Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mitt Romney: NRO's John Kerry

Mark Steyn is blaming Mitt Romney's super Tuesday meltdown on the disconnect between conservative media elites and the GOP political machine created by Karl Rove.

Oh, dear. Mitt is beginning to feel like the conservative media's version of John Kerry, the guy the MSM thought they could drag across the finish line. Except we have a tougher problem, which Lisa and Stanley touched on. The default mode of the culture is liberal; the key levers of society are liberal. Bush-era strategists have largely ignored that reality in favor of get-out-the-vote and other organizational techniques. The defects of that approach seem increasingly apparent.

Meanwhile, Joe Scarborough blames the media, which he says is anti-Romney.

Here's a shocking thing, and I know it's going to stun a lot of people, and I hate to make a leap of faith here, but from where I come from, 207 [Romney's delegate count] is higher than 142 [Huckabee's ]. Now I am not being a smart aleck, but I can read numbers and the news media can read numbers, and if the news media looked past the end of their nose, and looked past the narrative that they wanted to tell, they would also bring up something else, Mika: they would bring up the fact that Mike Huckabee had a wonderful night last night, but the only other state in the Deep South, that is his home base, from now till the end of the process: Mississippi . . . I have to point this out time and time again: I am not in the tank for Mitt Romney.

I am flabbergasted that people in the media are as blinded by hatred for one candidate. I know all the other candidates have said they hate Mitt Romney: it's everybody against Romney, and that's fine: they can hate him if they want. But the news media is supposed to report dispassionately. If they did, they would look at the future calendar and say this . . . as we move forward friends, right now, John McCain is not the presumptive nominee, but he is close to that. A couple of more big wins for John McCain and he will represent the Republican party this fall.

But as we move forward, the states that are going to be on the calendar are states where Mike Huckabee will not be as strong unless he expands dramatically past his evangelical base. What does that mean? That means Mitt Romney finally has what Mitt Romney has wanted since Iowa: a one-on-one where the conservative runs against the moderate. One other thing that Mitt Romney has: money.

Now if you look at the calendar, if you look at what's coming up in the future, you don't say that this is Mitt Romney's to lose. But you sure as hell don't say he should drop out of the race. We heard that Mitt Romney should drop out of the race after Iowa, after New Hampshire, after Florida. It continues, over and over again, and I'll be damned if we didn't hear it again last night. We've been beating this drum -- look at all the states the man won. He won Maine, he won Massachusetts, he won Michigan. He won all of those states; he's got the second most delegates; he's got the most money. And yet the media continues to scream: "drop out."

I couldn't help but notice that on Fox Tuesday night, Bill Kristol, who I hear is a a McCain supporter, said that Romney had to get out of the race, but nothing about Huckabee who won fewer delegates.

I agree with Scarborough up to a point. I believe this race is mathematically over and is McCain's.

After last night, there are 1,333 delegates still up for grabs. Romeny has 244 and needs 947 to reach the magic number of 1,191 delegates to win. In effect, Romney needs to win 71 per cent of the remaining delegates, with just five winner-take-all states remaining. Given his current performance and no sign Huckabee will drop out it's not possible.

I think Romney will stay in this race for two reasons.

1. By default, Romney has become the candidate of movement conservatives, including influential talk radio hosts Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. There's no doubt that Romney will be the star when he attends this week's CPAC convention. Ingraham will introduce him when he speaks tomorrow afternoon.

2. However, as the movement conservative's candidate, Romney is now in a position to solidify these new allies within the party for a bid in 2012 -- whether or not McCain wins the 2008 election.

The New York Times reports that Romney's team is not giving up and is even considering stealing Huckabee delegates who are not technically committed.

As an example of the Romney campaign’s hurriedly revised calculations, aides had begun discussing an unlikely strategy that relies on delegates who are pledged to other candidates but who are not technically bound to them. Under that plan, the advisers envision that conservative fears continue to work against Mr. McCain, buying time and fueling a series of big victories for Mr. Romney. That would place him at a point where he has enough momentum to wrest some of the promised but not bound delegates into his column at a contested convention.

“Anybody who says it’s all going to be a mathematical exercise is wrong,” said Tom D. Rath, a senior adviser in the Romney campaign. “The math will follow the politics.”

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