Skip to comments.7 Reasons Why Mitt Romney’s Electability Is A Myth
Posted on 01/14/2012 2:37:06 PM PST by xzins
Mitt Romney was a moderate governor in Massachusetts with an unimpressive record of governance. He left office with an approval rating in the thirties and his signature achievement, Romneycare, was a Hurricane Katrina style disaster for the state. Since that’s the case, it’s fair to ask what a Republican who’s not conservative and can’t even carry his own state brings to the table for GOP primary voters. The answer is always the same: Mitt Romney is supposed to be “the most electable” candidate. This is a baffling argument because many people just seem to assume it’s true, despite the plethora of evidence to the contrary.
1) People just don’t like Mitt: The entire GOP primary process so far has consisted of Republican voters desperately trying to find an alternative to Mitt Romney. Doesn’t it say something that GOP primary voters have, at one time or another, preferred Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and now even Ron Paul (In Iowa) to Mitt Romney?
To some people, this is a plus. They think that if conservatives don’t like Mitt Romney, that means moderates will like him. This misunderstands how the process of attracting independent voters works in a presidential race. While it’s true the swayable moderates don’t want to support a candidate they view as an extremist, they also don’t just automatically gravitate towards the most “moderate” candidate. To the contrary, independent voters tend to be moved by the excitement of the candidate’s base (See John McCain vs. Barack Obama for an example of how this works). This is how a very conservative candidate like Ronald Reagan could win landslide victories. He avoided being labeled an extremist as Goldwater was; yet his supporters were incredibly enthusiastic and moderates responded to it.
Let’s be perfectly honest: Mitt Romney excites no one except for Mormons, political consultants, and Jennifer Rubin. To everybody else on the right, Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama would be a “lesser of two evils” election where we’d grudgingly back Mitt because we wouldnt lose as badly with him in the White House as we would with Obama. That’s not the sort of thing that gets people fired up to make phone calls, canvass neighborhoods, or even put up “I heart Mitt” signs in their yards.
2) He’s a proven political loser: There’s a reason Mitt Romney has been able to say that he’s “not a career politician.” It’s because he’s not very good at politics. He lost to Ted Kennedy in 1994. Although he did win the governorship of Massachusetts in 2002, he did it without cracking 50% of the vote. Worse yet, he left office as the 48th most popular governor in America and would have lost if he had run again in 2006. Then, to top that off, he failed to capture the GOP nomination in 2008. This time around, despite having almost every advantage over what many people consider to be a weak field of candidates, Romney is still desperately struggling. Choosing Romney as the GOP nominee after running up that sort of track record would be like promoting a first baseman hitting .225 in AAA to the majors.
3) Running weak in the southern states: Barack Obama won North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida in 2008 and you can be sure that he will be targeting all three of those states again. This is a problem for Romney because he would be much less likely than either Gingrich or Perry to carry any of those states. Moderate northern Republicans have consistently performed poorly in the south and Romney won’t be any exception. That was certainly the case in 2008 when both McCain and Huckabee dominated Romney in primaries across the south. Mitt didn’t win a single primary in a southern state and although he finished second in Florida, he wasn’t even competitive in North Carolina or Virginia. Since losing any one of those states could be enough to hand the election to Obama in a close race, Mitt’s weakness there is no small matter.
4) His advantages disappear in a general election: It’s actually amazing that Mitt Romney isn’t lapping the whole field by 50 points because he has every advantage. Mitt has been running for President longer than the other contenders. He has more money and a better organization than the other candidates. The party establishment and inside the beltway media are firmly in his corner. That’s why the other nominees have been absolutely savaged while Romney, like John McCain before him, has been allowed to skate through the primaries without receiving serious scrutiny.
Yet, every one of those advantages disappears if he becomes the nominee. Suddenly Obama will be the more experienced candidate in the race for the presidency. He will also have more money and a better organization than Mitt. Moreover, in a general election, the establishment and beltway media will be aligned against Romney, not for him. Suddenly, Romney will go from getting a free pass to being public enemy #1 for the entire mainstream media.
If you took all those advantages away from Romney in the GOP primary, he’d be fighting with Jon Huntsman to stay out of last place. So, what happens when he’s the nominee and suddenly, all the pillars that have barely kept him propped up in SECOND place so far are suddenly removed? It may not be pretty.
