Romney, McCain, and Electability

We are starting to hear the “nominating McCain didn’t work out, so why go with Romney” theme develop in some circles. To us, that is nothing but a talking point that only works if elections are conducted in vacuums with no other factors at play. Of course, in real elections, that is the case. Other stuff matters that just the candidate.

We aren’t endorsing anyone at this point, as if anyone cares, but there are quite a few differences between the two, their campaigns, and the circumstances.

1. While it is true that Romney over time has not been the most conservative, he has not taken pleasure and/or intentionally jabbed his finger in the eyes of conservatives. McCain seems to get a kick out of it. Didn’t play well.

2. Romney isn’t running in an election of “Bush Fatigue,” whereas McCain was. Not a defense of McCain, but 2008 going in was going to be a very tough election to win no matter what for the GOP. Obviously his uneven performance didn’t help matters.

3. Not only was 2008 a tough year for the GOP, but once the stock market crashed, it didn’t matter anymore. There was nothing that McCain could have done.  May or may not happen again (largely depending on Europe) but this time it won’t be to the detriment of the Republican candidate.

4. Democrats, after 8 years of power in 2008, were fired up and wanted “change.” Now, the other side wants change – probably more than the Democrats did in either 2004 or 2008. 

5. Simply, the Obama mystique has worn off. That isn’t to say he won’t win, but now he has a record other than voting present in Illinois and he isn’t a blank slate that voters can turn into whatever they want to see. 

Romney, as it turned out, was politically fortunate to have lost the nomination in 2008. Can’t say for sure – and we don’t think he would have fared as poorly as McCain did, but he wouldn’t have won the general. Now he finds himself the frontrunner for the nomination against an extremely vulnerable president.

We shall see what happens tonight, but regardless, it doesn’t change the difference between the two and the circumstances.

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