Temperature check: Is Barack Obama preferable to Mitt Romney?

Posted by: ST on March 23, 2012 at 11:18 am

Santorum – yesterday:

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Rick Santorum played off of the Mitt Romney campaign’s Etch A Sketch gaffe today when he told an audience that the country might be better off with President Obama than with a candidate who will shift his positions with ease and who he believes is not very different from the president.

“You win by giving people a choice. You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there. If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate of the future,” Santorum told a crowd at USAA.

I’m with Michelle Malkin on this one. The answer to the question is: no. But let me emphasize it a little more: Not no, but hell no.  While I suspect that Santorum’s point was more geared to independents and undecideds who may be leaning towards Romney, there’s a better way to get your point across about Mitt Romney being a career political chameleon without essentially suggesting it would be better to leave Obama in office than elect Mitt Romney.

I say this, of course, being one of the more vocal “anti-Mitts” out there.  I don’t like the guy, don’t trust him one single bit, and doubt I will ever be “pro-Mitt” – even if I do end up having to hold my nose and vote for him in the general election over Barack Obama.  But leaving Obama in office IS NOT PREFERABLE to Mitt Romney.

Having said that, my gut feeling is that if Romney is elected and becomes the “face” of the GOP, the fight to win people over to conservatism becomes that much harder – because if he becomes the GOP “brand” being the moderate to liberal he is on most issues, my worry is that people who don’t follow politics closely will wrongly associate “conservatism” with Mitt Romney courtesy of deliberate misrepresentation of him by liberals as “conservative”, and any actual conservative candidates/politicos who don’t fall in line with that type of pseudo-“conservatism” (the type we see often in the North East) could end up losing out in the end – and as a result, conservatism will lose.

Your thoughts?

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  • 24 Responses to “Temperature check: Is Barack Obama preferable to Mitt Romney?”


    1. Wendy says:

      Not going to get into the conservative versus moderate argument, but to counter your I don’t like Mitt comments – neither my husband or I have ever “liked” Santorum. Long before he decided to run for President he was a frequent contributor to Fox and we always found him to be a whiner among other things. We think he has lived up to that. You are right about the same as Obama comment – Hell No – I can’t believe he said that!

    2. Phineas says:

      I never liked Santorum very much, and this moment of “me or nothing” just confirms it. And yet, much as I think he’s a self-righteous, sanctimonious scold, I still think he’s preferable to Obama and will vote for him, if he’s the nominee. Maybe Santo needs a reminder that this is about much, much more than whether he gets to be president.

      (FTR, I’ve settled on Romney among the remaining candidates, not because I think he’s wonderful, but because I think he’ll veer with the prevailing winds from Congress to be successful (something I don’t expect from Rick). And so we need to elect as conservative a congress as possible, to make sure “President Romney” veers Right.)

    3. Carlos says:

      Taking Mitt to the election is like taking a ball of play doh to a gun fight. No matter what happens, we lose.

      The only consolation in getting Mitt instead of Duh-1 is that he will take us over the cliff just a little slower.

      OTOH, if Mitt should happen to win, that would probably mean the R’s retain the House and might even pick up a couple of seats in the Senate, and we know for sure that there will be at least one, if not two or three new SCOTUS people in the next term, and as much as I hate to think it, Mitt’s lib justices probably won’t be the communists that will be retiring on the socialist side of the court.

      Those, IMHO, are the only pluses I can see to Mitt over Barry.

    4. george washington says:

      liberal media AGAIN takes out of context a conservatives words(go figure)….these links also posted on Michelle’s blog:

      AP Deliberately Deceives on Santorum’s Conditional Statement Comparing Romney and Obama


      People Are Badly Misinterpreting Rick Santorum


    5. Xrlq says:

      Santorum eagerly endorsed Romney as a solid conservative four years ago. Since then, Romney has barely budged on any issues, and the few he has moved in ever so slightly have been in the rightward direction. Nothing about Romney could have justified Santorum’s own stance on the guy. All that changed is that Santorum’s own candidacy.

