Mitt’s Really Big CPAC Problem

Mitt’s Really Big CPAC Problem

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This weekend in Washington D.C. the Conservative Political Action Conference will be meeting to rally the Republican base around important issues, give nomination candidates a chance to speak and give voice and form to the conservative agenda for the fall election.

The CPAC convention during an election year is actually pretty important to Republicans and the last one in 2008 was rife with political theatre. Mitt Romney used his CPAC speech on Thursday, February 7th 2008 to actually drop out of the Republican nomination race and endorse McCain. Romney’s quote that got the biggest applause is almost bursting with irony in retrospect:

I disagree with John McCain on many things but we agree on the need to do everything we have to to win in Iraq … and to find and execute Osama bin Laden.

Right solutions 0 but unfortunately for Mitt the other party (and a brother) managed to accomplish all of the above. More importantly, after dropping out of the race, Romney still won the CPAC straw poll pulling out a close 35% to 34% victory over McCain because ironically at the time Romney was considered the ‘true’ conservative in the race.

Oh, how things have changed in four short years.

Rick Santorum will go into this weekend’s conference not only as a ‘true’ conservative, but also after pulling out upset victories in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota despite being outspent and out organized on the ground by Mitt Romney. If Santorum can wow the crowd and heavy hitting donors this weekend with big speeches and a vision for the future he can essentially control the narrative of the race until the next debate on February 22nd – putting him in a prime position to challenge Romney in Michigan and Arizona primaries on February 28th.

CPAC this weekend is essentially another primary for Mitt Romney and one that he can’t afford to lose.

Bringing Up the Rear

Newt Gingrich is in a very interesting position after losses in all three primary contests tonight (although in Missouri he wasn’t officially on the ballot). His rollercoaster ride from front runner in December to whipping boy by Romney Super PAC assassins in January to victory in South Carolina make it impossible to count him out of the campaign as a spoiler or a difference maker.

At the same time it is hard to imagine him regaining past momentum. If the underlying argument in the Republican electorate has been which of the true conservatives, Newt or Rick, should drop out to mount a successful challenge to Mitt Romney it looks like they made their choice on Tuesday. For reasons only known to Colorado and Minnesota caucus goers Rick Santorum seems like the best choice to face down Mitt and take down Obama.

Newt is no longer in this battle, and sadly the candidate is usually the last to know. As for Ron Paul, his campaign is increasingly irrelevant but not harmful to any other candidate. The Texas congressman has not managed to win one state in 8 contests that have spanned all over the country.  He’s also 4th in the delegate count. He will not drop out, but even if he did, it is unlikely that his voters would rally behind any of the remaining candidates in large enough numbers to tip the race. In the end, he’s a sideshow and an increasingly boring one.

I declared this Republican race over just last week when Romney whalloped everyone in Florida, and … yeah … I spoke too soon. Between that and my prediction of a Patriots win over the Giants I’m not having a good week. BUT – I can guarantee this: Barack Obama watched last night as his likely challenger failed to win two states he won just 4 years ago, and saw that Republican turnout in all primary states was almost half what it was in 2008.

He’s got to feel pretty good about his chances.

42 COMMENTS

  1. Romney is still the true conservative in this race and the one most likely to both win and to be able to restore this country. I truly hope those at CPAC will listen closely to him and trust his word. He is a man of integrity and character. In addition he has wisdom, knowledge, and experience so valuable to the conservative cause at this critical time in history. We must make the correct decision and Romney is the man to lead us!

    • No. And if the GOP tries to shove Mittens down my throat, I will vote AGAINST their candidates all the way down the ticket. I have had ENOUGH BushDoleBushMcCain and will NOT hold my nose again.

    • Karen you are so right. Before some get worked up over Santorum they need to look at his record. He is a hypocrite in that he talks about running a clean campaign while spreading lies about Romney. We need to think not get emotionally worked up. Obama got elected by working up the crowds. Many have been asked why they voted for O and did not have an answer. Santorum is more like McCain, claiming to be a conservative but actually being a moderate and also unelectable. Defeat Obama!!

