Mitt Romney


Re-posted from National Review

Credit: National Review

Credit: National Review

Mitt Romney is keeping a very high profile this midterm-election season by campaigning coast to coast for Republicans, and two recent polls suggest why he might be encouraged to stay active in politics. Romney and his family say Mitt will not be running for president in 2016, but in August the two-time presidential candidate and 2012 GOP nominee made sure to add, “circumstances can change.”

GOP strategist Mark McKinnon describes what what those changing circumstances could look like. “If Jeb Bush or Chris Christie do not run,” McKinnon tells National Review Online, “then one could make an argument for Mitt Romney.”

A Romney three-peat would add another taste to an already spicy political stew that will start to heat up the day after the midterm elections. Could Romney be the key ingredient?

The RealClearPolitics (RCP) poll averages for the 2016 GOP nomination indicate that the top four contenders are virtually tied with primary voters. The leader is Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky with 11.8 percent, followed closely by former Florida governor Jeb Bush at 11.6 percent. In third place is former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee at 11.3 percent, and trailing is New Jersey governor Chris Christie at 10.6 percent. Mitt Romney’s name is currently not included in RCP’s 2016 Republican nomination poll averages.

But Romney’s name was included in a mid-October ABC News/Washington Post poll of GOP hopefuls, and he earned a whopping 21 percent of primary-voter support. That number was more than double the 10 percent earned by Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee, who tied at second place. The rest of the pack was in single digits. Those surprising results sparked talk of a Romney comeback.

With all that chatter in mind, McKinnon’s “argument for Romney” does indeed have validity if Jeb Bush and Chris Christie do not run — and even more if they do.

For within GOP circles, Bush and Christie are considered “establishment candidates,” and the conservative wing of the party is fed up with establishment candidates. This attitude is a direct result of three failed “moderate” establishment presidential nominees: Dole in 1996, McCain in 2008, and Romney in 2012.

Conservatives believe all three were sold to them as the GOP’s best chance of winning the general election. From those losses stem current conservative distrust and zero enthusiasm for another establishment presidential candidate.

Conversely, it is highly unlikely that the GOP leadership will allow a controversial conservative or inexperienced fringe candidate to head the national ticket. This conflict between the establishment and the conservatives could make the 2016 GOP nomination process long and very contentious.

Take Jeb Bush, whose last name is already a potential problem. The news that Jeb Bush is seriously thinking about running for the nomination elicits a collective “no way” from base voters. At conservative events, I often hear the phrase “shoved down our throats” whenever Bush’s or Christie’s name is mentioned for 2016.

If Bush and Christie fail to gain traction among a majority of primary voters and the same fate awaits Rand Paul, Rick Perry, and Paul Ryan, to name a few of the eleven candidates listed in RCP’s nomination poll, the argument for Romney begins to take shape.

The former Massachusetts governor could be thought of as a safety net that a polarized GOP hopes never to use but is sure glad to have in reserve. He’s a potential compromise candidate all sides could live with though no one is thrilled about.

Romney becomes even more promising when he is matched against Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic-party nominee.

Both Romney and Clinton have experience running national campaigns and were accused of running bad campaigns. In 2016, presumably each will have learned from past mistakes, and the level of campaign management and messaging would be evenly matched.

Romney and Clinton are both multi-millionaires, so the populist argument of “too rich to relate to me” would have no traction. (In fact, one can hardly wait to see the Clintons’ tax returns.)

The two are equally able to raise the sum of more than one billion dollars that will be needed to run a presidential campaign in 2016.

Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton are the same age. Born in 1947, they will both be 69 years old in 2016, so age is off the table as an issue.

In 2008 both Clinton and Romney were rejected by their parties, so they have learned and grown from that experience. Romney’s loss in 2012 was also a character-building exercise. Now he has fought his way back into the public arena with grace, humility, and class.  The same could be said of Clinton after her 2008 loss.

