Mass. always liked you best
"It will be a very close race here," said Todd Domke, a veteran Republican analyst who is unaligned in the race.Romney mouthpiece Eric Fehrnstrom likes to point out 18 of the 19 Republican House members support him (skipping right over the fact that only two of the five GOP senators are in his corner.) Of course no one mentions that under Romney Republican registrations dropped more than 5 percent while Democratic enrollments rose by just under 5 percent (subscription required).
Also little mentioned is the fact that of Romney's three GOP gubernatorial predecessors, only one has backed him -- none other than Bill Weld, who abandoned the state to pursue his dream of becoming ambassador to Mexico.
No problem says Fehrnstrom, reflecting the viewpoint of a man, who like Romney, has spent a lot of time the past few years with Massachusetts in his rearview mirror.
"People locally take pride in Governor Romney," Fehrnstrom said. "They remember what it was like when he took office - the economy was losing jobs, the budget was out of control, and state government was a mess. Mitt Romney turned the state around, and he can do the same for our country."Yeah, sort of like the pride of being a vegetarian at a cattle convention. And by any chance Eric, do you mean this record?
Romney's biggest saving grace might be the depth of the antipathy toward him -- and the fact that the Democratic race actually means something this year as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fight tooth and nail.
That's because unenrolled voters who may have otherwise been tempted to take a Republican ballot and vote for John McCain as an act of mischief now have an incentive to vote on the Democratic side.
But what do the former governors think? Paul Cellucci offered no words of wisdom on the day his guy, Rudy Giuliani dropped out.
Jane Swift, who Romney submarined on his way to the Corner Office and who is no doubt relishing her role as McCain backer, offered this:
"There is a sense that Governor Romney lost his enthusiasm for Massachusetts and people like me and like my neighbors, who are raising our children here and building businesses here," she said. "This is the first time I won't have voted for Mitt Romney when he was on the ballot."So the last word goes to Big Red, the last Republican to abandon Massachusetts for "greener pastures" and who many speculate backed Romney only to get back at Giuliani for dissing Weld's failed bid for New York governor:
Asked whether his State House successor has to win Massachusetts in his bid for the presidency, Weld, a Romney backer, said, “Not in my view.”Personally, I prescribe to this view:
Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said Romney would be “laughed out of the race” if he can’t carry his own backyard.