Romney pulls out, looking towards 2012 nomination

In Commentary, politics on February 8, 2008 by Editor Z

Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) pulls out.

Presidential contender and ex-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA),announced that he would cease his campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination on Thursday. He did so well speaking in Washington D.C, while ironically speaking before an audience of the very conservatives that he had been striving to court throughout the campaign at the American Conservative Union.

Romney throughout his lengthy run for President, that formally began early in 2007was one of many candidate’s that has been viewed as flawed by conservatives.

Romney sought to brand himself the true conservative and following the exodus of many of his rivals and several wins in primaries and cacuses. But his Mormon religion, as well as his vacilation on issues, made conservatives skeptical.

Now, with Romney out of the race, the contest for the Republican nomination is by and large now ceded to Romney’s rival Senator John McCain (R-Az), who status as a maverick on some issues in an extremly conservative party, has gained McCain the ire of many high profile conservatives.

MY TAKE: Romney’s exodus from the race is as much about 2012 as it is about 2008. The Republican Party is by and large dispirited,as the Bush/Cheney administration has grown heavily unpopular, as well as fractured. Each candidate who has since entered the race and recently exited has been seen as lackluster and flawed, unable to unite the various factions of a very conservative base.

The party now resembles, the disenchanted and confused state in another year. Another election where the Democrats had the upperhand and the GOP was searching for its political soul.That year was 1964, (an election tangentially that Mitt Romney’s father was a candidate for the Republican nomination). Now many may cringe at that, but much like in 1964 there was a party without direction or a leader.

Those supporting the very conservative midwesterner Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona) and those heralding the well-known and liberal to moderate Governor Nelson Rockefeller (R-NY)found themselves in an inner party civil war. The two campaigns ignored the wartnings of those who sought party unity and fought for the nomination down to the last minute. But the party didnt completly unite around Goldwater entirely, and following that, Rockefeller in his two subsequent runs for the presidency and his brief tenure as Gerald Ford’s Vice President was cursed by the base of his own party and to this day is still disparaged by conservative Republicans.

Romney wants to avoid that fate. This year with the incumbent Repubblican administration’s popularity withering away with each passing week, an economy heading into the doldrums of recession, and a deeply unpopular war and occupation continuing overseas; the Democrats are likely to win anyway.

In the past two weeks or so, as the race had been largely reduced to a McCain vs Romney, Romney has been the candidate of choice for the herds of conservative voters led by radio talk show hosts, seeking to thwart McCain getting the nomination. McCain certainly doesn’t have the admiration of conservatives the way Goldwater did and still does, but he nonetheless is almost certainly to be the party’s nominee.

Romney has amassed a great deal of goodwill, inconsistancies aside, in recent weeks. Stradling far to the right. In 2012, Romney who unlike McCain is still relativly young, can make a comeback in that year to be the Republican frontrunner for the nomination, and in the meantime raise money and continue to build support from the various segments of the conservative base.

Mitt Romney is no doubt a man who hungers to be President. He won’t just push aside that desire because of failure to win this years nomination. He is looking ahead and if he was seen as staying in and spliting the party in a year where they would have to be united to win, if Romney was seen as the metaphorical Rockefeller in the coming election, dividing the party, any hope at becoming the Republican nominee and not becoming a conservative insult to future conservatives the way Rockefeller did, would be dashed.

After re-making and courting conservatives to the point of crawling to them, the last thing Romney wants to do is discard that goodwill he has recently gained. To do that would just make Romney a synonymn for Rockefeller.



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