Why Romney Could Lose

Most political pundits believe that Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination easily.  There aren’t many scenarios out there that could change the calculus.  The other GOP candidates have thrown everything at Mitt in the last few weeks, but not much has stuck. However, the “vulture” capitalist label may follow him from state to state and at some point he is going to have to assure the American people that he cares as much about people as he does his best friend, the corporation.  If actions speak louder than words, than Mitt has a lot of explaining to do to account for the 15,000 jobs lost from companies Romney bought with Bain and liquidated.

The fiercely anti-Obama crowd will vote for whoever the GOP nominee turns out to be, but that candidate may not be Romney, for one simple reason – he’s not very likable. Voters may tolerate his flip flops, his vulture capitalist tendencies and not be bothered by his Mormonism. But they might not be able to stomach his elitist attitude and smug arrogance, which I predict will do him in. The Senator from MA, John Kerry had a similar image problem, undeserved I think, but he came across as stiff, stuffy and elite, even though he spoke passionately about the middle class. GW Bush on the other hand, as dumb as he sounded most of the time, actually connected better with people with his down home country charm.  Ironically, he too comes from a family of privilege and wealth and had an elite Ivy league education, though you’d never know it.

If Mitt wants to win the nomination and seriously compete, he’d better enroll in charm school, learn some folksy phrases, study GW and Bill Clinton’s campaign playbook, look up the word phony in Catcher in the Rye and stop ironing the jeans.

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Romney the Losing Winner

Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucus by 8 votes to a surging Rick Santorum.  While there was a larger turnout in 2012, Romney got fewer votes in Iowa than he did in 2008 as a second place finisher.  Looking at 2011 polling data compiled by Real Clear Politics, Romney polled over 25% only 3 times; the last time was 10/12-10/19 in a University of Iowa poll where he ranked second – 27% to the then front runner Herman Cain’s 37%.

Mitt Romney is in trouble.  He may win New Hampshire, but unless he wins convincingly, and I don’t think he will, it won’t be seen as a victory.  New Hampshire voters know Romney’s record as the former Governor of neighboring Massachusetts.  They know he is suspect as a real conservative candidate. They remember Romney Care.  They’ve heard negative ads against him.  They know of his changing positions and do not regard him as  principled. In 2008, he finished 2nd to John McCain in New Hampshire.  In 2012, the conservative Rick Santorum may be a stronger candidate than John McCain and more electable than Mitt Romney. I predict Santorum will finish a close second to Romney in New Hampshire.

If the Tea Party approved Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann bow out of the race, their supporters are most likely to side with Santorum or Gingrich.  Ron Paul is a wild card in the race.  He probably has no chance of winning a primary but will likely stay in the race until the end.  In 2008, he stayed in the race until June.  My guess is that his supporters will not enthusiastically back any other candidate and that some will vote for the Libertarian Gary Johnson in the general election.

2011 – A Year for the History Books

Here is a brief look back at some of the most significant moments and events of 2011:

President Obama made good on campaign promises to end the War in Iraq.  The last of the military troops left Iraq on December 18th.

President Obama went a long way toward fulfilling another campaign promise to crush al-Qaida by giving orders to a team of Navy Seals and CIA operatives to take out Osama bin Laden, which was accomplished.  Bin Laden is dead.

One of the most signifcant chain of events of the decade, if not century, was the Arab Spring/Winter/Uprising/Awakening which led to the overthrow of the governments in Tunisa, Egypt and Libya, power changes in Yemen, Jordan and Kuwait and a number of significant concessions in Morocco, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Syria.  It all started in 2010 with a fruit vendor in Tunisia who set himself on fire in protest of brutal economic policies that made it nearly impossible for him to make a living.

The Japan earthquake of 2011 was the strongest Japan had ever experienced and one of the most powerful on record. The earthquake triggered a tsunami that  swept away villages, killing nearly 20,000 and causing the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Global Warming – it’s real.  Here’s an in your face look at just how warm 2011 was compared to the years 1961-1990.

The Arizona Massacre shocked the country.  Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, one of the victims of the shootings, made a miraculous recovery and brief, dramatic return to Congress.

The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, the progressive response to business and politics as usual spread to a number of cities throughout the country.

Elizabeth Warren began her challenge to Senator Scott Brown for the MA Senate seat formerly held by the late Ted Kennedy.

RIP to fallen American and Coalition troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and to all innocent civilians.

And RIP:

Harry Morgan (Colonel Sherman T. Potter of M*A*S*H)

Amy Winehouse – such a talent and tragically, short-lived life

Steve Jobs – the world will never be the same because of him and without him

Vaclav Havel – poet, dissident, leader of the velvet revolution and president of the Czech Republic

Sergent Shriver, one of the key champions of the Peace Corp; Andy Rooney; civil rights activist,Fred Shuttlesworth; writer Christopher Hitchens and musicians including singers Amy Winehouse, Cesoria Evora and jazz drummer Paul Motian among others.

Thank you GOP for sponsoring such a wonderful circus featuring the most entertaining characters like the Ross Perot look-a-like Ron Paul who has passed 1 bill in 14 years in Congress; Rick Santorum, who is the new anti-Romney and darling of the Tea Party, who has a mean streak and is capable of a Howard Dean rebel yell moment; Michelle Bachmann who is at the bottom of the polls in her home state of Iowa; Rick Perry who has had more oops moments than all of the candidates combined; delusional Newton Gingrich; Mitt (for the Mittle Class) Romney who has made friends with the OWS by declaring corporations people; Herman Cain the pizza guy who crashed in dramatic fashion after allegations surfaced against him of sexual harassment.  In his carefully orchestrated farewell address, he closed with a Pokey Man quote.  Oh, I forgot Huntsman, who is still in the hunt, but just barely; and there are some interesting side shows like Gary Johnson, who like Ron Paul, would legalize marijuana, but unlike Paul, probably not heroin.  The GOP hasn’t let him play so he looks to be turning to the Libertarian Party for a go at the Presidency and perhaps become the spoiler; and finally, there is Buddy Roemer, the only candidate with a degree in economics (from Harvard, no less) the former Governor of Lousiana who the GOP won’t allow to be in the same room as the other candidates.  He truly is a one man side show.

On a lighter note, 2011 brought me Spotify, and I can’t imagine life without it.  Thank you Spotifiy.

2011 was  a year that historians will highlight as one of the most significant of the first decade of the new millennium.  I wonder what 2012 will bring?