Romney 2012? Update: Romney 2008 = Reagan 1976?

posted at 12:44 pm on February 3, 2008 by Allahpundit

With McCain-hate boiling, why isn’t Mitt airing attack ads? The script writes itself. “John McCain: The only candidate approved by amnesty shills in both parties.”

Politico has a theory.

Just as Romney hurriedly pivoted to an anti-Washington message in the four days between Iowa and New Hampshire, he has just a few days now to slow the McCain momentum and paint his rival as unacceptable.

But he’s apparently declined to do so via television ads, and there is not enough time to do it through direct mail. Romney is sending a barrage of robo-calls into key Super Tuesday states, but that likely won’t be enough.

McCain, meanwhile, is picking up a slew of train-leaving-the-station endorsements each day and is increasingly seen as the inevitable nominee by many party regulars…

All of this might persuade Romney to go down without a last-minute, scorched-earth barrage aimed at his party’s likely nominee.

A graceful exit, this thinking goes, could smooth the path to a second presidential run that many close to Romney believe he would seek.

The other possibility is that he’s planning a hard slog through February and March and doesn’t want to get too nasty yet. Karl reminds us that 45% of the delegates will still be in play after Tuesday, so McCain ain’t clinching anything this week. Except … if Mitt gets creamed, he’s in the Giuliani-esque position of being still technically alive but facing a tidal wave of momentum with nothing to save him except the base’s animus to McCain, which will have already been proved two times a loser after Florida and Super Tuesday. What is he waiting for? What are these already obnoxious numbers going to look like by, say, Valentine’s Day if Maverick rolls 48 hours from now?

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Even the good news, like the fact that Mitt now leads in California in Zogby’s poll, isn’t all that good. For one thing, he trails in McCain by 7-9 points in the three other recent polls. For another thing, California’s not winner-take-all; all the lead means is that Romney may pick up a few delegates more there than Maverick. He’s behind in the bellwethers too.

Exit question: So why isn’t he pulling out all the stops? Any theories? Mull it over while you listen to the new Instacast, in which Mitt reiterates his commitment to gun rights and the free market but fails to tap that rich, sweet vitriol towards McCain which we all think runs through the conservative body politic but which, alas, may not. No matter how many high-profile cover stories about his basic jerkiness try to get it pumping.

Update: Indeed. It’ll be fun to watch. Almost as fun as the inevitable Fred endorsement of Maverick.

[A]s to the Mitt 2012 point, the moment he is no longer the great conservative hope to you all, and has also proven out a loser, most of you are going to drop him down the memory hole and hope he never shows his pretty head again. Your hatred of McCain is a hundred times stronger than your love for Mitt, and you’d give anything, probably including your souls, for a well-financed, energetic, and ambitious movement conservative without Mitt’s weaknesses.

Mitt knows that – and you might think that it would increase the odds of his going nuclear, if this is his last chance, but that’s where you’re wrong again. Because as soon as Mitt is no longer the great conservative hope, I’m pretty confident he’s going to drop you guys, too, since he knows that his only hope of sustained viability within the party and the other circles he’s at home in is to get on the team.

Update: InstaGlenn e-mails to say he’s wondering whether Mitt’s run this year isn’t a modern analog to Reagan’s failed run in 1976 against Ford. The “conservative upstart versus establishment moderate” parallel does track, but (a) needless to say, Romney’s conservative cred isn’t anything like Reagan’s; (b) Reagan was a beloved figure within the party whereas Romney, er, isn’t; and (c) Romney’s not tasked with upending an incumbent president, merely a centrist senator despised by much of the base who was left for dead politically last year. He’s going to face recriminations for not being able to stop someone as weak as McCain, especially given his financial advantage. And whereas the ’76 run largely cleared the way for Reagan in 1980, he can expect another 12 rounds with Huckabee in 2012 and, quite possibly, Bobby Jindal.


