Mitt Romney finally found consistency.
Dogged for months about his shifting sands on abortion rights, the individual mandate, climate change, etc., Romney landed on terra firma on Tuesday night.
In the 2008 Iowa caucuses, Romney garnered 29,949 votes.
In the 2012 Iowa caucuses, Romney garnered 30,015 votes.
Four years of perpetual campaigning yielded Romney a grand total of 66 more votes in Iowa than he received in 2008. Those 66 new votes, however, propelled him to his “impressive” 8 vote victory over supposed also-ran Rick Santorum.
The per vote cost of those 66 new voters was obviously quite staggering, as shown by a couple of simple statistics.
Romney spent, or was the beneficiary of, $4,665,342 in media purchases in Iowa. That means he received statewide a whopping 6 votes for every $1,000 he spent, either directly or indirectly through a Super PAC, on media in Iowa. By contrast, Santorum received 49 votes for every $1,000 he spent on media in Iowa, or 8 times the rate of return on investment that Romney achieved in the state.
Romney’s nearly identical showing on Tuesday to his 2008 results in Iowa is not the kind of consistency that inspires confidence. Romney certainly can outspend his GOP opponents. That may get the same people to the polls who voted for him in 2008 (plus 66!), and it may even be sufficient to gain the nomination against a far weaker GOP field than ran four years ago. But it is an inauspicious start.
And, indeed, Romney continues to try to be all things to all people. Today in New Hampshire, he simultaneously attacked President Obama for being both a “crony capitalist” and for being beholden to “union stooges.” In the realm of political rhetoric, “crony capitalists” usually hate “union stooges,” and vice versa. They don’t tend to be the same person. They don’t tend to be supported by the same person.
But of course, Romney is just a middle-class man of the people, even though his net worth is approximately $200 million. And crony capitalists are union stooges. And Romney spent millions to gain 66 votes in Iowa.