Posted by Brian
Mitt Romney's plan so far is to speak in platitudes while he tells us why we should vote against this or that candidate. He has yet to tell us why we should vote FOR him. For this, the media and establishment crowned him the presumptive nominee before the Iowa caucuses. Only one problem: he lost the Iowa caucus to Santorum (though we didn't know until S. Carolina's primary). After winning New Hampshire, he promptly lost S. Carolina to Newt Gingrich. He seemed to get his footing, winning Florida and Nevada with a barrage of negative campaign ads against Gingrich. This past Tuesday saw Santorum wax the entire field with positive messaging and addressing the issues, while Romney and Gingrich slammed each other in a petty game of he said/he said.
Romney now realizes that there are two candidates that are a threat to his inevitability and is now lumping both together from their 1990's time in Congress. He attacks their fiscal conservatism and support of earmarks from that time with no context. They are just big government wolves in sheeps' clothing, according to Romney. But is that really true?
According to the Congressional Budget Office, during the 1990's the federal deficit went from a high of $290 Billion in 1992 to a $236 Billion surplus by the year 2000. When Gingrich Became the Speaker of the House (1995), the deficit was over $200B. This was also when Rick Santorum became a part of the freshman class of Republicans after the 1994 GOP landslide. This freshman class was incredibly successful passing welfare reform, eliminating the marriage penalty in taxes, as well as balancing the federal budget.
Romney's attacks on the earmarks and the 1994-2000 GOP Congress is a complete smokescreen. They were one of the most successful Congress' in the modern era.
However, what was Romney doing during this same period? Romney was running away from Reagan conservatism, saying “I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.” He also backed liberal Democrat Paul Tsongas for President in 1992. In 2002, Romney claimed he was a "moderate", and his "views were progressive". And then again there is the issue of RomneyCare, where Romney praised Ted Kennedy as his "collaborator" in helping craft RomneyCare.
Romney's problem isn't Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich - it's Mitt Romney! Unless, or until he starts telling voters why they should vote for him, voters will continue to look elsewhere. The thing is, will voters now trust him enough?
Romney: Rivals are 'Republicans who acted like Democrats'
Posted by CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld