Sunday, January 1, 2012

President Pence and the Myth of Romney as a Strong General Election Candidate

Yesterday during the Internet TV show Civil Discourse Now a comment by panelist Jon Easter refreshed my memory that Congressman Mike Pence was at one time considering (or at least he said he was) a run for the White House.
Congressman Mike Pence
I had forgotten all about that.

Looking at the GOP field leading up to the big Iowa Caucus next Tuesday, it occurs to me that Congressman Mike Pence, like him or not, would be a giant in this very weak GOP field. Pence is personable, understands the media better than just about anyone, articulates a consistent conservative message that hits the major Republican constituencies, and doesn't have the baggage that many of the Republican candidates have.  Pence likely would have been able to consolidate the 75% anti-Romney sentiment out there in the GOP.   Heck, he could have even drawn support away from former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

The polling showing Romney is more electable in a general election is a farce.  I believe people are simply repeating a commonly held assumption to pollsters, not stating their support of Romney in a contest versus President Obama.  After all, at a time when economic populism is starting to dominate the electorate, Romney is unquestionably part of the 1%, the very type of person disliked by both right Tea Party and left Occupy Wall Street.

President Obama, who comes from a humble background, is positioned to use economic populism to draw support from Republicans who don't like Romney's elitist background and pro-Wall Street persona.  Pence as the GOP nominee would have been able to compete toe-to-toe with Obama on that and other fronts.

When I heard Pence was considering a run for the White House in early 2011, I was of the belief the congressman was not ready, that he would finish well back in the GOP field.  I was wrong.  He could have been well on his way to winning the nomination.

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