It’s obvious what Mitt Romney’s advisers decided to do in Florida. In order to prevent fatal wounding by a thousand cuts over a period of months, they elected to win quick and, if necessary, to win dirty. Yes, in the short run, those suffering the nine-day scorched-earth lead-in to the Florida primary might conclude that Romney was, as Newt put it, ruthlessly “carpet-bombing” with negative ads and presenting nothing positive about his own vision for America. But negative advertising has been proven over and over again to work, even though voters claim to dislike it. By November, general election voters wouldn’t even recall the Florida ugliness, so went the reasoning.
With attackers from his own party out of the way, Romney would have the luxury of attacking only President Obama (always a crowd pleaser), and unveiling his own rationale for wanting to be president (we’re still waiting).
Romney’s people weren’t counting on the durability of Newt’s rage. Had Romney won in an honest, clean way, Newt might have gracefully folded his tent and offered his support in exchange for a juicy cabinet post. But they also knew that Romney’s support was so lukewarm that he ran a high risk of losing unless he went nasty.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Romney wins ugly in the Florida primary" »
While the Florida Republican primary is a spectator sport for many of us here in the Sunshine State, there’s a sense that we all may be witnessing history in the making.
If Mitt Romney clinches it, which, as of this writing, it looks like he will, it could represent the high water mark for tea party influence in the GOP. Yes, he won it dirty by outspending Newt Gingrich five-to-one, but winning by stuffing obscene amounts of money into the system has an honorable history here.
Romney’s victory will be a triumph of blandness, and a late-in-the-game spasm of muscle flexing by what is left of the Republican establishment⎯a group of old bulls that still has trouble accepting that their dalliance with the tea party was a Faustian pact.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: The Florida Primary is upon us" »
There is a rich history of political parties trying to influence the opposition’s winnowing process, in order to ensure that the least viable candidate is ultimately presented as the nominee.
No one should be surprised that the Democrats are running negative ads about Mitt Romney in hopes of aiding Newt Gingrich’s candidacy. Even with all his obvious shortcomings, Romney is the wannabe most likely to attract the all-important center that determines electoral outcomes (now that Jon Huntsman is out of the race). A Gingrich nomination would make the general election Obama’s to lose, and if Gingrich came up short in the primaries, at least the Dems will have gotten a head start taking Romney apart.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Newt's unlikely bedfellows" »
So what did happen to all the heavy hitters? How did the Republican race get populated by all these pygmies? If Barack Obama is as reviled as the GOP contends, he should be easy to depose, right?
Yet, truly credible candidates like Jeb Bush have decided to sit this race out. Maybe Jeb sees something the rabble can’t, because it’s blinded by rage. It can’t all be about his last name, even though his feckless brother is the one responsible for running two wars on the credit card and giving the wealthy a tax cut that further bankrupted us. Some Republicans who yearn for the good old days, when a president actually looked like a president ought to, might think there was poetic justice in a sibling swooping in to clean up his brother’s mess.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: The Romney/Gingrich smackdown" »
The problem with Florida is that it comprises a pastiche of viewpoints and backgrounds from all across the country, reflecting its transplant makeup. It has no indigenous political character of its own, so it needs to follow someone else’s cue. Florida usually validates the front runner in a race, because as I’ve said before, Floridians are so lackadaisical that they tend to vote for the person they’ve heard of (Exhibit A: Governor Rick Scott, who bought the airwaves before his election. Now you can’t find anybody who’ll admit to having supported him).
