Skip to comments.Romney or Obama: Another Time for.. (A Chew Toy For the Kitties)
Posted on 12/11/2011 1:49:51 PM PST by VC2012
As the merry-go-round of the GOP primary continues, the present darling of fickle voters is Newt Gingrich, Like a phoenix hes risen from the ashes to claim, with typical humility, Im going to be the nominee, dismissing all other candidates as a trifling irrelevancy. Unfortunately the belated choice of Gingrich is no choice at all, for there can be little doubt how the questionably conservative and enormously polarizing Gingrich would fare against a personally popular Obama in the General Election.
There is, at present only one real choice to make regarding the next president. Its either Romney or Obama.
A vote for any other Republican candidate is, to varying degrees, a decision to keep Obama in the White House for four more years. Deep down inside, Republican voters must know that Gingrich, 68, despite his many attributes, simply cannot beat Obama in the General Election. Neither can any of the other Republican contenders, most of whom dont even excite Republicans beyond single digits. Only Romney has what it takes to go the distance.
Mitt Romney burst onto the political stage in 1994 with a Senate run against liberal lion Ted Kennedy. He did so in the most hostile political atmosphere possible Massachusetts a Kennedy in Massachusetts! Its perhaps true that Romney worked hard to appear as a social moderate in order to short-circuit the hot button social issues that normally prevent any Republican from garnering a second look from notoriously liberal Bay State voters. His moderate appearance allowed him to attack Kennedy on policy grounds, and he gave Kennedy all tolled a 46 year incumbent perhaps the biggest scare of his career. Some would simply call this an intelligent election strategy. For others, its proof positive that hes a perpetual RINO; a Nelson Rockefeller in conservative clothing.
In reality, businessman Romney was simply a pragmatist. Romneys pragmatism was a hallmark of his stint as Massachusetts governor, but his biggest failing, according to conservatives was his state health care plan. The plan contained a mandate that all citizens purchase private health insurance. In retrospect, it is a thoroughly un-Republican viewpoint, but at the time, the plan, which was conceived by the Heritage Foundation (the nations foremost conservative policy institute), seemed like a practical answer to the states health care problem. The plan was supported by Heritage and endorsed by conservative leaders including Newt Gingrich. Romneys true intention was to force the roughly 8% of individuals who refused to purchase health insurance, and who were freeloading off the system by utilizing public (often emergency) services at taxpayer expense as their primary health care, to take responsibility for themselves. The results-oriented Romney probably never conceived that his über-conservative-endorsed plan, would come back to haunt him, or that it differed in some material way from the other mandates that states impose on their citizens all the time, like, for instance, mandatory auto insurance. But thats just what happened.
But Romney is no secret liberal. In looking at the Mitt Romney of 2011, its hard to find a position he supports that is in any way outside the conservative mainstream. Indeed, Romney differs little from even Santorum or Bachmann on the major issues, but unlike the others, he has both executive experience, as well as exactly the right kind of private sector leadership skill. But voters, particularly tea party voters, are simply reluctant to trust Romney because of his past campaign messaging and his conservative evolution. But isnt that evolution a good thing? Indeed, when someone moves your way politically, like Reagan did, its typically seen as progress, not a perpetual source of inconsistency and mistrust. Still, some conservatives are completely foreclosed to the idea of Romney. They would much prefer to go down fighting with a true conservative; they would rather knowingly elect Obama again than compromise in any way on the GOP nominee. This philosophy, while exceedingly foolish, certainly flies in the face of the advice put forth by President Reagan, who said, I would much prefer to get 80 percent of what I want than to go off the cliff with the flag flying. Of course, again, its hard to see how conservatives are getting any less than 95% or more of what they want from Romney, based on his platform.
As of late, these same voters, so reluctant to trust Romney, have landed on Gingrich to be their man. Its a curious choice. If being a reliable, unimpeachable conservative is the standard for securing the nomination (or at least garnering heavy primary support), it is nearly impossible to see how Gingrich measures up. It was Gingrich that worked for Nelson Rockefeller, and voted as a Congressman in 1979, to establish the hated Department of Education. He supported the individual mandate that makes Romney anathema to so many conservatives. He did television spots with Pelosi to raise awareness about global warming. He ripped into rising GOP star Paul Ryans budget plan as right wing social engineering, he supported TARP, the very bailout legislation that gave rise to the tea party movement, and Gingrich even co-sponsored a bill to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine; a clear threat to the First Amendment. Gingrich has supported cap-n-trade, believes in ethanol subsidies, and is a proponent of a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Newt Gingrich isnt a bad person, indeed theres much about him to like and admire, but if an unblemished conservative record is required to be the GOP nominee, Gingrich doesnt make the cut, not by a long shot.
