Weekly Presidential Politics - 11/07/07
I tried to tell you. I did. I tried to tell you in April, and I tried to tell you in August. Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican nominee for President of the United States.
Although the national polls will not reflect this certainty until the end of January, and although his nomination will not be sewn up until the month after, this is the week where Mitt Romney turned the corner.
Paul Weyrich, who with the passing of Jerry Falwell is perhaps the foremost figurehead of evangelical Christians and social conservatives, has endorsed Romney.
And why not? With Rudy Giuliani’s national lead in Republican polls not diminishing, the conservative bloc is in danger of their party nominating a social liberal who’s pro-choice, pro-gay, and compared to the rest of the Republican field, unfriendly to the second amendment.
So how do they slow the Giuliani train? Quite simply, they cannot. That is, unless they can unite behind another candidate. All year, the paramount problem of Republican voters was the lack of a clear cut conservative alternative who was not only in lockstep with the right, but also whose legitimacy was not limited to their home state. Brownback, Hunter, Tancredo, Tommy Thomson and Gilmore were conservative but had no chance (as stated by this blogger numerous times). Huckabee was intriguing and the most talented candidate of the second tier, but didn’t have the money (also stated numerous times by this blogger). Paul was talented and entertaining but the party could not let a dovish Republican get nominated (yup). Thompson had been out of politics and was clearly a paper tiger (hit on the head by this blogger numerous times). The Right’s problems with McCain are notorious. Romney’s a Mormon who pandered to Democrats in Massachusetts.
So the Republican Party was splintered. A clear plurality were satisfied supporting the foreign policy and quasi-fiscal conservative former mayor of New York City, while ten other candidates divvied the constituency who said they could get at least that type of conservatism from nearly any Republican candidate.
Soon, however, it will be time to unify. For the Republican base to find their perfect candidate, it only takes one leap of faith, and this leap of faith has nothing to do with religion. Has Romney truly changed his mind on abortion? Running for Senate and Governor of Massachusetts during the 90's, Romney came out as a pro-choice candidate. Since then, however, Romney has said he's seen and learned some things that have changed him into a staunch pro-life advocate. The question for Republican voters: Do you believe him? If so, that's your candidate.
That is Mr. Weyrich's conclusion, and that decision will go a long way in convincing conservatives to pledge their allegiance to Romney. After all, Romney is a Protestant, as 41 of the 42 men to hold the office of POTUS have been. Sure, he's a different kind of Protestant than Protestant Americans (52% of the country and 2/3 of American Christians) are used to, but he's stressed that Mormonism will not impact his decisions as chief executive. If you recall, Catholic John Kennedy made a similar plea in 1960, and Kennedy's mea culpa made his Catholicism all but a non-issue in his victory over Richard Nixon.
All of this, combined with his unparalleled Republican money, not to mention his enormous lead in Iowa and New Hampshire, will propel him to a very strong showing on the fifth of February (SuperDuper Tuesday). After taking the first two states, effectively eliminating every candidate but himself and Giuliani, everyone leaning Romney will run to Romney. By the middle of February, Giuliani concedes and Mitt Romney becomes the Republican nominee.
I tried to tell you.