Skip to comments.Peeking Out From the McCain Wreckage: Mitt Romney
Posted on 11/07/2008 6:20:56 AM PST by Leisler
Facing reporters the day after she and John McCain went down to defeat, Sarah Palin professed not to be thinking much about the next presidential election.
2012 sounds so far off, she said.
Of course, thats exactly the kind of answer that any potential presidential candidate is supposed to give now and for the next two years or so until the 2010 midterm elections signal the more formal start of the next White House campaign cycle.
And make no mistake: the race is very much underway, and it has been for some time. In fact, theres already been a poll, conducted on Election Night by pollster Neil Newhouse. It found that among Republicans, 33 percent believe Mitt Romney should be the partys new leader, with 20 percent choosing Mike Huckabee and 18 percent for Sarah Palin. (Granted, the poll wasnt actually asking who should be the 2012 G.O.P. nominee, but its good enough for now.)
Thats probably a fairly accurate representation of the Republican race at this early stage.
Romney essentially began his 2012 campaign the instant he dropped out of this years contest. Instead of pulling the plug with a subdued press conference, Romney tried to use his withdrawal to curry favor with the party base, dramatically announcing at the February Conservative Political Action Conference that he didnt want to be a part of aiding a surrender to terror by weakening John McCain any further.
Then, after months of bloodying McCain as a traitor to the conservative cause (even though Romney had defined himself in Massachusetts in opposition to the conservative wing of the G.O.P.), he abruptly threw himself into McCains effort in a transparent effort to win the No. 2 slot on the G.O.P. ticket which would have given him a significant leg up in 2012 (or 2016, had he and McCain won). But the Romney-for-VP effort fell apart because of McCains lingering distaste for Romney and his spineless opportunism and because some conservative leaders in the party whose minds were also on 2012 aroused McCains suspicions by aggressively and publicly pushing against Romneys competitors for the running-mate gig, most notably Joe Lieberman.
Still, even though he didnt get his wish, Romney has emerged from the 2008 campaign as the early 12 front-runner. He has solid support among the conservative base, though he struggled to connect with some religious conservatives because of his Mormon faith. But because of his corporate background and style, his youthful energy and his impressive communication skills, Romney has the ability to sell himself as a more mainstream (read: less threatening to moderates and independents) conservative than other candidates who pander to the Christian right. With this potential and the support and name recognition he already has in place, Romney is the clear G.O.P. leader.
That said, Romney dodged a big bullet these past few months, because his 12 preeminence was initially jeopardized when McCain chose Palin as his running-mate. Palin immediately connected with the culturally conservative heart of the Republican Party, a subset of the Republican base (which also includes more traditional economic conservatives who dont dabble in the kind of resentment politics that defines cultural conservatism). That bond was only reinforced during the fall campaign, with cultural conservatives rallying to Palins defense against what they convinced themselves was a concerted push by the liberal media to destroy her.
The threat to Romney was that Palin would expand on this intense base of support during the campaign, creating the kind of broad appeal for herself that Romney can still potentially achieve. Had she done that, she would have supplanted him as the 12 front-runner.
She got off to a solid-looking start. A week after McCain picked her, Palin delivered a mesmerizing convention address in which she showed poise, polish and humor. In the week leading up to her speech, Americans had heard Democrats tirelessly raise questions about her experience, but her command performance set their concerns at ease. Polls in the wake of the G.O.P. convention found most independent voters buying into the Republican line that Palin was being unfairly singled out for criticism. They were warming up to her and she was a clear asset for McCain.
But she couldnt keep it up. Instead, she spent the rest of the campaign systematically undoing all of the good she did for herself with that convention speech. The Sarah Palin that voters saw on the campaign trail this fall and in interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric confirmed to independent and mainstream Republican voters that Palin was in well over her head. By Election Day, she had become Tina Feys impersonation of her, and just 30 percent of voters believed she was qualified to serve as president.
Palin, therefore, emerges from this race as a tremendously polarizing figure. She retains a large and fanatical fan base among cultural conservatives one that would make her a factor in any G.O.P. primary campaign, and a contender in some states, like Iowa. But she has also alienated much of her party and most independents; it is difficult to envision her assembling a winning coalition in a 12 campaign for the G.O.P. nomination.
That leaves Romney sitting pretty (for now, anyway) and suggests that Palin might be a bigger threat to Huckabee, who dealt with the same kind of ceiling this spring that Palin now faces (virtually no appeal beyond religious and cultural conservatives). As of now, Palin and Huckabee will be scrapping over the same basic turf in 12. Obviously, this would hurt both of them and help Romney enormously.
