Skip to comments.Victor Davis Hanson: Why Romney Has a Real Chance (It's more like ABO!)
Posted on 04/19/2012 2:35:46 PM PDT by neverdem
The odds of defeating an incumbent president should be slim but they are in fact at least 50/50. Here are some reasons that this is true.
1) Romney is a more experienced and better candidate than he was in 2008. That often happens after a run or two. Nixon was tougher in 1968 than in 1960 in the way that Reagan was wiser in 1980 than in 1968 and 1976, and George H. W. Bush was better in 1988 than in 1980. McCain ran more effectively in the primaries in 2008 than he did in 2000. The Republican primary rough-housing sharpened Romneys debating skills, and he seems far more comfortable than he was four years ago.
2) The old mantra that at some point the massive $5 trillion borrowing, the feds near-zero interest rate policies, and the natural cycle of recovery after a recession would kick in before the election increasingly appears somewhat dubious. The recovery is anemic, and seems stymied by high gas costs, fears over Obamacare, and a new feeling that lots of businesspeople with capital are strangely holding off, either scared of what more of Obamas statist policies have in store for them, or in anger about being demonized by Obama, or in hopes Romney might win. The net result is that the recovery by November might not be as strong as was thought six months ago.
3) Romney is going to be a lot tougher on Obama than was McCain in 2008. For all the complaints against his moderation by the tea-party base, they will slowly rally to him as he makes arguments against Obama of the sort that McCain was perceived as unable or unwilling to make. So far Romneys attitude is that he is in the arena where blows come thick and fast, and one cant whine when being hit or hitting a view far preferable to McCains lectures about what not to say or do in 2008. Left-wing preemptory charges that Romney is swift-boating or going negative will probably have slight effect on him. Just as Bill Clinton saw that Dukakis in 1988 had wanted to be liked rather than feared and so himself ran a quite different, tough 1992 race, so too Romney knows where McCains magnanimity got him in 2008. Romney wont be liked by the press, knows it, and perhaps now welcomes it.
4) In 2008 Rudy Giulianis idea that Obama was out of the mainstream and a Chicago-style community organizer was not pressed in fear of the counter-charges that one was racialist or at least insensitive to the historic Obama candidacy. In 2012, there is a record, not an image or precedent, to vote for or against; and Romney will find it far easier to take down Obama than McCain found in 2008. That Obama did not reinvent the world as promised wont mean that his supporters will vote for Romney, only that they wont come out in the numbers or with the money as they did in 2008. There is no margin of error in 2012 and turnout will be everything for Obama.
5) The Republicans seem so far to have a lot more interest in defeating Obama than Democrats do in reelecting him. That enthusiasm level can change; but so far we are not going to see, I think, a lot of moderate Republicans writing about Obamas sartorial flair and his first-class temperament, or screeds against a Republican incumbent. One meets lots of people who sheepishly confess they voted for Obama in 2008 but learned their lesson, less so those who regret that they voted for McCain and now promise to rectify that.
6) Obama is a great front-runner who can afford to talk of unity and magnanimity, but when behind he seems to revert to churlishness and petulance. The more he references Bush, the mess in 2008, tsunamis, and the EU meltdown, the more one wants to ask: When will he ever get a life? Them versus us is not hope and change.
7) Ann Romney, whether she is used in a more partisan style or more in the manner of a reticent Laura Bush, is an invaluable asset, both her narrative and her grace a treasury really that somehow was under-appreciated in 2008 but wont be in 2012.
8) Obama is becoming repetitive and tiring in his speechifying in a way that Carter did by late summer 1980 and George H. W. Bush did in 1992. Before he gets to the podium, Americans anticipate that he will blame someone for a current problem rather than introducing a positive solution and they are beginning to get to the further point that they cannot only anticipate the villains of the hour, but the manner in which Obama will weave together the usual straw men, the formulaic let me perfectly clear. make no mistake about it, and the fat-cat/pay-your-fair share vocabulary. The public finally grows tired of whiners and blamers.
