Why Romney can’t close the deal


Rick Santorum’s triple victory on Tuesday says more about Mitt Romney than it does about Santorum. After two impressive wins in Florida and Nevada, the Romney path to victoryappeared to be clear, with Newt Gingrich having finally run out of comebacks, Ron Paul falling by the wayside, and Rick Santorum losing what little traction he had. And yet, Tuesday reminded us once again that Romney can’t close the deal. Santorum is simply the newest anti-Mitt.

Since he declared his candidacy last spring, the book on Romney has been that he can’t attract the more conservative elements of the Republican party, and can’t generate enthusiasm for his candidacy. For most of last year, he hovered around 25 per cent support and every month or so, one of his opponents would surge ahead to illustrate the general discomfort with Romney inside the GOP. His flip flops on gay rights, abortion rights, and gun control, along with the healthcare reform he implemented in Massachusetts, are presented as evidence that Romney is not a reliable conservative.

Despite these shortcomings, Romney was nonetheless able to build a national organization, raise significant capital, and obtain establishment endorsements as the primary and caucus season got underway. While he suffered a setback against Gingrich in South Carolina and narrowly lost Iowa, no serious pundit expressed any doubts about Romney’s chances of winning the contest. Even with his poor performance on Tuesday, compounded by a weak concession speech, Romney is still the odds-on favorite to win and be President Obama’s opponent in the fall.

But the race hasn’t been kind to Romney. He is increasingly starting to look like hapless predecessors such as Bob Dole and John McCain—fine men, but weak candidates.

To counter the conservative attacks he’s faced, Romney has had to push his policies more to the right, pulling him dangerously away from the mainstream for a general election. Separate attacks on his tax records, his performance as governor, and his role at Bain Capital have made him all the more vulnerable come the general election. Meantime, his verbal gaffes regarding the poor, corporations, and firing people, have shown he’s unable to display the discipline needed for the long haul of a presidential campaign. Romney may be more electable than Newt, but not by much.

This does not mean that the Obama campaign should be breaking out the champagne. The economy will still be a factor in the fall, and despite good job numbers last week, the recovery remains modest at best and another downturn is always possible. But Romney’s campaign so far confirms the worst suspicions of many Republicans: that he is a less than adequate candidate to pit against Obama in an election Republicans felt was winnable.


Why Romney can’t close the deal

  1. Well Santorum is an even weaker candidate. I have no love for Mitt- but he is by far the more feasible candidate. It irks me that people seem to forget that the economy collapsed under a Republican president ( though Obama has little to rectify or remind people of that), and that the debt increased more under Republican presidents than Democratic ones, but people still see to want a Republican presidential candidate that is a hardliner. Mitt can shift to the right and flip flop all he wants, but the truth of the matter is that most presidents  govern from the center, which is what Mitt, Newt or Rick would do.  (Well, GWB less so…)  That said, when I look at the Harper govt., it may be that governing from the center, may indeed no longer a forgone conclusion.

  2. “Rick Santorum’s triple victory on Tuesday says more about Mitt Romney than it does about Santorum. “

    I think it says more about Obama than it says about either Romney or Santorum.  The Obama Administration has just announced that it will force nearly all employers to pay for abortifacients for employees.  Those with conscientious objections to killing children have one year to swallow those objections.

    Republicans, both opposed and in favour of abortion, saw this and realized that fundamental rights such as freedom of religion are being trampled, and that their country actually is getting remade into a place where people will be penalized for living as practicing Cath0lics.  It suddenly dawned on people that a Republican isn’t good enough; what is needed is a Republican who clearly understands that the Constitution prohibits Congress from making a law which prohibits the free exercise of religion, and further that the state should not be forcing people to pay for the whims of others.  Romney is not that man.  Santorum might be.

    • Helps Santorum and really weakens Romney -Romneycare and not being Catholic .

  3. The game of politics is ruled by the rich,
    So their cadidates can practice their pitch,
    The GOP think they’re just dandy,
    And really hate Barack O’bammy,
    Because the President’s just a son of a bitch.

  4. Romney had a bad day, and he may have another one in the Maine Caucuses today. But we are transitioning from the part of the race that is about winning states and momentum, to a long slog. If the race is going to be a long slog, then it’s going to be about delegates.

    In a delegate fight, the math is very very friendly to Romney. Why? Most GOP races are proportional. In proportional races it is hard to gain on somebody with a large lead. For instance, while Santorum swept all three races, he only gained about ~8 more delegates than Romney did.

    Second, some races are winner-take-all. Florida was winner-take-all, and worth 50 delegates. That is part of why Romney leads 115-38-34-20 in the delegate race. However some other upcoming races are WTA as well, and they tend to look like the kind of states Romney has won: Arizona, California, New Jersey, Maryland, Puerto Rico, DC, Delaware, California and Utah. Wisconsin is the only state likely to go for Santorum that has a winner-take-all primary.

    A third group of states are winner-take-all at the congressional district level. So like, whoever gets the most votes within a congressional district gets X delegates. This favours the more liberal candidate in the race immeasurably. Why? Because congressional district lines are drawn on the basis of the national population. So even though there maybe more Republicans in say, a district in rural Virginia than a given district in the research triangle, they both get equal weight.

    Fourthly, Romney and Paul have done a much better job than many of the other campaigns at getting on the ballot in states. For instance, neither Santorum nor Gingrich are on the ballot in Virginia, which will have its primary on Super Tuesday. Romney will probably sweep the delegates there, because while Paul will have some support, he probably won’t have enough to beat Romney in any one congressional district. There will be other states like this too, a symptom of Santorum’s lack of organization (for instance it looks like he won’t be on the ballot in Indiana).

    Lastly, the Republicans have their own equivalent of super-delegates (called unpledged delagates). If the race starts getting too long, they will rally around whomever is ahead in delegates – probably Romney.

    • No enthusiasm here . Rick may be better down the road . Mitt looks stunned and dazed .

  5. Attention, Mr. Parisella, the primaries of this week were small in numbers of electors in comparison with big states like Florida. In medecine we have an expression to qualify a research that do not have many people at stake, we say it has… less power than a research that had much more people into it. So I personnally thinks the win of Mr. Santorum of this week have small power and could be a backlash of the winning Mr. Romney had last week in Florida. If Mr. Santorum wins big states, then I will beleive that the republicans has changed their horse to run against our liberal friend and democrate at the listenning of all americains, Mr. Obama !

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