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December 28, 2011
There are plenty of blatantly incorrect opinions about the Republican presidential primary floating around and some of them are perched in some rather prominent places (i.e. Nate Silver at the New York Times and Dick Morris at Fox News). But none that I have seen has been more obviously and dangerously flawed than John Hawkins' column entitled "7 Reasons Why Mitt Romney's Electability is a Myth," which was recently posted at Townhall.
To be clear, it is not that there is no merit to any of his seven points. A couple of them are actually valid. What is so astonishingly silly about his analysis is that its entire premise is completely and fundamentally flawed.
Republican primary voters are not evaluating Romney's "electability" in a vacuum. They are judging it instead in comparison to the relative electability of their other current options. And there is absolutely, positively, zero doubt that of the candidates who will be on the ballot (or in the case of Virginia, not so much), Mitt Romney has by far the best chance to beat President Obama in 2012.
So while Romney does clearly have "issues" in this department (for instance, I agree that being a Mormon will hurt more than help), to call his electability a "myth," is like playing poker and mocking a hand of three Aces when your only other option is a pair of deuces.
Yes, the Romney "hand" can be beaten, but unlike those presented by everyone else in the race, at least it has a decent chance of winning.
The poker analogy is important in another way. Many grassroots Republicans I speak to (as well as most of the commentators I see/read) don't seem to realize that a presidential general election is much more like a poker game where most of the cards have already been dealt, than like a football game where the opening kickoff has yet to happen.
We already know that, barring events almost impossible to conceive, all of the "Not-Romneys" will get beaten, perhaps badly, by Obama. The narratives have already been written, minus the minor details and the final score.
Newt can't suddenly unload his massive baggage, Paul can't change the fact that he isn't at least a bit nuts, Perry can't delete his "Oops" moment and the parallels to Bush 43, Bachmann can't get rid of her "crazy eyes" or her gender,Huntsman can't pretend he doesn't despise the base, and Santorum can't erase his statements on gays from Google or suddenly find some gravitas.
Anyone who doesn't accept the doomed reality of the "Not Romneys" is simply either ignorant of the modern realities of presidential politics or just delusional.
Romney might lose too, but at least the conclusion is not yet written in stone.
And since Mr. Hawkins gave seven reasons why Romney's electability is a myth, in the spirit of conservative cooperation I offer the seven most underrated reasons that Romney is indeed the most electable Republican presidential candidate.
Romney is hardly a perfect conservative candidate and it is becoming increasingly clear that no such person will ever again exist without being pulverized by the media. However, Republicans can and have done far worse than Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate. It is time to realize he is by far the best shot we have of avoiding four more years of Obama.
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