Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Romney Paradox

Thanks to the Blue Mass Group for pointing out an interesting Lowell Sun Article on Mitt Romney. Apparently, despite Mitt's extensive out-of-state trips and national media exposure, no one in important battleground states like Florida or Ohio have even heard of him. Mitt's having a little more luck in early primary states like South Carolina and New Hampshire, but even vacationing in the Granite State can't put him over John McCain there in an early 2008 straw poll. The Sun article has an interesting passage quoting a Missouri Republican on our governor.

The fact that Romney is a Republican governor in a Democratic stronghold may have some appeal to voters in the heartland, according to John Tiner, GOP chairman for Butler County in southeast Missouri.

However, Tiner said some people may have reservations about the fact that Romney said he personally opposes abortion, but will not try to change Massachusetts' abortion laws.

“The feeling here is why elect someone if he's not going to support you when he gets elected? If this guy thinks like I do, why should I get geared up to support him if nothing's going to change when he gets elected?” Tiner said.
Republicans just spent another entire election cycle telling America how out of touch and liberal Massachusetts is, and that creates a paradox for Romney. As a Republican that won in Democratic Massachusetts, he's assumed to be someone who can bring an end to the partisanship that DC is mired in. At the same time, his uniqueness causes suspicion. Republican primary voters will wonder what's wrong with him that Democrats in Massachusetts were willing to vote for him in the first place. At the end of the day, the reason he's getting buzz is because he's seen as an oddity. As far as I can tell, people are interested in him in the same way those Berlin Zoo patrons are interested in their new baby hippo. They'll come out to stare and take pictures, but they're not going to anoint him as their leader.