Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Beyond the Michigan and Arizona Republican Primaries: Santorum’s got the heart, Mitt Romney sounds more like a Snake Oil Salesman!

Keywords or Terms: Michigan; Arizona; Mitt Romney; Rick Santorum; Visionary and Strong Message; Republican Party; Victory Speech; Money in Politics; Effectiveness of Campaign Message; Condoms and Birth Control; American Deficit; Team Sport; De-facto Nominee, Mineral Rights; and Inspirational Speech

Santorum gets a bad rap, but the primary results from Michigan and Arizona give the Republican voters another opportunity to re-evaluate the social conservative message of Rick Santorum. For many objective viewers, the results from Michigan and Arizona may not be considered a complete defeat of Santorum’s message; rather, a stop gap opportunity for his candidacy; an open window for him to connect and reconnect; a chance he did not allow to slip by, as he gave what can be considered a strong and visionary message of his campaign in Michigan tonight.

After listening to Rick Santorum’s speech, there is probably a consensus from some quarters within the Republican Party, that Mitt Romney has a lot of work to do; and, the closeness of the Michigan primary result give Rick Santorum a bragging right that his social conservative message is gradually percolating to the rank and file, a group he is going to need in the coming contests; and one, that has found Mitt Romney as wishy-washy. Rick Santorum has the greatest opportunity of fine tuning and re-affirming his social conservative message as the contest gradually moves into the multi-state challenge and competition. His speech tonight shows a lot of strength and his message evokes the emotion that probably resonates well with his constituency. While Mitt Romney gave the run of the mill victory speech, Rick Santorum was able to articulate the vision for his campaign and the substance of his delivery must be considered much superior to Mitt Romney. Frankly, it isn’t that Romney gave a speech tonight that was of concern, it was the flatness of the speech when compared to Rick Santorum’s; it was the emptiness of his usual promises to do what is in the best interest of the rich at the expense of the poor, a message that many voters will flee from in the general elections come November.

The simple illustration from tonight’s contests: Money alone cannot drive a campaign; a candidate must be able to connect with the voters and do it in such a way that voters find his candidacy credible; not for the plurality of his campaign structure over the federation, or spending of millions to win a state or two, or the whimsical thought of an aspirant standing up to the opposing party’s candidate, but for the effectiveness and resonance of the candidate's campaign message with a preponderance number of voters within his own party; and probably, across the nation. Romney’s campaign may have the support of the Godfather’s in the Republicans Party; however, they all will agree that their choice candidate is not a replica of the competitiveness that was found in Barack Obama’s candidacy of 2008; and or, that was found in Hilary Clinton competitive relativity with Barack’s candidacy of 2008. The uniqueness of Hilary’s connectivity with the women’s group is found in Rick Santorum’s connectivity with social conservatives; a relevance that is lost in Romney’s appeal even among rich Republicans that support him.

Making statements about smaller government or insinuating the need for leaders of integrity or a promise of prosperity in America are not enough, these alone cannot guarantee victory for Republicans in the general election. Further, the general message of prosperity and experience in creating jobs in the private sector do not suffice in an entwined or twisted Republican nomination process; neither would bad mouthing the President as a huge spender. The route to victory for Republicans in the general elections in November, 2012, is a better and consistent message on the economy, a message that no single Republican candidate has articulated yet, nor effectively communicated with the electorate. Offering a twenty percent tax cut rate, repealing the minimum tax rate for corporations and abolishing the death tax, all are but unattainable promises in the context of the huge American Deficit; this is why President Obama is still the best choice for the nation come November, 2012. Obama has articulated the message of the importance of the economy to his re-election chances and has driven home all his past effort regarding the Auto-industry bailout. He has been consistent, careful in decision making and in execution of public policy. For Romney or any other aspiring Republican for the White house to top this, must involve consistency in messaging and articulation of where the hearts of the voters are.

Offering to the electorate promises of corporate tax cut, elimination of death taxes and relying especially on the well worn-out Republican doctrine of tax cutting the nation out of an under-performing economy, without raising some form of revenue, are routes that have been tested and found wonton under many Republican Presidencies. Whimsical promises of a tax plan that will turn around America Economy overnight are nothing but, mere promises; promises that will hardly give Mitt Romney the required edge over Rick Santorum on Super Tuesday; nor offer him the opportunity to unseat President Barack Obama, as he is dreaming about. A critical step for any President to turn this economy around, must involve a combination of tax cut and revenue rising; steps that congressional lawmakers must buy into. If the two chambers of Congress are as fractionated as they are today, when “President Romney” gets to the White House, he will be just as handicapped as the current President was about a year ago, in the effort to move bills through congress. Politics, as Rick Santorum reiterated in the last Republican candidates’ debate, is a Team Sport and Candidate Mitt Romney has to get this through his head; without which, he remains a lonesome looser.

