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Drawing Dead

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All you need to know about Mittens ’12:  “If Romney does not apologize for Romneycare, he’s dead. Of course if he does apologize, he is deader.”

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  • joe from Lowell

    It might be possible for a Republican politician to pull off an about face of this size, if he’s known to a be someone with solid convictions and a history of standing up for what he believes in. It would be tough, given the scale of the flip-flop involved, but not impossible, for the right politician.

    But not Mittens. He’s used up all his benefit-of-the-doubt cards, and then some, when it comes to this sort of thing.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yup. And the evolution of the ACA in GOP circles from Republican compromise to monstrous tyranny has become so central I doubt anyone could pull it off anyway. The alternative scenario seems to depend on handwaving about federalism, which would run into the problem that nobody actually cares about federalism.

      • Rob

        John McCain could have done it!

        • dangermouse

          Also, Lieberman!

    • Zifnab

      But not Mittens. He’s used up all his benefit-of-the-doubt cards, and then some, when it comes to this sort of thing.

      If he gets FOX and the rest of the GOP Kingmakers on his side, I don’t see how he’d fail. All the GOP candidates have black markets on their records. It’s just a question of whether said candidate is “in favor” with the right people.

      McCain pulled out ahead of the pack in ’08 because he had such fantastic media relations. Every Sunday Morning show loved John McCain. Hell, arch-media-liberal Jon Stewart loved John McCain. And FOX (who backed Giuliani) and the religious right (who backed Huckabee) and Wall Street (who backed Romney) fell in line as soon as they saw him as a viable front runner.

      But this was the guy that pushed through McCain-Feingold. This was the guy who wouldn’t vote for the Bush Tax Cuts. McCain never should have made it to the GOP nomination.

      • Scott Lemieux

        And yet, he beat…Mitt Romney. The GOP money will coalesce around a more orthodox Republican in 2012.

    • DrDick

      Romney also has that whole Mormon thing working against him. For a lot of the Republican base, especially in the South, that is the equivalent of being a devil worshiper. I think the combination is ultimately lethal.

  • jon

    Yes, but I look forward to the spectacle of watching the Man-With-Four-Home-States limbo, wriggle and squirm while trying to square his own circle.

  • DivGuy

    Hillary Clinton very nearly won the Democratic nomination in 2008 despite her vote for the Iraq War and her refusal to say that vote was a mistake.

    I think that people making a big deal out of RomneyCare are assuming far too high a level of knowledge and reasoning among the Republican primary electorate. Exactly what wins primaries and doesn’t is really complicated, but I’ll be surprised if a bill passed in a small state six years previously has that large an effect.

    • DivGuy

      What’s the mechanism by which Romney is going to lose?

      Is he going to be under-funded? Of course not, he has corporate money flowing in. Is he going to be under-organized? The man already has significant organizations in most important primary states.

      The argument, then, is that a heavily-funded, well-organized, telegenic, ideologically-appropriate candidate is going to lose because everyday, ordinary voters are going to reject him based on his record as governor six years ago. I just don’t think that’s how elections work.

      • wengler

        No, he is going to lose because he is a Mormon. Just like last time.

        • DrDick

          Yep. That is anathema to the Talabangelical base.

      • mark f

        The argument, then, is that a heavily-funded, well-organized, telegenic, ideologically-appropriate candidate is going to lose because everyday, ordinary voters are going to reject him based on his record as governor six years ago

        If Romney was seen to be ideologically appropriate in 2008 I think he would’ve walked to the nomination, since there were such serious shortcomings in all of the other candidates that a half-dead former senator/minor television personality was able to briefly excite everyone. But Romney’s two campaigns in Massachusetts (against Kennedy in 1994 and for governor in 2002) left a lot of conservatives quesitoning those credentials.

      • joe from Lowell

        He’s a styrofoam person with no personality or charisma, and a transparent phony.

        The more people look at Mitt Romney, the more they say “Bleah!” People just don’t like him.

    • richard

      I don’t think so. I think the far right/Tes Party element is going to be able to veto any candidate (or, if nominated, effectively sabotage his candidacy) and they are going to veto Romney because of Romneycare. That element doesn’t have a high level of knowledge or reasoning but I think they know what they oppose, however crazed the basis for that opinion is, and they are going to crucify Romney for having supported an individual mandate for purchase health care (even if justified under the doctrine of states rights). They don’t oppose Obama’s plan just because it is a federal plan – they oppose state health care programs as well because they’re “socialistic”.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Hillary Clinton very nearly won the Democratic nomination in 2008 despite her vote for the Iraq War and her refusal to say that vote was a mistake.

      I don’t think this example helps your case. If Clinton had voted against the Iraq War I think she cruises to the nomination; I doubt Obama would have even run. What requires explanation is not how she almost won but how she lost despite huge a priori advantages. (And the war was nowhere near as important to 2008 Democratic primary votes as the ACA will be to 2012 GOP primary voters.)

      • DivGuy

        This is an interesting point. I hadn’t thought of Clinton as being that entrenched – a lot of the institutional left and center-left still hated the Clintons – but you’re right that she underperformed, and that should be rung up in part to her Iraq War vote.

