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“they resent it when he attacks them for being to the left of positions he has very recently adopted”

“they resent it when he attacks them for being to the left of positions he has very recently adopted”

As long time readers know, I really didn’t pay much attention to the 2008 Republican primaries.

But as I’ve gone back in researching various issues, I’ve noticed that a lot of candidates in 2008 had a reaction to the way Mitt Romney ran his campaign similar to the reaction Newt is having right now.

I linked this morning to a post by James Joyner, Everybody Hates Mitt, quoting a NY Times article and linking to many sources, relating the visceral reaction of Mike Huckabee, John McCain and others who were on the receiving end of Romney’s attack ads.

One of the links was to Ramesh Ponnuru, who recently wrote a scathing attack on Newt Gingrich as the leading edge of National Review dumping a load of bricks on Newt’s head.

Back in 2008 Ponnuru pondered why so many other candidates hated Romney with such intensity, and one of the points he made was very perceptive:

One, they resent it when he attacks them for being to the left of positions he has very recently adopted. I think that’s an understandable reaction.

I think that nails it, and explains so much of Newt’s anger.  The attack ads were and are not just attack ads, they were and are attack ads by a recent convert to conservatism who spent most of his political career running away from conservatism questioning someone else’s conservatism.

Mitt Romney’s campaign made a lot of enemies in 2008, and it’s making them again.  The difference is that Romney has the benefit this time that if he gets the nomination the horror of an Obama reelection will keep conservatives in line.

And it’s why the desperate search for an alternative goes on, because conservatives do not like being held hostage.


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“Romney has the benefit this time that if he gets the nomination the horror of an Obama reelection will keep conservatives in line.”

……ergo, why we held our noses and voted for McCain 🙁

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Joy. | January 5, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Never again. The GOP wanted Romney. Well, they have him at the cost of the alienation of Conservatives like me. When the GOP demanded we submit to their choice of Romney even as they conceded the POTUS to Obama, they left me free to vote according to my political principles. That means since the GOP has accepted the re-election of Obama, the country be damned, then I am at liberty to say the GOP and Romney be damned and either not vote or vote for someone else, not Ron Paul though. The GOP made me a PUMA, and, for America’s sake, I will rejoice in being a PUMA.

If he gets the nomination we will move from supporting a not-Romney to supporting a not-Obama.

We are functioning in the land of negative selections where we are not voting for someone as much as we are voting against someone else.

This is not good.

    raven in reply to Anchovy. | January 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    No, it’s not good, and needs to be understood. Such a state of affairs must serve someone’s interest. How else could it go on and on, insensibly? It serves the interests of the establishment. Strangling anybody who hints at reforming the system, limiting people’s choices, extorting their votes through fear of the alternative — this is the game they play. Romney might as well be the poster boy for it. Now he plans to play it to the max — his greatest hope is in extorting our support. We have no choice, you see. I can’t think of a lower form of power or of a type of character less worthy of power. Romney and even the idea of the Romney candidacy must be defeated and effaced for this country to recover. The importance of doing this are in fact in proportion to the very stakes he wishes to exploit. It’s not enough, though. The establishment must be repudiated and humiliated. In Romney, and in his defeat, we have the perfect opportunity.

      Awing1 in reply to raven. | January 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm

      There was a study done some time ago, I wish I could find it, where they gave two groups of people samples of (I believe) peanut butter. Group A had two types, Group B had 8-10. Everyone was required to select their favorite peanut of the choices before them. After a few days, each person was asked how happy they were with their selection, Group A members consistently ranked themselves happier with the selection than Group B members.

      The moral of the story is, the more choices you have, the more unhapppy you are with the one you make. Throw into that that a majority of republicans will be forced to take a candidate they didn’t want in the first place (this is true no matter which candidate is selected, since no candidate has more than 50% support), and you can imagine most people will be miserable with who was chosen. It’s not some grand conspiracy, it’s just reality.

        raven in reply to Awing1. | January 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm

        Good luck with your peanut butter. I’m not talking about “more choices” that scumble the distinctions, I’m talking about a choice that sharpens them. The establishment works against such a choice. And the uprooting of the possibility is not a “grand conspiracy”, simply the ways of establishment power acting in its interests.

        Romney must be uprooted and revealed for what and who he is. And I’m fairly sure he will be.

    TomB in reply to Anchovy. | January 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    That is what it is like being a libertarian. Conservatives are only marginally better than progressives.

    Romney is the only choice. The only hope is for a ryan/christie/rubio VP pick.

      Aarradin in reply to TomB. | January 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      You’d be terribly disappointed with Christie. When he’s not taking apart the Teacher’s union in NJ, he’s indistinguishable from the moderate Democrats. He doesn’t come anywhere near a Conservative position on any issue other than the stranglehold the NJ teachers have on NJ Government.

      Rubio is fantastic, of course, and would guarantee a win in FL and a higher % of the Hispanic vote everywhere. There’s only one problem, unfortunately a big one, and that is that he is not a ‘natural born citizen’. Both parents were still citizens of Cuba when he was born. While it’d be amusing to watch the same D’s that are in favor of lawless ‘birthright citizenship’ suddenly discovering that the Constitution requires that people born on US soil ALSO be subject to US jurisdiction at the time of their birth to be citizens, I think we’d have a real problem with a nominee that Dems, their press allies, and Conservatives all consider ineligible for the Presidency. The D’s, having no principles, didn’t hesitate to back their man when questions arose about his eligibility, but Conservatives will stand with the Constitution.

      Ryan, also fantastic, and would help (hopefully) win some rust belt states. If R’s can win WI, MI or MN in ’12 Obama would have a hard time finding a path to 270. The downside would be the mediscaring. Grandma’s would be pushed off cliffs in ads all over the country.

      I’ve seen some talk about Toomey as a posible veep. Having him on the ticket would greatly enhance our chances in PA, and probably OH as well. That fact alone may be enough to get him the nod. I don’t see any downside here…

      Rand Paul is another possible. He’s got the advantages his father has with his strong stance on limited government but does not have his dad’s unacceptable isolationist foreing policy or his father’s insane (quite literally, insane) conspiracy nutjob problem. He’s been amazing so far in the Senate and has a throrough understanding of the Constitution and how it relates to major issues. The upside would be the appeal to the Ron Paulbots everywhere. The media would try to tar him with his father’s weaknesses, but I don’t think it’d stick. He’s not his father.

        Conrad in reply to Aarradin. | January 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm

        Rubio would be accepted as a NBC by virtue of having been born in America. The dems aren’t going to take issue with his eligibility so long as he was born here.

        Awing1 in reply to Aarradin. | January 4, 2012 at 3:54 pm

        Are you suggesting that individuals born on US soil to non-citizen parents aren’t subject to US jurisdiction? I was under the impression that everyone present in the US except those with diplomatic immunity were subject to its jurisdiction.

          Aarradin in reply to Awing1. | January 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm

          Amendment XIV, Section 1, Clause 1:
          “ All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

          The key phrase for Rubio’s situation is “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof”. He was born a subject of Cuba, not of the United States. He’s a “naturalized” citizen, as are his parents. By definition, if you are “naturalized” you are NOT “natural born”.

          Everyone on the Right that’s been fighting against the lower court’s (SCOTUS has never ruled on the matter) unconstitutional ‘birthright’ citizenship to children of illegal aliens will, if Rubio is on the ticket, side with the Constitution. We won’t throw our principles away for a candidate. The Dems, of course, will attack Rubio as ineligible (just as they did with McCain, even though they were wrong about McCain).

          Awing1 in reply to Awing1. | January 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

          I suggest you look up what it means to be subject to a country’s jurisdiction (different than being a Subject of a country) before you continue your crusade. If they are not subject to our jurisdiction, then they cannot be prosecuted for crimes in this country.

        andcar in reply to Aarradin. | January 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm

        I’m not an immigration lawyer or anything, but as far as I know, court decisions on the issue have all held that anyone born on US soil is a citizen. Rubio was born in Miami.

          Aarradin in reply to andcar. | January 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm

          SCOTUS has never ruled on it.

          In 1866, Senator Jacob Howard clearly spelled out the intent of the 14th Amendment by stating:

          “Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country.”