  2. No matter who wins the Republican primary, a major decision has to be made: Either the Obama experiment is over or our Constitution and liberties will continue to be decimated!

    • Rick, the assault on our civil liberties began long before Barack Obama announced his candidacy in 2006. It is naive and ahistorical to attribute what has been a decade long erosion of liberties to a president that simply continued the policies laid out by his predecessor. Wire-tapping, state sanctioned torture, guantanamo, all began under Bush and have simply continued in one form or another with Obama. Blame falls squarely on both shoulders.

      • America was attacked under Bush and he reacted accordingly! The war, the Patriot Act and Homeland Security were all approved by Congress. Obama ran against all of this — he turned out to be a typical hypocrite and LIAR! Bush's policies were necessary during wartime, but Obama's policies are stripping us of all liberties…ignoring the Constitution, bypassing Congress, ignoring religious rights, and numerous personal rights. And this man, who supposedly was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize is using American dollars to interfere in countries in the Middle East….even though none have anything to do with the security of the U.S.

        • You realize you make absolutely no sense right? If the policies were okay because we were at War then what's the difference now? Are we not still in a war on terror? Clearly your issue is more with who is administering the policy than the policies themselves. Exactly HOW has president Obama ignored the constitution, and bypassed Congress in regards to national security in any way more egregious than the previous administration? You critique him for using U.S. dollars in the Middle East what exactly was a War in Afghanistan and Iraq launched by Bush? I disagreed with the polices under Bush I disagree wit the policies under Obama, my rights as a citizen should not be arbitrarily abridged whenever there is a conflict. Wiretapping, indefinite detentions and trials without lawyers would not have prevented 9-11 from happening. We had all of the evidence we needed of an impending attack, but gross incompetence won out.

  3. A Gingrich/Santorum or Santorum/Gingrich ticket may be the way to go this year. Santorum's strength in the Rust belt along with Newt's debating power could bring a decisive victory in the fall.

    • Bruce Murchinson: My wife and I have been discussing this combo over breakfast: Santorum/Gingrich. The new guy has the moxie and the old guy has the exprience!
      So, we can surge forward based on solid knowlege on how to get it done.

    • Gingrich has been bragging about his debating power. He lost the last 2 debates with Romney clearly winning against him in the last debate. Gingrich did great things when he was in Congress but does not have the tempermant to win. He can criticize but cannnot take criticism. His hatrid of Romney will be fodder for O. I am so glad he imploded now instead of being our nominee and losing it against O.

      • Romney is a liar and will buy the nomination. He's just like Obama!! Mark my word. Flip flops to say what people want to hear at the time. God Bless us if we get Obama Junior.

  4. Newt is the best man for the job. He can get more done to undo what Obama has done to this nation than anyone else. He knows how to get things done in Washington. Mitt and Rick would have to learn on the job. Mitt is owned by Wall St. and the Washington insiders. Rick could not re-elected in Penn.and he is not that smart. He is just another dam lawyer and lobbist in DC. Vote Newt.

    • Mitt is not owned by Wall Street. Wall Street supports O. They gave much more to his campaign than to McCain's. O is expected to get one third of his reelection contributions from Wall Street this year. Defeat O.

    • The problem in Washington cannot be solved by the likes of Newt Gingrich! Over 35 years in Congress and the remainder on "K" Street using his political influence to enrich himself, and this is who you feel is qualified to solve our problems? NEVER. Romney is in it to do a job he's qualified for…..certainly not to enrich himself. Wall St. donates to both sides…and they now feel Romney is a "winner".

  5. Dr. Johnson, you are wrong about winning the the war in Iraq. We pulled out, just like Vietnam and Iraq the first time. You say Romney can not afford to lose the straw poll. How many delegates on there in this supposed CPAC primary?

