Saturday, January 21, 2012

Plum Line: South Carolina Wrap

My South Carolina wrap is up at Plum Line -- as you might guess, I don't think Newt is going to be the nominee.

Not much else to add here right now. I suppose I can add that if I'm wrong (and of course that's always very possible), we'll see Republicans who savaged him in December keep quiet this time, and perhaps at least a handful of heavyweight endorsements. My guess is we won't see that, however. It's not just that they don't want him as their nominee, although that's true too most likely; it's also that they don't believe he can win it when Mitt Romney unloads on him. The expectation is that he'll collapse, just as he did when Romney (and Ron Paul, and the rest) unloaded on him in Iowa. Seriously, it's just really hard to grasp how many vulnerabilities he has, on both issues and personal stuff.

By the way, as long as I'm here..."What Matters" will be up tomorrow, a bit late, but before Sunday questions. Sorry about that; the day got away from me a bit.

11 comments:

  1. Do Perry and Sarah Palin's endorsement and implicit endorsement, respectively, not count as heavyweight endorsements? You have a sitting governor/former candidate and the previous VP backing Newt. That's got to count for something.

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  2. But Newt Gingrich remains almost as implausible a nominee as he’s been from the beginning of the campaign. He’s still the guy who has flipped on issue after issue after issue, including individual mandates on health care and climate change. He’s still someone who has ethics problems, and marital problems (yes, still). He’s still someone who isn’t much liked or trusted by those Republicans who worked with him when he was in office. He’s still someone who rarely goes a week without saying something that gets him in trouble.

    But Mitt Romney remains almost as implausible a nominee as he’s been from the beginning of the campaign. He’s still the guy who has flipped on issue after issue after issue, including individual mandates on health care and climate change. He’s still someone who has disclosure problems, and authenticity problems (yes, still). He’s still someone who isn’t much liked or trusted by people who've worked with him throughout much of his adult life. He’s still someone who rarely goes a week without saying something that gets him in trouble.

    -- as you might guess, I don't think Newt is going to be the nominee.

    This is excellent news for Mitt Romney ;)

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  3. I've stated this several times before, here and elsewhere: I've long believed that Romney was the most likely nominee for 2012, but I've been repeatedly surprised by how lame and weak the attacks from his rivals have been. I had this image in my head that he'd be assaulted by a barrage of negative ads aimed at his many vulnerabilities (including, implicitly, his religion)--and that he'd survive in the end. Up to now, that hasn't occurred, at least not in a professional, polished, or sustained way. From T-Paw's "Obamneycare" episode to Perry's shockingly poor debate performances to the rest of non-Romneys focusing more on each other than on the Mittster.... And then a bunch of effective but largely unseen anti-Romney ads by Huntsman. It's no wonder some pundits concluded Mitt was just incredibly lucky.

    I have to admit, the SC debacle was really the first time the campaign against him roughly lived up to what I had imagined an anti-Romney campaign to look like. Maybe it's too late to matter now that the conventionally strong candidates have left the race, but at least one mystery about this race has been put to rest for me.

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  4. Just another elitist trying to determine for the American public how they need to live and telling them how to vote.

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  5. Should we start clicking our heels and saying "Newt won't be the nominee"?

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  6. I have tended to agree with your best guess (Romney) but not your dismissal of Gingrich or a brokered convention. So I am curious: what would it take for you to "up" your odds of either one of these primary outcomes?

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  7. In all likelihood this will blow over as these things usually do, and Mitt will be the nominee.

    But ... While SC Republicans are very conservative, in the past they have also been establishmentarian. And how often before 2010 did solid GOP conservatives get primaried?

    The natives are restless, and if there is any year for them to go off the reservation, this might be it.


    So ... 90 percent of me is enjoying seeing Mitt get roughed up a bit, but 10 percent wonders if the GOP party actors will be able to get their act together this year.

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  8. I suspect a large part of the Republican base still thinks Obama can't lose this election. So have some fun!

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    1. And the rest of 'em thinks Obama can't win. So grab as much as you can!

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  9. I read an interesting note that according to exit polls Romneylost in every income group except those making over $200,000/year. I wonder what the party elites, Amon whom the CW seemed to be that Romney was the most electable, are saying about that particular tidbit.

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    1. I doubt you'll find very many party elites you could convince that Gingrich is more electable than Romney. Remember, electability is a relative rather than absolute concept. Nobody's arguing that Romney doesn't have serious weaknesses, or that there aren't specific areas where he may be worse than some of his rivals. It's the Churchill situation: Romney is the weakest candidate in the field, except for all the others.

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