Mitt Romney should be counting his blessings that Jon Huntsman skipped the Las Vegas debate as that left one less person to attack him. But the former Utah governor is joining in with others who make the point that Romney, the professional presidential candidate, has been on both sides of every issue. Huntsman refers to Romney as ″a perfectly lubricated weather vane.″ Romney has flip-flopped this week on two issues, the Ohio ballot proposal to limit the power of public service unions and global climate change. Rumors are also surfacing that there is disorder within Romney′s campaign staff over whether or not to campaign seriously in Iowa. One would think that since he′s been running for president for nearly 6 years now, Romney would have worked out the kinks in his strategy.
While others name Romney as a flip-flopper or a waffle candidate, George Will has declared Mitt the ″pretzel candidate.″ That his campaign has too many twists and turns and may wind up hurting the Republicans in their bid to win the U.S. Senate. Might Conservatives and Tea Party members demonstrate their disdain for Romney by sitting out the election, or voting for 3rd party tickets? While many people think that Romney is the only GOP candidate who can defeat Barack Obama next year, his consistent low percentage in every national poll shows that 75-80% of GOP primary voters simply do not like him. Will raises the issue of the difference between ″competence″ and ″ideology″ as to which is the more powerful political magnet.
Indeed, primary voters are typically driven by ideology. Thus, with all of Romney′s flip-flops, who can seriously trust him to stand up for any issue? Iowa caucus voters are notoriously Conservative and Evangelical in their ideology. With barely eight weeks to go before the first ballots are cast, the state is up for grabs. Initially, Romney intended to skip the caucus and focus on New Hampshire and more friendly territory. But now, could he truly sell himself in a state where retail politics is so crucial? Can Iowa voters learn to like Romney?
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is betting they will not. So he is joining in on the bash Romney movement, calling him ″a well lubricated weather vane″ for his many, many flip-flops on the issues. Mitt Romney has nobody to blame but himself, especially for his error this week in Ohio concerning the public service union ballot proposal. Adding this to Mitt′s reversals on abortion, climate change, health care mandates, carbon tax, etc., Romney is the archetype for the professional politician who will say anything to get a vote. His low ratings in every GOP primary voter poll, rarely showing more than 25% support, is worse than the consistent base of support of Barack Obama. While Obama is not facing any primary challengers, there is a growing chorus to draft somebody, even Gary Hart, as an alternative.