Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Willard: The (Non) Organization Man
Obama-Biden 2012 recently opened a campaign office in Prince William County, Virginia. We cats were impressed. It was good to know that the re-elect effort was solidly up and running in our pretty-red county in our purple battleground state. And even better to know that as of mid-April, Obama already had 13 offices in the Old Dominion.
Romney-Whatever, meanwhile? Well, we can't find a list of Willard's offices in Virginia on his website. Just a page of empty platitudes and endorsements from Transvaginal Bob, Eric the Mean and other reprehensible folk.
We suspect that it's like this in other primary and caucus states. Willard beamed in, did some minor organizing, carpet-bombed his opponents with negative ads, and pulled out completely once the voting was over. Why else would the Obama campaign have been able to rent former Romney office space in Des Moines, Iowa?
But here's how else we know our suspicion is true: Last week, the Romney campaign was embarrassed in a Republican state convention. It happened in Alaska, a solidly Republican state whose post-caucus confab should have been a cakewalk for the March 6 winner. Instead, the meeting was taken over by supporters of third-place finisher Ron Paul.
Now, this is a bit of Inside Baseball, but think about this for a moment. Ron Paul lost Alaska in March, but his people upended the Anchorage GOP in April. This says to us that Willard did not win the caucuses at the grass-roots. He won superficially — by saturating the airwaves and then getting the heck out, leaving no presence behind. The Paul people, on the other hand, never stopped organizing.
Something similar happened when Massachusetts caucused this Saturday. Republicans in the very state Willard used to govern voted to send Ron Paul delegates to Tampa. Willard's own former lieutenant governor lost.
Do party rules require these Bay State delegates to vote for Romney in August? Yes. Will Romney win Alaska, and lose Massachusetts, in November? Sure. But it bodes ill.
Willard isn't in control of his own nomination, and his presence in the field is ephemeral. Meanwhile, Obama, cranked up and working, is opening office after office. Just another reason that, even with our fragile economy and in the wake of Citizens United, we cats are glad to be us and not them.
UPDATE: We cats have been reminded that the most recent Presidential nominees who were not in control of their own nominations were: George H.W. Bush in 1992 (because of Pat Buchanan), Jimmy Carter in 1980 (thanks to Ted Kennedy), Gerald R. Ford in 1976 (due to Ronald Reagan) and Hubert Humphrey in 1968 (because of everything). Hmmmm... What do all four of those nominees have in common?