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Anyone but Mitt

Romney vs. the GOP
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  May 25, 2011


Political leaders don't always rally around the front-runner for their party's presidential nomination, but they normally at least offer deference and respect. That doesn't, however, seem to be the case with Mitt Romney.

In fact, several of the party's most influential figures seem intent on bringing Romney down — and, at least according to some, it's personal. Many top national Republicans simply dislike him, and don't want him to end up in charge of the party.

It has been widely reported — although officially denied — that Mike Huckabee holds a bitter grudge against Romney from the 2008 campaign. Same for Rudy Giuliani, who, according to US News & World Report, is now strongly considering entering the race solely to beat Romney in New Hampshire.

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman's bitterness toward Romney is so well-established that observers have openly speculated that his expected candidacy is also a Mitt-sabotaging assignment. Texas Governor Rick Perry has taken public shots at Romney and allowed his top campaign aides to work for Newt Gingrich.

Meanwhile, Tim Pawlenty can now consolidate anti-Romney support, thanks to the announcements of non-candidacy from Huckabee on May 14 and Mitch Daniels on the 22nd — conveniently right before Pawlenty's official campaign launch on May 23.

That means that, barring a surprise late entry, the next eight months will be a battle between Romney and Pawlenty.

Huckabee had Pawlenty as a guest on his Fox News show the weekend before Pawlenty's launch. Jeb Bush followed the day after with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal praising Pawlenty.

Such public shows of support from highly influential Republicans were notably absent for Romney, by contrast, after his big speech about health-care reform earlier this month.

There has also been, for a front-runner, a glaring lack of top-tier party-establishment figures at Romney's big recent fundraising events.

Meanwhile, Pawlenty used his official launch to none-too-subtly position himself as the anti-Romney — unveiling his campaign slogan: "Time for Truth."

Ostensibly, Pawlenty was criticizing Barack Obama, but political observers say he was clearly establishing a line of attack against the notoriously truth-challenged Romney. In addition to at least 15 uses of the word "truth," Pawlenty's speech included seemingly Romney-targeted lines, such as "Leadership in a time of crisis isn't about telling people what you think they want to hear."

It sounds like Pawlenty is telling Romney haters exactly what they want to hear.

Related: The Road to 2012: The New New Hampshire, Mapping out the New Year's political landscape, New and improved Romney, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Mitt Romney, New Hampshire, Mike Huckabee,  More more >
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12 Comments / Add Comment

Jason E. Iarossi

I think that the critical thing about Mitt Romney is what happened to his father, George Romney. The elder Romney famously ran for President back in '68 and was poised to defeat Richard Nixon. George Romney was much like his son Mitt is today: tall, handsome, and a successful businessman with really sound morals. He had no personal skeletons in the closet, other than the fact that he was a Mormon. In fact, I don't even think it was that big a deal back in 1968: a person's religion, even among Republicans. The trouble, if you can call it that, was that Romney was a successful businessman (former head of now-defunct AMC ~ American Motors Corporation) and local politician. He was a two-term governor of Michigan, and his policies would today be called "liberal republican,moderate, centrist, etc." He was hardly a hard-core right-winger or ideologue. However, getting back to george Romney's "flaws:" he actually was forthright and honest, which he derived from being a businessman and moralist; and a successful local politician where folks appreciate down-home honesty.
This worked against him terribly, and it ultimately cost him the Republican nomination for President. What happened was that George Romney was not a Barry Goldwater ultra-conservative, nor was he a Hawk. His position on the war in Vietnam, which by now had devolved into a major conflict with hundreds of thousands of American soldiers on the ground, the involvement of other nations like China and the Soviet Union; both of whom were supplying Hanoi with war materiel, and massive domestic (i.e.American) unrest and dissent; was not clear. And it was not clear because he, George Romney himself, was not so clear about what was really going on in Vietnam. So in the summer of 1967 he traveled to Vietnam and got the Official American (military) Version of the War: we are winning through winning of hearts-and-minds, winning through decimation of enemy forces (body counts, confirmed enemy kills, etc.), and the only road to travel down is increasing the war. We need more men, more war materiel, etc. The Pentagon was selling the Vietnam war, if you will, to important Americans because to a hammer the entire world resembles a nail. Well, this is not the case with all the Pentagon leadership but it was true of commanders like General William Westmoreland and others who were, in my opinion, true psychopaths.
But when George Romney came back in late August/early September he made a very, very famous comment which would ultimately prove to be fatal to his presidential political career: he said that his travels abroad to Vietnam had caused him to be "brainwashed" by war-hungry Pentagon officials, generals, etc. And he took a firm stand AGAINST the Vietnam war. Later on, the Republican leadership, intent on expanding the war & just generally a bunch of dumb reactionaries, used the 'brainwashing' comment to destroy George's run for President, and Nixon edged him out for nomination of his party.
Well, what this has to do with the son is that Mitt learned the wrong lesson from his father: he learned to not really take a stand on any issue. His wavering and waffling is horrible: he is even tryiing to re-write history because this so-called Obamacare which he criticizes is actually very similar to health-care legislation passed in Massachusetts during his tenure as governor! Mitt must figure to himself that if he takes a firm stance on controversial issues it will spell the same fatality for him as it did his father back in '68.
Posted: May 25 2011 at 3:18 PM


