Despite what people may like to believe, I don't hate Romney, there is a difference between disliking someone as well as not trusting them and actually hating someone. I'm typing this up with information that I remember from everything I've read, seen on Fox News, heard on Radio, etc.
Okay when versing Obama, the candidates that are left in this primary (which is not over until someone has the necessary delegates), have different strengths and weaknesses. The current candidates that are in the race still are Romney, Gingrich, and Paul.
General Issue 1: Foreign Policy
When versing Obama, both Romney and Gingrich have a field day, due to Obama's terrible foreign policy both candidates have a serious advantage against Obama in this area.
- Obama's bowing to Saudi Kings, Japanese Emperor's etc. Dating back to the founding fathers, Presidents have never bowed to a foreign government official to my knowledge until Obama.
- Turning a blind eye to the suffering of the Iranian people. I know some people don't like an intervention based foreign policy, however the Iranian Government is actively hostile towards the US. If that government were to have collapsed, it is highly likely the new government would have been substancially more friendly to us than the current regime.
- Mideast in general, seriously everyone here probably can point to several other situations that Obama is weak on.
- Israel specifically, Obama's attempts to alienate and jeopardize the security of one of our closest allies is an issue that can be used against Obama in the general.
General Issue 2: National Security/Border Security
In National Security, both Gingrich and Romney both would have the upper hand against Obama in this area. The only candidate that Obama would trounce in this category is Ron Paul. When we focus on border security specifically however, Romney starts to lose some steam, he still can hit Obama in this area, particularly due to Fast & Furious, but Gingrich can make a stronger case than Romney in this area.
General Issue 3: Healthcare and Obamacare specifically
This in my opinion is Romney's achilles heal, that hurts his credibility. If Romney would renounce Romneycare on the basis that Obama proved that government can't be trusted with that kind of power, that the intent behind Romneycare was for more noble purposes, while Obamacare was simply a blatent power grab, but Romneycare has to go as well because government has proven it can't be trusted with that kind of power... Then Romney can have a field day on this topic (basically it ties Obama to corruption).
As it stands currently, both Gingrich and Ron Paul have the advantage against Obama in this area. Ron Paul has some additional credibility in the fact he is a practicing physician if I remember correctly.
General Issue 4: Taxes and out of control spending
Romney is really weak in this area, not only due to his personal background, but because of his record from when he was a governor. From what I remember, the Democrat legislature actually rebelled against Romney because they thought he was proposing too many tax increases. The additional problem is that Romney has parrotted some of Obama's class warfare rhetoric. While Obama has Solyndra and some other issues, Romney has his own versions of Solyndra from when he was a Governor.
Gingrich and Paul are extremely strong on this issue, Gingrich's record of having been the only Speaker of the House with a balanced budget and Paul for his record of being against wasteful spending and tax hikes. Gingrich's additional advantage is that this drags up memories of the Clinton years for Democrats and how they were a lot better than Obama's Presidency (which may help get some of Obama's base to stay home).
General Issue 5: Jobs
Currently Gingrich would in my opinion be the stronger candidate in this category, due to when he was Speaker of the House. If I recall (and this is entirely from memory) unemployment was about 4 to 5% while he was Speaker. Romney's record as Governor was mixed, his state being 47th out of 50 in job creation while he was Governor.
Bain Capital both helps and hurts Romney in this category. On the one hand, he has private sector experience, on the other Bain Capital's reputation is a rather mixed one, which is why this may be a can of worms that Romney shouldn't have used as a key part of his resume.
General Issue 6: Religious Liberty and the phony contraceptive debate
Gingrich and Paul both are very strong in this area when matched up against Obama. Romney however actually is in serious trouble when this issue is brought up, because he did the same things as Governor that Obama is now doing as President.
When contraceptives were drawn into this, Gingrich completely demolished the left's song and dance routine in a debate, basically saving Rick Santorum in that debate. We all know it was probably a trap to demolish Santorum, however it is an issue that Gingrich and Paul can have a field day against Obama, while Romney cannot.
Romney's record as Governor arguably gives Obama the advantage in this area, since Obama has been rather consistant anti-Christianity since taking office, while Romney has been all over the map. Romney's record doesn't match his rhetoric, which can be very bad.
How baggage stacks up against Obama's baggage: a brief summary.
Romney's baggage largely affects Romney's ability to go on offense in key areas like Obamacare for instance. Romney is on record of publicly pushing Obama to include an individual mandate in Obamacare. He refuses to renounce Romneycare, which is also arguably the blueprint of Obamacare. This problem is of Romney's own making.
