Bob Moser

Bob Moser is senior editor at National Journal and author of Blue Dixie: Awakening the South's Democratic Majority (Times Books). He is the former editor of The Texas Observer, senior editor/writer at The Nation, and executive editor of The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Mitt Is It

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
Mitt Romney took another big step toward the Republican nomination on Tuesday night. Romney was expected to cruise to victory in New Hampshire—but even the former Massachusetts governor probably didn’t anticipate giving a victory speech at 8:25 p.m. With the early returns matching the latest polls, with Romney leading Ron Paul by double digits and more than doubling the vote for Jon Huntsman, there was no Iowa-style drama in his unofficial home state. The call was made early. And Romney, beaming in front of his toothy family while the crowd chanted “Mitt Mitt Mitt Mitt,” was clearly pleased with the orderly nature of things. Making excellent use of his teleprompter, Romney delivered a vigorous speech—short on specifics, void of originality, but crisply hitting every talking point that a Republican consultant could want. Romney painted a bright-skies picture of a free-market future, and he trained his fire on both President Obama and his Republican opponents, particularly Newt Gingrich...

Great Expectations

New Hampshire voters are justly famous for pitchforking presidential frontrunners—LBJ in 1968, Walter Mondale in 1984, Bob Dole in 1996, George W. Bush in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008 all had their paths to nomination gummed up by the famous contrarians of Yankeedom. Could it happen to Mitt Romney tonight? As was the case in 1968, when Eugene McCarthy’s strong second-place finish exposed Lyndon Johnson’s weak positioning for re-election, what might matter the most in the nation’s first Republican primary is the frontrunner’s margin of victory. Mitt Romney’s once-27-point lead over Ron Paul in the New Hampshire polls has narrowed, slowly but steadily, over the last week. Without a sizable victory, the media narrative will be all about Romney’s weaknesses going forward. Can Jon Huntsman be the McCarthy of 2012? Buoyed by a strong debate performance on Sunday, his 170-stop march through the Granite State, and a sudden barrage of anti-Romney fire , the former Utah governor has been...

The Bain of Mitt’s Campaign

Of all the bizarre aspects of the Republican presidential race—and they have been gloriously plentiful—nothing has been odder than the kid-glove treatment accorded the likeliest nominee. While every other pretender, from Donald Trump to Rick Santorum, has had his record and rhetoric parsed and pilloried, Mitt Romney has sailed through months (heck, years) of campaigning and oodles of debates without so much as a nick or scratch. Until now. Sunday’s New Hampshire debate featured memorable smackdowns by Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich. But far more ominous for the former Massachusetts governor is the sudden dam-burst of criticism of the central rationale for his campaign: Romney’s job-creating business experience at Bain Capital, which the candidate argues makes him uniquely qualified to be America’s recession-era CEO. Among the revelations, The Wall Street Journal reported today on the high rate of bankruptcies and closures among the companies Bain invested in during Romney’s tenure...

Mitts Off

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
T he non-Romney Republicans had ten hours to stew over their abject failure to lay a glove on the Mittster in Saturday night’s lackluster prime-time debate. Nudged on Sunday morning by moderator David Gregory, who launched the proceedings by asking the aggrieved Newt Gingrich to make an argument against Romney’s electability, they came out with guns blazing at the Meet the Press debate. But it was almost certainly too little, too late, to bring down the frontrunner. Romney’s ludicrous pretense of being a non-politician was deflated at last, as Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich ganged up on him effectively. When Santorum asked why Romney didn’t run for re-election as governor of Massachusetts, given his great passion for improving the state, Romney revived his hoary rhetoric: “Politics is not a career. My life’s passion has been my family, my faith, and my country.” Gingrich parried: “Can we drop a little bit of the pious baloney? The fact is, you ran for Senate in 1994 and lost … you...

The Enthusiasm Gap

The most important number on Tuesday night in Iowa wasn’t eight—the miniscule margin by which Mitt Romney edged out Rick Santorum for first place. It was 3,255 —the negligible estimated increase in turnout over the 2008 GOP caucuses. Given the sizable number of independents — 23 percent of the total —who showed up to (mostly) vote for third-place finisher Ron Paul, it looks like fewer Iowa Republicans actually voted this year. To say the least, this complicates one of the most popular story lines about 2012—that Republicans are simply wild to unseat President Barack Obama and that the Democrats are facing a serious “enthusiasm gap” against their fired-up foes. (In fact, a Gallup poll in December already began to puncture this myth.) In 2008, the Democratic caucuses in Iowa attracted 239,000 voters, almost twice the number as in 2004—a portent of the rising tide that would lift Obama to the White House ten months later. Of course, the Democrats had three candidates that year (Obama,...