I don't know how anyone can be taking this guy seriously. To me Mitt Romney comes across as a two-faced scumbag, a snake oil used car salesman (at the risk of insulting snake oil or used car salesmen), and he disgusts me on all levels. I don't think even he has any idea what his principles are; rather, I think his principles change in real time based on a shrewd calculation of how the voting public will interpret them.

He embodies the political power-thirsty dredge that has infected our political system with his perfectly gelled hair and specific number of hair threads dyed grey in just the right spots to send the right message to the simpler voting folks soaking up their daytime TV. If we can't get a man of integrity and principle in to the mainstream ( ) please, I beg you -- all people reading -- at least don't help allow this Gollum-type character come near his "Precious" -- more political power for him and his cronies.
Posted: May 25 2011 at 4:49 PM


You're making a lot of leaps here, assuming too much. It doesn't look to me like Mitt is unpopular. People wouldn't be donating like crazy (look at Nevada) if they didn't like him. The business of settling down to a nominee is a process, and everyone gets their say. Eventually there will be one person standing, and I for one am perfectly happy for it to be Romney.
Posted: May 25 2011 at 5:10 PM

Jed Merrill

There are a few similarities between the two health plans, not surprising considering Obama's came after Mitt's, but the difference is to our pocket books. ObamaCare is ultimately a trillion dollar tax bill (plus interest if we add it to the deficit), while Mitt's plan did not raise taxes for Massachusetts.

The fact that Romney was able to write a bill that cost $1 trillion less four years ahead of Obama shows his brilliance, or at least that Obama had another agenda besides getting people covered. I see ObamaCare as another ugly tool for Socialist "redistribution of wealth."

We can do better, and Mitt will do better.
Posted: May 25 2011 at 5:18 PM

Harry Lime

Governor Sarah Palin according to the Gallup polls now has a 71% approval rating with republicans AND republican leaning indys. Her approval is higher than any other GOP potential candidate. If all these people that constantly say “I love Sarah but I don’t think she can win” would get behind her instead of saying “I want to go with who I think will be the WINNER” instead of what is right for this country...if they would get behind her than you would see a totally different campaign. I guarantee Mr. Obama would be a one term president.

Her record in Alaska with working with democrats without compromising her conservative principles is what got her an 85% approval rating in her first year. She took on and beat an incumbent governor even though she was told it was a losing strategy. She beat him by 31.5%...51,443 votes to 19,412!!! Gov. Sarah Palin has what it takes to beat Mr. Obama. She’s the ONLY one that does!!!
Posted: May 25 2011 at 5:53 PM


As a serious conservative, I'm concerned about what's happening to the party. It's becoming the party of an ignorant mob, rather than principled citizens favoring limited government. The mob believes that because Governor Romney played a central role in healthcare reform in MA (where a liberal legislature with power to override his veto would have imposed its own solution had he failed to act) that he in fact caused it on the federal level. This is absurd. Simply b/c one historical event predates another, there's no evidence of a causal relationship.

