Plateau: This High But No Higher

It seems as though everybody but Mitt Romney and maybe Karl Rove have noticed that Romney is now simply an obstruction to this process.  Here’s the dynamic, and it’s the thing you must understand about this nomination race:  It’s Mitt Romney versus a coalition of people who think he’s awful.  The majority of the party has been leaping from front-runner to front-runner to avoid Mitt Romney, and there’s good reason for it:  He’s not a conservative.  Conservatives  know what the GOP insiders seem not to have noticed:  We won’t defeat Barack Obama in 2012 with a warmed over 2008 re-run who will be unable to contrast himself with Barack Obama in any credible way.  Let me put it another way:  I know there is an element in the Republican party who thinks this guy can win, but the truth is that he can’t, and I can give you several very conclusive, take-it-to-the-bank reasons he will never be the President of the United States.

He has a history of governing as a liberal.  You need only examine his record in Massachusetts to understand that Mitt Romney is not going to motivate voters in battleground states.  Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin will go for Obama in a big way because Mitt doesn’t do anything to get out the critical vote of the conservative base in those states, and without them, he’s toast.  He can’t win because he’s rightly seen as a squish, and a malleable Massachusetts liberal, and when people look at him, they think: “John Kerry.”  He’s a wealthy white liberal from a liberal state, and that’s an appeal that simply won’t fly with mainstream conservatives.  Sure, he’ll pull in the desperate anti-Obama vote, but he won’t pull hard enough at the margins, and when those about the middle compare him with Obama, and having voted for Obama once, they aren’t apt to change their loyalties at this late date for somebody they will see as Obama, but without the personality.

He will not do well in the South.  He may pull a large number of votes from those who detest Barack Obama, but he will not energize the conservative Christian base of the so-called “Bible Belt” to ensure victory.  If he can’t win in the South, he may well not win anywhere save Utah, where his religious affiliation will play an undeniable role with the overwhelming power of the Mormon Church in that state.  Basically, you can replay McCain in 2008, and strip away some of the states in the South that will under-perform for Romney in a way that will make McCain’s loss look like a near victory.  There is a certain element of distrust among some Christians about his Mormon religion, but that’s really secondary to their concerns about his long record of flip-flopping on issues of cultural import.  Most Christians in the South will go vote for him out of  a sense of patriotic duty, but the margins by which they will remain home is likely to promise not only a Romney loss, but a potential to lose the House as well if too many stay home.

Mitt Romney has no color or personality.  He’s flat in his delivery, and plastic in his verbiage.  He avoids “red meat” that is the stuff of firing up one’s base, and it is this critical problem that makes it inevitable that the base that already doubts his ability will tend to say to themselves come November 6th: “Why bother?”  He’s going to be dependent upon others on the down-ballot to get people to the polls, because his dispassionate manner sells like ice-cubes in Anchorage in January.  It’s also not likely that he will be able to gather much steam from his VP selection.  He may well make the cynical play by trying get Marco Rubio to join his ticket, but honestly, I don’t see that coming out well, in the long run, for Marco Rubio.

Romney is too cautious.  It’s part of the reason he comes across as bland, but one doesn’t need to take giant risks to stoke one’s electorate at least a little.  If this guy couldn’t bus in people to support him at events, as he has done a few times already, he’d be talking to mostly empty rooms.  He has the star power of a candle in a thick fog, and he has no imagination, at least none I can discern, and listening to one of his presentations is like going to the annually required equal opportunity briefing most companies hold in some form.  You’ve heard it all before.  You heard it last year.  And the year before.  And four years ago. And before that.  He’s like a bad television re-run that goes on an on, over and over, like the ten thousandth airing of Star Trek, the Next Generation.  You don’t hate it.  It’s better than everything else on at the moment, since you’re stuck here, but you know all the lines, and you know already how the story comes out.

Mitt Romney is a re-run, and to the extent that he is, he’s old hat, and there’s no chance whatsoever that the American people are going to replace a cultural icon, Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, with this boring, straight-laced, risk-averse man.  I think it was Tammy Bruce who I first heard put this in context, and at the time, it was part of the reason she saw Sarah Palin as the answer to the riddle on how to defeat a cultural icon.  You need another cultural icon, but unless you liken Romney to Gordon Gecko, which is exactly what the Democrats will do, there’s not one chance in a billion that Romney will ever attain that status.  Without that, and with no personality, he’s doomed, and with him, perhaps our entire nation, as Barack Obama’s wrecking crew only accelerates after a re-election.

Embrace it, and understand that what Gingrich has said on the subject is true:  Mitt Romney should consider getting out, particularly if he cannot win in Michigan.  It’s close, of course, but in truth, it should be a Romney blow-out, and that’s the one thing that it will not be.  Now, it turns out that one of his co-chairs in that state is caught in a scandal involving an  FBI probe.  This won’t help after one of his supporters in Arizona has been caught in an unrelated scandal, and with all this piling up, it’s not looking so inevitable for the Mittster just now.  Mitt won’t win in November, which is why we should make every effort to avoid nominating him.  He’s not up to the task, and frankly, we don’t need another re-run to know how this will come out.

“Re-Run Romney.”  He’s no better the second time around.

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