Conservatives find their voice: Romney is unacceptable
No one is in the upper right quadrant, the best place to be
There have been three primaries since I last posted about the 2012 race for the U.S. presidency. The weakest candidates have dropped out (Bachmann, Huntsman and Perry). The four remaining candidates are pretty much where they were three weeks ago. None of them have improved their electability or acceptance scores very much. Neither has Obama, who continues to have high disapproval poll ratings despite some moderate economic improvement. The primary has just begun with only a handful of delegates set aside. The campaign promises a frisky, contentious year full surges and pull-backs. It will be quite exciting.
GOP party elites are dancing with a dilemma: should they continue supporting the most ‘electable’ candidate (Real) or the one who can best connect with the voters (Win)? Up until now, they thought ‘electability’ was enough. Romney had been preparing for four years, laying down an army of supporters. So what if he’s bland? People will vote for a rock if they think it can beat Obama in the national election.
It turns out they were wrong. ‘Not-Romney’ got more votes in each state, every time. Their man on the pedestal only took one of the three primaries. Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich, a man who causes internal bleeding in GOP aristocrats and this week’s leading Not-Romney, blazes ahead of Morose Mitt. Why? Because Gingrich connects with people and his passion touches an anger inside their hearts. Likewise, Santorum outshone Romney in Iowa with his common man message. Romney looks more like Thurston Howell.
So, GOP leaders, what’s it going to be? Continue to support Mitt, but send him to Wal-Mart to observe proles? Put an arm around Newt and douse him with Ritalin when he’s in the public eye? Or send some money to Santorum, the one candidate who seems human and not neurotic? Your current strategy isn’t working.
My thoughts on the candidates:
- Bachmann never stood a chance: she lacked relevant experience and her presence annoyed most people despite her conviction and intelligence. Huntsman never connected with normals and his accomplishments were mostly invisible to them. Perry, the strongest candidate (and the one I thought best suited to run) started too late. I hope Perry tries again in 2016.
- Gingrich just cannot stay knocked down. The press wrote him off several times after he self-wounded his campaign for the presidency. But oh, can he give a good debate! And his speeches this summer were stirring. Gingrich has high potential on the Win score if he can control himself and gain strength (Real) to dethrone The One Who Calms The Oceans. A caution: Gingrich is also a big black testosterone cloud that shoots blue lighting. Are voters flocking to him because he blasts media creatures like George Stephanopolous? Are they hoping he gets a few good ones on Obama’s upturned nose? With Newt Gingrich, you get revenge. That’s guaranteed. Is he a leader?
- Santorum has done very well in the recent debates. He barely pulled ahead of Romney in Iowa. Although he is not the Comeback Kid like Gingrich is, Santorum has steadily improved his position. Of all the candidates, he is the only one who connects with regular people. Santorum comes from immigrant background. Unlike Romney, he knows how ordinary people live and the pressures they face. Santorum seems to like people. Santorum is the impoverished candidate. He needs funds and highly-placed friends to stay in the race much longer. He also has made some bad decisions (Arlen Specter, union support … illegal immigration). Santorum has some baggage, though not the full-sized steamer trunks Romney has.
- Ron Paul has been a consistent player, although never on the highest pedestal. In many ways he is like Romney with lots of campaign ‘oomf.’ But Paul connects with with Paul People. I don’t see him as a serious candidate for regular voters. Ron Paul has very little experience and few accomplishments in his thirty years in government.
- Mitt Romney? He’s Poppy Bush but tainted Massachusetts Blue. ‘RomneyCare’ is reappearing in the race again. Voters don’t buy his message that he is the most “electable.” Is “most likely to beat Obama” just campaign spin? Is Mitt Romney’s image merely generated? Is he sincere? These are not helpful questions but voters are now asking them.
- And there there is Barak Obama, the man with a -17% approval rating. America is ignoring him right now: all the attention is on the GOP race. Even so, his failed promises and the weak economy are holding his numbers down. When he speaks or when he just does something, his numbers plummet. Honestly, I can see any of the GOP candidates prevail against Obama, even Romney. It should be easy to push over a statue, especially with feet of clay.