Big win for Romney last night. He needed the win and he got it. According to the numbers we've seen, he did well among Republicans and Independents and split the Evangelical vote with Huckabee. With Michigan's economy in the tank, Mitt won because he finally highlighted his greatest strength--his business/economic, call-it-what-you-will background.
In Michigan, his message met the needs of the voters. In the Republican debate ahead of the primary, both he and Senator McCain answered questions about auto industry and other jobs that have been lost. Senator McCain, ever the realist, left that debate with the sound-bite that 'the jobs [were] gone, and they [weren't] coming back.' He went on to say that they needed to get new and better jobs, but the damage was done and his line was out there.
McCain may be right. This blog doesn't believe in the protectionist measures it would take to "revitalize" the American auto industry. We agree with McCain and his free-trading ways. But realism doesn't win elections.
We don't think Mitt is a protectionist either, but he understood (better than McCain) that Michigan voters didn't want to hear that their jobs were gone and not coming back. Mitt's message of "optimism" had substance because of his successful business background. He has turned around failing enterprises--Bain & Co, the Salt Lake Olympics, and Massachusetts.
As the year and presidential primaries progress, this is a message that might just do it for Romney. Stocks and real estate prices are down and sub prime mortgage problems have everyone worried. If the economy enters a slowdown or recession, Mitt might just resurrect Bill Clinton's old message that it is "the economy, stupid."
This might be the one issue that overcomes questions about his pro-choice past and his religion. If he can present himself as the candidate with the most know-how and best plan, he might just win the Republican nomination.
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