After perceiving that the public wasn’t thrilled with his supposed gaffe in re: the poor and their safety net, Romney attempted to correct course to appeal (or some might say pander) to the poor. He proposed indexing the minimum wage to inflation and automatically increasing it annually. Never mind that any good Conservative should realize such a measure would virtually destroy employment for the young, for the disadvantaged, and for those not fully educated and thus needing unskilled labor positions – this bit of gamesmanship reveals something more disturbing to me than Romney’s lack of fidelity to Conservative principles of smaller, more efficient government and free market capitalism. This is a part of an ever-increasing pattern of decisions on his part that reveal how badly he underestimates Americans. When he wants to appeal to you…he offers you goodies like any good progressive would. And this is just one way he is operating in order to win the nomination.
So far, Romney is 3 for 8 in primary states, and the three he’s won included two small and out of the way states that don’t represent traditional Conservative bases of support. New Hampshire won’t win us the Presidency and neither will Nevada. Florida might, but only if they are added to a list of swing state victories that will include many in the heartland. Places like Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina…all states Obama carried in 2008 (!). All places (with the exception of Michigan, where his father once governed) where Romney is very unpopular. Romney’s response has been to play a very small game. Rather than making a sweeping appeal for more support – rather than upping his game in response to Santorum’s victories in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota – Romney is downplaying the significance of all of those states. He is saying that the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses and the Missouri “beauty contest” primary awarded no delegates to Santorum and that if those races had mattered, he’d have campaigned harder there and performed better.
Maybe he’s conserving his energy for the national election, but this is very bad juju, if you ask me. What he’s essentially saying to Conservatives everywhere is that he doesn’t care whether they’re comfortable with him or not. He thinks his nomination is inevitable (probably because the media keeps repeating this mantra over and over) and he, therefore, cares only about doing what he needs to get a majority of the electors, not about winning over the party. In light of this, elect Romney as your candidate at your own VERY GREAT peril. He thinks we’re unenthusiastic about his candidacy simply because we want a savior to fix everything that ails the party – not because he’s done anything wrong. He’s deluding himself. He’s underestimating you…and you shouldn’t let him get away with it. The voters in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado certainly didn’t.
Don’t get me wrong…Romney is still correct that his organization makes him very difficult to beat on Super Tuesday when the candidates will have to compete in multiple states at once (this takes massive capital to do well and does not play to Santorum’s strengths mingling with his constituents so that they can realize just how decent and serious he is in person). He’s not wrong that it’s still unlikely he’ll be unseated. But we don’t need a candidate who rests on his laurels and makes assumptions about what should happen based on polling data, statistics, demographics and war room maps (and especially on media opinion). We need a candidate who fights HARD…ALWAYS…to step up his game and do just a little better today than he did yesterday. Santorum does this because he has to…he has no resources and is running on passion and conviction alone, but he’d do that even if he were the front-runner, I honestly believe. Romney…Romney thinks this is a game and he thinks he’s winning going away. That is not the man we need to defeat Barack Obama.
I will repeat my endorsement for Rick Santorum again…and I will continue to repeat it until he’s eliminated or victorious. Romney is a loser in the winner’s circle – a born wuss. We need a leader who has learned to scrap for everything he’s earned and who has a message that will resonate with an American people who feel ignored by their government. Santorum has the best chance of being that leader…I hope we realize this as a party before we rush to marry Willard Mitt.