    • Losing the straw poll at CPAC would be horrible for Mitt Romney. Would it prevent him from winning the nomination? Not likely. Would it increase the likelihood that the race will run longer, making him a weaker candidate against Obama? Yes.

  6. J.J. are you kidding Ron Paul is not a front runner, HE IS the only candidate that is a Conservative and Constitionalist and wants to reduce and evewntually eliminate the massive debt that we have the other Three Stooge's all are voting for big government and want to reduce our debt over a 10 year period and Paul has a plan IN PLACE to reduce spending by $1 Trillion the first year. Ron Paul is the only candidate that knows we will not recover until we get our debt and the Federal Reserve off our backs. You don't know what these three have done only what they are saying, its Blacks like you that brought about Obamination being an ILLEGAL Half Breed (NOT BLACK) Radical Muslim Communist as President. We now have the Most Corrupt Government in the World, Both sides have sold us out and we need the only non political candidate who Loves this Country and stands by our Constitution and OUR 2nd Amendment Rights unlike the other Three Stooges. You J.J. are a joke and another Rhino supporting three Rhino's.

  7. First, Viet Nam Vet 67-68 I am not supporting any of the candidates in this article, I am providing analysis of the current Republican nomination race. Your obvious racism and lack of knowledge about our government and current president are evident in your ranting post. This is not an assessment of who will do the best job in government, this is an assessment of who has the best chance to win an nomination. Ron Paul has little or no chance of winning this nomination. Further, and this does fascinate me, what exactly is so radical about Barack Obama? He has continued the policies of George W. Bush for the most part in foreign policy, and passed healthcare legislation that even Wal-Mart supported. Doesn't sound very communist to me. Moreover, newsflash, there is no religious requirement to be president of the United States, Obama could be Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Ba'Hai or Buddhist that would not disqualify him for the job. Read something other than a message board and perhaps you'll have a more informed perspective.

    • Wal-Mart supported ObamaCare ONLY when they and at least one hundred other corporations were given waivers! Federal Government take-over of healthcare through forced mandates and fines and passed by only one Party and two in that Party had to be bribed with millions in order for legislation to pass, does not sound like our form of government.

      • Wal-Mart supported the Health Bill only when they were given waivers: The point being, the critique of Obama as 'communist' has no merit. A communist or command economy would not allow for such side dealing. Partyline votes happen all the time. That's exactly what this country is about. If Republicans re-take the House and Senate or the presidency then the Healthcare Bill can be reversed. That's DEMOCRACY. The ability to use your chosen representatives to change polices that you don't like. Party faithful are always trying to turn democracy into a dictatorship when they don't like the results. There is nothing so evil about the Affordable Care act that can't be changed with another congress, just relax. More importantly for all of the Sky is Falling Rhetoric out there I haven't heard anyone explain specifically how the passage of the Healthcare bill has directly harmed their lives in the last 3 years. Everyone screams about what WILL happen, but no one articulates any actual problems, it's already law, so what's so terrible about it?

    • Foreign Policy…"for the most part" …YES, ..But never forget, Obama ignored Iraq for three years and now for re-election, claims to have successfully ended the war? Maliki and Bush had signed an official agreement before Bush left office on how and when we would withdraw from Iraq…main stipulation, a sufficient number of armed troops must remain to protect, keep the peace but most important, keep Iran out. Did not happen with Obama; In fact, he announced both the Iraq and Afghanistan pullout dates… ..within a week of withdrawal, hundreds were killed in Iraq. Now Panetta tells the world when Israel will attack Iran???

      • What is your point? Iraq is still solvent, the Iranians are not planning on attacking Iraq and Afghanistan is still the same mess it was before we showed up. You keep sounding alarm bells over things that have not happened. The situation on the ground in Iraq is bad, but it is stable. What else is there to say? Iran has not made any expansionist moves in almost 30 years, and aren't planning to anytime soon. Why must partisans insist on gloom and doom, objectively I can't see how Obama has made anything in Iraq or Afghanistan worse than it already was, and more importantly allowing those nations to work out their own issues without spending our money or troops is solid foreign policy. Again, somehow under Bush these policies are great, under Obama they're terrible. This makes no sense.

