(Providence, Rhode Island) – This is a big week in the Republican Presidential campaign, with primaries in Michigan, Arizona and Washington States.
“Sink or Swim in Michigan?” – I was on KGO Radio in San Francisco this week, and the hosts asked me what happens if Mitt Romney loses Michigan.“His campaign is probably not dead, but it will be on life support,” I said. Romney was born in Michigan; and his dad George was CEO of American Motors before being elected Governor, and later serving in the Nixon Cabinet. The name "Romney" is synonymous with Michigan politics like "Kennedy" in Massachusetts, "Bush" in Texas and "Gore" in Tennessee. Speaking of Gore…
“Home Field Advantage” – So far as I can tell, no one has ever won the White House without winning his home state. Yes, the Michigan race this week is only a primary, but a loss there does not bode well for a candidate in the general election. The classic example of his home state having been a “must win” state is Al Gore in 2000. Had he won his home state of Tennessee, he would have been President. The Florida controversy would not have mattered at all. Gore foolishly spent little time campaigning in his home state. He also kept President Clinton on the sidelines, instead of having him campaign in his home state of Arkansas. George W. Bush won Arkansas, too. Again, had Gore won either Tennessee or Arkansas, he would have been President. Romney needs to win Michigan!
“Pipeline Politics!” – The economy has been improving slightly, with unemployment coming down and manufacturing and home sales going up. That trend will help President Obama, but the sharp spike in gas prices could spoil the good times. In my lifetime, we have seen sharp spikes in gas prices under Presidents Nixon, Carter, Bush I, Bush II and now Obama. In the previous cases, the blame was heaped on the President, whether that was fair or not. There’s no reason 2012 will be any different. If we see $5 a gallon this summer, the incumbent is in serious, serious trouble.
“How Quickly We Forget” – A friend of mine, who is a Democrat, said this week that the Republican debates have been so nasty that there is no way a GOP nominee can win in November. But what about 2008? (See photo above). In the South Carolina primary debate, Senator Barack Obama accused Senator Hillary Clinton of moving U.S. jobs overseas, saying: “While I was working on those (Chicago) streets watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart."
Clinton then accused Obama of taking money from a shady Chicago landlord, saying: "...when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, (Tony) Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago." Obama even attacked former President Bill Clinton in that debate. Obviously, they all kissed and made up, and the GOP can do the same this year.
“Super, Super Tuesday!” – The “Super Tuesday” primaries are often way overrated. No so this year. Of the ten contests, I have Romney ahead in five; Santorum ahead in four; and Gingrich ahead in one (while competitive in a second). Next week I will spell out who is leading in which states. “Super Tuesday” could also give us a clearer indication of whether Republicans are indeed headed toward a brokered convention later this summer.
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