      As to concerns about Romney misrepresenting conservatism to the public, I think they’re doubly mistaken. First, Romney isn’t all that moderate to begin with. While I don’t necessarily agree with Ann Coulter that Romney is more conservative than Santorum, I think it is mostly a wash. If you care more about social conservative issues, those are the ones Romney has flip-flopped on, so Santorum is your guy. But if you care more about fiscal issues, Romney is stronger, and Santorum’s past opposition to right to work laws make him look almost liberal. Both will be equally strong on national defense, the judiciary, and most other issues that don’t get talked about much in campaigns but are important nonetheless. Second, while I don’t believe Romney is a moderate, there’s no question he’s widely perceived that way, among moderates and independents as well as among the social cons who seem to hate him. Santorum, by contrast, is widely perceived as the quintessential conservative, despite having almost as many heresies as Romney. So any failure by a President Santorum to toe the conservative line will be perceived as a failure of conservatism, not as a failure of the Prez to be conservative enough. I don’t think a President Romney would have that problem. Maybe he would if he had cruised to an easy nomination with all social conservatives pretending to love him like they did in ’08, but he certainly won’t have that problem now.

    6. Tex says:

      It really comes down to this – the key to getting rid of Obama is getting the Independents to vote Republican. And Independents are not all that Conservative. Its really that simple. So, the more Conservative the candidate, the less likely the Independents will vote for that person. Its the Independents that handed Obama his victory in 2008 because they thought McCain was too Conservative, yes too Conservative. And how many people here think McCain it too Conservative?

      Or to put it another way, the chances of Obama being President four more years is much, much higher on a Obama/Santorum match-up than they are on a Obama/Romney match-up.

      Romney is to the Left side of McCain, which gives him the best chance of all the candidates to date to get enough of the Independent vote to deny Obama another four years.

      To me its very simple, do I want 60% of what I want under Romney or 0% of what I want under Obama.

    7. WVinMN says:

      Tex said…
      “Romney is to the Left side of McCain, which gives him the best chance of all the candidates to date to get enough of the Independent vote to deny Obama another four years.”

      So, in order to put our “man” in the WH, we have to nominate a leftist to beat the Marxist? And then all of those “independents” will run out and make phone calls, knock on doors, donate money….you mean, they won’t do that Tex? You mean, us fly-over red-necks are going to have to do all the leg work in order to push this road kill over the finish line? I don’t think so!

      And btw Tex…Although I’m sure if your old enough you were a Ford man through and through, this country can elect a conservative president. You remember, right?

    8. @Tex: An articulate conservative spokesman with leading man looks – think Reagan – destroys Obama with independents. (Of course, we don’t have that package in this cycle. But it doesn’t matter) McCain lost to Obama with independents because they were comparing two empty messages with no record, and the tall skinny black guy beat the old shriveled crippled guy (that’s about as deep as it ran with them) This time, Obama is running against the record independents have been living under for 3+ years, so #2 pencil will beat Obama in November. Mark it. We are in position to select a true conservative and seem to have blown it. {sigh}

      “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

    9. Mitch says:

      In my opinion, it was a stupid comment for Santorum to make and I think he will suffer for it. I understand he’s Avis and he has to try harder at this point, but ST and MM are both right. For any Conservative to even suggest that we would be better off with four more years of Obama rather than Mitt Romney is not only ridiculous, but appalling.

      This has not been a Primary campaign that any Republican could say they are proud of. The Leftist Media has done an admirable job of making the Candidates appear foolish and weak. Newt is the only one that threw it back at them. Until we can somehow control the Media in a like manner, we will continue to wind up with people like Romney and Santorum. But I will vote for either one of them over the alternative. What we really need to do is keep the House majority and also gain a Senate Majority. If we can do that, Joe the Plumber could run the country.

      There is a lot in the other comments made here that I also agree with, but the blunt answer to the question ST asked is simply, “NO!”

