Sunday, March 4, 2012

Can Romney Win?

Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," former Romney campaign manager, Mike Murphy sounded annoyed that Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich had not already quit the race. His notion is consistent with Eastern establishment Republicans.

There seems to be a universal point of view that "by prolonging the primary, those unable to see the "Romney light" are alienating Independents." Is this practical? Is this presumptuous? Could it even hold a taint of arrogance?

Mitt Romney's campaign has boasted the best organization, most money and all that accompany a five-year march toward the White House. In the early stages of the campaign, Mitt was mostly focused on Barack Obama. Then, as the challengers came forth he turned to his mega-pac to systematically destroy them with waves of often stinted, negative advertising.

Perhaps these opponents got what they deserved! After all, common sense would have dictated that Romney was the logical candidate. It was, in fact, "his turn" to be the nominee. He had resources, name recognition and the blessing of Wall Street and the Eastern bankers. A presumptive appeal to Independents made him the "most electable" option.

Somehow the party brass forgot that the nation doesn't end at the 40th parallel. Or, on the eastern shores of Lake Erie! They also failed to remember that the country is increasingly diverse. To gain White House entry, Republicans must capture a fair representation of Women, Hispanics, Millinials and "blue collar" Democrats.

There is evidence that the former Massachusetts Governor is gaining traction in the Jewish community. Sunday, House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor endorsed Romney. This is good. Jewish Americans represent 2% of the country. A 50% showing would be a first for Republicans! Considering Barack Obama's coolness toward Isreal, it should be higher!

The bad news is a much larger block of voters, the Southern Baptist Convention isn't sold. Influential SBC leader, Dr. Richard Land compares Romney's Mormanism to Islam. Land likens the book of Morman to the Koran. He considers Mormans "non-Christians." This is bad!

Romney "e-verify" proposal may look good at first glance. But the "holes" are beginning to surface. "E-verify" would promote growth of a "shadow economy." In the end, it will cost the Republicans Hispanic votes.

Are young people open to a change? Under thirties voted two-to-one for Obama in 2008. They are restive. Unemployment coupled with huge student loan repayments outweigh the benefit of remaining on their parents health insurance plan until age 26. These "millinials" have flocked to Ron Paul. That enthusiasm isn't party based. Many if not most are Independents. It doesn't translate to support for Governor Romney; unless Paul is his running mate.

What about women? Over the past months Mitt Romney has out performed Newt Gingrich heavily and Rick Santorum to a lesser extent with females. Romney insiders are confident that they will come his way. The message of "private sector experience" and how to fix the economy are his fortes. But Democrats are claiming credit for marginal improvement in the economy. Will Mitt's message of "fixing" the ecomony be as effective with an unemployment rate of 8% versus 9%?

Rick Santorum has been labeled a "fake" by Ron Paul due to his consistent votes against Right to Work. Romney has seconded that motion in statements that ridiculed the former Pennsylvania Senator's "pro-union" positions. This may win delegates for Romney. But what about swing state voters in the general election? Odds are Santorum would perform better against Barack Obama in Pennsylvania and Ohio than Romney. Primary liabilities would become general election assets for the former Pennsylvania Senator. Eastern "brain trusts" seem to have overlooked this!

There are questions regarding "how well" Romney can perform in the South. Establishment concludes that Obama will face difficult terrain, irregardless of the opponent. That too may be slightly presumptuous. Many Evangelicals are registered Democrats. True, it will be difficult for Obama to win Alabama and Mississippi. But in the close states such as North Carolina and Florida, Christian voters may be the difference. A low Evangelical turnout in Texas coupled with a poor Latino showing(Texas is 42% Hispanic) could spell disaster for the GOP!

Amazingly, Easterners such as Mike Murphy don't see this. Could that view be an America that ends at the 40th parallel and at the shores of Lake Erie? No, their thinking couldn't be that confined!

These "Republicans" are hedging their bets. Many are even contributing to both the Romney and Obama campaigns. After all, Romney's historical beliefs (not his current rhetoric) are more closely aligned to Obama's than to Santorum's, Gingrich's or certainly Paul's! My question is, "why are these "Republicans" leading the party?" Ability to "manipulate the process" might have something to do with it!

Eric Cantor is easier to understand. There will always be a kindred spirit with "religious minories" as Cantor confessed to NBC's David Gregory. Romney will do better with Jewish voters than any of the other candidates. Why any Jewish voter would opt for Barack Obama is puzzling in itself!

Unfortunately the nomination process is just that: a process. Romney's people know the game. It's about delegates. Even if they come from "blue" states the party can't win, they count. The magic number is 1144. Getting there, by hook or crook, utilizing any combination or method, is all that matters!

General election math is cloudy. Romney would win New Hampshire. He might win Maine. In Virginia he has solid backing from Governor Bob McDonald, as well as Cantor. The added Jewish vote helps in Florida. I-4 corridor Independents aren't engaging Obama. Strong endorsements from Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio might be enough! Could he duplicate the winning 2004 delegate map?

Establishment Republicans think that he can. "Have they misjudged the landscape?" Or, do they even care?

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