Clinton (and now Romney again) are rock stars in their respective parties. They have that intangible gravitas, and both are respected nationally and on the world stage.

Predictably, both Clinton and Romney would be decrying Obama’s policies, but here Romney – though he pioneered the Obamacare model of universal health care with an individual mandate in the Bay State in 2006 — might have an advantage. Hillary, as secretary of state, was part of Obama’s administration and is already having a tough time trying to separate herself from Obama and his policies.

Romney, on the other hand, is a Republican and an experienced businessman who represents the power of a free-market economy to lead the way in solving national problems. His message of better management, smaller government, fewer regulations, less entitlement, and more opportunity did not work in 2012, but it can only become more appealing after voters have had four more years of Obama.

On the other hand, the Obama administration has proven that big government’s inability to fix anything. Just by virtue of being Democrats, the Clintons can run only as champions of big government.

These potential contrasting messages of Romney and Clinton would have rung true even before Hillary’s “October surprise,” when Clinton said, “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”

Clinton made this unartful statement last week while campaigning in Massachusetts for Martha Coakley, who is running for Mitt Romney’s old job as governor.

Clinton has since tried to clarify her remarks, but the passionate video stands forever.

Hillary’s zinger, insulting to all American business owners, has the potential to match Mitt’s disastrous 47 percent comment from the 2012 campaign.

This October surprise, two years early, played into the Republican narrative that this kind of wrongheaded Democrat thinking is harmful to America’s future.

Romney the businessman is a strong spokesman to counter this anti-capitalist message. Will this new development keep Mitt salivating over that spicy 2016 political stew into which Hillary has just dumped an entire bottle of Tabasco?

Drink lots of water, folks, because the 2016 race is going to get very hot, very fast.

— Myra Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on the 2004 Bush campaign’s creative team and the 2008 McCain campaign’s ad council. Her writing credits include National Review,  PJ Media, the Daily Beast, RedState, BizPacReview and the Daily Caller.

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Re-Posted from Pajamas Media  September 26, 2011

The Republican Party of Florida sponsored what was essentially a fundraising event in Orlando called Presidency 5, from Thursday, September 22, through Saturday, September 24.

The highlights of the three-day event were Thursday night’s Fox News/Google Republican presidential candidate debate and late Saturday afternoon’s presidential straw poll.

This straw poll was light years away from generally accepted polling practices.

Delegates eligible to vote, selected back in June, were state-wide local Republican club activists. Consider the high costs of  voting: delegate registration was $175 paid to the Republican Party of Florida, coupled with a “special” attendee hotel rate. The total with taxes was $357 for two nights.

So do the math.

Delegates shelled out a minimum of $532 to attend and that is before the $120 average registration cost of CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), which also held its first Florida event in conjunction with Presidency 5. A majority of delegates attended CPAC, which featured all the presidential candidates speaking on Friday, fresh off the Fox/Google debate the night before.

The high cost of attendance was important because delegates who eventually selected Herman Cain as the surprise winner were overwhelmingly a well- heeled, middle-aged crowd who had the time and money to attend both CPAC and Presidency 5. In other words, not necessarily your average Florida Republican voter.

From my personal experiences over the three-day event, I believe Herman Cain’s triumphal victory with 37% of the vote from 2,657 delegates was not a fluke. However, it is also not a national game changer with Cain as the new frontrunner to challenge Perry and Romney. Rather, it was a positive emotional response to Herman Cain, the man, with some “teachable moments” for the frontrunners.

Herman Cain showered the delegates with lots of love, inspiration, and political wisdom. The delegates, in turn, received his love. In fact, they were positively smitten, and rewarded Cain with their votes. This blossoming love affair unfolded slowly and built up to a frenzy right before the straw poll votes were cast.

After Thursday night’s Fox News/Google debate, Perry, who national polls showed was leading going into Florida, disappointed the audience and that sent Romney trending upwards in the minds of the delegates. This was all chronicled here the next day.

