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AdLib On January - 10 - 2012

The conventional wisdom going into the Republican primary was that Romney would be the GOP Establishment favorite and The Tea Party would back their own candidate who may overpower him.

Due to the makeup of the field of candidates, this scenario has tried to get off the ground repeatedly but like a Tea Party built airplane that only has two right wings, it just kept crashing after take off.

We all know the litany of GOP Tea Party front runners who have run off the cliff flapping their arms: Trump, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich and Santorum. All of whom, even the latest flavor of the week, Santorum, succumb to the law of gravity after jumping off that cliff, even if they don’t believe in it.

The reason that the original scenario hasn’t come to fruition has been a combination of two things…the weakest and most flawed field of Presidential candidates, likely the worst in the history of Presidential elections and the splitting of the Tea Party vote between multiple candidates.

When you look at the numbers, the pro-Romney vote is about equal to the anti-Romney vote. The difference is that Romney gets all of his votes and the anti-Romney vote is split at least three ways.

It is possible that Huntsman and Paul dent Romney’s win in NH and he continues to SC weakened. It’s also possible that Tea Party and RW voters coalesce over one particular candidate and help that person consolidate the anti-Romney vote (as explored in a previous article: “How Mitt Romney Could Be Lockblocked“)

Romney has taking some potent hits over the weekend as well as today, some self-inflicted and others coming from rivals and the DNC:

Even with all of this and Romney’s numbers declining in NH, he has been so far ahead that he is still expected to win, albeit with a smaller margin than may have been expected. That would still give Romney bragging rights to winning two of two primaries going into South Carolina.

So, speaking solely from a logistical standpoint, there is no other candidate with the money and organization to compete with Romney throughout the primary (Perry was the only one who had that potential but he has failed spectacularly and will be out after SC).

Putting aside the possibilities of another candidate overcoming Romney’s mega-millions with populism, Romney could have a lock or at least a near lock on the nomination very early on.

And that may not be a bad thing for those who don’t feel that what we need right now in the White House is a George Bush sequel on steroids.

The original aspiration for many (including me) was that there would be a long and bruising fight between The Romney and The Anti-Romney that would leave the eventual winner in tatters and shoved far to the right…with the hope that the extremist Anti-Romney would be the eventual and easily beaten nominee.

But let’s think back to 2008 and consider if the battle between Obama and Hillary left him weaker or stronger, going into the General Election. Mitt seems poorly prepared at this point in time to deal with being confronted on his past, his lies and his BS persona. Might not a prolonged primary make him better prepared on this?

And think back to Obama’s biggest vulnerabilities. Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, accusations of being Muslim, etc.. Hillary attacked Obama on all of these fronts and Obama ended up dealing with them all. By the time of the General Election, when McCain and Palin were trying to smear Obama with the same slime, the public yawned because it was old news.

Consider too that if the race for GOP candidate for President is a foregone conclusion early on, there will be little appetite and shrinking importance and news coverage for the primary races. As attention diminishes, so does the MSM megaphone for Romney to get out his “message” and attacks on Obama. Meanwhile, Obama as President will continue to have the bully pulpit to get his message out.

Add to all the above how the Tea Party folks will feel about the GOP Elite quickly crowning their own as nominee and shutting them out. The Tea Party is the biggest engine that drives voters in the GOP and being run over like this will have a devastating effect on thier participation and enthusiasm.

Can we really imagine Tea Partiers raucously cheering on Willard and getting excited at the prospect of a President Romney? Tea Party leader Matt Kibbe was on Hardball yesterday and when asked, “How will you get into the GOP convention?”, answered, “We won’t.” If that doesn’t sound like a ticking time bomb…

The swift nomination of Mitt Romney could indeed light the fuse that blows up the GOP into a civil war. Tea Partiers strongly dislike Romney and seem unlikely to avidly support him if he wins. In fact, they already seem to be taking it as backstabbing for the GOP Elite to have used them to take over the House then deny them the type of Presidential candidate they want.

The Tea Party may despise Obama but might they not use the excess of spite they’re filled with against those who have actually betrayed them and taken their party away from them?

