Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 21, 2007
POLITICS: The Latest Romney Ad and Strategy
[T]he ad's really about good government and effective management, both of which conservatives are hungry for and both of which Mitt's well positioned to push, partly based on his record and partly on his reputation as a guy so squeaky clean that he won't even use foul language. Rudy's too socially liberal to get away with an ad like this, Fred has too much lobbyist baggage, and McCain's too much of an amnesty shill. If any one of the big four's going to do it, and it needs to be done, it's Mitt.
I'll refrain from commenting in more detail for now (regular readers should know by now I am not a fan of Romney as a presidential candidate, for many reasons I will come back to when time permits) ...certainly, Romney is not the first of the '08 candidates to (properly) try to distance himself from the Beltway GOP's departures from conservative principle on spending.
An interesting strategic question is whether Romney will turn out to have put too many of his eggs in the Iowa/New Hampshire basket. Personally, I don't think Mitt should have any regrets about his IA/NH strategy; I think it was the best angle for him to pursue, and it does still give him a theoretical pathway to the nomination, which was always going to be an uphill battle for him. He started off with a natural advantage in NH as a high-profile neighboring GOP governor, and that squeaky-clean persona made him a good fit for Iowa social conservatives. And he was always going to meet skepticism in the South. You can criticize the way Mitt has carried out his campaign but his overall strategic choices on where geographically to spend his money and time have been sound.