Saturday, November 26, 2011
Anyone But Mitt
While his support has remained pretty constant at around the mid-twenties (nationwide), he has shown no ability to build on that support -- and support in the twenty percent range is not going to win him the nomination. Unless he can figure some way to get his support much higher, he's going to once again fail to get the nomination.
Poll after poll has shown that in a general election Romney would give President Obama a closer run than any of the other Republican hopefuls, and by now most Republicans have to be aware of that. But so far, that hasn't helped Romney at all. His support, steady as it is, comes from establishment Republicans, but the establishment Republicans don't control the party anymore -- the teabaggers do.
And the fact is, the teabaggers just don't like Mitt Romney. Romney has tried very hard for the last couple of years to make himself more appealing to the teabagger base of the party. He has changed his positions on many things such as gay rights, global warming, health care, and abortion -- taking new positions much more in line with teabagger beliefs and prejudices. But instead of winning over the teabaggers, he has just convinced them that he's a flip-flopper who has no real beliefs. They don't trust him, and figure he'll abandon his new far-right positions once he is elected.
This feeling was highlighted last Monday when a group of right-wing Republicans held a "secret" meeting in Iowa to try and come together to defeat Romney in that state. The idea was to find a candidate they could all support, in the hope that their unifying behind one candidate would boost that candidate up enough to beat Romney in Iowa and give him/her a lead going into other primaries and caucuses.
The meeting was attended by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, The Family Leader, Iowa Right To Life, and the Iowa chapter of Concerned Women for America, along with the ministers of several large churches in the state. So far, they have narrowed the candidates down to four possibles -- Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum. They felt that Ron Paul just had too many (libertarian) beliefs that did not coincide with what they believed, and Herman Cain was just not experienced enough yet. They are to meet again next Monday and try to winnow the list down further.
I don't know whether the Iowa teabaggers will be able to coalesce behind one candidate or not, but this shows the depth of distrust the right-wingers have for Romney. Even if Romney was to "win" Iowa, he will not get anywhere near 50% of the delegates. The best he can hope for is that the other delegates are split between several states, and right now the same is true in many other states. Even in New Hampshire, where Romney is strongest, he is not the choice of a majority of voters.
Romney might win the nomination, but I won't believe it until he has 51% of the total delegates. And even then, will the teabaggers work hard for him in the general election? I think Romney's in trouble, and I'm not at all sure there's much he can do to fix that.