    10. Westport Republican says:

      Although I admire the fighting spirit, i’m finding this endless loop of
      “TRUE Conservative” push back against Romney nothing more than
      boring narcissism and head in the sand denial. Mitt is a good man,
      has the experience and is our best chance to get Barry out of power.
      time to suck it up and pull together. This isn’t going to be an easy
      fight. There’s more Sh*t coming from Axelrod and company that can
      be imagined. Time to grow up.

    11. Great White Rat says:

      that type of pseudo-”conservatism” (the type we see often in the North East)

      Hmmph, come on now, ST. That’s not true of all of us up here. I can name a couple of issues where I make even you look like a RINO. ;)

      Anyway, to the main point: Santorum is dead wrong about that. Any of the four GOP candidates left – hell, even all the ones who have dropped out – would be much better than Obama. For one thing, there’s no question that they love America and its Constitution, and don’t see the need to “fundamentally change” any of that.

      That said, I do not trust Romney for a second. The key, then, would be to elect a House and Senate that will pursue a more conservative course and put a check on any leftward move he makes. In that respect, I’m with Phineas and Carlos. If Romney’s the nominee, I’ll cast a lesser-of-two-evils vote for him, but all my donations will go to congressional candidates.

      One minor point of disagreement with Tex here: I don’t think anyone went to Obama in 2008 because they thought McCain was too conservative. I think it was a combination of (a) Bush fatigue after 8 years, (b) the ‘coolness’ factor of electing someone both black and young instead of another old white guy, (c) the MSM being completely in the tank for Obama, and (d) the economic implosion in the fall of 2008 and McCain’s tepid response to it (remember, until then most polls had him even or slightly ahead of Obama).

    12. Mitch says:

      Westport, I agree with most of what you have to say, but when, as an afterthought, you throw in the comment, “Time to grow up,” you lose me. I “grew up,” a long time ago, thank you very much. Please don’t insult my intelligence. For the record, I don’t like Mitt Romney. Almost everyone else on the list had more to offer. But I will vote for him if he is the successful Candidate. It is too late in this Primary to keep arguing about the best Candidate. We don’t have that luxury anymore. At this point in time, it’s Romney or Obama. I’ll vote for the man, but please don’t shove him down my throat like he’s the best thing out there. Because he’s not. We could have done better. I think the Obama Machine will eat him for lunch. Newt at least had a chance of defeating the Communist. All we can do now if cross our fingers and hope.

    13. WVinMN says:

      The tirade below summarizes how Mitt Bots have characterized conservatives since before Iowa. It really takes some serious _____ to term conservative opposition to Romney “boring narcissism” given the unmitigated arrogance surrounding Mitt’s campaign team along with his most ardent supporters. I guess I’m simply too immature to understand the logic behind nominating the guy who wrote the blueprint for Obama Care?

      From Westport Republican…
      “Although I admire the fighting spirit, i’m finding this endless loop of “TRUE Conservative” push back against Romney nothing more than boring narcissism and head in the sand denial. Mitt is a good man, has the experience and is our best chance to get Barry out of power. time to suck it up and pull together. This isn’t going to be an easy
      fight. There’s more Sh*t coming from Axelrod and company that can be imagined. Time to grow up.”

    14. Dave B says:

      Four years ago Romney was endorsed by virtually every “real conservative” at this time. He’s moved further right and now he’s a moderate? The terms “real conservative” or “extremely conservative” have been used in this election cycle to somehow insult people supporting Romney by claiming that anyone that roots for the other candidates is a “real conservative.” How about the “real conservatives” and “extreme conservatives” that are supporting Romney? I’m one of tens of thousands of them, many of which are getting pissed off hearing this day in and day out. Romney is to the right of the others on every single issue but we’re still hearing this crap? He doesn’t wear his religion on his sleeve and make a sermon out of every speech. He doesn’t call Obama names or make inflammatory statements like a drama queen would do to gain attention. Politicians and pundits that have supported him earlier were “establishment” yet similar Washington people cut from the same cloth that supported the others were not. If Romney doesn’t “float your boat” that’s fine. But to claim that only Santorum or Gingrich supporters can be considered “true conservatives” is ignorant and inaccurate.

