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The Bottom Line

[ 49 ] February 29, 2012 |

Mitt Romney, the luckiest man on the face of the earth:

Rick Santorum is the latest Romney opponent who has failed in almost every way a candidate can fail. He has raised little money, put together no organization or even much of a campaign staff, and seemed to melt in Romney’s presence at debates. Incredibly, Santorum allowed Romney to frame the debate as centering on Santorum’s deviations from conservative orthodoxy. He is neither an inspirational grassroots firebrand nor a respected insider. He combines the nuttiness of a Michelle Bachmann with the inspiration of Buddy Roemer.

And, yet, he very nearly knocked off the prohibitive frontrunner in his quasi-home state. These Republican primaries nobody should logically be able to win are strange, but you only need to be a good candidate in relative terms, and in the land where everyone is blind the rich guy will win.

Meanwhile, I hate to spoil anyone’s fun, but when the frontrunner expands his delegate lead the odds of a brokered convention are not, in fact, increasing. And Trende’s analysis doesn’t actually make that case; he establishes that Mittens will lose more states than someone in his position should but does not credibly present a scenario where Santorum and Newt can hold him to a plurality. For example, buried at the end, “When you consider that a lot of the New England and Pacific states are winner-take-all (or some variant of that), while the Southern and Midwestern states are proportional, Romney’s path becomes clearer.” Well, yes. And it’s not as if Romney’s massive financial and organizational advantages are going to get less important as the race proceeds.

Comments (49)

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  1. ploeg says:

    But a Romney win is impossible. The very earth will rebel at it. The skies will turn dark. Blood will rain from the sky. Small lizards will sell car insurance.

    • Ben says:

      “Dogs and cats, living together . . . mass hysteria!”

      And once that’s out there, this becomes obligatory:

      “Yes it’s true: this presidential candidate has no dick.”

    • Ken says:

      Erick Ericksonsonson will weep tears of blood.

    • R Johnston says:

      But a Romney win is impossible.

      This is still true, but only because Romney loses by winning. Given the drubbing he’ll take in the general election and the negative coattails he’ll drag around due to depressing the enthusiasm of the Republican base, Romney, who is already not well liked by pretty much everyone, will essentially end up persona non grata in the public sphere after this election. He’s not going to get a FOX “News” speaking platform, he’s not going to get a career giving speeches on the wingnut welfare circuit, and he’s not even going to get the John McCain Sunday talk show treatment. The Republican are about to erase Romney from their history far more thoroughly than they’ve erased George Bush the younger.

      Of course win or lose doesn’t really matter for Romney. He’s still a guy with daily income significantly exceeding the median average annual salary. Even if the Republican party and the media stop taking his calls he can buy people to tell him how great he is and how much of a winner he is.

  2. sleepyirv says:

    I’m not saying Mitt will lose the nomination or that it is likely to happen but I will say if there is one man with the ingenuity, imagination, and skills to lose the nomination from Romney’s position, it’s Mitt Romney.

    • Njorl says:

      I think there are plenty of people who could lose from Romney’s position – Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, …

  3. Incontinentia Buttocks says:

    This is the problem with reporting a primary race that is both heated and, in effect, already decided. TPM last night had a story up before the results came in from Michigan declaring that a Romney win there might not really be a win for Romney. Then, after the results came in, put up a story saying that the Santorum’s close finish might not be enough for Santorum.

    If you don’t actually pay attention to who is actually going to win the nomination, anything is possible and all kinds of speculation is fair game. No need to be internally consistent…or even rational. A brokered convention choosing Clarence Thomas? Zombie Nixon running on a ticket with Zombie Reagan? Taft 2012?

    If you do actually pay attention to who is actually going to win the nomination, it all gets very uninteresting very fast.

    Then again, we could all go back to talking about Ron Paul some more, since he has just as much chance to have an impact on anything today as he did a couple months ago.

    • Furious Jorge says:

      TPM last night had a story up before the results came in from Michigan declaring that a Romney win there might not really be a win for Romney. Then, after the results came in, put up a story saying that the Santorum’s close finish might not be enough for Santorum.

      I noticed that too. What a crock of middle of the road bullshit.

  4. joe from Lowell says:

    Anyone who remembers Shannon O’Brien already knows that Mitt Romney is a very lucky man.

    Hey, everybody, let’s nominate another Beacon Hill insider! That’s exactly what Massachusetts voters have proven that they want in a governor over the past decade.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Coakley ’12! (I know she’s from the Berkshires, but she was dreary enough to qualify as a fulltime Beacon Hill hack.)

      • joe from Lowell says:

        I just don’t like Coakley bashing anymore. She has been a hero on bankster investigations. She’s a very able public servant with a meaningful record of accomplishment, even if she doesn’t measure up to, say, Tim Pawlenty in raw animal magnetism.

        • Erik Loomis says:

          I think blowing the easiest election campaign in history is worth making fun of her over. I mean, Scott Brown is a senator from Massachusetts? Seriously?

          • joe from Lowell says:

            2006, 2008, and 2010 should teach us that there is no such thing as an easy election in a wave year.

