Mitt Romney’s Marriage of Convenience
Responding to the ad above, Allahpundit writes:
The “unlike some people” is merely implied, but this one’s so heavy-handed that he might as well have tacked on a few shots of Newt with his ex-wives framed by a torn “heart” graphic. I’m tempted to say this will do Romney as much harm as good simply because it stinks of desperation driven by Gingrich’s surge, but in truth it probably will help him a bit. For every Iowa political junkie who long ago priced Newt’s personal issues into his stock, there are probably two or three socially conservative caucusgoers who haven’t paid much attention yet and are just now taking a close look at Gingrich. And yes, character does matter[.]
I understand the tenet, popular among many on the Right and supposedly coined by President Reagan, that “Thou shalt not speak Ill of any fellow Republican” is held sacred by many GOP primary voters. In theory, this means that a GOP pol who goes negative against an opponent does so at great risk to themselves. But as is the case with politics in general, it’s quite unlikely that, despite what people may tell pollsters and themselves t night, negative campaigning doesn’t actually work. If it’s done well, it does.
Relevant to this specific Gingrich-Romney example, however, is the fact that Mitt’s pitch to voters has never been founded on his likability or their personal enthusiasm for his campaign, his becoming President, rather than the general proposition of a Republican winning in 2012. So if the Romney campaign decides to go negative — even very negative — it’s not as if a bunch of Iowans and New Hampshirites are going to gasp in horror and flail about for something to keep their suddenly-weak knees from sending them earthbound. Romney’s pitch has always been that he’s the best choice, not necessarily your ideal choice, and if he’s gotta smack Newt around to remind people of this fact, so be it.
Plus, it’s not like voters are especially sold on any of the candidates yet, Gingrich included. With just a few weeks to go, most Iowa voters are still undecided. If Romney’s “nuclear” assault works, then, it leaves the former Governor with plenty of time to make a prosaic but persuasive pitch to voters — dull as he may be, in your heart, you know he’s Mr. Right.