Romney additionally has problems going after Obama on Solyndra, due to his own "green energy" flops. Romney also doesn't have a leg to stand on concerning taxes, and isn't as strong as people are claiming when it comes to jobs and the budget (Romneycare was funded using Federal Tax Dollars in a grant, if I remember correctly it was courtesy of Senator Ted Kennedy.
When it comes to domestic issues, Ron Paul has the advantage against Obama. The fact the election will largely be about domestic issues would help Paul. His constant warnings about some of the Government agencies also work in his favor. His baggage is primarily his little habit of ear marks and pork, inserting them in bills, then voting against the bill.
His other problem is that his foreign policy would be a total disaster, it no longer takes weeks to get across the Atlantic. It only takes a matter of hours, we can't afford to play isolationist.
Aside from the marital issues (and continued attacks in that area starts to backfire eventually), he's actually pretty safe from anything Obama can throw. Thanks to Obama's protecting Freddie Mac using his position in the Senate, Gingrich can't be attacked for being a consultant to Freddie Mac without it backfiring. The situation is only one way too that makes it even better since Gingrich can hit Obama on this all day.
The ethics violations attack has a strong chance of backfiring on Democrats in general. Let's be realistic, with the scandals of insider trading in Congress and no one getting hit with violations; yet they hit someone with tons of violations for Teaching a College class, if the Dems want to attack Gingrich on this and shoot themselves in the foot, it doesn't bother me any.
In all honesty, despite Gingrich having the most baggage of the candidates still in this, he's actually the least vulnerable to attacks using baggage.
Past support for an individual mandate, Gingrich dropped that support, he never implimented it like Romney or Obama, and has come out explaining why it is unconstitutional. Obama can't attack Gingrich in this area anyways or even call him a hypocrit without it backfiring.
Cap & Trade: While having once been in that camp, Gingrich testified against Cap & Trade. Obama has Solyndra and a bunch of other scandals.
There isn't a whole lot that Obama can throw at Gingrich, that doesn't have a strong chance of backfiring.
Analysis and Conclusion:
The election will mostly be concerning domestic issues, not foreign policy. Romney will have trouble in key areas of domestic issues, and since this is a domestic issue election, Romney is rather weak when versing Obama. His own record blunts his ability to go after Obama (assuming the Obama WH stops having amateur hour, which hopefully they keep up amateur hour between now and November, but that isn't likely to continue. Then there is Romney's "severely conservative," remark, makes it sound like either he thinks it is a disease, he is lieing through his teeth, or is ashamed of being a conservative.
Ron Paul is a mixed bag, the thing that gives him an edge against Obama is the fact this election will be focused on domestic issues and possibly personal liberty. If this turns into a foreign policy election, Ron Paul would be in serious trouble.
Newt Gingrich would be the hardest one for Obama to take on. Obama's baggage blunts many of the attacks on Newt. Considering Gingrich hasn't been in congress for over a decade, he can easily seperate himself from the current congress as far as favorability ratings. He also has a clear line of attack on Obama's baggage, since the problem with attacking baggage only goes one way in this case.
Thus, my conclusion is that Newt Gingrich would be the most able candidate to win in the General Election. Since this will be a domestic policy election, Romney would be the weakest at this time.
What Romney can do to improve his chances in the General if he is the nominee:
- Renounce Romneycare, and he can use the blatent attempts to seize power over people's lives found in Obamacare as the reason.
- Stop trying to defend every little thing from his record while using rhetoric that is a complete 180. If what he did in the past was a mistake, he should admit it and move on, he should talk about how he can learn from mistakes, while Obama clearly can't.
- A Conservative VP pick, preferably one that has already been vhetted. Gingrich would actually be a strong pick, because he is an idea guy (that and he can probably drive Harry Reid insane (an added bonus)). I would suggest Santorum as another possibility, but his daughter is clearly not in the best of health atm. Rubio would be an okay pick, if the reason has nothing to do with ethnicity. Allen West would be a decent pick as well, but I think he should be something like Secretary of Defense.
- Adopt a lot of Gingrich's platform (hence why I suggested Gingrich first in VP selection).
- Start working to mend fences and reign in Romney Supporters whom are driving a wedge in the Republican Party.
- No more attacking fellow Republicans using the anti-mormon bigot card. Save it for MSNBC, CNN, or some liberal hack that actually is an anti-mormon bigot, not like the overused "race card" where all of Obama's critics are called racists.