If Mitt Romney has one quality which endears him to me it's that he seems to have a tough skin. He'd have to with the way he's being treated by the voters he will have to court to win. The Republican party has long been a study in choosing the person "next in line." Romney easily fits that bill as he was essentially the runner-up to John McCain in 2008. He's also good-looking, well-spoken, a great debater, affable and smart. So why doesn't anyone want him?
The evidence of this, of course, is the mad search for a candidate that continues in the GOP even at this late date in September. The GOP wanted Rick Perry but as I wrote at the time he entered the race, the sizzle could easily fizzle:
As a realist, though, I'm not completely sold on Rick Perry's candidacy and here's why: For the last few political seasons this movie has played out in the exact same way. A boring primary field awaits its savior, the one who will defeat the opposition and bring success to his party. Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson all brought with them the sense that they would be different, that they could energize the base and also win the general election, that they could win and that they would. They all flamed out.
I'm concerned that these spikes of enthusiasm from the base will fizzle out and we'll be left with the ones who were there all along. But now those candidates will look even worse to us as the ones we sought so desperately to replace (see: John Kerry and John McCain). That has a Barack Obama win written all over it.
Today the GOP seems to be waiting and hoping for a Chris Christie candidacy. I don't think it will happen.
It's clear that they want "anyone but Romney." Poor Romney, the guy who is good enough, smart enough, and gosh darnit people just don't like him. Why?
Instead of imagining reasons other people may have (a popular belief seems to be that he is distrusted because he is Mormon, but I hate prescribing bad motives to others), I'll explain three reasons why I am not aboard the choo-choo train Romney.
1) I don't like the guy who is "next in line." "Next in line" to me means John McCain, Bob Dole, Gerald Ford. Is there a theme here? They're all election-day losers. Sure, occasionally we'll get a George W. Bush thrown into the mix, or a one-termer George HW Bush, but in general "next in line" means "definitely not next in office." Mitt Romney seems on this exact path.
2. It's not all about winning, of course, but none of these "next in line" guys were particularly conservative either. It's one thing to lose when sticking to your principles. It's quite another to lose while trying to be everything to everyone. Mitt Romney won't admit Romneycare was a terrible idea, he's squishy on conservative social issues and he doesn't seem like he will ride any of his existing principles to victory.
3. He can't run on his record. To me, this is Mitt Romney's biggest liability. He did some things right in Massachusetts but Romneycare is an anathema to conservatives and he can't match Rick Perry's job creation record. His accomplishments seem to be centered around what a good job he did with the Olympics in Utah. All fine and good but a candidate should be able to point to accomplishments during their time in elected office.
Romney-supporters, few as they may be, point to these criticisms and say: Barack Obama had no accomplishments either. Barack Obama pushed through a nationalized version of Romneycare which is much worse than the Massachusetts version. Barack Obama also has no principles. The problem with that is we already have a Barack Obama in office. Why would we try to elect a Republican version?
Having said all this, I admit once again that I voted for Romney in 2008 and it isn't outside the realm of possibility that I'll do it again this time. I don't consider Rick Perry my candidate though right now I lean his way more than I do toward Romney. I'm just ready to hear some ways in which Mitt Romney is better than Barack Obama instead of the same.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.