Anchors Away

January 16th, 2008at 07:11am Posted by Eli

That Ad Nags – seems like he’s only happy when he can write a “______s In Disarray” story. Always nice to see him turn his, um… talents onto the Republicans for a change:

Can anyone bring the Republicans together again?

The convincing victory by Mitt Romney in the Michigan primary on Tuesday means three very different states — with dissimilar electorates driven by distinctive sets of priorities — have embraced three separate candidates in search of someone who can lead the party into a tough election and beyond President Bush.


On the most tangible level, the vote on Tuesday was proof from the ballot box of what polls have shown: this is a party that is adrift, deeply divided and uninspired when it comes to its presidential candidates and unsure of how to counter an energized Democratic Party.

Even in victory, Mr. Romney stood as evidence of the trouble the party finds itself in. He won, but only after a major effort in a state he once expected to win in a walk. That was before he lost Iowa and New Hampshire, two other states where he had campaigned all out.

More than any candidate in the Republican field, Mr. Romney has made a conscious effort to reassemble the coalition of economic and social conservatives that came together with Ronald Reagan and that President Bush kept remarkably unified in his two campaigns and through much of his White House tenure.

Mr. Romney’s uneven performance has highlighted the strains in that coalition, and a central question about his candidacy is whether he will be able to rally its fractured components to his side. It was no coincidence that he invoked Reagan more than once in his victory speech on Tuesday, though it was perhaps equally telling that he also invoked the first President Bush, who like Mr. Romney struggled to convince Republicans that he was Reagan’s rightful heir.

“The problem for the Republicans is they all have part of it,” said Lou Cannon, the Reagan biographer, referring to the conservative movement. “Huckabee has the social conservative part of it. Reagan had a lot of draw among independents, and McCain has stepped into that. And you have the conservative Wall Street types who are with Romney.”

Mr. Cannon added, speaking of Mr. Romney, “I don’t know how you put Humpty Dumpty back together again, but certainly he has tried to do it.”


From Michigan, the Republican candidates head to South Carolina and Nevada on Saturday and to Florida the next week. Again, these are states with very different electorates and, at least potentially, very different concerns. The way things are going for the Republican Party this year, there may be five Republicans who can claim a victory by the time the votes are counted in Florida on Jan. 29.

The headline of the story is, “No G.O.P. Anchor in Sight,” but I think that depends on just what kind of anchor you’re talking about. If you’re talking about the kind that prevents you from moving, and sometimes even drags you down to the bottom, then I think the Republicans have an embarrassment of riches.

Entry Filed under: Elections,Media,Politics,Republicans

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