Rebuttal #3: Rod Jetton
John Y’s post was deep. All the psychological stuff is a bit too touchy feely for this Marine. I don’t know if he was a psychology minor in college or if his wife has him watching too many chick flicks. Either way, it was too deep for me. But as I think back to comments from the important women in my life, maybe I need to learn from John Y. or watch more chick flicks.
That being said, I agree with the RP and think analyzing Romney’s problems with Republican voters is much easier. I ran Romney’s 2008 Missouri campaign and I’m still pulling for him, but he has two basic problems.
First, he is a Mormon. I know it’s not politically correct (PC) to admit that a candidate’s religion can hurt them, but reality pays no attention to PC. There are many evangelicals who have a major problem with Mormons. They like the family values, but they have a serious mistrust of the Mormon faith. Evangelicals are a important part of most Republican primaries. Iowa is a good example both in 2004 and 2008.
His second problem are his flip flops. Politics is a crazy business and most successful politicians massage their views depending on the situation or audience. The Internet has made it harder than it used to be, but each week we hear about some comment a politician made at a fundraiser or event that rubs the other party and Independents the wrong way.
Romney’s problem is he has changed his mind on some really important and big issues for Republicans. The top 2 are probably abortion and gun control, but the health care issue ranks up at the top as well.
Most realistic political observers realizes that to win a Governor’s race in Massachusetts as a Republican, a candidate has to be a bit more moderate. But we all know that the most hardcore primary voters in each party are anything but realistic. When running for Governor, Romney took some moderate stands that helped him win and later govern. That was then, but the presidential primary is now, and those past views are not helpful today.
The flip flops allow conservative Republicans who already have concerns about Romney’s faith to justify distrusting him. I know this because I talked to hundreds of them 4 years ago.
I have no problem supporting Romney and I’m an evangelical. Even though he made some statements and took some positions on abortion and gun rights that don’t mesh with my views, he still moved Massachusetts towards protecting gun rights and defending the unborn. He vetoed several liberal bills dealing with life and gun rights, and he actually forced the legislature to pass a pro-gun bill.
While some Republicans distrust Mitt because of his past views, I think they should look at how he advanced the issues they care about in a very anti-gun and pro-choice state. I think they also need to consider that his views on these issues are in line with Republican voters and not much different from the other presidential candidates. I mean Romney is not the first Republican to switch his position on gun control and abortion. Actually those two issues have seen both Democrats and Independents becoming more pro-life and pro-gun over the last 20 years.
On the health care issue, his argument about state rights impresses no one. Passing a first of its kind healthcare bill through a liberal legislature may have seemed like a good thing back then, but the numbers show it’s been a complete failure. Even though that plan did not include a total mandate, it still had the goal of providing health care coverage for all citizens, and its costs are spinning out of control. I think he would be better off admitting it didn’t work in Massachusetts, it won’t work in other states and it sure won’t work for the federal government.
Even with all his primary problems, the main issue that is most important to primary voters is the one Romney has never wavered on, and it’s why he has maintained a steady lead in most state and national polls. You are probably wondering what issue it could be. Here’s a hint: It’s the one issue that unites moderate Republicans, conservative Republicans and even Tea Party Republicans.
Electability!! The main question they are asking is, “Can our candidate beat Obama”? Most all Republicans realize that Mitt has the money, organization, and debate skills to beat President Obama. Even most evangelicals admit that.
Of course many of the activists foolishly believe anyone can beat President Obama, but most agree that Mitt is one of the strongest Republicans in the field.
I have a feeling he will navigate the primaries and win the nomination. Once that happens, all Republicans will rally to Romney’s aid in his effort to beat President Obama. Even the evangelicals who mistrust his Mormon faith will see him as a president who is a lot closer to their views that the current occupant of the White House.
I’m not worried about the “concern” most political pundits are talking about with Mitt and the primaries. Don’t forget that 4 years ago McCain was the moderate Republican who couldn’t win the nomination. How did that turn out?? Also remember that we have seen four different Republicans shoot to a quick lead in the polls, only to drop just as fast. The one candidate who has been at the top and stayed at the top is Romney. That will have a huge impact on primary voters as the general election gets closer. I believe more and more Republicans will decide to put their concerns aside and stop chasing their dream candidate. Once that happens, you will see one of the most energetic conservative movements in years get behind Mitt in an effort to beat President Obama. It might look a lot like 2008 when the whole world wanted to get rid of President Bush.
With all that being said, sometimes I think Mitt needs to walk into a room with his hair messed up in a t-shirt and jeans grab the mike and say, “I’m a heck of a good businessman, and I’m going to kick Obamas butt and fix this country. You can either get on board my train or I’m running you over!”
I know Jeff Smith will think he should say “hell” and “ass,” but remember: He’s a Mormon and needs the evangelicals. Ha ha.