Is Romney's candidacy stronger than McCain's? -

Is Romney’s candidacy stronger than McCain’s?

Romney will likely equal, or exceed McCain’s showing. He may even win. Why?


By all standards of conventional campaigning, John McCain’s candidacy in 2008 was one of the least inspiring in modern times. This bona fide war hero was unable to make the case for moderate conservatism that would have set a different course for the Republican Party. He lacked focus, seemed unable to articulate a coherent position, could not rally his party base, and showed an appalling lack of judgment in choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Still, he did get 47% of the vote and for a brief moment before the Lehman Brothers’ debacle, led in the national polls. Much of this respectable showing had more to do with the notion that America is closer to being a 50-50 nation than McCain’s personal resumé or his campaign. Up against the candidacy of Barack Obama, who had galvanized new voters and benefitted from a relatively favorable press, to achieve 47% of the popular vote in a year of economic recession and financial meltdown says much about the solidity of the GOP vote and the nature of the current American electorate.

Mitt Romney seems to have similar issues about his candidacy. He too has appeared uninspiring, and he has yet to articulate a convincing message about where he intends to lead the country. While he is rallying his primary opponents, the endorsements are tepid and lukewarm to say the least. In addition, the lingering question about his authenticity as a person continues to remain a current topic. Yet, despite an arduous primary season which seemed to diminish him as a candidate rather than enhance his fortunes, it is fair to predict that he will do as well, if not better than McCain come November. He may actually win. Why is this so?

Romney may be gaffe prone, and he is trailing with some key constituents such as women and Latinos, but the polls still indicate a close race. One reason is that the magic around the candidacy of Obama has largely dissipated. Obama is now an incumbent with a record in office and a lackluster economic recovery. He is no longer the inspirational figure bursting onto the national scene. Secondly, even with less than stellar candidates like McCain and Romney, the Republican base vote remains strong, unified and highly competitive.

The battle will likely come down to one of swing states, the robustness, or weakness of the economy, and how each candidate will fare in the 3 national debates. By convention time, we can expect a sharper Romney and one who may have been able to deliver an articulate and compelling vision of the economy under his stewardship. It is also fair to note that the Romney campaign seems more effective and more disciplined than McCain’s was in 2008.

No matter how the campaign evolves, the Republican vote will remain fairly predictable. The Democrats and President Obama have to hope that the economy continues to improve, and that judicious use of the inherent advantages of incumbency can keep the GOP presidential candidate on the defensive and thereby drive the agenda.

Romney is not really a stronger candidate than McCain was in 2008. The only difference is that the Democratic opponent is more vulnerable .

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Is Romney’s candidacy stronger than McCain’s?

  1. McCain was definitely a candidate with a stronger biographical appeal than Romney. You mentioned that he was a war hero, but he was also more moderate than Romney. Comparing 2008 with 2012 probably undermines that – because McCain faced the worst electoral environment for a Republican incumbent since perhaps 1932 his campaign took risks like appointing Palin and suspending his campaign (and then promptly getting schooled by Obama in the meeting with the President he had called).

    In 2000 – arguably a worse electoral environment for the GOP than this year – McCain would have trounced Gore in the polls. For instance Quinnipiac had McCain up against Gore 54-30. Comparing the congressional race to the presidential race helps as well – in 2008 McCain lost to Obama by 7 points (and Obama was hardly a terribly candidate), while in the house vote, the GOP trailed by 10.5 points. A hypothetical John McCain (and one not battered by the 2008 campaign) would probably be ahead of Obama in the polls right now.

    But Romney is not a terrible candidate, he is an average candidate. As I predicted, the effective end of the primary race has seen Romney’s favourability jump up, primarily as Republicans and Republican-leaning independents accept Mitt ( ). Romney also possesses attributes that McCain doesn’t – he’s a better speaker, he is less erratic, doesn’t need to rely on town halls, and he has a much better command of the economic issues likely to drive this election. What is more, McCain was a terrible fundraiser, whereas Romney is not (plus the death of McCain-Feingold will help Romney raise money, directly, and indirectly through superpacs).

  2. might win??? Really? Nice headline and way to sell media but the flip-flopping, Mormon elitist doesn’t rank. I see the Tea Party ranks getting bigger though!

  3. Romney has one huge, overwhelming negative in this election: exposure to the man reveals him to be unlikeable and somewhat mean-spirited. Remember, he got the GOP nomination against a field of weak candidates only by throwing a lot of negative ads on the air in the primary states. I expect that Obama will decimate him in the debates and go on to trounce him in the general election.

  4. McCain was intelligent, and has more charisma and service background, but no more than Obama. The Republican plutocracy will lose the election again even with the christian support.

    • You should be aware that Mormonism is not even considered Christian by mainstream Christian organizations, as they believe in an infinite number of gods, and they do not accept the virgin birth (they claim god came to earth from Kolob in the form of a man and had sex with Mary).

  5. Who cares? Romney, McCain and Obama are all the same.