While activists sip tea, Romney fends off the latest flavors

Herman Cain is the new Tea Party fave of the month, mainly because he got 900 votes in a Florida straw poll and fessed up that he survived a bout with cancer a few years ago. Before that the flavor was Rick Perry. His tea has cooled because the macho-talking Texan resembles George W. Bush … on immigration and enunciation. And Michele Bachmann … how the mighty have fallen. Voters took a big sip of Bachmann tea after her straw poll win in Iowa and couldn’t spit the taste out fast enough. Michele is now dueling with Rick Santorum for 3 percent in the polls.

I can hear the protests; yeah, I know Ron Paul gets a consistent 8 to 15 percent in the national polls. And he’ll probably have the same numbers long after most of the candidates have clocked out. But that’s because 8 to 15 percent of Republican voters share Paul’s odd fear that building a fence on the Southern border is designed to keep Americans in the U.S., rather than illegals out. (Watch)

There’s one constant in the Tea Party right wing tea-sipping contest, though. And that’s the continued strength of Mitt Romney. He remains the GOP frontrunner as the Tea Party faves boil and cool. I recall that many thought that the entry of Perry in the race would badly damage Romney. The reverse occurred; having a tough competitor made Romney a better candidate. The debates also contrasted Romney favorably with Perry.

No one’s wrapped this up yet, and I expect Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman to build some steam, although the latter’s momentum won’t come from tea partiers. But Romney’s consistency bodes well for him. He’s experienced, battle-tested and on message. He also garners support from those Republican voters — Main Street voters — who are not Tea Partiers. (Read) In fact, Romney’s success so far is a reminder that the Tea Party is an interest group, and not the majority of the Republican Party

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8 Responses to While activists sip tea, Romney fends off the latest flavors

  1. Owain says:

    “In fact, Romney’s success so far is a reminder that the Tea Party is an interest group, and not the majority of the Republican Party”

    In my morning stroll around the internet, I found a comment on the Tea Party that I thought was reasonably accurate (can’t find a link at the moment, but I’ll keep on looking).

    To paraphrase, if the tea party were to successfully field a candidate for President of the United States within the first three years of its existence, that would be unprecedented in the history of the Republic. It may still happen, but it’s probably not an outcome that should be expected. A more realistic expectation at this stage of the movement’s history is for tea party conservatives to select a more traditional Republican candidate who will then be strongly influenced by a tea party infused Congress once elected.

    We can see that process taking place already. Rep. John Boehner is hardly a tea party firebrand, but as Speaker of the House, it is undeniable that he is being strongly influenced by new tea party congressmen, such as Jason Chaffetz in the House, and Mike Lee or Marco Rubio in the Senate.

  2. Charles Trentelman says:

    it’s kind of amusing to watch the Tea/Republican Party (really the same thing) flounder around picking this candidate or that, making an instand media darling out of him/her and then becoming disenchanted as this or that ugly truth comes to light.

    Romney could win by default, but only because his own problems are rather older and well-known, and thus forgotten. If he does win, it will not be a victory of which he should be proud, nor one that is likely to get him a new address on Pennsylvania Avenue.

  3. hawg says:

    “it’s kind of amusing to watch the Tea/Republican Party (really the same thing) flounder around picking this candidate or that, making an instand media darling out of him/her and then becoming disenchanted as this or that ugly truth comes to light.”

    how is this not absolutely identical to the democrat primary run in 2008??

  4. tom says:

    Doug, I didn’t see “tin hat” anywhere in this piece!
    Wat up wid dat, to close to the truth for your Utah readers?

  5. Mark Sparkman says:

    Speaking only for myself from my perspective, do you guys get the impression that Romney has that “wimp” factor going? Like Mondale or G.H.W. Bush or Al Gore? A sort of perceived non-macho guy? Seems that way to me, but I don’t know how it might impact his run.

    • Doug Gibson says:

      Mark, I know that there was an opposition effort to tag Romney as “weird” a few months ago but that was abandoned due to negative press.

      • Mark Sparkman says:

        Doug,
        Not what I’m talking about at all. I’ve got a sort of feeling about Romney that says (to me),”He’s no tough guy.” It’s not fed by media pundits, at least not any I’ve listened to. It is an overall impression I have of the man, though it could be completely unjustified. But impressions can make or break a presidential run .
        I’m not suggesting that this is a media spin or has even been chatted up by the odd pundit. I was wonderng what this eclectic mix of thoughtful people had to say about my intuitive judgement.

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