Monday, 19 January 2015

The Myth of Mitt

It was surprise and a bit of incredulity that Mitt Romney disclosed to a room full of members of the Republican Party, and the rest of the world, that he is seriously considering a third bite at the Presidential apple.

As any devotee to the pageantry of poliics knows, anything is possible and aside from a Chappaquiddick style screw-up, there are few things that will rule out a presidential promise entirely. The Draft Mitt website has been around since last year and while the current amount of pledged is peanuts in the grand scheme of things, that could be all set to change.

 
 Photo: lehighvalleylive.com 


While the majority of the GOP is still squaffing at the moment of the Romney name headlining election posters once again, the reality is, such a scenario is more plausible than it initially seems - and has the opportunity to become very appealing very quickly for a party that needs a strong, identifiable candidate to go head-to-head with inevitable Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Romney's primary problem currently is credibility. Fairly or unfairly, following the public gaffes and less-than-popular soundbites about entitled Americans, binders full of women and his enjoyment of firing people, a man used to a great deal of professional success became an international laughing stock.

This is the point where I'd like to qualify that I identify myself as a curious Democrat - by that I mean that I don't think all Republican ideas are necessary bad ideas just because they come from Republican. I also try to judge political players fairly and with a bi-partisan perspective. So it is in that spirit which I offer the argument that Romney, while bringing a lot of his problems upon himself, is not the overly-entitled write-off that the Democrats and media would like to paint him as.

As it stands, there are two issues that are going to dominate 2016 - income and international. It is on the latter that Romney has demonstrated an insight that could go someway to fixing his credibility issues. He forewarned about the rise of ISIS in a post-Bin Laden Al Qaeda environment, he expressed strong concern about the new direction and tone Vladimir Putin then appeared to be taking in relation to domestic nationalism. While I won't go so far as agreeing with the overly-simplistic comments some sycophant staffer appears to have made, I will say that Romney has demonstrated more insight than some previously successful candidates when it comes to foreign policy.

It's not only the spread of Islamic terrorism that makes FP an important feature of the next election cycle - it's Clinton herself. Barring an apocalypse, she is going to be the Democratic nomination for 2016 and with that comes a sharp focus on her own success and failures as Secretary of State and of course, Benghazi. A strong foreign policy alternative is going to be required.

Clinton is going to draw a massive voting bloc that Republicans have always found difficult to successfully court anyway -women. No matter who the GOP candidate ends up being, unless they run a female candidate in order to split the "first-time magic" buzz that circulates the possibility of electing the first female US President, they're going to have a hard time balancing the genders. So Romney's previous issues getting women to vote for him is more of a party-issue than an exclusive candidate one.

Republicans are rightly concerned about key areas - women, minorities and the youth vote - that they are consistently finding difficult to attract. And while Romney has a bigger perception problem when it comes to these topics than an unknown, there is one particular attribute of his that could over-ride those concerns.

Because one of the biggest muscles that Romney can flex is ironically money. Due to the legal changes to Super PAC funding and the sheer amount of money it takes to mount a successful Presidential campaign, it is incredibly important for any prospective pick to be able to pull in the funds - from individuals, from donors, from corporations, from the lobbying groups. Squaring off against the Clinton Powerhouse, where good ole Bill is always ready with a smile and the mere mention of Hillary's name makes chequebooks open, the GOP knows they have to run someone who can compete with the big boys. As is stands, no other Republican potential has the same level of name-recognition of Mitt Romney, or track record of drawing in the chips.

When it comes to the boil, the biggest question dogging Romney, as it has done since his initial run, regards how in touch with the common man can a millionaire, who has known nothing but wealth and prestige his entire life identify, be? How can he run a country for the masses when he is a member of the elite few?  The very same point was once raised about a previous candidate. He went on to become one of the most beloved and respected US President's in history.

If there's one rule in politics, it's that there are no rules - and everybody loves a comeback kid.

Mucho Love,

Vicky xoxo
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