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Romney's 50 Percent Hurdle

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This article cross-posted from The Nation

Mitt Romney is the least appealing front-runner for a Republican presidential nomination since Herbert Hoover convinced an appropriately skeptical Grand Old Party to renominate him in 1932.

And Hoover, for all his faults, was a far more commendable figure than the Bain Capitalist will ever be.

Romney has scant personal appeal, as polling and anecdotal evidence confirms on a daily basis. After pondering several options for the most ironically absurd headline of the week, the editors of the satirical newspaper the Onion chose for their current edition: "Romneymania Sweeps America."

Romney, pro-choice before he was anti-choice, pro-healthcare reform before he was anti-healthcare reform, has no ideological appeal to a party of purists.

And Romney, now fully identified as the poster boy for crony capitalism, rapacious greed and tax avoidance, has an increasingly limited appeal as a potentially electable Republican nominee in November.

What Romney does have is money. Lots of it. More money in campaign accounts and Super PAC cash flows than the rest of the candidates combined. And he is spending it, wildly. Even before today's Florida primary, it was reported that Romney was outspending his closest rival, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, by roughly $12 million.

Specifically, the Romney campaign has spent $6.9 million to air commercials on the state's broadcast and cable channels by Monday morning. Romney's Restore Our Future Super PAC has spent a reported $8.5 million on the same channels. Total: $15.4 million.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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