In what is probably, to date, the biggest candidate to drop out, Mitt Romney has decided his hopes for winning the Republican nomination this time around are over. He drops out after a disappointing showing in Super Tuesday, and an average lead-up. Much like Hillary Clinton, Romney was pegged as the winner after John McCain’s campaign problems hit mid-2007. From then to Iowa, it was looking as though he would go through unopposed. But then all the issues started up for him. Huckabee won Iowa, and then everyone started questioning his conservativeness. Then when John McCain became the frontrunner, everyone was hesitant to rally around Romney. Which made him look weak and unable to secure the Republican base. This gave Mike Huckabee, a fringe candidate, room enough to squeeze into equal second with Romney, and you could see when that happened, that his campaign was over.
While some people might be surprised at Romney dropping out, I think many people will not. He hasn’t been performing as well as expected, McCain looks like the nominee. Additionally, and this is the most daunting part. Romney would have to win three-quarters of all delegates from here to June to win the nomination. One delegate less, and McCain has it. Now that Romney has dropped out, Huckabee is faced with the same prospect. But seeings as Huckabee is merely showing off to the Republican party in the hopes of getting a V.P. spot to McCain (something very much a possibility), he won’t possibly think himself capable of getting the three-quarters.
It’s interesting to note that in the past week, the conservative pundits and personalities eventually came around to Romney, when faced with the prospect of McCain. They tried to get the conservative base to rally for Romney, but it was too late. Rush Limbaugh, probably the most known conservative radio personality, finally started singing Romney’s praise once McCain looked like winning the nomination. But for a candidate to stand any chance, you need the voices of the party base to be singing your praises before voting starts, not when you’re suddenly the lesser of two evils.
I don’t blame Romney entirely for his failed campaign. I think that the moderate party voters see John McCain as two things – a fresh change and a candidate who stands a chance against the extremely popular Clinton or Barack Obama. While the hard-line Republicans would nominate the most unelectable candidate, the moderates, who still want to see their party in the White House, whether moderate or hard-line, actually see promise in McCain. It should be obvious to people how hard a time Romney or Huckabee would have had winning the presidential race. Romney who struggles to rally the base, loses independent voters, and doesn’t have a consistent stand on any issue. Huckabee who rallies the base, but that’s it.
But probably the worst thing that Romney did to his own campaign was change his targeted voters over and over again. He started not targeting anyone, then said he was targeting progressive, then the base when he became favourite, then he thought he’d target everyone leading up to the first votes, then he had to target the base again when challenged by Huckabee. And each time he had to chance his stance on things. He was a moderate as governor, then had to change his views to the hard-right, then had to defend himself for flip-flopping.
If you’re having that hard a time winning and keeping votes, you have a serious problem. I guess it was that his message wasn’t consistent, or even crafted well. If he has targeted moderates and progressive Republicans from the start, like McCain is doing now, then he probably would be in McCain’s position now. He really needed to capitalise on the McCain campaign’s (American) Summer problems. Instead, he brought into the adage that you can’t win a Republican nomination without the base. You can, but winning the presidential election you cannot. But that’s what the rest of the campaign is for – and that’s what McCain is going to do for the next few months: Sure up the base. It’s what Romney could have done.
Anyway, my pick for the Republican ticket is out.It’s pointless to say I expect McCain to win the nomination now because he effectively has won it. From here on in is a formality. I should state this – while I picked him for the nomination, I still disliked him. There no real Republican candidate I like. McCain’s previous moderate views (which he seems to have abandoned), plus his continued support for the Iraq war (saying it could be a 100 year war) are what really turns me off him. Anyway, my first disdain for Romney came in his concession speech today, where he said:
Frankly, I’d be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win. I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.
If you seriously think that a Democratic win if a ‘surrender to terror’ then good riddance you bum.