T Nation

Concerned about Romney and the GOP?


A couple of articles I think highlight some of the concerns people have about Romney:

The outcome of Tuesday's primary in the Badger State was in some sense predictable, a repeat of the primaries Feb. 28 in Michigan and March 6 in Ohio: Santorum campaigned hard and came close, but was ultimately unable to overcome the Romney campaign's vast advantages.

And once more - as in Michigan, Ohio, and other key states - Romney's campaign and his allied "super PAC," Restore Our Future, unleashed an overwhelming flood of attack ads against Santorum. It is estimated that the pro-Romney forces spent more than $3 million on advertising in Wisconsin, outspending Santorum and his super PAC by 4-to-1.

This was predictable, based on previous precedents, as was the final result Tuesday: In a Republican primary with phenomenally low turnout, Romney won Wisconsin with 42 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Santorum. This four-point margin of victory, purchased at such a heavy price, was predictably hailed as a triumph that effectively clinched the nomination for Romney. Yet the winner of Tuesday's Wisconsin primary got about 200,000 fewer votes than the half-million Republicans who voted for Johnson in the state's 2010 Senate primary, the low turnout in this year's presidential primary an ominous indication of the tepid enthusiasm for Romney among grassroots conservatives.

If Romney is indeed now the "inevitable" nominee, it is a status he has obtained by crushing conservative opposition in an astonishingly expensive and negative campaign: According to the Washington Post, Romney's super PAC has spent nearly $30 million on advertising, 91 percent of it on negative ads aimed at either Gingrich or Santorum.

None of that was mentioned Tuesday night in the post-primary discussion on Fox News, which predictably cut off Rick Santorum's speech halfway through, and then predictably began discussing the campaign in terms of when Santorum would drop out and how Republicans could "coalesce" behind Romney who, the commentators declared, is now definitely the inevitable nominee.

A sort of cognitive dissonance is at work: Three months into the primary campaign, Romney has gotten about 41 percent of Republican votes so far. According to projections by the Associated Press, however, Romney now has 655 delegates, which is 57 percent of the "magic number" of 1,144 needed to clinch the nomination at Tampa.

Krauthammer and the other Fox News panelists surely know that if Santorum can manage to win Pennsylvania and fight on into May, the inevitable Romney may not be as inevitable as some pundits have predicted. According to an analysis of Republican delegate math published Tuesday in the New Yorker, it is currently projected that Romney will complete the primary campaign just shy of the "magic number."

Santorum spent months campaigning on a shoestring budget in Iowa when there were no big crowds and no major media coverage, when his poll numbers were in single digits and nobody thought he could win. He won not only Iowa, but also Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Kansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, to become the last man standing against Romney, who has always been the pre-emptive favorite to win the nomination. Anyone who thinks Santorum will quit now -- when he has three weeks to win over Republican voters in his home state of Pennsylvania, and thus keep his underdog campaign alive -- obviously doesn't know Rick Santorum very well.

American Spectator Robert Stacy McCain

I'm not sure we have ever seen a candidate quite like Mitt Romney.

For years, ever since he started running against Sen. John McCain for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, Romney has tried to position himself to the right. In fact, four years ago, he succeeded in positioning himself as one of two conservative alternatives (the other being former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee) to the Arizona Senator.

The exit poll from the Florida GOP primary on Jan. 29, 2008, when McCain narrowly beat Romney, 36 percent to 31 percent, and Huckabee came in a weak fourth, showed Romney rallying Republican conservatives who could not accept McCain.

In that contest, Romney won primary voters who thought abortion should be illegal, while McCain won those who thought it should be legal. Romney won weekly church attendees, while McCain won those who went occasionally or never. Romney won those satisfied with or enthusiastic about President George W. Bush, while McCain won those dissatisfied or angry.

But don't stop there. Romney won voters who wanted to deport illegal immigrants, while McCain won those who favored temporary worker status or even a path to citizenship. Romney won conservatives, while McCain won moderates and liberals. Romney and Huckabee tied to win white evangelicals, while McCain won nonevangelicals.

