I think I’ll start out a new blog by looking in the wrong direction (backwards). In early 2006 I caught wind of Mitt Romney and quickly came to the conclusion that he was the most natural candidate I’d ever seen for the office of the president. Shortly thereafter I started my own blog on the governor (a simple blogspot site). One of my first posts from that site was a poll in which Gov. Romney garnered all of 4% of the vote. That was actually one of the better showings for Gov. Romney from the time as I also recall a few where he was at 1% and even an asterisk. Through 2006 and into 2007 I watched as Romney proved himself the most adept campaign manager in the field as he steadily marched forward in the national polls and began building large leads in Iowa and New Hampshire. There were many months in 2007 when I really thought we were going to do it. Alas, it didn’t happen.
Today we have new advantages and disadvantages. Gov. Romney is in a very good starting position. Those meaningless early polls show him either out in front, or within the margin of error. The field is in the process of clearing itself via scandal, mistep, and disinterest. In a party where the next-in-line often gets the call, this is a happy place to be. At the moment there are wide areas of the country where there is little competition. Huckabee has the South, but Romney is poised to take most of the rest of the country. Gov. Pawlenty has a chance at becoming competitive in some of those states, but he still has much work to do to raise his national profile. Romney also starts out as something of the institutional candidate, without the stain of being an insider.
As a disadvantage, Romney starts out as the human punching bag. It’s a role he should be used to by now (the later primary debates of 2008 often felt like the field vs. Romney). Already his health care plan in Massachusetts is being attacked as some sort of failure despite it being rather successful. As the frontrunner, it’s only going to get worse. Hopefully, we’re at least beyond the Mormon Issue™ as being at the top of every Romney biography.
Overall, I’m very eager to begin this election cycle. The 2012 presidential cycle is (unfortunately) looking to be one dominated by economics. We’re in something of a rebound now, but I fear that we’re in for a stagflation cycle beginning if not next year, then 2011. The amount of deficit spending and easy money pouring out of the Fed cannot go on without economic consequences. The recent Boston Globe article (which I recommend everyone read if they haven’t already) has a bit near the end where it suggests Romney will not rely so heavily on social conservative issues but focus more on his grasp of issues, competancy, and Romney’s capacity as an idea man. I detected a hint of “flip-flop” in that section, but I’ve actually been advocating that as shift in strategy (not positions) for awhile. Romney has now established his bonefides as a solid social conservative, leading the fight as one of our most effective voices for years now. Furthermore, this election cycle will not begin with 2 well-known moderates (McCain, Giuliani) as the front-runners in the GOP primary. The issue of what a “real Republican” is will not be so important this time around (though I suspect early attempts will be made and fail to attack Romney on that basis). There is no need for him to fight as hard on that front as he did last time.
Naturally, this won’t be easy. To look back again at that old poll from my early days you will see George Allen, Newt Gingrich, Bill Frist, and George Pataki. All these men didn’t even make it to the starting line before withdrawing their names. In their place came Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee out of nowhere to each lead the field (in national polls) for a short time, not to mention the hidden movement that Ron Paul’s oddly successful candidacy tapped. Politics were never a straight line even during the tame days of newspapers, nevermind the instability of the internet age.
All the same, you always want to be the leader. That’s where we start. We have the skill, now all we need is a bit of luck and we’ll be partying in Washington January 20, 2013.
P.S. Thanks to Nate for setting up this site and inviting me to join the team. I look forward to working with my fellow bloggers, discussing issues with our viewers, and building this site into a popular tool for electing Romney.