The GOP electorate is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to their 2012 presidential candidate. On one end, they have former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a candidate the grassroots Republicans are not too enthusiastic about, and then on the other sits the island of misfit candidates, all of whom have major flaws.
According to a recent Gallup poll, Romney is beating President Barack Obama in "swing states," and is tied with him nationally. It is obvious that the best candidate for 2012, though many will not like it, is Romney. The ultimate goal for Republicans is to take back the White House, and the only way they will win and achieve that would be to pit Romney against Obama. Romney’s track record and bravado put him head and shoulders above the rest of the GOP candidates. Where others have faltered, Romney has continued to keep his ship steady.
Of the group, Romney is by far the most presidential; he exudes confidence, handles pressure well, and is unafraid to let his critics have it. Romney might not rally the base as well as other candidates, but he has made a concerted effort to connect with moderates as well as independents. He has not pigeonholed himself as a religious zealot, like Texas Gov. Rick Perry or Rick Santorum; tried too hard to connect with the Tea Party, like Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), and former Speaker Newt Gingrich; or been the target of negative backlash like Herman Cain. Romney has played everything close to the chest, and let’s face it, has not had a debilitating gaffe thus far.
The recession has put a greater emphasis on having someone in office who understands how the economy works and has experience creating jobs, something Romney has. His 25 years worth of experience in the private sector gives him an insight that not every candidate has, and it gives him a decided advantage in the general election against Obama. Romney's investment firm, Bain Capital, has numerous success stories, like Staples, The Sports Authority, Brookstone, and Domino’s Pizza. Sure, he had to cut and downsize some organizations during his time at Bain, but Romney was able to learn what worked and what didn’t in the private sector, giving him experience that most candidates don’t possess.
While some will argue that during his time as Massachusetts governor, the state ranked 47th in job creation, under Romney’s watch, unemployment in the state dropped from 5.6% to 4.7%, and Massachusetts had a record of nearly 50,000 jobs created.
Though some view his health care plan as a negative, it shows that Romney has experience passing significant health care reform. If the Republicans were to regain the White House, significant changes to the much-maligned “Obamacare” are afoot, and no one in the race has a better track record at passing bipartisan health care legislation than Romney. Cain, Perry, and Paul have all failed to produce a logical health care plan.
The Republican Party needs Romney to run against Obama. The president would give the proverbial “beat down” to every candidate outside of Romney merely with his wit, charisma, and knowledge. Romney can match Obama’s mystique or at least come close; he is well spoken, intellectual, charismatic, and can occasionally provide the sharp one-liner. He scares Obama and will give him a run for his money.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore