Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Campaign Strategy Watch: Romney Bows Out ... Forever

By Ned Barnett (c) 2008

Mitt Romney saw his dreams crumble during the early primaries. He had a reasonable strategy - use his vast wealth and abundant free time to make sure he won Iowa and New Hampshire (which, because it's next to Massachusetts, should have been a "gimme" for the former Mass Governor). With two impressive early wins, he'd be able to survive a poor showing in South Carolina and sweep into Super Tuesday as the presumptive candidate. Based on his charm, aplomb, wealth and "bio," this should have worked. It was a straightforward, conventional, hard-to-stop strategy.

Except for one thing - like the pet food ad that didn't work, "the dogs didn't like the food."

Iowans, having seen and heard and met him face-to-face for more than a year, didn't sufficiently like him - his loss to the resource-challenged Huckabee proved this. Then New Hampshire threw him under the bus to go with McCain (the assassination in Pakistan obviously helped the only former warrior in the election).

So, after hanging on for a few more disappointing failures in primaries he'd hoped his "Big Mo" would carry him through, he decided to stop pouring good money after bad and dropped out.

But he's a young-looking 62, which meant he'd have another chance to become the Republican's favorite "next-time" conservative. Except for one thing. He endorsed McCain, the bane of the hard-core right wing of the Republican Party.

In the future, he might be forgiven for his Massachusetts flip on social issues such as abortion; but endorsing the Left-loving non-conservative McCain (left-loving? Look at the bills he's co-sponsored: McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy and McCain-Lieberman - then look at the way that grass roots conservatives (as opposed to those professional media and political conservatives angling for influence or a cabinet post in the McCain administration) have failed to warm up to McCain.

Bottom line: When Romney threw in with McCain, he severed his ties to real grass-roots conservatives and signaled his decision: "I will not run in 2012."

Remember, you heard it here first ... as a Presidential candidate, Romney's through, and he knows it.