Romney’s ceiling is John McCain

In every presidential cycle, there has been a middle of the pack candidate that has emerged as the antithesis of the favorite of the party establishment. In December of 1991, Bill Clinton was not even mentioned as a leading candidate. In 2008, Barack Obama leapfrogged over John Edwards to begin the longest (and most interesting) nomination battle in the last forty years.

Yesterday’s tie between Romney and Santorum is the movement I have been waiting for. This year, the antithesis candidate is not inside the Democratic party; it is in the Republican party. The two cases mentioned above was a debate over which candidate would be the most progressive (liberal). In 2012, in the Republican party, the candidate to rock the boat of the establishment seems to be which candidate will provide a conservative vision of the role of government versus the liberal mantra of change of President Obama.

John McCain’s endorsement has come at the worst possible time for Romney. With a message from the Republican primary electorate that his conservative credentials are questionable at best, the only thing that Romney can hang his proverbial hat (and his presidential campaign on) is that he is the only candidate that can beat Obama in November. Coming out of Iowa with a statistical tie with Santorum, who is emerging as the conservative alternative, the endorsement by McCain is problematic because of two reasons:

1) McCain’s endorsement does not help Romney win over conservatives (in fact, it may solidify their uneasiness with Romney).

2) Last time I checked… McCain did rather poorly versus Obama.

It is this last point that is the kicker. Romney as the establishment candidate has hit his ceiling. McCain’s endorsement was supposed to catapult Romney to the nomination after his commanding win in Iowa.

Instead, the endorsement will set the stage for a battle within the Republican party similar to the Obama – Clinton primary marathon of 2008. If Santorum can leverage his near win, by raising money and building a staff in five or six key states, we may see a real fight for the soul of the Republican party.

  

Author: TONY CAMPBELL, Columnist

Share This Post On

6 Comments

  1. Pipe dream.

    The only way Santorum has a chance is if all of the other conservative candidates drop out of the race.

    The problem is…do Reps really want that? Obama would destroy Santorum. Absolutely and utterly destroy him.

    As far as McCain’s endorsement goes. McCain has been half crazy since he lost the election. He is been to the right of his older views on many issues since 2008.

  2. I honestly don’t think Santorum will get that far. He has a record of corruption that the media will love.

  3. The GOP rollercoaster ride just can’t seem to end… but it will – and it will end badly. Too bad, since a healthy and sane foil to the democrats could be a good thing. Given the republican “leadership” of the past couple decades I don’t hold out much hope for that sanity thing.

  4. I am not sure that the flame out of the Republican party this year would be such a bad thing if they are somehow able to nominate a True Conservative™, a Tea Partier even. The focus of the party has become so narrow since McCain’s defeat allowed the party the fiction that they lost because he was too moderate, not a True Conservative™.

    What we have to fear is that a Romney defeat would take the party further right, if that is even possible.

  5. Santorum will not even get out of single digit percentile from here on out. Mark my words.

  6. “What we have to fear is that a Romney defeat would take the party further right, if that is even possible.”

    Good point merkin. That is exactly the sort of message some would take from it.

Submit a Comment