Can Mitt Happen?

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Word on the street is that Gov. Mitt Romney is the favorite to fill out the GOP's presidential ticket. The American Spectator's Philip Klein says "shut the hell up, street." The key argument Klein makes is that the "Romney gives McCain economic cred" sales job (put forth by Karl Rove, among others) is baseless.

Romney was able to turn economic jitters to his advantage in the Michigan primary (after pledging $20 billion in subsidies for the auto industry), but he wasn't able to gain much traction on the issue elsewhere. In Florida, for instance, despite targeted messaging emphasizing his business credentials, Romney lost to McCain among voters who considered the economy the most important issue, 40 percent to 32 percent.

A deeper look at his performance in the primaries shows that Romney's appeal was stronger among higher-income voters than it was among the type of working class voters who will determine the election. Also, Romney consistently did substantially worse among those who thought the economy was "not good or poor" than he did among people who thought it was "excellent or good." In an electoral environment in which Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the state of the economy, this would be trouble.

Klein doesn't have a dog in this fight—his preferred candidate was some ex-New York City politician whose name escapes me. (He ran this year, right?) And he's right about the polls. But that's the worst reason to reject Romney as a VP candidate. Romney does have economic experience, and he does know more about economics than McCain. In some primary states, McCain was only beating Romney among those "economy" voters because they were voting for McCain anyway. That 8-point Florida lead on economics was matched by a 5-point McCain win. In California, which McCain won by about 8 points, Romney won "economy" voters by 13 points. The problem was that a bunch of people who thought Romney was better on the issue voted for McCain anyway.

Californians were right, by the way. McCain is a shambling mess on economics, whose answers on economic issues fall into four categories: 1) I was part of the Reagan revolution, 2) there's too much pork, 3) Phil Gramm and I are like *this* and 4) I served in Vietnam. I'm serious about that last one. Remember how he responded to this at the final GOP primary debate?

JANET HOOK: There's been a lot of discussion lately about the importance of leadership and management experience. What makes you more qualified than Mitt Romney, a successful CEO and businessman, to manage our economy?

MCCAIN: Because I know how to lead. I know how to lead. I led the largest squadron in the United States Navy. And I did it out of patriotism, not for profit. And I can hire lots of managers, but leadership is a quality that people look for. And I have the vision and the knowledge and the background to take on the transcendent issue of the 21st century, which is radical Islamic extremism.

I can't imagine a worse answer. OK, perhaps if McCain had thrust forward a copy of Das Kapital and said "this is what I'll do!" it would have been worse. But in about a minute he analogized economic management to the logistics of a peacetime Navy squadron and intimated that our problems would disappear if we ramped up the War on Terror just a bit. The cost of the war in Iraq? Decreased oil production? That had nothing to do with it.

So, polling-wise, it would be a mistake for McCain to pick Romney. But that doesn't mean it's fair. If only he'd been a Baptist, the sculpted flip-flopper would be the GOP nominee right now, and he would be making a credible economic argument.

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  1. If nominated, would Mitt even run? He stated his reason for dropping out was to give McCain a headstart over Hillary/Obama. If he takes the nomination now, then that was kind of a waste of time, wasn’t it?

  2. Guys, we should start supporting the McCain-Romney ticket. McCain was libertarian-leaning enough, but adding Romney with be like the super-ultra-libertarian-leaning ticket.

    With McCain-Romney and Barr-… uhh, Barr-VP Nominee on the ballot this year, 2008 looks to be the most libertarian-leaning year ever!

  3. That’s gotta be a fake Donderooooo.

  4. In Florida, for instance, despite targeted messaging emphasizing his business credentials, Romney lost to McCain among voters who considered the economy the most important issue, 40 percent to 32 percent.

    This is due to the fact that Florida voters are morans. I know, I live here, and I plan to do my part to confuse the hell out of old voters this year.

    Nigel, check the link.

  5. It looks like something that will make my employer’s sonicWALL OF DOOM come up.

  6. Romney is a phony.

  7. If Romney were a Baptist, he’d be Mike Huckabee with better hair.

  8. I have not lead a vituous enough life for providence to reward me by putting Mittler on the Republican presidential ticket.

    Oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please.

  9. Won’t he alienate a lot of evangelicals?

  10. Joe why do you think it would be such a disaster? He would bring a lot of money in and help in Colorado and Nevada (Mormons).

  11. If Romney were a Baptist, he’d be…

    14 points behind Barack Obama in the General Election polls.

  12. If Romney were a Baptist, he’d be…

    Brother Justin from Carniv?le?

    What?

