January 15, 2008, - 10:14 pm

When I’m Wrong, I’m Wrong: Romney Wins Michigan Primary & Here’s Why

By Debbie Schlussel
Well, I can’t be right all of the time. And tonight, I was proven very wrong in my prediction that John McCain would take Michigan, with Romney barely taking second place over Huckabee. Wrong on all counts.
With about 70% of the vote counted in the Great Lakes State as I write this, Romney won by almost 10 percentage points over McCain. The count is currently 39% for Romney, 30% for McCain, 16% for Huckabee.
Even Romney didn’t think he’d win, as evidenced by his many backtracks about needing to win Michigan and expecting it. We were both wrong.
So, why were my predictions wrong and why did Romney beat McCain? Here’s what I think happened:


* The Daily Kos: Say what you want about far leftist blogger Markos Moulitsas, but he is THE most influential blogger on the other side of the aisle. His over-the-weekend urging of Democrats to vote for Romney in Michigan (reasoning that Romney will be the weakest viable GOP candidate) worked to some degree, helping Romney over the top.
* Romney’s Deep Pockets: Mitt Romney outspent every candidate geometrically. We saw ads from him over and over and over and over for several months, without any other candidate crowding the airwaves. Romney finally dropped his ads cheerleading China and produced more sympathetic ads appealing to down-and-out Michiganians, of which there are many, especially among blue-collar Reagan Democrats, who were more likely to vote in the GOP Primary.
I don’t believe people bought into his “native son” pitch. We know he isn’t one. He hasn’t lived here in decades and no-one remembers his ineffective RINO Governor father. Romney’s win had nothing to do with his campaign consultants, the sleazy Packer family and Sterling Corporation. They lose pretty much every campaign they run in our state. And Romney dropped a huge chunk of cha-ching with them which was wasted.
* Anti-Huckabee Club for Growth Ads: In the week or so, we saw a lot of anti-Mike Huckabee ads on TV. They were very effective comparing the high-taxing Huckabee with Bill Clinton as Arkansas Gov. This took away votes from Huckabee, and I believe, drove many of those religious Christian voters away from Huckabee and into the Romney camp, where they like his values versus McCain’s more “moderate” ones. Romney did well in the Western part of the state, where Evangelicals have their base. So much for the view that Evangelicals are “intolerant” and won’t vote for a Mormon. Don’t believe it.
* Disarray in the McCain Michigan Campaign/Mike Cox’s In-and-Out-and-In: Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, the guy who allowed illegal aliens to get Driver’s Licenses in Michigan for five years, was John McCain’s campaign manager. That is, until he jumped off the campaign, last year, when it looked like McCain’s campaign was washed up.
Cox is not a very faithful guy–to his wife (he held a press conference about one of his apparently many extramarital affairs) and his candidates. Suddenly, when it looked like McCain would win again, Mike Cox was back with McCain, taking credit and mugging for the cameras all over the place. With constantly unfaithful “leadership” like this running his campaign, it’s no wonder McCain’s campaign didn’t do as well as expected.
* Confusion over the “Uncommitted” v. Hillary slots on the Democratic Primary Ballot reduced Crossover by Dems: Last minute pushes by prominent Democrats and Obama/Edwards supporters about the “Uncommitted” slot on the Michigan ballot (other than Hillary and Kucinich, that was the only other choice–Obama and Edwards were not on the ballot) were effective. Senator Carl Levin and Obama backers but also pushed for people to vote against Hillary by voting “Uncommitted,” but Hillary backers raised questions about where the “Uncommitted” percentage of delegates would go. I didn’t think that would work and was too little, too late. But I’ve come to learn that you can’t underestimate the effectiveness of disenfranchisement conspiracies in Detroit and within key Democratic constituencies. A lot of elderly Blacks, who favor Hillary (versus younger Blacks who go for Obama but don’t vote in big numbers), got scared that “Uncommitted” delegates would nix their votes for Hillary. Because of this, Dems who’d have crossed over stayed in their own primary to ensure no shenanigans. Because of that, there simply wasn’t the crossover vote I had predicted there would be, but for the Daily Kos constituency. Hillary voters and her Obama/Edwards opponents slugged it out–at this time, she gets 58% of the vote with uncommitted at 37%.
* “Straight Talk” vs. Mitt-y Fantasy Talk About the Auto Industry: Michigan’s economy relies on the auto industry fifty times more than any other state’s economy relies on any single industry. With so many auto workers laid off and unemployed and with the nation’s highest unemployment rate, people want to believe not only that things will get better but that they will return back to the way they were. Mitt Romney fed into that with his Walter Mitty-style fantasies that the jobs will come back. John McCain told the truth when he said those jobs will not come back, a negative message. And I don’t think voters wanted to face that cold, hard truth. They’d rather vote for Mitt whose more positive message of a deceptively rosy outlook was more appealing.
So, I was wrong, and that’s why. While I don’t like that Romney’s pan-Hezbollah allies got a boost here in Michigan and that Romney wasn’t defeated, it makes it an even more exciting, wide open race–and a boost to Rudy Giuliani’s Florida strategy.
Yes, we have democracy here. And democracy is not always predictable.
But remember, Romney had to win here. It’s not a huge victory, but a relief for his campaign. Will it give him any momentum? Very limited, I predict.

