Romney Edges Closer to Run; I Say, "Go Ahead"
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 04:56:55 AM EST
With the conservative base of the Republican Party still largely skeptical about John McCain and likely reluctant to back a social moderate like Rudy Giuliani, there is still room for someone to run to the right of the pack and pick up the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. A couple of years ago, it looked like Rick Santorum might be the man, but that ended quickly. For the better part of the last year it appeared that George Allen would be the frontrunner for that slot, but macaca and his subsequent defeat at the hands of Jim Webb nixed that. Now, a cadre of relatively unknown and/or unpopular Republicans, including Newt Gingrich, Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo, are vying to occupy the right and thus take the nomination. So too is outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. And according to Scott Helman of The Boston Globe, Romney has already picked out his campaign headquarters.
Governor Mitt Romney, erasing any doubt that he intends to make a White House bid in 2008, is laying plans to run his presidential campaign from a three-story waterfront building at the edge of Boston's North End, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the proposed deal.
Romney's campaign team has not finalized a deal for the space yet, the sources said, but an agreement is expected soon. Romney has said he intends to make an official announcement after the first of the year about whether he will run for president in 2008.
Aside from the fact that polling indicates that Romney is the third most unpopular governor in the countryand additionally that it would be difficult for any member of the Mormon faith, Mitt Romney included, to win a presidential election, there are a growing number of reasons to believe that Romney would be a weak candidate in the general election should the Republicans back him during the primaries. As I have noted before, federal prosecutors are investigating whether the Romney administration actually performed the safety inspections it said it did on the Big Dig tunner, the partial collapse of which killed a woman this past summer. What's more, Romney's record on healthcare, upon which he is supposed to run, is much less impressive than he and others might have you think, with throwing mental patients on the streets being one of the more tangible examples of the failure that is the Romney administration.
But that's not all. Aside from winning a gubernatorial election in Massachusetts, a state that at the time tended to elect Republican governors, during a Republican-leaning year, Romney has proved a rather feckless campaigner and political strategist. On November 7, Romney's appointed heir Kerry Healey lost the Massachusetts Governor election by more than 20 points, and across the country, Republican efforts to protect their majority of governorships -- an effort that was headed by Romney as chairman of the Republican Governor's Association -- ranked somewhere between a complete and an utter failure, with Republicans unsuccessfully trying to pick up a single Democratic-held governor's mansion and losing a net six positions overall. The Hill's Aaron Blake has details about the unhappiness among Republican operatives about the poor record of the RGA under Romney's watch.
But despite the apparently overwhelming odds against them picking up seats in such places as Kansas and Oklahoma or holding outgoing Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R) seat in Arkansas, Republicans in those states are expressing discontent.
"If there was a message sent to the national party, (it was that) for a few weeks on TV in those states, I'm not going to promise victory for the Republicans, but the outcomes would have been drastically different," said one Kansas GOP operative who is "legitimately annoyed" with the national party.
"They seemed to be focused on states they maybe shouldn't have been focused on," the operative said, referring specifically to New Mexico and Michigan, where the governors association supported Dick DeVos, who lost to Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) by 14 points despite spending $18 million of his own money.
The operative said a lot of Republicans in the area are disappointed with the governors association.
The nomination of Mitt Romney to be the standard bearer of the Republican Party in 2008 would be an unmitigated failure for the party. Boy, would I love to see him try and go up against almost any Democrat considering a run at the White House (with the possible exception of Mike Gravel -- but then again, who knows, even the very unknown Gravel might be able to beat him...).