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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

After Super Tuesday, Romney Still Frontrunner But A 'Hold Your Nose' Candidate

By Susan Duclos

Super Tuesday is over and Mitt Romney took the majority of states and Ohio by the thinnest of margins with a one percent lead over Santorum with 97 percent if the votes tallied, Sanotrum took three and Gingrich won in Georgia.

Romney is still the front runner but has less than half the 1,144 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination but yesterday's contests say more about Romney's inability to close the deal, so to speak, than anything else.

Jeff Zeleny at NYT writes:

The Republican race was always destined to plod on, considering that none of the candidates have reached even half of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination. But the campaign is suddenly bracing for new questions about Mr. Romney’s ability to piece together a coalition needed to move closer to a general election fight with President Obama.

Spot on.

Conservatives are ambivalent about Mitt Romney, those that support the other candidates do so for many reasons, one of which is undoubtedly a complete lack of enthusiasm for a Romney nomination. It is described as "anti-Romney" sentiment.

Should Romney win the GOP nomination to go up against Obama in November 2012, many conservatives describe their eventual support as "holding their nose and voting for him" because the thought of another four years of Obama is unacceptable in their eyes.

Voters, especially those considered the Republican "base" should be enthused about their candidate and almost every state's primary and/or caucus that Romney has won to date has shown a lower turnout than seen in 2008 indicating a lack of enthusiasm which cannot be denied.

The Republican establishment pushed the "Romney is inevitable" meme from the beginning of the primary season and they may just get what they wanted in the end, but if they do they will have damaged Republicans chances of beating Obama in ways that are just becoming apparent as Romney's negatives now top his positives among Independents.

The hold your nose and vote portion of the conservative base may trudge to the polls in November and cast their vote for Romney against Obama, but will they fight for Romney during what will be a brutal campaign?

Do they have any ammunition other than "Obama failed" with which to fight with?

Romney and the pro-Romney SuperPACS have not spent their time and 5-to-1 margin of money promoting Mitt Romney and giving conservatives a reason to vote for him, they have spent their considerable resources telling the conservative base why they shouldn't vote for the other candidates.

In other words, to put it simply, Mitt Romney has not convinced us, the base, why he is any better than Barack Obama. His past record, exactly what we encouraged voters to look at in 2008 with Obama, and were ignored while the general populace instead looked at his promises of hope and change, is not very different than Obama's record.

In 2008, The republican establishment chose a candidate as well and we saw, buttons, bumper stickers and T-Shirts like the one below:

How did that work out for us?

The Republican establishment better hope candidates do not drop out, pray the battle continues to plod on until the convention, because if they want Romney as the eventual nominee, they need that time to provide conservatives a reason to become enthused over the candidate chosen rather than just holding their noses and voting for the "not Obama" candidate.