This cartoon by the Washington Examiner really brings to light the attitude circulating through Washington DC right now as we seem to have our priorities a little misplaced.
Something has been really weird about this GOP primary season. It’s easy to understand why the Republican Establishment has supported Mitt Romney from the start based upon their support of previous moderates like John McCain and Bob Dole. What hasn’t been as clear is why the Obama campaign team has been working on helping Romney get the nomination through their actions (or lack of actions in many cases).
Conventional wisdom would say that it would serve the Obama campaign to prolong the GOP primary season for as long as possible, allowing the candidates to soften up each other through attacks and drain the money that will eventually be pointed at Obama. The fact that they have not started to attack frontrunner Romney in full force in hopes of casting doubts on his abilities and extending the race has been viewed as a mistake by many analysts.
It has not been a mistake. They simply noticed something that the Republican Establishment, mainstream media, and GOP voters hadn’t: Rick Santorum is more popular than Romney in swing states.
Despite public perception, the winner of the presidential election is determined by a relatively-small number of states. Fourteen states are solidly Democrat and have voted such in nearly every election since 1988. Nineteen states are solidly Republican, with Indiana being the only one that Obama was able to pull in 2008. The other 17 states are up for grabs.
Among those are Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, and Minnesota. Assuming that Santorum wins Ohio and Pennsylvania, these are states that Obama won in 2008 that would more likely swing to Santorum (Pennsylvania is guaranteed) than they would to Romney. Romney brings New Mexico, Nevada, and Michigan.
Romney’s victory in Florida is the toss up, but Marco Rubio as the Vice President for either candidate will help win that state regardless of whether it’s Romney or Santorum. If anything, Romney might make the mistake of bringing on a more conservative VP, giving Florida to the Democrats again.
If Santorum wins the Republican states and pulls the five above plus Florida, he would only need to win the right-leaning Indiana (which Obama won in 2008) OR one of the three other swing states that George W. Bush won in 2004 (Virginia, North Carolina, or Nevada) to defeat Obama in November. Romney’s road to the White House would require more unlikely victories to become a reality.
In that scenario for Santorum, it would very likely be another case as with George W. Bush where he would receive fewer votes overall but would win the right states to take the presidency.
Mathematically speaking, Santorum is the tougher candidate against Obama. The Republican Establishment has failed once again at basic math.
It’s an antiquated system designed before the internet and with the intention of allowing voters and delegates to see their nominees in person. It harkens to a day when trains crossed from sea to sea with candidates waving at people who were lining up just for a glimpse. Those days are behind us. The system should be as well.
The grind of the nomination process (and the state-based election system altogether) no longer make sense. Currently, Rick Santorum leads all GOP nominees in national polls, but most of those voters will not have a voice. If Michigan goes to Romney, this race has 10 days left. For people living in states who have primaries after Super Tuesday on March 6th, your votes won’t make a difference.
A win for Romney will give him the momentum he needs to wrap up the nomination. The fight will continue for a long time, possibly up to the convention, but everyone other than the hardcore supporters of each remaining candidate will lose interest.
How can someone better-represent a party’s choice but not have a chance of reaching the majority of the voters? Why is a vote in Michigan more powerful than a vote in Utah, a state that has more delegates but who has very little chance to make an impact with their primary in late June?
According to the most recent USA Today poll, Santorum is ahead of President Obama head-to-head by 3% while Romney is tied with the President. As you can see in the graphic above, Santorum also beats Romney in a nationwide poll. The fact that we still have this ludicrous system is asinine.
We have television. We have the internet. We have ways to see each candidate and have them speak to the people in each state. The primary system should be consolidated to one that makes more sense in the digital age. Standard conservative thinking is to allow the states to do what they feel like doing to select delegates, but for once we’re deviating from the norm. Regardless of who wins today, the fact that voters in Michigan are more empowered than voters in other states is absolute proof of a broken system.
When it rains, it pours for the Romney campaign.
Paul Babeu, a local Arizona sheriff who was co-chair of Mitt Romney’s Arizona campaign team, has stepped down after accusations surfaced that he threatened deportation of a former male lover if he discussed the relationship.
The lover identified as “Jose” was allegedly asked by Babeu’s lawyer to stay silent about the relationship with the sheriff.
“All of these allegations that were in one of these newspapers were absolutely false, except for the issue that referred to me as being gay, and that is the truth. I am gay,” Babeu said at the news conference.
After receiving the threats, “Jose” went to Melissa Weiss-Riner, attorney, for counsel.
“Jose came to our firm because he felt he was being intimidated, and he was in fear for his life,” Weiss-Riner says. “He wanted his legal rights protected.”
Arizona is a key state for Romney with his hopes of winning in his native state of Michigan fading. He needs to win either state on March 28th to build momentum going into Super Tuesday 8 days later.
It has been a whirlwind of a primary season as five candidates have held the top spot in national polling amongst likely Republican voters over the last several months. The only constant has been that Mitt Romney has never fallen below #2 and has fought of Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich through their surges.
He was recently eclipsed by Rick Santorum. This time, Romney will not be able to bash his way out of second place thanks to a perfectly-timed defection of a certain Ohio Attorney General.
Mike DeWine has been a Romney supporter for a while now, but today’s announcement did more than just represent a defection away from Romney and into Santorum’s camp. It highlighted the tactic that Romney has used throughout the campaign when threatened: attacks on the front-runner of the day.
It worked with Rick Perry (aided by poor debate performances) and would have worked on Herman Cain had his past not come back to haunt him (which many speculate Romney’s team had a hand in anyway). It destroyed Gingrich after his stunning victory in South Carolina with Romney’s team outspending the field 6-to-1 in Florida, most of which was spent taking down Gingrich.
Thanks to DeWine, Romney’s despicable methods will be called into question when he tries to do the same to Santorum.
“To be elected president, you have to do more than tear down your opponents,” DeWine said. “You have to give the American people a reason to vote for you, a reason to hope, a reason to believe that under your leadership, America will be better. Rick Santorum has done that. Sadly, Governor Romney has not.”
Every time Romney or his SuperPAC attempt to destroy their opponents, they’re adding fuel to the fire that Obama and his team are already counting on for victory. Whether it’s Santorum, Romney, Paul, or Gingrich, the eventual GOP candidate will be limping into a fight against an extremely formidable opponent. The Romney attack machine needs to be called out every time it fires up. DeWine’s comments and defection will further highlight this need.
What was the biggest difference between Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush? Why did Bill Clinton pulverize Bob Dole despite having personal moral challenges in his way after his first term? How did a relative newcomer to the political stage beat a the solid track record of John McCain?
The answer to all three questions is the same. One inspired people. The other did not.
Reagan, Clinton, and Obama all had the ability to make people weep. They could move a room, get people excited, and make their opponents’ blood boil. Bush, Dole, and McCain were uninspiring, but even they got more of a rise out of people than Mitt Romney.
There’s a reason why Romney abandoned his early campaign strategy of playing like a winner and attacking Obama. It wasn’t working. The soundbites were weak and the passion seemed insincere. When it became apparent that he wasn’t gaining support, he turned to the one asset that gives him a clear edge – attack funds.
With cash in hand, Romney switched gears after the South Carolina debates and outspent the field six-fold with attack ads aimed at the previous primary winner in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich. Now, the money is shifting towards Rick Santorum after his recent victories.
Romney’s inability to gain passionate supporters who desperately want him to win is the reason that he would not be able to defeat Obama. He may end up being the choice by default if Gingrich and Santorum continue to split the conservative vote and Ron Paul is unable to advance beyond his frenzied but small base. A lukewarm choice in the primaries means a loss in November.
The Republican Establishment has made another mistake in their anointment of Romney. They saw him as the safe bet, the one who could most-likely pull moderate votes. In their eyes, Gingrich is a wild card, Santorum is too conservative to pull moderates, and Paul is insane. The reality is that any of the three would have a better shot against Obama because they have the one attribute that is absolutely required for victory. They have flavor.
Romney is vanilla. That’s not to say he’s boring. He requires a topping to taste better, and therein lies his weakness. The toppings seem to change depending on who he wants to be on a particular day. In 1994, he said he wasn’t trying to return to Reagan/Bush. Now, he’s claiming to be a Reagan conservative.
Money is the only thing he has in his arsenal. It’s the only reason he took down Gingrich in Florida and it’s the only thing that can slow down Santorum’s momentum. Unfortunately for the Republican Party, it has a good chance of working during the primaries but it won’t be enough to help him in November if he gets the nomination. Obama would use the money against him and defeat him worse than he defeated McCain.
The video below shows the most passion that can come from the man. It’s clear that he felt very strongly back then about not wanting to be associated with conservatism.
Bold statements and lofty promises are best made during campaigns and at the beginning of a second Presidential term. In the beginning of a first term in those first few months after taking office, the statements and pledges must be achievable.
As the Barack Obama rolls out his election-year budget, it’s clear that the national debt will be $1 trillion higher in a decade than forecast. This is a stark contrast to what he said a month into his term as President:
The answer gets better and better the more he practices it.
Mitt Romney, stuck explaining away why he has money “stashed away” in the Cayman Islands, has a very strong answer for his critics. It’s a well-rehearsed response but no matter what he says about it, chances are it will continue to follow him around until he’s out of the running.
