Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rush is Wrong

Rush Limbaugh has been trying to make the case that Mitt Romney is not conservative enough for him and that he would fare like Bob Dole in the general because the GOP base is not excited about him as a candidate.

Limbaugh makes the case that in contested primaries that Romney has not been able to capture a majority of the vote.   Well, duh.  The GOP is made up of a series of factions - social conservatives, economic conservatives and libertarians are at least the three most obvious.   The social conservatives have been especially wary of Romney because of where he was Governor.   A lot of people including Limbaugh have also tried to make the case that the Massachusetts version of healthcare reform and Obamacare are the same.

Two points.   First, when you have four candidates running it is often hard to achieve a majority.  It is obvious that Gingrich is fading as a candidate.  So it is likely that Romney's percentages will begin to move up as that happens.   Second, the most important priority of GOP people this year is the defeat of President Obama.   I suspect that as Romney consolidates his majority status in the coming weeks, the level of enthusiasm for Romney will increase.

That does not mean that Romney is going to defeat the President.   The intrade odds on Obama have been getting stronger in the last few months.  As the race comes down to two candidates I expect the numbers to close.   At the same time Romney has shown two competing tendencies as a candidate.  First, he has shown an ability to make gaffes which the press has played up.   At the same time, he has developed over the last few months into a better candidate.   The President remains unpopular with a lot of voters (for good reason) and so do many of his programs.   If this becomes a vote on his record, the odds for the race will tighten up.  

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