Barbour’s Withdrawal Boosts Romney

April 25th, 2011 at 4:32 pm David Frum | 22 Comments |

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Who benefits from Barbour’s withdrawal? Short answer: Romney. Barbour would have been effective competition for support of Romney donors. As is, Barbour – the ultimate party regular – will gravitate to the party regulars’ consensus choice. And despite my own personal regard for Mitch Daniels (and appreciation of Jonathan Martin’s reporting), that choice is Romney.

2012 is shaping up as an all-out battle between big donors and local activists, with the big donors coalesced around Romney and the local activists increasingly desperately shopping for somebody – anybody – else.

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22 Comments so far ↓

  • chicago_guy

    2012 is shaping up as an all-out battle between big donors and local activists, with the big donors coalesced around Romney and the local activists increasingly desperately shopping for somebody – anybody – else.

    Only ups the entertainment value for those of us who find the sight of Republicans racing to the bottom in the “stupid pool” uniquely engaging.

    RE: Barbour, well at least he’s shown himself to be one of the Republicans who hasn’t completely lost touch with reality.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    oh man, and I was looking forward to Barbour handing out watermelons to black people to show how much understanding he has of them:

    But the racial sensitivity at Barbour headquarters was suggested by an exchange between the candidate and an aide who complained that there would be ‘’coons’’ at a campaign stop at the state fair. Embarrassed that a reporter heard this, Mr. Barbour warned that if the aide persisted in racist remarks, he would be reincarnated as a watermelon and placed at the mercy of blacks.

    Yea Gods, if Barbour is what counts for ultimate party regular in the Republican party then the party is but a generation away from oblivion.

  • CentristNYer

    Romney’s dramatic swings on policy — going from pragmatic centrist to right wing ideologue in only a couple of years — gives me the willies and I could never support him for president. But I still don’t understand why the GOP is so resistant to his charms. He’s clearly the best of the current crop of wannabes. He’s reasonably smart and he’s articulate and can repeat the usual nonsense talking points that primary voters love without breaking a sweat. None of the questionable parts of his business career have tainted him politically. God knows no one looks more presidential — and given his status as the runner-up in the 2008 GOP race (notwithstanding Huckabee’s refusal to give up), that would automatically qualify him to be first in line.

    I would never pretend to understand the mind of a “social conservative,” but is the fact that he’s a Mormon really that disqualifying?

    • Carney

      Speaking as a social conservative, no.

      But I’m not an evangelical Protestant. That’s the community the Mormons have targeted for conversion for decades, creating substantial resentment and distrust at supposedly misleading conversion efforts that downplay stark differences and seek to soothe newcomers into the fold. Mormons tend to take advantage of shared ethnic ancestry (Anglo-Saxon), language, culture (conservative), etc., and conveniently not mention the huge differences, and use language to imply agreement when there isn’t any. This drives evangelical pastors apopletic for turf-war and doctrinal reasons, and they issue harsh warnings and shrill alarms to their flocks about Mormons.

      A rough parallel is “Jews for Jesus”, which targets Jews for conversion to Christianity, thus giving themselves a far more negative reputation among Jews than other Christian sects have. All their efforts to make themselves seem more Jewish rubs off on many Jews as deceptive and sinister, while they would strike non-Jews as merely colorful, interesting, and even praiseworthy.

  • West of the Rockies

    CentristNYer, yes, I think his Mormonism is enough of a disqualifier in the minds of most conservative voters, a large block of whom are evangelical Christians. Anyone know what percentage of the Republican party these days is made of evangelicals? Plus, the fact that he’s from New England won’t help much in the south and midwest. The cows have come home for the Republican party — they’ve been sounding the alarms about those darn liberal east coasters for a long time — now it’s too late to stuff that particular genie back into the bottle (to mix metaphors).