At the debate, Herman Cain made an emotional connection with the audience when he answered a question about how poorly he would have fared under ObamaCare instead of what became his miraculous triumph over stage four cancer. But by no means was Cain considered the debate winner among the delegates. That unofficial title was bestowed on Mitt Romney.

Even Rick Perry at Friday afternoon’s CPAC speech urged the audience not to nominate “the slickest candidate or the smoothest debater,” a poison dart obviously aimed at Romney’s superb performance the night before.

So what happened between Thursday night and late Saturday afternoon that enabled Cain to win over the hearts and minds of 37% of the delegates, with Perry receiving 15.4% and Romney 14%?

As one of the delegates succinctly said to me shortly after Cain’s victory was announced, “Cain is a businessman; he groomed us, he entertained us, and he closed the sale.”  Another delegate leaned first towards Perry, then after the debate towards Romney, and ended up voting for Cain, because he said “Romney ignored us” and “his organization was poor.” (This activist crowd actually grades candidates on organization, which is probably a good thing.)

If 80% of success is just showing up, as Woody Allen famously said, then Herman Cain took Woody’s advice, ran with it, and won a resounding victory.

Cain not only “showed up” the entire three days, but he did some ol’ fashioned preaching and inspiring along the way.

“Yes We Cain.”  “Cain is Able.”  “Hope and Cain.”  So read the signs and buttons.

Cain was the only candidate who stuck around to speak Friday night to a large room packed with delegates attending CPAC’s “Reagan Reception.” (No Reagan connection in sight, but these are Republicans and Reagan is their modern-day George Washington.)

There, Cain mesmerized the crowd with what I call a cross between a Tony Robbins-style motivational speech and a Sunday morning church sermon in a slow, deep, voice that sounded like the movie voice of God.

Furthermore, Cain was always present when the other frontrunners had either left the state (Romney especially) or were otherwise too busy or too uppity to socialize freely with “the folks.”

Cain showed he cared enough to send his very best — himself.

(Apologies for that old Hallmark ad line.)

One Romney-supporting delegate, who did not vote for Romney, told me why he changed his vote, saying: “Cain made us feel important” and “Romney ignored us.”

Then came the final curtain call right before the straw poll votes were to be cast.

All the candidates were given 15 minutes to appear on stage and make their case. Ron Paul sent a surrogate (snore). But Herman Cain gave such a rousing speech — bringing the delegates to their feet (shades of Obama 2008 minus the fainting) — that Rick Santorum, who had the misfortune of following Cain on the stage, said in jest that he was going to fire the staffer who decided that order of appearance.

Newt spoke next (more snores), and Huntsman sent his lovely wife and family as surrogates, but Cain’s performance was still echoing in the minds of all the delegates.

Up next was Rick Perry, who also sent a surrogate, but many delegates decided that was a good time to take a break and exit the room. Not a good sign for Perry.  And then it was suddenly announced it was time to vote. What? No Mitt Romney or Mitt Romney surrogate? Delegates were flabbergasted. “Mitt dissed us” and “He will pay for this” were the prevailing conversations.

So, instead of Santorum joking about firing a staffer for having to follow Herman Cain, Romney really needs to fire the staffer who advised him not to at least send a surrogate or even show a video like Huntsman. Those lost 15 minutes cost Romney dearly. His campaign committed the cardinal sin of ignoring activists who crave attention and want you to show them the love in exchange for their support.

It turns out Romney was in Michigan. He left shortly after his early Friday morning CPAC speech to attend a Republican gathering with their own straw poll. In Michigan, Romney took 51% of the vote, to Perry’s 17% and Herman Cain’s 9%.

It all goes to show that Woody Allen is right. When it comes to life and politics, 80% of success is just showing up.

Several delegates told me about a subliminal message they hoped to send the nation with their vote for Herman Cain, who just happens to be an African American conservative. They wanted their vote to prove that the GOP and the Tea Party are not racist  (take that Morgan Freeman and Black Caucus) but instead are willing to embrace a man of color whose personal story and political philosophy they wholeheartedly support.

