Thursday, March 10, 2011

Romney Not Dead Yet

Excellent piece by Steve Kornacki this morning making the argument for Mitt Romney as frontrunner. I'm not sure I agree that Romney has the best chance of winning, but I continue to agree with Kornacki and others (Matt Yglesias yesterday, and a first-rate piece by my brother and longtime Mitt watcher David S. Bernstein last week) who don't believe that health care is a major obstacle for him. Instead, as David says, "it's more a symptom than a cause" of Romney's troubles.

I guess what it comes down to is exactly what ACA opposition means to Republicans. Certainly, both elites and rank-and-file voters are all hot and bothered about it, and I don't discount that entirely. After all, every candidate, Romney included, will support repeal. However, I guess I think that at the end of the day, it's almost purely symbolic for almost all of them. It stands for Obama-the-Socialist, Obama-the-Other, Obama-the-Enemy. It's not about health care, really, and so logically connecting past health care positions with Obama's health care plan is sort of irrelevant.

Now, that's not to say that Republicans actually agree with ACA. Indeed, I think opposition to any sort of government-initiated universal health care is the most natural movement conservative position. Yes, conservative politicians (not just Mitt!) have in the past supported things that looked like Obama's health care plan, but I think in almost all cases that was just about playing defense in a situation in which the true movement conservative position (that is, it's not the government's concern) is wildly unpopular.

But that's about health care. Opposition to Obamacare, I'm saying, isn't about health care at all. And since Romney will have no trouble meeting the litmus test of opposing Obama, I don't think too many Republicans will really care about the other thing.

Just remember: issues have a way of being used to mask what's really going on. So if Republican leaders conclude that Romney isn't acceptable for other reasons, such as perhaps a sense that his religion is unacceptable, or that he won't be reliable on taxes or litmus-test social issues, they may well use Romneycare to convince the rank-and-file that Romney fails the Obama test. It's also possible that voters will do the same: rather than admitting (even to themselves) that bigotry is driving their vote (should that be the case), they could latch on to whatever issue is available, and health care will be there. But if it wasn't that, it would be some other issue.

7 comments:

  1. The one thing I'd add to the last paragraph is that if Republican elites see another candidate whose positions are acceptable to them begin to gain traction, they will jump all over all of Mitt's apostasies to undermine him and clear the path for the candidate without the troubling past. If Mitt's winning, then Obamacare and Romneycare as different as chalk and cheese. If he's losing, he's just a closet socialist with an inch-deep commitment to the principles that made America great.

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  2. If Palin runs, she will get the nom.
    The GOP elites have tried unsuccessfully for a year now to suppress birtherism in the base. There are now more birthers among likely GOP primary voters than a year ago, 72%, in spite of efforts by such notables as Breitbart.
    Since just before the midterms, conservative elites like Rove, Krauthammer, Ponnuru, Goldberg and Krauthammer have tried to suppress Palinism.
    Like suppressing birtherism, it cannot be done. Among likely GOP primary voters her popularity remains at 65 to 70%.
    Romney is a mormon.
    It would be easier for a scientologist to be elected in contemporary America aka Distributed Jesusland.
    The GOP is a religious party now, and not tolerant of either mormons or muslims.

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  3. Oops, I forgot one of Palin's most fervent supporters, Ross Douthat is now also trying to wean the base off Palins splendid tits.
    Still Waiting for Elle Woods, Mr. Douthat?
    You would have better luck with Godot.

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  4. Yes, ObamaCare is a standalone issue, and RomneyCare is going to kill Romney.

    Pawlenty is going to stand at the podium and ask how it is Romney can claim to repeal ObamaCare, when he worked mightily with Ted Kennedy to enact the exact same thing in Massachusetts.

    And then Pawlenty will point out that Obama will be asking Romney the exact same thing in the general. And then the voters will answer both questions for themselves.

    Bubbye Mitt. You lose again.

    It's going to be Pawlenty, and he's going to win PA, MN, IA, OH and perhaps even WI and MI... a Midwest sweep in other words, in addition to reclaiming all of the Bush 43 states lost in '08.

    Bubbye Obama. You had your chance, but you went far left in a country that just ain't that.

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  5. And I do find it ironic that the Left is getting swamped in the Midwest these days. It is a measure of their clear failures that this historic stronghold is slipping away from them. It should not have, ever, but it has.

    Wisconsin is a battlefield right now, but when the dust clears, there will be a political winner, and it won't be the fleebaggers. That will be telling, and Pawlenty will benefit from the political support that recent electoral wipeouts have brought his party in the Midwest.

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  6. "the Left is getting swamped in the Midwest these days."

    nah, it is just the paradigm of Distributed Jesusland.
    Fortunately for the rest of us, Distributed Jesusland can never win another general election.
    And after 2020 when the demographic timer starts to go off conervatives will be doomed to permanent defeat in local elections as well.

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  7. "Bubbye Obama. You had your chance, but you went far left in a country that just ain't that."
    lawl, T-Paw is invisble to the electorate.
    Again, Distributed Jesusland can only win localized elections.
    Obama FTW!
    Conservatives cant turn off the racism, oops I meant birtherism.
    And the demographic timer goes tick....tick.....tick.....
    ;)

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