An exception to this rule is Rudolph Giuliani, who came down here when he was running for president, expecting to corral Florida and its rich trove of delegates because there were so many transplants from the New York area, and he figured they’d know who he was. Ultimately, that turned out to be his Achilles’ heel. They certainly did know who he was.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Prepare for the Florida Republican Primary" »
He who lives by the stats, must also die by the stats. Mitt Romney was crowing after the New Hampshire primary that he had “made history,” which is to say that no Republican candidate had snagged both Iowa and New Hampshire since Abraham Lincoln or somebody. All this because he had won the Iowa caucuses by eight votes. Evidently, it is hard to do this because only a political contortionist can tie himself in enough knots to appeal to both the God-fearing agrarians of Iowa and the flinty pragmatists of the Granite State.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: The Iowa miscount" »
It appears that the Republican primary comedy warm-up act is finally drawing to a close, and the party is reverting to its usual modus operandi, to wit: The nomination is going to the man who ran the last time and lost. Unlike Democrats, who send their fallen warriors off into the wilderness to be forgotten (see Dukakis, Michael), Republicans believe in crowning he who waits his turn, and awarding him a second or third chance.
Some disgruntled also-rans, however, have failed to get the message. A couple of them, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, have gone so far as to accuse the Heir Apparent of being too ruthless a businessman, as if there were something unseemly about that in the eyes of anybody but a liberal, or a communist (a redundancy to this crowd).
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Romney under Republican attack" »
If you cup your hand to your ear, you can hear the harrumphing in the men’s grill down at the club. “Who does this Gingrich think he is? He isn’t playing by the rules! And whatever happened to St. Ron’s eleventh commandment, you know, ‘Never speak ill of another Republican?’ Can you believe he accused Mitt of earning his wealth by shutting down companies and laying off workers? That’s Communist talk. Clearly, Gingrich is only out for himself!
“Remember the last time he was in power? He almost ruined us. If, God forbid, the rabble takes over the primaries and he wins the nomination, not only would it guarantee a Democrat win, we could lose the House and the Senate filibuster as well. Then that upstart community organizer squatting in the White House would have free rein to steal our wealth and lavish it on the welfare queens.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Newt Gingrich panics the GOP" »
Thank you, Newt, for ensuring that Mitt Romney does not win the nomination in a cakewalk. He doesn’t deserve it.
Yesterday, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey⎯in his sad, yet trenchant endorsement comments⎯exhorted caucus-goers to vote for Romney because he was the only Republican who would not embarrass Americans in the Oval Office. This is not a good enough reason for him to coast into the finals. Besides, you know exactly who that blowhard was talking about, don’t you, Newt?
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: President Gingrich's inaugural" »
I’m going to miss the Hermanator. There’s no question he was the most entertaining figure in the race. The machine-gun accusations about his inappropriate sexual behavior and marital infidelity would have sunk a more moderate candidate far sooner, but fortunately he was the darling of ultra-right family-values types, and they tend to gloss over those foibles when it’s one of their own.
Of course, it’s hard to blame an affair of 13 years’ duration on the liberal media conspiracy, so it looks like this, not the back-of-the-limo couch rugby sessions, is what will finally bring our dauntless warrior down.
Mr. Cain, who may have invented his candidacy as a gimmick to spur book sales, either didn’t intend to become anything more than an asterisk in the race, or he possesses such an overarching ego that he assumed he could bully his way past the inevitable scrutiny into his past that a front-runner always attracts. Whichever alternative you choose makes him supremely unsuited to serve as the leader of the Free World, and we aren’t even talking about the women.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Kiss the Hermanator goodbye" »
My favorite part of the nominating process, regardless of the party, is when a victor emerges and the vanquished challengers fall into line, solemnly swearing that this is the most upstanding statesperson they have ever encountered in their lives. They vow to support his or her candidacy with every ounce of their political being until final victory in the general election is achieved.
Just a day earlier, they were doing their best to eviscerate this fine example of humanity in equally sincere terms. But, that’s politics in our American system. If nothing else, it should tell us that no pol ever truly means what he says, and that he only says what is expedient. Nevertheless, we allow ourselves to be wooed anew, falling for the spiel like a would-be bride who has been repeatedly left at the altar, yet yearns to give romance one last shot.
Continue reading "Chan Lowe: Enough debates, already." »