  13. NNG,

    When Mitt Romney was running for governor, he was asked what he would do to promote economic development in Massachusetts. His answer was “I can walk into the offices of thousands of CEOs across America and shake their hands.” This is how he thinks the economy operates, and more importantly, how he thinks economic growth happens: rich people get together and decide to do something nice for the proles.

    It’s like Chris Matthews said: people want to vote for someone who reminds them of the guys they work with, not someone who reminds them of the guy who laid them off.

    Mitt Romney is a spoiled, smarmy, elitist rich kid with perfect hair.

  14. If people knew Romney better they would know he is the real deal. I do think you are right though, if he were Baptist, he would be the nominee. That speaks volumes. Conservatives that were against Romney because of his Mormon faith deserve Obama. It’s an “as you sow” payment.

  15. Mitt Romney is a spoiled, smarmy, elitist rich kid with perfect hair.

    On a scale from 1 to Rick Perry, he his an 8.

  16. I still say he helps in he interior west and Michigan. Maybe New Hampshire too.

    But he’d alienate the Baptists in Virginia and NC. Double-edged sword.

  17. If Romney were a Baptist, he’d…

    have fewer children

  18. McCain doesn’t need to pick his VP this soon anyway. Obama isn’t getting any bounce from this trip. Getting cheered by west Europeans might hurt him.

  19. Data has more personality than Mitt.

  20. So let me get this straight, Romney would help win the Mormon vote. Probably because 98% of Mormons voted for Romney. If that is true, then how is that any different than Evangelicals voting for Huckabee? Even though Evangelicals roughly split their vote three ways between Romney, McCain, and Huckabee, they are accused of being bigots because they did not support Romney more than what they did. How the hell is that a legitimate argument? It is ok for Mormons to vote 98% for anther Mormon but Evangelicals can’t vote 35% for another Evangelical because if they do they are bigots? You have got to be kidding me. I would expect this from Democratic Liberals but coming from so-called Conservatives is just moronic. And Hot-Air.com is full of these bozo’s too.

  21. “Mitt Romney is a spoiled, smarmy, elitist, rich kid with perfect hair”
    Joe’s vitriol is up. Somebody pissed him off on the other thread, didn’t they?

  22. When joe starts quoting Chris Matthews, I know things can only go downhill.

  23. He didn’t quote Chris Matthews. Mike Huckabee made that statement. Thats worse.

  24. Sometimes, guys, Mitt happens. You just have to deal with it as best you can.

  25. Can Mitt Happen?

    Like I need another reason to not vote for McCain. If McCain picks me or URKOBOLD?, I might reconsider that decision.

  26. 1)I was part of the Reagan revolution, 2)there’s too much pork, 3)Phil Gramm and I are like *this* and 4)I served in Vietnam.

    He’s right about pork, and you could do a hell of a lot worse (by the admittedly abysmal standards of contemporary politics) on budget and economic policy than Phil Gramm.

    So, really, that’s not so bad, for an authoritarian a-hole.

  27. If Romney were a Baptist, he’d be…

    Forrest Gump in a pant suit?

  28. One more reason why picking presidential candidates should involve a THUNDERDOME!

  29. he does know more about economics than McCain

    Ouch/chuckle.

  30. Which risk does McCain want to mitigate? If he’s worried about Barr pulling enough support in the mountain west that Obama picks up Nevada or Montana, Romney’s a pretty good choice. If McCain’s more worried about losing Virginia, he should look elsewhere.

  31. One more reason why picking presidential candidates should involve a THUNDERDOME!

    Who run Americatown?

  32. Huckabee would firm up that fundy support.

    Personally I don’t think McCain has a chance at winning no matter who he picks. Of course, we’re screwed either way.

  33. Y’know, I’m not sure if I’m seeing the opinions of a lack of research, willful denial or a combination of both.

    Willard did not personally crunch the numbers in the business he’s become a rock star of to those who don’t do their homework. Willard, except on a few occasions, did not actually put the deal together. IN FACT, the most lucrative deals his company made were ones Willard wanted to PULL OUT OF but, they talked him into continuing!!…Are we catching on yet??

    While this is more than enough information for any reasonable person to totally disregard ANY public office this clown ever runs for, there is a mountain of direct evidence he is oh so wrong in many ways;

    Willard Mitt Romney
    http://willardromney.blogspot.com/

    Do your own homework and learn what you’re trying to push on America…after all, it’s your responsibility as a citizen to do so.

  34. Romney, as evidenced by his corporate welfare whoring in Michigan, certainly knows more about economics than McCain, but I see no indication that a firm belief in the Keynesian-corporatist status quo is really desirable over ignorance.