    15. Born Free says:

      If Romney becomes the nominee, the Republican brand will be crippled for generations, and possibly forever. Too bad the RINOs didn’t retire from the field after ’08, but they didn’t, and they’ll have their last hurrah.

    16. Drew the Infidel says:

      Keep in mind both parties have changed dramatically and this is not the JFK-LBJ Commiecrats nor the Goldwater GOP, thank God! However, the choice between someone tolerable (Romney) and an outright left-wing whack job (BO) could not be more clear.

    17. Kate in MI says:

      I think it’s a sad commentary on our country when we have to ‘hold our noses’ and vote for one of the remaining ‘candidates’.
      I’m tired of being forced to vote for a candidate who no more represents a conservative point of view than Sandra Fluke represents truthful, honest debate about contraception coverage.
      Why oh why oh why can’t we get a candidate who actually doesn’t whine, cavil, bloviate, or try to be ‘centrist’?
      I have voted every year since I was 18 years old and will be 60 this year.
      And for the first time in my life, I don’t want to vote.

    18. It’s Santorum I don’t trust.

      I don’t trust him to keep his yap shut on contraception during the campaign. I don’t trust him not to make whacky statements about how he’ll “throw up” when reading speeches he doesn’t agree with. I don’t trust him to even be able to talk about faith in a way that doesn’t turn off a lot of Christians, let alone non-Christians.

      No, Rick will play right into the hands of Obama and his minions in the media. They’ll try and make this election about contraception and abortion and Rick will helpfully give them all the ammunition I need.

      Then we’ll lose the election.. but hey, at least Romney the RINO won’t have gotten the nomination!

      Just thought you guys could benefit from hearing another point of view.

    19. “Amateurs talk strategy, pros talk logistics”

      Although the above aphorism is usually applied to military operations, it could be applied to politics as well.

      I’ve been everything from a district chair to a campaign manager for the Republicans (mostly as a volunteer, but the CM position was paid), and I can’t stress the importance of organization enough. Here in Loudoun County I’ve seen many candidates on both sides with good messages fail because they were poor organizers.

      Likewise, I know the importance of money in a campaign. I can’t tell you the number of “strategy sessions” I’ve been at or chaired were everyone is having a grand old time throwing out ideas and then towards the end I say “Remember, everyone, none of this happens without money, and to hit our numbers we need donations of $500 and $1,000 each, not $25 and $50,” and I see looks of “oh shit, this is going to be harder than I thought…”

      So we see that while Mitt Romney has put together an impressive campaign organization, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have not. Neither of the latter got on the ticket in Virginia or I believe in several other states as well. Santorum lost 10 delegates in Illinois because his campaign had not filed the right paperwork.

      Similarly, neither have been able to raise as much money as Romney. As a campaign guy, I know that one good test of whether a candidate is a winner is whether people will put their money where their mouth is. Write a big check or STFU.

      Not to disparage anyone here, but blogging is easy. It’s much harder to go out every Saturday as a volunteer and knock doors for 6 hours or more. It’s time consuming to sit and make get-out-the-vote phone calls at the local party office for 3 hours a night. It’s tough to organize a fund-raiser or even a kick-off party. And most of all its damn hard to be the organizer and make a hundred calls into the party database only to find find 5 or 10 people who will actually do these things.

      So organizations are hard to build and talking people out of real money harder still. Sorry, but you can’t win if all you can collect are $25 checks, and if you can’t recruit volunteer coordinators for each county who are willing to actually spend time doing the hard things you’re not going to win.

      So to wrap things up; if you can’t do these things right during the primary you’re probably not going to do much better during the general.

      Just my .02

    20. Mitch says:

      Tom, you make your point as delicately as possible and you are right, of course.

      But here’s a question for all of you along these lines. When was the last time a person was elected to an important office through a “grass-roots” effort without being backed by a lot of money? The only one that comes to mind was Jesse Ventura when he successfully ran for Governor of Minnesota.

      He ran as the Reform Party candidate in the Minnesota gubernatorial election of 1998, running a campaign centered on grassroots events and unusual ads that implored citizens not to “vote for politics as usual”. The campaign was successful, and Ventura served from January 4, 1999, to January 6, 2003, without running for a second term. – Wikipedia

      Food for thought.

