Skip to comments.David Frum: Can Mitt Romney be president? The outlook is sunny. But he faces rough seas ahead
Posted on 11/10/2010 5:18:48 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
Tea Party, Shmea Party. Post-election surveys suggest that Mitt Romney still leads as the favored Republican presidential candidate for 2012.
His lead looks especially big in New Hampshire: Almost 30 points.
Does this big lead translate into a smooth ride to the nomination?
That depends on whether Romney's campaign follows the path of George W. Bush's in 2000 or Hillary Clinton's in 2008.
Here's the happy scenario for Romney: Like Bush in 2000, Romney is the Republican heir apparent in 2012. Like Bush, Romney has the backing of the party's biggest donors. Like Bush, Romney has national campaign experience. Like Bush, Romney faces opponents who can be dismissed as either obscure (Pawlenty, Daniels) or extreme (Palin, Gingrich.)
Finally, like Bush, Romney faces one early bump on the way to the nomination (Romney polls badly in Iowa, just as Bush did in New Hampshire) but otherwise seems the most popular candidate in most of the early voting states.
So: Smooth sailing?
Maybe not. Everything that can be said of Romney and Bush could have been said of Hillary Clinton. Heir apparent? Check. Support of biggest donors? Check. National-campaign experience? Check. Opponents obscure (Barack Obama) or extreme (John Edwards)? Few visible roadblocks ahead?
Check, check, and check.
Even if Hillary Clinton had every advantage, her campaign was ultimately sunk by two holes beneath the water line: Her vote for the Iraq war and the perception of her husband's administration as too conservative on economic issues.
These two issues damaged Clinton with the most intense party activists and it was these activists who dominated the caucus states that gave Barack Obama his margin of victory.
Now look again at Romney. The sort of person who writes a big check to the GOP every cycle may see in Romney a competent CEO for the United States. But to the people who will spend hours in an Iowa caucus room, Romney also has two holes below his water line: TARP and healthcare reform.
Hillary Clinton hesitated for months, then belatedly repudiated her Iraq vote in hope of mollifying party activists. Romney has worked harder and faster to placate his internal critics by drawing distinctions between his health reform in Massachusetts and the plan enacted in Washington and vehemently opposing the latter. At most, we can say the verdict of the Republican base is pending.
How will we know if Romney is Bush or Clinton?
If Romney pulls far ahead in his fundraising if the more conservative Republicans continue to divide between Palin, Gingrich and others and if he locks up endorsements early, then 2000 is repeating itself and he's the next Bush.
But if those things do not happen, then Romney faces a grim outlook.
The people who support him are the same people who regard Sarah Palin as utterly unacceptable, both as a candidate and as a president. If Romney does not win early, fear of Palin will send them hunting fast for another alternative. There's a long list available of such alternatives and there's one name that does not get mentioned nearly often enough: Jeb Bush.
Yes, Bush says he's not running.
But if it's January 2012 and if Romney has finished fourth in Iowa and is plunging in national polls, Republican governors, members of Congress and donors will be asking the question: Who can put together a national organization and raise tens of millions of dollars in six weeks flat? And that's a question that points back to the mightiest fund-raising dynasty in the Grand Old Party.
No and no to Gingrinch too.
Romney is a tough campaigner(not an endoresment!) but has always been a gentleman. He will fight hard agaisnt Palin but it wont fly. He is toast. Palin needs to watch the huckster cult...they are capable of going anything.
Romney : Frum’s wet dream. No chance, no way.
Hope not! These are different times (Tea Party Times) and Romney just will not do! Not sure who will arrive this election season, but almost everybody would be better.
Romney - you made your bed with Health Care and you are going to have to live with it...
It will be very hard to be elected without the support of the Republican base, which includes the Tea Party to a certain extent.
They won't vote for liberals like Myth Romney, so no. Not 'smooth sailing'.
If the Democrats support him — rather than their own nominee — then I suppose he might have a shot. But he’s not getting in with Republican votes. He won’t have nearly enough of those.
The knifemarks in Palin's back claim otherwise.
Frum says Romney, eh?.
Hillary could pull this off, if it was true.
I looked to see if he has made any statements on QE2 and didn’t find anything. Why if he is so brilliant on finance has he been so silent on Bernanke?
Wow. Frum, a liberal democrat, endorses Romney. Good news for Mitt.
I’m very against RINO Romney. Give me someone with courage and conviction, like Sarah.
Do we want another George Bush Sr. (Romney) or another Ronald Reagan (Sarah Palin)?
No more Bushes or Bush surrogates, thank you very much. Give us more Reagan, much more Reagan.
If he does an Arlan and runs with Hillary as his VP he has about a 15% chance of winning.
David Frum serves a useful purpose — because whomever he picks as the candidate to oppose Barry-O is precisely whom we want to AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE.
The lamestream media serve the same purpose as Frum serves.
Uhhh ... what national campaign experience did George W. Bush have in 2000?
Exactly. We’ve endured our Carter, now bring on the Reagan.
No reason to read the rest of the article after reading those four words......
Just another lamestream idiot who doesn't get it.......
“...Romney is the Republican heir apparent in 2012.”
(I am the leader of the Tea Party.)