bloomberg TV Republican presidential debate on economic issues, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie traveled to New Hampshire to appear with Governor Romney and announce that he was endorsing Romney for President. [See video and transcript below]

“I’m here in New Hampshire today for one simple reason: America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney is the man we need to lead American, and we need him now. So that’s why I’m here.

If you look at Governor Romney’s experience — his experience in the private sector, running businesses, turning them around, going in there and telling the people the truth about what needed to be done, and then coming up with a plan to get it done, and you look at his experience as an elected official, we know that he brings the best of both to what we need for America right now.

He brings that great, private sector experience and he brings the experience of governor of Massachusetts, knowing how government works. Not a legislator, trying to figure out how to use executive power, but an executive who’s used executive power and will use it to make Americans’ lives better.

That’s why I’m endorsing Mitt Romney for president of the United States.”

Click here for an analysis of what was behind Christie’s endorsement and what it will mean in the presidential election.

Meanwhile, less than hour after the endorsement was passed on to the public, Romney’s campaign organization did not miss beat as they promptly posted the following page on the Romney for President website;

Click on the image to see a larger version of it

It is a whopping request to join Chris Christie in supporting Mitt by making a donation to his campaign.  Clearly, as was indicated by WH12 in a previous post, Christie’s endorsement does more than just help firm up Romney’s frontrunner status, it is worth a ton of money too.

Bookmark and Share

Martinez, Gregg, and Grimm Endorsements Giving Romney an Edge

  Bookmark and Share  Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney received two high profile endorsements today.  One each in the two key early primary states of New Hampshire and Florida.  He also received a third endorsement from a less visible but equally as important freshman Congressman.

In New Hampshire, Judd Gregg, a popular former Governor and three term Senator from the Granite State announced his support
of Romney, and in Florida, former Senator and RNC Chairman Mel Martinez did the same.

Also today, Romney picked up the endorsement of freshman Congressman Michael Grimm.

His endorsement may not attract as much news as Gregg’s and Martinez’s public support but as a former Republican operative in Grimm’s congressional districts which spans Staten Island and Brooklyn, I can tell you, that Grimm’s support is just as important.

Grimm took back the seat formerly held by disgraced Republican Congressman Vito Fossella.   In 2008, the seat went to a Democrat, but in 2010, Michael Grimm won it back for the G.O.P.   The district encompasses the most heavily Republican section of New York City ……all of Staten Island, and the Southwest portion of Brooklyn, which send one of the City’s only Republicans to the New York State Senate.   Beyond that, the political machine that Grimm represents and is controlled by former Congressman Guy Molinari, is an extremely heavy handed, Republican regime with a great deal of influence in the New York G.O.P.  This means that freshman Congressman Mike Grimm’s endorsement of Romney is an early signal of widespread organizational support.  In other words, Romney is locking New York up for himself.

This will help to dissuade others from forcing Romney to spend money on the New York presidential primary, a contest that because of its placement amid very expensive media markets, could be quite expensive.

New York could be important in the nomination process.  It offers 95 delegates, one of the largest in the nation. That’s only four less than Florida,
and because the Sunshine State has violated RNC rules by setting an earlier than allowed date for their primary, they could see their delegate count cut in half.

Unfortunately for Romney though, the New York presidential primary is not held until April 24th.  However; if the early primary contests do not
produce a clear frontrunner thereby allowing us to have a presumptive nominee, New York could be decisive.  In fact mark April 24th on your calendars.  On that day, New York will not be alone in holding its presidential primary.  For the first time, we the 2012 nomination contest will be experiencing a sort of Northeast version of the South’s Super Tuesday.  Call it a Northeast Mega Primary.  On that day 231 delegates will be up for grabs form among  5 Northeastern states:

  • Connecticut – 28 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
  • Delaware – 17 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
  • New York – 95 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
  • Pennsylvania– 72 – PrimaryLoophole Primary – Closed
  • Rhode Island – 19 – Primary/Proportional – Modified

If one of the candidates has not practically wrapped up the nomination by then, Romney could be the one to do it on that day. All 5 of those
states are largely fertile for a Romney.

So while Congressman Grimm’s endorsement may not grab the headlines that Gregg’s and Martinez’s endorsements will, it is as , or even more important.  In the case of Judd Gregg, while he is popular in New Hampshire, his electoral influence is debatable.  In 2000, Judd Gregg, then a sitting U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, endorsed Texas Governor George W. Bush for President and Senator John McCain wound up winning that primary.

Mel Martinez is a different story though.  While how much sway he still has among Florida’s voters is iffy, he does have the potential to influence important parts of the electorate there.  Particularly the higher than average  Cuban-American population. This can only help Romney in a state         where he will need all the help he can to fend off Herman Cain and Rick Perry.

Bookmark and Share

%d bloggers like this: