Romney ’08: Not happening, folks. Move along.

I know, I know, Mitt Romney is impressing conservative folks all over the place as an honest-to-Reagan conservative, and a real presidential contender. So let me just say what any number of folks who actually live in the state he’s supposedly governed for the last four years think:

It’s not happening. He’s done. He’s got absolutely no shot whatsoever at either winning the GOP nomination, or getting elected president.

Some folks have brought up his religion as a sticking point for evangelicals in the GOP. Actually, I don’t think this will take all that much away from him. Ideologically, he’s been reinventing himself as a good pal of the Religious Right, and these folks know where their bread is buttered, regardless of the actual personal details of their candidates. If Reagan could be a divorcee, Romney can be a Mormon. Neither they nor we should make all that much of his religion.

But speaking of the Religious Right, eventually it’s going to come out that Romney has been all over the map on abortion. In 1994 he ran as a pro-choice candidate. 2002 it was barely an issue. The last I heard from him on that issue, he was trying to position himself as “personally pro-life”. Translate that into actual English, and it means “pro-choice.” That means that John McCain — apparently no friend of the Religious Right — is (depending on how Mitt’s feeling that day) to the right of Mitt on abortion.

Much more after the flip …


Furthermore, we’ve got the Big Dig. Yeah, Mitt tried to get the ‘Pike Authority under his thumb for a few years, and finally got it. That would have been a good move if he had been the hands-on managerial type we thought he was, and was planning on being around for a few more years to sort this thing out. As it stands, he appointed a crony (a Nice Guy by all accounts, but still a certified Mass GOP crony) instead of a bona-fide construction expert to oversee the Big Dig, and then let said Nice Guy contract with Bechtel again. Do you really think he can get away with “I wouldn’t have done that” when the national scrutiny hits? Now he tells us the tunnel’s safe; Is anyone ready to say, “Well, if the Governor said it’s fine, then it’s fine”? (Wouldn’t it be great if you could say that about the Governor, whoever it was?)

In any event, I think it’s better than even odds that Mitt’s hard hat is going to fit about as well as Dukakis’s tank helmet. And that’s not a good look for ’08.

Romney will doubtless also point to the health care bill as a major accomplishment. And insofar as he didn’t get in the way as much as he could have, sure, he gets some credit. Many people have coverage now that didn’t before. However, it will be pointed out that Romney’s contribution to the law is by far the most controversial part — even more so than the employer assessment, which even employers largely support. I’m deeply skeptical how that’s going to work out for the people who don’t make tons of money, and who are most vulnerable to losing their insurance. As it stands, either a.) they’ll be mandated to spend tons of money on good insurance; b.) they’ll be mandated to spend a fair amount on lousy, swiss-cheese coverage, or c.) the status quo will hold, that of living paycheck to paycheck and lacking insurance. When that status quo is the best of the three options the governor gives you, you have to wonder exactly how he’s helping you out.

No amount of Mitt’s free-market idolatry actually cures sickness or delivers babies, and this problem gets scarier and more immediate to more people all the time. I’m not certain at all that the health care law will fail; but I do know that Mitt’s contribution to that law — if it’s actually strictly implemented — will end up as bitter medicine indeed to many people.

Look, Mitt’s only been Governor for four years, which would be scant experience even under the best of circumstances, assuming a genuine record of accomplishment. But Mitt mostly abdicated the throne two years ago after the Dems opened up a can on his legislative candidates. Why that failure would make one think, “Hey, maybe I should be President” … I don’t know. But really, he was only full-time Governor for two years; bored, catty and absent ever since. People embraced Deval Patrick so warmly, and gave him such a resounding victory, largely because Patrick was willing to raise expectations about the job he might do — and because it was widely perceived that there was a vacuum of active, involved, hands-on leadership from the top.

I don’t know, maybe I’m naive, but I kind of think you have to actually accomplish something, build up some good will, and be well-thought-of in your (putative) home state for people to take you seriously as a Presidential candidate. Unfortunately for Mitt, if he were to actually be an effective, engaged governor in our state, he would make himself utterly unacceptable to the GOP base. (And yes, he should have thought about that before he parachuted in to run the first time — [what was wrong with Michigan, anyway? http://www.boston.co…)

The serious attention his campaign has received has a decidedly flavor-of-the-week quality to it; what happens when people drill a little deeper into his record? Cracks, leaks, bent positions, and the inevitable cave-in to the far right. In the long run, he’s just too transparent to take seriously.

You smell something? Toast?

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  1. GOP will have collective amnesia in `08

    I don't disagree with your Romney assessment, but it seems that EVERY electable GOP contender--Rudy, McCain, Mitt--will not make it past the gantlet of rightwing primary voters.  Which means either one of two things will happen: they nominate a Brownback type or the GOP elites (Dobson and all) bite the bullet and tell their folks to go with one of the "liberal" three who are most electable.

    Who other than Rudy, McCain or Mitt are electable?  The neutered Bill Frist, Newt and his three ex wives/mistresses, Harley Barbour and his backroom boys, Mike Huckabee and with his new dinnerware.?  Tommy Thomspon-maybe, but I believe he'll face the same concerns as Rudy, McCain and Mitt.

    • McCain, maybe Huckabee

      I think they'll bite the bullet and go with McCain, since he does very well in every poll. And they're not going to be in a position to be choosy in '08. Bush fatigue may well define the election.

    • This is similar to my thinking.

      My gut tells me no on Romney.  It also tells me no on Giuliani, Brownback, McCain, etc etc etc. 

      Now, this could point to an incredibly bitter and divisive Republican primary that leaves the winner seriously damaged, and I'm all for that.  But it could also mean that, faced with no perfect choice from the religious right, the Republicans nominate someone who seems like Not-Bush and as a result doesn't carry nearly as much of the Bush Baggage as we'd like him to.

    • Charley says $quot;Toast!$quot; -- Or $quot;Toast Of The Town!$quot;

      I wish you were right, but I beg to differ on this one, Charley. First off Romney has moved to Michigan where he is setting up his presidential headquarters, ie, recasting himself as a true midwesterner where daddy was governor in the 60's -- he's got pedigree! My family in Michigan is telling me that our well-quaffed former governor is really starting to get air time there. Massachusetts? A mere weigh station on the rode to the White House! 

      As for his record, don't forget that he came close to taking out Ted on his first electoral try and of course he'll run on his Olympian save, that is saving the Olympics and don't count out all those legions of Mormons whom he will call upon to campaign for him.  Remember how the Mormon Church almost single handedly took down the ERA? That may have been before your time.  So here is my prediction for the 2008 Republican ticket: McCain/Romney!

  2. He has the backing of National Review

    He's a shoe-in.

    • Because...

      How does one conservative magazine's endorsement make one a shoo-in?

      • NR is the conservative movement.

        • Disagree

          It would be nice if it were that simple, but it's stimply not.  Then again, maybe I don't wish it were that simply, because were the conservative movement that unified, it would be more powerful.  Back when Bill Buckley founded it, one could probably have said that NR was the conservative movement.  But as that movement has grown, it has more centers and less of a sngle voice.

  3. I hate you Charley

    I was so looking forward to DemsForRomney.

  4. Sounds familiar

    "So let me just say what any number of folks who actually live in the state he's supposedly governed for the last four years think: It's not happening. He's done. He's got absolutely no shot whatsoever at either winning the GOP nomination, or getting elected president."

    Funny, I seem to recall saying the exact same thing (substutute GOP for Dem. and President for Governor) about Governor-elect Deval Patrick.

    I'm not saying I think he's going to win, just that it's fooliosh to ever count anyone out, because you just never know what might happen. Furthermore, when you so emphatically state that a candidate has zero chance of winning (as I did w/Patrick) you end up looking like a dope if that person wins.

  5. Shhhhhhhhhh

    Please remove this post from the blog.  Please don't say anything to torpedo Mitt's run for President.  Yet.  Please support him with your heart and soul.  Please, I pray he gets the nomination.

    Once he gets the nomination, THEN we can go around the nation and tell the world about his awful record on education, his failure on the Big Dig, his flip-flops.  Then we can go around with pretty Mitt cardboard cutouts and show him to be a pretty boy with no substance.  THEN the Dems for Healey website can flip flop from admiration to pure satire.  THEN School Board Members for Truth can go around the country and talk about how he cut funding for schools.  THEN we can publish the silly Mitt in Hardhat pictures.  THEN we can have lots of fun.

    Until THEN, don't do anything to get in the way of this marvelous candidate.

    • Uh-uh

      Do you want to treat his candidacy like they did with Bush 7 years ago?  Bush never should have even been a serious candidate for the nomination. They should have driven a stake through his heart right after New Hampshire, instead he slimed McCain in South Carolina, and the media and pundit class let him get away with it, and the rest is history, he got close enough to steal the election from Al Gore. Romney should get knocked out in the primary season, before he can play the 'Hero of the Salt Lake City Olympics' role again, and fool the national electorate the way he did the MA electorate 4 years ago.

    • LOL!

      Absolutely right!  Sssshhhh!

  6. Not so sure...

    As other folks mentioned upthread, Romney is one of the leading candidates on the fringe right that controls the Republican process.

    Regardless, you say "Mitt's only been Governor for four years, which would be scant experience even under the best of circumstances, assuming a genuine record of accomplishment. But Mitt mostly abdicated the throne two years ago..."

    Bush ran successfully with 6 years of part-time governing in Texas as his only experience.  Public-sector experience doesn't seem to matter much to voters these days, on either side of the aisle.

    sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • the idea that heartland republican acivists

      would nominate as their standard bearer a massachusetts mormon reads like the punchline of a bad joke.

      first, in pureblood conservative circles, massachusetts is situated somewhere between sodom and gomorrah. we are poison. and while romney thinks he can get some mileage out of trashing the state that he was elected to govern, the idea that someone who was accepted by maaaassachuuuusetts voters will be too much to swallow for the idealogues that are vetting the primaries. he'll be as massachusetts as mr. chappaquiddick, despite the re-invention that he'll attempt.

      and despite charleys take on the religious right, the notion that the church of latter day saints is basically a cult is still mighty prevalent among evangelicals. i mean, the southern baptist convention (which is hardly fringe) had their national convention in salt lake city a few years ago just for the purpose of sticking their 'true' faith into the faces of the apostate mormons.

      the day that romney is embraced by the fundamentalist right will be the day after moveon.org endorses joe lieberman.

  7. Five quick points

    1) For Repubs Big Dig stuff not a problem. Remember, it's not about competence, it's about ideology.

    2) On that score, abortion contortions potentially very big issue for him. His Expediency will spin them as covert-ops cammo that tricked blue Mass. into electing his red ass. Could well be that sticking it to the heathen (us) trumps straight shooting.

    3) Similar to #1, actual experience governing much less important than having your own Governor's badge & decoder ring. Ask W.

    4) Mitt is of course blown away when and if Jeb chucks his hat. But see #5.

    5) In any case, Mitt has really got his eyes on the veepstakes, to which he would bring his teeth, his hair, and the Mormon machine. Watch him steal from John Edward's playbook and be Mr. Congeniality on the campaign trail. On that score, I really wouldn't count him out.

    • Jeb isn't going anywhere.

      The Bush dynasty is done.

      • I can't believe

        that I actually agree with you about something, Pers!  ; )

        However, we should not underestimate the power and fury of Babs Bush, and her determination to keep the kiddies in the thick of things somehow.

        Nevertheless, from your pen to the Election Gods' ears.

    • Yes - V.P. seems likely to me, too.

      I haven't ruled Romney out yet - he has a foot in three or four states (MA, MI, UT, NH), a well-heeled network of early supporters and (with his made-for-tv hair and teeth) he looks like Reagan when he delivers a speech or smiles and waves at the camera from a distance. 

      Republican power brokers are attracted to candidates who make good puppets.  They went a little too far when they positioned Dan Quayle and Kerry Healey for higher offices, but they had a big win with George W. ("Want some wood?") Bush.  Substance is not required, and ideology has to look good on the surface, but may even come in second to pliability.

