Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

April 11, 2011

ROMNEY LAUNCHES EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE.... With the Iowa caucuses less than 10 months away, we've been waiting for this vaunted Republican presidential field to actually have some announced candidates. Among the credible contenders, Tim Pawlenty was first to form an exploratory committee, launching a bid three weeks ago.

Today, he got a little company.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney formed a presidential exploratory committee today that will allow him to raise money for a near-certain run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

"It is time that we put America back on a course of greatness with a growing economy, good jobs and fiscal discipline in Washington," Romney said in a web video announcing his intentions.

In the video, Romney focuses almost exclusively on the economy, touting his experience in creating jobs and balancing budgets in the private sector.

By most measures, Romney starts the race as the apparent frontrunner, but he should also be considered one of the weakest presidential frontrunners in quite a while. GOP officials in a variety of circles recognize that the former Massachusetts governor appears to be leading the pack, and keep asking, "So, who else is out there?"

If I were a betting man, I'd say Romney's odds of winning the nomination are fairly good, but that's primarily the result of an otherwise weak field, and it's pretty easy to imagine the GOP base turning on him.

Indeed, his Republican rivals -- likely to gang up on him from the outset -- probably look at Romney like a pinata waiting to get hit. We're talking about a former pro-choice governor who supported gay rights, gun control, and combating climate change, who distanced himself from Reagan, who loved a health care mandate, and who attended Planned Parenthood fundraisers. Perhaps no one in American public life over the last generation has changed his mind about so many issues, so quickly. Mitt Romney, for all intends and purposes, personifies the "flip-flopper."

I've heard more than a few jokes this afternoon saying, Romney today says he's launching an exploratory committee, but don't be surprised if he says the opposite tomorrow.

Worse, his sole gubernatorial accomplishment served as a blueprint for President Obama's health care policy. In fact, the timing of Romney's launch may not be entirely coincidental -- this week is the fifth anniversary of the former governor signing his health care reform measure into law in the Bay State, and it's more than possible he's hoping that launching his presidential bid will overshadow the anniversary.

As for the jobs record Romney is so excited to talk about, he was governor of Massachusetts for four years, and during that time, his state's record on job creation was "one of the worst in the country." Adding insult to injury, "By the end of his four years in office, Massachusetts had squeezed out a net gain in payroll jobs of just 1 percent, compared with job growth of 5.3 percent for the nation as a whole."

How bad is Romney's record? During his tenure, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in jobs growth. There's a reason he didn't seek re-election -- Romney was wildly unpopular in his home state after one term.

Taken together, I can see why Romney is the arguable favorite -- he has high name recognition, a lot of money, and a credible operation -- but I can also see why no one in either party is necessarily afraid of him.

Steve Benen 4:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Wait, I thought Newt Gingrich launched an exploratory committee? Oh...right...you said "among credible contenders."

Never mind.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on April 11, 2011 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Since its harder to create jobs the closer one gets to full employment, I think we need to know what the employment rate was in MA during Romney's tenure, in comparison to other states.

Posted by: Manju on April 11, 2011 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

How timely! Today is the 5th anniversary of Romney signing Romneycare into law. I guess he must have wanted to celebrate?

Posted by: sue on April 11, 2011 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Mitt the Twit, the Clark Griswald of presidential candidates ... at least Chevy was TRYING to be an idiot:

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1638065,00.html

Posted by: G.Kerby on April 11, 2011 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

We have to be careful though about saying that his policies were very Dem-like, but then also saying that he was wildly unsuccessful.

Was he socially Democratic and fiscally Republican? (other than for healthcare...)

Homer

Posted by: Homer on April 11, 2011 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

"former pro-choice governor who supported gay rights, gun control, and combating climate change, who distanced himself from Reagan, who loved a health care mandate, and who attended Planned Parenthood fundraisers."

At long last, someone to primary Obama! Oh, wait. . .

Posted by: DAY on April 11, 2011 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

In the video, Romney focuses almost exclusively on the economy, touting his experience in creating jobs and balancing budgets in the private sector.

That would be a good trick coming from a Corporate Raider who threw workers out in the street to make a profit.

Posted by: Joe Friday on April 11, 2011 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Suck it up, people - Mitt Romney has the department store dummy vote all sewed up.

Posted by: worcestergirl on April 11, 2011 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

This could be Stassen's moment.

Posted by: dSmith on April 11, 2011 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Romney is either a masochist or the dimmest bulb on the planet. Can't he see that, rather than having weak spots, he's one giant weak spot? A blow-dried flip-flopper who'll be savaged in the primaries for being a RINO. He didn't create jobs and by the end of his term, the state he governed loathed him. Other than that, though, he's the perfect candidate.

Posted by: dalloway on April 11, 2011 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Romney will not win the nomination and it has nothing to do with flop flops or Romney care. It is because he is the wrong religion. Republicans have no real principals. They wholeheartedly supported the individual mandate from 1994-2008. If you tell them (GOP) family values they'll believe you. If you accidentally have sex with multiple hookers they will forgive you. If you say deficits dont matter they will believe that. If you tell them Obama is burying us debt , they will believe that also. They have no principals except you must bring the jesus juice -no exceptions.

Posted by: RolloTomasi on April 11, 2011 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK
Perhaps no one in American public life over the last generation has changed his mind about so many issues, so quickly.

More even than John McCain?

Posted by: msmolly on April 11, 2011 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

ROMNEY/HUCKABEE. A BALANCED TICKET!

Posted by: ringrid on April 11, 2011 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK
By most measures, Romney starts the race as the apparent frontrunner

Which means pretty much nothing at this point. He's got a lead of about 4 points, barely larger than the margin of error, above Trump and Huckabee in recent polling, whereas at the same point in 2007 Clinton had a 10+ point lead in most polling over Obama. And, several months closer to the primaries in 2004, Dean was the "clear frontrunner" in the Democratic race.

Being the perceived "frontrunner" this far out from the primaries is almost meaningless, unless its by a much bigger margin. Its just something talking heads talk about for the sake of having something to talk about. In fact, except when the frontrunner is also either the incumbent President or Vice President, I think its almost an ironclad rule that the apparent frontrunner at this point will not be the nominee.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 11, 2011 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

And he believes in magic underware.

Posted by: John on April 11, 2011 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

I would imagine his career as a hedge fund manager or investment banker probably has some unsavory, job-killing episodes that could be discussed.

Posted by: bob h on April 12, 2011 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

John 11:05 pm said "And he believes in magic underware."

It's so generous of Washington Monthly to allow the children a chance to comment.

Posted by: Vandal on April 12, 2011 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps no one in American public life over the last generation has changed his mind about so many issues, so quickly. Mitt Romney, for all intends and purposes, personifies the "flip-flopper."

Untrue. Al Gore is a flip-flopper. John Kerry is a flip-flopper. Mitt Romney is steadfast and true in his principles and beliefs. I've read as much in several newspapers over the last decade, so it must be true.

Posted by: josef on April 12, 2011 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK
Post a comment









Remember personal info?










 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly