Why Romney Won't Win And Shouldn't
by Larry Perrault on October 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM
I think I’d support Jon Huntsman for the Republican nomination before Mitt Romney, though I’m not too worried about Huntsman. And actually, with all of the media clamor about him notwithstanding, I’m not terribly concerned about Romney either. Despite his demonstrated..."pliability" on specific issues and his fierce negative media campaigning against Huckabee and McCain in 2008, I don't dislike the man personally. But, I watched him closely over years and from a short distance at the 2008 Texas Republican Convention. He's been much more personal and less a machine this year. But, he has no internal compass or guiding framework. He can streamline an established organization. But to enrich the soil for developing new ventures and opportunities for all Americans: no clue.
And the fact is that earlier this year when he had not just superior, but fairly unique, name-recognition among Republicans, Romney drew less than a third support in polls of Republican voters. This earned him status as “the frontrunner,” but what it meant was that over two-thirds of Republicans supported other less-known candidates than Romney. Only Sarah Palin was similarly known. But she had similar but more assertive support, though she had not announced a candidacy. She never did and now of course has announced that she will NOT run (more on that, later).
Over time, Romney’s support dropped to around 1/4, and now it is typically less than a 1/5. The “experts” still count him as the most likely nominee, discounting others who have risen ahead of him and then faded. Right now, he is even with or behind Herman Cain. Enough objections MAY be raised to Cain that he too, will fade. But regardless, Romney’s distinctly minority support among Republicans has not risen and only declined. The bottom-line is this: a definite majority oppose him and that population has dwindled as voters get a longer or fuller look at he and the field.
Last year, The Tea Party drove a historic Republican victory in the mid-term election, retaking The House of Representatives and posting sharp gains in The Senate, which at this point it seems likely they will control after next year’s elections. Certainly among group leaders and largely among Tea Party voters, Romney’s support is weak. I don’t think they will quietly stand by and watch Romney nominated. In fact, I think they will return to a candidate who has risen, then faded , rather than support Romney. Were I to wager, I’d bet that not only Herman Cain, but Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann will win the nomination before Romney. I think Romney should bow out before he’s battling tooth and nail to finish ahead of Ron Paul. Wherever Paul finishes, his supporters are more fervent than Romney’s by a mile. I think much of what Ron Paul says and does is spot on and more fully thought out than any other candidate. But some of his foreign policy prescriptions leave me with a chill. However, I might roll the dice on Ron Paul before Romney. I’d surely support one of the others; even Huntsman. And again, it isn’t because I despise Romney. Nor is it about his Mormon faith, though I’m an evangelical Christian.
I won’t support Romney because in years of watching and listening to him, I have identified no core, or anything that is not subject to revision by electoral circumstance. I think more than establishing a vision for America, Romney just wants to BE president in a way similar to how Edmund Hillary wanted to scale Mt. Everest: because it was there. And in fact, more than any time in my life, The United States is in temperamental and practical ditch that demands a principled, resolute and charismatic leader. Though I know she had a lot of past disparagement to overcome, I had hoped and thought that Sarah Palin would run. She has that kind of vision, resolve and appeal. And I thought that she could have undone that ridicule when there was an opportunity for the public to see her and her decisive electoral and executive record directly. But she isn’t running.
As a governor with a record, Perry understands that government intervention diminishes the performance of markets and the function of states. And Bachmann understands those problems, though Palin understands the proper distinction between government practice and personal sentiment better than most. Herman Cain is an experienced executive. He has been questioned by some because he wasn’t familiar with the meticulous details of some national issues. But Cain has been working in the real world, not studying to be a policy wonk. An executive defers over the counsel and performance of subordinates who are expert in many fields. Cain is also an engaging speaker and impresses me most. Rick Santorum is familiar with the issues and could be another to rise. But I’d be very surprised if Romney were nominated. And contrary to what the “experts” say, I think Democrats would trash that “out of touch rich man” more easily than anyone else. He’d be wearing the lead boots of Wall Street bailouts. Smart Republican experts who see Romney as the survivor are working from a political paradigm whose time has come and gone, and at a uniquely critical time in U.S. history.