The Best Mitt Can Do?

Here’s the truth, and there’s no getting around it: Mitt Romney won in New Hampshire with an unimpressive 37% of the vote.  This is roughly the same percentage of the New Hampshire population that is in favor of Obamacare.  Almost half of the voters in today’s primary in New Hampshire weren’t even registered Republicans, since the Granite State holds open primaries.  Meanwhile, Ron Paul finished around 24%, and Huntsman pulled roughly 17%.  What this tells me, and what it should tell you is that Mitt Romney is not yet a viable national candidate, and may never be.  That he can lose such a large percentage to the others in moderate New Hampshire merely reinforces the point. Rather than a great victory, this is a repudiation of Romney’s supposed electability.  The reality you ought to grasp in the wake of Romney’s underwhelming victory is that this race is far from over, whatever the media hype to the contrary may claim.

For Romney to secure the nomination, he must begin to break the 40% margin, and he must do it soon.  If he fails to make that threshold in South Carolina, there’s almost no way he will beat Obama.  Going into Florida, Romney must not merely be the victor, but a solid front-runner.  New Hampshire is a poor approximation of a bell-weather state in the Republican primaries, and it should be remembered that its greatest value is a public relations victory for the winner.    Expect to hear and read a lot of happy talk about “Mitt’s momentum,” but just know that momentum in politics is more fleeting than candidates’ positions, especially Romney’s.

Already, the media is running with the theme that this means Romney has all but locked it up.  I want you to think about this carefully: An election that counted fewer total votes than there are residents in my own semi-rural county in Texas now speaks on behalf of the nation’s Republicans? I don’t think so, and neither should you.  Why should the course of the country be determined by a small and politically moderate state like New Hampshire, by an election in which roughly half the voters were not even registered Republicans?

Ladies and gentlemen, please remember that this primary contest in New Hampshire was supplemented in the Romney camp by a number of Obama supporters with nothing else to do this year.  Also remember that Obama’s supporters know, as do you, that Romney is perhaps the weakest Republican he might face. This wasn’t so much a victory for Romney as an embarrassment for him, although the spin-meisters will never tell you that truth. He should have won this state with 40-45%, and the fact that he couldn’t do so merely means that the whole notion of his alleged “electability” is nonsense.  Just as you might consider the New Hampshire primary a victory of the non-Romney over Romney, you can expect the same results in just ten short months: If we put this guy up against Obama in November, we lose.

 

 

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