Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Rising Frontrunner or Fading Candidacy?

This past week has been an interesting one for Mitt Romney. He's found himself in the bullseye of both Republicans (Huckabee, Brownback, Rich Lowry, the Weekly Standard) and Democrats (DNC, Liberal Bloggers), all while managing to pick up notable endorsements anyway. Is this just a sign of Romney emerging as a serious frontrunner or is it simply Romney being squeezed out of the race? Hotline Editor Chuck Todd believes the Democrats fear Romney more than any other candidate, but what are we to make of this week's criticism by conservative flagships like the Weekly Standard and the National Review? Is this foreshadowing rough roads ahead for Romney in his pursuit of the Republican nomination?

Naysayers are already trying to turn Romney's biggest strength, his executive experience and reputation as "Mr. Fix-It," against him. Suggesting, as the Boston Globe's Peter Canellos did yesterday, that Romney's venture capitalist instict could in fact exacerbate his greatest weakness, the perception that he is a political opportunist who is feigning his turn to the right:
This venture capitalist's ability to size up a situation and take all necessary measures has defined both his message and his campaign. The implicit message is that Romney will be a far shrewder master of the Iraq war than Bush -- making clear-headed judgments and achieving maximum results.

But Romney, in preparing for his presidential campaign, made moves as governor that often appeared bloodless and cynical -- vetoing spending programs while knowing his successor will restore them; ordering police to round up illegal immigrants at just the moment that immigration becomes a big national issue; denying protection to a visiting Iranian politician to demonstrate toughness on Iran.

These moves may get him closer to the Republican nomination, but whether they reflect deep principles or merely a venture capitalist's professional sense of what's required to achieve his goal is already the defining question of the Romney campaign.
From pretty critical press in the conservative press on one hand, to rumored endorsements by much of the Republican House leadership on the other, what does this last week really mean for Romney? Were there another candidate in the GOP field that really seemed to excite the conservative base, I think it might have spelled more of a sea change in his rising candidacy... Romney could then have been slowly squeezed out of the race. But there just doesn't seem to be anyone emerging. Everyone who is currently in has his achilles heel; McCain's alienated social conservatives, Giuliani's too liberal, Huckabee's raised taxes, Brownback's perceived as not electable, Tancredo's nuts, and so on. So the question is, has this situation created a perfect storm for Romney, a candidate whose political skills seem unmatched in the Republican field? Is Romney the rising frontrunner in this campaign?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curious question.

Has anyone seen Mr. Fix Its Foreclosure statistics in the Commonwealth?

December of 2006 - 300%

also - last two posts here:

- will alienate prolifers from the inconsistencies in his story of conversion.

Bottom line here - if the GOP wants to fracture the right with a lame duck, then let's all prepare for the Clintons storm the White House.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

Not sure I understand your statistic Anon.

As for your link, I think it bolsters my point. You might oppose a Romney candidacy, but Romney is among the most appealing candidates in the Republican field. If stopping the Clintons from "storming" the White House is your goal, he might be your best hope. I think McCain would be likely be a formidable general election candidate too, but I would guess you find him just as distasteful as Romney. Who else is there that stands a chance in a general election? Huckabee? Duncan? Brownback? Gingrich? Tancredo? You might be better off re-nominating Bob Dole.

*I leave out Giuliani because I don't think he realistically can be nominated.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Rhapsidiomite said...

This one seems so clear to me. It's the MSM that doesn't get it. But then, not even new media seems to get it yet.

Still, I'm predicting Romney gets the primary nod.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

I think you might be overstating the case a little in arguing how "clear" this is rhap, but I do think Romney has a much better chance at the nomination than "common wisdom" would have us believe.

5:03 PM  

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