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Mitt Romney Is A Total Disaster And There’s A Simple Explanation Why

Michael Brendan Dougherty
Business Insider
December 3, 2011

The big article driving this morning’s discussion is from National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru who makes a closing argument for a Mitt Romney nomination as the best bet for Republican and conservative success.

“Romney isn’t merely the candidate who is likely to win the Republican primaries. He’s the candidate who should win them,” Ponnuru writes.

The basic argument is that Romney has mostly flipped in the conservative direction, and is a very competent campaigner. Ponnuru spends a lot of time explaining how a president Romney would be better for conservative causes than Obama. This is a bar that Buddy Roemer and Gary Johnson could somersault over. Ponnuru continues:

Weighed against the available alternatives, Romney comes out ahead — way ahead — because he is the only one of the primary candidates with a good shot at achieving a prerequisite for advancing a conservative agenda as president: namely, actually becoming president.

Ponnuru acknowledges a number of Romney’s weaknesses: his inconsistency, his support for “Obamacare in one state,” and a lingering reticence among Americans to elect a Mormon.

But Ponnuru misses Romney’s biggest weakness – one that is fatal to his contention that Romney has achieved the prerequisite of being able to become President: Romney is utterly unlikable.

If after five years of pandering to conservatives, a highly disciplined campaign that is firing rhetorical Howitzers at Obama, and a series of debate performances that looks flawless, Romney remains this weak in an uninspiring GOP field, then he has no hope in the general election.

Flip-flops would be a sign of inconsistency in another candidate. In Romney, they seem to indicate a soullessness that makes people physically uncomfortable. When confronted about them directly by a Fox reporter, Romney resembled a malfunctioning robot more than he did a man. And then he compounded his mistake with pathetic complaints afterward. Does anyone think he’ll do better against Obama?

Polls show that even now Romney barely passes the threshold of “likability” among Republicans. This has been achieved by avoiding media scrutiny and the attacks of other candidates. This environment of light-media coverage and bungled or non-existent competition will not hold true for him next year.

Romney may end up the nominee of his party, but he won’t have won anything. It will have fallen to him by default. He may even become president this way if the European crisis infects American financial institutions and fatally wounds Obama.

But counting on an Obama fumble is not exactly an inspiring position for conservatives to be in. If Romney is truly the best Republicans have to offer, then Barack Obama is a very fortunate incumbent.

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