But, as Palin said on Wednesday, 2012 is a long way off. She and Huckabee can both try to use the next few years to broaden their appeal. Huckabee has been hosting a late night variety show on the Fox News Channel for a few months now, and Palin could be in line for a television offer of her own at some point.
There will also be other candidates in 12, any of whom might emerge as the new front-runner, or at least alter the dynamics in a way favorable to Romney, Palin or Huckabee. Newt Gingrich, for instance, is plainly itching to run. A governor or two, along with a few senators or House members, will also inevitably toy with the race, and some of them will enter.
But for now, it can be said that Romney will get what he wanted the day he dropped out back in February: another shot at the nomination
the obvious answer is the DC “staffer class” are not friends to those outside of the beltway country club.
In their eys the blue zones rule, the red zones serf.
This election re-emphasised something that some (me included) forgot: ITS THE ECONOMY STUPID!!!!!!
I didnt think Bush I would have lost to Clinton. He did. I really thought Palin/McCain were going to put it out; they didnt. McCain would have really only managed a Jimmy Carter like 5-8 states without Gov. Palin. However, I still maintain shes been Quayled. However, I dont think the attacks are from the Romney camp. Until it can be proven I will not accept it is from Romney.
Which brings me back to ITS THE ECONOMY STUPID!!!!!! To defeat the Dems, we must do what must be done. If that means going with a Romney as a person with an economic background, so be it.
Neither Ronald Reagan or many of the people who voted for him are on this planet any more. It sucks to admit it, but that is the reality. The Republican Party must change if it is going to be relevant again. Otherwise, it will go the way of the Whigs and Federalists.
and I said I would never vote or volulteer for Mccain.
Of couse it was ENTIRELY the fault of Palin...
McCains staff is not going to say McCain was responsible. Obviously, their not responsible, because they need to find a new host to latch on to. So, who's left?
Unless the GOP becomes a party of real conservatives, I am not interested.
The old guard has to go NOW.
Just say no to Northeastern liberals for the GOP nomination.
Mitt Romney won’t even see the light of day in 2012. By that point, with all that will happen between now and then, a lightweight, ‘get-along’ soft, quasi-’conservative’ like Romney will be dismissed in a heartbeat.
“He has solid support among the conservative base, though he struggled to connect with some religious conservatives because of his Mormon faith.”
Pure Utter BS!
He is a liberal puke that only the Rocky-Feller wing can stand. The other 60% of the base hate his liberal guts.
I am not sure Governor Palin has been Quayled. She drew huge crowds to hear her speeches. She could be a great resource for the Republicans in the next few years. Watch her help with fund raising and help elect Republicans in 2010. Quayle was never able to that after the 1992 defeat.
Warren Buffet, the socialist, has shown more moral and ethical understanding and criticism of American corporate values, such as they are, then Mitt ever has.
Mitt has been an corporate/financial wimp, doormat, silent.
Now was it political philosophy ignorance? Did he see and know and not speak out?
No Romney, he is a divider, not a uniter for conservatives.
His support of the Socialist Bailout Bill should be the killer for all thinking conservatives.
“Romney? An other faux Republican for 2012? Now Im REALLY depressed.”
Here we go again. This is exactly the kind of juvenile whining that guaranteed the GOP loss this year.
Go away Mitt... go away all the RINOS.... WE ARE REBUILDING FROM GROUND UP!!!!!!!!!
Puke. No more white men retreads! And I’m not so sure it should be Palin. But Romney is just a little too smooth, too coifed, and overexposed already on TV. Go somewhere else. You can find a good candidate by their current deeds and their record. Romney is over.
Great idea!!! Lets nominate another outsourcing, open-borders, job-killing, globalist RINO, and see if we can lose with 20%, or 10%, or maybe 5%.
You said it first...and I agree.
The GOP cannot win with a Globalist liberal...havent we learned anything from McCain? Economic liberalism is a sure loser
The Obamaniacs will immediately label Romney as “Bush” and its over. The conservative base will be leery of his past liberalism
Sarah can mobilize the base...which most GOP candidates fail to do. Also, giving Sarah more than 2 months to have an impact will be a big help
I would have voted for Mitt if he’d been the nominee this time, but he seemed to be absent all during the campaign when McCain could have used his help.
I there any proof of that yet or is it just speculation?
I'm asking because I'd like to know.