There are several lessons to be learned from Herman Cain’s victory at the Florida straw poll. First and foremost, Florida Republican activists want to be courted. This vote also shows “Florida has attitude,” as one delegate said to me immediately after the results were announced.

Frontrunners like Romney and Perry need to take a page out of Herman Cain’s playbook and be prepared to spend a great deal of time showing Florida the love and taming that “attitude.”

This is because delegates at Presidency 5 and other Florida Republicans not in attendance are very proud of the fact that the road to the national nomination runs through the Florida 2012 primary and, subsequently, they are going to make all the frontrunners pay a steep toll in time and attention.

Update: The Romney campaign issued the following statement on June 9, 2011. The campaign has asked PJM to post this statement again as it relates to Myra Adams’ piece about the Florida straw poll.

“Our campaign has made the decision to not participate in any straw polls, whether it’s in Florida, Iowa, Michigan or someplace else. We respect the straw poll process.  In the last presidential campaign we were both strengthened as an organization and learned some important lessons by participating in them.  This time we will focus our energies and resources on winning primaries and caucuses. We look forward to bringing Mitt Romney’s strong pro-jobs message to every part of the country.” – Matt Rhoades, campaign manager


– Pajamas Media – http://pajamasmedia.com

A ‘Flawed’ GOP Field vs. A Flawed President

Posted By Myra Adams On March 6, 2011 @ 12:00 am In Elections 2012,Opinion,Politics | 119 Comments

It’s nearly impossible to hear or read about the prospective 2012 Republican presidential candidates without the nasty F word being mentioned. No — not that word. Flawed. All the 2012 GOP challengers are continuously dismissed in the media [1]. It’s like little laser beams are focused on each ostensibly fatal flaw, blinding voters to the totality of the candidate’s career and achievements:
In 2006, then-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney signed mandatory health care legislation — which, as the story goes, is the basis for Obamacare. POLICY: FLAWED!
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is on his third wife — and his two prior divorces were not family friendly. ETHICS: FLAWED!
Two-term Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is a former lobbyist — and, as a teenager, was more interested in watching girls than in remembering Martin Luther King’s speech in his home town. CHARACTER: FLAWED!
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels suggested to the party base that the next president would need to call a “truce” on social issues to focus on economic ones and he is several inches under 6 feet tall. SOCIALLY and PHYSICALLY FLAWED!
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is charisma challenged — allegedly way too boring and way too nice. PERSONALITY: FLAWED!
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s record raises red flags — he raised some taxes and commuted the sentence of a prisoner who years later murdered four policemen in Washington state. RECORD: FLAWED! And now with Huckabee’s latest “Obama was raised in Kenya controversy [2],” he is flawed by the prevailing media…. forever.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is — well, let’s say too polarizing for a general election. ELECTABILITY: FLAWED!

The mainstream media wants you all to believe all the potential Republican candidates are too flawed to defeat President Obama. As if President Obama is not too flawed to win!

Whether flaws are overlooked or accentuated greatly depends on the party from which the candidate hails. What the 2008 election proved — through the elevation of a man to the highest office in the land with the thinnest resume and least executive experience ever — is that anyone can get elected president, if the press chooses to overlook that candidate’s flaws.

Republican candidates will be judged in the media by vastly different standards than Barack Obama. Once one of them has at last secured the nomination, he or she will be pummeled while Obama will get a pass for his policies and how he comports himself as president. And the preparation for that howler of a pass is all happening now:

On Thursday, February 24th, Libya, along with the rest of the Arab world, was in turmoil. Hundreds of American diplomats, whose lives were in danger as potential hostages, had not yet been evacuated from Libya. The State Department was working 24/7, but the ferry they sent had not been able to leave shore for two long days with passengers aboard. What does our president do? He throws a party! Yes — a rockin’ Motown [3] celebration at the White House featuring Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and other celebs, with Obama looking and sounding more like a modern day Emperor Nero fiddling while Libya burned, gas prices spiked, and the lives of American Embassy workers hung in the balance.

