Monday, April 2, 2012

“The Tipping Point” – Politically Convenient for GOP to Rally Behind Romney

 The general consensus is out. It’s time for powerful GOP legislators and financial backers to settle on Romney in order to start firing their best pitch at Obama.

Although many believe, or want to believe, that the Republican primary race is far from over with Santorum surging as the more conservative candidate from second place, we’re arriving at what Ed Gillepsie calls the “tipping point.”  In a recent New York Times article, authors Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg make the argument that regardless of who the “better” candidate is, the GOP better start pooling its resources behind the more politically convenient presidential hopeful if they want to start gaining ground on Obama.

From the campaign finance perspective, billionaire Sheldon Adelson has publicly flip-flopped from Gingrich to Romney, funneling over $15 million to the Romney campaign last week. Furthermore, Romney’s experienced some unexpected momentum in California and Texas, where he picked up an always-useful $2 million for his campaign.

In terms of political backing, Paul Ryan, king of The Path to Prosperity and chairman of the House Budget Committee, formally endorsed Romney last Friday. Both Adelson and Ryan expressed the pressing need to unify the GOP on a candidate, regardless of who was the better fit for the party, because the time has come to shift the focus to the general election.

Ryan is quoted in the article saying, “voters are looking for who will show them a contrasting vision to the one that Obama has given us.”

Fair, Mr. Ryan. But as a student analyzing the often murky causes of gridlock in our political system today, it is a bit disheartening that after a hard-fought primary season thus far, political necessity to attack the other side of the aisle adds incredible momentum to Romney’s campaign, rather than public approval of his political promises.  

It will be interesting to track the pace of political and financial support behind the Romney and Santorum campaigns, respectively, given that many are hinting that it’s time hand the former Massachusetts governor the GOP victory.

Playing devil’s advocate, Romney has convincingly accrued a firm majority of the delegates up to this point. But in a healthy democracy, who’s to say the primary race shouldn’t go down to the wire to give the people the best Republican candidate out there?

Also, how could this ever happen? Maybe putting in a Super PAC donation deadline, or disallowing groups with a certain amount of money from changing positions after a certain point in the primary. Both ideas are flawed in light of the “freedom of speech” campaign finance argument, but I’d love to hear people weigh in on their thoughts about Romney’s recent surge because of the GOP’s push to tackle Obama.

1 comment:

  1. Is it really surprising that Romney would start to see a surge in support as we draw closer and closer to the general election? As unenthusiastic as people seem to be, it appears that the Republican establishment is growing fearful that whatever candidate wins the primary will so obviously lack the support of the party as a whole that they will have lost the faith of the American people before they even begin to argue why they deserve it. With that fear comes a growing desperation to choose one of the candidates - any of them – and stick to that decision.

    As to Sheldon Adelson, he seems to be taking the approach that graduating students often pursue when entering the job market, namely “casting a wide net.” Unfortunately for him, his initial endorsement of Newt Gingrich has played a significant role in undermining the campaign of the man he now claims to support.

    What I personally find to be the most interesting part of the Republican primary is its circular nature. When it began, Romney was the favorite and seemed more than likely to receive the nomination, perhaps after a brief spar with the other candidates. Then came Herman Cain, then Newt, then Santorum, and now it is back to Romney. The fickle and fad-like nature of voters’ thinking just seems so childish and immature to an outside viewer. One would expect a little more linear and coherent thinking from what is supposed to be the most well-established democracy in the world. I do not mean to imply that voters should be blamed for taking an interest in any one candidate or another, I am simply surprised at how drastic, rapid, and, most importantly, frequent the momentum changes have been, especially when so little has changed in the substantive dialogue.