Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Next for the Republi-CONs

UPDATE IX: Obamney won Arizon by 20.7 percentage points, but only won his 'home' state by 3.2 percentage points. For analysis, read The New York Times, The Meaning of Michigan, which notes that:

"[T]he campaign will now shift toward less favorable terrain for Mr. Romney. . .

If Mr. Romney wins Ohio, for instance, a state that should be somewhat below average for him, that would provide a very strong suggestion that he has built a winning coalition in the Republican race.

If Mr. Romney loses Ohio, on the other hand, it would certainly revive questions about both his weakness in the industrial Midwest and his inability to close the deal with Republican voters. But after his wins in Michigan and Arizona, we might essentially revert to the status quo as it existed a few days ago, with Mr. Romney as a fairly weak front-runner, but a front-runner nonetheless. And in fact, the status quo is basically favorable to Mr. Romney. He leads in the delegate count, in the popular vote, in endorsements from elected officials, in the number of states won and in virtually every other conventional or unconventional measure of his standing in the Republican race.

Momentum has had fairly weak and unpredictable effects so far in this race. There is the possibility that it will shift against Mr. Romney over the course of the next week.

But how would this manifest itself? It is unlikely to cause Mr. Romney to lose Massachusetts or Virginia, where he and Ron Paul are the only candidates on the ballot. There was one poll that showed a fairly close result in Vermont, but I have trouble believing that Mr. Santorum could win such a socially liberal state, or that Vermont will come to be considered essential to a Republican’s path to the nomination.

Perhaps the worst-case scenario for Mr. Romney is that his wins are limited to those three states — Massachusetts, Virginia and Vermont. He loses everything else, including the several caucus state to vote on Super Tuesday — as well as Washington, which holds its caucus on Saturday.

Such an outcome undoubtedly would be damaging to Mr. Romney, and would make his nomination less assured. But Mr. Romney’s Republican opponents may now have missed their best opportunity to deliver a knockout blow to him. Michigan, Arizona and Florida were interesting precisely because losses there would have been hard to excuse for Mr. Romney — clear demonstrations that he does not have a majority coalition. And yet, his advantage was not quite so formidable in these states that it was impossible to conceive of him losing. . .

Mr. Romney could still lose the nomination, but his campaign is relatively well-equipped for a war of attrition, and would rather take that route than one where his candidacy seemed to be imploding and there was unambiguous evidence that he had been rejected by the Republican electorate.

His win in Michigan treads water at best; his win in Arizona was impressive. But Mr. Romney is doing just well enough (and not much better) to be on track for the Republican nomination.

His opponents might not have missed their last opportunity to upend him, but they may have missed their best one."

UPDATE IX: "After 5 caucuses, 6 primaries, 20 debates and $30 million in television commercials, Mitt Romney leaves here facing the same stubborn question: Can a onetime Northeastern governor with a history of ideological migration win the Republican presidential nomination in the era of the Tea Party, with all its demands of political purity and passion?" Read The New York Times, Romney Faces Stubborn Question, Despite Victories.

UPDATE VIII: To understand the Ham Rove hissy fit over the Chrysler ad during the Super Bowl, one must accept that Republi-CONs want further economic chaos, like '21% unemployment', to advance their election interest.


Because of "[t]he combination of the strong jobs report and comparisons between the inspirational commercial and Ronald Reagan’s stirring 1984 'Morning in America' campaign" Republi-CON election campaign around the country.

Read The New York Times, When Cars Meet Politics, the Clock Is Running, which notes that "[a]s soon as the monthly job report was released last Friday, one of [Romney's] advisers, the Harvard economist Gregory Mankiw, wrote in a blog post that the news increased the probability of Mr. Obama’s re-election by a full 2 percentage points."

UPDATE VII: "Republicans are expressing fresh concerns that Mitt Romney is limping toward the presidential nomination, suffering new blows at the very moment he needs to grow stronger if he is to take on President Obama in November.

Even before Rick Santorum’s surprising sweep of three contests on Tuesday, the Romney campaign was receiving a steady stream of advice — and warnings — from Republicans who are increasingly anxious about Romney’s performance, which has not improved over nearly six weeks since the state caucuses and primaries began.

