Thursday, March 8, 2012

Democrats Excited by Romney?

We’re consistently stupefied by the logic portrayed by Charles Blow in the New York Times and his most recent piece is no exception.
After using Mitt Romney’s relatively poor showing in the “most conservative” states as the only facts in the column, Mr. Blow proceeds to drone on about how “one could hardly design a worse candidate” than Mr. Romney (or “Mr. Roboto” as Mr. Blow quips). 
He continues, “Romney is wooden and awkward. His convictions range from fickle to flimsy. He is ineloquent and dispassionate. His past actions and comments are completely at odds with his current advocacy. Most of us call this flip-flopping….” 
Were Mr. Romney to win the Republican nomination, which is looking more likely by the day, Mr. Blow claims that “red state America would have a blue state presidential candidate.  The wrong man would rule the roost. They’d have to root for a man they dislike over a president they disdain.  How uncomfortable for them. How exciting for Democrats.”
This analysis reeks of exaggeration and is, perhaps subconsciously, an attempted reverse jinx.
We could understand why the Democrats would be excited for a Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich  vs. President Obama election, but its misguided to be most excited, and implicitly more confident, in a Mitt Romney vs. President Obama election.  Just ask the Democrats in Michigan who they voted for in the Republican primary and why.
First, the logic.  Does Mr. Blow really think that the most conservative states are up for grabs in the general election?  Does he really believe that voters in these “above average conservative” states would be so “uncomfortable” with Mitt Romney’s level of conservatism that they would vote for President Obama?  The Presidency is a battle of electoral votes, not popular votes, and in 2008, President Obama won 11 of the 177 electoral votes available in the 21 states Mr. Blow sites in his column.  Does anyone really think President Obama is more electable now? 

In the general election, the real battle is for the votes of independents and party moderates, not for the party idealogues. 

This reminds us of a
post we wrote almost exactly one year ago, in which we chided Republicans as short sighted for suggesting that nominees focus on conservative social issues to win the nomination. 
Everyone is so caught up in the semi-final battle to find the best Republican, that they're missing the important fact that in the championship game in November, the country will elect the best candidate, not the best Republican or Democrat.  Sure you have to win the semi-final to advance to the champtionship game, but an upset in the semi-final just makes it easier for the favorite, and in this the defending champ, to win it all. 
Rick Santorum, and to a lesser extent, Newt Gingrich, are proving that discussing uber-conservative social issues helps garner support in the Republican primary.  However, we still believe prioritizing these issues as opposed to the economy and size of government is misguided and a virtual death sentence in a general election – a belief supported by many Democrats (including the Obama team who successfully focused the national discourse to these issues by igniting the contraception debate) and polls that show Mr. Romney the closest to President Obama in head to head matchups.  Tellingly, in these same polls, a generic “Republican” polls four points closer to President Obama than Mr. Romney, six points better than Mr. Santorum and almost 12 points better than Mr. Gingrich.
As we’ve noted before, the vast majority of voters need to hold their nose every time they enter a voting booth, and 2012 will be no different.  The least bad candidate will prevail, and, for better or worse, Mr. Romney is the least bad Republican candidate and therefore has the best chance of beating President Obama in November. 
Maybe he should just change his name to "Republican."


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