Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The split: Romney or someone else?

This blog isn’t the only one split over who to support for the Republican nomination. PowerLine, one of my favorite political blogs, is also split. John Hinderaker writes supporting Romney:

Rick Santorum is a bright, well-intentioned guy. But the idea that he is the strongest candidate the Republicans can nominate for the presidency strikes me, with all due respect, as ludicrous. Put aside the fact that Santorum lost his last race by 18 points in his home state of Pennsylvania: not exactly an auspicious way to kick off a presidential campaign. Rather, consider that Santorum has always been most passionate about the social issues. Is that really what the GOP wants to talk to voters about in 2012, when the country–the Brokest Nation In History, as Mark Steyn puts it–is $15 trillion in debt; when the Obama administration has driven our economy into the most prolonged funk since the Great Depression; and when Barack Obama has instituted the most corrupt system of cronyism in American history? Seriously?

Scott Johnson (who also concedes that Romney is probably the best of a bad lot) responds defending not falling in behind Romney at this point:

The resistance to Romney among a large part of the base of the Republican Party, however, suggests to me that Romney himself would be less than a stellar candidate against Obama. He’s got problems that the non-Romneys have successfully exploited. Romney’s defense of Romneycare in the debates has been a recurrent thumb in the eye to the not inconsiderable number of Republicans for whom repeal of Obamacare is a priority along with with fiscal and economic issues.

* * *

The inclination of Republican primary voters and caucus goers to support Gingrich or Santorum is not the sign of a character flaw or mental defect on their part. It is a sign that Romney is a problematic candidate for the party whose standard bearer he seeks to be. Decrying the failure of Republican voters for failing to fall in line behind him seems to me something less than a winning argument.

I’m still supporting Romney. But I do worry about his difficulty energizing his base.

If nothing else, this reminds us why we have primaries.
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