Monday, July 11, 2011

Candidates Against Change: Mitt Romney

This is going to be a series of meditations and profiles on the significant candidates in the 2012 GOP Primary Run (Sorry, Fred Karger, I couldn't care less about you running).  I'm also going to include info on the prospects in the primaries and caucuses and a serious hypothetical about this person running in the general election.  First up, Mitt Romney.

Portrait of Mitt Romney

Age: 64.  But, damn, he doesn't look it!

Hometown:  This is a tricky one.  He was born in Detroit (his father George Romney was governor there), but he spent a great deal of time in Utah (he's Mormon.  You had to have already known that, but we'll talk more about that later), but his political experience is in Massachusetts (hereafter Mass).  I'm going to go with political birthplace and say Boston, MA.

Place in Republican Party:  He's well-respected, with no ties to the previous administration, which is a good thing and should have helped him with the nomination then.  He's changed positions which some don't care for and see as a liability.  Other's don't like him because... he's Mormon (again, more on that later.)

Polls:  NH - Very good.  He polls well with independents and does very well with the moderate wing of the Republican Party.  That's why he's doing well here and will have to do well in the primary (assuming he's there for the primary).

Iowa - Today, it was announced that a single poll has Michele Bachmann ahead in the state.  This shouldn't deter Romney because, honestly the Bachmann campaign may implode if she talks about how slavery was bad, sure, but what about the family staying together?  (Don't worry, that, unfortunately, won't be the nail in her campaign's coffin.) Romney should stick it out and coast along.  He'll be fine.

SC - The odds that he'll win here are so-so.  There is talk that the primary here may become a less costly caucus.  If so, it's believed that Romney will do better, but maybe not an outright win.  He should downplay any expectations in SC.

Nevada - This became a target in the last primary season and Romney's a shoe-in.  This may dampen the state's effect in future nominations (to include this one) but Romney polls well in states where there's a high Mormon population.  The more people know about the religion, the more likely that they are going to support a candidate who's Mormon. Think of SC as the complete opposite of SC.

Ah, Mitt Romney:  While I would not vote for him, Romney is probably the best candidate that the GOP has.  This was true in '08 and it remains to be true now.  Reason why he was ideal in /08 was because he didn't have strong connections to the Bush Administrations like other candidates I know (His name starts with a J and ends with ohn McCain.)  This time around, he has the stink of a loser, but he smiles and waves and moves like a winner.

His lead should be treated caution.  Both Rudy Giuliani and Hilary Clinton were polling as well in IA and NH at this point in the campaign last time around.  However, he should play it up and exploit it.  The major strength of the Romney campaign is fundraising.  He's always well-known for three things, herein to be discussed and analyzed:

1.  He stated and ran Bain Capital, a highly successful hedge fund that turned several businesses around.  This is true, he did turn them around.  Right after he and Bain Capital got paid, the businesses typically declared bankruptcies and laid off countless employees (I mean, you could count them, but it was still heartless and pointless business decision-making.  Romney's perceived strength (not actual strength) is on the economy.  And he's going to have a hard time pressing against Obama for not creating jobs when he himself destroyed jobs deliberately.

2.  Romney was  the Governor of Mass.  In a traditionally blue-state, he was elected as a Republican.  No small feat.  And everyone that I've ever talked to, Republican and Democrat from the Bay State, have more or less said the same thing "He might have been the best governor that we've ever had."  Now, either that's a common phrase in Boston or it's the truth.  He was, at one point in time, able to reach across the aisle and make compromises and get work done (RomneyCare or CommonwealthCare if you prefer real names of things).  It's going to hang over his head for the entire race, but this is a calculation that he's made and he couldn't have missed it.  This column will assume that Romney knows what he's doing in this regard.  Hopefully, its more than "Maybe people will ignore it."  Not a chance.

File:Romney portrait.jpg

3.  Romney is a practicing Mormon (that's the difference between him and Huntsman).  most in the GOP say that they wouldn't vote for an LDS.  Romney, however, is still polling well and he's doing very well in states with significant Mormon population.  Familiarity, in this case, does not breed contempt.

It's a shame that in the 21st century, we still take where a man goes to on a Sunday morning into consideration.  We shouldn't .  Because a man might sleep in, he might wake up at 5am, but who cares?  As long as they are an effective leader, what difference does the rest of it make?  John Kennedy's Catholocism had nothing to do with the way that he ran the office of the White House.  None.  The only time the fact that he was Catholic was mentioned was when he gave a speech saying that he didn't take marching orders from the Vatican.  Romney has already said as much regarding Temple Square in SLC and he did that four years ago.

Especially when there are so many other things to criticize Romney for.  While the polling is in his favor now, Romney doesn't stand a good chance in the general election. It's going to be to easy for Democrats to portray him as a New England flip-flopper.

Joke liberally taken (get it?) from the Daily Show.
And that doesn't work.

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