Monday 23 April 2018

Tim Stanley: So far so good for Romney, but 'Mittmentum’ may not last long

MITT Romney is the first Republican in history to win both the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. If he wins South Carolina on January 21, he’ll sweep the nomination. He’s got the money, the looks and the brains to go all the way to the White House. He’s got Mittmentum.

But Romney’s nomination could prove to be a poisoned chalice. He may have won Iowa and New Hampshire, but his opponents put up a fierce if ungentlemanly fight (biting and scratching were allowed) and he emerges from these contests badly scarred. The very act of winning the Republican nomination might have put the presidency beyond his reach.

Certainly, the attacks of the past few weeks will haunt Romney forever. Newt Gingrich spoke for a lot of conservatives when he called him “a timid Massachusetts moderate”. “Massachusetts” is particularly insulting, as the state that Romney once governed is notoriously liberal – and Romney governed as a liberal in order to win elections there. He has changed his positions since, but once upon a time he was in favour of abortion and gay rights. Suspicion that Romney is still a closet progressive may cause many conservatives to sit out the presidential election in November, while his U-turns strike many non-Republicans as cynical electioneering.

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