Monday, August 22, 2011

Why Candidate From Central Casting Mitt Romney Can't Get Hawkeye Love

 Pictured: Former Governor of Massachusetts and friend to dogs everywhere Mitt Romney

Romney can't be what the primary voters of Iowa want him to be: a folksy, evangelical Christian. He is a former governor of the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts (where, horror of horrors, he worked with Democrats to establish a health care plan for the citizens), a CEO and a Mormon.

He is not offering to pray away the gay or is going to brag about creating minimum wage jobs in Texas (or the stimulus money that was used to create them). Perry and Bachmann represent a certain arm of the party, and Romney, with smaller roles for Huntsman and even Ron Paul, represent another (more Rockefeller Republican than 'God called me to bankrupt America').

The importance of Iowa is for the horse race and for raising money. It is generally seen that the race is going to be Romney versus the Queen of Rage or the President of Texas (come for the McJobs-stay for the secession!). Romney does not have a problem with funding, and his pro-business message will resonate as long as he sticks to the script. If he tries to become a Howard Beale candidate for the right his campaign will falter quickly. He has to look like the adult in the room. As January gets closer he will spend more time in Iowa. Too much time in Iowa narrows the focus of candidates: it is a portion of the country, not a microcosm. He has the money to establish himself in the rest of the primary states and not have to turn and burn the Wednesday after the Iowa caucuses.

Candidates who are level-headed and cool under pressure move through the storm of emotion politics, which center on blame and not solutions. Anger-centered campaigns end with a show on Fox News: solution-centered campaigns end with the keys to Camp David.