5) Bain Capital: Mitt Romney became rich working for Bain Capital. This has been a plus for Romney in the Republican primaries where the grassroots tend to be dominated by people who love capitalism and the free market. However, in a year when Obama will be running a populist campaign and Occupy Wall Street is demonizing the “1%,” Mitt Romney will be a TAILOR MADE villain for them. Did you know that Bain Capital gutted companies and made a lot of money, in part, by laying off a lot of poor and middle class Americans? Do you know that Bain Capital got a federal bailout and Mitt Romney made lots of money off of it?
The way the company was rescued was with a federal bailout of $10 million, the ad says. The rest of us had to absorb the loss Romney? He and others made $4 million in this deal. Mitt Romney: Maybe hes just against government when it helps working men and women.
The facts of the Bain & Co. turnaround are a little more complicated, but a Boston Globe report from 1994 confirms that Bain saw several million dollars in loans forgiven by the FDIC, which had taken over Bains failed creditor, the Bank of New England.
Did you know Ted Kennedy beat Romney in 1994 by hammering Mitt relentlessly on his time at Bain Capital? No wonder. The ads write themselves.
Imagine pictures of dilapidated, long since closed factories. They trot out scruffy looking workers talking about how bad life has been since Mitt Romney crushed their dreams and cost them their jobs. Then they show a clip of Mitt making his $10,000 bet and posing with money in his clothes. All Mitt needs is a monocle and a sniveling Waylon Smithers type character to follow him around shining his shoes to make him into the prototypical bad guy the Democrats are trying to create.
Now, the point of this isn’t to say that what Mitt did at Bain Capital was dishonorable. It certainly wasn’t. To the contrary, as a conservative, I find his work in the private sector to be just about the only thing he has going for him. But, people should realize that in a general election, Mitt’s time at Bain Capital will probably end up being somewhere between a small asset and a large liability, depending on which side does a better job of defining it.
6) The Mormon Factor: This is a sensitive topic; so I am going to handle it much, much more gently than Hollywood and the mainstream media will if Mitt gets the nomination. Mormons do believe in Jesus Christ, the Mormon Church does a lot of good work, the ones I’ve met seem to be good people, and two of my best friends are Mormons. That being said, Mormons are not considered to be a mainstream Christian religion in large swathes of the country. There will be Protestants who will have deep reservations about voting a Mormon into the White House because they’ll be afraid it will help promote what they believe to be a false religion. There have also been a number of polls that show that significant numbers of Americans won’t vote for a Mormon as President.
Just look at a couple of the more recent polls and consider how much of an impact this issue could have in a close election.
The poll found 67 percent of Americans want the president to be Christian and 52 percent said they consider Mormons to be Christian. Twenty-two percent of those polled said they don’t think Mormons are Christians and 26 percent are unsure.
“I do believe they are moral people, but again there is a difference between being moral and being saved,” Linda Dameron, an evangelical Republican in Independence, Mo., told the Tribune.
More than 40 percent of Americans would be uncomfortable with a Mormon as president, according to a new survey that also suggests that as more white evangelical voters have learned White House hopeful Mitt Romney is Mormon, the less they like him.
A survey by the Public Religion Research Institute released late Monday also shows that nearly half of white evangelical Protestant voters a key demographic in the Republican primary race dont believe that Mormonism is a Christian faith, and about two-thirds of adults say the LDS faith is somewhat or very different than their own.
You should also keep in mind that if Mitt Romney gets the nomination, Hollywood and the mainstream media will conduct a vicious, months long hate campaign against the Mormon Church. They will take every opportunity to make Mormons look weird, racist, kooky, scary, and different. Would this be a decisive factor? I’d like to say no, but by the time all is said and done, it’s very easy to see Romney potentially losing hundreds of thousands of votes across the country because of his religion.
7) He’s a flip-flopper. Maybe my memory is failing me, but didnt George Bush beat John Kerry’s brains in with the “flip flopper” charge back in 2004? So now, just eight years later, the GOP is going to run someone that even our own side agrees is a flip-flopper right out of the gate? Romney doesn’t even handle the charge well. When Brett Baier at Fox pointed out the obvious, Romney’s response was to get huffy and deny that he was flip flopping, which is kind of like Lady Gaga denying that she likes to get attention. If Mitt can’t even handle run-of-the-mill questions from FOX NEWS about his flip flopping, what makes anyone think he can deal with the rest of the press in a general election?