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Oh, please, BD – do you think anybody cares who I am or what I think about Ann Coulter? Any statement I make in a place like this rises or falls on its own merits, regardless of an observation I might have made on one or another comment thread yesterday or a thousand years ago. I have no idea how strict your definition of “conservative” is, but I never suggested that Mitt would go blue, just that he doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who’d jump on a motorcycle like Yasser Arafat and drive around collecting members for his buddying insurgency.

And, for the record, speaking from personal experience, I think cross-political love affairs can be super hot. They may even be what makes the world go around.

CK MacLeod on February 3, 2008 at 2:57 PM

Come on Ca., just say NO TO McCain.

xplodeit on February 3, 2008 at 3:01 PM

I’m torn. An opportunity to pile on Ann versus an opportunity to connect imaginary dots and pile on Mitt as a nice guy flip flopper. Think I’ll stay out of it and go do some more calisthenics to loosen up for the big game. As a psuedohealing gesture, what are y’all having for munchies during the game? And, is Specter really right about NFL terrorism?

a capella on February 3, 2008 at 3:01 PM

And, for the record, speaking from personal experience, I think cross-political love affairs can be super hot. They may even be what makes the world go around.

CK MacLeod on February 3, 2008 at 2:57 PM

You’re James Carville, aren’t you? I knew it!

a capella on February 3, 2008 at 3:03 PM

You know, I’m not sure that thin skins look right on Ann Coulter supporters

It’s the Ann haters disapargers that have thin skin. Thin skin heavily infected with a politically correct rash.

peacenprosperity on February 3, 2008 at 3:10 PM

You’re James Carville, aren’t you? I knew it!

a capella on February 3, 2008 at 3:03 PM

The winner!

peacenprosperity on February 3, 2008 at 3:10 PM

He’s going to face recriminations for not being able to stop someone as weak as McCain, especially given his financial advantage.

I don’t see how any serious pundits can play up this theme. It seems untenable to me. The race has been, in many ways, unique. Huck still hasn’t dropped out, and Fred and Rudy have done so only recently. I’m certain that anti-Romney pundits will play this theme, but I don’t think it is really valid. Moreover, if he does some substantial service to the GOP, barring the nomination, it will be irrelevant.

Spirit of 1776 on February 3, 2008 at 3:11 PM

You’re James Carville, aren’t you? I knew it!

Maybe if I was as handsome as Carville, and anywhere near as rich and well-connected, I’d have a better chance with the Ann Coulters and Buy Danishes of the world, and wouldn’t have to comfort myself with recollections of Summer nights with anti-nuclear anarchists.

CK MacLeod on February 3, 2008 at 3:12 PM

just that he doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who’d jump on a motorcycle like Yasser Arafat and drive around collecting members for his buddying insurgency.

Almost sounds like he admires ol yasser.

Raised eyebrow?

peacenprosperity on February 3, 2008 at 3:17 PM

Oh, please, BD – do you think anybody cares who
I am or what I think about Ann Coulter? .

CK MacLeod on February 3, 2008 at 2:57 PM

As to who you are, it is only under discussion because another commenter seemed to think that your opinions were the result of some sort of inside knowledge. Or at least that’s the impression I got.

As for Ann, just to be clear, this is exactly what you said yesterday which is slightly different from how you are portraying it now:

I would dearly love to watch the spectacle of Ann’s “campaign” for Hillary.

I’m sure it all works very well for her at the parties she attends on the arm of her rich liberal Democrat boyfriend (or has there been news on that “item”?).
CK MacLeod on February 2, 2008 at 5:44 PM

That comment was in the present tense, and had a distinctly tabloid-esque ring to it and I clearly got the sense that you objected to this relationship. If that’s not what you meant, I will take you at your word.

For the record, my comments about Ann campaigning for Hillary were about how funny it would be to watch Hillary run from it, and in no way were meant as an endorsement of Ann’s stated position.