  35. MasterCainBlaster!

  36. Mitt Rommney is the face of the pig white upperclass that rules America. It’s a didsgrace thatre a country calls itselfaademocracy votes for this asshole. he shouldcxie like allthe other pigs and McCain

  37. As for VP- my money is that McCain goes for a young governor who doesn’t have hours and hours of file footage sitting in the AP’s basement of him explaining why McCain should not be President.

  38. You think I don’t know the law? Wasn’t it me who wrote it? And I say that this man has broken the law. Right or wrong, we had a deal. And the law says: bust a deal and face the wheel!

  39. “classwarrior” ixs my new heixro.

  40. “classwarrior” ixs my new heixro.

    Hey ed,

    Is that pronounced with click sounds?

  41. ed you little asswepe all y ou ever do is come up with lame jokes to avoid facing the truth that people are telling. I’m typing this as carefully as possible so that even a small-minded little cretin like you can understand what I am saying.

  42. The Club for Growth did hold out some hope for fiscal conservatives: Mitt’s amazing malleability. “His enthusiastic embrace of the Bush tax cuts on the campaign trail offers hope that Gov. Romney’s previous ambivalence on tax policy is more a function of Massachusetts politics than his core beliefs.”

    Does that mean that when it’s politically expedient, Mitt will chuck his core beliefs?

    http://news.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view/2008_07_24_John_McCain%E2%80%99s_selling_point_better_not_be_Mitt_Romney/srvc=home&position=recent

  43. *chanting*
    Bust a deal. Face the wheel. Bust a deal. Face the wheel. BUST A DEAL! FACE THE WHEEL!

  44. ed you little asswepe

    Does your ass weep a lot, classwarrior?

  45. ed you little asswepe all y ou ever do is come up with lame jokes to avoid facing the truth that people are telling. I’m typing this as carefully as possible so that even a small-minded little cretin like you can understand what I am saying.

    No more stimulants for you.

  46. If Mitt Romney had been a baptist run as an Eisenhower Republican he’d be the Republican nominee.

  47. Dr. Dealgood: Listen all! This is the truth of it. Fighting leads to killing, and killing gets to warring. And that was damn near the death of us all. Look at us now! Busted up, and everyone talking about hard rain! But we’ve learned, by the dust of them all… Bartertown learned. Now, when men get to fighting, it happens here! And it finishes here! Two men enter; one man leaves.

  48. Thunderdome’s simple. Get to the weapons, use them any way you can. I know you won’t break the rules, because there aren’t any.

  49. If Romney were a Baptist, he’d be…

    Marjoe?

    Conservatives that were against Romney because of his Mormon faith deserve Obama.

    It’s perfectly reasonable to oppose someone for being a member of a lunatic cult founded on obvious and transparent fraud, and which was officially racist well into his adulthood to boot.

  50. enough Mitttalk! like McCain can win anyway. Let’s talk about Edwards chances of being Obama’s VP.

  51. Aunt Entity: Do you know who I was? Nobody. Except on the day after, I was still alive. This nobody had a chance to be somebody

  52. Of course Nigel Watt refuses to acknowledge the point insteadhe just claims I’m on drugs.
    Episiearch needs top get his head out of his own ass.

  53. Master: These our witness, Aunty. Us suffer bad. Want justice. We want Thunderdome!

  54. Does anybody recall what the Romney administration did in its first weeks of office?

    Raise fees. Everything from filing a deed to articles of organization. Massive increases, I might add.

  55. Episiearch needs top get his head out of his own ass.

    Actually, classwarrior, the topic of discussion was your ass, and the extent to which it oozes, weeps, or otherwise has a sticky discharge. Stay on topic.

  56. But how the world turns. One day, cock of the walk. Next, a feather duster.

  57. Later Epi. Been fun. Gotta get ready for work.

  58. Romney is another one of these guys who thinks he hit a home run forgetting that he was born on third base.

  59. What, you’re not doing this from work? You’re not slacking enough, dude.

  60. The fallacy in Klein’s reasoning (as reported here) is that McCain isn’t running for the GOP nomination anymore; he’s running for President. There are different sets of voters here.

    Economy voters in the GOP primary didn’t go for Romney’s economic message because, as Republicans, they generally don’t think the President has anything much to do with the economy — or, that the less involved the President is, the better. That fairly easily explains why Romney wasn’t able to win the “economy” voters in the primary. He couldn’t say he was going to do “more nothing” than McCain.

    Many independents and most anti-Obama Democrats are coming from somewhere else entirely. In particular they hold the President responsible for the performance of the economy. Romney could make a case for himself with these constituents. (if not for his other liabilities).