9) Juan Williams and others have made the argument that race explains the disenchantment of the white male working-class voter. I think that is hardly persuasive: Give that clinger voter just a year of 5 percent unemployment, $2-a-gallon gas, 4 percent GDP growth, a balanced budget, and he would gladly vote for Obama. The better point is not that race is a determinant in 2012 but that the charge has lost its currency. The minority of working-class white male voters who voted for Obama in 2008 was vastly higher than the percentage of African-Americans of all classes and both genders who voted for McCain, a moderate Republican who one would have thought might have gotten a larger percentage of the black vote than did George W. Bush. Based on percentages in 2008, I think that one could logically infer that the number of blacks who did not vote Republican as they had once done in the past was larger than the number of white male working-class voters who did not vote Democratic as they had in the past. Playing the race card in 2012 will prove a boomerang, especially if the Sharpton-Jackson nexus turns the Martin case into a reverse O. J. trial, and if Holder or Obama editorialize any more, or revert to the exhausting stupidly, punish our enemies, cowards, my people, tropes.
10) It is no longer cool, the thing to do, neat, or making a statement to vote for Obama. The 2008 lemming effect is over; no one believes any more that he will lower the seas or wants to believe that he can. Michelles lightness/darkness biblical image is hokey not moving. The fading 2008 Obama bumper stickers are no longer proof of ones noble nature.
If you care about the survival of the America we grew up in, then you know what to do.
ROTFL! I have to agree with you..it will be close because the leftists are warm to Romney and they want to suck in viewers to the leftist media..so they will "make it a contest". What a flippin farce.
What do you propose to do after the Evil Democrats win in 2012 and outlaw all things conservative?
You will recall that Slick Willy’s antics got him a Republican (not conservative, dammit!) Congress, which effectively ended his run to a Socialist America.
Recall, also, that Slick had a tad more appreciation for the Constitution than Obongo Bozo does, which slowed the parade.
We’ll not have those circumstances in a second Obama term.
You are not thinking clearly.
America will survive. If you can't stay true to conservatism, you vote for the GOP liberal candidate. I won't.
By that you mean that I'm not hysterical enough to drop my conservative principles and vote the way you think I should... Sorry. I will actively campaign against Romney now and if he wins the nomination.
Blame the GOP for slamming every conservative that comes along, rule changes, dirty tricks, and shilling for a liberal.
Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
Are you going to actively campaign against him in the General?
By then all the primaries will have settled, and I'll know who will be in the general election. I'll select the most conservative, and campaign for that person, and against Romney.
Regarding your last point, the real sign to watch as we get closer to November is the number of Dem politicans avoiding being seen with Obama. This will tell the tale better than any polls.
VDH is one of the last of what have sometimes been called Zell Miller Democrats.
I knew a lot of people who had no clue what kind of person Obama was, where he was lacking, or what he would do as President. They knew a few things:
1. They wanted to vote for the first black President.
2. The believed the tripe about the economy being the worst in 50 years.
3. They believed the tripe about Gitmo.
4. They believed that Obama would be the first post racial President.
The last reason is very important since anyone who believed that has to be pretty disappointed.
Yeah, I guess you're right. GOP-E types like Karl Rove fell in behind Christine O'Donnell when she beat the RINO in the primary.
Oops, wait, they didn't, instead they sandbagged Tea Party candidates left and right.
So tell me again where I am wrong.
Yeah, sure. The GOP-E runs against socialism as they embrace their own version of such.
And Romney is basically a doomed candidate, IMO. He doesn't inspire the base. He takes Obamacare off the table as a significant campaign topic. He can't run against Wall Street's backing of Dems. He can't run against TARP. In other words, he is the worst possible candidate for this election cycle, but he had the money to destroy the other candidates. Now, against Obama, he will not have a money advantage, so he's toast.
THAT is a rational assessment of the situation. It isn't that he isn't conservative enough. It's that we have no idea if he means a word he says, other than when he says he wants to be president.