For all of these reasons, I would propose that it is a win for President Obama if Romney becomes the de facto GOP Presidential nominee by next month.

Not only will it provide a less seasoned Romney when it comes to one-on-one debates (the mass debates he’s been in are very different from one-on-one debates) but it could greatly sap the enthusiasm and energy of the GOP (which has continued to decline as the debates have gone on…just the opposite of what is historically the case…the more Republicans and the public see of this field, the less they like them!).

It surely would have been delightful and hilarious to have had Rick Perry, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich running against Pres. Obama but with all of his weaknesses and being the symbol of corporate greed and uncaring elitists in this atmosphere of economic injustice and Occupy Wall Street, Mitt Romney might be the weakest candidate the Republicans could offer.

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."

31 Responses so far.

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  1. Chernynkaya says:

    AdLib, your post was just now re-published here, from someone on Twitter.


  2. SueInCa says:

    This may be where Obama is going to go,

    In Teddy Roosevelt’s era, President Barack Obama explained to the nation this week, “some people thought massive inequality and exploitation was just the price of progress. … But Roosevelt also knew that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you want from whoever you can.”

    • AdLib says:

      Fantastic quote, Sue!

      I don’t think it’s hard to fend off the “They’re attacking Free Enterprise” BS by explaining that predatory businesses are unhealthy for Free Enterprise.

      • SueInCa says:

        I have no doubt that Obama and team will be able to take him on easily. There are no skeletons that we know of for Obama and he can run on his record, in fact he will be able to flaunt it in front of people who want to pretend he has done nothing.

  3. Chernynkaya says:

    Great analysis, AdLib! Really well thought out and presented so clearly.
    I have always known that Romney would be the nominee, and while he is a very weak candidate he is the one who has the best chance to beat the President as long as people think that his business experience would get the country’s economy back to pre-Bush levels. So to take a page from Rove, the way to stymie that is to go after his business record; go after his apparent strength and turn it into a liability. The other Reptiles have already done a good job of showing him to be the vulture he is, but I think that if they keep it up much longer, pressure (from RW media, corporate backers, other RW pols) will force them to walk that back. They are already being called “Left of Romney” “anti-capitalist” and damaging the Republican brand as pro-business. That’s one reason I agree that it’s best for us to get into the mano a mano sooner rather than later—because I don’t think the damage from the other candidates will last. They would have to escalate their attacks on Bain, and frankly there isn’t much more room for that without them appearing to be {gasp} socialists!

    This turn of events has really surprised me—who would have thought that Romney’s time as a vulture would be the attack from the others? Everyone (myself included) thought that “Oromneycare” would be his greatest flaw. (Maybe it will be later.) People say the Baggers hate crony capitalism and are populists, but I never believed that for a second. Sure, that’s what the astroturf told us (and there were some folks to whom that appealed), but we knew they were basically racists and far-Right extremists who despise the Left and want the President under the ground. So I never saw Romney’s greed and destruction as a good way to bring him down in the primaries. And it hasn’t been. Baggers at heart love that stuff. In the general, I think it will be.

    As an aside, I also wonder if the flip-flopper label is as potent as we thought it would be. It does show a complete lack of character and principle, but it also could make Mitt less toxic to the Indies: Isn’t the underlying message of a flip-flopper that Romney is NOT as RW as he wants us to believe? If he is seen as a moderate at heart, I don’t see how that hurts him if centrists want a reason to vote for him. They will tell themselves, “Sure, he says these far-right things in the primaries—they all do that. But he actually is a reasonable centrist at heart.” I don’t think that’s such a good tactic.

    When Romney goes against Obama in the general, it will be a battle between Democracy and fairness against Bain and Corporatism. Obama will repeat his latest great speeches about the billionaires and greed and equity and Romney will lie and say he created jobs. Mitt won’t pass the smell test once that begins in earnest—even the corporate press won’t let him.

