I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately, and in the process read a lot of news magazines. NewsMax is becoming a fairly popular one, and they had an article about Mitt Romney called “The Reagan Candidate”. It was a very informative write up, with the thesis basically stating that Mitt, much like Reagan, appears to be the perfect candidate with a past that seems ideal for at least gaining the American vote. He also seems to share many of the same opinions and attitudes of that late president. Even politically active Michael Reagan, who historically has berated almost anyone who compares themselves to his father when they don’t measure up (and nobody does), more-less compared the two as being cut from the same cloth.
Then there was the expected discussion of Mitt’s religion in that article. Again, what a surprise. Apparently late last fall one of Mitt’s friends was a big whig in the evangelical christianity movement and organized a get together between Mitt and all the big names in Evangelical Christianity including guys like Jerry Falwell. The upshot of that meeting was that they all didn’t think the “Mormon Factor” was a factor at all with Mitt – at least as far as they were concerned. One even seemed to suggest that “he’s the only viable social conservative in the mix” (see http://www.newsmax.com/romney/).
Still the most recent poll among the Republican Party gives him only 6% of the vote, so if he wants to be successful then he needs more face time with the public. The general feeling among most of the pundits is that if more people knew about him then his percentage would go up dramatically.
If he won the primaries he’d be a slam dunk for the general election and we’d be looking at President Romney, but as we all know, the ones who win the primaries are seldom the ones who were most likely to win the general election. For example, the democrats should have had the last election in the bag, but they nominated a candidate with the most liberal voting record in decades. Bush only won because Kerry was so rotten, and yet there were tons of democrat candidates that would have garnered a much higher republican vote than Kerry ever could have – but apparently they weren’t extreme enough for thier party to get nominated.
So Mitt has to convince the republicans that perhaps his ability to win among democrats (he is a very popular governor in one of the most liberal states in the country) should put him on top so long as his views are congruous with the party – and they are. His views represent Republicans more now than ever. More so now than even most of the other forerunners in the republican party.
One of the definitions of a “dark horse candidate” is an unknown candidate who surprisingly wins because his competition ends up being not what they seemed. Personally, I think McCain killed his chances for winning when he offered his little “bomb bomb bomb iran” joke. Rudy currently has the lead, but most pundits feel that’s just because he’s still riding the 9/11 wave which shot him into stardom and so few have really looked at his politics or real history. It’s unlikely that he’ll hold onto the lead he currently enjoys once people look beyond 9/11.
I don’t see the other candidates providing much competition to Mitt as he becomes better known. And here’s the kicker: He’s got the money. Way more than anyone else. He will become much better known with time, and that’s all he needs. His supporters can only hope that his face time with the public with increase fast enough for it to make the difference needed before the primaries. It doesn’t make sense to hold onto that money for the general election if he doesn’t win the primaries. Spend it now, and win the primaries. Like I said, if he wins the primaries then the general election will be a slam dunk for the republicans. I can’t say that for Guilliani who currently is in pole position.