Please lose that tagline.
Our primary objective in 2012 is to defeat Obama and as many of his LIEberal/Socialist/Marxist/Fascist hangers-on as we can.
Lets get that done, then we can remake the Republican Party into a Real Conservative party!
This is why we have a "jobless recovery." There has been no real economic growth, and the reported increase in GDP is nothing more than a false positive.
The press may not report it this way, but the people instinctively feel it, even if they know nothing about economics.
For general edification - what is wrong with that tagline? I can’t say I understand what it means, but what is the problem with it?
Romney's ONLY advantage in the GOP primary was money. He won't have that advantage in the general. He will get creamed.
Best area for conservatives to get involved in are to increase Tea Party representation in the House and Senate.
The establishment actually started down this road even before the election. Hence, we have insiders like Rove attacking TEA party candidates.
The only thing I would take issue with is I don't think the establishment believes they will lose with Romney. IMHO, they think they will win and become even more entrenched and marginalize the conservative element of the GOP.
We may well be headed toward a break up of the GOP.
It’s flame-bait and a bit vulgar as well. Jim and the mods take a very dim view of someone who insinuates that long-term FReepers are actually closet Obama supporters if they are “Romney doubters” for conservative reasons. The GOP-E wore out its welcome here in 2010.
I didn't say that, just that they would rather lose running a RINO than win running a conservative. We saw that manifested in 2010 - if they didn't get their RINO in the primary, they stabbed the Tea Party candidate in the back repeatedly - after years of telling us we should support the winner of the GOP primary even if that winner was a RINO.
And now the same GOP-E cheerleaders are coming out on FR telling us that the GOP-E socialist is a vast improvement over the Dem socialist, when both were for bailouts and both were for government-mandates for health care. And both are political chameleons whose primary reason for seeking the presidency is their own rank narcissism. A pretty tough sell.
One advantage on Ronney’s side. He is known as a millionairre businessman. People I’m talking with (who are not political news junkies) seem to think he is a sensible man who can get our economy back on track. I think the country needs to cool down on both side of the track and Romney with his middle of the road - who knows what he believes - style may be attractive to the huge chunk of the population who’d rather pull a blanket over their head and say, “don’t rock the boat!” Obama has given them 3 years of a lot of boat rocking and Romney may be a steadying hand.
I don’t like him. But in the end I know ABO will be my vote.
I still believe Palin would be a better president.
Watching how the establishment through TEA party candidates under the bus in 2010 makes it especially insulting that they are back again telling us we must support their left wing candidate.
Interesting. Because, it’s one 98’er (citizen) posting to another 98’er (dirtboy).
The inference that opposition to Romney is support for Romney may be hard to hear. But, in a two man race, it’s a fair statement, when it comes to counting votes. Every vote that Romney does not get is one less that Obama needs.
We can debate the strategic wisdom of how we cast our vote -and everyone has to live with themselves based on their decision.
I just wish the conversation here could be more civil and respectful. I hold that removing Obama from office via the ballot box is the first thing that must happen.
Perhaps the Conservative Movement (if such a thinhg even exists) has learned a hard lesson this time and will do away with the circular firing squads going forward.
One can debate the merits of voting for Mitt as an anti-Obama without insinuating that the other long-term Freepers who disagree are actually Obama supporters. That is a sure-fire way to make sure the debate gets uncivil in a hurry.
Good point, but a bad example. O’Donnell is an idiot and was a “clown candidate.”
Rove should have just shut his piehole. Instead, he knifed her every chance he got.
“The recovery is anemic,”
With all respect to Mr. Hanson, to me it is NOT anemic, it is nonexistent.
I hope and pray that you and others who believe as you do are wrong, and that your campaign to re-elect Obama fails.
Romney is not my choice for President.
HST, I will invest as much time, talent and treasure as I can to ensure that Obama IS NOT re-elected, and that Real Conservatives ARE elected to the House and Senate.
