Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Should Dems Be Rooting for Romney?

On Monday, Chris Bowers of MyDD wrote a post detailing why, at this point, Democrats should be rooting for former Governor Mitt Romney to get the GOP Nomination for President. His basic premise is that, of the three frontrunners, Mitt Romney, Senator John McCain, and former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani, McCain and Giuliani are "generally viewed as different from, and independent of, the Republican Party." At a time when the Democrats win the generic ballot by 20 points, being apart from the Republican Party could be more of an advantage than a disadvantage. Romney, on the other hand, suffers from these problems:

Mitt Romney has none of the advantages enjoyed by McCain or Giuliani. While they have been defined, or some time now, as exceptions to the Republican rule, Romney would just be a another Republican during a time when it is very bad to just be another Republican. Polls show him down by between fifteen and thirty points to every top-tier Democrat, and that is not just name ID. Whether or not it is justified, as a Mormon, he has a huge problem with national electability, according to a recent Gallup poll. Further, after spending two decades running against such people, Republicans would ironically, and hilariously, nominate a flip-flopper from Massachusetts. And oh yeah--he is entirely in favor of endlessly continuing the Iraq war, which I sure will be a hugely popular position in another year or so. The guy is so beatable I almost want to go volunteer for his campaign. Had he run for re-eleciton in Mass., Deval Patrick would have eaten him alive.
In fact, this might surprise regular readers of this blog, but the only part of that I really disagree with -- aside from the Mormon business, which I think is overblown -- is that Deval Patrick would have "eaten [Mitt] alive" had Romney run for re-election. Let me clarify: If Patrick had run against the Mitt Romney who spent the last two years of his term running for President, Patrick would have won. I saw the 2006 election as much as a referendum on Romney and Romneyism than a contest between Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. That being said, if Romney had decided to run for re-election, I believe that he would have been savvy enough to forgo his out-of-state pandering to conservatives and perhaps Massachusetts voters would not have tired of his antics. That is, if Romney had spent 2005 and 2006 acting like a candidate for re-election instead of a candidate for President, we would have seen a completely different election last November. Ultimately, I think Patrick still would have won, but it wouldn't have been the landslide we saw against Healey and Christy Mihos.

Do I, like Bowers, hope that Romney will become the Republican nominee for President? Not really, even though I agree that he is very beatable at the national level by a Democrat. Partly, I'm still holding out hope that the GOP will go nuts and nominate Senator Sam Brownback, or Congressman Tom Tancredo. Mostly, though, I think it's because I've grown tired of Mitt, and I don't think I can handle seeing him on the TV for another election season.

I'll say this for Romney, he has certainly shown an ability to fundraise. I do, however, have two questions about his $23 million first quarter. First, will he be able to keep it up? How many of those donors are his now-maxed-out friends that he will no longer be able to rely on? He'll need to grow his donor base, which might prove difficult if he stays at the bottom of the polls. Second, how much of that is he burning through already? Romney needed to raise a ton of money because he's already airing television ads and he's paying 10% commissions to interns who raise money for him. It will be interesting to see what his cash-on-hand is compared to the other candidates.