Seeing as how the rest of the Republican field outside of Jon Huntsman are a pack of wooden and unlikeable monsters, Mitt Romney is probably going to win the nomination by default. Winning New Hampshire was not a big surprise, nor a big deal, but it showed that at least he has support in his backyard. On the flip side, it seems Rick Santorum overplayed the social conservative card in a state that does not want to hear that stuff. He should have tugged at the coal miner/steel worker strings he started playing in Iowa instead. Who manages these people’s campaigns?
What is funny is that if Mitt Romney does get the nomination, it will almost be the reverse of the election of 2004. Back then, the Democrats ran a New England flip-flopper named John Kerry against the not-so-popular incumbent. The Republicans will just end up doing the same thing, with the same result.
Never in my lifetime has a New Englander won the Presidency, and boy have they tried. Michael Dukakis in 1988, Kerry in 2004 and maybe Romney in 2012. They always come off as weak and vacillating.
Remember the racist Willie Horton ad that Bush 41 ran in the 88 campaign?
The message was clear: vote for Dukakis and black men will be in the streets raping your pure (and of course, white) wives and daughters. One of the great things the Reagan Revolution brought us was this type of subtle, yet not-so-subtle racism. What was funny was that furlough program they mentioned was signed into Massachusetts law by the governor before Dukakis, who was a Republican. The Supreme Court extended the furlough to first degree murderers. All Dukakis did was veto the law that would have contradicted the court and exclude first degree murderers from furloughs again.
And then remember the swift boat ads Bush 43 ran against John Kerry?
Here Bush tried to portray John Kerry as some type of traitor to America. Kerry commanded a swift boat during the Vietnam War. He won medals for bravery and heroism. After he returned home, he became an anti-war protestor who spoke out against the massacres of innocent Vietnamese people. When running for president in 2004, Bush ran ads like the one above where a bunch of Kerry’s supposed swift boat mates explained how they felt betrayed by Kerry. The country was in the thick of the Iraq War then and these ads questioned Kerry’s resolve and even patriotism. The only problem with these supposed swift boat mates was that there is no record of any of them serving with John Kerry. In fact, the vast majority of people who served with Kerry vouched for his bravery and toughness. Besides, at least Kerry fought in Vietnam, which was more than can be said for Bush, who was flying jets over Texas.
Yup, looks like the Republicans are replicating the same losing formula that the Democrats perfected. The last New Englander to win the Presidency was JFK in 1960.
Romney might still have a chance, though. After all, he will not be running against a Bush. The last New Englander who did not run against a Bush was JFK. History might be on Romney’s side yet.
I guess the historical mantle Romney inherits is dubious and vague, much like Romney himself.