End Romney's Inevitability Myth

Spin, spin, spin.  That's all we get from establishment Republicans and the mainstream media.  It goes something like this: "Romney won't be beaten, can't be beaten.  He's got the money, organization, and, darn it, he just matches up better against Barack Obama, who's so formidable."  And we read Karl Rove's musings  about how Romney "won big" in Iowa.

Whether or not Mitt Romney buys his own press is not known, but he is quoted in a National Journal article yesterday as saying about New Hampshire:

"I know some pollsters say I'm doing real well. Let me tell you, those polls, they can just disappear overnight," he said. "What you say to a pollster is a bit like going on a date. It's like well, I might try this but you know, getting married, that's something else. So we need to make sure you're working real hard and I'll keep working real hard."

Let me tell you, Mitt Romney is right, even if he's just attempting to tamp down expectations for a New Hampshire victory.  Romney losing New Hampshire is long, long odds.  But the big question is can Romney take a clear majority of the votes in New Hampshire?  Can he do better than a plurality win? 

Perceptions matter a great deal in politics.  Lyndon Johnson actually beat Gene McCarthy in the New Hampshire Democratic primary in 1968 only to lose the perceptions game, in that Johnson's margin of victory wasn't considered sufficient. 

On the other hand, we had the aforementioned Karl Rove, among other establishment pundits, trying to convince readers that Romney's dead heat finish with Rick Santorum was a big win for Romney.  Big win, my eye.  All of Romney's money, organization, and five plus years of stumping Iowa could only wring a photo-finish with back-of-the-pack candidate Rick Santorum.

It's the Republican establishment that's playing the perceptions game, folks, and they're doing a pretty effective job spinning Romney as a done deal.  The Republican establishment is attempting to minimize Romney's Iowa failure and his significant, chronic vulnerabilities to keep his campaign from collapsing through the subsequent jam-packed run of GOP primaries and caucuses.

Is a collapsing Romney campaign hyperbole?  When 75% of the GOP electorate consistently want a nominee other than Romney (as was the case in Iowa), then it's not a stretch that Romney's nomination bid is skating on thin ice.  Romney should garner more than 25% of the vote in New Hampshire, but New Hampshire is practically Romney's home turf. 

What's saved Romney to date is a large field of conservative opponents who have fragmented the GOP's predominant conservative vote.  Romney isn't winning, he's surviving, thanks to that fragmentation.  Romney could survive all the way to the nomination if conservative voters don't coalesce soon behind a candidate - now Rick Santorum. 

Santorum, Gingrich, and grassroots conservatives need to wage their own perceptions offensive (one truer to the facts) to beat Romney.  To Gingrich's lasting credit, he's already doing so, telling MSNBC's Chris Matthews that Romney isn't going to be the GOP nominee.  Said Gingrich:  "Name one conservative accomplishment or public policy of Romney's."

Gingrich is transforming his campaign into a "Beat Mitt Romney" vehicle.  At this point, Gingrich knows that his chances for the GOP nomination are slight.  So in New Hampshire - and likely in South Carolina and Florida - Gingrich is waging a counteroffensive designed to boost Santorum's chances at the nomination.  Santorum will let Gingrich do the heavy slugging, but Santorum needs to provide contrasts with Romney and ratchet up expectations for a Romney victory. 

That's right - Santorum needs to use the weekend and Monday to set expectations sky high for a Romney victory in New Hampshire, so high that Romney can't possible achieve them.  At the same time, Santorum needs to tell grassroots conservatives that it's imperative to send a message to Romney, the GOP establishment, and the mainstream media: Go pound sand.  We're not going to be told who to nominate. 

Two can play the perceptions game, Karl. 

 

Spin, spin, spin.  That's all we get from establishment Republicans and the mainstream media.  It goes something like this: "Romney won't be beaten, can't be beaten.  He's got the money, organization, and, darn it, he just matches up better against Barack Obama, who's so formidable."  And we read Karl Rove's musings  about how Romney "won big" in Iowa.

Whether or not Mitt Romney buys his own press is not known, but he is quoted in a National Journal article yesterday as saying about New Hampshire:

"I know some pollsters say I'm doing real well. Let me tell you, those polls, they can just disappear overnight," he said. "What you say to a pollster is a bit like going on a date. It's like well, I might try this but you know, getting married, that's something else. So we need to make sure you're working real hard and I'll keep working real hard."

Let me tell you, Mitt Romney is right, even if he's just attempting to tamp down expectations for a New Hampshire victory.  Romney losing New Hampshire is long, long odds.  But the big question is can Romney take a clear majority of the votes in New Hampshire?  Can he do better than a plurality win? 

Perceptions matter a great deal in politics.  Lyndon Johnson actually beat Gene McCarthy in the New Hampshire Democratic primary in 1968 only to lose the perceptions game, in that Johnson's margin of victory wasn't considered sufficient. 

On the other hand, we had the aforementioned Karl Rove, among other establishment pundits, trying to convince readers that Romney's dead heat finish with Rick Santorum was a big win for Romney.  Big win, my eye.  All of Romney's money, organization, and five plus years of stumping Iowa could only wring a photo-finish with back-of-the-pack candidate Rick Santorum.

It's the Republican establishment that's playing the perceptions game, folks, and they're doing a pretty effective job spinning Romney as a done deal.  The Republican establishment is attempting to minimize Romney's Iowa failure and his significant, chronic vulnerabilities to keep his campaign from collapsing through the subsequent jam-packed run of GOP primaries and caucuses.

Is a collapsing Romney campaign hyperbole?  When 75% of the GOP electorate consistently want a nominee other than Romney (as was the case in Iowa), then it's not a stretch that Romney's nomination bid is skating on thin ice.  Romney should garner more than 25% of the vote in New Hampshire, but New Hampshire is practically Romney's home turf. 

What's saved Romney to date is a large field of conservative opponents who have fragmented the GOP's predominant conservative vote.  Romney isn't winning, he's surviving, thanks to that fragmentation.  Romney could survive all the way to the nomination if conservative voters don't coalesce soon behind a candidate - now Rick Santorum. 

Santorum, Gingrich, and grassroots conservatives need to wage their own perceptions offensive (one truer to the facts) to beat Romney.  To Gingrich's lasting credit, he's already doing so, telling MSNBC's Chris Matthews that Romney isn't going to be the GOP nominee.  Said Gingrich:  "Name one conservative accomplishment or public policy of Romney's."

Gingrich is transforming his campaign into a "Beat Mitt Romney" vehicle.  At this point, Gingrich knows that his chances for the GOP nomination are slight.  So in New Hampshire - and likely in South Carolina and Florida - Gingrich is waging a counteroffensive designed to boost Santorum's chances at the nomination.  Santorum will let Gingrich do the heavy slugging, but Santorum needs to provide contrasts with Romney and ratchet up expectations for a Romney victory. 

That's right - Santorum needs to use the weekend and Monday to set expectations sky high for a Romney victory in New Hampshire, so high that Romney can't possible achieve them.  At the same time, Santorum needs to tell grassroots conservatives that it's imperative to send a message to Romney, the GOP establishment, and the mainstream media: Go pound sand.  We're not going to be told who to nominate. 

Two can play the perceptions game, Karl. 

 

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