If the past months of a highly contentious Republican primary process has undermined the eventual nominee, and sapped the energy of Republicans for the general election, (and I think in some respect it has since the Tea Party will have to settle for Mitt Romney) than the past couple weeks will be seen as one of the final nails as the GOP embraced a view of 1959 America. The contraceptive fight has been a wet dream for out-of-touch conservatives for years, but who could have predicted that this fringe element would have been allowed by the establishment GOP to run with the ball.
Rush Limbaugh’s statement about a woman being “a slut” for making the point about contraceptives and health care sent women of all political stripes, and independents running away from the GOP. There is no good news to report for the GOP when it comes to this most personal issue being allowed to get out of control, as we have witnessed..
While there was never a real threat that a Tea Party type could win the GOP nomination, there was the potential that one long fight for delegates could cost the eventual nominee, long though to be Mitt Romney by almost everyone (this blogger included), by forcing him to the right on various positions.
The stance that Romney had to take in Michigan regarding unions will cost him support in November, perhaps the most from those “Reagan Democrats” that Mitt will need in a close election.
As we look at the political landscape this morning there is evidence that the GOP is tiring of the internal fight, know it is not helping the party, and coming to grips with the fact, for better or worse, they are tied to Mitt Romney heading into the general election.
Mitt Romney has regained the lead in the Republican presidential contest thanks to new support from conservatives, while evidence emerges that the bitter nomination fight has damaged the GOP candidates’ standing among the wider public, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.
The resurgence of Mr. Romney, who hadn’t led the Journal poll since November, lays the path for a potential matchup against a president whose own position is strengthening. President Barack Obama’s approval rate hit 50% in the poll, its highest since last May, as more voters expressed confidence in the economy.
The survey, conducted as the GOP contest has taken up contentious issues such as contraception, found signs of fatigue with the process. Even among Republicans, voter interest in participating in the general election has fallen sharply since January, a rarity in an election year, while negative views of the GOP candidates have risen among independents and moderates.
Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducted the survey along with Democrat Peter Hart, said he could think of only one word to encapsulate the effect of the nomination fight on his party and its candidates: “Corrosive.”
The process, Mr. McInturff said, “is sanding down both the Republican candidates and voters’ feelings about the party.”