Image 01 Image 03

Romney’s electability is overblown

Romney’s electability is overblown

John Hinderaker of Power Line Blog wrote an endorsement of Mitt Romney on Tuesday.  It was about as good an endorsement as I have seen, but kept coming back to one theme, electability.

I don’t think we can judge electability just yet because no one really has challenged Romney in the primaries.  Several million dollars of negative ads and the weight of the entire conservative and Republican establishments were thrown against Newt, and it hurt him.  Romney has gotten off easy so far.

Earlier in the fall when Democrats gently started going negative on Romney, Romney’s numbers dropped, but then the Democrats pulled back.  There is every reason to believe that once the Kennedy-like attacks on Romney start in earnest, his electability will be in doubt.

But other than that fundamental flaw, I thought John wrote a good endorsement.  The comments were surprisingly harsh.

In response, John wrote a follow up yesterday, Squishes for Romney, defending himself by pointing out that non-squish Ann Coulter also endorsed Romney.

LI reader Rick forwarded me this comment by one of the readers at Power Line:

Scott J. Brooks · Top Commenter · Minneapolis, Minnesota

A lot of us wondered if our friend, Ann Coulter had lost her sense when she’d maintained that our country is doomed unless we recruit Chris Christie for Prez. I love Ann Coulter. But we know she loves to call attention to herself. Remember when she’d been fired at National Review for her reaction to 9/11, that we should begin the carpet-bombing of the Islamic World? I love Ann Coulter, despite her boney legs and her hyperbole.

Hate to tell you gents, but Legal Insurrection has overtaken your influence in the conservative blogosphere. Still, you rock.

The point about Coulter is dead on.  In February 2011 she told us at CPAC that Romney was a certain loser against Obama, now she tells us he will win.  Her excuse was that she was “sick” at CPAC.  She also played the birther card on the Tea Party in making the case for Romney.  Inexcusable and unforgivable.  Coulter’s endorsement of Romney does not a case for Romney make.

I don’t know if Romney can win, but I do know that his electability prospects are overblown at this point because he hasn’t been tested.

As for the comment about influence in the conservative blogosphere, I’m flattered, even if it is as overblown as Romney’s electability.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Polls are manufactured to sway public opinion; that’s a given. I’ve noticed that The Powers That Be are giving every candidate a chance to rise in the polls only to be summarily swatted back down — all except their chosen guy, McRomney. While they’re playing musical candidates, they keep pushing this idea that McRomney is “electable.” One by one they’re getting rid of the other candidates, and demoralizing the candidates’ supporters in the process, figuring McRomney gets their votes by default. They know this is McRomney’s only hope of getting elected. Just like 2008.

The “Bain Capital” story will fit perfectly with the #OWS class warfare drum that Obama has been beating. No other candidate fits so perfectly with the announced Obama theme.

    Yackums in reply to Neo. | January 1, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I have to say, I’ve been very down on Romney so far, but if he is ultimately the nominee, there could be a silver lining to the Bain Capital angle (not that his campaign will make any use of it, but…) that conservatives could gain a lot by exploiting. I am talking about the need in a free-market capitalist economy for companies like Bain Capital. If America really still is the land of opportunity, where big dreams can be made reality (and isn’t that a positive vision of America that we can and should be selling?), then investment firms and the financing they supply are what makes that happen.

    In other words, there’s an opening here to create and push an alternative narrative about money and capital, a different approach to it than what the Left is selling (and everyone is buying because there’s nothing else out there).
    That could pay huge dividends (heh) in the long run in terms of the average American’s understanding of money, markets, and economics. Which translates, of course, to a much more conservative electorate.