      If Romney gets close to the top office, I think we will hear a lot more about his so-called record, and he will have to settle for V.P.

      In the interest of full disclosure, perhaps I should reveal that I went on eBay after the Salt Lake City Olympics, and bought two souvenir pins featuring Romney.  One is a baseball mit, and the palm is emblazoned with the slogan, "Mitt happens."  The other is based on an anecdote about Mitt losing his temper because of a late Olympic bus.  An editorial cartoonist showed the Chairman of the Olympics losing his temper and screaming an (apparent) Utah-specific swear-word, "FLIP!"  I just find that so appropriate, given his policy positions in subsequent years.  So my interest in seeing Mitt make some headway in 2008 is solely to resell my valuable souvenir pins at a high markup so I can retire in comfort, somewhere where Mitt will not be involved in government.

  8. You forget his biggest asset of all.

    Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, Bill Delahunt, John Kerry - all villifying him and saying how much they hate his guts.

    Can't think of a better fundrised video in the rest of the nation for a GOP candidate!

    • Ya right...

      And I can't think of a better attack ad from Romney's Republican opponents in the South Carolina primary, than a picture of Mitt and Ted at the signing of the Health Care bill--the two pillars of the nanny state.

      • Ah, Frank - he can use the 'Global Warming' quote!

        "By appearing together here in the historic hall, with Sen. Kennedy and I both supporting this bill wholeheartedly, we have slowed global warming.  That is because hell has just frozen over."

  9. Romney

    While I agree with some of the Romney asessment here.  (He was head of the RGA and lost gov seats!)  The D's still have no chance for 08 and Mitt certainly is making all the right moves.  Hey at least he's not running for cover after telling a joke.

    1.)  Nancy Pelosi.  She will drag you down in the eyes of the silent majority and GOP will capitalize on it.  She is the best (only) thing that happened to the GOP this cycle.  Too bad we could not get stupid Murtha's arrogance by her side.

    2.) It remains a different world since 9/11 even though most here don't want to believe it.  Joe average voter will scan the D field and simply shake his head.

    3.) Someone once said politics has always been a contact sport where the winning team is the one that pins the kick me sign on the other guy. Focus groups always tell consultants that they're turned off by negative campaigning. It sounds good and makes them feel virtuous, but it's not true. The edge always goes to the predator over the victim. Americans like their candidates tough. .........Something none of your candidates have.

    • Yeah.

      It remains a different world since 9/11 even though most here don't want to believe it.  Joe average voter will scan the D field and simply shake his head.

      Just like Joe did this last election cycle, voting for Dems down the line.  Thinking like yours only guarantees that we'll be successful in '08. 

      And don't think the misogyny vis a vis Pelosi and Hillary Clinton isn't going unnoticed.  Please keep that up, too. 

      • romney

        You fail to grasp history.  Or rather your selective memory has kicked in which seems to be a common factor here.

        R's will come back "somewhat" in 08 as they did in 94.

        I won't have to keep anything up, the dems always do it to themselves.  The more she gets known the more voters will be turned off. Again I'm waiting to here who on the D side is credible for prez.  Dancing all around that one.

        • Yes, of course,

          I "fail to grasp history" due to my "selective memory." 

          My cognition is clearly suboptimal and yours superior.  What was I, uh, "thinking"?  I defer to your stunning display of acuity and reason, your inspirational demonstration of self-discipline in refraining from pointless gainsaying, and your instructive abstention from imperiously dismissing those you deem your intellectual inferior. 

          Nothing like a trip to the rhetorical woodshed to ensure  a lastin' learnin'.  Now, if you'd only read to me from the Good Book, I sure to be gittin' it all straight. 

           

          • No point debating gop08

            He/she is obviously way smarter than us.

            Just ask him/her.

            • Nail hit; driven deep.

            • romney

              Not at all.

              What's the matter you don't care for reality in your little sandbox?  And oh, put up a point worth debating.  I've seen others here do it quite well.

              • Start with Gaspacho below...

