Monday, January 24, 2011

Is Mitt Romney reminding the Tea Party, I'm a Republican First?

Recently there has been some buzz that Mitt Romney may be trying to keep his distance from the Tea Party. One example is in New Hampshire where Romney supposedly failed to get back to a Tea Party activist who wanted to set up a meeting with him. It's funny because just Saturday, the Republican Party in New Hamphire elected a Tea Party favorite as it's new Chair while overwhelmingly giving Romney a win in their party's straw poll. So it seems that if the Tea Party is upset with Romney, they sure have a strange way of showing it.

I personally don't think Romney is avoiding the Tea Party or it's members. I think he may be letting them know in his way, that they're not more important than any other Republicans or Republican groups.

Romney is not the only Republican that has not given the Tea Party the attention they may desire. Newly elected Senators Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, and Pat Toomey have chosen not to join the newly formed Senate Tea Party caucus. I don't want to put words in their collective mouths, but maybe they believe they are Republicans first and any other affiliations come somewhere else down the line.

Bob Schlesinger of the U.S, News and World Report has a different take on Romney's actions or in-actions, depending on which way you look at it. He seems to suggest that it may be deliberate and part of a strategy. In his article, he makes 3 points as to why he believes this:

First, as mentioned, the rest of the field seems to be vying for Tea Party support. By standing apart, Romney stands a chance of having the party establishment coalesce behind him. And while the Tea Party may be ascendant in the GOP, and may wield outsized influence in the primaries, the movement has not always demonstrated an ability to coalesce around a single candidate....

Second by using the Tea Party as a foil Romney can combat one of his own biggest negatives: his reputation for being a political weather vane.....But by refusing to kowtow to the Tea Party Romney could build a counter-narrative.

Finally, Romney could be positioning the Tea Party for something of a Sister Souljah moment with an eye toward avoiding a Sharron Angle moment. ....By steering clear of the fringe, Romney could position himself as the kind of acceptable Republican able to take advantage of a faltering Obama.
The full Schlesinger article can be read HERE.


OhioJOE said...

Mr. Romney himself is neither Pro nor anti- Tea Party per se. However, since there are already enough candidates and potential candidates that are either outright Pro-Tea Party or sympathetic to the Tea Party. There is not enough room for Mr. Romney to join that part of the political spectrum. So by default, Romney 3.0 is positioned as the anti-Tea Party candidate. To be sure, there are some Pro-Tea Partiers left in the Romney camp, but they are fast becoming a minority in that camp.

Mr. Romney appears too nervous to offend his new base too much. If he makes too many Pro-Tea Party motions, the Pro-TARPers in his camp will start looking elsewhere within the establishment. Of course, Mr. Romney will throw a few bones to both SoCons and Tea Partiers because he needs Conservatives in the general, but as the political landscape stands, Mr. Romney is not the Conservative candidate this time around.

What various polls really suggest is that there is a crowded field right now, but that Mr. Romney is being solidified as the non-Tea Partier. Eventually, the earlier states will weed out most candidates until there are about two or three candidates standing. Mr. Romney will be one of those candidates. However, he will not win a free trip to the nomination. One (maybe two) candidates will emerge as the Tea Party / Anti-Romney candidate. I certainly hope that my candidate will eventually be that counter balance to the anti-Tea Partiers, but to be sure somebody will emerge and give Mr. Romney a good run for his money.

Unless, things change, Mr. Romney will be one of the names at the brokerage convention, but he won't be the only name in Tampa.

illinoisguy said...

To be sure, there are some Pro-Tea Partiers left in the Romney camp, but they are fast becoming a minority in that camp.

OJ, Are sure of that? Mitt Romney overwhelmingly got the tea party vote in NH. NH elected a tea party member to lead them, and gave Mitt the bulk of their votes.

Also, I don't see him shying away from them at all, just not bowing down to them. Did you see his statement about Reagan and the tea party? I'd say those were pretty high words of praise for the tea party along with Reagan!!

Right Wingnut said...

OJ, Are sure of that? Mitt Romney overwhelmingly got the tea party vote in NH. NH elected a tea party member to lead them, and gave Mitt the bulk of their votes. - IGuy

There's no evidence that he got even one vote from a supporter of the new NH state chairman. I suspect he did get some, but your statement is misleading.

marK said...