        However, if we’re accepting the Clinton comparison, I think that’s a good argument against saying Mitt’s “drawing dead.” It would have taken only minor shifts in the electorate or in the primary voting rules for Clinton to have won the nomination. She was hurt by her vote, not hamstrung by it. I’d guess Mitt’s the same way. He’s still got a good shot, especially with the enormously weak crowd of candidates he’s currently in competition with.

      • DivGuy

        I thought of a response. This makes me want to learn more about presidential primaries than I learned in one class in college, so I may be bullshitting here, but I think it’s reasonable bullshit.

        What Clinton’s vote did was enable the construction of alternate organizations. With enough activists opposing Clinton, it was possible for Obama to build a second major organization, and with the development of new funding strategies, Obama was able to build a parallel funding mechanism.

        Did Clinton’s vote really cost her that many votes beyond the cost of having to compete against a similarly well-funded, well-organized, and politically skilled opponent? On first consideration, I’m skeptical.

        And so in turn, Romney’s going to be up against other candidates with strong organizations and funding. He’s not a shoo-in. He’s one of several legitimate candidates. Most importantly, he’s not “drawing dead”, which way the main thing I was disputing.

      • David Hunt

        Mr. Lemieux,

        I agree with pretty much everything you wrote about why Clinton could have strolled to the nomination without Iraq hanging over her head, but I don’t agree that Obama would have decided against running. He clearly wanted to be President at some point and 2008 wasn’t clearly a year with great odds for a Democrat…and the Senate is like quicksand to presidential candidates. Being a Senator is very prestigious, but staying too long will pull you down. There’s a zillion votes that can be used against you because you made some sort of deal to support putting the Anti-Christ on the ten dollar bill in exchange for making sure that the VA didn’t toss out all the vets getting treated in your state. On the flip side, you can almost never claim credit for actually accomplishing anything. Your always one of fifty plus guys that sent something to the President and he generally gets all the credit. John Rogers summarizes much better than me.

        Shortening all of this down, I think six year to ten at the outside is most that you can sit there before you become entrenched in the Senate and Obama wasn’t going to wait through two terms of President Clinton to then see some new golden boy get the support of H. Clinton’s Administration. I personally think that he ran for the Senate in 2004 figuring that Kerry would come out on top and he’d be perfectly situated to run in 2012, probably with Kerry’s support (Kerry’s the guy that put the spotlight on him at the Democratic Convention). He’d have run in 2008 no matter how strong Clinton was hoping to get the VP position at least so he could run in 2012 as part of a successful Clinton Administration.

    • MPAVictoria

      Small State?

      • DivGuy

        I’m from MA. I think of it as a small state. Maybe it’s cause I’m from western Mass?

        • mark f

          Probably. We’re (I’m in Worcester) 13th in terms of population, but I think 45th in area.

    • That’s Democrats. It’s different with Democrats. Also, foreign affairs and particularly wars are not the issues that cost candidates primary wins. HRC’s problem was that she was poorly advised on the ground rules– or Obama had a better game plan, which amounts to the same thing.

  • Zifnab

    Now that Frum has been kicked to the curb by the American Enterprise Institute, I wonder if he enjoys the view from the outside looking in.

  • wengler

    Romney’s got the corporate vote for sure, but if 2008 taught us anything, it’s that the Republican base hates candidates that are just the empty suit corporate candidate. They want the kind of crazy that walks the talk. Even to Republicans that don’t make decisions based on evidence, Romney fails.

    Also, he’s a Mormon.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Mittens won’t even win the Mormon primary in 2012. Huntsman has a better shot at the GOP nomination than he does.

  • Morbo

    “Dead?” Tsk, tsk, you libs just can’t help yourselves with violent rhetoric.

    • McKingford

      Yeah, tell it to arch liberal David Frum…you know, the guy who is quoted here…

      • Jeff-n

        Ever since SEK’s post here about violent rhetoric, I just smile a sad knowing smirk whenever I see someone triying to blast liberals on violent rhetoric. It shows me that they fundamentally don’t understand just what is violent rhetoric.

        • Morbo

          Sigh, no parody is obvious enough to be distinguished from actual wingnuttery anymore, is it?

          • *I* got it right away.

          • Jeff

            In my defense, Poe’s Law!

    • chris

      “Drawing dead” is a poker idiom that does not involve actual death.

  • dangermouse

    Mitt should run on the platform that Romneycare is a sensible Republican compromise that protects Medicare from the tyrrany of the Obammunist government.

    It’s so fucking crazy they can’t not love it.

  • Joe
  • p joe

    That’s a shame. I was really looking forward to not voting for him in 2010.

  • p joe

    er…2012

    • wengler

      I not vote for him every year.

  • joe from Lowell

    I actually got to vote against him.

    (Shannon O’Brien was Martha Coakley before Marthy Coakley).

    • mark f

      Yeah . . . I just wish he stuck around for ’06 so could not vote for him when he actually lost. I didn’t like Kerry Healey but I also didn’t feel any schadenfreude for her.

    • efgoldman

      Me too, just before my company moved me to the wilds of RI.

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  • Jonathan

    You know, we can still technically call it “oh-twelve.” I mean, there’s still a zero before it.

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