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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

I Suppose All Tall Massachusetts Men Look
Alike . . .



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In the Washington Times, Charles Hurt writes:

Both Mr. Kerry and Mr. Romney look like they should be cast as president in a made-for-TV movie. But in reality, both are hopelessly out of touch, calculating wax figurines. They both even speak French! In the end, Mitt Romney is John Kerry without the war medals.

Oh, come on, that’s not true. For starters, Kerry doesn’t have his war decorations anymore, since he threw them away.

But I know John Kerry. John Kerry’s a blog target of mine. And Mitt Romney is no John Kerry.

David Harmer is a California lawyer who was the son of John Harmer, Ronald Reagan’s lieutenant governor. He had worked on the Hill for a while and then returned to private practice. Upon seeing Democrats controlling all of Washington, he decided to take on an entrenched Democrat in Congress, one who usually won comfortably. Harmer lost by 1.1 percent.

He wrote recently:

When I offered myself as a candidate for Congress last year, Mitt Romney easily could have taken a pass. There were plenty of excuses not to get involved: a contested primary, an uphill general-election battle, a union-supported incumbent, and all in a state that hadn’t voted Republican in a presidential election for 22 years. Instead, Governor Romney became one of my earliest and most influential supporters. He endorsed, he donated, and he urged his supporters to follow suit. His Free and Strong America PAC contributed the legal maximum. He sent an email blast on my behalf to all his donors in the western states. He promoted me on his website. He publicly recognized and encouraged me at his events. And he stuck with me not only through the election, but beyond.

Through his PAC, Mitt Romney has done a lot to elect conservatives, including plenty of Republicans a lot more conservative than he.

In 2010, Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC donated $5,000 each to the campaigns of Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, and Jim DeMint. The PAC donated $5,125 to Marco Rubio.

On the House side, his PAC donated $5,000 to Sean Bielat in his bid to unseat Barney Frank in Massachusetts. Then $2,500 to Allen West of Florida, Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Tim Griffin of Arkansas, Doug Hoffman of New York, Daniel Webster’s bid to unseat Alan Grayson in Florida, Tim Scott in South Carolina, Bobby Schilling in Illinois, and dozens of other Tea Party favorites. The full list is here.

In the 2010 cycle, Romney’s PAC donated $639,304 to House Republican candidates and $159,995 to Senate Republican candidates. So far this cycle, it has donated $253,000 to House Republican candidates and $91,500 to Senate Republican candidates. In 2010, Romney’s PAC donated the maximum to 25 GOP candidates, and so far this cycle it donated the maximum to 120 candidates. The PAC donated the maximum to Michele Bachmann in the 2008 cycle and another $2,500 to her last cycle. He donated to Rick Perry’s reelection bid, too. In governor’s races, Romney-affiliated PACs donated “$62,000 to then-gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley in South Carolina and $30,000 to then-gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad in Iowa.” Was that an obvious effort to build up goodwill in early primary states? Sure. But I’m sure Haley and Branstad appreciated the cash infusion in their competitive races all the same. So was the $6,800 to Chris Christie’s bid.

Mock him for his money and family wealth, but Romney has used that fundraising network to help put a lot of conservative freshmen into the House and Senate and governors’ mansions.

(By the way, in Hurt’s metaphor, if Romney is a repeat of an obvious mistake, what was the obvious right move for the Democrats of 2004? Would they have been better off nominating Howard Dean? John Edwards? Dick Gephardt? The irony is that Kerry may very well have been the most competitive candidate the Democrats could have nominated in 2004.)

By the way, you know who else spoke French? John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Quincy Adams, James Madison, and James Monroe.


Tags: John Kerry , Mitt Romney


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