Friday, May 27, 2011

No Romney!

Establishment Republicans must be smiling!

After carefully, deliberately testing the water, it appears that Governor Romney is finally going to drop the other shoe in New Hampshire next week. Not that anyone is surprised!

The former Massachusetts governor brings hefty creditials to the table. He has a deep private sector background. He has executive experience. He has money. He has an organization. He has name recognition. He's a clean living family man. He looks like a Television anchor man. On paper, he sounds like the perfect opponent to take on Barack Obama in 2012. What more could Republicans want?

These attributes notwithstanding, Mitt Romney is perceived by many as the "slick, rich guy." He is not someone most of America can identify with. And there are some questions. Such as, "how does a professed conservative get elected Governor in probably the most liberal state in America. True, people in Massachusetts are quick to identify problem candidates and even quicker to elect alternatives. That may have been the key to Scott Brown's upset win. William Weld won the Governor's mansion in 1991 after his Democratic opponent's corruption became known. Weld may be Romney's true reflection: fiscally conservative, socially progressive. There wasn't a dimes worth of difference between Weld and 1992 Democratic Presidential candidate, Paul Tsongas. Tsongas referred to himself as a "pro-business liberal." Could this be an accurate description of Mitt Romney?

No doubt, Romney is business friendly. Banks and Wall Street will cast their lot his way. They have seen the alternative. It is a given that Romney will pick up semi-affluent independents who voted for Obama in 2008. The real question looming is "how will he do with the party base?"

I recall talking to a Georgia Republican who declared Romney "was simply too slick for me." Does that suggest that he would vote for Obama? No. It does hint, however, that he might stay home. This would also be the case for many "Reagan Democrats." They are registered Democrat but generally vote GOP in the national elections. Exceptions abound. But many have already decided that they will not vote for Obama. So why not Romney?

A devout Evangelical friend told me that he would vote for Romney if the alternative were Obama. But he would do it "while holding his nose." This was after acknowledging that Romney was a "good moral person."

What about Latinos? Mitt scored some points with Tom Tancredo and his friends when he proclaimed that illegal aliens needed to "get in line and wait their turn." This is the position of the American majority. But how will he fare with Hispanics? Not to mention other immigrants? Does he have an alternative?

Amazingly, the Massachusetts health care law could work in his favor. Because it was a state instigated fare, it would be easy enough to say that "we need to dump what Democrats voted in because something like this can only work if initiated on the state level." There are holes in that argument for certain. Beginning with the idea of government run health care. Conservatives would be outraged. Moderates would find such a position disarming. It may be the best position altogether; if the goal if to repeal Obamacare!

Where would the votes come from? Romney's people insist they can win Michigan, Ohio and Florida. There could be some credence to that conclusion. Michigan lost a huge chunk of it's population during the recession. Much of it came from the Detroit area. Most of those departing were Democrats. Ohio's economy isn't happening. With the governer and House Speaker in his corner, it could be interesting. A large part of Florida is under employed and underwater with their mortgages. A business savvy player like Mitt Romney would be seen as their lifeboat.

Overall, it comes down to the idea that people will vote for "the lesser of two evils." Romney's strength is the economy. He at least talks tough on national defense. Some of his views are murky. Would he support Paul Ryan's budget plan? What can be done to make social security solvent? Does he favor eliminating the education department? Others, such as the need for a domestic energy policy are clearly defined. The real question would be "can he win the general election?"

Obama's game plan against Romney is highly predictable. It will be "class warfare." The "rich Romney against the people." And who who will be christened the "people's champion?" Who will be the "advocate of the little guy?" Who will be called the "friend of the common man?" You can anticipate the media bias that's coming.

People tend to look inward when pulling that voting lever. The politics of resentment can be a potent weapon. Obama has it down to a science. Romney, unfortunately has no counter.

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