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

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,...

Santorum Soars, Romney Scrapes By

Four years ago in Iowa, Barack Obama had a terrific night in the Democratic caucuses. Four years later, he had another one in the Republican caucuses. Mitt Romney had hoped to swoop into Iowa, fatally kneecap Newt Gingrich, initiate a clean sweep of the early Republican contests—and then start repositioning himself back toward the middle for a general-election battle with the president. To quote Rick Perry, who suspended his campaign after a fifth-place finish yesterday: “Oops.” Romney won Iowa, all right—by a grand total of eight votes. Rick Santorum, rising from the grave, led until most people fell asleep last night. Once it was done, Santorum delivered the most powerful and effective victory speech since Obama won Iowa in 2008. Blending family values with a passionate appeal to the working class, Santorum was frighteningly eloquent. He was gutty and real. He was speaking to the economic moment in America. He was, in other words, everything that Romney is not. Santorum’s...

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