The Wall Street Journal yesterday carried three insightful articles by authors Kimberley Strassel, Michael Medved (in Romney’s camp), and Danny Yadron. Each one contributes to the narrative that Gov. Romney is the very best of the five remaining candidates to be our next President.
MUST WATCH: Before I get to the articles, this video clip of Charles Krauthammer is great. He is one of the very best, most objective political analysts alive in my opinion — and definitely one of the brightest. He hits all the important points of the race in this clip — tells why Santorum cannot win; uses the “Buckley Rule” as to how to pick the best conservative candidate; says Gingrich should be “holding court”; and best of all: he wants Romney in the White House! First time Krauthammer has come right out to give such a strong opinion in favor of Governor Romney ——–>
“I actually like Romney, I think he’s a very good man, and he will make a very good President. I’d like to see him in the White House and I’d have no hesitation supporting him. It’s the Buckley Rule: He always said that in any election vote for the most conservative candidate who can win! In my analysis, Santorum has no chance of winning the White House in the general election. It’s an election about the economy and what energizes Santorum is social issues — it’s the wrong year for social issues.” ~ Charles Krauthammer
Strassel makes some good points in her article, but the main point of her article is missed completely in a key paragraph:
Though only—and this is key—if he has locked in those core voters on the other side of the Divide. Yet the Romney campaign seems to be taking for granted that they will ultimately jump to his side. In the upcoming Mississippi and Alabama primaries, the campaign will continue to target more upscale urban and suburban communities. A senior campaign aide airily dismissed Mr. Romney’s Super Tuesday weaknesses, noting: “The areas we didn’t do as well in are rural and they are more anti-Obama.” Meaning, who else are these guys going to vote for come November?
How about: no one. They could stay home.
She totally missed the point of Romney’s aide above! Those who are voting in large blocks for Romney are the more affluent, college grads, older voters, etc. Those in the rural areas voting for say Santorum, and who are more anti-Obama, are more ideological. She implies these would stay home in the general. This is simply not born out at all. If their ideal candidate does not make it, their greater passion against Obama will be realized by voting for Gov. Romney. I have yet to see any of these voters interviewed on TV to say they will not vote if Romney is the nominee. They will come out in droves.
Ms. Strassel has spotted a slight change in Romney’s message that others of late have also discovered. Rather than refer to the middle “class” or any class, he is now talking about the ability of any American to reach their goals and dreams related to a much better standard of living – those dreams to which we all aspire. Reagan was naturally outstanding in this type of message. Gov. Romney has been delivering this message for awhile now; it is one important reason people are leaving Santorum for Romney. Strassel concludes her piece here:
What’s required is more, and better, of the same. Mr. Romney is never going to be “one of the guys.” What he can do is remember that working-class America is hugely aspirational and that he is, in fact, an American success story. This is an asset, not a liability, one Mr. Romney could use to lay out a soaring, optimistic vision of a country in which everyone has the chances he’s had.
In Medved’s article, he effectively slams Santorum’s bashing for his “snob” comment to describe Obama’s reference to higher education (bad move Rick). Fortunately, Romney has enormous appeal among those of graduate and post-graduate educations.
In 2008, exit polls showed that an unprecedented 44% of all voters held bachelor degrees or higher, compared to just 28% of the electorate in Ronald Reagan’s landmark victory of 1980. The Gipper, however, crushed Jimmy Carter among college grads (52% to 35%) while John McCain lost this segment of the population to Barack Obama (45% to 53%). In other words, the Republican nominee went from a 17-point advantage (in both ’80 and ’84, as it turns out) to an eight-point loss among those who completed college—a crippling swing of 25 full percentage points.
No wonder that Mitt Romney soundly defeated Righteous Rick among college graduates in hotly contested Ohio on Tuesday, winning 43% of their votes, compared to the 35% that went to Mr. Santorum.
Medved echoes Strassel here in his reference to aspiration:
In his stump speech, Mr. Romney has been trying out a good line about seeing the success of others as a spur to “ambition, not envy.” That formulation should apply to educational as well as economic success. After all, achievement in higher education correlates powerfully with performance in the workplace. Recent numbers indicate that only 4% of those with university degrees are unemployed, while the rate rises to 16% for those with no high school diploma.
The Republicans can’t possibly build a winning coalition by recruiting only college grads any more than they can prevail by connecting exclusively with the currently rich and successful. But if they appeal to future dreams instead of present circumstances, they could easily assemble big majorities. Applauding such aspirations instead of belittling them will enable conservatives to honor the best American traditions of upward mobility. With more and more of our fellow citizens completing college degrees, it’s also the only way that Republicans can win.
Yadron’s article about Gingrich, “Win Now or Go Home” — is outstanding analysis. It is becoming obvious to all who are paying attention to politics that next week is make or break time for Mr. Gingrich — except to him. He has declared many times this week he will not get out until the convention. I figure he has made this irrational decision for one of four reasons: 1) he is an idiot; 2) he likes prolonged embarrassment; 3) his ego blinds him to all logic; or 4) he is not good at basic math. Though I am not convinced, most people think Gingrich is bright, so 1 and 4 are probably not the reason. No humans will evade embarrassment, so it must be number 3. It doesn’t matter because I like him in the race. He is the most fun to bash and his languishing presence perfectly bifurcates the votes of the less informed voters. I can’t wait to see him exit the race at the convention to see how he declares victory. Excerpts from the Yadron article:
“Most people are holding their fire until after Alabama and Mississippi,” said Keith Appel, a GOP operative who is active in social-conservative causes but isn’t affiliated with any presidential campaign. “If Santorum goes in there and wins, the pressure on Gingrich to get out will be immense.”
Let’s change the word from “immense” to “unbearable” if Romney wins and Gingrich comes in third!
Conservative strategist Richard A. Viguerie on Wednesday called for Mr. Gingrich to withdraw.
One Gingrich supporter in Alabama also saw a deadline for Mr. Gingrich. “I would give Newt until next Tuesday,” said Tim McCollum, 57 years old, who plans to vote for Mr. Gingrich and turned up at the candidate’s event on Wednesday in Birmingham. “He should make a strong showing in the South. If he doesn’t, yeah, I think he needs to throw behind Santorum.”
Oh, let’s not forget about Gingrich’s “big ideas” that he likes to pump us with. His latest? Retreading gas:
Mr. Gingrich stuck to his usual stump speech Thursday as he campaigned in Mississippi, suggesting that he could bring gas prices down to $2.50 a gallon, a claim disputed by analysts.
On the other hand, maybe his staying in the race is reason number 2 above:
Amid the challenge, Mr. Gingrich appears to be enjoying the campaign. He and his wife, Callista, stayed until 2 a.m. Thursday dancing to a two-piece cover band in a Jackson, Miss., hotel bar.
Following an aide’s request, the band played “Rocket Man,” a fitting anthem for a candidate known for pushing space exploration in the age of austerity.