    Finally, that brings me to the only small area of disagreement with you very fine post:

    Consider too that if the race for GOP candidate for President is a foregone conclusion early on, there will be little appetite and shrinking importance and news coverage for the primary races. As attention diminishes, so does the MSM megaphone for Romney to get out his “message” and attacks on Obama. Meanwhile, Obama as President will continue to have the bully pulpit to get his message out.

    I do agree that Romney against no one is boring news. But doesn’t it then become Romeny vs Obama? The media MUST report on a Presidential election with the same baited-breath they do now. If it seems like old news or boring, they will make it the battle of the millennium. They will hype it and analyze it and turn every statement uttered, every campaign stop, every facial expression into ominous and portentous meaning. That’s what they do. And the public will eventually get caught up in the race. And frankly, I’m already there—it IS a turning point election. It IS galactic. So I think that Romney will still get lots of coverage. I just hope that at some point the press pivots to Romney and exposes him for the serial liar he is—or is that a pipe dream? So far, Romney has gotten a free pass from the corporate media.

    • AdLib says:

      Right on the money, Cher.

      In the end, the flip-flopper stuff is more of a Repub issue than a GE issue.

      Where Obama should focus is on the issue of economic inequity and the 1% vs. the 99%. That is the most potent issue in America today and directly connects to jobs and the economy we want for our future.

      It dovetails in perfectly with pillorying Romney on Bain and being part of and all about enriching the top 1%. What he’s seen as his strength is indeed the most potent tool to use against him.

      And with that taken away, he has nothing else. If he touts his governorship and Romneycare, he’s promoting Obama and angering and turning off his GOP base.

      And consider the pincer move here by outside forces, if Romney is cemented in the minds of most voters as a vulture AND the economy continues to improve, there is no argument for electing him.

      This isn’t wishful thinking. Though I may have had undue confidence about overcoming some Repubs in other races, in this case when you combine ROmney’s sleazy track record at Bain, his constant dishonesty and lack of any solid principles, his brittle ego, his phony smile and facade and his flat out unlikeability with everyday people, I do think he is a far weaker candidate than he may appear.

      Romney inspires no one. His words are transparent and betray only ambition. He has lots of money and is backed by all the people most Americans see as the ones destroying this country. His stands on killing social programs and cutting taxes for the wealthy are the opposite of what the public wants.

      Once this comes down to a one-on-one contest between Obama and Romney, no matter what stunt Romney may pull for VP, I think he will prove to be as weak if not weaker than McCain.

      I don’t think Obama could win by as big of a margin as he won in the aftermath of the Bush disaster but I think he wins by 3%-4% which in recent times, is a healthy victory.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        YES! The lines are already so clearly drawn for the meta-narrative, and I thank the Occupy Movement for making them so. Before OWS, all the talk was about deficits. Now only the Right is making that their centerpiece. (Although it really it still important in the long run: GDP and our debt are now at equal amounts, I just read.) The distinction will be between opposing views on the role of government as a force for equality or as no force at all, at best. You’re on your own, or we are in this together. There are no better poster-children for each POV than Obama and Romney.

        The President has his 4 year record to run on--it’s been examined, criticized, praised and most of all, it’s REAL. What does Romney have, other than Bain and MA-- both of which are far in the past in electoral time and both are dubious achievements.

        People now know exactly where Obama is coming from, whether they love him or hate him--there are no questions. NOBODY knows where Romney is --not even Romney. But in a case like this, I do think a VP pick will help that by serving as a proxy clarifier. I predict he’ll pick Christie or Rubio-- or someone who has a clear ideology to offset his emptiness. Further, what can the press uncover about Obama that they already haven’t? Nothing. Just the opposite of Mitt. The pres is above all venal and will love stories that are incendiary even if they go against corporate interests sometimes. There is still so much to uncover about Romney. And people are no where near paying attention yet. (hehe)

        BTW, looking at the pic of Romney with your post, and all the others, I honestly see that he has actual dead eyes. It’s especially obvious in another post (one of the Debate Posts I think) where the picture has him with other people whose eyes are alive. I never noticed that before.

