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AdLib On January - 5 - 2012

From the same pundits who brought you President Trump Bachmann Perry Cain Gingrich comes a “This time for sure!” declaration that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee and that he is likely to wrap it up quickly.

Now, unlike their many previous proclamations, this time they are safely snuggled in the warmth of the odds and the conventional approach of the GOP towards choosing nominees….that is, giving the nomination to the guy whose turn it is.

Like George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain before him, going into this primary, it is Mitt Romney’s turn. He was and is the only GOP establishment guy who paid his dues the last time around and happily toes whatever line is required to reflect their agenda.

Mitt Romney has a huge pile of campaign money, a sneaky Super PAC that is flush with Wall Street and GOP Elite money, organization in most states that matter and as in the Creationist Museum, Romney is also riding on the backs of GOP dinosaurs like the elder Bush and John McCain.

Despite Rick Perry’s faith in miracles and the flat shape of the Earth, no one else in the GOP Presidential field has all of these strengths. So, Mitt Romney stands giant head and perfectly square shoulders above the rest of the candidates.

Mitt Romney has a lock on the GOP nomination and it the race should be over quickly, ask any pundit you happen to see, whether at a freeway off-ramp holding a cardboard sign or leaning on a lamp post with bleached blonde hair and a mini skirt.

Then again, since they’ve been right as often as $2 watch, maybe at least part of this meme is not as certain as it may seem.

As mentioned above, it is betting against the odds to say that Romney won’t be the nominee but it may not be such long odds to propose that he may not be able to lock this up for some time.

Let’s begin by considering his performance in the Iowa Caucus and his poll numbers throughout the run up to the primary. Aside from polls in New Hampshire, Romney has not typically polled above 25% in state or national polls. In this week’s Iowa Caucus, Romney again couldn’t break 25% and in fact, received a few less votes than he garnered when he came in second in 2008 (did Romney win or did the competition just lose and make his 2nd place showing from last year become 1st place by default?).

While 25% has been sufficient to be the front runner or 2nd place along the way, it can’t be overlooked that 75% of Republicans prefer voting for frothing-at-the-mouth or drooling-at-the-mouth loonies rather than support the “sensible” candidate, Mitt Romney.

In a field this weak, with candidates claiming that child labor will fix the economy, there are eight Supreme Court justices and the official US voting age is 21, HPV vaccines cause nearly instantaneous mental retardation, contraception should be outlawed, and that repeating the number 9 three times is an economic plan, Mitt Romney can’t break away.

In a crowd of midgets, he may be the tallest by a hair but he is still a midget.

The reasons for Romney’s 25% ceiling are familiar to most who have been following the GOP primary. He comes across as a fraud with no convictions other than winning at any cost. The Tea Partiers, Religious Right and hard core social conservatives strongly dislike and distrust Romney who set up Romneycare in Massachusetts and campaigned as a strong supporter of gay rights and pro-choice in his previous incarnation.

Though I disagree with these right wingers on just about everything, on this I have to admit we share the same opinion…Mitt Romney is not someone who can be trusted and is dishonest. Fortunately, it doesn’t hurt the agenda I support for Romney to become the GOP nominee because I think his unlikeability and snake oil salesman persona is his doom in a General Election against the inarguably liked and genuine Barack Obama.

So what are Right Wing Republicans to do when looking down the road at an inauthentically conservative Mitt Romney as their nominee?

This weekend, a group of social/religious conservative leaders such as Gary Bauer, president of the conservative group American Values, and James Dobson, the evangelical Christian leader who founded the Focus on the Family activist group, will be meeting in Texas to try and come together in supporting one candidate who represents their hateful, oppressive agenda. Their fear is that, as happened in 2008, the social religious vote will be splintered between multiple candidates and the weak moderate candidate will win by default.

Looking at the 75% anti-Romney vote out there, they have a good point but they don’t have a good candidate. Who could they unite behind? Santorum represents hard core conservative Catholic beliefs and is clearly on the fringe. Gingrich is loaded with baggage and has just recently crashed and burned in IA. As for Perry, he comes off as a complete moron but only when his lips are moving.

