Tag Archives: republican primaries

Padre Steve Defends Mitt Romney against Extremism Talk

Mitt Romney has had a rough time as of late and I have decided that I will not pile on. Mitt Romney used to be a moderate like me and for that I have a soft spot for him in my heart. As a patriotic American and moderate I know that Governor Romney has a one in two chance of becoming the next Commander-in-Chief and I will not stand for anyone diminishing Mitt’s potential Commander-in-Chiefyness. I want him to be the most Chiefy Commander-in-Chief of all time if he is elected President.

Too many extremists have attacked this fine American over the past few weeks and months. I know that I have criticized Mitt but I won’t take it anymore because I was for Mitt before I was against him and I won’t have anyone call me a flip-flopper because when I wear open toed shoes I wear Birkenstocks.

To start with I won’t be like former Senator and Presidential candidate Rick Santorum who called Governor Romney “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” I object to Senator Santorum doing this because there are other Republicans who have to be worse than Mitt and Santorum’s criticism is obviously that of a sore loser and Romney is a winner.

General George Smith Patton, bless his holy name, said in the movie Patton:“America loves a winner and will not tolerate a loser.” I’ll tell you what, Mitt Romney is not a loser, except for the time that he lost to Teddy Kennedy when he ran against that Commie for the Massachusetts Senate seat, and when he lost to the man that lost to President Obama for the GOP nomination in 2008, Senator John McCain. But apart from that Mitt has never known defeat.

I am tired of pundits like American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer who gloated “If Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, co-opted by a conservative radio talk show host in Middle America, then how is he going to stand up to the Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me? I don’t think Romney is realizing the doubts that this begins to raise about his leadership.”

I think that Fischer’s comments are below the belt. Mitt Romney will not be pushed around by anyone and he has proved that at an early age. When a non-conformist classmate in his obscure elitist prep-school disrespected that school and grew his hair long Mitt took action. He demonstrated the greatness of American organization and toughness by rallying a number of other classmates to help him chase this hooligan down and hold him down while Mitt cut the screaming baby’s hair to the regulation length. That’s how he will stand up to the Chinese. Do you think that Gang-Bang-Wang of China or Kim-Long-Dong of North Korea want Mitt to rally America to hold them down and cut their obviously badly cut and cheaply dyed hair? I know that they don’t.

When some of Mitt’s competitors in the 2012 GOP primaries threatened him, Mitt did not take it lying down. No he carpet bombed their sorry asses, destroyed their candidacies and won the nomination. He Nagaski’d them like he will do Iran. That is the mark of a decisive leader.

I’m tired of those that criticize Mitt’s business ethics and compared him to a vulture like Texas Governor Rick Perry who complained to Sean Hannity in January: “There’s a real difference between venture capitalism and vulture capitalism. Venture capitalism we like. Vulture capitalism, no. And the fact of the matter is that he’s going to have to face up to this at some time or another, and South Carolina is as good a place to draw that line in the sand as any. That’s not what we’re looking for in a president of the United States. We’re looking for someone that knows how to build jobs, create jobs. And that’s what I’ve done in the state of Texas. So there’s no use trying to paper this over. That is a problem for Mitt, and he’s going to have to face it.”

I’m sorry Governor Perry, Mitt has met that challenge. He looks nothing like a vulture. Look at that hair. It is amazing. I wish I had hair like that. Did you ever see a vulture with hair like that? I think not. Check your facts governor because they don’t matter to us anyway.

Then there are those like former Governor of Arkansas and Fox New commentator Mike Huckabee who criticize Mitt’s conservative credentials. Huckabee had the nerve to write in his book saying that Mitt “spent more time on the road to Damascus than a Syrian camel driver. And we thought nobody could fill John Kerry’s flip-flops! … [Romney’s record was] “anything but conservative until he changed all the light bulbs in his chandelier in time to run for President.”

That was not fair and Huckabee should be ashamed. A man who buys his outsourced made in China chandelier from Wal-Mart should not criticize a man who financed the company that manufactured it and who would never stoop to changing a light bulb that his janitor should have done before it got dark. Mitt would fire that janitor and hire someone else to change those bulbs. Shame on you Mike Huckabee.

