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Romney going all out in Iowa

Romney going all out in Iowa

As reported by The NY Times, Romney Shifts in Iowa, Playing to Win Quickly:

Mr. Romney, who has been cautiously calibrating expectations about his chances in a state full of social conservatives, is now playing to win the Iowa caucuses. Television commercials are on the way, volunteers are arriving and a stealth operation is ready to burst into view in the weeks leading up to the caucuses, the first Republican nominating contest, on Jan. 3.

The escalation of his effort in Iowa, along with a more aggressive schedule in New Hampshire and an expanding presence in South Carolina, is the strongest indication yet that Mr. Romney is shifting from a defensive, make-no-mistakes crouch to an assertive offensive strategy. If he can take command in the three early-voting states, he could make the nominating battle a swift one.

Makes sense for a campaign which cannot gain traction beyond its 25%.  Get that 25% to the caucuses and let everyone else split the rest, declare victory, and move on.

But it’s risky, because if Romney cannot break through 25% (which was his 2008 Iowa result) by a large margin, it simply will feed the narrative that he is the 25%.

This last point seems to sum up what is wrong with the Romney campaign:

He declined to appear at a forum on Saturday organized by a prominent social conservative activist, Bob Vander Plaats. Mr. Romney’s advisers say he is not trying to persuade his critics to support him, but rather to find voters who like his economic message and believe that he is the party’s strongest nominee.

Persuade.  Persuade.  Persuade.  Fight to win people over.  If you can’t do in now, or at least will not try, why should we believe you can do it in the fall general election?

I can’t predict that his strategy will not work.  It might since the not-Romney crowd still is crowded.  But it’s an admission that Romney is trying to win as the default candidate.  It is, to paraphrase George Will, something we would expect of Michael Dukakis.


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2012 is the 100th yr anniversary of the 1912 Election where it all began. I’m inclined to use “Progressive” as a pejorative but “The Progressive Party” originated with this election and was a
50/50 split of “The Republican Party”. It brought us where we are today via and

The 1920 Election was a refutation of “The Progressive Era” and an 18 month recovery from the 1920 Depression

The planned candidate for the 1920 election died in 1919, and after several rounds a “Dark Horse Candidate” was selected –,_1920

No, I didn’t get a chance to vote in either of those elections, nor did my grandparents.

Why is that ancient legend relevant to our situation today?
Thanks to the infinite wisdom of McCain-Feingold anyone can google my name and loc and find that yes, in fact I did donate to the great RomneyCare candidate in the 2008 election wheb the MSM was desperately Pushing McCain through the primaries.

My pooint(s) if any is that it was after the 1920 election and it’s rapid growth of American Manufacturing that Progressives retreated to Academia, started Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Transformed Harvard Law, and generated all the Progressive Historians who’ve mis-taught us for over 50 years.

No, I’m not going to vote for Romney in the first set of 2012 elections. We need to duplicate the 1920 election not the 1912 election.

Romney is starting to look desperate. I suspect this is a result of Newt gaining strength in New Hampshire. That makes Iowa more important to Romney. But Romney has a record of 5 years of failure in Iowa. Can he turn it around in 6 weeks?

Are the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries winner take all? I should know this, but I don’t.

It is, to paraphrase George Will, something we would expect of Michael Dukakis.

Or Hillary Clinton.

Still, I prefer a Presidential candidate who, without descending into recklessness, errs on the side of boldness rather than caution.

The reluctance of the MSM to pursue Romney suggests he is their favorite. Recently I learned that due to changes in computer equipment around the time Romney left the Massachusetts Governorship, there are no records of emails between him and his staff for the time he was Governor. Peculiar. There isn’t a major Democratic position that Romney hasn’t at one time espoused.

Newt has changed, over time, on some issues. But he seems, over the many years, more consistently what we would want in terms of conservative policy positions. Interesting that now, we finally hear that his first wife initiated that divorce, that she wasn’t dying of cancer when served divorce papers, and she is quite alive. Wow. I thought she died years ago.