There are a lot of issues with trying to run a candidate who doesn’t seem to have any core principles. It makes it impossible for his supporters to get excited about him because you can’t fall in love with a weathervane. Even worse, since politicians tend to be such liars anyway and you know Romney has no firm beliefs, it’s very easy for everyone to assume the worst. Democrats will feel that Romney will be a right wing death-beast. Republicans will think that Romney will screw them over. Independents won’t know what to believe, which will make the hundreds of millions that Obama will spend on attack ads particularly effective. Ronald Reagan famously said the GOP needed “a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors.” That’s particularly relevant when it comes to Mitt Romney who has proven to be a pasty grey pile of formless mush.
For record, I am not a MittBot. I was a big Hermain Cain supporter until he proved not to be a good candidate and had his problems. I just live in reality unlike apparantely many that have infilitrated the common sense post that Free Republic use to get. You really think “Newt” can win a general. He can’t even register in a Republican primary.
PS re John Hawkins Mitt loser. Aside from Newt never winning a statewide race Mitt has. Additionally, like Reagan in 1976 (to ford) Mitt lost a Republican primary. Like Reagan that loss has made him a better Presidential candidate then he was last time. Lincoln lost 3 times.
Doesnt it say something that GOP primary voters have, at one time or another, preferred Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and now even Ron Paul (In Iowa) to Mitt Romney?
This is a problem for Romney because he would be much less likely than either Gingrich or Perry to carry any of those states.
I also wish it would have said that most Christian churches and denominations do not consider Mormons to be Christians, instead of, "Mormons are not considered to be a mainstream Christian religion in large swathes of the country."
Aside from those two nitpicks, this is a very good article.
On the subject of the other GOP candidates, here are my thoughts. Romney must be defeated. Paul and Huntsman are not worth addressing and are irrelevant. I like Rick Perry, but like Michele Bachmann before him, he should bow out so that his supporters can switch to another conservative candidate.
This brings us to Newt and Santorum. Before this whole election cycle, if you asked me who the one person was who I would liked to have had most as president, I would have said Santorum. I still think he is the most conservative, I still respect him the most as a person, and I do not hold his Specter endorsement against him. However, I have warmed up to Newt a lot within the past few months. He may not be quite as conservative as Santorum, but I believe him to be at least conservative enough. I also think he would be a more competent and charismatic president and nominee than Santorum, That isn't to say that Santorum would be incompetent, but having Newt become president would remind me of when Ratzinger became pope. In both cases, I'd feel like a genius ascended to the highest office; the most qualified, experienced, and scholarly person out there. That's certainly refreshing now with Obama in office. I also feel that Newt would give us a greater chance of defeating Obama in the debates. Santorum isn't always the smoothest person, while it's generally agreed upon here that Newt would be the best of all the Republican candidates at wiping up Obama in a debate. In any case, I'd be happy with either of them as the nominee, but I wish they could just join forces and become a package deal.
Anyhow, of my "three C's," here is how the candidates fare:
Most Conservative: 1) Santorum 2) Perry 3) Gingrich 4)Romney 5) Paul
Most Charismatic: 1) Gingrich 2) Romney 3) Santorum 4) Paul 5) Perry
Most Competent: 1) Gingrich 2) Perry 3) Santorum 4) Romney 5) Paul
“Newt most charisma” lol
“Newt most conservative” Yeah attak on Bain capital, deals he cut with Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi
For record, I would say Perry has most charisma, but he can’t speak. Newt can speak, but has ZERO charisma or looks. Peroid!!! Sometimes you ride down the road and see a new car that is puke green and you wonder who would buy that car. I guess your view Newt is charismatic etc...answers my question
1. He was the 3rd republican governor in a row. He ruined that by terrible performance and deserted when it came time for re-election leaving his replacement (Healey) with his 30% approval rating.
Romney and Santorum ran for a Senate seat at exactly the same time in exactly the same level of blue state. Santorum won. Romney was trounced by over 17 points. Santorum had won twice as a congressman previously in a blue state. Santorum then won AGAIN with a second senate seat. Romney has lost every race he ever ran in except one term as governor in which he was helped by a 3rd party that cut into the democrat vote.
2. The media is subtle and they aren’t targeting everyone with their anti-mormon propaganda. They’ll target it toward those who will be swayed by it. And if just 1-2 percent are, then that is huge is certain states.
