Skip to comments.Is Mitt Romney Setting Up a Tea Party 'Sister Souljah' Moment?
Posted on 01/22/2011 3:16:40 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
The Boston Globe has an interesting story pointing out that once-and-future GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is not trying to suck up to the Tea Party movement, a fact which distinguishes Romney from virtually every other potential Republican presidential candidate. According to the Globe:
As the former Massachusetts governor lays the groundwork for a possible second presidential run, he has largely shunned Tea Party activists in key primary states, including the state he must win if he enters the race, New Hampshire. Thus far, Romney is on track to present himself as the establishment candidate--a responsible, mainstream Republican leader with the necessary financial resources and credentials to beat President Obama.
Off the top of my head, I can think of three good reasons for Romney to keep his distance from the Tea Party.
First, as mentioned, the rest of the field seems to be vying for Tea Party support. By standing apart, Romney stands a chance of having the party establishment coalesce behind him. And while the Tea Party may be ascendant in the GOP, and may wield outsized influence in the primaries, the movement has not always demonstrated an ability to coalesce around a single candidate. If, say, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Pence fracture the Tea Party votes Romney alone as the establishment figure could triumph. This scenario is bolstered by the fact that, as the Globe notes:
Without a Democratic primary contest in the upcoming election, Romney supporters can count on a wave of independents casting ballots in New Hampshire and South Carolina which allow nonparty voters to participate in the primary.
Second by using the Tea Party as a foil Romney can combat one of his own biggest negatives: his reputation for being a political weather vane (see his positions on abortion, gay marriage, and gun control for example). As one Tea Party activists tells the Globe, Romney is a fraudulent conservative. I dont trust the guy. Be it health care, be it social issues, hes a chameleon."
But by refusing to kowtow to the Tea Party Romney could build a counter-narrative. I dont think youre going to see a different persona than the persona thats been there for 20 years. That would be jarring. Thats not going to happen, Romney adviser Tom Rath tells the Globe.
Finally, Romney could be positioning the Tea Party for something of a Sister Souljah moment with an eye toward avoiding a Sharron Angle moment. The 2012 election will turn on the economy. If unemployment is down and voter confidence is up, Obama will be very hard to beat; if were still looking at a jobless rate north of 9 percent, the president will be highly vulnerableunless a Tea Party-dominated GOP produces an Angle-like nominee (see Palin, Sarah, who is viewed positively by 17 percent of Americans and negatively by 49 percent according to the latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll). Indeed, while the Tea Party has huge influence in the GOP it remains unpopular nationally, with 29 percent viewing it very or somewhat favorably and 38 percent viewing it very or somewhat negativelyPelosi-like numbers (26 very or somewhat positive and 40 very or somewhat negative) that the GOP nominee will want to avoid being tarred with. By steering clear of the fringe, Romney could position himself as the kind of acceptable Republican able to take advantage of a faltering Obama. If, that is, he can get the nomination.
Bush 41 supports him that means he is part of the “New World Order”, I’l take a pass.
You mean he'll continue to be the politically irrelevant flip-flopper he's always been...? Good to know.
Mitt Romney is a mayonnaise sandwich on white bread.
How does Romney win the general if as an establishment candidate he has PO’d the Tea Party? We aren’t playing the ‘vote for the RINO’ game any more.
"Stands a chance"? He is the establishment candidate, period, full stop.
So, if the conservative vote is successfully divided enough to shoo Romney in as our candidate?
The chances are that the party itself will fracture. Especially, if Romney is the candidate, and loses the election the GOP will break. What rises out of it will be larger than the rump-GOP that remains and within a couple of years the GOP will be absorbed into the DNC or simply evaporate.
And if Romney wins?
Chances are, same thing. The conservatives are in no mood for more of the same. The GOP establishment may not like them, they mainly like to farm them for their votes and then ignore them, but just try winning any election without them. I'll say this; there are about three conservative candidates I'm watching, and if they were to break with the GOP I'm out too.
And so the meme of ‘support Romney because your Tea Party pick doesn’t have a chance’ starts. Just like it did in the Nov. election. Just like Rove pushed.
Yeah we would rather have 4 more years of Obama. There is no way he could make the Tea party happy except by dropping of the face of the earth. Why should he try?
Why Angle is mentoned is beyond me. An unknown came very, very close to unseating Majority Leader, and might well have if the REALLY suspicious votes were cast out.
Like all the people filling in the Senate bubble and not others on the ticket.
Makes it pretty easy to choose don't it?
And then there’s his health care thing of his.
That alone would sour me on him.
Simple. This screed is not about Romney, it is about Palin. Angle lost-- close doesn't count-- and they want to associate Palin as a loser in the reader's mind.