The lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy is about the only thing I’d describe as “overwhelming” when it comes to Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
It’s not that Romney doesn’t have his moments. He’s a pleasure as a mockable image of America’s befuddled, passive-aggressive rich step-dad, but as the GOP race revealed, not that exciting of a candidate.
At least not compared to Mr. Hopey McChangey — and current commander-in-chief — President Barack Obama. But he has his own issues with getting back that loving feeling that netted him the 2008 election. That’s not to say the fella can’t do it. You should never underestimate President Obama’s ambition, intelligence or charm. And what may seem “weak” or “passive” about him as he wrestles in the mud of a polarized Washington, D.C., comes alive in the form of one-on-one political combat.
Fighting Obama has always been a guerilla, insurgent campaign for Republicans. Fighting him head on where he can shoot down their attacks in real time is deadly.
Republicans are still afraid to have televised meetings with him after the “Briar Rabbit want to get thrown in the Briar Patch” episode of early 2009, where the president was invited to a GOP retreat only to eat them all alive at their own dinner party.
This means the extremely charmless and un-relateable Romney needs a little help if he’s going to snatch the throne from Obama.
Good thing folks are trying to pre-steal the election for him in Florida.
Oh, Florida … that state of Tot Moms, “Stand Your Ground,” zombies, George Zimmerman, Elian Gonzales pseudo-baby-nappers, anti-Castro sentiment, and the scene of the crime that was the 2000 presidential election. In the end, the Supreme Court decided who was president of the United States in the race of Bush v. Gore, stopping the vote count that was marred by polling problems and a gaggle of old Jewish people suddenly voting for proto-fascist Pat Buchanan.
Right now, Florida is in a fight with the Department of Justice over the right to purge its voter rolls of about 2,700 Floridians (mostly Latinos) who they say are “questionable” as voters.
Voting, a cornerstone of what makes a Democracy a Democracy, is apparently great for Republicans – if it’s your people voting. In the GOP’s own nominee selection process its primaries and caucuses often lower the bar between citizen and voter, making voting as easy as possible. But that love of easy voting goes out of the window once traditionally Democratic Party-leaning voters get involved. Suddenly there’s a fear of voter fraud – something that hasn’t been a wide-spread issue since the original Mayor Richard Daley in Chicago was rumored to rig the Illinois vote count for JFK who still, just barely, beat Richard Nixon in 1960 – in a country where most eligible voters can’t be bothered to vote EXCEPT in presidential elections. And even then, turn-out is precarious, hinging on unpredictable variables like “weather” and “willingness to drink beer with candidate.”
ANYTHING can keep those fickle voters from voting, hence why the GOP is all for anything that makes voting just a little-bit-difficult.
Call it insurance in a race where – eventually – Mitt Romney is almost guaranteed to say or do something that is demoralizing or alienating for his base, especially in his lurch for the political center. (After all, for religious/social conservatives and Tea Partiers, Romney wasn’t the one they wanted, but they one they settled for.)
Even though Romney’s approval ratings are trickling up with the end of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum constantly repeating why no one should ever, ever trust Mitt Romney, they could deflate at any moment. Because American politics are as fickle as those fair-weather voters. Romney could pick a tragically-flawed running mate. Obama could face a terrorist attack on American soil. Pick-an-industry-any-American-
Ultimately who takes the 2012 race will depend on who has the best voter-turnout ground game and if the Democrats can get their base to show up, the race could be theirs. If there is some catalyst – whether re-electing the president out of love (maybe he’ll do something fantastic and we’ll fall back in lust) or out of fear (Romney turns out to be part of a secret plot to make “Esperanto” the official language of the United States) – Obama could be re-elected … by actual voters … energized to vote for him.
So stopping the vote is the ultimate fail safe. If by some Obama-esque charm offensive, the president is able to get back his 2008 glow (or Romney completely collapses under the weight of his own inconsistencies) the GOP needs a back-up plan. And voter suppression is that back-up plan.
Because if Florida and Bush’s “win” in 2000 have taught us anything, you don’t need the popular vote to win an election. You just need the points. Even right now, looking at the potential electoral vote numbers, Obama still has the edge except for a few, key battleground states. If they can just keep that margin of error (and voter turnout low), Romney could win this on a technicality.
But now that we know what they’re doing – will Obama’s team and his supporters be able to move fast enough to stop it? The GOP has only been making it harder to vote in every state since Obama was elected. Only time will tell if that head start has given them the edge they need to beat any re-emergence of Obamamania.