OK, so I spelled out what I know about Mitt Romney So, what does that all mean? Let me give you the takeaway points, the things that most people won’t tell you.
Mitt Romney has run for public office exactly three times, and was thoroughly defeated twice.
Further, his hand-picked successor as governor was also thoroughly defeated, which I also lay at his feet.
Finally, my most important point about Romney, and why I think he won’t be president: Romney lacks one quality that is almost essential for a successful presidential candidate: passion.
No, not personal passion. But the ability to inspire passion in his supporters.
Looking back at the elections of the past fifty-odd years, the candidate who inspired the most passionate support almost always won.
- 1960: Kennedy vs. Nixon.
- 1964: Johnson over Goldwater. While Goldwater had the more passionate supporters, Kennedy had been martyred less than a year ago.
- 1968: Nixon over Humphrey. Nixon wasn’t exactly passion-inspiring, but there was a lot of passion against the Democrats.
- 1972: Nixon over McGovern. Another oddball case. The Democrats were thoroughly screwed up, and Nixon’s campaign cheated like hell.
- 1976: Young, vigorous Jimmy Carter vs. Boring Gerald Ford and the ghost of Watergate.
- 1980: Ronald Reagan versus old, worn-out Jimmy Carter.
- 1984: Ronald Reagan versus Walter “yawn” Mondale.
- 1988: Drone Warfare. Mildly interesting George H. W. Bush defeats Robot Dukakis.
- 1992: Bill Clinton versus George H. W. Bush.
- 1996: Bill Clinton versus Bob Dole.
- 2000: George W. Bush versus Al Gore. Another case of “drone warfare,” that one came down to the wire so close it took the Supreme Court to settle it.
- 2004: War president George W. Bush versus John Kerry.
- 2008: Young, fresh Barack Obama versus grumpy old John McCain. However, in that case, Sarah Palin and her supporters made that race a hell of a lot closer than it would have been.
If you listen to Romney supporters, they can give you all kinds of reasonable explanations why he would be a good president. What they lack are the unreasonable arguments. The really excited Romney supporters are very, very few. Even Mormons who would love to see one of their own as president are still… well, Mormons. They don’t get that demonstrative in public.
And as much as I don’t care to admit it, that unreasoning factor is still a major force in politics. I believe it was decisive in Obama’s election, and it will be critical in next year’s election. And even if we put up Romney — the “perfect candidate” on paper — that factor pretty much guarantees his defeat.
And there’s one more factor. Romney, as is fairly typical for most Mormons, comes across to me as a nice, decent, pleasant, honorable guy. But his campaign is as ruthless and cutthroat as any I’ve seen. I do NOT want to reward that kind of campaign with my vote.
If Romney wins the nomination, I can pretty much guarantee that he’ll get my vote. But I can also pretty much guarantee that he won’t get my vote in New Hampshire’s primary. There, I’ll be voting with my heart. And Romney comes no higher than third in that race.