Yet, if they don’t unite behind one candidate, they absolutely won’t have a nominee that will help make Evangelistic Christianity the law of the land.

It’s hard to guess if they could come together on one candidate and even if they do, will the flock will follow their recommendation? For argument’s sake though, let’s say they do. Just looking at the latest Gallup national poll numbers, Gingrich, Perry and Santorum together have 36% of the vote, Romney has 27% (Ron Paul voters are mostly fanatics and not swayed by anything away from him and Huntsman barely registers any support).

If most of that 36%, perhaps just 28% of it can be focused on one candidate, Romney could be defeated.

Romney is the most likely candidate to win the nomination but he is not a lock. He will likely win in New Hampshire by a good margin but that’s factored into the mix by GOP voters and other candidates. I don’t think anyone other than Huntsman would drop out after NH. The next primaries are in South Carolina and Florida which could take a lot of wind out of Romney’s sails and his inevitability. The most recent polls in SC and FL are weeks old and reflect when Gingrich was the anti-Romney favorite but Romney’s numbers in both states were in the same 20%-27% range.

If Romney can be denied SC and FL or if he wins but not convincingly, which remains possible no matter his margin of victory in NH, the punditry meme would quickly turn from Romney as inevitable to Romney as collapsing.

And another thing to consider is that the more Romney looks to be closing in on the nomination, the more the drive to stop him could grow among the hard right of the GOP. So, a strong showing in NH which seems inevitable could be what causes a huge backlash against Romney in SC and FL.

Let’s say however that the religious and social conservatives are again divided and conquered and Romney wins the nomination. Is the enthusiasm for another default presidential candidate going to be rabid or muted?

It is true that there are enough racists and haters out there who would overlook everything they hate about Romney just to throw Obama out of the White House. However, the enthusiasm that could have been, won’t be. The real pain for the Right Wingers will come when Romney gets into the General Election and steers to the middle. Though it is a standard tactic, with Romney’s track record, it seems that his flip-flopping to the middle on social issues should inflame many RW Republicans and prove out their worst fears about Romney.

This would seem to be a massive obstacle to Romney’s campaign. As he has veered farther right in the primaries to convince the GOP faithful that he is a hard right conservative, any move he makes to the middle in the GE to woo independent voters, who are absolutely necessary to attract to win the Presidency, will be a confirmation to Right Wingers that they were played and a morale killer.

The Obama campaign might in fact find it advantageous to advertise to indie voters in a way that’s accessible for Republicans, “See, Romney is a fake conservative and untrustworthy.” It is a way of killing two birds with one stone, disqualifying Romney with indies and diffusing enthusiasm in Republicans.

As for the upcoming weeks, let’s see if the Religious Right can or can’t come together behind a single candidate, if Newt can inflict any serious damage on Romney in Sunday’s debate and in the future and if Romney falters in SC and FL.

Romney will likely win in NH by a healthy margin but once NH is over, Romney may indeed find himself lockblocked.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

23 Responses so far.

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  1. Caru says:

    As the level of craziness within the GOP race increases, the clarity of the outcome approaches zero.

  2. agrippa says:

    I think that Romney will be the nominee; the ‘last man standing’. The RR may not like him very much, but I do not think that they will be able to stop him.
    Personally, I think that Romney is not much of anything; akin to Dewey ( the man on the wedding cake). After the nomination, he will find out how his ‘flip flpping’ will play in that arena.
    The RR will fall in line and vote for Romney; or, stay home.

    I think that the election results will be much like 2008, with Romney doing a little better than McCain. The HoR is in play, a Democratic gain of 24 makes Pelosi speaker.

    • AdLib says:

      I agree with you Agrippa, it will likely be Romney but it doesn’t mean the RR can’t have the fight they want to have.

      I don’t think they’ll just shrug their shoulders and sing Kumbaya with the Romney Elite.

      And I do think you’re right that it will be 2008-Lite. Not as big of a margin for Obama but I’d guess a 4% margin.

      And the odds for the Dems to retake the House are good though the fight to keep the Senate will be tough.

