Why Hire Romney – Activism And Pragmatism Do Mix!
I’ve been talking about Mitt Romney on my radio show for the last six months. More recently, I told listeners that Palin, Huckabee and Trump would not run. And it appears it’s all for the same reason – they’re making too much money in the private sector – except that maybe Trump added some expletives which diluted his appeal – and therefore don’t need to compete in a cast of “thousands”.
In addition, with the horrible interview by Newt Gingrich, the tea party people and leaders I have spoken with have basically said he is a dead man walking.
Now many are looking for the so-called dark horse. Names cited include Chris Christie of New Jersey, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Allen West of Florida and perhaps Rick Perry of Texas. Of course, the tea party darling Michelle Bachman and Herman Cain both look strong in terms of appeal. And then there is Pawlenty, Johnson, Santorum and Paul.
To be sure, the Republican field can currently be characterized as a varied and interesting group of candidates. None really stands out in the electorate’s mind, but it is also very early in the race. Nonetheless, the race is afoot and it is going to be getting interesting in the coming weeks culminating in the first quarter of reported fundraising at the end of June.
Before I get into further analysis, I want to say in full disclosure that I supported Mitt Romney in the last election cycle. Frankly, my Christian brethren who couldn’t stomach a “Mormon” got themselves another kind of Christian altogether. One who supports Islam unequivocally and who says nary a word when Christians are persecuted and killed throughout the Muslim world. I suspect even a Mormon president would speak out more forcefully!
But I digress. The reality is that as I handicap the race, I have to once again come down on the side of Mitt Romney. And there are two very simple reasons he wins. First, unlike local and statewide elections, presidential elections require tens of millions of votes and a billion dollars – thank you Obama! The tea party, while it has energy, has no money, no overarching strategy and too many emotions to influence the presidential election to the extent it did at the Congressional level. Getting out the vote and competing in primaries with local and state candidates such as Congressman is very different than president. At the statewide level, witness the lack of success in the Senate. Arguably, only Rand Paul, with notable help from his father’s name recognition, was successful in the Senate races. Alaska, Nevada, Delaware and West Virginia all fell to the competitor or the incumbent.
In addition, presidential politics requires the party machine to effectively coordinate and compete. This is why Romney is focusing his early efforts on mainstream Republicans and their formal and informal relationships. He wants to be seen as doing the business of politics with those who want him to do the business of the people. Whether you like it or not, startups don’t beat entrenched competitors easily.
And politics isn’t about “disruptive” technologies like Apple versus Microsoft. It’s about infrastructure, organization, message and of course old fashioned alliances and contacts. And most of all, money. Of course you might immediately point out that Obama won as an upstart. Hardly the case I say. First, he had been groomed for this job for a long time. In addition, he raised over a billion dollars and tapped into the most important support infrastructure imaginable – the main stream media! And finally, he understood that the black community would vote for him ninety-five percent of the time. And they did.
The conservative movement is varied and diverse and has no base that votes in such a manner. Therefore, more traditional marketing and vote getting prevails. So in looking at Romney, he has the name recognition from his Governorship and the last presidential race. He has the money raising capabilities of Obama and he has a certain cool style that speaks to competency. Now before you vehemently disagree with me, think about the path to the White House. How does one get to be president in a 24/7 news cycle with the scope and scale of the current challenges in the electorate?
When looking to Obama, he will still have his core liberal and African-American constituency to start as well as his incumbency and the media. They will be even more interested in reelecting him to prove their power over any and all comers. And Obama will also easily raise his billion dollar war chest for his reelection.
This brings me back to Romney, conservatives and the tea party. I have been interested in hearing the wrangling of many leaders and individuals who have disparaged Romney in the tea party. They dismiss his candidacy and his conservative bonafides. On the other hand, the mainstream Republicans and the party have been silently embracing his candidacy as the likely winner and preferred competitor during this race. To be sure, its early days and my synopsis could be entirely wrong. But in taking a look at the odds, I don’t see any tea party groups buying media, setting up phone centers, creating SuperPACS or raising any funds of any consequence.
Not so with those in the know. Romney will likely come out of the quarter with over $25 million in funds. He also has his considerable personal net worth. And while a dark horse may indeed enter the race, as the summer progresses that becomes less likely. So, if this high level analysis makes any sense at all, those who are exploring their options will understand that they will have to demonstrate fundraising prowess, ground game and support of the Republican political machine. All of which Romney has in spades.
While I am a tea party activist, I am also a pragmatist. I want a Republican in the white house and a Republican leader in the Senate. I don’t have time to primary marginal Republicans in the House while trying to win the executive branch and the Senate. You don’t open up additional fronts unless you protect your flank. We need to hold the House, take the Senate and win the presidency!
And having weighed in on these matters for the past two and a half years, I believe that Romney is the top of the ticket for a Republican win. Not so much that he is a perfect candidate, but more that he is a reasoned candidate with the money, organization, charisma and character to get the job. He doesn’t need the money, he is the husband of but one wife, his family is solid with no negative behaviors, he has been vetted in 2008 and he understands what Obama did and will do and he is positioning his campaign to beat him! Of course, he first has to win the primaries and become the nominee, but that’s where those who might embrace my analysis can help.
We must select early and back fully our candidate to win the presidency. I understand the idea of a good competitive primary. I just don’t want to get punch drunk waiting to take on Obama. And that’s what the media wants. That’s why they continue to point out the “lackluster” support for the Republican field. Simple but effective tactics in an electorate that is not nearly as monolithic as the liberal base and the African-American vote!
So, I am backing Romney now. I love Herman Cain for his engaging personality and evangelical speaking style. His business experience is tremendous. In fact, I could even see a Romney/Cain ticket. But that’s for another discussion. In making this case in such general terms, I realize many will disagree and my tea party friends will shout heretic. But in the end, you still have to raise a billion and count to fifty-six million to get the job done. And in this regard, I prefer to hire Romney.