After the election, I’ll work to reform the Republican Party as a constitutional, conservative force in American Politics.
Well, if you like Romney, you vote for him.
Romney will be worse than Obama, because he’ll have his supporters in the Congress and in the public supporting Obama-like programs.
So, again, if you like Romney, knock yourself out, but I want no part of him or his agenda.
Thanks neverdem, nice link selections:
I have made it clear several times that I am voting AGAINST Obama!
Obama is a dictator wannabe, and Romney is not!
If Obama wins, and is able to push through the rest of his plan to destroy America and rule us like he was one of the ancient Egyptian Pharoahs, then where will you be?
I’m telling all of you who aren’t willing to bite the bullet, however distasteful it may be, and vote for Romney are going to regret your stupidity if Obama wins!
And, when your slave grandchildren ask you what happened in 2012, what are you going to tell them?
Willard IS Obama, just with a GOP-e, RINO cheering section. I don’t want to sit in that cheering section or sing in the Romney choir.
I will not support Obama and I will not support Romney. I will not support the agenda they share.
This year affords me the opportunity to tell the GOP that they cannot count on me to support them in perpetrating an Obama-Romney false choice. Obama and Romney are repugnant traitors. They hate this country and want to destroy it.
But, again, if you like what they’re selling or think it smells sweeter with an (R) label, go for it. Most people will support one of them. I won’t.
You are pathetic. It is not my campaign to re-elect Obama. The GOP-E wanted Romney, now it looks like they have him, they have to figure out how to get him elected. Quit blaming the skeptics for the fact that the GOP-E pushed about the worst possbible candidate, and let him annihilate any viable alternatives.
And who were the perfect conservatives in the race ?
These purity tests are a joke. Did you vote for McCain or GWB?
The Conservative Cause is clearly served by an Obama re-election rather than a Romney win.
A Right leaning/Conservative Congress can easily remain united behind an Obama re-election....whereas the same Congress will be sliced and diced by the RINOS if Romney is in the White House.
The Powers That Be fully understand this....
But in 2010, something else happened. Conservatives beat RINOs in the primary. And the GOP-E turned on the Tea Party candidates and knifed them in the back.
So the GOP-E can try and win with Romney. They have shown by their example that party loyalty only applies when their guy wins. So I'm reciprocating. I will work for a congressional candidate like I did last election. Whether Romney or Obama wins, we're going to need a counterweight for their liberalism.
So you gave up your principals to vote for mclame but you won’t do so Romney , even as Obama gets worse than anything we ever imagined?
McCain never tried to run to the left of Ted Kennedy on abortion.
I have no idea what Romney stands for, other than fulfilling his own personal drive for power. He takes away all kinds of GOP advantages while offering no advantage of his own. The only advantage he had in the GOP primary - money - will not be an advantage in the general.
I am simply expressing how poor a candidate Romney is. Since the GOP-E is so enamored of him, they can figure out how to get him over the finish line. Me, I'll work for someone who is actually a conservative. I guess you are willing to swill the GOP-E koolaid that we have to vote for the primary winner, even though they refused to go along with that in 2010. I think I'll pass.
Dear Glock, there is a Soviet Union-sized difference between a “less than perfect conservative” and a pro-abortion, gun-grabbing, Liberal judge appointing, homosexual agenda pushing, State-run healthcare crafting sham of a Republican.
The worst evil Obama has done to America is in convincing Conservatives to vote for a Liberal Democrat like (R)Money.
I am back to “carefully reconsider your position.”
A Romney Presidency MAY not meet all of your needs, or my needs, or the TEA Party needs, or America’s needs, but it is FOR SURE that four more years of Obama WILL NOT!
What part of the fact that Romney was the worst possible candidate for this cycle do you not understand? The GOP-E wanted him, fine, let them shove him across the finish line. I will work for a down-ticket candidate with at least some conservative values and a chance of winning.
I’m going to help make you wrong.
Knock yourself out.
Not me, Obama!
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