Republicans in the ABS (Anybody but Sarah) camp got more fodder for their anxieties today. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that the former half-term Alaskan governor is less popular than Nancy Pelosi. As the blog First Read put it:
Palin’s negative rating has climbed to 50%. That’s the highest negative rating for anyone measured in this poll (and it’s two points lower than Nancy Pelosi’s negative rating from last month). And get this: The only major subgroups that Palin wins in a head-to-head match-up with Obama are Republicans, conservatives, and FOX viewers. That’s it, folks. NBC/WSJ co-pollster Bill McInturff (R) says that this is “a sobering starting point” for Palin if she decides to run for president
But the ABSs (sometimes identified as “establishment Republicans”) are struggling to unite around an alternative to Palin. Some are still enamored of Mitt Romney — at least the smart, affable and reasonable Romney who headed the well-run Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and was a successful one-term governor of Massachusetts.
But that Romney seems to have disappeared, leaving behind a slick and slippery panderer who goes through policy positions like my baby girl goes through diapers.
Even conservatives who would be inclined to support Romney are dismayed. Here’s what the NYT’s Ross Douthat had to say about Romney:
I believe that Mitt Romney is a more serious person, and would probably be a better president, than his campaign style suggests. But issue by issue, policy by policy, that same campaign style makes it awfully hard to figure out where he would actually stand when the pandering stops and the governing begins. In the last couple years, Romney has taken high-profile positions that I agree with (opposing the G.M. bailout), high-profile positions that I disagree with (opposing the START Treaty), and high-profile positions on issues I’m uncertain about (the current tax deal). But because everything he does feels like a pander, I don’t know where he really stands on any of them. And freak show or no freak show, base or no base, that’s no way to run for president.
Mitt, you old chameleon, you
by Cynthia Tucker