/later

Buy Danish on February 3, 2008 at 3:17 PM

Um……… I just saw an attack ad by Romney against McCain,In SoCal at about 12noon,so………..
Bob

Bobnormal on February 3, 2008 at 3:20 PM

CK MacLeod on February 3, 2008 at 3:12 PM

Okay, that was funny. But I don’t get your Yasser Arafat on a motorcycle comment either.

Gotta run – I’ll check back later.

Buy Danish on February 3, 2008 at 3:20 PM

(or has there been news on that “item”?).
CK MacLeod on February 2, 2008 at 5:44 PM

Not that it matters, but happened to see it yesterday when BD provided a link about Coulter’s friend; it led to another link which stated that they broke up in Jan. ’08, due to “irreconcilable differences”.

Entelechy on February 3, 2008 at 3:22 PM

Hates Ann Coulter, likes yasser arafat, hangs out with antinuke activists?

My god, the guy is a hollywood actor!!

peacenprosperity on February 3, 2008 at 3:23 PM

I know one possible reason why Romney may “…go down without a last-minute, scorched-earth barrage aimed at his party’s likely nominee.” Some of his advisers used to work for the McCain campaign.

coffee260 on February 3, 2008 at 3:29 PM

Could someone define “attaack ad” for me? Quoting McCain and listing his liberal policies is not an attack ad, it’s telling the truth.

SouthernGent on February 3, 2008 at 3:31 PM

Could someone define “attaack ad” for me? Quoting McCain and listing his liberal policies is not an attack ad, it’s telling the truth.

Yea, that drives me crazy also. The clintons and the demofascists came up with that little trick and huckster and mccain have used it ad nauseum.

peacenprosperity on February 3, 2008 at 3:41 PM

and, quite possibly, Bobby Jindal.

Jindal/Palin ’12

malan89 on February 3, 2008 at 3:46 PM

You Romney nuts have really jumped the shark here.

Ronald Reagan had a consistent set of core values for 30 years before getting elected to the governorship of CA.

Mitt Romney has not had the same set of values for more than 2 years. And really, who the hell knows what those values are except for the promotion of Mitt Romney.

Does your balloon ever land??

georgealbert on February 3, 2008 at 3:56 PM

The best Mitt could hope for is a run in 2012, it will be four years of us being able to look at who he really is…a conservative? or a middle of the roader…a big tax raiser, spender? or a fiscal conservative.
We don’t know what he is, these opinions that he spouts are recent ones, changed from ones he held just months ago.
With seasoning, he will have a much better time convincing the people that he really does believe what he preaches.
It’s not that he is too nice, it’s that he does not fully believe in what he says, so he can’t convincingly fight for gun control (whatever side he is on), fight for abortion (whatever side he is on), fight for the conservative plank (wherever he is on that plank). He is an “unsettled” republican. A republican that has never even shown he has the coattails to bring other republicans along.
Too nice? Or too evasive…Too nice? Or too unsure…Too nice? Or too unconnected to the people…You can never be too nice, Reagan was nice and he finished first.

right2bright on February 3, 2008 at 4:02 PM

think that sort of tabloid trash approach is reprehensible. One person whose name we do recognize who engages in those tactics is Debbie Schlussel, and for what it’s worth I have expressed my views to her.

The idea that we cannot have friendships or relationships with people who don’t follow the party line is more reminiscent of Mao Tse Dung than of patriotic virtue.

Buy Danish on February 3, 2008 at 2:40 PM

============================

This is the second time I have seen you disparage Debbie Schlussel. I would like to know your reasons for your Jihad against her. Your bogus accusations about her are laughable. She is totally honest and credible whereas you are not. Maybe you just dislike the fact that she outs the Islamists and Jihadists here and elsewhere. Is is that you are beholding to the Islamists???

georgealbert on February 3, 2008 at 4:19 PM

This is REALLY ticking me off. So Romney loses FL and now he’s done? NO WAY! Obama lost FL and a zillion people think he will win the general. Why is Romney so ignored?

