Apparently the difference between punditry in the 2008 presidential cycle and this one is the need to make sweeping, declarative statements of absolute certainty concerning the candidates.
Except for the rather obvious exceptions like Huck and Trump are out or that Romney possesses an enormous fundraising advantage, these sweeping statements just aren’t true.
They aren’t true when people declare Massachusetts care to be an insurmountable obstacle to Romney’s winning the nomination and they aren’t true about Newt’s hopes being completely dashed by his dust-up with Paul Ryan.
When Jonah Goldberg writes that “[b]y my count, Romney’s speech bombed with 9 out of 10 conservatives (the 10th being influential conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt),” he is accurately recording the Manhattan-Beltway media elite opinion Borg’s feeling that day.
Yesterday the MBMEBorg concluded Newt had self-destructed. The Borg is also convinced that Mitch Daniels will run and wll be one of the top tier candidates, even though the MBMEBorg was convinced Daniels wasn’t running a month ago. A month ago, the self-same opinion-absorbing/opinion producing blob thought Trump a big problem for the GOP.
Newt had a bad day but very few figures in American politics can quickly gain access to every major talk show and broadcast a new message. (Here’s the transcript of Newt from my show yesterday afternoon.) He’s got a full round of events today, next week and next month and a superb fundraising base. Congressmen who voted for the Ryan budget won’t be happy when they see Newt’s quote in direct mail and television attack ads aimed at them next year, but the nomination will be decided in small towns in Iowa and quiet neighborhoods in New Hampshire where more than half of the voters haven’t even begun to tune in yet. Newt’s not done, and it is silly to say he is.
Mitt Romney is the front runner and yesterday’s staggering dollar haul underscores that. It isn’t the money –its the organization. The timing –four days after the speech that Jonah thinks most people hated– sent a wonderful message as well, as did Romney’s decision not to attend the first debate in South Carolina.
Did anyone in the Borg predict the money haul, or even know it was scheduled to happen? Jonathan Martin was in Las Vegas with Team Romney yesterday, and his report today notes some obvious points that were missing from last week’s pronouncement of last rites over the Romney campaign. But I don’t recall reading anything about this event anywhere in the aftermath of the Michigan speech on the repeal-by-waiver approach to Obamacare. In fact, most of the write-ups of the speech neglected to cover that central theme, preferring to focus on what Romney said about Massachusetts care because that is what the Borg had declared would matter.
Here’s the reality: The Borg doesn’t live where the voters live, doesn’t understand the voters deep unease with the country’s direction and especially its economy, and doesn’t get to set the agenda for them. The Borg sneers at Rick Santorum, but as he demonstrated again on my show yesterday, he is probably the best positioned of all the GOP candidates to benefit from Mike Huckabee’s exit, and this seasoned campaigner –he won two state wide races in Pennsylvania– knows how to connect with the values voters and, often overlooked, with the national defense conservatives.
There are seven candidates who could win the GOP nomination, and if Bachmann, Daniels and Huntsman get in alongside of Gingrich, Pawlenty, Romney and Santorum, all of them will be there through the New Hampshire primary, and the decisions of thousands of Iowa and New Hampshire voters aren’t going to depend on a Meet the Press appearance in May.