Mitt Romney’s flaws are no big secret; Not a conservative, unlikable, incessant flip-flopping, tailor made villain for the Occupy Wall Street crowd, antithesis of a Tea Party candidate, beloved by the establishment, etc., etc., etc.
The funny thing about Romney is that his supposed “strengths” are turning out to be weaknesses, too. Despite his main strength supposedly being “electability,” he’s staying mired at about 30% in the GOP primaries and doesn’t poll significantly better against Obama than Santorum.
Then there’s Romney’s cashflow. Yes, he has certainly managed to raise tons of money. But the “hard nosed, tough minded business man” doesn’t seem to be good at managing his campaign’s money.
Proof that he’s sputtering or much ado about nothing given the realities of modern campaign finance? He had $19 million in the bank at the end of December and raised another $6.5 million on top of that in January. (By comparison, back in January 2008, The One raised $36 million. Obvious difference, though: The economy was vastly better then.) Fast forward a month and there’s only $7.7 million left, which means his cash flow right now is completely unsustainable unless he either (a) discovers a brand new supply of wealthy donors to tap very quickly or (b) starts funding his own campaign with the vast Romney fortune, which seems increasingly likely. His strategy last month, presumably, was to spend whatever he needed to spend in hopes of crushing Gingrich and Santorum in the early states and locking up the nomination early.
What has Romney accomplished by spending that much money? Yes, he’s ahead on the delegate count, but nationally the latest Gallup Poll has Santorum at 36%, Mitt at 26%, Gingrich at 13%, and Paul at 11%. In other words, after spending more money than everyone else left in the race combined, Mitt is still stuck in about the same 25% to 30% range that he’s been at practically since day 1. The last time someone spent this much money with this little effect was when Obama passed the stimulus bill.
Although Mitt Romney can raise a lot more money than the other contenders in a primary, in the general, either Gingrich or Santorum could probably raise roughly comparable amounts to Mitt and the signs would seem to suggest that either one of them could probably do a much better job spending the money than Romney has so far.