            Ask Travis Childers.

            • Erik Loomis says:

              Are you actually arguing that Coakley was even a marginally competent candidate?

              • joe from Lowell says:

                You mean the comment in which I didn’t mention Martha Coakley? No.

                What I’m actually arguing is that the special election to replace Ted Kennedy, held in 2010, was not the easiest election campaign in history.

                Martha Coakley wins that race in 2008, in 2004, or in 2012.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  While Mike Capuano or Ed Markey very possibly lose it in 2010.

                • Erik Loomis says:

                  And a marginally competent candidate who actually tries wins it in 2009

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  If being marginally competent and actually trying were all it took to win an open seat in a friendly state in a wave year, Travis Childers never goes to Congress.

                  There are no safe seats in a wave election. None. This has been demonstrated over and over.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  And if you want to put all your chips on candidate competence, let’s give the devil his due: Scott Brown hit a bullet with a bullet in that campaign.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Scott Brown hit a bullet with a bullet in that campaign

                  Running clips of Coakley saying “As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?” on endless loop is not hitting a bullet with a bullet. He’s not brilliant against Warren.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  Running clips of Coakley saying “As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?”

                  Scott Brown closed a 30 point gap in less than two months BEFORE Coakley made that statement. She said that on January 14th. The Suffolk poll that first showed Brown four points ahead came out on January 4th. In a November 12, 2009 poll, she was ahead 58-27.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  …and it’s worth mentioning that Brown picked up those 35 points on Coakley in eight weeks without significant support from the national party. It was only after he’d caught up that the RNC jumped on his bandwagon.

                  I don’t like him, either, but candidates we don’t like can be good at politics, too.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  And finally, remember that Scott Brown scored a 70% approval rating early in 2010, making him the most popular political figure in Massachusetts for a time. An electoral victory can be the result of your opponent’s awfulness, but you don’t get an approval rating like that from having an inept opponent. He did a lot of things right.

            • efgoldman says:

              For that matter, ask Tom Foley. He was Speaker of the freakin’ House, for crissakes, and he lost to a GOBP nobody in the Newt wave of 1994.

    • Malaclypse says:

      Anyone who remembers Shannon O’Brien already knows that Mitt Romney is a very lucky man.

      And anyone who remembers Jane Swift knows that Mitt will fuck over anybody to get what he wants.

  5. c u n d gulag says:

    Scott,
    At the end of the year, we may find out that it was actually Barack Hussein Obama who is the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.

    Mitt is a disaster as a candidate.
    Let’s hope he holds true to form on that!

    • FMguru says:

      Exactly. Mitt is the second-luckiest man on Earth. The luckiest is the current occupant of the White House, who looks bound for re-election even after 4 years of 8.5%-plus unemployment and a poitical strategy of punching his young and enthusuastic base in the stomach at every opportunity.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        4 years of 8.5%-plus unemployment

        So, exactly half of the lowest unemployment rate during FDR’s first term.

        his young and enthusuastic base

        I never knew that a candidate’s political base consisted of people who might or might not support his party’s in any given election. You learn something new every day.

        a poitical strategy of punching his young and enthusuastic base in the stomach at every opportunity.

        Barack Obama’s approval rating among self-described liberals has never fallen below 68%.

        • rm says:

          Obama is the luckiest in terms of electoral opponents. He hasn’t had a good opponent in any race for national office. They have been comically, epically bad. I don’t know about State Assembly or whatever, or Harvard Law Review.

          I generally support him (let the record acknowledge all caveats and betrayals etc. etc. lorem ipsum) so I’m glad, but it is amazing. The hand of Providence, or Fate, or something, picks these ridiculous clowns for him to run against.

          • Jeremy says:

            I’d say it was a wager with the devil, if I believed in that sort of thing.

          • Njorl says:

            His Republican opponents have been bad, but he faced at least one very tough Democratic opponent. Beating Hillary Clinton out of the nomination required a very skillful campaign.

      • timb says:

        Here comes Joe

  6. Jonathan says:

    Romney would lose to a halfway competent opponent. Fortunately for him, he’s running as a Republican; there’s no one half-competent in the party to oppose him.

  7. Marek says:

    I’m just hoping to get a few more weeks’ mileage out of the Senator Man on Dog vs. Governor Dog on Car thing.

  8. Kurzleg says:

    Are these funding and organizational advantages only relative to his opponents, or are they really impressive on their own? Because I can’t imagine that there are too many folks nationwide who are getting too excited about his candidacy. I mean, if the GOP isn’t excited about him, then who would be?

    • Mark says:

      The GOP will be excited. You can count on that. There’s a Democrat in the White House.

      Even if they prefer whoever the VP pick is to the Pres. candidate, there’s still Barack Obama to hate.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        I remember Kos once wrote about candidates who can “rile up the Republican base,” something like, “So what? These are the most easily-riled people on the face of the Earth. They get riled when they’re asked to press one for English.”

      • R Johnston says:

        I think you underestimate the extent to which large chunks of the Republican base truly hate Mitt Romney. They won’t vote Obama but they will petulantly vote third party or not at all.

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