Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Latest on Romney announcing

The latest news, and if you follow Romney you've been expecting this, is that Mitt will file paperwork for an "exploratory" committee in looking at a run for president. At this point there is little surprise in this announcement. He has been testing his national capabilities for some time now. Perhaps this would be a good time to do a quick run-down of the chances that the "exploratory' committee will become a full-fledged campaign committee.

At this point it seems as though Romney has cemented himself as a top-tier candidate even though he polls well behind McCain and Giuliani. McCain and Giuliani both have been in the national awareness longer than Romney, stemming from McCain's long tenure in the Senate and 2000 presidential run and Giuliani's iconic status from his mayoral oversight of the revitalization of New York City and the aftermath of 9/11. Romney's emergence on the national stage stems generally from his 2004 speech at the Republican National Convention. He had some previous exposure from the 2002 Winter Olympics and gaining the Massachusetts governorship in 2002. However, before his 2004 speech, he was not nearly the national figure that McCain and Giuliani already were. Thus, at this point, one of Romney's biggest obstacles is gaining national name recognition.

One of the other major obstacles is clearly defining who he is. Up to this point, as a governor, he has not had to express an opinion on some issues, namely foreign relations and national defense. He has dabbled and dipped his toe into that pool, but generally has taken a "wait and see" approach apart from talking points like "defeating the jihadists". He needs to be able to explain how the components of diplomacy and military strength combine to effect that broad goal. What exactly is his recipe?

Still, Romney is the clear alternative for conservative Americans. While it may not be commonly known as of yet, Romney has been a leader in defending traditional families and in fiscal responsibility. There have been some concerns about his change in position on some social issues. Clearly the ghosts of John Kerry, another candidate from Massachusetts, are at play here. However, he has been forthright about it, as explained by David in the previous post. Much like John Edwards, Romney's credibility will depend on how America sees the shift: Is it political opportunism, or is it maturation?

In sum, it would seem that Romney will make the transition from exploratory to actual campaign. There are very few opportunities to be a first tier candidate in a presidential election. And for conservative Americans, he seems like the best hope for promoting their ideals.


Blogger Marc said...

Romney's announcement seems to be well timed... right when Giuliani is hit with some bad news, seemingly of his own making.

4:17 PM  
Blogger David Kennedy said...

Kyle, you bring up an issue that I haven't seen debated in the blogosphere much -- Romney's national security/international experience. I too wonder what his recipe is for showing voters that he has what it takes, especially in this time of increased emphasis on foreign issues.

Re: the timing of his announcement, he couldn't do any worse than John Edwards just did (if I'm not mistaken).

Also, welcome to LSFR.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Kyle Hampton said...

It's tough to critique the person you want to win, but Romney has either decided to leave foreign policy for another time, or has figured that a catch phrase is sufficient. I think that he's right that dealing with the jihadists is supremely important. We can't ignore them and hope they will go away. But how exactly do we deal with them? How do we engage the world to fight against them?

I don't doubt Romney's international experience or that he can be an especially effective commander-in-chief. But to my knowledge, he has not fleshed out the how's of his ideals.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Well, one could argue that Romney's foreign policy experience is on par with Bush's when he came into office.... On second thought, that might not be the best analogy to make ;)

7:59 PM  

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