      • His flip flops and lies make his word so questionable. We may be thinking too much like Dems here because we care about issues first. I still think the Obama team is waiting for the inevitable flip flops to attack Romney’s character when he pivots towards the general. It’s an issue with independents as much as conservatives and the lies about Obama’s record are a liberal godsend but both speak to Romney’s poor integrity. People simply don’t want presidents that change their minds every minute or the ways the political winds flow no matter what their final so called position on issues is. Then again to me these character issues dovetail into why he would not be a good president with the economy either because lack of integrity is his base problem with being out of touch and having no genuine empathy towards workers.

        One part about the GOP nomination process ending soon is Obama and his team will have tons of time to develop the best strategies and they have time to test multiple attacks.

        No doubt one of the biggest attacks will be his record at Bain but his job creation record at MA was dismal as well coming in 47th. The more you look into the shallow Romney the more you question why this guy is even being considered presidential material at all.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          KQ I think you are spot on about the strength of his MA jobs record as an attack. And his taxes. No one has really gone after his job cremating history in Mass, and it’s just a provable fact.

    • Great analysis as well and I’m surprised about the same things.

      Bain maybe the biggest issue against Romney now and maybe even into the general because like you said that’s his stated strength. I think the flip flops have yet to be leveraged the way they can be. It’s not about what side of policy Romney is on at the time or that he may be a centrist at heart. It’s the total lack of character he displays with his flip flops and lies. If I were the Obama team I would keep most of my powder dry on flip flops because he’s going to do a bunch of new flip flops diving to the center after he wins the nomination.

      Don’t forget he won’t be able to run away from his record in MA either when they were 47th in job growth, he left office at a 34% approval rating and he disavows his signature accomplishment RomneyCare. He’s never answered those questions satisfactory so far either.

      Elections are like a prize fight where different attacks debilitate different parts of a candidates platform in different ways. Romney’s weakness are exposed even further and using the Rove model strengths can be weakened. I guess just like with demanding his tax returns we with the Obama campaign have to attack him with the kitchen sink strategy. In the end all the attack strategies will paint him as a disingenuous, out of touch, 1% corporatist which is the truth no matter what his daily position on issues are.

      The good part with President Obama is that he’s battle hardened and he and his strategists do a great job protecting his strengths and countering his weakness with a strength. Like when he countered Romney’s attack saying Obama was an appeaser with one line. ‘Ask Osama Bin Laden if I’m an appeaser’ was Obama’s snappy response. Few presidents like Clinton, Reagan and now Obama have that political skill.

      On the opposite side look at how Romney handled it when Newt attacked him about his SuperPAC ads. Within 44 seconds Romney flip flops and lies when he said he never saw the ads and then referenced one of the ads. The meme that Romney can’t take a punch will grow like the other memes that are starting to take hold against him.

      This is just the start of the flack Romney will and should receive for his very questionable character and past. I just don’t think has has the moral fiber to withstand these attacks for months on end.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Just a terrific comment, KQ. I agree with everything. The f/f’ing by Romney does need to be highlighted, but so far the ads I’ve seen don’t seem to completely close the deal. (I expect they will eventually.) They need to not only show his f/fs but need to say explicitly: This man cannot be trusted. If he lies about his beliefs, he will lie to you as President. You are buying a pig in a poke and you will never know what he will do in any given situation. Or, he will do whatever his SECRET corporate masters tell him.

        Secrecy and dishonesty are the polar opposites of Obama, who can prove he has been the most transparent and forthright President in our lifetimes. And that’s only the “character attack” they can use. As your wonderful metaphor on boxing said, lots of body punches win a fight just as often as a KO. The character issue is just one body punch--to the kidneys!

  4. Ouch this is gonna hurt from the Bain website.

    We help clients ensure that IT offshoring and outsourcing decisions are based on business strategy and help set up deal structures, capability networks and sourcing agreements to deliver enduring results — lower costs now and flexibility for the future.
    Strategic sourcing is the process by which organizations determine how to access the right IT and business capability at the right cost. Sourcing must be managed effectively across the four key dimensions of management, resources, services and business processes.
    Outsourcing of IT or business processes is just one option of sourcing strategies, often unleashing tremendous value. With strategic sourcing, Bain can enable clients to ensure sourcing decisions are based on business strategy and to help set up sourcing agreements to deliver value now and flexibility for the future.