  3. Khirad says:

    I think it has dissipated and an uneasy alliance formed in the last couple decades, and I also don’t think it will affect their little Synod/Cabal meeting results too much, but there are no doubt those in South Carolina who will still have almost as hard a time voting for a Catholic as a Mormon even if he shares most all their social views. That alone is sad, but damned if it ain’t true. I think the Catholics on the Planet can attest to facing this bias, and I can assure them from the limited family links I have, they are not unfound suspicions. Hardcore Evangelicals don’t trust Catholics. I think this is what Perry is really hoping for. But lord knows if that man can even strategize this deeply…

    Let the demographics speak for themselves:

    New Hampshire
    Catholic 35%
    Protestant 32%

    South Carolina
    Protestant: 84% (Southern Baptist 45%, Methodist 15%, Presbyterian 5%, Other 19%)
    Catholic: 7%

  4. SueInCa says:

    Adlib
    Nice review on the GOP. I am curious as to who the RR will get behind. My thoughts are Santorum or Romney. In the end his “mormonism” won’t make a big difference if they know they can manipulate him and from all his flip flops(well documented by KQ here) we all know he has no spine. If you want a puppet president to watch, he will be your man.

    • AdLib says:

      Actually, their conference this weekend is to settle on a non-Romney candidate. So, it’s down to Santorum, Gingrich or Perry. They all have a shot, if they can even succeed in uniting behind a candidate. Santorum would likely have the most momentum but as they’ve chosen it to be in TX, I wonder if they might throw their Hail Mary to Perry.

      The RR know that Romney isn’t one of them and won’t do their bidding so I doubt they would enthusiastically get behind him…though in a GE, with the prospect of tossing out the black man in the WH, they may still have a lot of motivation.

      • SueInCa says:

        As cynical as they are and as badly as Romney wants it, I bet they can strike a deal. We shall see. They are going to have to step up the grooming no matter who they pick

        • AdLib says:

          You can’t strike a deal with someone you don’t trust and they don’t trust him.

          Also, he doesn’t need them if they’re splintered amongst other candidates, anymore than McCain did.

          Check out the excerpts of the article below, it actually looks like they’ve picked their guy…Santorum…and the mission this weekend is to just get other RR leaders and the faithful on board:

          Prominent conservative leaders want their rank and file to quickly get behind a single presidential candidate, fearful that persistent splits will help Mitt Romney win the Republican nomination.

          “Conservatives are still divided among a number of different candidates, but the field is winnowing,” said former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer. And, he said: “I certainly think that Sen. Santorum is in a good position to inherit a lot of that support.”

          “There is movement, even members of Congress who are weighing this now who are looking to make a move,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who said he’s spoken with more than eight leaders with conservative constituencies, including lawmakers. He declined to name them but added: “I do think you’ll see growing momentum toward Rick Santorum.”

          http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120106/ap_on_el_ge/us_gop_conservatives

          • I gotta go with Sue on this one a bit. For all their rhetoric groups like the Family Research Council will go for Romney. I know the perception on the left that Romney is so hated on the right that they can’t reconcile but the vast majority will. I’ve seen teabaggers rip the likes of Santorum and Newt just as much as Romney. Remember the right expects purity beyond what the left does so they don’t see as much difference as we do between Romney and the ABR candidates. But because the right likes authority and the vast majority are just fine with voting against Obama Romney is fine with them because they love the way he lies about Obama and his record. This is not to say that many will quietly just not bother to vote but you won’t see many in the GOP vocalize against Romney after he is anointed.

            The most powerful thing now is that the firewall has collapsed for Newt and other ABRs in SC. Romney has taken the lead in polls and that means game over for the ABR candidate.

          • SueInCa says:

            They are saying on O’Donnell now, Charlie Black informal advisor to Mitt how Santorum does not have the backing. Rut Roh they are not aware of the RR and their pending support

          • SueInCa says:

            I had not seen these comments, Santorum it is and a bad choice for them. What was it Scarface said to Mel of the Miami PD? “hey Mel, keep up the bad work”. These people are so blinded by religion, they cannot see that America has moved on from racist people. There are not enough religious right christians to elect him and Catholics are sure to be split between him and Obama. Very few Catholics are of the “charismatic” persuasion.

