It Can’t Be Condi

There are lots of noises that Mitt should/will pick Condi Rice for his Veep.

But he can’t.  She’s pro-choice, and that automatically disqualifies her.

Mitt is already mistrusted by the base for his flip-flops on abortion.  Sure, she could flip too and say she’s no longer pro-choice, but I don’t think that would fly with an already queasy and suspicious base.

Mitt’s trying to get credit for considering a woman who also happens to be African-American, without the grief he’d get from actually choosing her.  Typical Mitt, looking for benefits with no costs.

Maybe He Should Write It on His Hand

Mitt doesn’t know what his own immigration policy is.  In an interview with far-right web site Newsmax, Mittens said illegals who come here as children should be able to gain permanent status if they serve in the military or have advanced degrees.  This “advanced degrees” criterion was new and initially seemed to signal a more illegal-friendly policy change.  But his campaign quickly yanked back the leash and said ix-nay on the advanced degrees deal.

Let’s cut him some slack.  When you flip flop as much as he does on just about every issue, it’s not easy to keep track of what’s the policy du jour.

Obama’s Luck May Be Running Out

The latest Real Clear Politics average shows President Obama ahead of Mitt by 1.4%, so the race is essentially tied.

What troubles me is that I think the people who have already decided to vote for Mitt are unlikely to change their minds.  I’m not expecting some big shocking revelations about him between now and November.   You either care about Bain, his Massachusetts record, Romneycare, the flip flops and phoniness, his inability to identify with and connect to average working people, or you don’t.

As the challenger, events that unfold in the next few months, like the disaster that is Europe, won’t take votes away from Mitt. But as the incumbent, Obama has to take responsibility for whatever happens on his watch, even when it isn’t really his fault and is beyond his control.  He may not have championed the euro 20 years ago as a brilliant idea, but its demise will hurt him.  To paraphrase Harry Truman, “The euro stops here.”

I believe Mitt is likely to pick up votes from current Obama voters as well as most undecideds.  We know the economy isn’t about to take off any time soon, things are likely to get worse before they get better.  I can see a scenario where the stock market tanks as the price of filling our tanks  soars, where events seem to be spinning out of control and no one knows where the bottom is, so that voters flee Obama and rush into the waiting wooden arms of Mitt, not out of love, but out of fear, that other extremely powerful human emotion.

Europe isn’t going to crash and burn in time for the effects to fade before the election, but Europe won’t wait till mid-November either.

I would say the calendar favors Mitt.  He’s not likable?  We elected Richard Nixon — twice.

Mitt Flip Flops on Four Percent Unemployment

When the April unemployment numbers were released on May 4, showing unemployment at 8.1%, Mitt lashed out at President Obama, asserting that a number “over four percent is not a cause for celebration.”

Less than three weeks later, Mitt is claiming that if he is elected, he will get unemployment down to six percent.

So I guess Mitt believes that his election would not be a cause for celebration.

The Emperor Has No Clothes

MSNBC’s resident conservative, former Florida Republican congressman and host of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough said out loud what everyone is thinking (except Ann and Mittens and their five boys), that the GOP’s emperor has no clothes:

“Let’s just be honest. Can we just say this for everybody at home? The Republican establishment — I’ve yet to meet a single person in the Republican establishment who thinks Mitt Romney will win the general election this year…. I’ve yet to meet anybody in the Republican establishment that worked for George W. Bush, that works in the Republican Congress, that worked for Ronald Reagan that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election.”

When Mitt infuriates me (pathetically projecting his own most obvious defects onto Obama by calling him a flip flopper, calling him out of touch, saying he’ll end Medicare, etc.), I just imagine watching Mitt’s concession speech in November.

Maybe there’s a novel to be written — Chronicle of a Defeat Foretold.


More on Mitt’s Etch A Sketch

“Fehrnstrom’s comments were correct in a general sense, but they were a blunder in a bigger strategic sense.  Any time you step on the message of big victory in a big state [Illinois] and simultaneously the endorsement of one of the most important political figures in your party [Jeb Bush], you know you have messed up.”  John Feehery, “Etch A Sketch,” The Hill.

I’m sure Eric Fehrnstrom wishes he could shake that CNN interview and erase it.

Everyone knows that you move to the center in the general, so Fehnstrom wasn’t really making news.  His problem was that the guy he works for has been such a shameless flip flopper and has no core convictions.  If a Santorum adviser had made the exact same comment, it wouldn’t have caused such a stir.

It’s not just what you say, it’s who you are.  Every comment is judged by the overarching narrative, and this is where Mitt’s narrative is especially weak and problematic.

Mitt Is Bush 41

I keep reading comparisons between Mitt and Bob Dole.  Historically, that makes sense because Dole ran in 1996 against an incumbent Dem, Bill Clinton, who had suffered major losses in the preceding congressional races of 1994.

But I think personality-wise, Mitt is more like Bush 41 and comes with his out-of-touch, rich guy, patrician liabilities.  Bush won in 1988 because the country wanted a third Reagan term.  When he ran in 1992, no longer wrapped in the Reagan mantle, voters didn’t like him.

Bush was distrusted by conservatives in his second run because he’d broken his “Read my lips, no new taxes” pledge.  Mitt suffers from that same mistrust because of his flip-flops and prior support for abortion and gay rights when he ran in Massachusetts.  He’s also the father of the individual health care mandate that conservatives used to support, but now believe is unconstitutional.

Less ideological voters turned against Bush in 1992 because his preppie persona contrasted poorly with Clinton’s warmth and folkiness.  The tax thing didn’t bother them as much as Bush himself did.

My theory of presidential elections is that the less preppie-seeming guy always wins.

Both Mitt and President Obama went to very fancy prep schools (the President got a scholarship), but Mitt has led a much more privileged, sheltered life, and it shows.  He can’t manage to sound convincing when he proclaims his concern for the middle class.  He’s never spent a day of his life as an actual member of the middle class.

What happens when two preppies run against each other?  Al Gore and Bush 43 both went to very elite prep schools.  But Bush managed to come across as more down-home Texas than high-flown Andover.

The less preppie guy wins — Obama beats Mitt.

Why Republican Primary Voters Don’t Like Mitt

An interesting Wall Street Journal/NBC poll asked Republican primary voters to rank their problems with Mitt, with a list of six items to choose from.

His flip-flopping came in first, with his wealth/inability to relate to average people second.

His Mormon religion came in last as a concern.

Now it may be that we’re seeing the “Bradley effect” here, where people don’t want to admit they’re voting against somebody based on his race or his religion, so he does worse than he polls, but I don’t think so.  I think voters have so many good reasons not to want Mitt for their president, that they don’t even have to get to the Mormon issue in their minds.

If he doesn’t get the nomination (very unlikely) or doesn’t win the White House (very likely), we’ll hear it was because he was a Mormon, that he was a victim of prejudice.  But I really think voters are rejecting Mitt the human being, not Mitt the Mormon.

He’s a victim of his character flaws, not his church.