New Hampshire For the Weathervane

 

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As expected, Mitt Romney, a\k\a the Weathervane, handily won the granite state.  Romney has been working the state since 2008 and it paid off for him.  Ron Paul (R. Pluto) came in second, which was not surprising, considering the traditional libertarian leanings of quite a few New Hampshire voters.  John Huntsman, who had staked all his cards on New Hampshire, came in third.  Half of Huntsman’s voters in exit polls identified themselves as liberals and indicated that they were satisfied with Obama as President.  I expect Huntsman’s odd campaign to end shortly.

The two most frustrated men in the field were doubtless Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.  They are appealing to many of the same anti-Romney voters, and neither of them could make any headway in New Hampshire with the other man in the race.  Both of them had put minimal effort into New Hampshire and that state is traditionally unkind to primary Presidential candidates who do not spend quite a bit of time there.  Rick Perry came in with a pathetic one percent.  If the Perry campaign were a horse in Texas it doubtless would be put out of its misery soon, and I expect Perry to do the same for his on life support campaign, probably after the South Carolina primary.

So on to the Palmetto State on January 21, 2012.  The South Carolina primary is most important to Rick Santorum.  Most polls show him a close second.  He needs to win the state.  The GOP establishment in the state is entirely in the tank for the Weathervane, however that may matter less than one would think.  South Carolina Republican politics tend to be feisty, factional and colorful, and there are plenty of Republican voters there who will pay absolutely no attention to endorsements by local party luminaries.  I expect Santorum to make a maximum effort there, using to the full the campaign funds that have been flowing to him since Iowa.  The Weathervane will also be going all out.  If he can win in South Carolina, one of his weakest states, then the primary race is effectively over.  Gingrich will also be looking at South Carolina as his last stand.  I expect him to savage Romney as much as he can, hopefully with more intelligence than he did in New Hampshire.    Here is an ad he has just released:

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Ron Paul (R. Pluto) is in it to the Convention.  Perry will probably be looking to simply not be completely humiliated as he was in Iowa and New Hampshire, and then drop out as quickly as he can.  Huntsman is irrelevant in South Carolina whether he stays in or drops out.

If Santorum wins, he gains badly needed momentum for Florida on January 31.  If he can take South Carolina and Florida, two very big ifs”, no one will still be considering Romney as the inevitable nominee and it is an entirely new ball game.  Santorum’s main hope is that it eventually dawns on Gingrich that getting back at Romney, which is obviously Newt’s remaining motivation for staying in now, can be best accomplished by withdrawing and throwing his support to Santorum, so that Romney faces unified conservative opposition.  I expect Newt to do that if he becomes convinced that Santorum is a serious challenger to Romney.

 

24 Responses to New Hampshire For the Weathervane

  • Herman Cain is being interviewed by Imus on FOXBIZ. He says the real NH primary story is that 18% of Dem primary voters went for someone besides Obama.

    Same time for Clinton, 4% went for somebody else.

  • The advantage for Santorum for Gingrich staying in is that he gets to play good cop to Newt’s bad cop. Rick has refused to join in the fray going after Mitt for Bain Capital. So Newt gets to sully himself, and perhaps take both himself and Romney out. The best case is that Newt sufficiently damages Romney in South Carolina, allowing Santorum to win. He gets the momentum – and then Gingrich (and perhaps Perry’s) endorsement after the primary. A close second to Romney would also be fine. If Romney wins by more than 5% or so, this could be over.

  • It is indeed unfortunate that a few hicks in Iowa and wacko leftists in N.H. can have such disproportional impact on the American political process — as flawed as the BCS Championship.

  • A great column on the Weathervane today by John Podhoretz:

    “But nobody loves him. No one is inspired by him. He cuts an impressive figure and is clearly very intelligent, but he is a man without an ideological core.

    Claiming he should be president because he knows how to run a business may be the least stirring message any candidate has seized upon since Michael Dukakis foundered in 1988 by claiming he could bring “competence” to the White House.

    And his liabilities are undeniable. Even though Gingrich’s assault on Romney’s record of laying off workers when he was running Bain Capital is breathtaking in its disingenuousness, that record does happen to be one of a dozen glaring weaknesses in Romney’s biography, political history and approach that President Obama and his team will be able to use to their advantage.