          This understanding was reaffirmed by Senator Edward Cowan, who stated:

          “[A foreigner in the United States] has a right to the protection of the laws; but he is not a citizen in the ordinary acceptance of the word…”

          The 14th Amendment was enacted as a response to concerns about recently freed slaves being denied rights of citizens by the states. Foreigners and aliens are and have always been citizens of other countries, and so are their children.

      Conrad in reply to TomB. | January 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      I’m surprised there isn’t more discussion of one of those guys getting into the race. There’s no question Romney is where he is right now because a lot of conservatives (like me) don’t perceive there’s a better choice among the current candidates. However, if a Paul Ryan or a Jindal or someone like that got in, that could all change overnight.

“Mitt Romney’s campaign made a lot of enemies in 2008, and its making them again. The difference is that Romney has the benefit this time that if he gets the nomination the horror of an Obama reelection will keep conservatives in line.”

Making the assumption that “… the horror of an Obama reelection will keep conservatives in line.” is exceedingly high risk. The conservative base is less than happy with the thought of Romney and the proof of that is the Ron Paul vote numbers out of Iowa.

    Aarradin in reply to OldNuc. | January 4, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I agree. Nominating Romney risks another four years of Obama. I don’t understand all of the ‘most electable’ nonsense. There’s nothing behind it other than the fact that the man *looks* presidential.

    The risk is that Conservatives, both the Tea Party fiscal type and the Evangelical social type, will simply stay home on election day. That’s not an absolute, of course, it will be a % of each type that stay home and the question is: will the % be big enough in key states to allow Obama to eek out a win.

    Knowing this would seriously cripple Romney’s campaign. The R candidate would be far stronger starting from a point where his base is locked in and motivated. He’d then campaign to win the moderates/independents in the center. Remember Obama in ’07? He had no danger from his Left, he ran probably the most successful Moderate Republican campaign in history (remember: he promised a “tax cut to 95% of American Families”, he promised to enact a “net spending cut”). Romney would need to constantly be reassuring Conservatives on his Right. He’ll have so much trouble motivating the Republican base, which is further Right now than ever – and much further Right than Romney’s ever been, he won’t be able to pose for the center.

    Gingrich, Perry, even Santorum would not have this problem. All are capable of exciting the base. Huntsman is basically Romney without the name recognition – he’ll only get traction if Romney inexplicably implodes.

This particular Liberal hates the use of ugly, unfair attacks on people you mainly agree with and support. It does not make for a civil, workable, collegial future where people can talk about issues instead of having to first work through personal anger at injustice.

I really want a decent Republican candidate to defeat Barack Obama, a clean sweep of the Senate, and Republican retention of the House. This would get rid of that shambling disaster of a Legislature and Administration that have chosen to better themselves politically and financially at the country’s expense.


You have 3 candidates that could actually win against Obama, and it would shock the living daylights out of the intelligentsia. They are Gingrich, Santorum, and Perry.

/off my soapbox.

    OldNuc in reply to Valerie. | January 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    The only good news is the problem has been identified and the fix is obvious as you have described. The correction process has just started for record yesterday and it will take until the end of the month to see how well it is working.

    Awing1 in reply to Valerie. | January 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Santorum will not be able to defeat Obama. America wont vote for someone who thinks banning contraceptives is a good idea. That’s a dealbreaker.

    Aarradin in reply to Valerie. | January 4, 2012 at 3:55 pm


    Thankyou! Again, why do establishment Republicans and liberal media assume that only moderate Republicans can appeal to independent voters and voters on the Left? If people on the Left want to vote for a Leftist, they’ll simply vote D. If Republicans want them to vote R, we need to give them a principled Conservative to vote FOR, not a weak version of the Democrat that’s already on the ticket.

    Its the same mistake Coke made when they thought people liked Pepsi better than Coke. They came up with New Coke and it failed spectacularly. People that liked Pepsi kept drinking Pepsi rather than the Pepsi-ish tasting New Coke. People that preferred Coke refused to buy the new stuff.

I actually see Romney’s willingness to ruffle feathers as a positive. This goes into my assessment of “electability.” We need a nominee who wants to win badly and who doesn’t care if his opponent thinks he’s being nasty or unfair. McCain (one of the chief complainers about Mitt in 2008) was notoriously nice and respectful toward Obama. Look where that got him (and us!).