                They made some points I was thinking about, but given my past interactions with you--I didn't feel like wasting my time.

                But I've got some time now and would like to suggest that your contention that no Dem could be elected Prez is simply blind emotion lacking substance, because if you haven't read the news lately, the Dems just captured the House and the Senate.  Simple logic dictates that we can win the Prez.  By dismissing that, it's clear that you have no serious intent to debate issues based on reality, but you would rather counter with only opinions that are formed from emotion. 

                So, why should I bother? 

      • Be Careful of Gratuitously Playing the $quot;Misogyny$quot; Card

        It can be just as easily and gratuitously used to cut the other way.

        I would have hoped that, by this point in the discourse, that the inelegant use of sex, race, creed, or physical appearance to attack, or to excuse, would be eschewed by reasonable people of any political stripe.

        Sadly, that's not what I see here. Whatever good argument you make is largely diminished when you resort to ad hominems, however subtle or cleverly couched they may be.

    • $quot;Bully$quot; != $quot;Tough$quot;

      Focus groups always tell consultants that they're turned off by negative campaigning. It sounds good and makes them feel virtuous, but it's not true. The edge always goes to the predator over the victim. Americans like their candidates tough.

      Yes, negative campaigning worked out so well for Allen in VA, Coburn in MT, Santorum in PA, Keane in NJ, and Healey right here in MA. 

      Negative campaigning did manage to keep Ford and Lamont out, true:  But Ford only lost by 3%, in a Southern state... and the fact that the greatest GOP "victory" this cycle was that the (still mostly liberal) Dem VP candidate from 2000 managed to keep his Senate seat with their help is something that amuses me to no end.

    • This is hilarious.

      Do you seriously think pretty-boy Romney comes across as "tough"?  Please.

      • romney

        Tougher than anything in your party and your wing of it! 

        • I'd love to see any of your party in a fight with Charlie Rangel

          or Barney Frank. They can both kick serious ass.

          • Rangel

            If Rangel is so good why has he never run for Senate.  Gurantee that guy has more bad milage behind him then most.  Sad you hold him in any sort of regard.

            • Links please? Bad Mileage?

              You probably think Newt is a viable candidate. ROFL!

              We're talking toughness. Rangel or Frank could kick wimpy pretty-boy Willard's ass intellectually, verbally, or otherwise.

    • Right.

      Focus groups always tell consultants that they're turned off by negative campaigning. It sounds good and makes them feel virtuous, but it's not true. The edge always goes to the predator over the victim.

      That's why Deval Patrick won, because voters just LOOOOOOVE negative campaigns.

      • right

        I've said it before I'll say it again.  Patrick ran a very good campaign. 

        But it will be interesting to watch exactly how an outsider PhD as COS will help him navigate through the state house.

        • So what happened

          to the "always" part of your prognostication?

          Or is Patrick different simply because, you know, he ran a positive campaign against one of the dirtiest and nastiest the country has seen and, like, won?

          And what does your response about Patrick's transition team have to do with your assertion about "tough" campaigners? I don't get the connection.

  10. Two Words How Romney Wins the POTUS or VPOTUS Contest

    In the Primary:  Ross Perot

    In the Election: Hillary Clinton

    • Ross Perot?

      What's he up to these days?  Sort of figured he'd returned to his mother ship...are they due tomake another pass by Earth?

      • Speaking Figuratively Of Course

        Well, at least as to Ross Perot.  Hillary remains a frightening reality.  My point about Perot is this:  who was Ross Perot other than a guy who could personally write a check for $50 million to launch a presidential campaign?  Romney can do that and have change left over.  Lots of it.  Remember the context of this discussion folks:  Massachusetts a/k/a political looking glass.  Everywhere else, Romney looks pretty good right now.

  11. It's a bipartisan effort

    on my part.  I've spent time on right wing boards in an attempt to "freep" the immigration issue with this.

    www.spp.gov

    I've tried to equate the Homeboy Security issue and it's massive trend toward the obvious answer, the 666 Mark of the Beast implantable microchip.

    But then I get kicked off the "progressive" dailykos for pointing out things like, well what happened to bulding seven.

