In comments, DivGuy argues that I’m being too hard on poor Willard. Responding to my point about how Clinton’s foolish Iraq War vote probably cost her the nomination:
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.
I don’t buy it, for two reasons. First, I think Romney instituting a decent health care policy is Massachusetts will be a far bigger drag on his candidacy than the Iraq War vote was for Clinton. The Iraq War was a peripheral issue in the 2008 Dem primary — it mattered only because it was so close and it gave Obama the traction he needed — and that won’t be true of health care for the GOP in 2012. But the even bigger problem here is that the comparison between Mittens and Clinton is way, way too charitable to the former. Clinton was (or is, should she run again in 2016) inherently a much stronger candidate. The 2008 primaries make that clear. Even with the Iraq War vote dragging her down, she finished a very close second to another formidable mainstream Democratic candidate. Mittens, without his health care policy having transformed from reasonable compromise to the death of liberty itself, finished a distant second although the 2008 field didn’t have a serious campaign from an orthodox conservative. If Romney can’t win in that context, he has no chance. Whether it’s Pawlenty or Daniels or someone else, a plain-vanilla conservative is going to get some traction in the 2012, and there’s no way Romney can survive against one. Even without the health care albatross he’d be a huge longshot; the Republican demonization of the ACA just settles the question.
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.”
Silver’s take is, as always, worth reading. To me, Palin still clearly has a serious chance of getting the 2012 nomination, and the key is point #3. The GOP establishment is clearly going to unite against a candidate who might be historically weak, but if there’s a George W. Bush among prospective candidates they can actually focus on as an alternative, I haven’t seen him or her. And without that the establishment’s ability to control primary voters is highly dubious.
Is Haley Barbour really going to run for the GOP nomination in 2012? I hope so; the modern neo-Confederate+Corporate Lobbyist Republican Party might as well have a definitive standard-bearer:
As Barbour recalls it in a new profile in The Weekly Standard, things weren’t so bad in his hometown of Yazoo City, which took until 1970 to integrate its schools (though the final event itself is said to have gone on peacefully). For example, Barbour says that there was no problem of Ku Klux Klan activity in the town — thanks to the Citizens Council movement, an organization that was founded on the basis of resistance to integration and the promotion of white supremacy.
“You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK,” said Barbour. “Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”
If you define “state-sponsored terrorism in defense of lawlessness and apartheid” as a benign “organization of town leaders,” I’m not sure what else I can say. But Barbour will continue to lock in the CCC’s support…
Apparently some people somewhere are enthusiastic about Mitch Daniels:
I spoke this morning to John McKay, a Chicago-area businessman who runs Switch2Mitch.org, which has launched a petition drive to get the Indiana governor into the race for president.
“We need him more than any other person,” said McKay. “He’s so more qualitfied than any of the other candidates it’s not even funny.”
McKay, who is part-owner of a rehabilitation business in Cinicinnati, said he met Daniels at a 2008 press conference at an Indiana business, Author House, in which a partner of his was involved, and was “captivated by him.”
Okay, so it’s actually “Cincinnati,” but whatever. Here’s the e-mail release I received yesterday:
Robert …I’m doing some work for www.Switch2Mitch.org (to help get Indiana Governor Mitch Davis [emphasis added] to throw his hat into the ring for the White House in 2012), and wanted to know if you cover this sort of thing? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
We have a formal press release coming out soon, should we keep you on the list? Please advise, Darren.
I suppose that we’ll be running on a platform of competence and good government…
Heh. Perhaps Hu Jintao should consider forming an exploratory committee for the 2012 Republican primary…
According to Gallup, Communist, melamine exporting, beating us in the Olympics China is now more popular than Congressional Republicans:
USA Today/Gallup Poll. Feb. 20-22, 2009. N=1,013 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.
“Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Republicans in Congress are handling their job?”
Approve 36%–56% Disapprove
Gallup Poll. Feb. 9-12, 2009. N=1,022 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.
“Next, I’d like your overall opinion of some foreign countries. Is your overall opinion of [see below] very favorable, mostly favorable, mostly unfavorable, or very unfavorable?”
China: Favorable 41%–51% Unfavorable
Jon Huntsman certainly has an interesting strategy for making it through the 2012 GOP primary; it seems to be based on the assumption that the Palin-Huckabee-Jindal crazy wing of the party (which seems to represent ~70% of the party) will be divided enough to allow Huntsman to win several of the early primaries by occupying the center. Because of the structure of the Republican primary system, he could potentially build up a nice little delegate lead. Alternatively, Huntsman could just be hoping that the party establishment, perhaps chastened by additional losses in 2010, comes to its senses regarding the rightward drift.
There are several potential problems with the strategy. The first problem is that Huntsman won’t be the only candidate to occupy what passes for the centrist position in the 2012 primary; Mitt Romney will by all accounts be there, and Mitt will once again bring the money. The second is that, in all likelihood, the crazy wing will burn down to one candidate pretty quickly, and whomever that candidate is will then proceed to crush Huntsman (or Romney) for the rest of the primary season. And while I do think that the establishment will eventually rein the crazies in, I don’t think it’ll happen until 2016 at the earliest; the mantra for 2012 will still be “we lost because we’re not conservative enough”.
Then again, I’m glad I never published the post I wrote in 2005, with the excerpt “Wes Clark should coast to victory in the 2008 Democratic primary, but can he beat George Allen in the general?”
Please, please, please reject federal stimulus funding; we’ll get to find out if someone who rejects federal money can get elected dogcatcher in Baton Rouge.
Jindal is far too smart to actually reject the funding (like Alaska and so many other red states, Louisiana is utterly dependent on the federal government its leaders purport to despise), but I suspect he’ll pay a local political price even if the legislature overrides. What this nonsense reveals is a pretty straightforward list of the Republican governors who have Presidential ambition; any governor who supported the stimulus would come under severe attack during the 2012 primary.