Mitt Romney’s campaign is all about math at the moment. Rather than focusing on symbolic states, they say, the candidate is set on grossing the 1,144 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination. And so far he’s winning.
“Last night’s results give him 50% of all the delegates awarded to date and 45% of the delegates needed to clinch the nomination,” Romney political director Rich Beeson said in a memo sent out Wednesday, after Romney’s losses in Alabama and Mississippi. “Santorum and Gingrich now trail Governor Romney by margins they cannot mathematically make up.”
Senior Romney advisor and former Senator Jim Talent offered similar remarks: “We won more delegates than anybody else… So we’re right on path to where we want to be.” And Romney himself told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly Wednesday evening, “Last night I got more delegates than anyone else… This is a process of becoming the nominee, and I am pursuing that in an intelligent way.” Perhaps it’s all this over thinking that’s turning voters off.
Romney has long been dogged by allegations that he’s too plasticine or robotic. And his comments about his lavish lifestyle — being friends with NASCAR team owners — and struggling Americans — “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” — have done him no favors. Nor is his focus on “mathematical” and “intelligent” strategy.
Yes, math is a part of politics, and sometimes delegates provide a symbolic boon for the ideologically ambitious, as Ron Paul hopes, but using digits as your argument for why you deserve the actual presidency only makes a candidate like Romney sound even more impersonal and emotionless.
But perhaps Romney doesn’t know any better. He never lets us forget that he has spent most of his adult life in the private financial sector. Could it be that he’s been infected by the same culture former Goldman Sachs executive director Greg Smith lambasted in his resignation letter yesterday? A culture in which people or voters become simple numbers. Wrote Smith, “I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them.”
In the case of Romney’s campaign, the former businessman isn’t trying to make money (he’s already done that), he’s trying to make votes, which is a far different strategy than actually earning them.
With regard to the aforementioned conversation between Romney and Fox’s Kelly, here’s a compilation of some of Romney’s most awkward moments, including when he got defensive about his wealth-related gaffes: “I made a lot of money. I’ve been very successful. I’m not going to apologize for that.”