Lowry on the the Romney backlash, and more on Romney’s agony-in-Iowa
“There is now obviously an evangelical backlash going on in Iowa and there will probably be a backlash against the evangelical backlash in New Hampshire,” writes Rich Lowry of the formerly conservative, and bought-and-paid-for-the-Romney-campaign’s NRO in a Corner post titled Friday Afternoon Speculative Horserace Thoughts
That means someone else besides Huckabee probably wins there. If it is Romney or McCain, he becomes the candidate of the Republican establishment … etc.
Romney already is the establishment candidate, and has been since last summer. The problem for the establishment: Romney has failed to develop traction despite his astronomical spending.
We concur with Lowry that Gov. Huckabee’s rise reflects an Evangelical reaction (backlash is Lowry’s term), a reaction to Romney, and not the first time. Elsewhere we described Gov. Huckabee’s rise as a breakout, as in breakout population.
But the slow, halting, and begrudging rally to Romney’s standard is but a counter-reaction Gov. Huckabee’s rise—an artifact of the general freak-out among the partisan commentariat at the prospect of a Huckabee candidacy.
S0: Reaction (Gov. Huckabee) that calls forth counter-reaction (Romney).
This is not the ordinary contrapuntal music of an ordinary primary season. Rather: This is the sound of an issues coalition breaking apart, with sudden breakouts at the extreme margins, and only emptiness in the middle. For Romney this is the sound of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” a track the Romneys played in an almost empty room at a country club in Carroll Iowa, as reported by Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones in an article titled Don’t Stop Believing: Romney’s Swan Song?
… After speaking for only over fifteen minutes, during which he garnered infrequent and tepid bursts of applause, Romney received three questions before the crowd fell still and he had to prompt further discussion with the line, “Well, this is quiet here” …
… [Stein] asked [a Romney partisan] about Huckabee’s support in Iowa. “The Evangelical people are Bible-toting people and they like him because he is a minister. But you can’t run your country on the Bible,” she said, sounding exasperated.
“Do you mean in a practical sense?” I asked. “Or because it violates the Constitution?”
“No,” she said. “Most people who are Bible-toting people want to be everything to everybody. You’re supposed to give to the poor, and you’re supposed to do this and that. And that’s fine. But when it comes to running a country, you can’t be that way.”
“They’re just too nice?” I clarified.
“Yes!” she said … etc.
Further evidence of Romney’s Agony-in-Iowa despite having spent US$7 million dollars in the state: the increasingly absurd grandiosity of Romney’s claims. Kernels From Iowa: Romney vows to eradicate illegal immigration, is Rick Montgomery’s headline, also reporting from Carroll, Iowa.
P.S. An apter theme song for Romney’s failing Iowa campaign would be Kanye West’s Stronger:
… N-n-now th-that that don’t kill me
Can only make me stronger
I need you to hurry up now
Cause I can’t wait much longer
I know I got to be right now
Cause I can’t get much wronger
Man I been waitin’ all night now
That’s how long I’ve been on ya …