Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Mitt Romney’s Southern strategy relied too much on pandering, not enough on the economy

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“What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

That famous Southern movie line summed up Mitt Romney’s Southern strategy. If you thought he was clueless and out of touch outside the South, nothing like references to “cheesy grits” and NASCAR owners and thinking Alabama sang “Sweet Home Alabama” to make you seem like a Yankee.

When Michiganders go into the forest with the trees at the right height, they like to hunt. So do Southerners. Michiganders feel like the economics leave them out in the cold. Southerners feel that way, too. Michigan builds cars. So do Southerners.

Romney went out of his way to not pander to Michiganders; he reinforced his support against a bailout of GM and Chrysler, even though it worked out well for all involved. Romney went out out of his way to pander to Southerners.

Romney won Michigan (barely). Romney finished in third in Mississippi and Alabama.

The South will not be excited about Romney, but where else will they go?

None of the three really hit on a major issue in the South: the economy. Romney talks pretty well about suffering but can’t/won’t talk about what can fix that. Tax cuts for the rich don’t make a viable economic plan, but it’s all Romney has.

While the press was focused on Mississippi and Alabama, Romney did win in Hawaii and American Samoa. While Romney didn’t have a great night, his nights are still better than anyone else running for president on the GOP side.

The best part was the press pondering that Newt Gingrich will finally get out. They are used to candidates dropping out due to a lack of votes or money or both.

What Mitt Romney has to contend with is three people who really have nothing better to do than stay in this race. This is Ron Paul’s last race, and the rumors of friendliness between Paul’s camp and Romney’s camp are only getting louder.

Newt Gingrich might want to be Rick Santorum’s VP nominee, but wants nothing from Romney. Santorum has the potential to be viable, and shouldn’t drop out. But even if he and Gingrich switched positions, Santorum wouldn’t want to leave either.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton might have seem heated in 2008, but both of them thought the other could be president. Santorum and Gingrich really don’t think Romney will get elected.

You can tell Gingrich that he will not win another state and he really doesn’t care. At first, I wondered if he was delusional. On this point, he might not be. Deep down, he knows but doesn’t care.


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