            • AdLib says:

              Which is why it’s great to have them picking a candidate. They have no idea how out of touch they are with Americans as a whole so their pick of Santorum will help damage the GOP.

              Love it!

  5. escribacat says:

    Hey Adlib! The scariest thing about this whole GOPer circus is that they don’t seem to realize it’s a circus. I saw an interview with Sen. Ghastly the other day and he said he refuses to endorse any of the candidates because they’re all just fine and dandy and wonderful. He’d be happy with any of them, he said. Wow. It’s hard to believe we’re all of the same species.

    • AdLib says:

      Hey Escribacat!

      There sure do seem to be those Repubs who sit on the couch, oblivious to their house being on fire. There also seem to be those who simply parrot that talking point, knowing but not saying that they have the worst array of candidates every to run for the GOP nom.

      So, fools, deniers and liars, that about sums up the GOP.

  6. kesmarn says:

    AdLib, first off — this is a paragraph for the ages, and I thank you for it:

    In a field this weak, with candidates claiming that child labor will fix the economy, there are eight Supreme Court justices and the official US voting age is 21, HPV vaccines cause nearly instantaneous mental retardation, contraception should be outlawed, and that repeating the number 9 three times is an economic plan, Mitt Romney can’t break away.

    😆

    I’m beginning to wonder if this “Texas Prayer Meetin’ and Candidatorial Anointin’ Service” on the weekend is going to place the Holy Mantle of Rightiness on the shoulders of Sanctimonious Santorum.
    Granted his being a Catholic is problematic; but at least he’s the right kind of Catholic. Homophobic and misogynistic. That’s a huge step in the right direction.

    I doubt that there are quite enough RW religious fanatics to make him the candidate all by themselves. They’re going to need the racists to do some heavy lifting (for a change, instead of outsourcing it). But I wonder if he isn’t their Golden Boy du jour.

    I don’t think he has a chance of unseating the president, though.

    Thank God.

    (And that would be the God who loves gay people and doesn’t send poor women to hell for not being able to have unlimited numbers of children.)

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks so much, Kes!

      I think it is really up for grabs as to who the RR would anoint…or if they can even agree on a candidate.

      Santorum’s Catholicism and his being virtually unknown to most voters would work against him. Newt’s recent fall and his many since could invalidate him but he has the name recognition. Perry would be ideal if he wasn’t such an abject idiot.

      So, will it be Moe, Larry or Curly…or an agreement to disagree?

      I agree, the RR will need the racists and haters to join them and I think any of these three could attract them though Newt would seem to be the best choice for those wanting a bomb thrower.

      Newt may very well be cooked but with a pugnacious appearance against Romney in Sunday’s debate, who knows, maybe he could have a second redemption in NH by coming in a strong 2nd? Then again, maybe Santorum builds momentum and comes in a good 2nd in NH.

      Poor Perry. He had the campaign line of “job creator”, more money than Romney and was Gov of one of the biggest southern states. If only he wasn’t such an obvious moron, he could’ve had it all. I do think he’s cooked.

      • kesmarn says:

        I agree, AdLib, we can stick a fork in Perry. He is done. In all honesty I think Dubya was easily as dumb as Perry, but going to Yale and coming from old money did give him some valuable skills in covering up his idiocy with arrogant snark. That Dubya smirk was marginally more intimidating than Perry’s overtly dim-witted demeanor and “oopsiness.”

        I think RW religious zealots find Santorum’s folksy choir boy routine more appealing than Newt’s newly assumed but tarnished-by-his-past halo. Newt just seems a little too shopworn for the younger evangelical crowd. Although his unmitigated nastiness is a huge selling point when they go into their blood-thirsty righteous mode. That can’t be overlooked.

        Decisions, decisions…

        So many oddballs. So little time.

  7. I’m going to go back to my original prediction that Romney is inevitable. You can’t beat being the next in line with the money and organization (along with the Super PACs) to destroy your opponent. Romney’s divide and conquer strategy has worked.