Was the White House concerned that images of Obama dancing and grooving on that tenuous evening would perhaps send the wrong signal to the nation and the world? Of course not! After all,  Obama was honoring Black History Month for a televised show on PBS.

Aside from numerous headlines on conservative blogs like “Obama dances while the Middle East burns, [4]” there was no criticism from the mainstream media — only glowing reports and footage [5] on the festivities themselves.

Now, in contrast, here is how a “flawed” Republican president reacted to a crisis when American lives were in danger:
In August 2003 [6] President Bush said he decided to stop playing golf to show his respect for the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.

“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” Bush said in an interview with Politico and Yahoo News on May 13, 2008. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

Here’s the signal [7] Obama was sending the loved ones of those Americans waiting to leave Libya: We party — you enjoy the ferry.

Imagine the media outrage if George W. Bush had thrown a similar party during a crisis of this type.

Example two:
What could be more flawed than the $821 billion stimulus [8] package, increased from the originally enacted $787 billion stimulus? Well, yes — ObamaCare may turn out to be even more economically disastrous. But one hopes the courts will intervene or Congress will defund it. The stimulus bill is so flawed, failed, and costly that our great grandchildren’s children will be still be paying for it. Filled to the brim with waste, fraud, and lies, it never pushed unemployment rates [9] below Obama’s stated goal of 8%.

While traveling recently on the Florida’s Turnpike, I stopped at one of those huge tourist-friendly service areas with food courts and gift shops. There was a very small work-in-progress road project of about 200 square feet between two curbs. It looked like the gravel was being readied for a garden. Although the purpose of the project was not exactly clear, the sign sure was. It boldly proclaimed The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. I swelled up with national pride knowing our economy is being stimulated by a gas station shrub garden. Who knows — maybe it was a future plot for an electric car charger for Government Motors’ Chevy Volt.

And since the stimulus sign was stimulating itself [10], I had all the more reason to feel proud of my government’s ability to create jobs at turnpike rest stops.

Flawed? Super flawed? So unbelievably flawed that recently Obama was reduced to telling our nation’s governors at a White House meeting that, even though many of our states are flat broke, the Recovery Act helped manage every state’s budget “whether you admit it or not”? [11] Yes. But not if you ask a fawning press or a doting media.

Republicans must unite behind one of their “flawed” candidates and help that person triumph before we all collapse under the weight of our debt.

The alternative? A second-term president who throws more glamorous parties during more international crises while ordering up more stimulus project signs.

We must defeat this modern day Emperor Nero — or else we will follow the Roman Empire down the path to collapse and ruin.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/a-flawed-gop-field-vs-a-flawed-president/

URLs in this post:

[1] dismissed in the media: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/30/AR2011013003972.html

[2] Obama was raised in Kenya controversy: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_theticket/20110301/ts_yblog_theticket/huckabee-falsely-claims-obama-was-raised-in-kenya

[3] Motown: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/02/motown-dancing-in-the-white-house.html

[4] Obama dances while the Middle East burns,: http://www.thehotjoints.com/2011/02/25/video-obama-dances-while-middle-east-burns/

[5] reports and footage: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=133805307

[6] In August 2003: http://www.cnsnews.com/node/49931

[7] Here’s the signal: http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/02/shameful-obama-parties-while-americans-stranded/

[8] $821 billion stimulus: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/23/stimulus-price-tag-ticks-again/

[9] waste, fraud, and lies, it never pushed unemployment rates: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/02/17/stimulus-failure-measure-matters-jobs/

[10] stimulus sign was stimulating itself: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/who-made-the-10000-stimulus-sign/

[11] “whether you admit it or not”?: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/02/28/obama_to_governors_recovery_act_helped_whether_you_admit_it_or_not.html
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