Not to give into conspiracy theories, but NR just ran an article on Repo Men, basically pulling together crony influence in politics. If you think maybe all the establishment has been bought out, whats been going on makes sense. Can’t trust any of it. We have to beat Romney or we are all f’d

Here’s the comment I posted on powerline’s comment thread:

John, despite your endorsement…Romeny ISN’T electable. He’s not won an election of any sort since he narrowly won the gubenatorial election in Massachusetts. He chose not to run for reelection because he would have been solidly defeated, just as he was soundly defeated by an even worse candidate in 2008 named John McCain. As the GOP “elite’s” chosen “front runner” he wouldn’t represent those of the base.

He has soundly rejected the Tea Party movement and what that movement stands for. He’s a big government Republican…and those have just about ruined our party. He can only be called a “conservative” in Massachusetts…his continual flip-flopping, and defacto support of universal health care are repugnant to the principles upon which the Republican Party stands…as does his “big government” beliefs. This man are only marginally a Republican anywhere outside of California (which has ZERO chance of winning in the general election) or New England…which hasn’t gone Republican since Reagan.

Unfortunately for our party, the best candidates have chosen not to run…when we needed real leadership, we’ve gotten Romney and Newt or Paul…who will be just as disasterous as G. W. Bush (whom, while I greatly admire him personally, his “Big Government” policies have helped drive us to the brink of economic disaster).

It’s time for a change all right, but Romney’s not it. He’s more of “go along to get along…” that’s been the hallmark of the GOP Congressional Leadership & “elites.”…their “good intentions” have paved the way to economic hell.

I’ll choose someone else…Mickey Mouse, perhaps, he couldn’t do any worse than our “elite leadership” already has…

Rich Vail
Pikesville, Maryland

I stand by my comments there and double down here. Mitt Romney will be as disasterous as John McCain was.

    Mitt Romney will be as disasterous as John McCain was.

    Maybe worse, because he won’t even have Sarah Palin to help pull the Repubs into the voting booths.

Rich and Kitty both make very powerful points. Professor Jacobson has also noticed that there is no truth behind the “electability” mantra. Neo has noticed how neatly Romney fits into the class warfare that Obama has been gearing up for.

Romney is who Obama WANTS to run against. No matter how you bluff, no matter what you bet you can not win a hand when the other guy hand-picks your cards for you.

Once more I call for a different course of action. Forget the Presidency. Get the Congress we need. One that answers to conservatives, not Republicans. Use the power of the purse. Obama CAN win against Mitt Romney. But all over this nation there are Democrats and RINO candidates that can not run away from their own records and they can’t run from the results of their votes.

The Democrats expect to fight a head-on Presidential battle. Don’t fight the battle they are prepared for. Fight the one they don’t want to fight. Death by a thousand cuts in every district, every precinct, ever city, county, state.

    I agree about the congress part, but the president wields lots of power. Look at the disastrous cabinet level appointments that Obama has made. Look at the regulations they have been and are proposing. Look at his policy choices, like Iran and the “Arab spring” disasters. Look at his 2 Supreme Court appointees. Yes, congress controls the purse strings, but the president can still take us down the road to serfdom.

Snorkdoodle Whizbang | December 29, 2011 at 10:09 am

I do not believe that Romney would do well against Obama. In fact, I believe he is quite possibly the weakest candidate we have. He has basically been running for the nomination since before 2008, is very well funded, has name recognition, and an impressive campaign machine… and yet he cannot poll above 25% in his own party? That is a HUGE red flag for anyone with eyes to see it. To have all of those advantages and still poll that modestly tells me that the problem with the Romney campaign is the candidate, not the campaign organization.

At least he’d give a good concession speech, I suppose. For the Republican establishment, that would appear to be the one overriding qualification in order to be the anointed nominee…

Despite some ideological misgivings with both Newt and Romney, I think electability is by far the most important factor. I have vacillated a bit on who is more electable, Newt or Mitt. There is little record to rely on; neither candidate has been tested nationally. Polls are of limited value at this point, although primaries, especially in states with open primaries, might give a valid indication of which is better.

