Romney Struggles to Engage GOP Base


Kelsi Lerner, Staff Writer

The Huffington Post recently asked its readers the question: what is Mitt Romney’s real first name? The results thus far: John (11.27%), Mitt (16.52%), Mittens (16.67%), Edwin (17.03%), and, finally, Willard (38.51%). Mitt Romney is so out of touch with his audience that they apparently don’t even know his name.

Mitt’s likeability problem has caused me great emotional trauma. Every night before I go to bed, I clutch a picture of Mitt Romney to my chest and whisper, “Why? Why does no one but me like you?”

Mitt Romney, who served as Governor of Massachusetts from January 2003 to 2007, and won the Iowa, Florida, and New Hampshire caucases, is easily the most popular candidate within the Republican party. So why is he getting so little love from the GOP? He’s moderate, sane, and a Mormon- what more could we possibly ask for?

However, Republicans continue to look for alternatives to poor Mittens among the other candidates: Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and apparently now Stephen Colbert in South Carolina. He’s like the last girl at a school dance, not the prettiest or the nicest, but, eh, she’ll do. Even Jon Huntsman’s support for Mitthew is no great gain, except for that now moderates know for sure whom to vote for. (Do I hear a Romney/Huntsman 2012, anyone?). The fact of the matter is, Edwin Romney is being shunned by the Republican party.

The GOP has taken on a kind of “Flavor of the Week” approach, essentially backing any candidate that isn’t as moderate as Mitt Romney, despite how evil they may be (I’m looking at you, Newt). It’s gone too far, with Santorum first almost winning the Iowa Caucus if not for eight votes, (and finally ending the caucus in a tie) and Newt Gingrich’s surpring victory in South Carolina…things are not looking hot for John Romney.

But why are Republicans so anti-Romney? Complaints of flip-flopping are abundant, but this seems more like an excuse than anything. Trying to please everyone isn’t a trait unique to Romney, but politicians in general. If anti-Romnites think he’s flip-flopping now, wait until the primaries are over; then we’ll see who’s flip-flopping. The fact of the matter is, it’s Willard’s moderate views that are making him seem like such a leper. He’s tried to deny his moderate policies, like distancing himself from his 2006 health care bill and agreeing with Rick Perry when the timing is right. Despite his efforts, there are still haters. Maybe standing next to Michelle Bachman and Ron Paul in debates just makes him look a little too sane.

With the sudden surge of frothy mixture from Santorum, the morally apathetic Gingrich supporters, and Paul’s slim but steady supporters, it seems as though Romney’s chance at becoming the sole Republican nominee is at an all-time low. The Ron Paul supporters will never really be totally for Romney considering Paul isn’t really a Republican to begin with. But after Gingrich’s surprising victory in South Carolina, Romney’s looking more and more like the unfavorite. According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll from Jan. 26, Gingrich is favored over Romney 37 to 28 percent. However, the same poll found that America in general has negative feelings about Gingrich and that Romney fares far better in a hypothetical match-up against Obama. The Florida primary is evident of this: Romney might not be popular in the more conservative states, but America in general is another story.

Romney’s clearly an intelligent man. With an MBA and Law degree from Harvard, there’s no denying his accomplishments. But in today’s economy, is the public unreceptive to his successes?

So, is Romney too moderate for the Republican party? My predictions are as follows: the GOP will soon run out of alternate candidates to back, and the people will eventually choose Romney as their presidential candidate. Romney seems to constantly secure at least 30 percent of the vote, and, unless Paul drops out and runs as a third party candidate, Romney will eventually secure enough votes to inevitably become the primary candidate. Romney’s getting there, and when he does, the GOP will back him.