    • Consider the facts:

      • Jobs: The president has presided over the loss of 2.2 million jobs.
      • Debt: Obama has increased taxpayer debt by $4.2 trillion. Every day, the nation runs a deficit of $4.2 billion.
      • Foreclosure and Bankruptcy: 2.4 million homes have been foreclosed on. Homeowners and businesses have declared 4 million bankruptcies.
      • The Stimulus: Obama promised that his $787 billion stimulus would save or create 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010. He came up 7.3 million jobs short of his goal, according to the Heritage Foundation.
      • Healthcare: Obamacare did not reduce healthcare costs as promised and is in fact responsible for increasing costs in 2011. Health insurance premiums are up 13 percent.
      • Poverty: Nearly 3 million more Americans live in poverty than did before Obama took office

      Why would anyone sensibly support Pres. Obama’s Re-Election?

      • These are all perfectly valid reasons for someone to no vote to re-elect Obama. That was my point with Mary Ann, she complained about the president's foreign policy, and claimed that the healthcare bill was unconstitutional. His foreign policy is no different than the previous Republican for the most part. If someone chooses to see Obama as fully responsible for the economy and doesn't want to re-elect him, that is at least a fact based critique, as opposed to an emotional reaction with facts to justify it. Of course the question is: Do you believe that Romney will do a better job, and do you consider Obama fully responsible for the economy given what has occurred in Europe and Asia over his term, which affects our ability to recover economically. Those are the real questions of the campaign. Who's more at fault, why and whether you think the challenger can do better.

  8. We are just going to have to hold our noses and vote for who ever to get O out of office and hope who ever it is has enough guts to open obamas records to show what he is and prosecute him and others

    • Thus showing him less deference than he showed Bush? There were plenty of violations under the previous administration that the president chose not to investigate. It is incredibly RARE that presidents will investigate the actions of their predecessor, regardless of party.

  9. Jason Johnson, Obama definitely changed the rules of military engagement….political correctness is most important especially if it involves Muslims (remember Ft. Hood). The new Obama rule is "Never shoot until the terrorist do". (in other words, wait until your killed).. Eliminated the work of Chaplains– forget your faith and prayer! No Bibles are allowed to be distributed but the Koran can? He eliminated "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Has prosecuted non-citizen terrorists as criminals in American courts.

    • I was waiting for you to explain how Obama changed the rules of engagement, and then you just complained about political correctness, but didn't explain how he's done anything different. I don't see how you can claim the president gives preferential treatment to Muslims in combat when he sanctioned Seal Team 6 invading a sovereign majority muslim country to kill Osama bin Laden. When was the removal of Bibles made into U.S. policy? Who cares where a terrorist is prosecuted as long as they are captured and prosecuted? This is the kind of rhetoric that makes CPAC such a critical fight for Romney. You simply hate Obama, but can't specify policies, certainly in regards to foreign policy in your last post, that show he is any different from what George Bush had done. Romney is rejected by the conservative base because he doesn't HATE Obama, he simply wants to be president. It seems like the conservative base will only be happy with a candidate who wants to wipe the very memory of Obama off the planet. That may be a laudable goal, but that kind of venom usually doesn't win elections.

  10. I wouldn't say Paul is irrelevant. He has a very motivated base that no other candidate has. His support never diminishes. Paul's support only grows despite the media's attempts to say otherwise.
    He is changing this race. He is the only candidate for peace that challenges Obama's base.
    The r3VOLution has started. He has solutions. He can bring the Nation together again.

  11. Santorum a conservative.That is just as much a joke as Romney. Except for his unfortunate foreign policy views, Paul is the ONLY conservative left in the running.

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