3. If you take their winning percentages, every candidate in the Republican field has a better track record that Romney. Romney is a loser of elections. That’s his track record.
4 Polls on “match-ups far in the future” are based on name recognition, and have zero reliability. If they are accurate, then Jimmy Carter trounced Ronald Reagan and John kerry trounced GW Bush.
5. Gingrich suffered a brutal attack aid campaign when he had just surged. The surge meant he did not have financial resources at the time. He does now.
6. Romney will not have nearly enough money to defeat the billion dollar war chest GIVEN his long list of negatives. Every advantage a GOP candidate could have is given away with romney: give away obamacare with romneycare; give away abortion because he’s pro-abortion; give away gay marriage because he’s pro-gay marriage; and on and on and on.
7. Gingrich’s entire strategy was to demonstrate how Bain is the supreme losing issue for Romney in the general election. Ted Kennedy used it to pound Romney to mush. So will Obama.
Maybe I should have said "articulate" instead of charismatic.
Newt most conservative
If you read my post again, you will see that I said Santorum is the most conservative. I have Gingrich third behind him and Perry.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online from January 10-13 with a sample of 995 South Carolina registered voters. It included 398 Republicans and 380 Democrats.
It's not likely voters, it's not likely republican voters, it's REGISTERED VOTERS and HALF of the sample THEY ADMIT were Democrats! Please. This is pure propaganda by the media and commissioned by: Someone who desperately wants Romney to be the nominee.
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1) ) “Kenney used it....” yeah in Massechuttes don’t think any Republican is going to win California, Massechusetts, Connecticut etc...Newt sure won’t!!!!! Your logic is absurd!
2) What is Newts track record in national or state wide elections? NONE!!! Again, by losing at least in a state wide race or national race you learn from your mistakes as Reagan did. “Winning percentages” Of what comparing a district congressional race to state or national is like comparing double A minor leagues to the Majors. Plus not going to get into mathematics, but just look up “law of large numbers” and figure out yourself. Like flipping a coin. Need to flip enough to get a fair depiction of percentage value.
3) “Polls and name recognition” Newt has high name recognition among the most consistent voters in the general the mid age and older. They dislike him. One of the higest negative ratings. The younger people who dont know him will go for Democrat anyway mostly. Newt certainly won’t carry them.
4) “Media attack Mormon” yes you are right. However, media will attack all Republicans Santorum “christian nut”, Newt “Christian nut”, Perry “Christian Nut”, so Romney will be also “Mormon Nut” He is already defined and most independents won’t view him as a nut. Furthermore this attack will turn off the Independents.
5) “Romney won’t have nearly enough money...” He has more then all the folks you mention here so far. He has the ability to raise much more money then anyone else in the field except maybe Rick Perry. But Rick can’ t get money anymore. If he had performed well he would’ve been able to raise a lot of money too. NEWT can’t raise money, nor Santorum.
articulate is a better word. Fair enough. Not charasmatic in the least (by way charisma one of most important winning qualities)
3rd is correct, but still too high up in my opinion, but not unreasonable.
Do you have a link to this information?
“For all you Romney supporters lurking out there, this article is hard, realistic truth. You are backing a general election loser.
You, too, better do some praying.”
If they are backing Romney, they likely don’t have the address.
Fair enough? Out of curiousity who is a General election winner in your opinion?
PS for all out there I have respectful disagreements with you who for some reason you “hate” Mitt. I don’t really hate any Republican (except a strong dislike for McCain) (I had to hold nose and vote for him last election) He was not my first choice, but I did support him last cycle when he went against McCain who really was someone we should really have a big political dislike for. McCain would always go on MSNBC and trash Republicans and Convervatives. So by default I supported Mitt last cycle. This cycle went for Cain, but he faltered. Mitt is going to win, you can deny it, lie to yourself, or whatever, but we should all be on the same team ABO (Anybody But Obama)
The very good news is that, the so-called “middle” folks are “center-right folks.
In truth it is that the independents are “center-right” folks in reality
Newt is the least weak IMO since you ask.
Note - that is NOT saying he is strong.
OTOH Newt knows all about evil and seems to have battled it and with God's Grace won. He'll face the devil's legions headed by Axelrod head on.
It's not time to turn our cheek to BhO, but time to throw the money changers out! take a stand.
Very interesting article. I’m still mulling it over, but it definitely is thought-provoking.