Rick Santorum joined in that criticism saying that Romney “is the ultimate flip-flopper….” That dear reader is not fair. Governor Romney has had to defend himself against many scurrilous charges. I mean Mitt has had to defend himself because President Obama had the nerve to steal his Massachusetts health care plan and name it after himself. Can you believe that? It is horrendous and a scandal and Governor Romney should deny any responsibility for President Obama’s shameful swiping of his idea.

I cannot imagine Mitt being a “flip-flopper.” There is no proof that Mitt wears outsourced flip-flops made in China or Pakistan. No, it is sure that Romney wears Sperry Top-siders when he is on his luxury yacht because everyone knows that open toed shoes are dangerous to wear about ships. Mitt understands that you need to protect your toes, because a nation without leaders is like a foot without a big toe.

I am also tired of those that have criticized Romney for speaking French like Newt Gingrich did during the GOP primaries. Gingrich was trying to equate Mitt with Senator John  Kerry, who was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart for killing Commies in Vietnam before he was against killing them. Mitt speaks French as does Kerry, but Mitt is different. Unlike Kerry who went to Vietnam and then shamefully protested against the war, Mitt was for the war. He was a patriot and protested for the right of the government to draft others to go fight and kill the Commies like every good American should have done. Romney then sacrificed several years of college hijinks and venture to France to convert the heathen French and eat Fois Gras and Escargot for three years as a missionary while avoiding the wine and beer. That is a sacrifice. When I went to France I only ate in Italian restaurants and only drank wine and beer. Besides, speaking French is like speaking the language of the enemy. When some pinko-socialist French atheist writer mocks America in French, Mitt will understand those words and bomb Paris in retaliation.

And finally in defense of Mitt, I condemn those like former Reagan speech writer and conservative Wall Street Journal Columnist Peggy Noonan and call Mitt’s management of his campaign “incompetent” and “in need of an intervention” or Bill Kristol who called Mitt “stupid and arrogant.”

I am sorry, those comments are below the waistline of Mitt’s magic underwear, which he evidently doesn’t wear to bed according to what he told Kelly Ripa. I won’t stand for it anymore. I refuse to take part in the heresy hunt of these extremists. This is the United States of America and Mitt Romney just might be our next Commander-in-Chief and I don’t want to diminish his Chiefyness.

That’s just my take, I want to stay classy.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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A Home Opener and thoughts on Rick, Ozzie and George

“Baseball is a harbor, a seclusion from failure that really matters, a playful utopia in which virtuosity can be savored to the third decimal place of a batting average.”  ~Mark Kramer

Last night I went to see the home opener of the Norfolk Tides as has been my tradition since 2004.  It was a beautiful night for a ball game and my friend Dennis was gracious to invite me to sit with him in his season ticket section. It was a nice night and good company with a fellow veteran. There is camaraderie among veterans and others who have served in harm’s way, a camaraderie that recognizes reality in a way that most of the rest of society does not. I think that it a testament to the different worlds that the military and those that serve with us in harm’s way and the rest of society live in.

There is something about the ball park that does me good and helps bring a certain peace to my soul.  It has been this way more than ever since I returned from Iraq. While I can relax wonderfully with a ball game on television or radio there is nothing like being less than 50 feet from the playing field and taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the ballpark.  I know others that find the same peace in  this setting a sense of safety and normalcy that we don’t find many other places.

The ball park is still one of the few places that I don’t find crowds of people intimidating or that send me into a state of hyper-vigilance, that is reserved for malls, Wal-Mart and other big retail venues as well as big churches.  I guess that is part of what makes going to the ball park so refreshing, I feel safe there.  But like all things ball games must end and we have to re-enter the “real” world.

But venturing back to the real world today I caught some news on the radio as I switched between ESPN regular news outlets while driving back to North Carolina.

