Sunday, January 22, 2012

Romney in South Carolina

Last night was not a good night for Mitt Romney.  Voters in South Carolina repudiated him in a stark way, and sought comfort in the arms of a candidate thought by many (outside SC) to be weaker in the general election.  Of interest to me last night were the exit polls in which SC voters consistently cited Speaker Gingrich as the more "electable" candidate, with "electability" related directly to debating skills.  The voters are HUNGRY to see someone who can give it to the President with both barrels, and there is no question that Newt can do that.  What Mr. Romney must now do is show that he too can do the same.  He needs to get aggressive, and go on the offensive.  And his immediate target is NOT Barack Obama, it is Newt Gingrich.

Romney lost in South Carolina because of one thing and one thing only--his answers in two straight debates on his tax returns.  His defense of free market capitalism and his time at Bain were well done; his prevarication and stumbling in the face of questions about his tax returns--not so much.  People viewing were left with many questions in their minds, including 1) what is he hiding? and 2) how can he possibly be fumbling this question after five years of running for President?  In other words, either his ethics or his competence were questioned, neither of which is a good thing for someone running for President as an ethical and competent man.

Voters are smart enough to figure out Mr. Gingrich.  I fear South Carolina's role of picking Republican nominees has come to an end, in the interest of voters sending a serious message of discontent to the eventual GOP standard bearer.  Mr. Romney MUST take this seriously.  His decision this morning to release his 2010 tax returns is the right one--doing so on the day of the State of the Union Address is also a good tactical move.  But he damn sure better be ready to explain them in a way that Americans can at least then sit back and say, "ok--he's not dishonest, and he's got his stuff in one sock."  He doesn't have to be the high school debate champion--he simply needs to re-instill confidence that he can go toe-to-toe with Obama. 

Romney has said from the beginning that this would be an extended process--without I think, believing that it would be true.  Well, it is now.  Time to put that Bain, Olympic competence to work. 


Sally said...
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Sally said...

If only he had a decent answer to the tax return question last week, this race would essentially be over this morning.

I'm simultaneously looking forward to and dreading the debates this week. I'm terrified he is just not getting it.

NavyAustin said...

Agree that his tax answers made him look unnecessarily shifty/unprepared at this point. And he needs to fix it and move on.

What can't be fixed is his lack of connection. To describe $374,327.62 in speakers fees that you get "from time to time" "not very much" may be accurate in Mitt-world, but even one of his $20k-$68k checks would be an great windfall for the average family.

IT'S OK TO BE RICH. It's not OK to appear to be aware of how ridiculously better off you are than the people whose votes you are courting by dismissing a segment of your income that by itself, in many locations, would put you in the mythic Top 1%, as "not very much."

He'll never be a man of the people - and that's ok. Just don't be so clueless as to alienate those who are. Bush v.1 went from a post-Desert Storm 91% approval rating to being defeated by Clinton (with Perot's help) in large part by appearing out of touch, by listening to the economists who declared the recession (the first true white-collar recession) as over. Clinton said he felt our pain, and people believed him.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Romney needs to answer his success in the free market and the capitalist society in this way; Yes, I studied, worked hard, was successful and became wealthy in an America that was the land of opportunity. As president I want to instill policies that will reinstate those opportunities. I want every American citizen to have the opportunity to get a job, become self reliant and improve their station in life without having to depend on unemployment, welfare or food stamps from the government. Keep in mind that what the government gives, the government can take away.

"The Hammer" said...

It's a long process but I think Flawda will tell the tale. If Newt can pull off even a slim win, he'll number one get all the delegates (it's winner take all) and B, he'll be in the cat bird seat with Big Mo behind him. If Romney loses Florida it just might be over. So we'll see.

The good thing about Newt is this, he's aggressive and quick on his feet in a debate, and he knows the ropes. The guy has a lot of big league experience. This would be a tremendous asset running against the inexperienced, special interest driven Obama. And most of the negative stuff on Newt is already out there, not to say it can't be rehashed like it was this week. But I'm thinking most people don't give a holy hell, at this point in time they want the ship to be righted, they want results.

If Romney is the eventual nominee, and I expect him to be, I'll support him, but I just don't buy in to the idea that he has the best chance for winning. He reminds me of John Kerry in that he seems to have been running for prez since he was twelve. But I can tell you this, if he wants to win he'd damn well better crank it up a notch because right now he ain't getting the job done.

Steeljaw Scribe said...

Newt may be an accomplished debater and thinker of great thoughts - I'm not convinced he is effective at governance and hence, able to put form to those grand designs.

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