That said, I don’t put any stock in Newt’s complaints about Romney’s tactics in Iowa. Newt failed badly in Iowa and naturally disappointed a great many of his newfound supporters. OBVIOUSLY, it’s in his interest to claim victim status and to try to gin up personal acrimony toward the guy who beat him as much as possible.

I mentioned elsewhere that I think Mitt is a better candidate now than he was four years ago. I think he’s more focused and decisive and he’s much less prone to making a stupid mistake. Also, now that America has been savaged by Obama’s economic policies (if we can call plunder and sabotage an “economic policy), there’s a stronger rationale for electing a president with his business and executive experience, as opposed to say a McCain, whose strongest credentials were in relation to his leadership in the War on Terror.

It would be interesting to see a poll of L. I. readers who would vote for Romney and who would never vote for Romney, e.g. like those who couldn’t hold their noses for McCain. (And just whom the readers would vote for, not just “prefer,” e.g. would you vote for x, y, z, –just check off who you would vote for.)

Snorkdoodle Whizbang | January 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm

If Romney’s the nominee, I believe the turn out for the general will be quite low. It’s not that conservatives will necessarily make the decision to stay home as any sort of protest, but neither will they be particularly motivated to show up at the polls. They may well say they are going to hold their nose and vote for Romney, and have every intention of doing so… but… it’s raining… or it’s just a bit too cold out… or ‘I just got to busy to get around to it’.

I think counting on an Anti-Obama protest vote when the rank and file are decidedly not excited about a nominee they feel was forced upon them is unwise given this contentious primary season and the rank and file’s attitudes towards ‘The Establishment GOP’.

And if a Romney nominee can only motivate 23% to 25% of the party, well, a path to O’bama’s re-election becomes much easier (think ACORN).

I think it’s fair to say that Romney would have a very difficult time uniting the whole of the GOP behind him as nominee.

    Right, I’m sure most conservatives would prefer four more years of economic devastation over going out in the rain to vote.

      retire05 in reply to Conrad. | January 4, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      Conrad, do you even know why John McCain lost? It wasn’t because he was on the pork barrel train or didn’t preach conservatism, because he did “claim” to support grass roots conservatism.

      McCain lost for one reason: enthusiasm. He could not energize the voter base, especially women. Look at any election; it is the women who get out and campaign door to door, it is the women who organize the Get Out The Vote groups. Not men. And McCain left women cold like yesterdays pizza. Without the women, no candidate can win.

      Romney will produce the same results. Oh, maybe not in the northeast corridor, but he will not stir the hearts of those in flyover country and the south.

      Clinton won because he excited his base. George W. Bush won because he excited the base more than Al Bore or phony hero, John Kerry. Romney lacks the excitement factor. And while Romney may think he holds appeal with the squishy middle, they will turn on him on a dime and he will being left with having alienated the conservative base and lose. Once the squishy middle realize that Romney is just Democrat Lite, he might as well pack it in and not bother with the general election as he will lose.

      Romney is a poseur. He is a not a conservative, and no one who looks at his record can make that claim. Only those in the NE corridor who thinks “progressivism” is conservative.

        Awing1 in reply to retire05. | January 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm

        Do you have any proof, any at all, that the reason McCain lost in ’08 was because of poor turnout by strongly conservative voters, rather than people in the political middle being extremely upset with Bush’s policies and the economy?

          retire05 in reply to Awing1. | January 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm

          In 2008, Republican voter turnout was down 1.3% to 28.7% while Democrat voter turnout went from 28.7% in 2004 to 31.3% in 2008.

          Now, learn to do your own research.

          Awing1 in reply to Awing1. | January 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm

          Actually that proves my point, even without those changes, Obama still would have won.

