Sunday, January 21, 2007

Best piece on Romney I've seen yet

From Jonathan Last at Philly Inquirer.

Admittedly, Romney has not really been on my radar much, but this is a very helpful piece.

Romney has by all accounts to date run an excellent campaign. His first stumble has occurred recently where video of his earlier races from the 90s, where he says he is pro-choice, not a Reaganite Republican. This is a problem because as Last states:

Romney is a moderate, yet he decided to position himself on the conservative side of the draw as he runs for president. Smart politics. It means that, in the early phases of the nomination fight, he will be jousting with second-tier candidates such as Sam Brownback and Newt Gingrich instead of fighting for space with the two moderate heavyweights: John McCain and Rudy Giuliani.
But Last makes what, in my opinion, is a very good point:

But conservatives probably have little to worry about with Romney. As a politician, he has proven that, when he makes a promise to a constituency, he sticks. For instance, when he was running for governor in 2002, he may have been having misgivings about abortion, but Romney promised voters that he would have a "moratorium" on state abortion law and wouldn't try to change it. And even when he realized that abortion was morally repugnant, two years later, he kept his word on the "moratorium."

But more worrisome for Republicans is another point Last makes that I've not seen before:

If there is a conservative concern about Romney, it shouldn't be with his ideological moorings, but rather with his electoral record. Romney has one primary victory to his credit (from 1994, when he captured the Republican senatorial nomination) and one general-election victory (his 2002 gubernatorial win). Against that, he lost his 1994 Senate campaign, did not have a primary opponent in 2002, and withdrew from seeking reelection in 2006 because he had almost no chance of winning. Republicans might wonder how Romney will fare against Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida and Pennsylvania when he couldn't handle rookie candidate Deval Patrick as an incumbent governor in Massachusetts.
Last then concludes by saying perhaps Romney's great political skills (which are I think undeniable) could make Mitt the "Republican Clinton" and that Republicans might need a Clinton to beat a Clinton.


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