Newt seems by far the better campaigner, but his long history contains so many statements that can be easily demagogued. Based on his performance in Iowa, it looks like Romney is capable of highly negative, nasty campaign tactics. That will be a big plus for the general election.

So, I think the jury is still out. Maybe Romney as President, Newt as VP? The VP nominee is often the “hit man” in a campaign. Newt seems fully capable of that role. Plus, I think maybe Mitt might be better at day-to-day governance. Obviously, Newt is the better idea guy/salesman who would push more fundamental changes. That argues for Newt as President, Mitt as VP.

Another possibility, Mitt/Christy. Christy is also a dynamite campaigner.


    Jaydee77 in reply to JayDick. | December 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

    His potential VP choices are why Im not all doom and gloom about the possibility of Romney as the nominee and his prospects in the general. Id be very intrigued by either Christie or Rubio. Especially Rubio. But, Christie would be the better attack dog.

    How about John Bolton for Romney’s VP choice? Let Bolton run our foreign policy and we can be respected and great again.

I just was over at RedState, and there is an entry by Erick that follows along nicely with your point.

As I’ve said many times before, the Democrats want to run against Romney; they already have a strategy on how to summarily defeat him. And Republicans overall. He is an easy target and so transparently defeatable, if you have your eyes open at all to reality on the ground today.

Here is my pull-quote from what Erick Erickson said over at RedState about Romney’s electability:

The closest equivalent to Campaign 2012 with Barack Obama running against Mitt Romney won’t be found in the recent era. You’ll have to go all the way back to France, 1793, and the campaign of Robespierre against Marie Antoinette.

Perhaps a bit over the top, but the analogy is not too far of the mark, IMHO.

There isnt a single mention of Romneycare in the PowerLine endorsement.

The drumbeat about Romney being the most electable has always confused me. He couldn’t even defeat McCain last cycle – how did he improve this cycle? Many Conservatives held their noses & voted for McCain. Now we’re being told to do that again even after seeing how “well” it worked out hast time.
Is it because Mitt’s so bland and middle of the road he offends few Independents? Has the GOP establishment decided that Romney can placate the social conservatives without losing the Independents because most people really think he’s a squish?

jakee308 linked to an informative and quite convincing bit at “Furthermore” yesterday on Romney’s positions. Worse than I had realized.


45 Romney
39 Obama

There is NO candidate other than Romney at this point. Gingrich has cratered just as I predicted weeks ago but Romney has been steady for over a year.

I expect that by March, the candidate will be chosen and we all need to get in back of him to defeat Obama!

In fact, the sooner that this is all over, the quicker I can get back to my retirement activities…

    katiejane in reply to GrumpyOne. | December 29, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Does this mean that if we’re good little lemmings and get behind Romney and if by some chance he actually wins the election we can immediately start looking for his 2016 replacement?

    Genie123 in reply to GrumpyOne. | December 29, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    GrumpyOne. Are you kidding me? Romney will be a disaster when going up against Obama, his negatives from Bain, Mormon background and previous failed elections are insurmountable. Besides no one likes him. He is a worse than a RINO he is a FAKE. Why the Republican establishment wants him is besides me. I WILL NOT EVER vote for him because he makes me want to vomit only slightly worse than when Obama talks. The election is ours to lose and with Romney at the top, we will.

[…] William A. Jacobson isn’t buying the electability issue. PoliPundit does believe in Mitt’s electability. […]

Snorkdoodle Whizbang | December 29, 2011 at 12:01 pm

“GrumpyOne | December 29, 2011 at 11:32 am

There is NO candidate other than Romney at this point. Gingrich has cratered just as I predicted weeks ago but Romney has been steady for over a year.”

Then by your logic, Huntsman is viable. He’s been a steady 4-5% the entire campaign.

Romney hasn’t been tested. If he’s the nominee, he’ll be gutted by the Obama machine and the media. You’ll see nothing but those Teddy Kennedy ads and that stupid Bain Capital picture of Romney and his associates playing with wads of cash. It will be beyond brutal.