    • Grace

      I think you might be right about a good number of Evangelicals as regards Mormonism, but I like to regularly check in at RedState to see what’s new in the land of the bigoted, duped, nihilistic “base”, and they seem to rant much more often about Romneycare and his flip-flop on abortion. They seem to distrust him on those points just as passionately as they might distrust his Mormonism, although a few do whisper about Mormonism.

      Anyone know if there are still enough country club Republicans to out-vote the teahadist “base” in the primaries, where primaries aren’t open to indy voters?

      I have to concede the RedStaters seem to have valid doubts on the Romneycare and abortion issues. Heck, I share their concerns! For opposite reasons, but who knows which Romney is going to show up from day to day? He strikes me as a blow-dried panderer of the first order. I despised Cheney but one thing about him: his nasty intentions were right out there for all to see, without apology — he was what he was and damn straight about it. At least you knew what you were dealing with. Who knows with Romney? He seems to have no discernable philosophy aside from whatever is polling well this week. Am I supposed to feel reassured that he would be under the fatcat donors’ control rather than the teahadists? Somehow I’m not comforted by that.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    I just realized without Barbour and since the Huckabee ain’t announced yet that there are no southerners running. We got the Mittster from UtMichMass, the Minnies; Bachmann and Paws, Newt (R-manwhore) seriously, does he count as a true Souternor?? Ron Paul (R-loonietunes)
    Are there any Bible belt southernors running?

    • Bunker555

      Newt got his doctorate from Tulane and taught at colleges in Georgia. He was born a Yankee (in Santorum country) so it’s doubtful he’ll be able to play the southern good old boy card. The Huckster can unbuckle the Bible Belt, if he can pick up some support in the early caucuses and primaries.

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  • hisgirlfriday

    When isn’t the GOP nomination a fight between big donors and party activists? Hasn’t it pretty much been that way at least back to 1976?

  • bdtex

    Will the self-professed Tea Party folks get behind a Romney candidacy if he doesn’t choose one of their favorites as VP nominee? Somebody else raised an interesting point. No Southerner among the GOP field? Can anyone think of a Southerner as a possible VP choice for Romney? Historically a VP nomination,in either party,is a political graveyard for a politician. The lone exceptions in my lifetime were LBJ,Nixon and GHWB. None of their Presidencies ended particularly well either.

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  • Hunter01

    Evangelicals, of which I am one, cannot welcome Romney into the fold of the one true religion until he embraces intelligent design as the only way that medical and biological science can progress in our schools, universities and research centers. In that regard, I have heard rumors that Romney will publicly renounce his belief in evolution in the course of the campaign (a few weeks ago Joseph Smith appeared to him to clarify HIS plan). When that day comes, Mitt will truly know the grace of my God.

    Here is Mitt in the midst of his heresy:

    [i]The New York Times: “I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe,” Mr. Romney said in an interview this week. “And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body.”

    He was asked: Is that intelligent design?

    “I’m not exactly sure what is meant by intelligent design,” he said. “But I believe God is intelligent and I believe he designed the creation. And I believe he used the process of evolution to create the human body.”

    While governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney opposed the teaching of intelligent design in science classes.

    “In my opinion, the science class is where to teach evolution, or if there are other scientific thoughts that need to be discussed,” he said. “If we’re going to talk about more philosophical matters, like why it was created, and was there an intelligent designer behind it, that’s for the religion class or philosophy class or social studies
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  • Saladdin

    I think that Barbour’s exit actually aids Daniels more, as long as he can contend with T-Paw. If he can’t then it’ll be 2 blue state governors campaigning against a sitting President.

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  • jmshendricks

    It won’t help Romney because Romney is a terrible candidate and will never get the nomination. He’s an empty suit, a business insider from a rich family who is going to carry water for the corporate donors, but nobody is going to make phone calls or knock on doors for him.

    • Dblade

      This is true. Romney is the worst possible candidate they could field. Even Palin may be hated, but she inspires. Romney as front-runner is McCain all over again.

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