Romney the Electable?
Are you sick and tired yet of hearing about Mitt Romney being the "most electable" candidate? I am. Lately, via the media and our own RNC elites, we have been fed this constant drivel about the electability of Mitt Romney. The same tired story goes that, because Romney was the centrist Republican governor of a blue state, he has the widest voter appeal, and thus the best chance to win in a general election.
This is a bad joke.
Now, I'm no beltway "expert." However, I've had the opportunity to work on campaigns ranging from U.S. Senate down to City Council, and I can see the problems with Mitt Romney. Let us for a moment consider the attributes a candidate must have to be truly successful, and you will quickly see why Mitt is one of the least electable candidates we have for the general election.
Charisma and the Ability to Create Personal Connections
Creating personal connections with the voters is what wins you an election. Period. The average voters do not think like we issue-oriented types do. People first vote based upon who they perceive shares their values and creates the best personal connection with them. Ideology is a distant second. Mitt Romney couldn't create a personal connection with a Labrador puppy. The man is robotic. He is so slick that one gets the feeling you could feel the grease if you shook his hand. John Stewart said it best when he stated that Romney "looks like he stepped out of a Viagra commercial." Counting on this man to connect with voters is a non-starter.
A Politician's Record and Credibility
A politician's record is crucial to his or her candidacy. It can be used to create or crush one's ability to connect with voters. A fine case in point is Kerry and the swift boat veterans. In 2004, Kerry's inability to connect with voters was bad enough. However, because his record didn't seem unpalatable to the general public, he was still being held afloat by dissatisfaction with Bush's policies -- that is, until the swift boat veterans came onto the scene. Overnight, Kerry's record in Vietnam, initially seen as a strength, was used to obliterate his credibility.
What exactly do you think will happen with Romney and RomneyCare? How does a man attack ObamaCare when his own plan was the basis for ObamaCare? Tying the already deeply unpopular ObamaCare to job-destruction is our best line of attack. Yet with Romney as the nominee, Obama will be able to dodge it in the first debate. Just think of Obama's response to Romney's charge against ObamaCare. "Well Mitt, your plan was the basis for my health care bill." Winning!, as Charlie Sheen would say, and just like that, Romney would lose his ability to comment on the issue. Tie that to the fact that Mitt has flip-flopped on just about every other issue the country cares about, and you have yourself the Republican John Kerry.
Fund-Raising, Wealth, and Campaign Structure
I have to hand it to him: Mitt can raise a lot of money. He has his own personal wealth to put into the campaign, and he has a fine campaign team. However, the fact is that no matter who the nominee is, he or she will have the money necessary to get the message out. Furthermore, even if Romney's campaign team is the best there is, it can be put to work for the eventual nominee if he loses. Also, do we really want a nominee who can flaunt that much of his own cash during an age where politicians seem so out of touch with reality? Won't bulldozing his beachfront mansion to build another, bigger mansion rub the electorate the wrong way? Just a thought.
Ideology and Exciting the Base
There is no such thing as being too conservative or too liberal to win a general presidential election. This was proved by both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, respectively. Voter turnout is what truly decides an election. If a candidate is trailing in the polls 99% to 1%, but only that 1% who approves of him turns out to vote, he will win with 100% of the vote tally. This of course is an absurd example, but I chose it to make a point. You must turn out your base if you plan on winning an election. You do not ever choose a candidate based upon what the fickle independents may or may not want. You choose only the wording for your messaging based on how independents will receive it. Again, take Reagan and Obama. Both men come from the far poles of the American political spectrum. Both revved up their base, and both chose their wording in the general election to make their positions palatable to the politically ignorant.
The election in 2008 was a classic example of what happens when you have one candidate, Barack Obama, who excites his base, and another candidate, John McCain, who deflates his base. John McCain was supposed to be this bipartisan problem-solver that the middle would swoon over. What happened? McCain depressed his own base so much that he lost my home state of Indiana. Indiana had not voted for a democrat since LBJ! What's more is that McCain lost the independent vote in an avalanche. Why? Independents follow strength and conviction. They will see right through some pandering politician, just as they will see right through Mitt Romney. It is too obvious that he is saying only what he thinks will get him elected. Just watch him speak to the Tea Party. It's such obvious pandering that it is wince-inducing. Romney's flip-flopping and the pictures of him with Ted Kennedy signing RomneyCare into law will only suppress voter enthusiasm among the base, and it will do nothing to win independents.
What is that, you say? Anger against Obama will be more than enough to turn out the base? I'm sorry, but I again must refer you to John Kerry. The liberal base hated George W. Bush. Kerry still lost. Positive emotion trumps negative emotion. Why do you think Obama is so blatantly attempting to appease his base now? He knows that it is his only hope. You win elections by starting with your base and then adding to your coalition until you hit that 50+1% to win.
The only people we have telling us Mitt Romney is the most electable candidate are the inbred RNC types who got us into this mess four years ago. Somehow I just don't trust Tim Pawlenty, the first man into the presidential race and the first man out, to understand what it takes to be electable. Of course, it is possible that the economy will be in an official recession next year, and it won't matter whom we nominate...but do we really want to take that chance? Do we really want the guy who planted the seed of ObamaCare entrusted with the job of removing it? Let us all do ourselves a favor and not nominate the Republican John Kerry. Find the man who can beat Romney and rally behind that man, or, absent another economic meltdown, we'll have four more years of Obama.