    Republicans will probably not have a big turnout just like 2008 but Romney may even get more independents than McCain got because of the economy. All Obama has to do in debates to win is say something like this ‘Mitt a few years ago you agreed with me on this issue’ about a dozen times. There is just no area of policy Romney can credibly attack Obama with because of this. Nobody likes phonies left, center or right.

    This is also the worse time for a poster child from Wall Street to run no matter how Republicans will try to spin it, Romney will appear to be like Gordon Gekko who is not an entrepreneur but a vulture.

    Most likely Romney will run a totally negative campaign attacking President Obama’s character because he’s bereft of ideas just like McCain did because the GOP orthodoxy is government can’t fix things. So he will just attack the guy who killed OBL and decimated Al Qaeda as being weak and un-American. If it didn’t work in 2008, it’s not going to work in 2012.

    Obviously the economy is where Obama is going to have to play defense the most. So his biggest challenge is to come up with a good strategy to communicate to people how he has set the proper direction for the economy. If he can show almost three full years of job growth that will be his best case.

    • Khirad says:

      $32 million verses $2 million and a buck and change respectively.

      I think that speaks loudest.

    • AdLib says:

      It’s definitely the most likely outcome, that Romney is the nominee. My point though is that it may not be locked up for him quite as swiftly as it may seem right now.

      I think Romney’s match up numbers against Obama may be at their highest during the Repub primary than they will be in the GE.

      Romney has not been seriously attacked during the primary and he has gotten so much press attention, the polls can’t help but reflect name recognition more than substance (if Romney has any).

      Once the Obama campaign against Romney begins, Romney’s numbers will take a pounding. Obama has already taken a pounding by all Repub candidates for the last 6 months so he’s pretty much at the floor of support he can count on.

      Obama is still beating Romney in polls today but as Romney is finally hammered by someone who has as much or more money than he and his Super Pacs have, Romney’s floor will be found and it will be much lower than his current numbers.

      There is so much material from the primary that can be used to nail Romney and his impending flip flop as he veers back towards the middle in the GE will be doubly damaging.

      With the economy slowly but steadily improving and with the actions Obama has been taking on his own, along with hanging the hated Repub House around Romney’s neck, I think Obama pulls out a strong victory by around 4% over Romney in the GE.

      • I think they will fall in line faster than you think with the inside info I’ve seen.

        I’ve heard pol pundits, especially those on the right and moderates say flip flops won’t hurt Romney in the general. I like Ezra Klein absolutely disagree. It’s not that the flip flops make Romney any more moderate. It makes him unbelievable. In the long run his lies about Obama will hurt too because they speak to his biggest weakness that he will say or do anything just to get elected.

        Let’s not forget he’s going to dive back to the center at some point. Of course the later this happens the better for Obama but again it will be another round of flip flops flips in this case.

        Like you said Obama and his Super PACs (unions and such) will be more than a match for Romney’s money. Obama’s got over 500,000 donors already who will offer money AND time.

        Good point about Romney’s ceiling against Obama now and his basement. Let’s not forget too that Obama and his team are master strategists for the short, medium and long term. They will find Romney’s basement by the end of the election.

        It won’t be as big a win as 2008 unless the economy really starts smokin’ but it will be closer than people think. I think turnout will be relatively low for Republicans and moderate for Democrats. So it could even be a very modest split with independents and Obama would win.

        Overall turnout was a bit higher in Iowa however during 2008 it was something like 90% Republicans and in 2012 it was only about 75% Republicans and you know most of those independents and almost all Dems went to Paul. Those Ron Paul voters are not going to vote for Romney unless he does an independent run.

        Iowa showed there is a three way schism in the GOP. You have Christainists, establishment Wall Street Republicans and Libertarians. This along with the TPM worked well in the 2010 races because it was more of a big tent but in the general Romney only appeals to one camp and even if most of the rank and file fall in line many will stay at home. Sure some of the far left will stay at home too just out of spite against Obama but they are never dependable voters anyway.


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