March 2, 2007


Is Mitt a Bad Fit? (Roger Simon, March 1, 2007, Politico)

[R]epublican primary voters tend to value hierarchy.

Though a recent Romney campaign document indicates that he is going to try to sell himself to Republican voters as an outsider, Republicans rarely nominate outsiders.

"We typically look for the next person in line," Tom Rath, a top Republican operative from New Hampshire, told me at the Republican straw poll in Tennessee last year. "We want to know: Whose turn is it? It is very hard to come from nowhere in the Republican Party."

Rath said that while it was not impossible for a long shot to win the Republican nomination, "This party likes long shots that they know."

"In 1976, Reagan was a long shot," Rath said. And Reagan lost the nomination to incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford that year.

"But by 1980, Reagan had the party's hearts and wallets," Rath said.

In 1988, George H.W. Bush not only represented Reagan's "third term," but had punched his ticket with party regulars and was the establishment choice. In 1996, Bob Dole was clearly the next person in line. In 2000, George W. Bush, by virtue of his family ties, was also the Republican establishment candidate.

With Jeb not running and Senator McCain having played the Reagan '76 role last time around, he's the next in line.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 2, 2007 11:02 AM

"McCain having played the Reagan '76 role"

No. Reagan played the good GOPer, supporting Ford and other GOPers. McCain has gone against Bush and the Senate GOP whenever he (or the NYT) wanted to since 2000. If McCain had played the Reagan '76 role he would be cruising to the nomination - the fact that he isn't shows the normal "it's his turn" mantra for the GOP nomination may not apply in 2008.

Posted by: AWW at March 2, 2007 11:33 AM

Senator Keating-McCain's next role should be that pioneered by Spiro Agnew: the VP who's so scary no one would dare remove the President. He'd be perfect, giving his Capt. Queeg persona a good workout.

And as AWW points out, anyone with any smarts who was in McCain's position would have had the nomination as heir-apparent locked up by now. That he doesn't shows how poorly he'll do as President if given the chance. At best he'll be Bush the Younger's Bush 41, not Reagan.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 2, 2007 11:52 AM

Reagan lost IA, Bush lost NH. No one sews it up two years out.

Posted by: oj at March 2, 2007 12:02 PM

McCain has campaigned his butt off for Bush and the GOP, just like Reagan.

Posted by: oj at March 2, 2007 3:01 PM
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