With his win in the New Hampshire primary, many are calling Mitt Romney unstoppable. Historically, no Republican has won the nomination without winning either Iowa or New Hampshire, both of which were won by Romney.
Yet, Romney has won these victories against a heavily divided opposition. About the only thing most Republicans agree on is that they don’t want Romney. There is still a real chance to defeat Romney if his opponents coalesce around a single candidate.
Romney has the strongest organization and the most funds, but Ron Paul comes a close second, and Newt Gingrich has shown himself capable of raising significant funds. I don’t think that Huntsman or Santorum can deliver the money or organization needed to win the nomination. Rick Perry has dropped out of sight in New Hampshire and is unlikely to be a significant challenger going forward.
Under Barack Obama, U.S. federal debt has more than doubled and there is no end in sight. Obama calls for a “balanced approach” meaning lots of tax hikes and a few token spending cuts. America needs to do a lot better, but Mitt Romney is not the man.
The United States needs a leader who is capable of bringing about significant spending cuts and tax reforms. Romney is promising neither. His policies amount to little more than tinkering, cutting a regulation here and there and lowering taxes here and there while keeping overall marginal tax rates the same. He may eventually balance the budget, but won’t produce any continuing economic advantage for the U.S. economy.
With trillion dollar plus deficits, sharp spending cuts are needed. Of the remaining contenders, Ron Paul has promised the most substantial cuts. He promises to eliminate entire government departments and cut a trillion dollars from the budget. These cuts will have a dramatic, transformative effect on the economy and may be the least that can be done to rescue the United States from its current economic crisis.
Unfortunately, Ron Paul’s foreign policies are nearly as dangerous as Obama’s. Obama practices appeasement abroad, apologizing for America at every opportunity, bowing to hostile foreign leaders, and withdrawing the military from the most dangerous spots in the world. Ron Paul promises more of the same, withdrawing support for Israel, pulling out of Afghanistan and allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
Newt Gingrich is promising to cut spending while offering substantive tax reforms including a 15% flat tax and elimination of the capital gains tax. The tax cuts will undoubtedly help the economy and over time grow revenues, but big spending cuts will also be required to balance the budget. As speaker of the house in the 1990’s and author of the Contract with America, Gingrich deserves much of the credit for the budget surpluses achieved then.
On foreign policy, Gingrich promises a strong national defence focused on defeating islamic extremism and programs to ensure energy security and secure borders. Gingrich’s proposals are sound and reasonable.
As the primaries progress, I expect Mitt Romney to maintain his support in the mid twenties. Ron Paul should continue to perform well based on his large base of supporters and a strong organization. Between them, they are unlikely to achieve greater than 50% of the vote. With a divided opposition, Romney could win with these numbers, but its unlikely most of his opponents will remain in the race for long. Huntsman and Santorum are short on money and RIck Perry is desperately short on votes.
If Newt Gingrich can achieve third place or better in South Carolina, there is a good chance that the remaining contenders will suspend their campaigns leaving a three way race between Romney, Paul and Gingrich. Once that has developed, a Mitt Romney candidacy no longer looks inevitable.
Of the three, my favoured candidate is Newt Gingrich, but I would take Ron Paul over Romney. Mitt Romney’s economic policies are timid and unimaginative. They offer nothing to solve the debt crisis or restore the American economy to its traditional preeminence in the world.