Electable? He’s lost 2 of 3 elections, 3 of 4 if you count his reelection as governor of Massachusetts, a race he agreed he’d lost before it began so he didn’t run.

Why can’t a high profile endorser like Coulter appeal to Romney’s attributes? Why take shots at GOP conservatives and those who support the ideas of the Tea Party? Why needlessly split your own party?

As Thomas Sowell points out in his column endorsing Newt Gingrich, Romney has nothing at which to point from his one term as Massuchusett’s governor that says, ‘now here’s a conservative!’ All we hear from Romney on his governor days are defenses of Romneycare. Is it his experience and demonstrated skills as a businessman that make him eminently electable? As Sowell notes, these are a better argument for Romney going forward as a businessman, not a president.

Romney’s supposed electability hinges on a highly dubious quality: although few like him, less hate him. Let’s nominate the GOP candidate who is the least objectionable to independents and the media, regardless of political ideology? What makes Romney ‘electable’ is that lots of folks are expected to ‘settle’ for him. Wow! Full steam ahead against Obama, huh? I can see the bumper stickers already:


[…] gesture to prepare conservative Americans for what some believe to be a foregone conclusion – a Mitt Romney nomination.  After all, she had to explain away saying back in February at CPAC that a Romney nomination […]

Coulter is a huge fan of Christie. Christie is a huge fan of Romney, therefore, she is also a huge fan of Romney. Romney probably plans to nominate Christie as VP and that is the method to Anne’s madness. That is the only reason I can think of re this complete turn-around of Ann’s. I had thought it might be because she wants to keep on good terms with the other pundits and the republican establishment, but jettisoned that idea when I remembered how much she likes to argue with them.

Besides, any conservative who dated Bill Maher has to be a ding-a-ling. I have long thought both the democrat establishment and the republican establishment are just one great and wonderful friendship and they work together for the betterment of themselves. They try to hide this for the most part but every once in a while one of the member slip and tell us the truth. And some are dumb enough to anger the consrvative base and try the bi-partison trail like our last presidential candidate.

Several years ago I voted for Pete Coors for Senate in the Colorado primaries because I felt he was the most electible, even though he was less conservative than his opponent. It made sense on paper: Pete Coors is a handsome, likeable man with name recognition who is very rich. Plus, he should have appealed to the moderates in the state, of whom there are many. Furthermore, the vacancy was previously held by a popular Republican, Nighthorse Campbell. Yet he still lost. I don’t know if I understand all the “whys” of it, but it just goes to show that all that he had going for him still wasn’t enough against the Democratic machine. And IMO Romney is far less likeable than Pete Coors. He doesn’t have a chance in the general election.

Re speculation about Romney VP possibles: don’t the candidates usually seek to balance their ticket by selecting someone from another area of the country with different demographic appeal? Wouldn’t he then be looking for someone conservative from the south, west or mid-west, perhaps not from a wealthy background, and with military service?

The problem with Ann Coulter is that she is a part of the punditocracy,and the same smarmy, “we know better than you, we went to (fill in the Ivy League blank)”. Tey feel if you went to a non-ivy school, you’re somehow inferior. (Trust me on this one-my wife always tries using that on me as she went to an ivy and I went to a Catholic university and I see it with others who went to them, as well.)
I guess the Beltway dinner party invites are worth trashing the field of candidates to the point that none of them will be electable if Romney doesn’t win.
I think we need a national Conservative Party and let the Republicans come to us for an endorsement of their ticket. A third party could make as big a statement in not endorsing someone as they can in doing so.

    Aarradin in reply to persecutor. | December 30, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Dr Krauthammer’s got the same problem

    Both Dr K and Coulter are usually fantastic on issues. When it comes to picking candidates during a primary though they’ll both take moderate establishment types over actual conservatives almost every time.