First up was the news of Rick Santorum, the un-Mormon Anti-Mitt from the Republican Presidential primary campaign.  His campaign had struggled during the past few weeks following his Southern sweep.  At the beginning of the primary season he was probably considered the most likely to be one of the first out. But his worked hard and was tenacious taking the fight to Romney. Had other conservatives like Newt Gingrich left the race Santorum might have won more primaries and really made Romney’s life a living hell. However Santorum did not have the campaign organization or financial wherewithal to withstand Romney’s negative campaign ad carpet bombing blitz.  He also probably lost some support by getting too deep into the contraception debate and away from the compelling blue collar story of his family.  I found it interesting that he did not utter Romney’s name during his speech and wonder what this says about the depth of support that his more Evangelical Christian Social Conservative supporters will give Romney in the fall. My guess is that they are not thrilled with Romney and will likely do little or nothing to help him so Santorum or another like him can take the nomination in 2016 and not have to face an incumbent President.

Then there was Ozzie Guillen being suspended for his really stupid comment that “he loved Fidel Castro.” Not a good thing when you are the Manager of the Miami Marlins and call Little Havana your home.  It was as stupid as if you were the non-Jewish manager of a major Soccer team in Tel Aviv Israel and said the you just loved Hitler. Not smart. Now Ozzie who is known for his colorful off the cuff comments is having to try to make right with a Cuban community which is central to the life of South Florida many of whom are a generation or less removed from Castro’s persecution of political or other opponents. I know a lot of Cubans who have fled or been driven out of their homeland. I have been to the Northeast Gate at Guantanamo Bay which is kind of like the old Berlin Wall.  Now I like Ozzie and I think that he had the self awareness to realize that he screwed up royally and that his contrition is probably genuine. That being said he is going to have some rough times in Miami and in the end he better turn out a winner and find a way to become linked to an anti-Castro plot while he is doing so.

Finally the lawyers that were representing, advising or just helping George Zimmerman the man who killed a teenager named Trayvon Martin a month and a half ago quit. They held a nationally televised news conference to say that they have lost contact with Zimmerman, alluded that Zimmerman is no longer in Florida and that Zimmerman had done a number of things including talking to the Special Prosecutor office and Fox News host Sean Hannity about the case without counsel. This brought them to drop him as a client. Meanwhile the Special Prosecutor announced that she is going make a statement with more information regarding the case within the next 72 hours. My guess is that this will not be good news for Zimmerman. The only thing I can say about this is that Zimmerman must be stupid to disregard to counsel of his legal advisors. Who knows, maybe Zimmerman is on his way to Cuba?

Anyway, tonight is baseball on the MLB Channel and on my laptop with Molly my faithful dog at my side here at the Island Hermitage.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Bad Blood: Romney Wins Illinois, Missouri in Chaos and GOP Rift Widens

The “Wall Street financier” beat the “economic lightweight” tonight in the Land of Lincoln but the Republican race is still going to continue. Santorum lost by double digits but in any normal year he should have lost by far more. The voter turnout as in most previous GOP primaries was lower than 2008 which points to problems later on because it shows that in spite of their dislike for President Obama is that the GOP is not excited about its candidates.  The rhetoric continues to spiral into the land of frustration and anger as both candidates and campaigns have resorted to elementary school playground type name calling.

Romney’s win was important coming on the heels of coming in third in both Mississippi and Alabama. In that sense it was a big win, perhaps his biggest win of this primary season to date. But Romney needs to win more and put Santorum away and try to collect the support of Evangelical Christian social conservatives who heavily back Santorum.  If Santorum comes back with a win in Louisiana the talk will shift back to how Romney cannot seal the deal.

The vote showed Santorum’s weaknesses as well as the irrelevance of Newt Gingrich who is by all reason is splitting the conservative vote and hindering Santorum in is battle against Romney.

There are signs both Santorum and Romney are wearing thin on the independent vote on which the election will hinge. Polls show that both men have much higher negative ratings from independents than does President Obama.  The issue with Romney is that he seems out of touch and Santorum because he seems too extreme. Perception matters and neither Santorum or Romney seem to get the fact that the way that they come across does matter.  Tommy Lasorda noted something about baseball that I think is very applicable in a Presidential campaign of this nature. “No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games.  No matter how bad you are you’re going to win one-third of your games.  It’s the other third that makes the difference.”  In such a polarized race the independents are that third that make the difference even if they aren’t exactly a third of the electorate.

My prediction is that as both campaigns continue to battle each other that they will continue to widen the rift between the Santorum and Romney supporters.  I still believe that this race continues deep into the primary season if not all the way to Orlando. I think that even if it looks like Romney will wrap up the nomination that many Evangelical Christian social conservatives and quite probably much of the Tea Party wing will feel alienated from the GOP and with well over 25% of GOP voters saying that a candidates religion was a “very important factor” in their vote it is possible that Romney will not get their support even as the nominee. In a close election that will matter.  Both parties have to lock up their base while winning the independents. Any crack in the GOP base could be disastrous to their nominee.

The lack of enthusiasm for any of the candidates was shown in the exit polls tonight where 39% of GOP voters indicated that they are not satisfied with their candidates and that the numbers of Republicans voting today were a record low for the state.

Romney is winning in the urban areas and losing in the rural areas; a trend that has been constant this primary season. The problem in this is that any GOP nominee has to have strong support in rural areas because in many states the urban areas traditionally vote Democrat and will be won by President Obama in the November general election regardless of who the GOP nominee is.  The evidence of this is shown in in the Missouri caucuses last weekend where the largest country caucus in St Charles County had to be broken up by the police at the organizers’s request because of the chaos at the site. The battle for delegates across the country especially in caucus states is so clouded it is difficult to tell exactly what the count really is despite each candidate’s spin. I have linked two videos showing the chaos of that event.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9__0im5kQk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6d9X6krB9A

Romney has had to spend huge amounts of money to bury his competition, money that will not be available for the general election. He and his Super PAC allies outspent Santorum 7-1 in Illinois. The longer the campaign goes and the more invective spent on each other the more likely it is that whoever the nominee is will come out wounded, especially in the eyes of the independent voters.  They will decide the election.

This will continue to be interesting.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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True Grits: Santorum Sweeps South

Mitt Romney may have adopted a Southern drawl, learned the word y’all and tasted grits for the first time but Rick Santorum has won the south defeating Romney and Newt Gingrich in Alabama and Mississippi. This was despite the advantage of Mitt Romney’s advertising carpet bombing campaign and Newt Gingrich’s supposed Southern advantage.  Both Alabama and Mississippi were close races with Mississippi being a “barn burner” in which the candidates were separated by under 3 percentage points while Santorum won Alabama in a relatively comfortable manner by 5% over Gingrich and 7% over Romney.

Rick Santorum campaigning in Alabama (Eric Gay/AP)

The biggest loser was Romney who again struggled to gain over 30% of the vote in a Southern state.  Santorum and Gingrich more than doubled the votes cast for Romney. This is a consistent narrative in this primary season, even where Romney “wins” his totals are almost always below his opponents. As I have said since Iowa this has become the search for the anti-Mitt anti-Mormon candidate.  Romney is viewed by the Evangelical Christian and Conservative Catholic base of the Republican Party to be a flip-flopping Massachusetts moderate who belongs to a religious cult. That is the bottom line. Romney has tried hard to ingratiate himself to the base but has not been able to seal the deal despite the weaknesses of the Republican field and his massive advantage in campaign organization and financing.  The results demonstrated Romney’s inability to seal the deal with the conservative base that not only the are the key to the GOP nomination but the General Election as well.

Gingrich is another loser tonight although in my mind not as much as Romney because Gingrich really has nothing to lose at this point because he will not be the nominee.  He does not have much in terms of organization and most of his advertising comes from Vegas Casino owner Sheldon Adelson who has said that should Gingrich withdraw that he would switch his support to Romney.  One has to wonder why he stays in the race except that this is so personal for him that he cannot let it go even if it means undercutting his fellow conservative Rick Santorum.