    So he will win the nomination in a walk. But he will be beaten and battered by the time he crosses the finish line in November — though he may well do so in first place.

    Because, while his own record is problematic, Barack Obama’s is worse.”

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/never_has_winner_looked_so_beaten_blZSZWu7qGMpoIHJZFzFXL#ixzz1jA1wlYFW

  • that record does happen to be one of a dozen glaring weaknesses in Romney’s biography

    A dozen? Gov. Romney has not held a consequential position in the federal government, has not put in some time in Congress, and did not serve in the military. Those three are the holes in his biography. Bain Capital is a PR problem; Romney needs to point out that private equity is commonly an alternative to reorganization or liquidation; the jobs remaining are the jobs you saved.

  • Art,
    You are right about Bain and private equity. I think Romney is trying to get the word out, but damaging news always travels with greater alacrity than rehabilitating news. And for whatever people seem more receptive to the former than latter.

    As you know, every candidate has a biographical deficiencies. We haven’t seen a candidate without some since GHWB. I think Romney compares well to his opponents in this regard. His biggest deficiency in my view is not his resume as such, but the fact that he is perceived, and with some good reason, as a man who is a bit too eager to place ambition over principle. A pragmatic approach and the willingness to compromise are essential for political success, and these are not incompatible with passionate beliefs and guiding principles (see Ronald Reagan). But there is a difference between compromising to move the needle in the right direction versus compromising in order to add an accomplishment to your resume. I’m not sure about Mitt, and I find the efforts by so many to see these human beings running for office as cartoons rather than complex people very unfortunate. I suspect Mitt is a decent man with conservative impulses and a fair amount of talent. Given his record of accomplishment that is good enough for me, even if he may not be my first choice.

  • Let me see if I can come up with a dozen Art.

    1. Flip flops on abortion. From 1994 when he was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy: ‘But as a nation, we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want and not to impose our beliefs on other people. I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice, and my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign.”
    2. Romneycare.
    3. Judicial appointments while governor of Massachusetts.
    4. Tax increases he sponsored while governor of Massachusetts.
    5. Flip flop on abstinence based sex education.
    6. Flip flop on embryonic stem cell research.
    7. Flip flop on the minimum wage.
    8. Flip flop on gun control.
    9. This quote when he was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy in 1994. “I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.”
    10. This quote: “My sons are all adults and they’ve made decisions about their careers and they’ve chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard. One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president.”
    11. Flip flopping on abolition of the Department of Education.
    12. Flip flopping on allowing prayer in school.

    Mitt Romney’s campaign slogan if truth were a requirement for such things: “If you do not like my views today, they are bound to change tomorrow!”

  • Those are erroneous choices in policy and public advocacy, not defects in his biography.

  • We differ in regard to the term biography Art. To me that has always referred to all the events in a person’s life. My guess is that Podhoretz was using the term in the way that I do.

  • Mike, although I generally respect your political instincts, I have to ask on what basis could anyone possibly suspect that Romney has “conservative impulses”? This is the man who ran against Ted Kennedy by running to Kennedy’s left. He ran for governor claiming to be a “pro-choice progressive” and governed that way. As for the rest of his governing record, he was, at best, a squishy moderate, and I would argue a Northeastern liberal Republican.

    Despite that, it looks as if he will cakewalk to the nomination even though there appears to be a deep and abiding discomfort with – indeed, a distrust of – him by the bulk of the conservative majority in the GOP grassroots (and even his supporters at National Review seem to be experiencing a little buyers remorse – see today’s columns by Lowry and Goldberg). Sadly, if this happens, this will be the first presidential election since I’ve been eligible to vote that I will either sit out or vote 3rd party. I just cannot bring myself to vote for Romney (Obama parade of horribles that will no doubt be marched out to try to convince me otherwise nothwithstanding).

  • I agree with everything you say Jay in regard to the Weathervane, and more. The closer you examine his record the worse it gets. However if Romney gains the nomination I will vote for him, or rather I will vote against Barack Obama. My desire to get Obama out is the only reason I can think of for casting a vote for the Weathervane. In my posts it will be a contest between the “Weathervane” and “Worst President Ever”.