So, if I wanted to help Newt, where would I send my money?

workingclass artist | November 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Romney made a big mistake not going to that forum/debate today in Iowa.

workingclass artist | November 19, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Newt quit the speakership. There I said it. This was a problem for voters with Sarah Palin when she quit her governorship and it will be a problem for Newt. A lot of Americans don’t vote for quitters. Primitive yes but also very American.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | November 19, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Ramesh Ponnuru wrote an insightful piece about a month ago explaining why establishment candidates always win (Reagan being the only exception).

One of the reasons he gave I did not find particularly persuasive, so I’ll ignore it and discuss the one that I did find compelling. And that is that once the GOP establishment candidate is identified, everybody else runs to the right of that guy. For example, in 1998 Pat Robertson ran as the social conservative, Pete Du Pont was the free market libertarian, and Jack Kemp (who I supported) ran as the champion of the grass roots who we thought could bridge the gap between the social conservatives and the free market libertarians. Of course, Vice President George H.W. Bush was the establishment candidate and he won the nomination. And he won because everybody who ran to the right of him split the vote. Kinda like how Romney can’t get over 25% support because there are 8 or 9 candidates running to his right.

Then in 1996, when Clinton was running for re-election, the establishment candidate was Bob Dole. However, Pat Buchanan, Steve Forbes, and Phil Gramm all ran to the right of Dole and split the vote once again enabling Dole to win the nomination (with help from Perot).

There’s a pattern here.

For those of us who do not want Romney to be the nominee, the best that could happen is for every candidate who does not win Iowa (assuming Romney does not win) to drop out. Then that creates the possibility for all the non-Romney supporters to rally around a single conservative candidate. I doubt it will happen. But that’s probably the best chance to beat Romney.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | November 19, 2011 at 11:59 pm

typo: 1998 should be 1988.

StephenMonteith | November 20, 2011 at 1:20 am

And if Romney WAS trying to “persuade, persuade, persuade”, especially by going to the forum, critics would continue to say he’s just pandering for votes. Romney’s strategy is to take his message, that of fiscal and economic sanity, to the voters and see who will flock to that platform. If people want a Theologian-in-Chief, then they can pick among the people who went to Bob Vander Plaats’ “Thanksgiving Forum”; but if they want to listen to a candidate talk about the most important issue in this and any other election, then they can tune in to Romney’s campaign.

Hmmm. One of the constant raps on Romney has been his unwillingness to engage and take risks to promote his candidacy. “Romney playing it safe” is a phrase which must occur frequently in reports on the campaign. So the news he is getting down to brass tacks, hitting the hustings, playing for keeps and going for it should meet with some approval, right?

Of course not. Most of the critics have made their decision – they just want something to hang their hat on for it.

“…it’s an admission that Romney is trying to win as the default candidate.”

Um, well, sure it is. Do not all those in the top tier hope to win the early contests and wrap it up early? But all the early contests are proportional representation in delegates, there cannot be any winner-take-all contests until after March 6 (I think that’s the cut-off date), so all those candidates who win enough votes to earn delegates will have some – and the early states are now under a 50% penalty, they only get half their votes on the first ballot.

So a candidate who wins Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina will have only a handful of actual delegates to show for it. That’s IF one guy wins them all. Other candidates will only be driven out by their own poor performances and lack of donations.

25 percent in an eight-way race is not chopped liver.

While every race and every year is different, it still is instructive to recall that John McCain got a not very impressive 13 percent in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, coming in a dismal fourth place — a hair behind third-place Fred Thomson, second-place Romney at 25 percent and winner Huckabee at 34 percent. McCain did run a few points ahead of Ron Paul! And Rudy Giuliani brought up the rear.

Anyway, I think Romney can do better in Iowa than his 25 percent in 2008. Polls of Iowa Republicans can never capture the sentiment of actual caucus goers, because so much of who shows up is a function of organization. What’s more, it’s misleading to assume that those who do show up to caucus are necessarily skewed so conservative that a moderate candidate can’t get a good deal higher than 25 percent. The combined 2008 votes of McCain, Romney and Giuliani in Iowa was 42 percent. In a field with five candidates who have positioned themselves to Romney’s right (plus Paul pulling around 10 percent), who can say that Romney might not only come in first but also score a higher percentage than Huckabee did!?

That said, it is not yet all that clear that Gingrich will appeal only to the not-Romney right, now that he is a contender.