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Video: The Forgotten Amendment

In this week's Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino questions what limits exist on the federal government and the importance of state and local sovereignty as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.…[more]

October 24, 2014 • 10:26 am

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Is Mitt Romney the Second Coming of John Kerry? Print
By Troy Senik
Thursday, January 12 2012
The similarities are ominous for Republicans who think the abject failure of the Obama Administration makes retaking the White House a fait accompli.

A weak incumbent president — hated by the opposition and experiencing resistance from within his own party — heads into his reelection campaign struggling to keep his political prospects alive. The opposition party fields a colorful cast of potential challengers – a hot-headed candidate prone to grand rhetorical flourishes aimed at stirring up his party’s base; a smooth-talking southerner; a late entrant who looks prone to steal the nomination away before stumbling on the campaign trail. Yet each proves too flawed to obtain the nomination and the party settles on a consensus candidate who generates no enthusiasm from the rank and file. The nominee is a wealthy Massachusetts patrician whose resume seems uniquely attuned to the dominant issue of the day, but he fails to connect with voters and his core beliefs seem to be whatever his pollsters pulled off the fax machine that day. Here’s the challenge: Are we talking about 2012 or 2004?
 
As Mitt Romney beats what looks to be an inevitable path to the Republican presidential nomination — having narrowly won Iowa, triumphed in commanding fashion in New Hampshire and set himself up for a potential triple crown with a win in South Carolina — the parallels between this year’s contest and the battle for the White House eight years ago are worth considering.  The similarities are ominous for Republicans who think the abject failure of the Obama Administration makes retaking the White House a fait accompli.
 
When Romney pursued the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, he ran to John McCain’s right, attempting to convince the conservative base that he was one of them despite years of public statements and policy initiatives that put him firmly in the center-left of the GOP. In 2012, the calculation has changed. This time, Romney would rather have Republicans’ respect than their love. Thus, his argument for the party’s nomination has frequently come down to little more than a claim that he is the Republican candidate most likely to defeat Obama in November. To buttress this claim, he points to his decades spent as a business executive and declares them an unambiguous asset in an election likely to turn on economic issues.
 
Sound familiar? The Democratic rationale for John Kerry in 2004 was that, in a time of war, the decorated Vietnam veteran would have heightened credibility to attack the Bush Administration’s foreign policy. Instead, Kerry ended up facing accusations that he had exaggerated his record of heroism and slandered his brothers in arms upon returning stateside. Rather than looking like someone with the grit to serve as commander-in-chief, he eventually seemed like someone who might be unqualified to lead a Boy Scout troop.
 
Expect the same for Romney. In recent days, his Republican opponents – led primarily by Newt Gingrich – have attacked Romney’s record as the head of Bain Capital, particularly the practice of leveraged buyouts (wherein Bain would take on debt against an acquired company’s assets and attempt to use the capital to turn the company around, often costing jobs in the process) to portray the former CEO as a rapacious Dickensian figure, stripping companies for parts while looking away in cold indifference at the human suffering left in his wake.
 
This portrayal, of course, is a gross caricature. Romney did indeed create jobs and wealth, just as he claims, during his time in the private sector. But that’s immaterial if he can’t rebut the allegations persuasively, particularly since whatever attacks come from his fellow-travelers in the GOP race are likely to pale in comparison to what the Obama Administration – already priming the pumps of class warfare – throws at him in a general election. 
 
Therein lies the greatest liability in Romney’s similarities to Kerry. Neither are masterful communicators, prone as they are to qualification, temperance and equivocation. Just like Kerry, whatever abstract notion of “electability” is sufficient to drive Romney through the primaries will fail him if he proves incapable of rebutting Obama in the fall. And just like Kerry, Romney has glided through a primary process that has left him relatively untouched, failing to develop the instinct for when and how to deliver a fatal counterpunch.
 
Like it or not, the primary role of a modern presidential candidate – and one of the dominant roles of an actual Commander-in-Chief – is communication. Romney’s weaknesses there have heretofore gone largely unacknowledged partially because they’re subtler than those of recent national Republicans.  He does not possess the mangled diction of George W. Bush, the garbled syntax of Sarah Palin, or the painfully long pauses of Rick Perry. What he also doesn’t seem to possess, however, is the capacity to persuade convincingly. If that shortcoming isn’t remedied soon, the ramifications for 2012 could be disastrous.

Barack Obama’s swift boat is headed in Mitt Romney’s direction.

Question of the Week   
Voters in how many states will be asked in the November 2014 mid-term elections to accept or reject state-wide ballot measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"In an effort to keep the public calm, the CDC pretended to know more about Ebola than it actually does.First, the CDC insisted that Ebola is very difficult to transmit from person to person. But, that is clearly not true. This particular Ebola strain appears to be more infectious than others. ...Second, the CDC insisted that Ebola is not airborne. That is probably mostly true, but it may not be entirely…[more]
 
 
—Alex Berezow, RealClearScience Founding Editor and USA TODAY's Board of Contributors Member
— Alex Berezow, RealClearScience Founding Editor and USA TODAY's Board of Contributors Member
 
Liberty Poll   

Thinking only about voting procedures and requirements in your state, how much confidence do you have that voter fraud will be kept to a minimum in the 2014 midterm elections?