        Conrad in reply to retire05. | January 5, 2012 at 8:44 am

        I agree with Awing: it wasn’t because of a lack of conservative enthusiasm for McCain, per se. (I would give Palin a lot of credit for keeping conservative enthusiasm at a respectable level.) McCain lost because of the war, the financial crisis and (mainly) because a huge portion of the electorate, with the help of the Cupids in the media, fell in love with the idea of electing a black president. Even so, it was a fairly close popular vote and Obama won’t have those three factors working so much in his favor this time around.

          retire05 in reply to Conrad. | January 5, 2012 at 10:20 am

          Conrad, I don’t deny that the economic crash in Sept./Oct., 2007 didn’t have something to do with McCain’s support. It did. McCain suspended his campaign to rush back to D.C. under the pretense that he was going to handle the crisis. Instead, he spent his time hiding under his desk while Obama continued to campaign.

          But there is no escaping the fact that McCain could not generate excitement among the base. Only the hard core voters who are concerned about the down ticket elections will go vote anyway and those who don’t even know who is running down ticket get out to vote for the top name (i.e. POTUS) if they are excited about the top candidate. Unless people have bothered to fully research the two top candidates, and are excited about the guy, people stay home.

It doesn’t seem like “everybody” hates Romney this year, just Newt, who has reverted to the mean, nasty, egotistical little man we all knew and booted out of the Speaker’s chair.

He calls Romney a “liar” for the PAC-attack ads, but won’t specify any particular “lie” that I’ve seen. You shouldn’t have to do more than report Newt’s record to ruin him for thinking conservatives. And nothing you say about him will sway those who have suspended disbelief and believe him to be a potential President (when you people wake up, man, is THAT going be some hangover).

But he calls on Romney to stop the ads, which would be illegal coordination, would it not? But then, Newt’s always played fast and loose with the rules, hasn’t he?

    andcar in reply to Estragon. | January 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    If Newt is the only one that hates Romney, then why have GOP voters scrambled after Anyone But Romney over and over and over again?

[…] Professor Jacobson directs us to an insightful piece about Mitt Romney from back in 2008. Let me suggest two other reasons [Romney's rivals] hate him. One, they resent it when he attacks them for being to the left of positions he has very recently adopted. […]

This is really a brilliant observation. Joyner refers to Romneymosity while I have been pondering what I refer to as mass Mittsteria. He does seem to provoke a visceral reaction from other candidates and from conservatives generally.

Some project concerns about how McCain and other moderates performed onto Mitt a bit unfairly. For example, I see no evidence Mitt has any of McCain’s problems with taking the fight to Obama. The more credible concern is that Mitt presents no tangible contrast to Obama while those who do present a contrast are lacking in other ways. Santorum has no executive experience while being saddled with a significant google problem and a social conservative message that seems out of synch with the times. Perhaps his biggest problem is he lacks the campaign organization necessary to tangle with the behemoth Barack campaign headed his way.

While I sympathize with Newt’s mittsteria to a degree, he serves himself and his supporters poorly if he boards a “cherry blossom” and heads off on a kamikaze mission. I think he needs to put emotions aside and start thinking strategically if he stands any chance of getting back in the game. Mitt, on the other hand, is all strategy and no emotion. If he can find a way to enlist conservative support rather than alienate it he is best prepared to take on Obama. If he can’t he may well get the nomination with little hope of landing a win in November.

IMO, conservatives are not held hostage by Mitt but by those who chose not to run this cycle. We’re in a compromising position and good men are hard to find.

    Conrad in reply to Mary Sue. | January 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Although I agree with a lot of what you wrote, I would submit:
    (a) I don’t think Mitt has a significant problem with having “no emotion.” He just isn’t the type of politician that relies on emotional appeal (as John Edwards and Bill Clinton did, for example). But he doesn’t come across as particularly cold or distant, I don’t think.

    (b) As for Mitt’s needing to find a way to enlist conservative support, I would speculate that he thinks the general campaign against Obama is going to inspire a lot of his current conservative critics to rally to his cause. I would also imagine that if he gets in trouble in the primaries and needs to make a more overt appeal to conservatives, he will do that. But for now, he’s willing to live with a degree of conservative opposition because he thinks it is helping him maintain his bona fides among moderates and independents. IOW, as long as there is no serious threat from his right, he figures he has the luxury to hang in the center and not having to pivot back and forth as candidates usually do.

Henry Hawkins | January 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Romney is the ultimate plastic man.

“the horror of an Obama reelection will keep conservatives in line.”

I’d rather vote for Obama, “take my despotism pure”, and get ready for Civil War II.

As I see it (an I am to old to be convinced otherwise) Z mitt would send America to hell with his statist policies just like Obama. So why would I chit for that? At least if o wins we the economic turmoil would push the country further right and we might at least have a chance of getting a small government conservative. Romney would get us mandates and David Souter type SC nominees.

Then what do we do?

    Mary Sue in reply to traye. | January 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    What kind of SCOTUS nominees would 4 more years of Obama bring?

      retire05 in reply to Mary Sue. | January 4, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      Mary Sue, what kind of nominees would the former governor of Massachusetts, who nominated twice as many Democrats as Republicans for the state bench, bring?

        Conrad in reply to retire05. | January 5, 2012 at 8:50 am

        Romney had to go through the all-Dem Governor’s Council to appoint judges. It’s not as if he could appoint whomever he wanted. It’s ridiculous to pretend that a governor of Massachusetts can transform the state into an East Coast version of Texas.

          retire05 in reply to Conrad. | January 5, 2012 at 10:28 am

          So you are saying that a Republican governor does not have the ability to take his state even deeper into the red column? Then explain how a Republican governor, of what is now considered a deep red state, managed to promote his party to the point where it now has the first Republican filibuster-proof majority in the State House since Reconstruction?

          Then explain to me how a Republican governor of a blue state, manages to lose 30,000 Republican voters while adding 31,000 more Democrat voters. Explain to me why, after three previous Republican governors, that governor managed to hand his state over to the Democrats, electing a Democrat to the governor’s office for the first time in almost two decades.

    retire05 in reply to traye. | January 4, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    traye, if you look at the actual records of both men, there’s not a nickle’s worth of difference between Obama and Romney. They’re both big government types who think that government should be able to tell you what to do. There is a reason that Obama has hired a number of Romney’s former advisors, something that Mitt fans want to ignore.

    raven in reply to traye. | January 4, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I’m of the same mind. No Romney under any circumstances.

    traye in reply to traye. | January 4, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I hope everyone can decipher my phone autocorrect mess, my apologies. Anyway Mitt = bigger gov Obama= bigger gov.

hi wj.

just came over via a big hattip u just got on mark levins show while he’s chatting with santorum.

what u seem to conveniently forget is the fact that what ramesh said he said 4 years ago and mitt has stayed on the right for those 4 years.

mitt was the first to support rubio. and haley.

and others on the right.

i trust that mitt has not flipflopped.

he has moved to the right. and stayed there.

why do i trust him?

because i was once a commie.

NOTE: if the gop wants to win then they need a candidate who will motivate many non-gop voters and barely right-of-center voters to take the leap and vote gop.

mitt can do this as well or better than anyone.

need proof?

he got elected in mass.

a mitt-rubio or mitt-santorum ticket will be a-ok. and win.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to reliapundit. | January 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Glad I got a shout out, but I guess this means I have to educate you. On the Romney is electable because he won in MA meme, you should listen to Ann Coulter less and read more of my posts, including this one. Romney was the fourth in a line of Republican Governors in MA and he had the lowest percentage of votes; he didn’t run for reelection because he would have lost. There are numerous other reasons to believe he would do poorly against Obama, but you’ll have to find those posts of mine yourself.

      “he didn’t run for reelection because he would have lost”
      His approval rating was higher than his disapproval rating at the time he announced he wasn’t running for reelection, in an environment in which the country as a whole and the type of independents that make up the majority of Mass. in particular were turning strongly against the Republican party.
      Do you have any evidence that his assessment of the state’s political landscape is what made him decide not to seek reelection, rather than a desire for higher office?

      I think your information is misleading. Mitt was the fourth, but his predecessor, Jane Swift, was never elected; she became ACTING Governor (never just “Governor”) when Paul Celucci resigned. BTW, Celucci took office when Weld resigned (although Celucci won it in his own right in 1998).

