Chicken-Mitt? Romney Considers Abandoning Debates

HotAir is reporting that Mitt Romney may bow out of any further debates.  After Monday night’s performance, I can’t say I blame him, but I think this will play into Newt Gingrich’s hands if the former speaker is up to the chore, because if the front-runner won’t participate, one has to ask if he deserves to the title.  I can’t imagine that working out well, and it also means that if the debates go on without him, he’ll be giving them unchallenged air time to say anything and everything they wish to say about him, with no response.  I think that Mitt is gambling that without the front-runner, the debates will be canceled, but I think that’s a poor gamble, and one that’s apt to see him fall rapidly from front-runner status to third or worse.  What it really hints at is Mitt’s tendency to be a sore loser, and if that idea catches fire, it will end his campaign in a short order.  If he’s really the front-runner, he can’t afford for that theme to build, but he also can’t afford another sorry performance like the one he put in on Monday night.  I think it’s come down to a case of picking his poison.

The Washington Examiner makes this observation, and I think it’s something the Romney campaign shouldn’t ignore:

“The problem for Romney is that even if some in the campaign are tired of debates, the viewers — the voters — aren’t.  Television ratings for the debates have been quite high all year, and it’s likely that trend will continue for the South Carolina debates.  In addition, even at this late date, a lot of voters are just now tuning in to the Republican race.  In a casual conservation Sunday, a top South Carolina Republican recalled an extended-family dinner over Christmas in which he asked relatives whether they had watched the debates.  No one in the family — several dozen people — had watched even one.  Now, with the campaign in their state, they’re taking a look.”

This is undeniably true.  Many people are  just beginning to tune into the debates, and the entire primary process.  This is why I have argued that much of this is foolish, and that the long campaign throughout 2011 was largely an exercise in futility.   One could make the case quite easily that it  certainly didn’t help Bachmann, Cain, Huntsman, or for that matter, Rick Perry, who would have done well to have avoided some of the earlier debates.  Part of this is driven by the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida.  Candidates believe that with all the emphasis in the media on these states, they have no choice but to be in it for the long haul.  At this rate, the next presidential election cycle will start in 2014, but not end until 2016.  Much of this is driven by media, and most of these people, apart from gaining some of the much-needed name recognition really would be better off with a shorter season.

If Romney checks out on the debates, it may be his undoing, but too many performances like Monday might likewise spell doom for his campaign.  It’s “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t,” but if I were Romney, I would gamble on my ability to at least hold steady in the debates rather than hope I wouldn’t be seen as an arrogant spoil-sport who’s walking off the field before game’s end.

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3 Responses to Chicken-Mitt? Romney Considers Abandoning Debates

  1. thedrpete says:

    . . . or you might wanna exit stage right and left the message that "the game is over."

  2. carm says:

    I herd on the radio that at a campaign stop that had a large room that there was a lot of empty chairs, they said there was about 25 people there including reporters. Willard has no spine!

  3. eyetooth tom says:

    The flawed fruit has been picked off the stem or vine, placed in the barrel…one bad apple rots the whole. We are now bobbing for good apples! May not know what we got til either a sweet taste or the bitter after taste or the worm.