News & Election Videos

RealClearPolitics VP Watch

RCP Staff

« Quinnipiac: Close In Minnesota | VP Watch Home Page | McAuliffe Backs Kaine »

The Case Against Romney

A couple of op-eds out today arguing that McCain should stay away from Romney for VP. The first comes from Philip Klein of the American Spectator:

Romney's fans on the right like to believe that Romney lost because Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson helped carve up the conservative vote, but it was only because of Romney's weakness among conservatives that either of them had an opening.

Although he presented himself as a full-spectrum conservative, Romney faced his share of detractors within each branch of the conservative movement. There were economic conservatives who opposed his universal health-care plan in Massachusetts, social conservatives who didn't think his conversion on abortion was sincere, and national security conservatives who had doubts about his lack of experience in foreign affairs.

While I think conservatives wouldn't mind Romney on the ticket, considering some of McCain's other options, Klein is right to note that they aren't -- and never have been -- all that enthusiastic about Romney. In the primaries, Romney did such a good job of moving to the right that he hurt his own credibility. When one tries to be Reagan, one necessarily will come up short in some way.

Moving on the second, Dick Morris notes:

Despite outspending his rivals by huge margins throughout the primaries, the dogs won't eat it. He lost Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and California. The only primaries he won were in Michigan, where Dad was governor; LDS states; and a few states on Super Tuesday in which his California-obsessed rivals couldn't spare the cash to advertise. Only John Connolly in 1968 had a worse cash-to-delegates ratio.

And John McCain rightly did not like Romney's tactics during the primaries. Using his gigantic money advantage to dominate television, he seized early leads in virtually all of the primary states, only to lose them later on. And, when they started slipping away, he resorted to unfair, distorted, scorched-earth negative ads, betting that his opponents couldn't afford to spend enough for the truth to catch up to his charges.

This ties into Klein's point, which Morris also makes: Romney did horrible in the primaries, if one uses money spent as a measure.