If Gingrich was to leave the race the Republican party would finally be able to define what it intends to be not only for 2012 but maybe for the next several election seasons. A Santorum versus Romney showdown would determine if the old guard moderates or if the new more socially conservative Christian voters finally gain the ascendency at the national level that they enjoy in many state and local races.

Ron Paul finished lower than in other outings in these states and should cease to be much of a factor in the coming weeks except to draw off support that might go to one of the front runners.

There are a number of primaries coming up. While I do not any of the next primaries to be decisive they could provide some measure of momentum to Santorum or buttress the Romney campaign.  Hawaii’s caucuses will close in a couple of hours and it is more than likely that Romney will will Hawaii. On Saturday Missouri will caucus and it based on Santorum’s convincing wins there in the unofficial non-binding popular vote primary and his continued ability to beat Romney in heavily Evangelical areas I expect that he will win the majority of these delegates. Puerto Rico is Sunday followed by Illinois next week. Romney should win Illinois but the way things have been going Santorum may well challenge him hard in that state. Two weeks from now is Louisiana which I expect Santorum will win in a convincing manner.

When all is said and done by the end of March Romney should still lead the delegate count but I expect that he will not stop the bleeding. Gingrich will face pressure from Santorum and possibly senior GOP officials to leave the race. If he does there is the possibility that he could still be a Vice Presidential nominee.

The race is certainly interesting especially since President Obama remains mired in low approval ratings which promises that the General Election in November should be a nail biter unless something really happens to upset the apple cart.  This makes it fun  for me because I am actually coming to enjoy writing about politics.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Super Tuesday Agony: Indecisive, Inconclusive and a Portent of Things to Come

The Super Tuesday primaries are supposed to provide the boost to ensure that each party has a nominee locked in a ready to go into the November general election refreshed and with party united behind them.  Even in hotly contested campaigns Super Tuesday is supposed to give a frontrunner an edge going into the last months of the primary season. It is designed to bring unity to a party, at least in what the party believes even if it differs on its candidate.

That is not the case this year. Though results are still filtering in at the moment Mitt Romney has won as expected in Virginia, Massachusetts, Vermont and Idaho. Newt Gingrich has won Georgia and Rick Santorum has won Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota.

Several states are still in the balance with the big prize being Ohio which Santorum and Romney are running in a dead heat. Ohio is so close and has such a history of big counties taking a long time to count it may not be known who has won the state until tomorrow. If the margin is under .25% an automatic recount will be triggered.  Ohio was supposed to be a Romney win and when Rick Santorum began to surge Romney and his PACs dumped massive amounts of money, somewhere close to 12 million dollars in advertising to beat Santorum down. This is not good for Romney even if he gets a narrow win. Yes a win is a win but sometimes a win doesn’t amount to much  especially if a recount is triggered.

The states that Romney has won so far are states that he had no possibility of losing. Massachusetts and Vermont, Romney is the home team. In Virginia his two strongest competitors were not on the ballot making it a race between him and Ron Paul. Idaho which has a strong LDS population was also an easy win for Romney.  However Romney was trounced in Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota.  The three southern states do matter, any Republican nominee has to win the south.  Romney is not liked in the south, he has a number of things that cause him to be less than popular in the Republican Bible Belt. His religion is part of it, many conservative Christians, both Evangelicals and Roman Catholics believe that the Mormon Church is a cult.  Romney also has to deal with the fact that he doesn’t come across as genuine. He comes across as a entitled flip flopping New England moderate who cannot connect with real people, note his comments about NASCAR.  The fact is that in many Republicans in other parts of the country believe the same thing.

Next week the campaign turns to the south where Alabama and Mississippi await Romney. I have not seen recent polling data for either state but would expect that Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will poll very well and that Romney may even run third in both primaries. Kansas has its caucuses on Saturday and with that state’s history in the abortion wars that Rick Santorum should do very well with the GOP base.  Other states that Romney could struggle in include Louisiana and the only state that really looks positive in the coming month for Romney is Illinois.

As I said there are still states hanging tonight but it is very apparent that Romney’s money and organization is the only thing keeping him in the game.  Romney is still in the best position to take the nomination but he if he gets it will be the nominee of a fractured party whose base does not like him.  That is not a winning formula to beat an incumbent President no matter how bad that President’s numbers look.