    21. Tex says:

      I still maintain that Independents, who now make up 40% of the electorate, are the key in 2012, not loyal Conservatives and not loyal Liberals. And because their psychology is largely unknown at this point, they can swing in any direction during an election. And because group psychology changes from generation to generation, one cannot simply project a particular group’s psychology from 20 or 30 years ago onto today’s group.

      The last time the Independents were at peak levels (39%) in 1995 and 2007, they handed the unpopular Clinton his re-election and the unknown Obama his election. Which seems to suggest the Independents tend to be somewhat more Liberal than Conservative during those times.

      Polling in the past few weeks using possible scenarios of presidential match ups between Obama and the various Republican candidates show Obama ahead against all Republican contenders but the one who comes the closest to narrowing the gap is, like it or not, Romney, at average 4.5%. Santorum is behind Romney at nearly twice the gap (8.3%) and nearly tied with Paul (8.0%).

      That suggests to me that, like it or not, that Romney appears to have the smallest gap to close against Obama in order to throw Obama out of the White House. Which further suggest to me that, like it or not, Independent voters are not swinging all that far into the Conservative direction this election cycle.

      Personally, I’m not for or against any candidate running for office in the Republican party so I’m not here to trash or trumpet anyone’s choice. My preferred candidate is not running this time. And I feel the best candidate in the Republican party has yet to step forward. But we have who we have. I look at it from the perspective of pure battlefield tactics. You do what you have to do in order to defeat the enemy. And I still maintain given the fact that Independents are 40% of the vote this time, given the fact that the polls seem to suggest Independents are more Conservative averse than one might wish, it seems, like it or not, Romney has the best chance of shoving Obama out of the White House, which I thought would be the most important thing for any Conservative.

      I wish there was another Ronald Reagan but there’s not. But I want Obama out and the one Republican candidate who appears to have the best chance of achieving that is Romney. It is what it is.

    22. Mitch – one of my faults is bluntness, and my primary sin is pride. To those I confess and plead forgiveness from my creator.

      There are times when an insurgency candidate can beat a well-funded establishment type, so it does happen. Christie O’Donnell beating Mike Castle being one example (though I don’t have their financial figures in front of me I think he had more money).

      One can debate what “a lot of money” means but what I would say is that winning an election is a combination of money + organization + message. One or two alone won’t work.

      Boiled down my point was simply that it’s all very fine to discuss message but unless you throw organization and money into the mix it’s of limited value. And my sympathy for candidates who can’t raise the requisite amount of money is limited. So if Santorum can’t raise what it takes now what makes anyone think he can raise what it’ll take to beat Obama?

    23. Mitch says:

      Tom, for the record I did say you were right that organization and money make an almost unbeatable combination in the current reality of American Politics. It’s just that even as adults we still dream childhood fantasies where the White Knight comes charging in on his horse and saves the day. Reagan reinforced that in all of us, if only for eight short years.

      So, why do we still lean toward these childhood dreams? Because we’re terrified of losing our country to Communism through Obama and people like him and when we look around at the Republican field, we don’t see a White Knight, even though right now we need one more than we ever did.

      If I thought, “None of the Above,” could win the election in November, I would vote for, “None of the Above.” Trouble is, I don’t know who, “None of the Above,” is.
      You see, “Organization and Money,” give us these Primary Candidates in the first place, while there are hundreds if not thousands of good Americans who would do a better job in the end, in executing the duties and responsibilities of the Office of President. Sadly, we never get to hear from any of them. If one does happen to show his/her face, they get obliterated immediately by the leftist media in much the same way you would squash a bug. Sarah Palin and Herman Cain come to mind.

      Anyway, I already said I agree with you. But a man can still dream. At least for a little while. Then it’s time to get back to work to replace Obama with, “what’s his name.”
      “What’s his name,” is not quite as good as, “none of the above,” but I’ll vote for him in any case in order to get rid of the Presidential Primate. like Tex said, “it is what it is.”