Romney: Very conservative voters might not be with me now but they will be in November

Via RCP, the key bit comes at around 3:40. This is his whole strategy in a nutshell and I still can’t decide whether to admire him or loathe him for it. He doesn’t care if you trust him. He doesn’t care if his rallies leave you flat. He doesn’t care if pulling the lever for him reduces you to dry heaves in the voting booth. He cares about two things: 1,144 and 270, and he’s likely to achieve at least the first thanks to hard work, careful planning, and the great good luck of having extraordinarily weak competition. Those qualities — high energy, fortitude, diligence, not needing to be liked — could be huge assets in a president if he applied them to enacting a worthy policy agenda, starting with entitlement reform. But I don’t think he’d use them to policy ends; he’d use them to position himself for re-election by pandering to centrists, which means no meaningful entitlement reform or anything else. He’s telling you right here why he’d be such a risk in office to the right. When push comes to shove, you’ll always hold your nose and vote against the Democrat, no matter how annoyed at him you might be. And he knows it — and he doesn’t care. He doesn’t need his base to like him. That’s a recipe for squishiness.

And yet:

Mitt Romney leads the pack in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. He’s also the second pick for enough Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich supporters that if one of them dropped out, Romney would remain the frontrunner.

Romney has the backing of 38 percent of Republican primary voters in a Fox News poll released Wednesday. He’s followed by Santorum at 32 percent, Gingrich at 13 percent and Paul at 12 percent…

In a straight two-way matchup, GOP primary voters prefer Romney to Santorum by 49-44 percent

Meanwhile, a 58-percent majority of primary voters would rather nominate a candidate who is more likely to beat President Obama, even if the candidate is not a true conservative. Less than a third — 31 percent — would pick the true conservative who might be less electable.

Romney actually leads Obama by nine points on the question of who’s best equipped to manage the economy, but head to head overall O leads by four. The key data point:

That’s a nice trend for Mitt, but again — he doesn’t care either way. The magic number is 270. If it all comes from column two instead of column one, hey.

Here’s his interview today with Megyn Kelly. Watch for the part where she asks him whether Newt should drop out; Romney, who I think is benefiting considerably from Gingrich’s perseverance notwithstanding the poll data above, conveniently has no opinion. There’s a fun exchange on the mandate at the very end too, but that’s because of the old clip Kelly chose to torment him with. In that same vein, via BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, watch the second one below on the vagaries of “ultimate conservatism.”

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Jazz Shaw 10:01 PM on June 07, 2023