Saturday, December 10, 2011


There has been a lot of talk in both the media and the republican establishment about Mitt Romney being the only truly electable GOP candidate.  It is common opinion amongst the pundits that Romney is the best person to go up against President Obama and win and polling seems to support this theory.  The problem is, many conservative voters just aren't buying what they are selling.  His inability to garner more than twenty-five percent support, spun in the press as consistent front-runner status, was more about the other seventy-five percent looking for someone else.  He ran in 2008; we know who he is and what he's done and we see some major problems with his candidacy.  The pundits are happy to write it off as tea partiers being too stupid to know what's good for them, but when you look at the facts, their spin just doesn't add up.

As a little reminder, these are the same group of people who sold us Sen. John McCain as the only reasonable, electable, moderate candidate, blah, blah, blah.  The problem isn't that the Tea Party is too conservative.  The problem is that the country has been dragged so far to the left by the rise of Obama, Pelosi and their radical progressive ilk that anything not progressive or borderline socialist seems excessively conservative by comparison.  Let's not forget, too, that Romney's electability is a bit of a myth in that the man has run for senate, governor and president in the past with only one resulting win, his single term of office as Governor of Massachusetts.  If being 1-3 is a winning record, then my Eagles aren't doing nearly as bad as I thought!
That aside, there are four main reasons why Tea Party conservatives tend to want anyone but Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee:

1) Romneycare.  This is a no brainer, and the biggest hurdle he faces.  Romneycare knocks out one of the biggest political bones of contention - Obamacare - thus neutralizing that line of attack.  Mitt can talk about the difference between state mandates and federal mandates until he's blue in the face, but for many in the electorate, a mandate is a mandate.  If he felt able to mandate once before, who's to say he won't mandate again?  After all, even Obama himself on the campaign trail in 2008 reassured Americans that he would not sign any bill that had an individual mandate.

2) Job Growth.  I won't call it 'job creation' because, as we all know, government doesn't create private sector jobs, it only creates the environment for job creation.  Anyhoo.  Romney's record on job growth in his years as Governor of Massachussetts is pretty dismal.  Forty-seventh out of fifty isn't very good, no matter how you slice it.  In addition, the state's unemployment ranking went from twenty-ninth to seventeenth after three years of Romney's stewardship.  Considering jobs are second only to the economy at large for voters, this record can hardly be seen as a recommendation.

3) Bain Capital.  Obama and his DNC operatives have been working overtime on ginning up some good old-fashioned class warfare, and a Romney candidacy  might be at the heart of it.  This picture sure doesn't help.  It will be easy for Obama and democrats to tie Romney in with the Wall Street crowd.  Plus, Bain was all about buying failing companies and dismantling them - thus putting lots of people out of work.  Bain + Romney = Rethuglican Meaniehead.

4) The Cool Factor.  President Obama and Mitt Romney have something other than Obamneycare in common - their cool quotient.  And I don't mean 'cool' like James Dean Cool (sorry, Obots).  I mean cool like cold fish, unapproachable, chilly.  The reason conservatives haven't warmed up to Romney is because he's just not, well...warm.  Herman Cain made it to the top tier, even with his abysmal foreign policy chops, because he's a genuine, likeable guy.  He is also someone who sees life the way a majority of Americans do; not from a lifetime of privilege and politics, but as someone who worked his way to prosperity against the odds.  His enthusiasm for and love of country was also a winning combination for patriotic Americans tired of being told to be ashamed of their country.

The American people have been through a lot over the past ten years or so.  When Barack Obama was elected into office, we thought we were getting a charismatic, empathetic young dreamer who wanted to unite this country and move it forward into the new century.  Instead we got an arrogant man whose ideology is a throwback to 1933; someone who has spent most of his term of office attempting to gin up disagreements between various and sundry factions in America. 

Right now, most of us just want someone to tell us it's going to be okay, that the future will bring a return to the heights we once enjoyed; that we will some day be the shining city on the hill once more.  Instead we get an absentee president who is too busy vacationing, fundraising or trash talking us to spend any time on the myriad crises we face here at home - one of which is a crisis of confidence.  It is this crisis that many Americans have a hard time seeing Mitt Romney ease.  His aloofness and untouchable, Candidate Ken™-like quality is off-putting.   He will be easily depicted as an elite, upper crust persona, reinforcing the idea of a ruling class and an inability to empathize with average Americans.   Obama, on the other hand, the beneficent redistributer of all things welfare, will be painted as the saint of the working class in contrast by his lapdog press.

The complicit media is certainly doing their part to steer the masses towards Romney, and it's not hard to see why.  Ultimately, people aren't warming up to Mitt and probably won't. It will once again be an election where people hold their noses and vote for the lesser evil. The saving grace in the general election is the enormous enthusiasm gap between conservatives and liberals, but having to rely heavily on the electorate's dislike of Obama instead of enthusiasm for their candidate to turn out voters is a risky chance against an opponent who is as well funded and organized as the president. 

The 2012 election isn't going to be just about getting rid of Obama (although that alone would do an awful lot to restore confidence), it's also about what his successor will do when he/she take office.  If we have learned anything from the election of Barack Obama it is that a) we need to thoroughly vet candidates and b) we need more than 'hope and change' as a platform.  For many independents, there won't a lot of daylight between Obama and Romney.  Quite often, when you put people in a position where they must choose either the devil they know or the devil they don't, they will either vote for the status quo or abstain altogether.

There's a good chance that whoever the republicans nominate will win over President Obama.  After all, the man has ushered in an age of food stamps, persistently high unemployment, over-regulation and out-of-control spending.  Even the worst RINO would be hard pressed to match his record.  But the American people are tired of choosing the lesser of two evils.  We want someone who will give us a different choice, and Romney just doesn't seem to be the guy for that.  

Let's face it.  If Romney wins the nomination, tea partiers will vote for him.  To stay home would be to give their vote to Obama, and that is something no self-respecting tea partier will  do.  But nominating Romney will keep the GOP on the ropes in the general election by taking away all the major points of attack. It's bad strategy, pure and simple.  Independents who haven't been paying attention are an unknown quantity and the target of persuasion in a general election, so a strong case based on the issues must be made against Obama to combat the mud, smoke and mirrors sure to be on the offing from the DNC. 

There is far too much riding on the outcome of the 2012 elections to allow a Romney nomination to take such vital weapons out of the quiver.

UPDATE:  ABC's Jake Tapper has three reasons why Mitt Romney shouldn't be the conservative frontrunner.



Anonymous,  December 29, 2011 at 1:14 PM  

I would love to see a truly conservative candidate mop the floor with the other two parties. Unfortunately, that is too high a mental hurdle for many voters—the "it can't happen here" syndrome. It must be a far-left candidate, or a RINO. Some choice.

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