  5. I couldn’t agree more AdLib, especially if he’s not tested in one on one debates. The not-Romney’s are giving the Obama camp just enough rope now (for lack of a better analogy) with their anti-Bain rhetoric that it seems like a non-partisan attack. But you don’t want them to exhaust the whole attack line so when Obama uses it that it has no affect in voters minds.

    For example like you alluded to, the reason Rev. Wright and a few other issues did not hurt Obama was because they were played out to the max before he was the nominee.

    I’m starting to think Romney’s campaign strategists for all they are paid are out to lunch so far. They seem to be unable to get on top of issues with their candidate like the Bain Capital questions. Eventually he’s going to have to explain his tenure at Bain and why he’s still making millions from his time there. Also questions like why he won’t release his tax returns are not going away anytime soon. I think this also speaks to the lack of character in the man as well. He would rather obfuscate and distract rather than come out an tell the truth even if that truth is his spin on the facts.

    I think the nomination will be wrapped up by FL so it leaves a great deal of time for Romney just to flail in the wind like the ever waving character he is.

    • SueInCa says:

      Most are Bush II re-calls. He has a lot of PNAC people advising him as well.

    • AdLib says:

      We’re on the same page. Unless there is a shocking surprise in NH tonight, Romney looks to have a virtual lock by FL.

      There is one monkey wrench that could be thrown into the Romney Inevitability Machine.

      What if…Romney looks to have overwhelmed the competition by FL…and at least Ron Paul stays in to the end…and the many Tea Party folks grow more and more resentful about the coronation?

      With Romney having it sewn up, many Repub voters might not bother to vote in their now irrelevant primary…except, the Tea Party folks.

      Could Ron Paul suddenly pick up steam as a protest vote down the line and make Romney’s win more of a battle farther down the line?

      Bottom line, many Tea Party folk will be turned off of supporting Romney and net GOP enthusiasm will be lower after the primaries where the GOP Elite denied them their candidate.

  6. Caru says:

    You may be right, but I’d say that it’s just as likely that the media, in general, will follow him around as if were in heat. No doubt the usual Republican suspects will pop up to create some non-issue, which the media will ask Romney his opinion of.

    • That will absolutely happen at different points during the campaign. But I think Obama’s quick response team and Obama the candidate will handle those attacks well.

    • AdLib says:

      Agreed, the MSM will happily ask Romney to opine about everything that happens along the way but I think it will come off more as background noise while Obama is directly participating in whatever is happening.

      And consider the net effect of constantly having Romney dissing everything that may be good news for Obama and America, “Continuing increases in jobs? That’s bad news for America!”

      I think his insincerity and dishonesty will only become more pronounced and Obama will look more and more distinguished in comparison.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Caru, I should have read your comment before I wrote--I took a lot of words to say the same!

      • I think campaigns are won and lost by how candidates handle personal attacks and attacks on their record more than by the attacks themselves.

        For example if Kerry handled the swift boating attacks more quickly and forcibly he could have won against Bush.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          KQ, I agree to a degree. That is one of a few important ways campaigns win or lose. As you know, elections are really illusive and people vote for all kinds of reasons that are mixture of good sense and nonsense. Along those lines, there is no question to me that based on likability alone, Obama beats Mitt be double digits in every poll. Who knows, in the end that could be his ace in the hole.

          Kerry looked weak and he wasn’t someone anyone warmed to either. I voted for him of course, but he really was like Romney in his lukewarm support. But he was 50 times the candidate Romney is.

          • Yes that’s why I qualified it with “could” as well. I still don’t know if Kerry had the overall perceived strength and connection with voters he needed and it just reinforced what voters thought about Kerry. But the swift boating was definitely the inflection point of his ill fated campaign.

        • bito says:

          Kerry needed something like this: http://www.attackwatch.com/

      • Caru says:

        Don’t sell yourself short. Your post would have been a worthy article in its own right.

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