Why Romney Can Win - Macleans.ca

Why Romney Can Win


One of the things that surprised many people in last night’s Republican presidential debate, apart from the strong performance of Michele Bachmann, was that Mitt Romney is looking pretty strong. It was easy to write him off because of the fact that Obama’s health-care plan is, as Tim Pawlenty put it (but not to Romney’s face), “Obamneycare,” and because Romney refuses to disown his Massachusetts health-care program. (It’s been said about Romney that you can tell which issues he cares about and which ones he doesn’t really care about by which ones he’s willing to flip-flop on. He has completely changed his position on abortion because he doesn’t seem to be that interested in the issue. But he is genuinely proud of his health-care plan and won’t give up on it.) But Romney came off well, and there wasn’t a sense that the health care thing has made him radioactive. Maybe it’s too early for his opponents to take the gloves off, but it’s also possible that Romney is benefiting from a shift in emphasis: for the last few months, his party has been somewhat less interested in repealing Obamacare and somewhat more interested in arguing for Medicare privatization. Not that they will stop trying to repeal the health care law. But if Romney promises to support repeal at the federal level, and promises to support some form of Medicare privatization, he may be all right.

The other thing that indicates that Romney has a good chance of being President of the United States: he’s one of the few candidates who has bothered to notice that the biggest issue – and Obama’s biggest vulnerability – is unemployment. If Obama loses, and I have trouble seeing how he wins if the unemployment rate doesn’t drop drastically, it’ll be largely because of the (accurate) perception that his administration de-emphasized the jobs issue and spent too much time on things most people don’t care about, like deficits. (The deficit obsession even extended to the health care law, which delayed implementation – and therefore delayed bringing benefits that most people would actually enjoy – so it could appear deficit-neutral.) Most Republicans have focused on their own obsessions, usually high-end tax rates. But Romney has been hitting the “where are the jobs?” message pretty hard, and the ad he released yesterday is a very effective one because it plays on the perception that Obama is out of touch with the most important issue:

Romney is no populist, but then nobody in the race is a populist. But he seems to have noticed that there’s an opening for a candidate with a simple, effective strategy: run on the issue normal people care about more than Washington insiders do. Even if he has no plan to make things better, just acknowledging the importance of the employment issue gives him a leg up over the other candidates and, I think, over Obama.

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Why Romney Can Win

  1. Here’s what Obama said: “There are still some headwinds that are coming at us. Lately, it’s been high gas prices that have caused a lot of hardship for a lot of working families. And then you had the economic disruptions following the tragedy in Japan. You got the instability in the Middle East, which makes folks uncertain. There are always going to be bumps on the road to recovery.”

    • Oh, the quote is taken out of context, for sure (to make it sound like Obama is referring to people as “bumps in the road”) but taking quotes out of context is what political ads do. This one is more effective than most because it plays on the perception that Obama hasn’t seemed concerned enough about the jobs issue.

      • Oh it’s effective as a political ad….it’s just that openly lying to get to the top pretty much kills American exceptionalism. They sound more like Rome every day.

      • It only seems out of context to Dems who don’t understand economics or human nature.

        Makes perfect sense to me because Obama is saying people are bumps on road to recovery. Other than Japan earthquake, everything else involves people not doing what Obama wants them to do. 

        It is all about how everyone else is inadequate – President had a plan and people around world didn’t follow it.

        What Obama’s campaign slogan should have been:“People of Earth! Stop Your Bickering. I Am From Harvard, And I’m Here To Help.”


  2. Rick Perry getting many Repubs excited at the moment. 

    Texas economy doing very well and Perry might be the man for people who were attracted to Daniels.

    Romney might be front runner at moment but I think that’s only because no one better has entered race. If Romney was really popular with base, Repub establishment would not still be looking for candidate.

    Romney has big problems with RomneyCare – that’s what some Repubs are calling Romney’s Mass. health care plan and it isn’t a compliment – and he is mormon. From what I understand, mormons make evangelicals and born-agains batshi#t crazy. Social Cons will most likely vote for Romney if he is nominated but they won’t support him before candidate is officially decided uopn. 

    “Rick Perry’s potential presidential candidacy is an exhilarating thought to Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and other conservative leaders who see the Texas governor as the perfect archconservative foil to President Obama.”


  3. It would be nice if we could at least lament the smears before commenting on their “effectiveness”.
    I’m finding it harder and harder to understand the leeway we give politicians.
    Abject lies ought not draw comments on strategic value. They should elicit distaste.

    And yet the most common comment I see is something along the lines of “they all do it”.

    Perhaps then our democratic defecit is the result of a lack of competition?

    Perhaps demand is outstripping supply and therefore driving up the value of otherwise worthless political parties?

    I don’t know what the answer is, but honestly, I’ve reached my limit with politicians here and abroad.

  4. Romney is the only candidate that can defeat Obama!!!!!!!