Usually I start off with the phrase “I hate saying this” but this time, not so much. I Told You So.
Rick Santorum has “suspended” his campaign. It isn’t so much that he has done it, but more along the lines of “Why the hell did it take so long?”. Jim Wright over at StoneKettle Station has a wonderful take on this (and Jim Wright is likely the best political blogger I have ever had the pleasure to encounter). Go ahead and read it. I will wait….
The only thing I will add to Jim’s wonderful take on the matter is that the reason candidates like Santorum “suspend” their campaigns is money. Nothing more, nothing less. Anyone want to take any bets that Santorum will run again in 2016?
This isn’t what I am referring to, though, when I say again – “I Told You So”. It was inevitable and only the most gullible people believed otherwise. Mittens Romney will be the Republican Candidate to face President Obama in the General Election in November. Again, I could say I told you so, but again, it was inevitable. This was written on the wall back in 2011 when there were 8 or 9 “Candidates”. The vast majority of them were wingnuts or publicity seekers and the only one that made any sense was Romney.
But now we get to the part where I really mean “I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO”. Back in 2011, when I was saying to everyone that Romney would be the candidate for the Republicans, I was also saying that a heated, contentious primary would only work against the Republican and get President Obama re-elected. Pundits (both in Montana and on the National stage) responded with a variety of comments that basically boiled down to “you are wrong”. -
“A tough primary fight will energize the base”.
“Having so many choices will result in a better candidate”.
“The Debates will make the final candidate appreciate the issues that we want addressed”.
“The hard primary fight will show how Obama is ruining the country”.
“A heated primary fight is good for the party”.
“Negative campaigning has always been used and it strengthens the Candidates”.
Well to all those Pundits (both professional and amateur), I respectfully thumb my nose at you and call you idiots.
The tough primary fight has effectively undermined support for the Republicans nationally and in Montana. The Tea Party is now viewed by the majority of Americans as the joke it has become. Idiot Candidates like Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Santorum have proven that the Republican Party has jumped the rails and is unlikely to find their way back. Moreover, the heated Primary Debates and Ads have completely undermined any hope that Romney can A) win the General and B) aid in the election of the downticket Republicans.
Don’t take my word for it. Read what the very same pundits are now saying (you know, the ones that said a tough primary fight was a good thing).
Like other conservative leaders, Scheffler said the issue isn’t so much whether conservatives already going to vote will check the box for Romney over President Obama. The issue is whether people are going to get out and work for him — providing critical grass roots energy fueled by the kind of passion that can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Let’s think about that for a second. Romney has about as much appeal as watching paint dry. He is not very charismatic, his “business creds” are basically buying companies to take them apart and make bucketloads of cash, as a Governor, he was a moderate Republican that pushed for and enacted a fairly decent piece of legislation on Health Care that has a lot of resemblances to the ACA.. I just don’t see Romney “energizing the base” at all.
The article goes on to say that, for Romney to win, he has to energize the Tea party patriots and evangelical vote. The articles lists a number of suggestions on how he should go about it, but the authors miss a VERY important point.
For Romney to energize his party, he has to go farther to the right than he did in his campaign to date. This is actually saying something, since he has already moved lightyears to the right since his days as a moderate Governor. Hell, he is already being called wishy washy and insincere and those labels will only be proven right if he goes any farther to the right.
Make no mistake, the Tea Party Patriots and Christian evangelicals will vote for Romney no matter what he does. The question is whether they go to the polls at all. This article (as well as many others) suggest that Romney will not be able to get “butts in the seat” unless he embraces these special interests in his campaign.
What the authors miss (and actually have been missing for a while now), is the insane dicotomy in that idea. Romney is already having problems with Independent Voters and Moderates. His flip flop from the more moderate stances he had as Governor have already made him somewhat unappealing. If he goes even more to the right to satisfy the evangelicals and Tea Party crowd, he will lose even more moderates and independents.
The result is a choice Romney will have to make. To win the election, he has to do two things that are simply incompatible. He either has to cater to the independents and moderates (costing him votes because the Tea Party Crowd and Evangelicals might stay home) or he has to cater to the Tea Party Crowd and Evangelicals costing him the general election in November. The only advantage to Romney to catering to the hard right is that it would probably help the Republican downticket races, but I just can’t see Romney making the choice to “Take one for the team”. His ego wouldn’t allow it.
The Obama Camp is not unaware of the situation, either. They are already capitalizing on it. A video was released shortly after Santorum made the announcement that he was suppending his candidacy. I invite you to watch it.
In this video, the Obama camp points out all the wingnut, hardright stances Romney has already taken during the primary battles. They want everyone to remember just how far to the right Romney has already gone. In subsequent videos, ads and campaign literature, they will either Juxtapose these hard right stances with his more moderate stances as Governor (or they will allow the Tea Party/Evangelicals to do it for them) or they will use these wingnut stances to bury Romney with the moderates and independents. Either way, the Primary Campaign will bite Romney in the ass and he will be lucky to exit the Campaign with any ass left.
So I told you so. Romney tanked himself during the Primary Campaign, and the acramony of the primary campaign did not make him stronger, energize the base or aid the Republicans in defeating President Obama. Just remember, you heard it here first.
Today, CNN posted two more opinion peices questioning Romney’s ability to win in November. Both are interesting reads and one raises some of the same questions I raised in my post. The other explores the difficulty Romney will have with the evangelical voters because of his faith.