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15 Responses

Well, I sure do not feel Romney’s deep pockets had much to do with it as a whole. Giuliani’s failure to work this State is a shame. The GOP is increasingly looking for electability within the GOP norms. Huckabee and McCain goals may be outside those of the electorate. Neither can be trusted. Both are border/business whores. We want business for Americans. Not on the back of Americans, for Mexico. This isn’t a race To Adopt A Country.
Who keeps their word? Giuliani, Romney and Thompson, who was a wimp in the Senate, but was honest.

Pat on January 15, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Don’t worry about being wrong Deb. That is why I am here – I’m never wrong.
It will be Mitt-Thompson versus the Czarina-Richardson.
All of this primary hand-wringing is a colossal waste of time.

Hank Dagny on January 16, 2008 at 12:19 am

How can registered Democrats vote in the GOP primaries? Am I missing something?

AmericanJewess on January 16, 2008 at 3:01 am

Depending on the state party’s rules, a primary can either be open (anyone can vote regardless of party affiliation) or closed (only party members can vote).
One more reason for McCain’s loss, a poll showed that McCain got little support from rank and file Republicans.
Hank Dagny posted:
[It will be Mitt-Thompson versus the Czarina-Richardson.]
I’m glad you think Clinton will be the Dems nominee; I’m getting tired of Obama-mania.

Norman Blitzer on January 16, 2008 at 3:28 am

I was wrong too. Ron Paul didn’t have a strong showing yesterday. I’ve never been so glad to be wrong in my life!
Deb, you made a prediction. There’s always risk involved with that.
This is America! If you take no risk, you get no reward.

There is NO Santa Claus on January 16, 2008 at 7:38 am

George Romney was ineffective? Michigan was a financial basket case until he turned it around and got us going in the right direction!

jordie on January 16, 2008 at 8:11 am

I knew for sure that you didn’t like Romney. But I really don’t know which one you think would actually be better. I’ve see your columns carve ’em all up pretty well.
McCain and Huckster had to be scratched from my list bcause of their record of illegal alien butt kissing and amnesty proposals. The amnesty for illegals is something that when explained to common sense people–leads to them taking McCain and Huck off the acceptable options list.
Rudy would be the most articulate and a great executive–but all the baggage of his past is a disqualifier to many.
Thompson is like death warmed over–(get some sleep Fred and see if you can’t get into it better). With Spence Abe at his helm–he doesn’t get it on islamic terror. He’ll probably quit after super Tuesday–he is toast now–but it takes time to face reality.
So–for me, Romney seemed the best choice and for many that I talked to. FYI—I gag when I watch those old debate clips from the 90’s where he took both sides in those debates on more than one issue. Getting elected in Mass, one must be faced with some real problems. I can only hope that he will stick to what he says he is about this time–and appoint judges like W has done. I’m not exactly sure what he will do in Iraq–but I know McCain wants to stay there forever.
I think Romney will win the nomination–and will be able to beat Cankles or Barax.

