Monday, January 2, 2012

Predicting 2012 – The Details of the Romney/McDonnell Victor

How Exactly Do M and M Defeat Mr. Obama – Here’s How

Although it is more than 10 months until the 2012 Presidential election, The Dismal Political Economist has gone on record (to be erased, if necessary) that Mitt Romney will easily win the Republican nomination for President, that he will choose Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell as his Vice Presidential running mate and that the team of Mitt and McDonnell (hence the M and M) will defeat the team of Obama and Biden. 

The question as to “why”  make a prediction at this time is easy to answer.  There is no downside.  If the prediction is wrong, well who cares, and besides in the tradition of Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, we can say we never said these things, didn't read them, don't know who wrote it and deny everything.  Of it is correct then in postings after November 2012 we can brag incessantly and obnoxiously about how we knew how things were going to turn out.

The question as to “how” M and M win requires a more detailed explanation.  Here are the major factors.

  1. Money:  The Republicans will have an unlimited amount of money to spend in large part because of unlimited contributions in negative advertising from wealthy donors who fund programs like Karl Rove’s 501(c)(4) organizations.  No matter how much the Obama people project what will be spent against, the actual number will be more.

  1. The Debates:  Mr. Obama is being touted as a great person in debates, but Mr. Romney will have spent the past year before the first Presidential debates constantly debating his Republican rivals, while Mr. Obama will have done none of that.  This experience will allow Mr. Romney to be comfortable and confident, and Mr. Obama will be like a highly regarded but inexperienced rookie quarterback going up against an old pro.

The second aspect of the debates is that Mr. Romney will win them. This will not be because he will be a superior debater, or even a more knowledgeable contestant.  It will be because the debates will be debating the Presidency of Mr. Obama, who will be constantly on the defensive.  With no offensive weapons Mr. Obama will lose by default.

  1. Lack of government experience by Mr. Romney:  The fact that Mr. Romney’s only other job in government was as Governor of Massachusetts will give Mr. Obama little opportunity to attack Mr. Romney.  In fact, Mr. Romney’s signature accomplishment is something Mr. Obama emulated, and he readily admits this, so he will have no Romney record to attack.

  1. Impression of Moderation:  Mr. Romney has run the primary campaign as a moderate, at least compared to his opponents.  Every single competitor to Mr. Romney ran as a more Conservative Republican than Mr. Romney.  While this is damaging to Mr. Romney in his effort to secure the nomination, as long as it is not fatal it will be immensely helpful to Mr. Romney in the general election.

Mr. Romney’s flip flopping is old news.  Many voters will simply assume that Mr. Romney shares their views, since he will have some evidence that at some time he did.  Mr. Romney’s Medicare plan reforms say that traditional Medicare will still be available (it won’t, it cannot be sustained in a premium subsidized system) so no attack can come from that direction.  He tax plan is so vague it cannot even be scored and other than elimination of the Estate Tax, which no one cares about except the very rich, the plan has tax cuts for the middle class.

  1. Enthusiasm:  Republicans will be far more enthusiastic than Democrats.  This will show up once the polling goes to likely voters and away from registered voters.

  1. Political Incompetence:  Mr. Obama not only does not enjoy politics, he is very poor at practicing the art of politics.  His failures as President have been largely failures of a political nature.  He does not understand the opposition and has the wrong strategy (bi-partisan cooperation rather than confrontation). 

Jim Messina
Mr. Messina - Good Grief!

Mr. Obama’s campaign strategy looks incredibly naïve.  A report in the L. A. Times gives an inside look into the campaign. 

Team Obama lays out electoral map strategy

And somebody named Jim Messina explains how Mr. Obama can win.  The strategy starts this way.

The Obama campaign likes to start with the states that John Kerry won in the 2004 election, on the theory that these rock-solid blue states are a lock for the Democratic nominee. Building on the 251 electoral votes that Kerry received, the Obama campaign believes that it can win a second term if any of the following strategies pans out. 

This is incompetence of such a magnitude that one wonders if it is a deliberately misleading disclosure, designed to lull the Romney people into complacency by pretending to be completely inept.  Unfortunately there is not indication that the Obama team is that smart.

The problem is that the Kerry states are not rock solid.  Look at the map. Look at the large swath of red, that's territory the Dems are conceding to the Republican.  Look at the blue.  Does Mr. Messina not know that Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were swept by Republicans in 2010. Does he not know that New Jersey elected a Republican Governor and that Democrats suffered a huge defeat in 2010.  Is he ignorant of the fact that in 2004, which was 8 years ago, an eternity in politics, Mr. Kerry was running against George W. Bush who even then was unpopular.

In 2008 Mr. Obama won because in large part he was not George W. Bush or his alter ego, John McCain.  Independents and many Democrats did not vote for Mr. Obama because they wanted Mr. Obama, they voted for him because they did not want Bush/McCain.  If Mr. Obama and his advisors are so naïve as to believe that the election will be anything other than a referendum on Mr. Obama, then they deserve to lose.

Ok, is the election a lock for Mr. Romney?  No, Mr. Obama cannot win the election but Mr. Romney and the Republicans can still lose it.  If the independent groups go over the top and create a reaction against their vicious and misleading ads or if Republicans cannot hide their true positions of how they would govern or if the Dems can effectively attack Mr. Romney or  if there is an event that somehow allows Mr. Obama to demonstrate Presidential leadership, then Mr. Obama can indeed come out ahead. 

Mr. Obama, like Mr. Clinton before him has squandered one of the largest stocks of political capital that anyone has ever assembled.  He can get it back, but don’t bet the farm.

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