PoliticallyIncorrectSandy on February 3, 2008 at 4:39 PM

Your bogus accusations about her are laughable.

georgealbert on February 3, 2008 at 4:19 PM

It is not a “bogus allegation” – she impugned someone’s character because of who they dated. Here’s her tabloid trash report again:

Then, there’s the presence of Katie Packer as one of Romney’s top campaign aides in Michigan. Ms. Packer worked for Hezbollah’s U.S. Senator, Spencer Abraham, whose pan-jihadist activities I’ve noted extensively on this site. She was a senior aide to him and ran his losing 2000 re-election campaign.

I’ve known the Packer family for most of my life. They are one of the sleaziest, most phony bunch of people I’ve met. They claim they are evangelical conservatives who are pro-life and believe in small government. But they aren’t.
But both Ms. Packer and her sister, Lorinda “Lori” Packer Wortz–married to a pork-seeking lobbyist–have strangely, worked in government and losing campaigns for most of their working lives. They’ve never done anything else. When I ran for the Michigan House, they and their parents endorsed and worked for a liberal, pro-choice trial lawyer Democrat, who–like Romney–flip-flopped to run against me. Despite all the evidence against him, they worked for him, because there was money and the spoils of power in it for them.
Lori Packer, when she ran Pat Robertson’s campaign in the Detroit area in 1988, started dating Jack Kemp’s campaign official in the same area, apparently to “do a delegate deal.” (Yes, sometimes political “whoring” needs no quotation marks.) That’s the level of sleaze involved with this family now working for Mitt Romney.

Buy Danish on February 3, 2008 at 4:48 PM

Romney 2012 is an implicit admission that McCain can’t win.

Which is accurate.

DANEgerus on February 3, 2008 at 4:56 PM

georgealbert on February 3, 2008 at 4:19 PM

Just google her name on this site and see what she has said here. You have some serious spin to do to come to your generous conclusion. I had not encountered her until introduced to her here and in these comment threads.

Spirit of 1776 on February 3, 2008 at 5:13 PM

If McCain wins the nomination we are screwed for the next four years I for one will be looking for real conservatives to form a real conservative party. There should be three parties in this country liberal, moderate and conservative. I don’t know if would work out for my conservative issues. But at least I would know that the person running for the conservative party nomination would really be conservative not a sheep in wolf’s clothing like many of these so called conservatives in the Republican party. What is wrong with our republican electorate? Shifting to McCain..I am shaken to my core that this liberal who calls himself a republican is actually knocking on the door of the Republican nomination and some real conservatives are actually contemplating voting for this traitor to conservative ideas.

revans2468 on February 3, 2008 at 5:25 PM

The dirt that will finish McCain is out there now. None of the Repubs have used it but the Clintons will. As soon as they drop both shoes on his campaign, people will trample each other to get out of the way. It’ll look like the scene from “Dave” when the truth came out about his dirty sec. of State.

Alma on February 3, 2008 at 5:30 PM

Spirit of 1776 on February 3, 2008 at 5:13 PM

I could be proven wrong, but I seriously doubt that georgealbert is capable of even that simple act of research.

He is also someone who falsely claimed that Mitt said that he “admired Hezbollah” quote/unquote. DS makes the same false charge, and no doubt that is where he picked that tidbit up.

I used to go to her website from time to time because of my concerns about radical jihad in the U.S. and may have first heard the term “Dearbornistan” from DS. Indeed, Some of the information she provides is valuable.

However, when she began to post here I soon became cognizant of how much she pushes the envelope of reasonable discourse, and as I recall it became crystal clear when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated and she added her thoughts on the matter.

Buy Danish on February 3, 2008 at 5:44 PM

Buy Danish on February 3, 2008 at 5:44 PM

He is also someone who falsely claimed that Mitt said that he “admired Hezbollah” quote/unquote.
Ugh. I don’t read all the threads now (just because they are so much larger after the latest registration), so I miss some things. Thanks for informing me.

