It's a little early, but he is certainly in more trouble than anybody anticipated a month ago.
From August 26 to November 27, Romney led in 26 straight polls in Iowa, sometimes by as much as 23 points. In New Hampshire, Romney saw his advantage grow to 15 points in mid-December.
Since those halcyon days, however, Romney has fallen into second place in Iowa, running roughly four points behind former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. In New Hampshire, Romney's double digit lead has steadily eroded, while John McCain, who was trailing by 11 to 18 points at the start of December, has surged to within 3.5 percentage points.
In the middle of an unexceptional tribute to the late liberal blogger Steven Gilliard, Matt Bai manages to slip in a few digs:
Black conservatives like Steele infuriated Gilliard, who couldn’t understand how any African-American could support a party that exploited racial prejudice.
They must have been confused when Gilly’s online pals, sickened by the way some right-wing bloggers were gloating over his death, advised them not to disclose where he was buried, out of fear that someone might deface the site.
Anybody remember any right-wing bloggers "gloating" over Gilliard's death? I know a lot of people were ticked off at his "Sambo" picture of Michael Steele, but I can't imagine a significant righty blogger who would have done anything other than express sympathy for his friends and family at his passing.
I have to say that it's going to be a shame when the Ron Paul circus finally folds up its tent and slinks out of town. Here's a hilarious OpEd claiming that Ron is going to win Iowa and sweep to the White House:
But the last factor trumps all. Most political commentators are in agreement that Ron Paul supporters are engaged, organized, computer literate, and on fire with zeal. Volunteers across the nation are donating a week of their vacations to walk the streets and roads of Iowa to canvas votes for Dr. Paul.
Yep, and Howard Dean had the same kind of support in Iowa in 2004:
I know that these Jews will continue to conduct their hate campaigns with impunity as well as self-righteousness, because the people in charge of this site regard them as friends, but they are false, treacherous friends, willing to destroy the site that has befriended them.
And these same persons, these Jews, have not only continued their malicious attacks on me, but others, also Jews, have joined their Hate Squad, solely on the grounds that they are Jews and have been offended by someone, and thus arrogate to themselves the right to hate and insult a person who has done them no harm and no offense.
And the consequence is this: I now find myself, for the first time in my life, hating Jews. I find myself hating the Jews on this site, both the Jews who have conducted their malicious campaign against me for so long and the Jews who have stood by in silent solidarity with them, never saying a word against their vile attacks, their cruelty and ugliness.
Count this Irish Catholic as one of those profoundly offended by this anti-semitic tirade.
And after a year of comparing Romney to McCain, of sizing up the two in person and in the media, Granite Staters are turning back to McCain. The former Navy pilot, once written off by the national media establishment, is now in a statistical dead heat with Romney here.
How could that be? Romney has all the advantages: money, organization, geographic proximity, statesman-like hair, etc.
But he lacks something John McCain has in spades: conviction.
Granite Staters want a candidate who will look them in the eye and tell them the truth. John McCain has done that day in and day out, never wavering, never faltering, never pandering.
I know that my fellow conservatives are leery of McCain on the basis of several issues where he's gone off the reservation. But he's done so on the basis of his own experience, from campaign finance reform to torture. Would any of us bloggers like to claim we know more than John McCain does about either of those issues?
The Gang of 14? Yes, it made me angry at the time, but it turned out that McCain was right when he said that someday the Democrats would be back in the majority and that we might regret using the nuclear option. Sure turned out right on this issue.
In the Globe's new poll, one finding caught my eye. When asked which candidate they thought "most trustworthy," 30 percent of likely Republican voters chose McCain - the highest tally of any candidate, Republican or Democrat. Among Republicans, only Romney, at 23 percent, comes anywhere near McCain's rating on trustworthiness. But the two men's numbers have been moving in opposite directions. The more voters get to know the candidates, the less they trust Romney and the more they trust McCain.
I'm not surprised. Not because I imagine that McCain walks on water. He is plainly a flawed human being with a skeleton or two in his closet. But he strives to heed the better angels of his nature - and he lets us see the striving. A politician who can publicly berate himself for being "dishonest" and "a coward" is a politician voters are more apt to trust. A once and future presidential hopeful who owns up to his own moral lapses and can write, with sincerity, "All my heroes . . . would have been ashamed of me," is no ordinary candidate.
With the first primary contests less than two weeks away, Senator John McCain has gained a six-point lead over Senator Hillary Clinton in the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey.
A month ago, McCain had a two-point edge over the former First Lady. However, before that, Clinton edged out McCain by at least a point or two in six consecutive surveys of the match-up (see trend history).
That line is, of course, moving in the right direction.
On the other hand, the historic San Francisco doll I'm planning to create was a lifelong radical. She grew up in North Beach, and came of age during the labor tumult of the mid-20th century. She was a union leader and a member of the Communist Party who was then called before the House Un-American Activities Commission in San Francisco in 1957. In case you hadn't guessed, she is based on someone I know: My great aunt Angela Ward.
My daughter can have a new doll, get to know a long-dead relative, and learn all about the Communist witch hunts. Plus, I think her Un-American Girl will come with those key accessories for any plaything under subpoena: A copy of the Fifth Amendment (free) and a good lawyer (prices vary).
What a brilliant idea, and the line can clearly be expanded over time. There's the Squeaky Fromme doll, that comes in a red riding hood, with a swastika carved in her forehead, and a tiny pistol that doesn't quite fire. Or the Karen Silkwood doll, which glows in the dark. Or the Erin Brockovich doll which promptly sues you the moment you buy it.
Were the Christian Conservatives in Iowa a good match for the technocrat?
Romney's advisers bristle at the notion that he could have run his campaign differently. They are particularly sensitive to charges that the former governor changed his positions on abortion, immigration and gay rights to be more in tune with Republican voters, particularly in Iowa. They say his conservative credentials are genuine.
"Welcome to Mitt Romney's bizzaro world, where everyone is guilty of his sins," Salter said in a statement. ". . . Give it a rest. It's Christmas."
At an "Ask Mitt Anything" forum Friday night in Rochester, the candidate was questioned about whether his position on the Bush tax cuts had shifted. In 2003, the Boston Globe reported that he had told Massachusetts lawmakers he would neither support or oppose the Bush tax cuts.