... Can't sleep at night for their decisions either to drop ot to not enter the race for President. Pawlenty was on Morning Joe this AM and stayed for awhile through the Jay Wilkinson interview on his book of letters from Dad Bud (Jay was great -- no surprise to those who know him). Joe Scarborough gave Tim a load of guff for not staying in (he dropped out after losing an Iowa straw poll to Michele Bachmann). If he stayed in a la Santorum, he surely would have had his day in the sun and the support of influential people like George Will. Huckabee likes his TV paychecks and decided to work on his financial security. IMHO (where the H is silent), if Huckabee had run, he would have it sewn up by now.
I know he had tens of supporters in Iowa, but T-Paw simply ran out of money. His campaign is still in debt.
Speaking of debt, the Bachmann and Huntsman campaigns also have more debt than cash on hand and will likely require bailouts from the RNC, other candidates, or authorized PACs.
Huntsman is about $5 million in the red. I suppose he can also cover that by himself, if necessary, given his vast wealth.
Bachmann's campaign is about $700,000 in the red. I'm not sure about her personal finances, but she might be able to do it herself as well. Given her rhetoric on bailouts, it will be interesting to see how she handles it.
Whatever he does, he's somewhat at the mercy of the whim of the Republican Party's general direction. If they do well this Fall, there's no reason to think there's much place for him to make any movement upward within the party for a while. If they do poorly, the question becomes what the party's reaction is - double down on the tacking rightward (I'm not sure how much further there is to go), or moderate? Under normal circumstances, there'd be a push for moderation from either party after losing by tacking to its base. But I'm not seeing any leading voices that would move for tempering the GOP right now. I think the midterm success the Republicans saw in 2010 was in large part misattributed by the party: they saw the same traditional first term midterm gains as are always there, probably based more on an enthusiasm gap in their favor and a horrible economy than anything else. One could even argue they underperformed, given the economy, based on some of the likely wins they gave up by putting up non-credible, hardcore Tea Partiers (Sharron Angle, for instance) - I tend to think there's something to that, but there was also still some lingering anger at the Rep. brand after the Bush years from which they hadn't fully rebounded yet. Anyway, there's little doubt that Republicans took their relative success in 2010 as an endorsement of the Tea Party agenda, as evidenced by the way they've governed since, and the landscape their candidates are occupying in this race. It's entirely possible that a poor 2012 election season would have the opposite of a tempering effect. Look how hard Romney's had to try to be a "severe" enough conservative for his party's base. If he's the nominee and loses, there's going to be a continuing split in the party and almost the entire base will be convinced he lost because he wasn't a True Conservative, and there will be another several years of apostasies and purges in the party.
So, in either case, it's pretty likely that in in another 4 to 8 years, the same dynamic would exist within the GOP for Huntsman. He'd be in much better position to actually say what he thinks, instead of trying to audition for the hardcore conservative role that he won't get, from the other side of the aisle. They already hate him for being the Ambassador to China under Obama; why not just switch over? He'd pull in large amounts of people who call themselves independent and also label themselves as "fiscally conservative" regardless of who was running on the R ticket. The difficult part would be finding a way to do enough to be treated as an actual Democrat by Democratic voters in so short a period.
FWIW, Nate Silver has Romney pulling ahead in Michigan now by a working margin and Gingrich doing the same in Georgia. It may be that the Santorum Surge came a week too early. The debate and negative ads from Mitt and Paul can't be helping any, either.
Meanwhile, Mitt's S-PAC has been running ads in Georgia this week attacking Newt. Have not seen any ads for anyone else. Early voting is already underway here, with the polls open March 6th.
Romney's optics problems continue.
So today he gives his big economic policy speech in Detroit. First, the venue was an odd choice -- Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, which seats 70,000 or so. For an event with an attendance of about 1,200. Result: The takeaway image is Romney's voice echoing in a cavernous and mostly-empty stadium. Were there no more size-appropriate venues available in the entire Detroit metro area?
