If the Economy's Improving, Why Should the GOP Settle for Romney?

More

Republicans were supposed to hold their noses because only he could fix the economy. Now they can they choose someone they like.

romneysafetynet.banner.reuters.jpg

There might not be any reason for Mitt Romney to exist anymore, as a Republican candidate anyway.

The entire rationale for Mitt Romney's candidacy was that he is a "turnaround artist."

As a private-equity guy he helped make dying companies profitable again. He's the one who saved the Salt Lake City Olympic Games from financial disaster. He helped to balance an out-of-control Massachusetts budget without a tax raise (he did raise fees). But it looks like the economy is already turning around. Unemployment keeps going down. Jobless claims are doing better than they have in decades. Investors are happy. At the campaign stops we've been at, Romney has been saying that the American economy was always going to recover, but Obama made the recession longer and more painful than it had to be.

But no one will care if the recession is ending.

Even the Washington Examiner's conservative columnist Tim Carney is wondering what the point of running Romney would be.

But what if unemployment continues to drop? What if it's below 8 percent come October and the payroll numbers published Friday, Nov. 2 -- four days before Election Day -- show things getting better? History, in this case, suggests that Obama would be a strong favorite. New York Times pollster and statistician Nate Silver determined that the trend of unemployment numbers is one of the strongest determinants of an incumbent's re-election chances.

According to Daniel Gross, Mitt Romney could plausibly be call four different states a "home state", Michigan, California, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. He's being outpolled by Obama in all of them.

And the past month the news-media hasn't been talking about jobs, or jobs, or jobs. It has been about the Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood, about whether Catholics must provide free contraception to their employees, about gay marriage bans being overturned by Federal courts.

Mitt Romney can be taught to sing from the conservative hymnal on these issues, but he sounds out of tune on them. He's happy enough to represent social conservatives on these issues, but it clearly isn't the reason he got into this race. He's most comfortable talking to a Chamber of Commerce, not the American Life League.

Of course, things could turn for the worse in the economy. Europe's meltdown could change the equation for investors in the U.S., Moody's could downgrade our major financial institutions, the rising foreclosure rates in some areas may send financial instruments tumbling again. But, do you really want to pin your election hopes on disasters that haven't unfolded?

Romney is still in a great position to become the nominee. He has the money and organization to beat any of the Republicans. The most likely conclusion to this race is that Romney is the nominee announced at the GOP convention in Tampa.

But the Republicans may have a hard time answering the most important question about their nominee: Why him?

This article originally appeared at Business Insider, an Atlantic partner site.

Image: Reuters

Jump to comments
Presented by

Michael Brendan Dougherty is politics editor at Business Insider.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

In a series of candid video interviews, women talk about self-image, self-judgment, and what it means to love their bodies


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In