Monday, January 23, 2012

Is Mitt's problem Region or Religion

To the chagrin of our president, there is still a red America and a blue America. A red America, that, in the past, represented a more intellectually conservative point of view, has dissolved into a party ran mostly by Southern social conservatives. Once Strom Thurmond and his Dixiecrats made the move to the Republican Party, they helped give a voice to the disaffected Southern white voters. Eventually, with growth of like-minded communities, the South came to be the geographical representation of the Republican Party. As the Party is forced further to the right, the likelihood of Mitt Romney becoming their nominee becomes more unlikely - though not impossible.

Romney started behind the proverbial 8-ball simply because of his religious beliefs. Romney is a Mormon. However, I’m under the impression that the ascension of President Obama to the White House made Romney’s Mormon pill a little easier to swallow. After all, if a Muslim, Buddhist, Communist, Socialist, Black Liberation Theology Christian without a legitimate birth certificate can be elected to the highest office, a Christian Mormon should be fine. This has more to do with the region he’s from than his religion.

Historically speaking, the power center of the Republican Party has always been suspicious of northern, more moderate, republicans. The Republican Party has not put forth a Republican Presidential Nominee from the northeastern states (East North Central, Mid Atlantic, New England) since 1948 (Thomas E. Dewey); coincidentally, the same year Strom Thurmond ran for president as a States’ Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrat).

As we saw in the South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney does not light the fire of Southern Republicans.  Called a "Massachusetts Moderate" by Newt Gingrich (from Georgia now residing in Virginia), who spits the fire and furry representative of many Southern Whites, Romney failed to convince one of the most conservative states in the country to vote for him.  Looking at the exit pools, about 60% of those who self-identified as ideologically conservative, evangelical or born-again, and supportive of the tea party backed Gingrich.

If you look at history, Romney’s path to nomination is laced with uncertainty. His religious concerns with Evangelicals is well known; however, Southern Republicans, even against their own interests, adamantly oppose Northern Republicans telling them what to do. From the carpetbaggers and Yankees of the late 1800s to the R.I.N.Os of the 1990s, Southern Republicans have always had a “if you’re not with us, then you’re against us” mentality. In the last decade or so, Republicans have started wearing this position like a badge of honor highlighted by the Grover Norquist-isque pledges. There is NO room for moderates and NO room for compromise.

There is a genuine fear that Romney, hailing from the DARK BLUE state of Massachusetts, won’t be extreme enough. That Romney won’t care enough about the social issues that drive many southerners to causes – even some to violence. That he won’t be lock-in-step with any and everything the Republican South demands of him. The truth is, most Northern Republicans care less about social issues – same sex marriage/abortion/etc. – and more about economic issues. Romney may be the Republican’s best shot at beating Obama in November, but that hardly matters; he’s a R.I.N.O., and as such, he is not to be trusted.

If you're curious, I looked up the Democratic Presidential Nominees going back to 1948:
Truman – Missouri
Adlai Stevens – Illinois
John F. Kennedy – Massachusetts
Lyndon B. Johnson – Texas
Hubert Humphrey – Minnesota
George McGovern – South Dakota
Jimmy Carter – Georgia
Walter Mondale – Minnesota
Michael Dukakis – Massachusetts
Bill Clinton – Arkansas
Al Gore – Tennessee
John Kerry – Massachusetts
Barack Obama – Illinois

Why don't Republicans like Mitt?
Why don’t conservatives like northern Republicans?
Do you think there will ever be a Republican nominee from the northeastern region?
If Romney won the general election, would he govern from the middle or from the far right?
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