Convention Update

Rick “Savonarola” Santorum will be speaking at the Republican convention.

Also Bush — not W, but Jeb, the former Florida governor.

And Rand “Personhood” Paul, Ron’s son and Kentucky senator.  Does having Rand mean they don’t have to have Ron spewing isolationism and a return to the gold standard?

Marco Rubio Hurts Mitt in Florida

An interesting new PPP poll out of Florida —

President Obama leads Mitt by 5% in a contest with no Veep name.  When you plug in Jeb Bush as Veep, Obama’s lead drops to 3%.

But when you plug in Florida Senator Marco Rubio (or as I think of him, Marco!  Rubio!) as Veep, Obama’s lead widens to 7%, so Rubio actually hurts Mitt.

Rubio doesn’t even help Mitt get more Hispanic voters in Florida.  Without Rubio, Obama leads Mitt among them by 52% to 37%.  With Rubio on the ticket, those numbers remain the same.

How can this be?  For one thing, Rubio isn’t all that popular in Florida right now.  His favorables/unfavorables are 43/41.

For another, Cuban Americans tend to be fairly conservative, more so as a group than other Hispanic voters.  They are out of step with other Hispanics on immigration policy because they benefit from their own rules.  Mitt gets the Cuban Americans he’s going to get with or without Rubio on the ticket.

The GOP thinks of the Hispanic vote as much more monolithic than it is.  Cuban Americans are a distinct community, and Hispanic Americans from other backgrounds, like Mexican Americans, don’t particularly identify with or relate to them, and vice versa.

The GOP, in its racist condescending way, just sees all these “brown” people who mow their lawns and thinks if you pick any one of them as Veep, you’ll suddenly attract all these Hispanic voters.  Hispanics in places like Arizona and New Mexico aren’t going to abandon President Obama because Marco Rubio is Mitt’s running mate.

Mitt really needs to run with someone less slick, someone “softer” than Rubio.  The two of them on a stage just ooze naked ambition for ambition’s sake.  Rubio gives off the same “lean and hungry” vibe as Mitt.


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’s Campaign Steps on Big Jeb Bush Endorsement

On a day that should have been all about celebrating their double-digit Illinois win and finally getting Jeb Bush’s endorsement, Mitt’s campaign instead has everyone focused on that humble, low-tech toy the Etch-a-Sketch.

Mitt’s senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom went on CNN and, in reply to a question about whether moves to the right during the primary would hurt Mitt in the general, said this:

“I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign, everything changes.  It’s almost like an Etch-a-Sketch, you can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.”

Of course, this has been Mitt’s problem his whole career, that he’s the blank screen who’s happy to put up a new picture just long enough to get your vote.

The DNC, the Obama campaign, and the Santorum campaign are all over this, making fun of Mitt.

Santorum is contrasting himself as the “What you see is what you get” candidate.  Agree with Santorum or not, you have to respect his consistency and conviction.

I’m With Jeb and Rudy

Here’s Jeb Bush:  “I used to be a conservative, and I watch these debates and I’m wondering, I don’t think I’ve changed, but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective.”

Here’s Rudy Giuliani on the GOP and social issues:  “It makes the party look like it isn’t a modern party, it doesn’t understand the modern world we live in.”

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, I think the Republican Party has left me.  “Back to the Future” is an entertaining movie, but it doesn’t work well as a 2012 presidential campaign slogan.