One prominent adviser told the candidate to sharpen his use of conservative code words and create “small pictures” — vivid imagery, in other words — to connect with voters. Another flew to Boston to say that Romney’s message is too businesslike and broad to capture the passion of angry Republican voters. Still others have gone on television and written opinion columns to hammer home what is becoming a common theme this year: that Romney has not been able to ignite a cause when the GOP is primed to become part of one."

Read the Washington Post, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign stuck in lukewarm.

But the real reason for the lack of enthusiasm for Obamney, he's a Yes Man.

He tries "to please everybody but has ended up pleasing few. Just what David Riesman would have called an other-directed man."

Read The New York Times, The Crowd Please.

I made a prediction before, which I modify a bit here, if Obamney does not start exciting the Republi-CON base, he stays in the race, but only to collect delegates so that he can (after being hounded by party establishment) graciously reconsider at the nominating convention and set aside for a late entry to the presidential race before another nominee cripples the Republican brand.

And the question is, can he build enthusiasm when he's not really a Republi-CON (look the word up to understand what I mean) at heart.

UPDATE VI: Why is Ham Rove having a hissy fit over the "Chrysler ad during the Super Bowl, starring Clint Eastwood"? Read The New York Times, Uh-oh, It’s Morning in America, which notes that "behind the yelling lies, almost surely, a growing sense of panic":

UPDATE V: "In the aftermath of Rick Santorum’s clean sweep of Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, Mitt Romney is still, in fact, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. But the lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy among conservatives foreshadows a potentially ugly road ahead to Tampa and general election problems if he is nominee." Read the Washington Post, Mitt Romney and the enthusiasm gap.

UPDATE IV: Another twist in the 2012 election. "Santorum won the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses and a nonbinding primary in Missouri on Tuesday, raising fresh questions about [Obamney]’s ability to corral conservative support."

"Whatever your perspective on how likely Mitt Romney was to lose the Republican nomination race prior to Tuesday evening, it should be acknowledged that he had about the worst results conceivable."

Read The New York Times, G.O.P. Race Has Hallmarks of Prolonged Battle, which notes that of the "five paths forward for the Republican nomination" after Romney's Florida victory "some implied a much longer and more difficult race, and some put him at a tangible risk of defeat.

The evidence [after Santorum’s clean sweep of Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri] was much more consistent with those scenarios, and much less so with those in which Mr. Romney wraps up the nomination easily."

UPDATE III: Obamney wins Nevada. So maybe Republi-cons will finally "settle in with Romney for the long haul. Or maybe they'll look again at Romney and see a transparently inauthentic conservative of convenience with a propensity for mind-boggling gaffes ('I'm also unemployed,' and 'Corporations are people, my friend,' and 'Well, the banks aren't bad people,' and so on.)"

Some still pine for a Not-Mitt White Knight. Alas, they should read U.S. News & World Report, GOP Shouldn't Hope for a White Knight or Brokered Convention.

UPDATE II: Read The New York Times, Five Paths Forward for G.O.P. Nomination, which stated that "[a]lthough Mitt Romney is the clear favorite to win the Republican nomination after his victory in Florida, the evidence is mixed as to how robust his advantage is. Below, we will draw on the Florida results and historical precedents to consider five different scenarios for the Republican race going forward.

Interpretation No. 1: It’s All Over but the Concession Speeches. . .

Interpretation No. 2: Florida Is the New Normal. . .

Interpretation No. 3: Anybody but Romney? Certainly Not Newt. . .

Interpretation No. 4: Rinse, Lather, Repeat. . .

Interpretation No. 5: Florida Was a Fluke. . ."

UPDATE: Although "[t]he media ♥ Newt Gingrich", the journey may be near an end. Some predict that The Great Lecherer "will pull the plug before Super Tuesday, and maybe even within ten days." Read the Atlantic, Newt Exit Countdown: 10 Days?

In any case, as noted in October, Obamney's the inevitable nominee.

"Seven states will vote next month, although that includes a 'beauty contest' primary in Missouri that will not affect delegate allocation and several caucuses with nonbinding results." Read The New York Times, Advantage Romney in February, but Risks Abound, which describes the "general lay of the land" leading up to Super Tuesday, March 6, 2012:

"Feb. 4, Nevada caucuses. . .

Feb. 7, Minnesota caucuses. . .

Feb. 7, Colorado caucuses. . .

Feb. 7, Missouri nonbinding primary. . .

Feb. 4-11, Maine caucuses. . .

Feb. 28, Arizona primary. . .

Feb. 28, Michigan primary. . ."