Second, at one point in the speech -- in an apparent effort to emphasize his fondness for American cars -- he ad-libbed that his wife "drives a couple of Cadillacs." Twitter apparently exploded right after that line. After the speech, the Romney campaign issued a statement confirming that Ann Romney drives two Cadillac SRXs (model years 2007 and 2010) -- one in California and another in Massachusetts.
This was a major, heavily-hyped address, and now it may be overshadowed by one unscripted moment that will be seen as underscoring Romney's inherent one-percentedness. He can complain all he wants about his words being taken "out of context" or whatever, but anyone who plays at this level has to know that his words are going to be carefully scrutinized for anything that sounds tone-deaf or "out of touch," and yet he just.....keeps.....doing......it. At this point, his advisers have to be pulling their hair out.
I've said before and will say again: Romney needs to stop trying to act like he is a normal Joe Sixpack guy. He's not, never was, never will be. Instead he just needs to be authentic about who he is, and tell a narrative of why that makes him the right guy. Our family built success from humble beginnings, and is the American Dream; we did it and so can every American; etc. Even if it is a weak narrative, it makes him AUTHENTIC. Which to my eyes is his biggest continuous flub point.
I agree with OPK. The only problem with that approach for Romney, right now at least, is that his backstory is very much tied to two things: his father, and Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, both of whom would be drummed out of the Republican Party in 2012. But, yeah, he needs to get across a persona instead of continually being mocked as the Romneytron 3000, and his family history would be a place to start. From there, he could start working on the case of "Why I want to be President," which I haven't seen him tackle to date. It's hard to present a vision for the country, that sells, without tying it to your personal identity. There's no personal narrative there, beyond "All the other Mormons have been telling him his whole life that he should be President someday."
Yeah, it's getting to the point where you could put together a nice little "Greatest Hits" video:
"I'm also unemployed."
"Corporations are people."
"I'm running for office, for Pete's sake. I can't have illegals."
"Rick, I'll tell you what --$10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?"
"A couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip."
"Not very much." (In reference to the amount of money he earned from speeches. The amount was $374,000.)
"I like to be able to fire people."
"I'm not concerned about the very poor."
And now this.
He's kind of caught between a rock and a hard place. His gaffes seem to come when he goes off-script in an effort to appear "folksy" -- but if he tries to avoid the gaffes by sticking solely to the script, he reinforces the Romneybot image that's been dogging him for years. Assuming Romney ends up being the nominee, expect to see Ann Romney get a big prime-time speech at the convention to try and humanize Romney (much like Liddy Dole in 1996), since he's apparently incapable of humanizing himself without saying something that plays directly into the "out of touch economic elitist" meme that his opponents (both inside and outside the Republican Party) have been more than happy to use against him.
So here's an intriguing scenario -- because of the way Michigan awards its delegates to the GOP convention (winner-take-all by congressional district), it's possible that Romney could win the overall statewide popular vote, but still come away with fewer delegates than Santorum. Now, I have no idea how likely this outcome actually is, but it's at least theoretically possible -- and given all the ups, downs and general weirdness in the Republican primary and caucus season so far, it would almost be par for the course.
Nate Silver discusses this, any many other aspects of the GOP's delegate math, in this interesting piece.
Last edited by Tom B.; 02-26-2012 at 12:52 PM.
The Gallup GOP Tracking poll now has Romney back in front by 2 points. Santorum had led for more than a week.
Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk
trying hard to stay inbounds of the thread, but with Santorum's comments about "throwing up about the separation of church and state", is he beginning to lose some moderate conservatives?
"Either we're going down, or they are....... Kirk out!"
- "I don't really follow NASCAR as much as I'd like, but I have a couple of really good friends who are team owners" and
- "I like those ponchos you guys are wearing [referring to those disposable garbage bag rain sheets]. You guys really shelled out the big bucks for those!"