GENERALLY UNELECTABLE, MITT ROMNEY WINS FLORIDA

Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts, has won the Florida Primary beating Newt Gingrich by 12 to 15 points depending on how the final tallies pan out. A clear...

Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts, has won the Florida Primary beating Newt Gingrich by 12 to 15 points depending on how the final tallies pan out. A clear victory for Romney however there are a few caution flags to pay attention to. 52% of Floridians did NOT vote for Mitt Romney, showing that he is still a divisive figure in his party. Also the population of Florida is decidedly older than the rest of the country with a majority of residence over 50 years of age – so this is more a marker on how Republicans over 50 might vote in a general election – important but it is only one factor in the national election.

Also, and this may be the most important thing,  Barack Obama, in a NBC/Marist poll taken between the 25th and the 27th, beats Mitt Romney in Florida by 8 points. This is a turn around from other polls taken before that period where Romney either tied the President or beat him by up to 5 points. This may mean that as Florida general election voters got to see Mitt Romney up close they decided to swing back to Obama – which brings into doubt Romney’s competitiveness in the general election. Nationally Obama is also leading Romney though by a narrower margin of 5 points.

Mitt needs to do better.

Going negative most likely has hurt Romney’s ability to be competitive against Obama and he will have to balance that carefully as Newt Gingrich turns up the heat as the Primary drags on. The greatest myth of the 2012 Presidential election is Mitt’s ability to beat Obama – he can’t. The numbers just do not stack up. Consider these two big issues:

Health Care - Both have health care plans with Private companies in an exchange. The President’s plan, voted on and amended by both chambers of Congress, allows States time to create their own programs, like Mitt Romney did, before they put the national insurance exchange online. The more voters realize there is little real daylight between the plans they cancel each other out. Net zero for both candidates. This could swing in Obama’s favor if in the General Election Mitt continues to say he’ll repeal it as the Affordable Care Act does many things voters will ultimately not want repealed like not allowing pre-existing conditions to be reasons for insurance companies to deny coverage. If the Affordable Care Act were repealed insurance companies could return to that practice – so if someone who does not have insurance discovers they have cancer or are pregnant they would be denied coverage if the bill was repealed. So Mitt has to ride this issue very carefully otherwise what could be a net zero for each candidate could give Obama an easy victory.

Economy – Mitt Romney had a fairly successful four years as governor of Massachusetts economically speaking – great credentials going into a general election in any year, however when stacked up against a sitting President it’s hard to argue that running a small state is comparable to a national economy. Yes the economy was hit bad in 2008 prior to Obama’s election but we are in fact recovering – at a time when Republicans most likely wish it was slowing. The DOW and S&P had their best January of the entire 21st Century – that is a far cry from the anemic stock market that Obama met on his first day in office. Romney also has to be careful when it comes the subject of jobs – his own record is spotty and his time at Bain makes him look more like a character out of the film Wall Street than say the Kevin Kline film Dave. And since, under Obama’s leadership, the economy has steadily added jobs and looks to continue that trend through the general, the jobs argument actually weakens the closer we get to November. Mitt can score some points but not as many as people may think. After all many us, myself included, were unemployed at the beginning of Obama’s Presidency but we now have employment and opportunity. Things are getting better. Not good for Romney.

The Economy and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act both should be, theoretically, easy wins for Romney but upon closer inspection you find they cancel themselves out when compared to President Obama. Which leaves us with two big elephants in the room that Romney can not over come no matter who was in the Oval office:

FOREIGN POLICY

Mitt Romney has no foreign policy experience and he’s not running against Obama in 2008, he’s running against President Barack Obama in 2012, the man who did what Republicans and Bill Clinton before him failed to do  – rid the world of two our greatest enemies – Osama Bin Laden and Omar Gaddafi. Both tyrants killed many Americans over the years and previous Presidents only slapped Gaddafi on the wrist and showed little interest in getting Bin Laden.  These two huge victories coupled with Democracy spreading in the Mid-East and the rescue of Americans from pirates of all things make Obama look incredibly strong against Mitt who’s only foreign policy experience is making business deals, potentially outsourcing jobs to foreign countries and setting up his own off shore accounts. Which brings me to the final reason Mitt is not competitive despite pundits and polls to the contrary:

WEALTH

Mitt Romney is rich. Very rich. Worth over 250 million dollars his wealth overshadows the few million Obama is worth. Mitt comes from a well-known and respected family. His father, George Romney, was a CEO of American Motors and was Governor of Michigan and also ran for President. Mitt likes to act as if he’s self-made but ultimately he is not. Average Americans will be unable to relate to Mitt who has chosen to be unemployed for the last several years so he could run for President. Had Romney done something more with his time other than complain about Obama while perpetually running for President he might be able to turn his wealth into an asset. Sadly Mitt Romney decided to stick to campaigning. He either needed to serve in some public capacity like he did as Governor (he chose not to run for re-election) or to start-up companies or charities to help in the economic recovery. This is compared to President Obama who comes from a single mother household, partially raised by his grandparents from Kansas, his grandfather a WWII vet.  He is self made. He went to community college first before going into student loan debt to attend Harvard where he became the first black President of the Harvard Law Review. His wife, the First Lady, came from humble beginnings and has a lineage that goes back to the slavery era and like her husband had to struggle to pay for her education. The two of them only paid off their student loan debt just prior to his winning the Presidency in 2008. Their wealth is very recent and comes primarily from book sales. This is in stark contrast to Mitt Romney who comes off as yet another politician following a family political dynasty.

Politics and national elections though are fickle things and national and world events may change the game again and somehow save Mitt a loss. Though doubtful that will happen.