Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Analogies Are Complicated, Hugh

Daniel Larison hits it on the head on Hugh Hewitt, someone I think is only listened to by other ardent Mitt Romney supporters, and bloggers looking for an easy target.

As usual, Hewitt is annoyed that people are not giving enough respect to his dear Mitt:

I heard one bit of punditry passed from microphone to microphone yesterday: If Romney doesn’t win in New Hampshire, he’s finished.

This assessment isn’t asserted about Hillary, who also planned to win early. It isn’t asserted about Mike Huckabee, Thompson or Rudy. It wasn’t asserted about Hillary, McCain, Rudy or Thompson after Iowa.

If no one is saying anything about Fred Thompson’s chances after New Hampshire (where he stands to get somewhere between 2 and 3%), that’s because everyone has already stopped paying much attention to the poor man. After all, why keep kicking a man when he’s down? Giuliani and Clinton, who could well be finished after tonight, don’t receive the same treatment because they still have significant leads in February 5 states and until recently had decent leads in national polling (the latter have since evaporated). Romney’s strategy was explicitly a traditional early-state strategy that required him to do well in the initial contests. Only after Iowa did his minions begin talking about his “national strategy.”

Additionally, plenty of people are saying that Hillary is already gone. The speculation topped Drudge yesterday, for the gods' sake. The best I've heard from most is the reasonable argument that we can't write her off yet. It's not much of an endorsement, but at this point her chances deserve no better.

If Romney loses by five points or more tonight, what good argument can be made that he's legitimate when he lost the two states on which he based his entire campaign?

His war chest? Money is one of the most overrated elements of predicting political success. It surely matters, but rarely does it make a bad candidate anything more than they actually are. Money has allowed Barack Obama to reach much of his vast potential. It could have for Romney as well, had he not been such a transparent phony, and thus run almost the opposite kind of campaign than he should have.

Only now is he running as something close to what he is: a smart, innovative leader and problem-solver. At this late stage it should not save him, if only because we will never know who the man would actually be in the White House.

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