Being the de-facto nominee of the Republican Party is no longer enough in an environment of topsy-turvy primaries and caucuses results. Rick Santorum and probably the remaining Republican hopefuls are offering Mitt Romney a run for his money; or, a difficult challenge in this nomination cycle. Romney’s performances are hopeful in many of the past primaries and or caucuses; however, they have not been able to seal the deal for him as of today or eliminate the fierce contests from the remaining candidates, most especially, Rick Santorum. Candidate Mitt Romney may have beaten Rick Santorum in Arizona and Michigan tonight, but Romney has been unable to break Santorum. Candidate Mitt Romney may be surrounded by huge number of political advisers and Juggernauts, but he lacks the authenticity that many Republican voters are looking for in their nominee. That authenticity lies with Rick Santorum in this current slate of Republican aspirants.

In response to probably the most fragmented primary and caucuses victories in recent time in the states already contested, it is still feasible to see Mitt Romney stumble and probably falter on the trail to Republican Party nomination of a flag bearer for the November 6th contest. Based on comparison of the speeches given tonight by the two Republican front-runner candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, one is apt to believe that the substance of Rick Santorum’s message is solid and can easily be embraced by many working class Republican voters, while Mitt Romney’s message leaves much to be desired among this group. For example, While Santorum articulates his vision for his campaign and the substance of his candidacy carrying some sparks among a well-represented group of Republicans, Mitt Romney’s message tonight seems flat, repetitive of past speeches, loaded with incongruent promises and unfulfilled dreams.

To many Republicans, Mitt Romney is not conservative enough; and, is more of a fair weather candidate, who blows wherever the wind carries him, if you ask the Tea Party faction in the Republican Party. To this latter group and some, Mitt Romney’s candidacy and message are unconvincing, considering his inability to articulate a consistent set of dependable message or strength that the current time demands. Worse still, because Mitt Romney has often been unable to articulate the vision of his campaign, even after double victories like those tonight, many prospective supporters and supporters, find it difficult to embrace him and his candidacy. To this group and many who yearn for an alternative candidate to Mitt Romney, the speculation that Rick Santorum is not electable in a general election, must now be re-assessed, as Mitt Romney barely sneaked past this venerable and passionate messenger of social conservatives. There is even the possibility that at the end of the count in Michigan tonight, the thirty delegates may have to be split between Romney and Santorum.

Furthermore, critics of Candidate Mitt Romney maintain that he is neither able to speak with conviction nor offer coherent and concrete case for his candidacy before blue collar Republicans; and, his speeches and Gothic look before the press, are unappealing, even after some victories. He can hardly articulate for middle class Americans, a message of relevance or a principle of equanimity for their desire to remain in this group or move into upper class America. Sadly, Mitt Romney appears not to be able to connect with many working class Americans in most exit polls; but, does well with the rich and affluent members of this society. These and more are the reasons why some conservative Republicans are still scratching their head, imagining if there could be another viable candidate, but Romney.

Finally, if the speeches offered by Mitt Romney as compared to Rick Santorum tonight were the criteria of being the future Republican nominee, Rick Santorum beats Mitt Romney hands down. Not only does Santorum's message carry the effectiveness of reaching the intended wider audience, it portrays Santorum as lively and in torch with the desires of social conservatives; and, may be readily competitive against President Obama. Tonight, Santorum had the smoothness that makes him convincing and not contracting, the way Romney is; and Santorum delivered his somewhat of a victory speech with a commendable oratory that is probably close to President Barack Obama. He talked about  economic opportunities, division of properties and freedom of mineral rights and development; he talked less about condoms and the other social divisive issues that drives some voters away from him. He offered very significant and inspirational statements that can really endear voters to him in the coming huge Super Tuesday contests. To this effect, there are some within the Republican Party, who believe that, were Santorum able to recalibrate some of his excesses in social conservatism or message, he may be a better Republican candidate against the President of the United States.