  61. of course the rich guy is always supposed to tknow the most aboutthe economy .its a sue ful myth when youre trying to sucker peopleinto voting for you.

  62. Warty-

    “Its perfectly reasonable to oppose someone for being a member of alunatic cult founded on obvious and transparent fraud, and which was officially racist well into his adulthood.”

    By this standard, no person should ever support the likes of Chucky Schumer, Josiah Lieberman, Abe Ribicoff, Jake Javits, etc. Obviously, you know that I am no fan of Romney, but if we are talking guilt by association, the cult to which he belongs bothers me FAR, FAR less than that of the “chosen”.

  63. Economy voters in the GOP primary didn’t go for Romney’s economic message because, as Republicans, they generally don’t think the President has anything much to do with the economy — or, that the less involved the President is, the better. That fairly easily explains why Romney wasn’t able to win the “economy” voters in the primary. He couldn’t say he was going to do “more nothing” than McCain.

    Mutts, not to be rude, but have you been paying attention at all the past 8 years? At what point were republicans not for government intervention in the economy?

  64. both parties are just fpart of the corpostist fascist governemtn that has always ruled this country

  65. What’s that smell?

  66. I’m pretty sure that after a number of fears were successfully allayed by the selection of Dick Cheney 8 years ago, and the “success” that followed, the VP selection will once again affect those and only those with a “home-state shout out.” Outside of those two states, no one will be voting based on the VP.

  67. Reinmoose, your point is well-taken but falls outside the matter at hand. But my point was more limited. The rank-and-file Republicans who turn out for the primary generally don’t believe the President is (or ought to be?) responsible for what happens in the economy. You think they are wrong; I do too, probably for different reasons. But the psychology is definitely there. And you can’t explain outcomes without it.

  68. It’s perfectly reasonable to oppose someone for being a member of a lunatic cult founded on obvious and transparent fraud, and which was officially racist well into his adulthood to boot.

    If Mitt Romney converted to Mormonism during its racist period, mabye.

    But the guy was raised in a church and didn’t take the action of leaving it. Oh, btw, the racist plank has been gone for decades, and by all evidence, he opposed it.

    I don’t think this tells us anything about Mitt Romney except what family he was born into.

  69. I don’t think this tells us anything about Mitt Romney except what family he was born into.

    Yeah, pretty much. I would like if we could have an apostate president, though.

    …no person should ever support the likes of Chucky Schumer…

    No truer sentence (fragment) has ever been written.

    Honestly, though, I had no idea Schumer was a Joooo till you mentioned it. Does that mean I’m all modern and beyond racism and stuff, or just dense?

  70. John McCain could not make any worse decision than to take Romney and the fact Romney is even being considered at all is mind boggling.

    Rememeber this, 61% of Michigans wanted someone OTHER than Romeny. And the was just the Republicans.

  71. Warty-

    Not for nothing, some of my best friends are…..

    Those that think their group, be it a race, an ethnicity, a fraternity, a religion or a ball club, should be immune from criticism, derision, parody, ridicule and satire, by sanction of law, will forever be tormented by me.

  72. I’m wondering just how sticky classwarrior’s keyboard is, to produce such an unbelievable deluge of typos.

  73. McCain is a shambling mess on economics, whose answers on economic issues fall into four categories: 1) I was part of the Reagan revolution, 2) there’s too much pork, 3) Phil Gramm and I are like *this* and 4) I served in Vietnam.

    “Shambling mess” he may be, but his op-ed on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the St. Petersburg Times makes him look like less of a shambling mess than almost the entire rest of Congress. He ain’t perfect by any means, but he’s a sight better than most of the rest of Congress on trade, on FM/FM, and on ethanol, all of which are pretty important economic issues.

  74. Poor Romney.

  75. Believe me, the christian right will vote for a Mormon over an (ex)MUSLIM empty suit. Mitt Romney could talk circles around Barack Obama.

  76. I know Mitt. I’ve had dinner with Mitt. “The lights are on but no one’s home”. Mitt is a dim bulb that can’t listen to someone else for more than five seconds. He has all the makings of a “George Bush Light”: an easily manipulated, obtuse leader that performs tricks like a well train dog for whoever is holding the leash.

    Besides, the 501(c)’s will have a field day with his religion (and it’s racist past), animal abuse (dog on the car roof thing) and his flip-flop-flip-flip-flop on a woman’s choice. Don’t forget his support for some very intrusive and ineffective firearms control laws.

    Please, not Mitt. Pick a smart economist that can also lead, not a guy who’s best asset is nice hair. We really need someone like Milton but sadly that will never happen.

    IMO if McCain picks Mitt it’s a recipe to lose.

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