This cycle, Romney has run right again, to establish his conservative credentials, but he has not been successful. Instead, each and every week, he has performed best among the same voters who chose McCain over him four years ago - and he has done least well among those demographic groups that supported him in 2008.

Romney's great problem in the GOP race, as pretty much everyone has already observed, is that conservatives don't really believe that he is one of them.

Despite all his conservative rhetoric - on taxes, government spending, traditional marriage, immigration, abortion and health care - conservatives aren't buying it. They believe that Romney is simply pandering to them because he knows that is what he needs to do to lock up the Republican nomination.

Whether it is his multiple positions over the years on abortion, his support for an individual mandate in Massachusetts, his Mormon faith or simply his profile as a wealthy, impeccably dressed businessman, the most conservative Republican voters (many of whom are evangelicals) don't believe that he is a passionate conservative who is ready to take on the political establishment.

What's interesting about Romney and his supporters is that, despite his conservative rhetoric, moderates and country club conservatives continue to support his candidacy.

Clearly, establishment Republicans also don't believe Romney when he talks about his views and his agenda. If they did, they probably would feel about him the same way they feel about Santorum or Bachmann.

Romney's great asset is that these voters figure he is merely pandering to evangelicals and the most conservative element of the GOP when he talks about cultural issues, immigration and taxes.

The bottom line, of course, is that nobody - not his critics and not his allies - really believes Mitt Romney.

Is Romney such a mass of contradictions that voters can look at him and project their positions on him, allowing them to support him? Or is his credibility so shot that too many voters will simply conclude that they can't trust him, making it impossible for them to support him?

Roll Call Stuart Rothenberg

With Romney only getting 41% of the Republican vote so far - having to buy it with unprecedented attack ads - still unable to rally the base - record low turn outs. It is becomming increasingly clear that Romney is a bad choice for the Republican Party and they're not buying it. He may win the nomination but is he the best choice to beat Obama? Santorum runs his campaign on a shoe string budget yet pulls off wins and close second in primaries across the country. Romney won't have his media blitzkrieg advantage in the general election either.


Nope, second term coming for FDR 2.0


I don't think this is that big of a concern. No candidate wants to peak too early or alienate voters along the way. Romeny isn't Reagan, but he's smart to keep his powder dry for a general election.

Primaries are great fun - especially for purists - but primaries don't elect presidents. And if you misues the primary to thwart your ability to run well in the general, you've cut your nose off to spite your face.

I don't think there is a concern about the "base". The so-called Tea Party made it clear throughout the primaries that they wouldn't make the perfect the enemy of the good, and while Romney isn't the inspired choice, I don't think they will sit at home in 2012.

I think this is especially true given the performance of President Obama lately. Far from being a conciliator, he is doubling down on division and "us against them" demagoguery. In one sense, Romney doesn't have to make the hard sell to the base for himself - Obama will be doing that for him, if he keeps up the demagoguery.


Yep, I have pretty much resigned my self to this fact. I think he could be caught red handed sodomizing a goat the the constitution itself and still win. No GOP candidates have that WOW factor and to win, they need it.


With gasloine heading over $4 a gallon and the conomy not where it should be anything can happen stay upbeat!


Gasoline has dropped well below $4 where I am. The economy is in poor shape mostly because Republicans have fought Obama tooth and nail on every issue, especially employment. Obama's stimulus passed without a single Republican vote. It wasn't enough to pull the economy out of the recession, but enough to create or preserve 2 - 3 million jobs and begin a slow recovery. Obama completed the bailout of the auto industry which got the companies back and returned thousands of workers. One of Romney's worst gaffes was to look the auto workers in the eye and tell them he opposed the bailout that revived their jobs.

Obama has already started a campaign extolling the achievements of his administration. Romney has few positives to offer and resorted to attacking his opponents. The polls has shown Obama well ahead of Romney for the past several months. If the economy really tanks, then Romney may have a chance, but otherwise forget it.