My prediction, all four candidates remain in the race and Romney continues to take a beating from the conservative base.  This will remain a long, drawn out and bloody campaign. Romney will have to spent far more money than he ever had planned to secure the nomination and may lose the support of Republican party elders if he cannot seal the deal soon.  Gingrich will remain in at least for a while but Santorum allies may try to pressure Gingrich through the Tea Party to leave the race in order to make Santorum the sole conservative standard bearer against Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

It certainly makes for an interesting election season.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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The Newtron Bomb Blasts Romney

The Newtron bomb exploded and irradiated the long presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney and sent the Republican establishment into shock. Gingrich was left for dead after New Hampshire and Iowa after being savaged by Romney backed Super-PACs. Instead after hard hitting campaign ads attacking Romney and two strong debate performances he won the South Carolina Republican primary. It was stunning. Last Saturday Romney’s Super-PAC released an ad that boldly proclaimed “On Saturday, South Carolina picks a President.” If it did it wasn’t Romney.

Hubris

He was aided by Romney’s hubris and inability to answer questions about his income, his taxes and his career at Bain Capital without looking like an entitled and out of touch rich politician. Romney’s post primary debate made him look worse. He tried to still project the image of the front-runner and standard bearer that can beat Barak Obama.  Romney basically said that for  anyone to criticize him or his personal success was to be against success and capitalism. His speech seemed devoid of understanding that the combination of his own communicative ineptitude and Gingrich’s appeal to raw populism have damaged him. Likewise his inability to be magnanimous in defeat to either Gingrich or Santorum after their wins in Iowa and South Carolina make him even less attractive to much of the electorate. Otto Von Bismarck said that the “three signs of great men are generosity in the design, humanity in the execution, moderation in success.”  Well that does not describe what many feel about Mitt Romney after South Carolina.

Romney spent more money in the state than any other candidate, had the support of Tea Party backed Governor Nikki Haley and other key South Carolina Republicans including Senator Jim DeMint.

Gingrich won 40% of the vote in South Carolina and won nearly every demographic. The allegations of his second wife Marianne about his infidelity and desire for an “open marriage” had little if no effect on an electorate dominated by Evangelical Christians. The only significant demographic to go for Romney was that of people that made over $200,000 a year.  (see Fox News Exit Poll http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2012/south-carolina-primary-jan-21/exit-polls )

The turnout was significant, nearly a third more people voted in the primary than in 2008. I attribute this to the activism of the Tea Party as well as Ron Paul’s campaign, both of which pack significant energy. Paul finished 4th tonight but had far more of the electorate than he had in 2008.

Gingrich is not well liked. His negatives are incredible but he can fight and with the money that is now coming in to support his Super-PAC he is going to make Florida a real race unless he does something to implode.  This is a big reason that Rick Santorum will remain in the race.

Florida will be important. I do think that Gingrich will make it close and maybe even win.  I think that he wins the Tea Party faction and will make a good run at the Cuban vote. If Gingrich wins big it could send party elites into a panic.  To them Newt is the Neutron Bomb, he is radioactive and and dangerous.  They do not want him as their nominee and they will do whatever they can to stop his momentum.

But even if Romney can right the ship in Florida the fact is that this race will continue to go on into the spring and that bodes ill for him. I think that this will be difficult. Florida has hit the skids economically and that impacts Republican voters as much as it does others and a Romney that seems to be out of touch and flouting his wealth will not go over well with In South Carolina a third of Gingrich supporters polled say that they will not support Romney if he becomes the nominee and the figure among Paul supporters is higher.  Mark my words, Tea Party and Ron Paul activists will not go all in for Romney if he is the nominee.

Right now as unimaginable as it would have ever been Romney is in real danger and he does not seem to be fully aware of it.  Like Captain Schettino of the Costa Concordia he and his campaign are too close to running aground and still seem to believe that no matter what they will be the nominee. South Carolina shows that his electability is in question. Why would the Tea Party and Libertarian factions want Romney in office for 8 years should he be the nominee and win against President Obama?

