Editor's Note: This column was authored by Matt Mackowiak, the president of Potomac Strategy Group LLC.
Mitt Romney = John McCain.
The 2008 political environment differs from 2012. In 2008 it was Bush fatigue. McCain survived the primary; he did not win it. Everyone around him imploded. There was no tea party. Compromise and maverick tendencies were more acceptable then.
In 2012, the Republican Party will almost certainly nominate a conservative, whether it wants to or not.
Primary campaigns are about enthusiasm. There is little evidence of any enthusiasm for the 2012 presidential candidacy of Willard Mitt Romney anywhere outside of New Hampshire or the immediate Romney family or campaign staff.
The morning tip sheet “The Note”, which is produced each morning by ABC News, had the following trite headline on Oct. 4: “If Obama and Rick Perry are Losing, Why Isn’t Mitt Romney Winning?”
This is the salient question that defines the current presidential campaign.
Mitt Romney, the son of a presidential candidate, has been running for president since at least 2006, when he decided not to seek reelection after his sole term as Massachusetts Governor ended. In the 2008 campaign, he learned many hard lessons, spent heavily from his personal fortune and was easily defined as a “flip flopper,” a tag which has stuck. McCain and Mike Huckabee tag teamed to successfully prevent Romney from winning the nomination.
Today, as then, conservatives are understandably wary of Romney. He is not one of them. He was pro choice from 1957 to 2003. He boasted that he would be better on gay rights than Ted Kennedy when he challenged him for the U.S. Senate in the 1990s. He signed a health care reform bill as Governor of Massachusetts that was the template for Obamacare, with his former opponent, Kennedy, standing behind him cheering and smiling. He’s voiced concerns about the human “cause” of global climate change. He raised taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars as Governor, as the New York Times recently chronicled and anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist confirmed. The list goes on.
In full disclosure, I have financially contributed to Perry’s campaign. However I also opposed his reelection for Governor in 2010 when my former employer unsuccessfully challenged him in the Republican primary.