Weekly Presidential Politics - 4/4/07
Of the six major announced candidates (Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Giuliani, McCain, and Romney) in the race for the 2008 White House, it has seemed for some time that Romney was the least renowned. It cannot be stated strongly enough: Mitt Romney is a legitimate candidate. Do not be surprised if he is accepting the GOP's nomination at next year's Republican convention.
Here is a list of reasons as to why Mitt Romney's campaign could do very well.
1. Money. Not only does Romney, as a successful former business executive, have a large amount of personal capital, but he has two key fundraising strengths. First, he has a plethora of business contacts from his work in the private sector. Second, the two frontrunners for the Republican Party raise red flags with the conservative base. Mitt Romney's conservative platform is the right wing's best bet to get one of their own elected. Therefore, a solid chunk of conservative donors are rushing to Romney, the nearest realistic conservative winner. (Brownback and Huckabee? Please.)
The proof of Romney's fundraising capabilities was evident in the recent first quarter disclosures. Romney shattered Republican fundraising records.
2. Process of Elimination. Giuliani and McCain have other distinct disadvantages. The leader in the polls, Rudy Giuliani, is unlikely to survive the meticulous vetting process of the Republican Primary cycle. Sooner or later, his liberal stances on abortion, gay marriage, and gun control will take a chunk out of his polling numbers. Moreover, the inevitable "family values" issues that motivate so many voters will submarine his chances. He's had two messy divorces and his son doesn't speak with him.
McCain is like a hummer with its back wheels spinning in mud. This campaign has the potential to be a wrecking machine, but it just can't seem to get going. The Iraq issue has been devastating, holding a usually terrific raiser of funds like McCain to third place in the Money Primary.
3. History. Not since Kennedy in 1960 has there been a Senator elected President. The rest have been Vice-Presidents (Bush I, Nixon, Johnson), and governors (strong recent trend of Bush II, Clinton, Reagan, Carter). Of the Big Six candidates, three (Clinton, Obama, and McCain) are sitting Senators. John Edwards is a former Senator. Rudy Giuliani's highest office was mayor, a position that never vaulted anyone to the Presidency. That leaves Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.
4. The Romney's look the part. Have you seen this family? They are good looking, athletic, great smiles, photogenic, and - tragically relevant - they’re white. Not since the Kennedy's has there been such a made-for-magazine-covers family. And with Giuliani toting his family values baggage, and the Clintons having their obvious history, and McCain being a divorcee himself who cheated on an ailing spouse, and Obama's family not looking like any family in Presidential history, that leaves only Romney and Edwards.
5. Mormonism can be worked around. The first thirty-three men to hold the office of President were all Protestants. Then came JFK (theme?). In September 1960, Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy delivered a speech where he defended his Catholicism as a personal choice that he would not push on the American people. Read the speech, it's brilliant. Now, 48 years later, Mitt Romney, the politician from Massachusetts, can make similar overtures in regards to his Mormonism.
Am I saying he’s going to win? No. I’m still leaning towards McCain, but would not be surprised by a Romney victory. It's a legitimate three-way race in both parties. That’s what makes this so fun!
Addendum: Extended this piece over at my blog, Presidential Politics for America.