These candidates do not like each other and the loathing of Gingrich for Romney and Romney for Gingrich is palpable. The campaign will be dirty and unsurpassed in nastiness.

This will be a fascinating race to watch and may be historic in terms of its effect on the conservative movement and the Republican Party.

How Romney and the GOP elites must be feeling about South Carolina 

It will be fun to watch if nothing else.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Party Like it’s 1996: Romney Wins the Granite State but…

Mitt Romney Unloved Frontrunner?

Mitt Romney as most believed won the New Hampshire primary by a comfortable margin and now the fight moves south to South Carolina where Romney will face a big challenge. Despite the wins in Iowa and New Hampshire most Republicans and Independents are not in love with him his record will cause him problems in the South, especially in regard to Romney’s record on abortion.

Romney is the first GOP candidate to win both Iowa and New Hampshire which many analysts are saying is significant. However I don’t see it as significant as some would. He won New Hampshire handily but against a significantly weaker GOP field than he and John McCain faced in 2008.  On the other hand Ron Paul polled nearly three times the number of votes that he received in 2008.  To further complicate the matter in actual number of votes cast the two social conservatives Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have more combined votes than 2008’s social conservatives led by Mike Huckabee.

Wild Card: Ron Paul and his True Believers

Despite his success in New Hampshire Romney may have great difficulty in the south. Many Republicans, especially those of the Tea Party and Libertarian factions may see Romney as someone that might be able to defeat President Obama but may not want to surrender their party to a man that they really do not trust for the next 8 years.  That is something that I do not hear many people saying.  Buying Romney now means buying him until 2020 and I do not think that Tea Party, Libertarian or Social Conservatives will be willing to do that even if it means 4 more years of Barak Obama. They can run against Obama but once Romney is President it will be much harder for them to get him out.

This could well be like 1996 where the Republicans nominated Bob Dole but despite their hatred of Bill Clinton and desire to see him defeated could not rally behind Dole.

Romney has not helped himself with numerous gaffes and comments that are easily taken out of context and have been put into sound bites by his opponents in the GOP and will be by the Democrats when the battle is truly joined.  He sounds great behind the teleprompter but not very good in the moment. In that aspect he is much like President Obama in style.

No one is leaving the race and all the candidates are heading to South Carolina which is much more a predictor of the eventual nominee than either Iowa or New Hampshire. This is Republican campaign is going to be bloody as it is personal especially for Gingrich who now has massive amount of money to spend and willingness to use it to sink Romney. Romney has a comfortable lead in the last poll over the divided social conservatives in South Carolina and probably wins the state. This will probably take out one or more of his opponents but could lead to the social conservatives to unite behind one candidate, most likely Rick Santorum but possibly and this is a stretch Rick Perry.

I believe that Ron Paul and his supporters will leave the party because they are in no mood to compromise with Romney who they see as “Obama Lite.”  Social conservatives  especially Evangelicals that in their hearts believe that Romney’s Mormon faith makes him a cultist may sit out the election or support Paul or splinter social conservative parties such as the Constitution Party.  This weekend the most prominent of the social conservatives are getting together to see if they can find a conservative alternative to Romney.

When all is said and done I do think Romney wins South Carolina and will get the nomination. Some of his opponents in the GOP will fall in line but ideology matters now in the GOP whether it is social conservatism or libertarianism. However he will look like a ship that survived a Kamikaze attack. He’ll survive but he will be so wounded that he will lose in November despite the weaknesses and unpopularity of President Obama.  The question will be will the GOP galvanize itself behind a candidate that few really like and many view with great suspicion and distrust on a multitude of issues to defeat President Obama?

Back to the Future? Bob Dole and Jack Kemp in 1996

A few months ago I thought that Romney was sure not only to win the nomination but to go on and defeat President Obama in the fall but while I’m pretty sure that he will win the nomination I can easily see him now going the way of Bob Dole.  Party like it’s 1996 because it could be back to the future.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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