Curious do you think with Romney or a Republican president in general, that they can affect the price of gas in a major way?


Well they could bomb Iran. that would send petrol up to European levels pretty quickly. That would be affecting it


This is hilarious


You ask because that is the liberal media convincing all the sheep that the President has nothing to do with gas prices. They're running interference for him and doing a good job.

When GW Bush was President during his entire time in office the press blamed him whenever gas prices had risen. DAILY! It was the lead story on every one of the main stream liberal networks and front page on every one of the liberal biased rags.

Now that Obama is President we have a new way to look at things. The President can't be expected to be responsible for gas prices the biased liberal media claims. NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and the rest of the liberal media barely mention gas prices. And when they do mention the topic they're sure not to blame Obama.

Funny how that works huh?

There are things that a President can do to bring down gas prices. One thing is to drill on federal land which Obama has refused to do. The more supply that we can generate the lower the price of gas.

But either the President is responsible for gas prices or he isn't. Right?

As soon as Obama is out of office and there is a republican President gas prices will once again be the President's responsibility.


LOL...you are funny stick around.


Let us say that it should turn out that this economy is not recovering and let us say that this would be become apparent in the next few years.

Would that be enough to convince you that a "stimulus" program does not work?

If not, what would?


Romney cannot out promote obama. And with the 'Oh he just talks so nice, I am going to vote for him.' crowd, Romney isn't going to impress. Romney is right on the issues, but people don't vote on the issues. $4 gas? it's Bush's fault. Unemployment and economy still in the shitter? "Well it takes a long time to fix what Bush did."
Hell, comedians don't even make fun of him.
Romney's got no punch, and the people who are going to decide this election are busy exercising their right on American Idol.
Yeah, I am a pessimist... I see it like 2004 in reverse. Romney is the republican Kerry.


The fact that the stimulus is an utter failure has just gone right past you, huh? It would have been far more effective to do nothing.
You want to know why we're still in a recession? Because you cannot spend your way out of a recession.
Keynesian economics is based on fanacy. It's assumes you have saved about 1/3 you GDP so that you can reinvest it in hard times. A proper Keynesian methodology would have required 3 times the value of the stimulus. You cannot borrow the money, you have to have had it. This idiot added 25% to the damn debt in less than 2 years. That's not dumb, that's epicly dumb.
It didn't preserve 3 million jobs, it gave 3 million people a pay check for 6 months. It also prevented businesses from adjusting and correcting business plans because the way to get stimulus is to be a failure, or promote plans that may not work, but get you a hand out.
The stimulus did more to prevent recovery than help it.
Hell, right near me, they threw up an ARRA sign on a road work that had already bee going for 3 years. That didn't create shit. Giving money to Planned Parenthood so they can kill more children doesn't stimulate the economy. Hell, the most rudimentary economy student knows that infrastructure is the single worst investment you can make. It's a necessary evil, but their is no return on money. The circulation stops, and economy is all about circulation.

3 million jobs, that makes me laugh. Especially since the unemployment rate didn't slow down one bit because of the stimulus. You cannot reasonably argue it would have been worse, since there is no factual evidence to back that up.
Tell me, what were these 3 million jobs? Bet you can't.
There is a full proof way to know the stimulus failed, the economy still sucks. You don't need to be a genius to figure that out.
Communism has been tried, it failed everywhere.


You may be spot on with that. But then again, unforseen things can happen in an election. Once Romney actually wins the nomination and Rick Santorum looks in the mirror one day and says "what the hell am I doing?" and proceeds to act like a republican we will get a better read based on polling of exactly where Romney has to be. I am not saying he's going to have it easy. I am the one that's been saying that the liberal media will make sure Obama wins. But as Iv'e said, things do happen. And if for example gas prices hit a ridiculous high of say $5.00 or even $6.00 a gallon, and unemployment starts to rise again Obama, even with the media in his pocket, would have a difficult time winning reelection.

So, what I'm talking about here is hope and change.

I hope things get worse so that we get a change in the White House.

But I do know that the odds are stacked against that happening.