Charles Krauthammer’s column concludes with this epitaph:

The Vegas fight mildly unsettled the Republican race. But its central dynamic remains. It awaits the coalescence of anti-Romney sentiment around one challenger. Until and unless that happens, it’s Romney’s race to lose.

I’ve heard that line before. I heard it in 2004, when Bob Beckel told FNC’s Neil Cavuto that the race was John Kerry’s to lose. I commented after President Bush’s win that it was wonderful that he had faced someone so overqualified in that department.

Actually, I think Mr. Krauthammer has it backwards. Until Mitt proves that he can persuade conservatives to join his group, we’re faced with the very real proposition that Mitt’s hit his ceiling. At the moment, that ceiling is approximately 25-27%.

Looking through history’s lens, it’s now apparent that John Kerry, who served in Vietnam, was more than qualified to lose that race.

With most of the inside-the-Beltway punditry, including Mr. Krauthammer, suggesting that Gov. Romney will eventually win the GOP presidential nomination, a starkly different picture is developing far from the East Coast.

The ‘looks presidential’ meme has been shattered. It’s been replaced with a Mitt’s got a climate change problem meme. Don’t confuse that with the Mitt isn’t a conservative meme. Those memes shouldn’t be considered without considering Mitt’s difficulty in putting the ‘Romneycare is the father of O’Care’ meme behind him.

The reality is that Mitt’s ego and stubbornness will lead to his demise. On the one hand, he insists that he’ll repeal O’Care. The next minute, he’s defending Romneycare, the blueprint for O’Care. Those contradicting statements are reenforcing his reputation of being a flip-flopper who shouldn’t be trusted.

Mitt’s 59-point, 160-page economic blueprint says precious little about reforming the EPA. That makes sense. After all, he put in place the strongest anti-CO2 regulations in the northeast:

As reported in the conservative blogs Moonbattery and HOTAIR; “the Romney administration in 2005 essentially did what Barack Obama’s EPA wants to do now. He imposed CO2 emission caps, the “toughest in the nation”, in an effort to curtail traditional energy production.

“Not only did Romney impose these costly new regulations, he then imposed price caps to keep power companies from passing the cost along to the consumer. As we have seen in Romney-Care, regulation and price controls eventually drive businesses into bankruptcy or relocation.”

More chilling than that bit of socialist nanny-state big government interference is who Romney looked to for advice regarding the plan. As reported by these two conservative sites, it was none other than Obama’s Chief “science” adviser, John Holdren.

That this type of information keeps piling up on Mitt’s campaign doorstep is a testimony to the fact that Mitt’s core convictions aren’t conservative. In fact, it’s increasingly difficult to consider them moderate.

The immigration dust-up isn’t significant from a policy standpoint. It’s gigantic, though, in that it thoroughly threw Mitt into a hissy fit. It’s understatement to say Mitt didn’t handle that situation well. In fact, his calling for Anderson Cooper’s help made him look positively weak.

I disagree with this statement from Charles:

On substance, Romney remained as solid as ever, showing by far the most mastery of policy, with the possible exception of Gingrich, but without the lecturing tone and world-weary condescension.

It’s impossible to be “solid as ever” when you’re giving questionable answers on tax policy:

If anything he owes a debt to Newt Gingrich, who in a recent debate gave him a taste of how politically and intellectually vulnerable he is on this argument, asking Mr. Romney to justify the $200,000 threshold.

Mr. Romney’s non-responsive response included five references to the “middle” class and another admonition that the “rich” are “doing just fine.” Mr. Obama can’t wait to agree, even as he shames Mr. Romney over his bank account.

Incoherence, coupled with class warfare rhetoric, isn’t the way to convince people that you’re conservative.

Ultimately, this nomination will be determined by activists, not the DC pundit class. It’ll be determined by the man with the vision for restoring America’s greatness. That vision isn’t found in Mitt’s 59-point blueprint. For all his virtues, and he has some, Mitt’s a chameleon living when people are looking for something solid and consistent.

Ultimately, history might well conclude that Mitt, like Sen. Kerry, was overqualified for the task of losing.

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2 Responses to “Romney’s race to lose: I’ve heard that before”

  • eric z. says:

    Gary, it is clear you have doubts about Romney and his ability to energize a win.

    Do any other readers see anything to him that makes for strong support and endorsement a power of appeal? Or is it party regulars making a political vs gut-level guess, in Minnesota, Coleman and Pawlenty?

    The “power of appeal” factor seems totally missing, to me, but I’m outside the tent.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Eric, Mitt isn’t the type of person that evokes a visceral reaction from party activists. He’s a technocrat. He’s competent. He’s electable. He’s checked the right boxes. It’s his turn.

    Those are the phrases that you’ll hear from the pundit class. The phrases that you’ll hear from the activists are that he’s a phony and he’s milquetoast, John McCain & Bob Dole without the military heroism on the resume.

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