I think people are over-analyzing this.

Mitt Romney recently has been following a strategy of political "hard-to-get". During his tour of the Middle-east last week, he declined interview after interview with the press. Only a candidate playing political hard-to-get would do such a thing.

And even if he weren't, Mitt simply cannot say, "yes", to everybody. There are only so many hours in a day.

Most groups recognize and respect that. Others moan, whine, and complain publicly when he turns them down or if he doesn't return their phone calls immediately. They are either:
(a) too full of themselves.
(b) trying to make trouble for Mitt.
(c) all of the above.

Doug NYC GOP said...


I miss your words of wisdom and reason. This is being parsed too many different ways, from both sides.

Many recent polls show Romney getting a good level of support from the TP, and occassion he's their top pick.

Besides, the TP is not one party, but many groups under a banner. They can't agree on their candidates or issues in some cases, so for anyone to suggest they "belong to" or their guy/gal is the "Tea Party candidate" is nonsense.

Romney had a very solid showing in a state where change is occuring. Perhaps he's looks upon as the consensus candidate.

Doug NYC GOP said...

Good job on this Bos!

illinoisguy said...

As I stated in the comments section, the article was apparently referring to the fact that the polling had showed Mitt overwhelmingly gets the tea party vote in NH.

OhioJOE said...

"Besides, the TP is not one party, but many groups under a banner. They can't agree on their candidates or issues in some cases, so for anyone to suggest they "belong to" or their guy/gal is the "Tea Party candidate" is nonsense." Well that is true to a large extend. At the end of the day the TEA Party is a slightly different animal in every county, nevermind each state. So no, there certainly has not been one or even a few candidates that has emerged as the TEA Party favorite. However, there are some camps that are more TEA Party heavy than others and while Tea Party value do vary somewhat throughout the country, their core values are embraced by some candidates and camps to varying degrees.

marK said...


It's called Occam's razor. The simplest solution, the one with the fewest number of complications, is usually the right one.

Romney has been actively avoiding over-exposure. That's what he has been doing since the mid-terms. You could even make the argument that he has been following that strategy long before that. He hasn't been accepting every invitation for in interview. He hasn't jumped in with commentary on the topic-of-the-day. And the comments he does made are measured and carefully thought out. He is not a shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy.

He didn't accept Fox's invitation to be interviewed for their series on the 2012 candidates. He didn't accept any invitations for interviews during his recent trip to Afghanistan, Israel, and other places in the Middle-ease. So here we have various people trying analyze the deep, philosophical meaning of his slow response to one or two invites.

People just naturally like to complicate things, I guess.

Doug NYC GOP said...

marK - I am going to Google Occam's razor. I never heard that expression before.

I agree and like the fact he hasn't been over exposed. As we see developing now, people are getting fatigued with certian personalities due to over exposure.

BTW, if you are interested in posting here, contact myself or bosman.

email me at for further details. You'd be a big asset to the site.

Revolution 2010 said...

I agree with you Bos.

Some of my Tea Party associates can get a little pushy. After awhile the, "Hey, look at me" starts to wear on you.

We are REPUBLICANS FIRST! Many of these folks tend to forget this and need to be reminded once-n-awhile.

OhioJOE said...

The GOP needs to be reminded that it should be Conservative first. The party all of a sudden forgot that in 2006 and 2008.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the most likely explanation is that this person tried to contact Mr. Romney while Mr. Romney was in the Middle East. With his time and attention spent on that trip, Mr. Romney wasn't in a good position to respond. For all we know, the Tea Party activist wasn't complaining but simply stating that Mr. Romney hadn't replied.

I wouldn't read anything into what we're seeing here.


kelly said...

He should have said, Get in line! And No cutting in.

phil said...

I'm glad people are beginning to call out these Tea Party leaders.

Most of us who attended these rallies have no idea who these so-called leaders are.

Excellent post Bosman.

ConMan said...

Romney doesn't have a problem with most Tea Party members, It's only a few of the self-appointed mouth pieces that no one listens to anyway.

Ann said...

I attended the Tea Party rallies in my area with my family.

I never felt that I was anything other than a Republican.

Anonymous said...

I agree with those that feel that the Tea Party folks think they should be treated special.

The Tea Party folks who are Republicans, AREN'T SPECIAL!