An Open Convention Over Romney
by Larry Perrault on March 30, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Sorry. I'm not playing ball. Oh, I'll vote for Mitt Romney if he's nominated, but I'd be happier voting for thousands of other Americans. Heck, I'd be happier voting for thousands of other Americans THAT I'VE KNOWN PERSONALLY.
I listen to a few talk radio programs. I finally dropped one when he manifested himself as an old-fashioned political calculator, disdaining all of Romney's challengers. A while later, I stopped listening to my favorite host when he went wobbly on Romney. I listen to other programs now. These traditional political calculators don't mean poorly. They care about the country and believe Romney has the best chance to beat Obama. I care about the country and I'm not a suicidal Narcissus who cares only about my own image in a mirror when it comes to my civic duty. And if I believed Romney was the best Republican chance to win, I'd support him too.
Some don't surprise me, but I was very disappointed when some Republican office-holders like VA Gov. Bob McDonnell and US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor endorsed Romney. And Wednesday night, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who clearly understands the unique traditional strength of America and whom I trust, endorsed Romney. He took the common tack that he doesn't believe further prolonging the process will be good for the Republicans in the fall election, and thus not good for the country. I'm certain he's serious. But I disagree and don’t agree that Romney is the best candidate for the general election. I don’t even think he’s a good one.
I fully understand that it’s highly unlikely and to imagine the unprecedented, that Newt Gingrich could at this point win the nomination. It’s more plausible, but still would require an unprecedented close, comparable to Ronald Reagan’s not quite successful one in 1976, for Rick Santorum to win the nomination. But, I’m certain that Gingrich and think Santorum also would be a stronger general election candidate than Romney. Any of them would be massively attacked and smeared. But I think Gingrich would without question be most skilled at engaging the attack, and Romney least so. But, I actually do think any of the three could win.
Whether it’s the intimidation of the office itself or the outright audacity with which Obama has administered it with respect to both the law and precedence, people seem to overestimate Obama’s strength. Clearly in history, the voters have been inclined to repudiate an unpopular incumbent president at his next election. Though his personal approval is higher but still only around half of the public, Obama’s job-approval rating with the public is low and sinking. And the nation has not suffered a sluggish economy with unemployment rates at this level for this long since The Great Depression. They say that a good prosecutor can win an indictment of a ham sandwich. Perhaps when the incumbent’s job is disapproved of, the public will elect one.
Now we probably should note that during that Great Depression of the 1930s, the incumbent Franklin Roosevelt was reelected twice, and a third time when we were in the middle of World War II and the depression was lifting. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible for Obama to win. But A) news delivery is a lot more direct and constant over 75 years later, and B) I am pretty certain that Obama’s popularity does not approach what Roosevelt’s was.
Now Newt Gingrich is no ham sandwich, but the most informed and articulate politician on American history and policy to be found today. But clearly, a lot of Republican voters either don’t agree or don’t make that a primary consideration. Whether it’s determinative and how much voters accept his penitence or not, Gingrich’s personal misadventures have cost him something of significance. Of course he has only himself to blame for that. And the conventionalist longtime Romney-backing political professionals are scared to death of a Gingrich nomination because their perspective was formed when conservatism was worn with modesty under a full-length dress. They certainly don’t want a clear and assertive one. They think Reagan was a unique exception because of his winning demeanor. I think the much sought after Independents also want to see conviction and consistency, though I’ll grant that Gingrich makes his resolute and substantiated arguments without quite the grace that Reagan did.
I believe Santorum’s convictions are sincere and he’s a good man. But I think he overestimates what the federal government can practically and constitutionally accomplish. But I think he would be constrained somewhat in that regard by both his advisors and Congress. He would not engage the storm of attack as competently as Gingrich, but few would. His sincerity and honor would come through. But I think he and Gingrich should team up with Gingrich as the Obama critic 2nd man and Santorum as the positive good cop at the top of the ticket. I even think Romney could be elected if, even after the Democrats had made assaulted him and he responded feebly because he has no clear philosophical framework from which to operate, Obama lost worse in maybe the nose-holder election of all time. For Romney, I’d cast the most painful vote of my life, and there have been some cheerless ones.
Rubio expressed as others have, that he doesn’t think a convention fight would be good for the party. But that would be the aim of Santorum and Gingrich and a plausible one if they worked as a team. Many have remarked of how with most states allocating delegates proportionally, Romney keeps adding them, even when losing primaries. But he doesn’t have half the total he needs, and if he wins a minority of the remaining delegates, he won’t reach an overall majority. So would the convention award the nomination to a candidate who won a minority of the delegates and finished on a nice losing streak? I’m inclined to doubt that. That would be a weak general election candidate.
Of course I’m less inclined to think they’d award the nomination to Santorum or Gingrich. But Santorum could look more promising if he closes on a winning streak, especially if he wins Texas AND California. And if he did, he wouldn’t be far behind Romney. And Gingrich thinks he can make the best case to uncommitted delegates and others on the 2nd ballot and beyond. I’m sure he can, but it would still be an incredible move for them to award him the nomination. But at this point, they might persuade another party who has insisted they aren’t seeking the nomination. I think he’s a more articulate candidate than his brother or dad and I think they are a decent and patriotic family. But I think Jeb Bush would provide an additional “Bush” angle of attack for the Democrats and he still has the family lack of grit which I think would be a bad problem with what is required now.
There’s Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels who declined to make the effort and has always denied interest but saving the party and the country could change his mind. And I think he could unite the party, except for quixotic idealists who would scorn his participation in the Bush administration. There’s Ohio Governor John Kasich whom I like and has that good disposition. But I hope by then he’s well recovered from union backlash from trying to bring Ohio back to life. I’d even be supportive of Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia despite his misbegotten Romney endorsement. But he has a level and positive demeanor and has cleaned up Virginias budget. I absolutely love Sarah Palin’s constitutional disposition, common-sense and the steam-roller resolve she showed in Alaska, though I don’t know if the convention would reach for her and the fury she would provoke.
Many possible convention choices would be stronger than Romney, and any of these or others could make Santorum if he was on a hot steak, or even Gingrich for his aptitude. And, I don’t think the ticket that emerged from a convention like this would be at a disadvantage against Barack Obama. As I said, it’s possible the public would reelect Barack Obama. But if you love a constitutional liberty with the protection of fundamental unalienable rights, like someone with a marital idea whose serially adulterous spouse has now run off to Rio De Janeiro with rich drug criminal, perhaps it’s time to think about Plan B.