  • Anti-Romney ads are starting to come out down here in SC;the ones I’ve heard on the radio are ‘not supported by any presidential candidate.’ I imagine that it’ll pick up more when the candidates themselves start airing their own ads against Romney (and each other).

    I am with you Donald in that I’d be voting Romney in November only to get Obama out, not as support for Romney.

  • Weathervane… coming from the people who supported half a dozen different candidates and will eventually support Romney. Come join the Republican mainstream guys!

  • The Republican mainstream has always been conservative RR, since the rise of Reagan. As for supporting candidates, I have supported only one for President: Rick Santorum. If Romney gets the nomination I will not be supporting him, but I will be vigorously opposing Obama.

  • I too am with Kyle and Mac. Romney is light years preferable to the tyro tyrant.

    Help me out here.

    I feel more (gut) antipathy toward Huntsman than Romney. If H gets the GOP nomination, or a Soros (or his commie billionaire ilk) funded third party bid, kiss our country good-bye.

  • After we get this gang (I use the word intentionally) out, we can form a third party, or push a candidate that we feel is truly conservative.

    Election 2012 is too important. Sitting it out, or execrating GOP candidates, makes David Axelrod and Bill Ayres happy. That is the only way they can give us (unbelievable as this may seem) “Four Worse Years.”

  • Without the Eddie Haskell demeanor, most notable in his snide and smarmy efforts to ingratiate himself to the media and to liberals by questioning the sanity of all those “other” conservatives, Huntsman would otherwise be considered one of the more conservative candidates in the race based on his actual governing record and policies proposed by his campaign.

    Certainly moreso than Romney. Huntsman is at least fairly strong on the life issues, the 2nd amendment, and taxes.

  • Agreed with Jay. Huntsman has run a rather quixotic campaign, almost the complete opposite of Romney. Whereas Romney is a moderate pretending to be a conservative, Huntsman seems to be a conservative pretending to be a moderate.

  • Huntsman’s problem as been his horrible campaigning. He can’t inspire children to eat candy. If Obama wins, I hope Huntsman learns from his mistakes and runs in 2016.

  • Paul – I think that some of the moderate-liberal Washington press corps started to promote Huntsman as “the reasonable Republican”, and that scared off conservatives.

  • I believe that Romney will eventually get the Republican nomination, because he truly reflects the political opinions of the majority of Republicans in the US these days. He will be voted in by repubs who just about 100% agree with what they see as the true Romney, a Nirth East liberal progressive who wouldnt spit on a real conservative if he even knew one.

    The whole party is that way. Regardless of what died in the wool conservatives think, the actual base of the party are progressive, big gov, anti family values, pro greed, and will vote for this man.

    It’s why I left the party.

    I have seen the enemy, and it us us!

  • Ridiculous. The Republican party as a party is the most conservative it has ever been, certainly far more conservative than in the days of Reagan. The liberal wing of the party is gone, and moderates like Romney have to pretend to be conservatives. The basic problem this election cycle is that only one first tier conservative decided to run, Perry, and he turned out to be a complete dud in campaigning. The remaining conservatives have split the conservative vote and thus allowed Romney to dominate, and none of them have had the money to wage an effective campaign against Romney. The dissatisfaction of the base of the party has been clear from the outset with one after another anti-Romney having his day in the sun. Santorum is the final anti-Romney and we will see how he does in South Carolina.

  • The Republican party as a party is the most conservative it has ever been, certainly far more conservative than in the days of Reagan.

    I think it would be more precise to say the following:

    1. The Republican Party is inner-directed in a way it was not prior to 1978.
    2. At the federal level, the Republican Party has a common perspective on policy and only a few in the tails of the bell curve are properly regarded as dissidents. This was not the case when Mr. Reagan took office.

    The issues and polarities with regard to economic questions are much the same as they were thirty years ago. On questions of foreign affairs, matters are scrambled. On social and cultural questions, Republican and soi-disant conservatives have been floundering and not doing well at articulating a response to the entropic tendencies promoted by the opposition (as made manifest in one of the most recent debates).

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