Since I wrote this little blog post the other day, picked up at Real Clear Politics, all of a sudden (by coincidence; I’m not claiming I had anything to do with it, but just am remarking on how rapidly the ‘meme’ has taken off) all sorts of people are suddenly realizing that Mitt Romney is hardly the candidate with the best chance to beat Barack Obama.
It certainly isn’t all at the Center for Individual Freedom, but we did have a written colloquy on the subject the other day, with Troy Senik and Ashton Ellis insightfully joining me in weighing in. Actually, Jonathan Last made the case earlier, here. Tina Korbe, a rising star, argues the same thing at Hot Air. Phil Klein at the Washington Examiner makes the case that Romney’s flip-flopping is a big liability in a general election (as it was for Al Gore and to a certain extent John Kerry). Back in late December, John Hawkins at Right Wing News also argued the situation quite well. Of course, Peter Ferrara made the case right here at the Spectator, although he also segued into (strong) arguments against Romney’s ability to do a good job if he were elected anyway. William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection also has questions.
The scholarly take on it, again doubting Romney’s electability, was by Larry Lindsey at theWeekly Standard. From the center-left, the very smart former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) thinks his (former) party doesn’t have much to worry about from Romney: “The fact, however, is that Democrats have not had to strain to plan the race they would run against Romney. For four days in the week, they will paint him as a flip-flopper who has occupied both sides of a lot of ground; for three days, as an entitled tool of corporate interests who made millions doling out pink slips on behalf of a shadowy management firm.” Also at NRO, Andy McCarthy doubtswhether we can know who is more electable.
At the New York Post, John Podhoretz writes a piece about Romney headlined “Never Has a Winner Looked so Beaten.” The column is brutal. It calls Romney “one of the weakest major candidates either party has ever seen.” Also: “[N]obody loves him. No one is inspired by him.… Claiming he should be president because he knows how to run a business may be the least stirring message any candidate has seized upon since Michael Dukakis foundered in 1988 by claiming he could bring ‘competence’ to the White House. And his liabilities are undeniable.
And Jonah Goldberg writes that Romney’s “authentic inauthenticity problem isn’t going away.”
I see, first, a candidate who “fails to inspire.” This is hugely important. It’s the old Dole/McCain/Bush 41 thing again: Without energizing one’s base, it doesn’t matter if you can get a few extra percentage points from “swing” voters (even assuming it’s true that those extra few points are achievable — which is probably not true anyway, because if you aren’t inspirational, you aren’t inspirational, period, meaning you don’t inspire the middle either). It’s also true that millions of voters really can decide to stay home; remember that Karl Rove estimated that up to 4 million expected Evangelical Bush backers stayed home in 2000
Read on HERE.