MITT, Welcome to the Grand Old Party of No

Romney appears to be on his way to wrapping up the Republican nomination but not without a spirited fight.  Mitt Romney is a terrifyingly flawed candidate who has steamrolled his competitors with negative SuperPac ads, but has yet to excite the GOP base.  I have some advice for the Romney campaign on how to connect to Tea Party zealots and the Christian right. First, though, he has to understand that the current party is not his father’s Grand Old Party. Rather, what Romney finds himself the spokesman for is the Grand Old Party of NO.

As to advice, I offer 5 ideas and one tip:

First, Romney needs to generate a buzz with talk of running mates.  I have a list of promising candidates sure to have the right dancing in the streets with unbridled enthusiasm. It is such a talented list that I can barely contain my own enthusiasm: Sharon Angle, Kid Rock, Wylie Coyote, Rick Perry, who is a much better hunter than Romney and a much straighter shooter than Cheney, Christine O’Donnell who once dabbled in witchcraft but is not a witch, Ted Nugent, Bozo the Clown, Sheppard “Pie” Smith, Judge Arpaio, Jan Brewer, Curt Schilling, “Feeling Groovy” Grover “the muppet” Norquist, the affable, laughable Foster “Grant” Freiss, Dan Quayle, who may have done some small game varmant hunting himself, the VA Governor, what’s his name?, Glenn Beck, Tucker Carlson and one of my favorites, Muttley, Dick Dasterly’s snickering dog from Hanna-Barbera’s Wacky Races. And indeed the GOP race has turned out to be just that.

Second, Mr. Romney (as he’s called in the NY Times) needs to talk about jobs, beyond just saying that he knows how to create them.  Romney needs to get more specific and argue that all Americans should have the right to live in a right to work state with no union protection and the promise of limited benefits with no minimum wage. Watch the crowd go nuts when he announces a plan to eliminate the minimum wage and privatize social security in his first 100 days.

Third, Mr. Mitt should clearly articulate his energy policy, one that all conservatives could rally behind.  The plan is simple really:  dig, drill and frack every drop of oil on U.S. soil. I can just hear the crowd roar with a chant of their own – USA, USA, USA.  Next, Romney should unveil a plan for the XL pipeline that involves a pipeline in every suburban backyard.  And if that weren’t enough to satisfy the base, here’s the deal sealer: a tax break for those willing to convert their backyard pools into a nuclear waste site.  Pure genius. Country First!

Fourth, he needs to assure the conservative base that he will do all in his power and more to deforest and patriotically denude the nation of its precious natural resources with a deregulating passion never before seen in a candidate. Out with the EPA – who needs clean air and water anyway? Personally, I prefer the flammable variety myself, builds character. The Romney team should focus group these new bold slogans: “Pollute with Impunity”, “Who Gives a Hoot, Pollute”, “Love That Fiery Water”, “Smoky the Bear is a Marxist”, “Pollutants are For Lovers”, and finally, “Acid Rain is Good for the Brain”. And when Romney gets on a role and has the crowd in a rabid frenzy, he might as well announce the end of the FDA, OHSHA, NHTSA, NIH and NPR too.

Finally, he needs to remind the party what it has become:  the Grand Old Party of NO.  And remind them not what they are for, but what they are against:

Women, birth control, sex, reproductive freedom, gays, immigrants, the poor, the middle class, unions, regulations, clean air, clean water, fuel efficient cars, conservation, gun control, consumer protection, taxes, fair elections, minimum wage, higher wages, income equality, the 99%, public education, college, the safety net, heath care reform, compromise, diplomacy, clean energy, science, and the separation of church and state.  Now if this platform of NO doesn’t excite the conservative base, nothing will.

Tip:  Lose the ironed jeans.

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.

Republicans Implode

Looks like the top Republican candidates for the U.S. Presidency have imploded, leaving room for the wackier bottom tier to make a serious run.

Herman Cain, with his 999 plan, 666 flipped, and his creepy smoke filled add, has some serious allegations of sexual harassment to deal with in the coming days. Whether he can weather the storm is unclear, but the charges have not curtailed his fundraising results.

Mitt, champion of the “mittle class” also known as the big corporation, has flipped flopped so many times on almost every issue from guns to climate change that he cannot possibly be a serious candidate, can he?

And Rick Perry’s latest speech in New Hampshire shows just how presidential he is not. Did you watch the speech. He was either drunk, stoned on meds, or had taken too much nitrous oxide. It was embarrassingly creepy. If this is the real P. Guv. Perry, he’s lucky if he raises another dime for the run. And Texas, is the guy for real? He makes W. look like an intellectual.

Now this leaves room for the most ideologically extreme to gain ground – the libertarian RINO Senator Ron Paul, who’d try to abolish practically every government service were he elected, deregulation to the extreme. And then, of course, there’s the rambling “intellectual” Newt “grinch” Gingrich who generally makes no sense at all, but more sense than the rest of the field. And finally, one can’t forget Senator Bachmann, a former Tea Party favorite whose stock has declined steadily. Could she make a serious run? Lord help us all if she does.

Frankly, with all of the chaos in the Republican ranks, and Congress’ 9% approval rating, President Obama should be a shoe in for reelection. Nothing of course is certain in politics, but Obama biggest rival could be within the Democratic Party who might put up a more progressive candidate supported by the 99%. This strategy, however, could backfire, were a progressive to win the nomination. With the culture wars such as they are, a more conservative candidate would be more electable, and that would give the edge to the Fox News watching Republican voter who would be tricked into believing that the country would be taken over by flag burning anarchists if the Democrats retain power.

Mitt Romney Scott Brown Ticket in 2012

Former MA governor Mitt Romney, who announced his intention to run for the Presidency, may be the Republicans’ only hope of defeating the Democratic candidate, likely to be President Obama, in the 2012 election.  My prediction is that Romney will win the nomination and chose Senator Scott Brown, also of MA, as his running mate.  This would be a formidable team and one of the only examples I can think of in recent history anyway where running mates hailed from the same state.

Notwithstanding the strength of this ticket for the Republicans, it is potentially a losing formula and here’s why:  the Tea Party – which is not a party, but rather a fringe movement, if you can call it that, of fiercely independent conservative ideologues with a significant libertarian strain, who believe mainstream is a dirty word.  The Tea Party may not back  a Romney ticket and advance one of their ideologues as an Independent or write-in candidate.  Who that would be I don’t know.  Ron Paul could have been the spoiler were he not running as a Republican, virtually guaranteeing an Obama victory.  Sara Palin could also fill that role too.  Maybe she will run as an Independent or a write-in candidate and take away some Republican support.

Spoilers really can have an impact on elections.  As a Green candidate, Ralph Nader helped the Republicans gain control of the White House in 2000; Ross Perot running as an Independent helped Clinton defeat  Bush the elder in 1992.

So, who would Palin’s running mate be?  How about Christine O’Donnell, Palin’s look alike?  Now that would be a hoot.  I can’t wait for the 2012 election to get into high gear – it will be be the best reality show of the season.