However, when she began to post here I soon became cognizant of how much she pushes the envelope of reasonable discourse, and as I recall it became crystal clear when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated and she added her thoughts on the matter.
Indeed. My opinion on her is informed by conversations I’ve had with her here. I’m not a fan.

Spirit of 1776 on February 3, 2008 at 6:05 PM

The best thing Romney could do for the country would be to defeat John Kerry in 2010. He would be a great US Senator from Massachusetts. And by then, Deval Patrick will have screwed up so many times that Romney will be extremely popular and tough for Kerry to beat.

funky chicken on February 3, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Spirit of 1776 on February 3, 2008 at 6:05 PM

Here’s the thread where I had my latest contretemps with the Debster (and George Albert). It began here and went on to include the bilge I cited above…

Buy Danish on February 3, 2008 at 6:24 PM

What I haven’t seen in this thread is vetting. If McCain thinks he’s been vetted for the nomination, he’s nuts. Just because you line up the endorsements within the MSM, doesn’t mean they aren’t sharpening the knives for the general. Bush left the keys in the car that hit you Johnny. Hillary and the boys are going to pummel you. Now with that in mind, what’s the comparison? Ted Kennedy lives and digs in dirt. Mitt ran against him. Ted could not assassinate the character. Mitt also ran and won the governorship in MA. All the Dems will have is the anti-corporation-we-hate-profit vomit. Real good thinking RNC. Give up a sacrificial lamb to the Billary Monarchy.

Cold Steel on February 3, 2008 at 6:35 PM

Buy Danish on February 3, 2008 at 6:24 PM

I agree with you 100% about Debbie. She is poison in many ways and detracts from serious discussions on issues.

Bradky on February 3, 2008 at 6:46 PM

Hold on there, mi hijo!
I love Debbie Schlussel; like me, she’s a hard-assed conservative Jewish Republican (you’ve GOT to be tough and thickskinned to be one of us – cue Mark Levin!) and we both detest that crazy lying senile fart who thinks he is so wonderful that we should all annoint him as President.

“Detracting from serious discussions” is just a code word for “hitting the nail on the head”. This is a national election, not some damn debating society. And the Republican party is about to name its biggest Quisling in recent history as its Presidential candidate.

TexasJew on February 3, 2008 at 7:03 PM

TexasJew on February 3, 2008 at 7:03 PM

race baiting and fear mongering are what “hitting the nail on the head” mean in regards to Schlussel’s tripe.

Just because you like her doesn’t make her the queen of all that is right, good and true with the world.

So sorry you don’t like the results of the primary process. Guess you are not as thickskinned as you profess. More want McCain than not – deal with it cowboy.

Bradky on February 3, 2008 at 7:08 PM

Debbie has called out terrorist fundraisers and Jihadi groupies and wannabes for what they are. If that’s racism, sign me up!

And if McCain ever wins a simple majority in any Republican Primary, please let me know. He’s crap, and over 75% of conservatives know it.

TexasJew on February 3, 2008 at 8:02 PM

TexasJew on February 3, 2008 at 8:02 PM

I always get a chuckle at the myopic groupies for self professed conservative women. Does your wife know?

Bradky on February 3, 2008 at 8:15 PM

Leaving aside the ideological questions about the “Romney 2008 = Reagan 1976″ comparison….Reagan had a daily radio commentary that kept him in the national political conversation from 1976 until he declared late in 1979. Being out of office, how will Mitt stay visible?

Hammertime on February 3, 2008 at 8:16 PM

Could it be that Romney decided that after McCain’s victory in FL, that there would be no time to get word out about the issues with McCain? Further, the Right Intelligentsia already had exerted itself to derail Hucklebee–which lead to message fatigue among the normal guy Republican voters. It’s best for Romney to prepare for 2012.

thuja on February 3, 2008 at 9:01 PM

Mitt needs to get ensconced at AEI or Heritage, become a conservative Iron Man for 2012.