The answer is a good one. It makes sense. The only problem with it (and the question that nobody is posing) regards the sincerity of his intentions. Putting his money in a blind trust is smart, but even blind trusts can be established in ways that are guided by ideological principals worthy of the most powerful person in the world. What he should have done when setting it up is set running orders to keep the investments as clean, transparent, and American as possible.
At a certain point, riches become simple numbers. The difference in lifestyle between $100 million and $300 million is minimal. Someone with political ambitions are expected to be more American, more patriotic than their peers. Romney’s lack of a filter on his blind trust shows his allegiance to money was stronger than his allegiance to his country.
Here’s the video via Buzzfeed.
Further Proof that the Republican Establishment is Stupid: Romney Can’t Win in an #OccupyAmerica Atmosphere
It’s been made very clear that the Republican Establishment does not want Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, or Rick Santorum to win. They do not believe that any of them have a chance of winning against President Obama in November and have decided to back Mitt Romney as the moderate choice in hopes of not blowing another election.
Wins tonight for Santorum haven’t changed that. You can see already hear the media downplaying these wins as “beauty contests” and “glorified straw polls”. The same media said the Iowa caucus was a big win for Romney, then changed tunes once Santorum was declared the winner, dubbing the Iowa caucus as an afterthought. The reason: the Republican Establishment doesn’t want someone like Santorum going into November.
Their choices have been failing for decades. The same thinking put John McCain up against Obama 4 years ago. It put George W. Bush in office for 8 years because of weak opponents rather than because of strong leadership (Al Gore would have won had he taken a shot in 2004 instead of John Kerry – he peaked too late to win 2000).
The Republican Establishment put Bob Dole up against Bill Clinton in 1996. George H.W. Bush was not their choice but they didn’t have a choice in the matter. In 1980, Ronald Reagan was not their choice and is arguably the last effective Republican President despite going against what the Republican Establishment believed.
Who are these people? Are they really so against their own party that they are willing to push their hand-picked candidate into a position of failure every 4 years?
Mitt Romney has two major problems as a candidate. He has proven to be a shrewd business person. 20 years ago, even a decade ago, this was a good quality. In today’s atmosphere, it would be easier to get a Washington insider elected than a Wall Street insider, which is exactly how people view Romney.
His taxes aren’t helping, raising new questions about his use of offshore tax shelters.
Moderates have always had a hard time winning. George W. Bush was the exception, but for a reason. In 2000, he sounded like a true conservative. On foreign affairs, he was. Had there not been a war on terror, his failed, moderate fiscal policies would have tanked his chances of re-election. John Kerry was too weak and the American people were too scared to make a change.
Today, they’re not too scared to make a change, but they will not change to someone who is perceived to be on the wrong side. Barack Obama is a “roll up your sleeves” kind of President and while his policies have not yielded as much fruit as most expected, the people would rather give him the opportunity to continue in his direction rather than hand the country over to someone they simply cannot trust.
People on both extreme sides of the fence are fighting with Obama. The Tea Party hates his policies. The Occupy Movement doesn’t believe he’s liberal enough. For all of the negatives that have hit the country the last 12 years, the moderates are still going to choose to stay the course with Obama in November if the other choice is Romney.
The Republican Establishment has been wrong about candidates for decades, but they’ve never been this wrong. Any of the other 3 GOP candidates would have a better shot against Obama in November than Romney. What the other 3 candidates failed to capitalize on is the very thing that Obama’s team will highlight over and over (and over) again, that Romney is in an elite class and has no connection with the majority of America on any level.
We haven’t heard it much during the campaigns by the GOP, but Obama will hammer one thing into people: Mitt Romney can casually offer to bet what equates to 3-months wages for the average American. $10,000. It’s chump change to Mitt Romney, making Romney the chump in the #OccupyAmerica atmosphere that we’re in. It doesn’t ring well for conservatives, liberals hate it, and moderates will be turned off completely by it.
If nominated, that one moment will be enough to put Obama in the White House until 2016.
The future of the country is at stake and right now, going into Tuesday’s Florida Primary, our fate is tied into one specific group of people: Rick Santorum supporters. Mitt Romney appears poised to take Florida and go into February with likely sweeps of all states that month. The election is made or broken on Tuesday.
Rick Santorum, as strong as he is, cannot win. His ideas are stout. His supporters are tenacious. He has a place as either the Vice President or the Secretary of State if he cancels his candidacy and supports Newt Gingrich in time.
That time is now.
A Mitt Romney candidacy is tantamount to an Obama second-term. Santorum supporters must vote for Newt Gingrich on Tuesday. It is not the time for a “statement” vote. It’s time to make a vote that counts. We support Rick Santorum, but Newt Gingrich is the next-best choice and the only one who has a chance of stopping Mitt Romney and the Republican Establishment from blowing another election by putting up a Dole/McCain moderate as our champion.