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Sunday, February 26, 2012
Politics ...

A few weeks ago I was pondering the wacky, wacky world of GOP candidate politics, and I opined that Mitt Romney might want to consider buying Rick Santorum out in return for the VP spot on his ticket. It seemed like a good way to vanquish the then-surging Newt Gingrich, and finally make peace between Romney and “the GOP base”. I myself don’t understand this “base”, nor their alleged demands for a pure, red-blooded, old-fashioned conservative; perhaps they dream of a second coming of Ronald Reagan.

But OK, I have previously noted that there is a lot of conservative sentiment reflected in the polls regarding GOP candidates. Romney still isn’t pulling better than 30%, and the total between the two remaining “base” candidates, i.e. Santorum and Gingrich, is close to 50%; the total for all of the “base” conservatives has hovered around 50% for many months now, while Romney has remained in the 20’s.

It looks like it’s now too late for a Santorum deal. Santorum seems to have caught fire, which puts him square in Romney’s cross-hairs. Romney has the money and the expertise to bring down any threat, as he did with Perry, Cain, Bachmann and Gingrich. So in the end, Romney will probably be the last man standing. But all his negative ads and ruthless campaigning against the conservative sweethearts has probably burned his bridges with this “base” (including the Tea Party supporters).

So, Romney can’t expect a lot of enthusiasm and turnout in November. Likewise, Obama won’t get the near God-like worship of the young and young-at-heart liberal factions either, as in 2008. The magic is over. Unless the economy takes a severe turn downward in the next 6 months, I would bet that Obama will serve a second term. But rising gasoline prices will make things a bit uncomfortable for him in getting there.

The autumn Presidential campaign will thus be an exercise in post-enthusiasm politics. A recent Gallup poll showed that Mr. Obama is suffering record low favorability rankings; he is lower than any Presidential candidate since Bob Dole, who ran against Bill Clinton in 1996.

But then again, public favorability for both Romney and Santorum are at similar levels. The public seems in a “none of the above” mood right now. Don’t expect a record turnout in November, nor any great public enthusiasm for the second Obama term. Obama may be like Harry Truman in that regard; his reputation will get better over the years once his Presidency is over. But he will leave office a scorned, bitter and unloved man. A long way down from that magic night in Grant Park in 2008.

And Romney? Well, Bob Dole managed to make some money hawking Viagra on TV in his post-political life. For a handsome guy like Mitt, who knows – maybe he will get into acting, making films about national high-stakes politics. Reagan proved that there’s not much difference between the two, these days.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 7:21 pm      

  1. Jim, Two comments from me. One, as to Obama’s low rating in the polls: I recently saw a news report that indicated that both GWB and Clinton before they were elected to their second terms had even worse ratings than Obama has. This bit of info set me to thinking that the polls probably mean very little.

    Second: My state has an election coming up March 26 (I think that’s it). I found myself wondering just what I should do when it came to voting as I am registered independent so could vote GOP if I chose to in the primary. (Again, I think I am “independent” but I registered so long I forget what I put down then.) I decided not to bother voting in this election–I know, a terrible decision and very un-citizenly of me. However, all I can think of is that there is absolutely no one on the GOP side I care to see as president. I’ll definitely vote Democratic if (hopefully) Obama is running on the Dem ticket. So, I decided not to even bother going out to vote in the GOP primary.

    I find myself wondering just how many conservatives there really are “out there”. Or are the ones who are “out there” just loud and seem to be a huge group? Not sure about what the answer is.

    On the other side, there is the Occupy movement that seems to have faded away as the winter arrived. Does it only function in good weather?

    As to the Tea Party–there’s another group one doesn’t hear much about lately. Now it seems to be all about conservatives.

    I often think of myself as a regular, run-of-the-mill person. If I feel the way I do about the GOP ticket, what are others thinking? I’d say, about the same.

    So, I just can’t get myself all worked up about Romney, Santorum, Paul, Gingrich. You’re right: Romney will probably end up buying the nomination with his own money. When one thinks about it, there’s a case where someone just has too much money–and there are so many such cases in the U.S.

    I did receive a political mailing from some group for Obama picturing him in a thoughtful, almost saintlike posture. Again, another misrepresentation, I’m sure. But in the end, I just know I’ll end up voting for Obama; so the others catch very little of my attention. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — February 27, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

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