February 27, 2012

No way out for GOP

One guy, no so much.
A long and bruising battle for the GOP nomination for president this year didn't bother me. Now it does. What changed? Nothing. Except there was one factor I hadn't taken into consideration. I've been pointing to Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama 2008 as the model for a long and hotly contested primary not being harmful ultimately to candidate Obama. But this year is not 2008 for one key reason. In 2008 Republicans could not keep their powder dry because they were busy waging a primary of their own. President Obama does not have that concern this time around. As he continues to travel the country raising a war chest for the general election, Republicans are travelling the country beating each other up and spending money.

The former issue was one I felt was an advantage for the GOP. It hones their debate skills, campaign skills, speeches and their ability to handle a hostile press. I still feel that despite the wounds, it would be a net positive for the eventual nominee. But the money thing, that's a killer. We need a candidate prepared to go blow for blow with Obama. That will take a lot of money.

That is all to say the conservative Republicans, indeed all Republicans face a conundrum for which I currently see no way out. I am not prepared to drink the Romney Kool Aid as I think he ultimately is not the most electable candidate. But that means that as a supporter of another candidate I need to be prepared for a fight because Mitt Romney is not about to cede victory to anyone.

Similarly, a Romney financial support has the same issue plus they are faced with the need to keep some of their own powder dry to fight Obama later. So the financial aspect of the campaign becomes a strain for Romney. He in fact is being tested by his donors to see if he can run a leaner campaign.

But this all leads to a drawn out primary, lending significant advantage to Obama. There is no way out. Republicans are making their climb harder and there is seemingly no way to stop that. With a media advantage and a spend advantage for Obama, the GOP will have to be laser-precise in their messaging efforts to compete.

This does allow for one significant trial by fire for the Republican: if they can compete with a much leaner budget than the opposition then just maybe they will have some credibility in saying that they can do the same for the country.
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