MarkJudge on February 3, 2008 at 9:11 PM

I know that some people will scoff at this but I think that this year’s primary does have some similarities to the ‘76 primary. It appears (unless there is huge change in the polls) that a moderate will gain the Republican nomination over a conservative. This is exactly what happened in 1976 with Ford taking the nomination over Reagan. I will never forget the disappointment of that primary. However, this did set up Reagan for his successful run in 1980 and all of the great successes of his presidency. I am not in any way saying that Romney is the next Reagan but thinking about this is one way that I keep the depression of possibly having to make a choice between McCain and Clinton at bay.

dawgyear on February 1, 2008 at 9:31 PM

I feel pretty good for writing this the day before this piece comes out:)

dawgyear on February 3, 2008 at 9:37 PM

Romney and Reagan should not be in the same sentence…PLEASE! In the last couple of years we have been lucky to have the release of many of Reagan’s letters, diary entries, and speeches. Also there have been some terrific books recently on his early years including “The Right Moment” by Dallek, “Governor Reagan” by Cannon, and even “Reagan’s War” and all of these books and writings show how Reagan had evolving views but at the same time very consistent views on many of the issues…especially communism. I do not read Reagan being a liberal Republican for one election and a conservative Republican in another. Before anyone compares Reagan 76 and 80 to Romney 08 and 2012 I hope they would actually read about Reagan.

arizonateacher on February 3, 2008 at 10:36 PM

What are we doing talking about the GOP in 2012 for? If McCain wins the nomination there won’t be a GOP in 2012. All these McCain supporters will go back to the DEM party and the conservatives will have left in disgust. Those Republicans who would vote for Satan just to have a President with an R behind his name (including a lot of media pundits) will see the awful truth once it is too late. There will be a conservative (a real conservative) running in 2012 but he / she will not be a member of the GOP.

Buzzy on February 3, 2008 at 10:39 PM

Is Romney that much of a Conservative? Sure – next to McCain he looks Conservative….but then anyone would….but isn’t McCain one of the big reasons we want him to win now?

How many of us were rooting for Romney from day 1? Like most people here, I wanted Fred to win at first.

Next time around, maybe John Bolton will stand!

uptight on February 3, 2008 at 11:10 PM

I have been with Mitt since last January.

He is the Conservative that we need.

He is doing far better in polls than I had hoped. To me he is no longer barely staying in the race. He is staying competive and he hasn’t had to run negative ads to do it. That is a big plus.

Mitt is not a quiter. He is a fighter that chooses his battles and this is the battle he has chosen.

Mitt 08! then again in 2012!

Tim Pancoast on February 4, 2008 at 12:08 AM

InstaGlenn e-mails to say he’s wondering whether Mitt’s run this year isn’t a modern analog to Reagan’s failed run in 1976 against Ford.

Great! Another Fred “waiting in the weeds” strategy….

Bradky on February 4, 2008 at 12:25 AM

I hate this. I feel much like I did after Bush won the nom in 2000. (when I used to like McCain.) I hate having to choose the lesser of two evils. Look where voting against Gore and Kerry got us…. Bush! Bradky may be able to “deal with it”… but I’m not ready to embrace someone who’s “spit in my face” repeatedly like McCain has.

BadBrad on February 4, 2008 at 7:20 AM

BadBrad on February 4, 2008 at 7:20 AM

Bradky is a little more mature about politics than the cliff jumpers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/04/opinion/04kristol.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&oref=slogin

Bradky on February 4, 2008 at 8:03 AM

Jesus. Save the defeatist BS for the day AFTER McCain gets the nod, IF that happens. Before then, you’re only helping McAmnesty by depressing the base.

Spanglemaker on February 4, 2008 at 9:49 AM

2012!

Ludwig on February 8, 2008 at 10:06 AM

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