      Also, there needs to be some context in order to compare Mitt’s share of the vote to that of his TWO (not three) elected predecessors. Weld won in 1990 and ’94; Celucci in ’98. Those were, overall, incredibly good economic times for Massachusetts. However, by the time Mitt got to the Corner Office, not only had the tech bubble burst and the Big Dig become a total fiscal debacle, but TWO consecutive (predecessor) GOP governors had resigned mid-term, and the state was being “governed” by a severely underqualified stand-in whose approval rating, if I recall correctly, was in something like the mid-20s. It was just a completely different, far less friendly political environment for a Mass. GOP governor during Mitt’s term than it had been in the 90s. The fact that Romney was able win election with the hapless and deeply unpopular Jane Swift as the incumbent is a huge compliment to his political talents.

    Specious logic and boilerplate Romney boosterism.

    “Mitt can do this better than anyone…”

    Really? Then why hasn’t he? Why did he fizzle in 2008 and why has he proved unable to compound his popularity after five years of campaigning and untold millions invested? Because conservatives don’t matter, it’s only “non-GOP voters” and “barely right-of-center voters” who matter? Really? So when in the history of modern electoral politics has any candidate who proved so uninspiring to his own base proved exciting to those outside it? When has Romney “motivated” anybody to “take the leap”? He can barely hold his own support levels.

    As for Massachusetts, Romney followed a long line of Republican governors, so let’s get over this myth of singular achievement. His opponent was weaker, his margin for victory narrower, his term less noteworthy (except for masking taxes as “fees” and for Romneycare), and his outgoing approval rating lower. Sorry — a one-term, lackluster performance as governor of Massachusetts does not attest to captivating political skills. People were happy to see him go.

    This is a candidate who comes pre-fabricated for democrat-Leftist caricature and annihilation and he hasn’t a notion why or what to do about it. In a word — Loser.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to reliapundit. | January 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    “need proof? he got elected in mass.”

    Yes, and after four years of our hero, Mass said thanks for your time, but no need to re-up. Romney’s support had so cratered he declined to run for reelection.

    And… Romney’s flipflops are not timed to the calendar, wherein if he has talked consistently conservative for x amount of years, it must be permanent. Romney flipflops on need. When the need arises, flip. Or flop, as needed.

Don’t let the false premise put you in a fog.

Romney won’t select anyone as electrifying as Sarah Palin. McCain only got the votes he achieved through her.

Romney won’t make as good a choice and the result will be a not-so-close win for Obama as more people vote for third party candidates.

People are tired of voting for the lesser of two evils and being forced to take increasingly greater evils as a result.

Romney the nominee guarantees Obama’s second term.

Henry Hawkins | January 4, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I fell asleep after dinner watching the news and had a dream, a nightmare actually. I dreamed that Mitt Romney won the GOP nomination and then for his VP chose… Jon Huntsman.

Think about it. This is actually very possible. Absolutely frightening, but possible. I can imagine the GOP wimpering justifications and bleating calls to cater to the young, technocratic tweener independents.

I think our good host will like this ad:

I am tired of the left wing media swift boating our candidates. Republicans need to be defining what Republicans want. I hope we have no more stupid gotcha debates.

What month was it – October 2007 maybe – that Fred Thompson was in the race?
I was for and supported Thompson. In a visit with two Lib Obama voting [close] relatives, we were in very much agreement that illegal immigration was very bad and should be stopped, and that the number of pages of federal regulation should be reduced by 50 percent. From out of the blue they asked me how I felt about McCain. That hit me by very much surprise: I was for Thompson, felt that I could live with Guliani, had reservations about Huckabee who seemed to be running on four constitutional amendments, was ambivalent about Romney and negative about McCain based in particular on his McCain-Feingold and ‘Gang of Six” activity.

Cutting to the chase those relatives in this cycle asked me about Ron Paul.

This cycle I’m hardcore “Austrian Economics” 1920 Depression recovery AND get rid of Obamacare totally.

Now it comes out that it was the Romney campaign that knocked out Fred Thompson in 2008.

Now it looks to me that Axelrod had something to do with knocking out Cain in this cycle, by feeding information to the Romney campaign – where they view [as do I] Romney as Obama-lite and therefore beatable.

I’ve got a very low tolerance this cycle for the fiddle around the edges approach we’ve been seeing with as example the Debt Crisis Circus.

I’ve got extremely low tolerance for the “GOP Establishment” that got us the 2006 and 2008 Elections.