It's the day before the Iowa causcuses. Things look pretty good for Mitt Romney. He seems to have weathered the Mike Huckabee surge--the Huckabee tide is clearly receding, and Mitt stands to either win or finish a close second in Iowa. Depending on which poll one believes, he is either slightly trailing or neck-in-neck with John McCain for the lead in the New Hampshire primary just six days from now.
Indeed, writes New York Times columnist David Brooks, Mitt Romney has turned himself into the "fulcrum of the Republican race." According to Brooks, "Some of his rivals are stronger among social conservatives. Others are stronger among security conservatives, but no candidate has a foot in all camps the way Romney does. No candidate offends so few, or is the acceptable choice of so many. ... He’s looking strong in Iowa and is the only candidate who can afford to lose an important state and still win the nomination."
But don't be fooled into thinking that this is a good thing, because in the opinion of David Brooks, Mitt Romney cannot possibly the general election. What is his failing? "In turning himself into an old-fashioned, orthodox Republican, he has made himself unelectable in the fall. "
That is admirably putting one's opinion out there for all to see. David Brooks believes that an "old-fashioned, orthodox Republican" can no longer win a national general election.
Underestimation of Republican chances by the liberal press in nothing new. If conventional wisdom among liberal pundits meant anything much in the real world, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush would not each have served two terms as President of the United States. So when David Brooks recounts that Romney "is astoundingly unpopular among young voters," who have scarcely had a chance to get to know him, is "also quite unpopular among middle- and lower-middle class voters," "will face hostility from Hispanic voters" and also from "independent voters," one need not overly awed. Probably the only indisputable statement from Mr. Brooks is that Romney "will face great hostility in the media." Well, duh--show me an "old-fashioned, orthodox Republican" who has not faced great hostility in the media!
The true failing of Mitt Romney, in the eyes of David Brooks and the media elites, is that he is not John McCain. Still, I do not want to risk underestimating the other side by totally dismissing Mr. Brooks' column. What do our loyal Hedgehog readers believe? If Mitt Romney turns out to be the GOP Presidential nominee, can he win the general election in November?