Similarly, Romney isnt a bad person. Indeed, by all accounts hes an exceedingly decent person, a family man with a strong marriage of 42 years, and has been a success at both business and governance. At present, given Gingrichs stance on amnesty, subsidies and others, Romney is arguably more conservative than Gingrich. Given his reputation as a dynamite businessman and a respected fixer of failing companies and bankrupt organizations (like the 2002 Winter Olympics), Romney seems like exactly the right man at exactly the right time.
If electability, rather than an unbroken chain of conservative purity is your standard, there is no Republican even remotely as electable as Romney. It is an inescapable reality, and the sooner that Republican primary voters wake up from the delusion that there is a perfect conservative to run against Obama, or that trying to shove the round peg of a Gingrich into the conservative square hole wont work, the sooner we can all prepare for the titanic billion+ dollar fight ahead with Obama.
There is every expectation that as the Gingrich balloon grows, it will also eventually burst; brought down by a salivating mainstream media and a trainload of personal and political adversaries spanning decades of public life. Gingrich, if given enough room, will self-destruct or be destroyed as he always does. For their part, team Romney should avoid panicking (as the media suggests theyre doing), regain their steady General Election-oriented footing, and work on the critical organization that will deliver Romney votes.
For team Romney, easy does it. Or thats what they should remember. Having watched challenger after challenger rise and fall this primary season, while Romney has remained consistent, the Romney team should be careful not to overreact. Yes, Gingrich unexpectedly poses the most serious threat to Romney, and time is running out before Iowa, and more importantly New Hampshire, but the decision to go on the attack is not entirely a wise one and certainly not for the candidate himself. Romneys team should work through surrogates to help differentiate the two and cast doubt on Gingrichs leadership quality, temperment, conservative bona fides and electability (all fair game), but Romney himself must remain the happy warrior. Romney must focus narrowly on turning around the economy and building a better America, while keeping his fire trained on Obama. A nasty Romney is a loser (that goes for debates as well).
For Romney himself, its time to speak to the American people. The real bar to Romneys rise isnt so much a problem with his record, but the perception of it, and him. Its an emotional response by voters, and it requires an emotional remedy. It is time to accelerate the roll-out of Romney that is undoubtedly planned for the General Election, and which has been wisely contained for fears of over-exposure. Romney can and must begin speaking to our gut; to appear to be a reliable agent of prudent conservative reform, displaying a Reaganesque optimism and a positive, pro-growth vision for the country. This is even more true given what we know about his rivals. Gingrich is constitutionally incapable of being the sunny optimist his will be a wonkish, scoffing campaign characterized by impatient outbursts of father knows best rhetoric. It may play to the fire in conservative bellies at present, but it wont go over in the general. Similarly, Obama cannot now run as the sanguine agent of change. We know his only chance, given his paltry record, is to keep on doing exactly what hes been doing sow class discord and hyperbolic fear about his GOP opposition. His will be a negative campaign, despite the veneer of hope and change they attempt to cover it with. This leaves the door wide open for the kind of candidate the American people like the get-er-done optimist. Romney is capable of fulfilling that role, and doing so in a way that takes advantage of the glaring character flaw possessed by both his opponents vanity. A humble, optimistic Romney committed to achieving a bright new future based on conservative principles, and operating above the fray, can be a potent weapon.
Now is the time for Romney to begin communicating at greater length and depth to peoples values, their hopes, and the future they face, absent reform. Now is the time when Romney must connect with people, help them feel good about supporting him, and build a level of trust that can translate into GOP votes. Romney must stand for real reform and convince voters that hell deliver it. He must paint for voters a vision of a renewed America versus the ceaseless road to decline under Obama, and all along voters must be reminded that hes the only guy that can win.
Talk to us Mitt.
Six zots in the past two days (that I am aware of)! Phew!
Hello, you big, cranky, handsome lizard, you!
You’re gonna wear out your zot finger. :)
My zot finger is strong from all the recent zots, LOL!
devolve, here’s your panther! Remember?
One less retread is OK by me. :-)
Very busy! But I’m heading for bed. Five a.m. comes early, LOL!
Normally, I can’t stand your posts, on any subject or about any person.
HOWEVER, I flat out love this one!!! LOL
Consider it stolen.
It’s slow on this thread
I’m getting slow now myself
It must be the parade
ZOT! ZOT! ZOT! ZOT! ZOT!
Wow. Is that a new FR ZOT record? Poor Norm will be up all night writing odes at this rate!
Dang near burnt out muh retinas!
Not sure, but the record during my tenure as an IATZ ZOT journalist is four in one 24-hour period last month.
LOL! I like that one, Joe. If only... [smiles]