Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Saturday, October 22, 2016

If Mitt Romney ekes out a win in the Michigan presidential primary Tuesday as the latest polls suggest is likely, it will be a demoralizing finish in a state that should have been a slam dunk for the man who was born and raised there during the auto industry’s glory days in the 1940s and ’50s.

Local political observers cited the Romney campaign’s massive organizational and financial advantage, combined with a healthy dose of Super PAC assistance, for his upswing, as he was trailing in the polls — sometimes by a wide margin — as recently as a few weeks ago.

“This should have been an easy victory for Romney,” said Michael Heaney, a political scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Romney has shown the power of his well-organized campaign, but also has demonstrated really soft support from the Republican grassroots.”

He won a big victory in the state during his 2008 campaign, promising to revitalize the auto industry just months before he wrote an op-ed in The New York Times, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” urging the government not to rescue it. Michigan Republicans mostly share his view, but he is likely to shed some of his supporters from last time around, when he was the conservative alternative to John McCain.

“The bailout issue is more of a general election issue for him,” said former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. “More significant is how he has tried to cover all sides of it, his painful explanations of his position, his attempt to straddle that issue, the pretzel-like maneuvers he’s had to twist himself into in explaining it.”

Granholm said Romney would do well in the populous southeast part of the state, where traditional economic conservatives dominate Republican politics. But with delegates awarded based on how candidates perform in each congressional district, Rick Santorum could actually win the most delegates even if he loses the popular vote statewide because of strong support in the socially conservative counties in the west.

“You might see Rick Santorum actually winning more congressional districts even though Romney might win the popular vote because of the I-75 [southeast] corridor,” she said.

Whereas the elder Romney was a popular, progressive governor in the 1960s, embracing civil rights and staking out a position of bold centrism in a changing Republican Party, his son has learned to court the conservative movement, albeit awkwardly.

“His father was a beloved governor because he was pragmatic and compassionate and moderate,” said Granholm. “Mitt Romney, while he may have been some of those things while he was governor of Massachusetts, is vying to outflank Rick Santorum on the right, and he is not his father. He has morphed into something his father would not recognize.”

Even if he does win in Michigan, and in Arizona, where he has a healthy lead in the polls and was endorsed by conservative hero and anti-immigration Governor Jan Brewer, victory will have come at a high cost: less time spent preparing for the Super Tuesday primaries.

“Romney should have been able to count on Michigan and divert attention elsewhere,” Heaney said.

The final Public Policy Polling survey of the state showed Romney taking a narrow lead, 39 to 37 percent, with a large number of votes already in the bank thanks to his aggressive early voting operation.


Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2012 The National Memo
  • Artful

    The difficulties Romney is having in Michigan–because he has run away from his father’s reasonable roots–is precisely why the Nation needs to reject him and everything he doesn’t stand for. He seems to stand for nothing, and nothing is what he should get. It’s really quite amazing that this man, who should have been a reasonable candidate to run against President Obama, turns out to be Mr. Nowhere Man. He remains viable only because of his competition–a delusional sociopath, a 14th century theocrat, and a racist anarchist. Is this a great country or what????

  • PatrickHenry

    Gov. Romney is attacked from the Right for being too liberal, now he is attacked from the Left for being too Conservative? This man has a very reasonable and sensible understanding of this nation’s problems, had mentioned in the last Presidential primary against McCain that he would bring back those jobs in Detroit, where McCain said they were gone forever. He needs to win the primaries before he can be an effective leader to help this countrie’s economy. His policies on stopping the drain on America from Millions of Illegals are clear adn in accordance with our Laws, Millions of Illegals are “directly” related to many of our problems & costs: unemployment & low wages, high health care & school costs, crime, etc….

  • sleeprn01

    It is good to hear from former Michigan Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm when she described the elder Governor Romney as a beloved governor and auto executive; describing him as compassionate, progressive and moderate. This was a time when individuals like Governor Romney and President Eisenhower really did have the countries best interest at heart; it reminds me of why I initially registered as a Republican. However, since Presidents Nixon and Reagen the party seems to have become increasingly mean spirited (remember operation gemstone I & II) and increasingly the party of the wealthiest Americans while the middle class slowly sinks into oblivion. Governor Romney II should be ashamed of himself for not following in his father’s foot steps and being honest. He has flip-flopped on so many issues it’s difficult to know where he stands on anything. He keeps stating that by being in the private sector he knows how to create jobs. However while governor of Massachusetts his state was ranked 49th for job growth (Wall Street Journal) and his state lost mfg jobs at 2x the national average (Center for Market studies @ N.E. University). In addition to this while at Bain Capital he “fired” people from good paying mfg. jobs at a steel plant and a commercial washing machine mfg when he closed them down. He however did create some part-time minimal wage jobs at places like Staples and Sleep-eez. From what I’ve seen from his television advertisements he is up to Nixonion tricks of using subterfuge and nefarious means to defeat his opponents. Mean while he does not supply any information on his tax plan or how he would create jobs other than the typical GOP mantra of cut taxes on corporations and the wealth and do away with regulations. As we have seen over the last 3 decades large corporations will place profits above all else, even at the expense of worker safety. That money goes to the top, stays at the top, and does not trickle down to the middle class in the form of wages which have stayed stagnant over the last 30 years, many mfg jobs have been lost to foreign counties where the wages are poor, working conditions are poor, and there are no safety or environmental regulations to be observed, the price of goods and services have increased, while the number of people living below the poverty line has increased. Yes, compassion, progressive ideas, and middle of the road politics in the GOP have gone the way of the horse and carriage.

  • Howz 1

    Remember when we had them as kids. You could change their faces easily by moving a mouth or and ear. Mitt Romney woud love to be a Mr potato head but can’t. He has made statements on all sides of the issues depending on who he was facing in what election. He was a liberal to progressive governor in a very blue state and made such pronouncements about himself when he ran against the liberal lion Teddy K. Now is he Mr. conservative, going from pro choice to anti abortion, from universal health care to a repudiation of the same. His wealth which should have been idolized in the Republican party, is now a yoke arond his neck. So which Romney are we talking about? One thing we know for sure is that he will unchain Wall St again, and now he has to repeal health care reform and, stay in places like Afganistan even though the military sees no victory there. He wants to privatize social security which means giving Wall St a windfall like the’ve never seen, and create medical vouchers for seniors that won;t cover the cost of the premiums, to enrich rthe coffers of the insurance companies. He wants to drill everywhere, all to make the rich, richer. He won’t win because the right, for good reason dosen’t trust him, Evangelicals won’t vote for a Mormon, and he has landed on the wrong side of the contraception debate. He can’t go back to the center because Obama is waiting there to club him on right wing statements he made, and he needs the center to win. He is running out of room on his face to move the nose and mouth around. Soon Mr potato head will end up as a french fry

  • Bets4

    sleeprn01 has pretty much said what I would have said. Romney looked good until he began echoing the Birchers and TeaPartiers. Although a life-long Republican I’ve been voting Democratic for president since Reagen. Do we ever need someone like Roosevelt or Harry Truman or Lyndon Johnson!