Furthermore, the oft repeated rumors about the bill are false. To wit,

1. Waiting times have not actually increased in MA. 62% of all MA physicians verify this (see, "Romneycare" Facts and Falsehoods.").

2. People in MA are not dissatisfied with the program, as Mike Huckabee has falsely stated (see, Ibid). Public support is still high in the state. Haley Barbour at least got this right. I thank him here for his honesty.

3. Mitt never claimed that this type of reform should be adopted at the federal level, as he is often misquoted to have said. Jim Demint--the tea party darling--actually stated this. He only said he believed this would help serve as a model for other states. Keep in mind, he talked the legislature of MA down from a much more liberal reform. This itself was a conservative achievement.

4. The myth that the MA healthcare plan is bankrupting the state as Santorum claims is garbage. The cost of premiums have risen (as they have elsewhere), but the costs have been within projections of the MA Taxpayers Foundation. Also, the increase to the state budget for the cost of the reform was 1.2%.

Please do a little research. Engage in an informed dialogue--don't let the party fall prey to the demagoguery of the Barry Goldwater extremists. And remember Reagan's 11th Commandments--Republicans should never attack their own, especially when P. Obama is in the White House.
Posted: May 25 2011 at 6:39 PM


Here's a link showing the actual video and audio of Jim Demint actually stating that the plan implemented in MA should be nationalized. Note that Romney said the exact opposite in 2007, stating that his plan would work for a state but not nationally.
Posted: May 25 2011 at 6:53 PM


The first defeat last time may be not enough for the republican so they want to repeat it one more time for them to full or over enough so when Obama take the second term and then the republican return home and lick their wound for four more years,that may be good for them because it is time the republican fall or destroy by themselves,the democrats and Obama don't need to do any thing just stay and look republican fight themselves so Obama has enough time prepare to return to the white house in 2013. Last election they did the same thing now they still try harder to destroy Mitt,but if look around the country fairly no one is better than Mitt,stronger than Mitt, smarter than Mitt, most experienced than Mitt,, look more presidential than Mitt and qualify for the presidency than Mitt,the democrats and Obama just scare only Mitt,as now they had already attacked Mitt that proved that Mitt is the top,the number one and the real deal,if republican are smart and want to take back America for America they must unite behind Mitt,support Mitt,rally with Mitt to get the nominee early and prepare for the general election that is the good strategy for republican,right now the American people saw Mitt leadership that only he can lead America for prosperity and America will lead the world by Mitt leadership but the high level of republican turn against him and want to bring him down that is bad and stupid ideas from republican because instead they will respect and support their true leader but they destroy their own leader,when Mitt ahead in the poll and fundraising Obama and democrat are shaking but when republican fight their real leader Mitt they starting laughing and dancing,so you want to be the winner or want to be the loser again republican?
Posted: May 25 2011 at 7:07 PM


I will say the article is right about the kind of people influencing conservative Americans. It isn't Romney that is wrong it is the Fox Media group. They have lost their bearings in the last year, especially. I have been a faithful listener for three and half years and I am ashamed of the men that are the opinion makers of this generation. They recognize true honesty and I believe they despise it. The sensible citizens in this nation need a voice for the liberal left and the fringe right are making a mess of everything. Lies and mob mentality have become the character of too many. We got Obama because the right did the same thing last round. It is even worst this time. God bless America because we are destroying ourselves through our pride and self righteous attitudes. United we stand is becoming a thing of the past and it is opening doors for our enemies to take us down. We have done this to ourselves....either through apathy and ignorance, or through pride and arrogance.
Posted: May 25 2011 at 10:45 PM


Sink your teeth into this thought process
Posted: May 25 2011 at 11:29 PM
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