BB on January 16, 2008 at 9:32 am

Thank you Michigan for derailing the “straight talk” express. McCain is such a lying fool.
What did he mean that the auto jobs are gone for good? This has got to be one of the stupidist comments he has ever made, and he has made plenty of them. Selling cars is like selling anything else. Produce better cars at compteitve prices and you can sell all the cars you want.
The UAW is killing the big three, while the non unionzed Nissan and Honda workers are producing better cars that last longer and get paid less than the unionized workers.
I drive a Nissan produced in Tennessee. I will probobly drive it at least 200K miles with no major repairs. My son drives a Ford Taurus and he needs a new transmission at 112K miles.
Stop bellyaching and expecting handouts and subsidies Michigan. Are people in Tennessee really any smarter than Michigan? I don’t think so. Get rid of the Michael Moore attitude that someone owes you a cushy, overpaid job and you will compete with anyone.

GFB on January 16, 2008 at 10:03 am

When discussing illegals
It is not about the details
It is about the crime
It is about the illegal entry
And it is seriously about time
We kicked the vermin out
They need to leave on their own
Or face the possibility
They’ll have somebody take them home
No more human trafficking
No more drugs slavery and whores
No more psycho MS 13 machetes
No more no more no more
I want America first
I don’t want to have to press one
I want the fence built now
I want it started completed done
Border agents in jail
Law enforcement officers killed
American 18 wheeler jobs
By Mexican Nationals filled
There are traitors and hustlers
Busy trying to sell us out
But sacred national sovereignty
Is worth fighting for
Have no doubt
9:47 am
transcribed this time
9:10 am

neilsthepoet on January 16, 2008 at 10:11 am

I was glad to see the Romney win. The press had
made it seem he had nothing going except for his
money. Huckabee and McCain have already proved
that money is not the only factor in winning.
Romney has a good, well founded pro-business
message, has a strong moral background, and is
right on the war and the importance of defending
America from radicle Muslims. What more could we
want from a candidate? Rudy’s good, too, but I
don’t see how he can emerge from the 3 and 4 percent showings he’s been garnering so far.
McCain’s only asset is being right on the war.
His only other strong point, being a maverick,
has only gotten him in trouble with his party
and thus he’s marginalized as he should be. If he was 10 years younger, he might have made a good
balance for the ticket as VP and, with a little
seasoning as a game player (in the good sense),
he’d have been ready for his shot in 2012 or
2016. Unfortunately that is not to be, and I only
hope he does not decide to really screw things up
with a futile and destructive 3rd party candidacy.

GW Bramhall on January 16, 2008 at 10:28 am

Debbie, to be fair, back in George Romney’s day all Republicans were go-along-to-get-along RINOs. Conservatism barely existed.

lexi on January 16, 2008 at 10:51 am

Reports coming out this morning is that among Michigan voters yesterday, Democrats and Independents went mainly for McCain, not Romney. So much for the Daily Kos being right.
I’m also very glad that Romney won. There is no perfect candidate, but I’d rather have Romney than McCain or Huckabee. A Romney-Thompson ticket would be great.

desertliving on January 16, 2008 at 11:27 am

Romney/Thompson ???
C’mon,wouldn’t a better choice be Duncan Hunter for VP ?

billybob on January 16, 2008 at 11:58 am

The best ticket the republicans could offer would be a Thompson/Hunter ticket.

you are right on January 16, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Hi Deb,
Do not despair about being wrong. Of course, I have never been wrong in my life. I thought I was once, but I was wrong.
This business about letting dems vote in the repub primary is a mishigas. As long as it is permitted any result is misleading.
Joe B.

Joe B. on January 21, 2008 at 7:10 am

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