    Or asking why Al Gore makes zero mention of this. http://www.haarp.net...

    Left or right.  It still ends up in global fascism, with localized feudal cells.

  12. Anything can happen in a year or two

    There's an old German folk tale about a peasant who was dragged before the Prince for mistreating his donkey.  The normal penalty for such a crime was death, but the peasant argued with the Prince to delay the sentence for a year and he would not only heal the donkey's wounds, but teach it to read.

    The Prince, intrigued, agreed.  A courtier asked the peasant, "Why say you will teach the beast to read?  That's clearly impossible!"  The peasant replied, "Who knows?  Perhaps the Prince will die within the year.  Perhaps I will.  Or perhaps the donkey really will learn to read!"

    The moral of the story is that anything can happen. I prefer to focus on the stuff we have some influence on right now.  Such as the new House and Senate.  Such as the new MA lege. And such as the new Governor of Massachusetts!

  13. Romney's got a Michigan shop set up? Ughhh

    I wish I could share Charley's zeal about Mitt is Toast conclusion.  I really do.  But until we have a more informed and critical thinking citizenry across the country I won't let myself go to that happy place.

    And then to read the comment with info about Mitt's shop in MI already being up and running/ getting airtime...ughh...forbodes yet one more reason to stay worried about our role in Mitt unleashed on the entire U.S.

    Yea, right.  How many really believe that there'll be no talk aobut how much more dough they can raise for him and for what end at the "thank you only party" in Bean Town this weekend.

  14. I agree wholehardedly

    Mitt has almost no chance. McCain's getting nuts with the fringe-right, so he really could get this cat in the bag. Hopefully it'll come back to bite him when people start hearing that McCain wants the SCOTUS to undo Roe - or to create a constitutional amendment banning abortion. Things like that will eventually get out and hopefully enough people will see McCain for the sleazeball he is.

    • Sleazeball?

      Sleazeball? Maybe you and I just have different values (actually, I know that we do) but come on. I would never vote for John McCain in a million years, because he's too conservative for me, and I'm mpre conservative than you are. But you're talking about one of the bravest soldiers ever to wear the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. Have you ever served? I haven't, and I sure as hell wouldn't use that kind of language to describe someone who sacrificed so much for his country. We can disagree with John McCain on his politics, but I don't think there is any questioning his character, and the man deserves to be treated with respect.

      • Who questioned McCain's war service?

        Yes, McCain should be honored for his war sacrifice, but does that give him a free pass on all character issues for ever after? I sure hope not.

        • And now he's flip flopped on Roe v. Wade

          http://thinkprogress...

          Back in 1999, the so-called maverick John McCain said that overturning Roe v. Wade would be dangerous for women and he would not support it. Yesterday on This Week with George Staphlococcus, McCain expressed support for overturning Roe v. Wade. He's obviously courting the religious wingnuts.

  15. Romney - DOA

    Sorry to keep repeating myself, but ...

    During Romney's four years as Governor, the Massachusetts Republican Party declined from being a respectable minority voice to a powerless joke.  They lost seats in two successive state legislative elections and are now down to less than 1/8 of either house. 

    With a record like that, why would Republicans anywhere else support him?

  16. Gee, you guys are really AGITATED about this, aren't you?

    He's not your cup of tea, but Mitt Romney is a strong contender for the 2008 REPUBLICAN nomination, and is very possibly the nominee.

    Think two favorite sons are too much?  That Kerry won't run?

    • Favorite Son?

      I an't him, it ain't him.  He ain't no favorite son, no.

      Fortunate Son, yes.  Favorite Son, no.

      Nevertheless, he has a better shot than Kerry in 2008.

    • Ha

      Peter, if I were agitated about this, I wouldn't have waited to do this post until two weeks after the election. I would have written it when he first announced he wasn't running for re-election.

      I sat on the idea for this post for a long time. I knew I'd get around to it eventually. So, "agitated"? I'd say not. I'm mostly amused by how much attention and cred he's currently getting, because in 14 months, I truly believe he's nowhere.

      But we'll see, right?

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