Typical of the “insider” coverage of the Governor’s HUGE fundraising numbers was this from Hotline:
That Romney was able to squeeze so many low hanging fruit sources in what has inarguably been a rough political quarter for him speaks highly of the relationships he’s cultivated over these years.
Just a few weeks ago, I would have been fully on board with this notion that the Governor has been in the midst of a rough patch. But in light of these fundraising numbers, I’m realizing that in some very important ways I’ve been wrong, Hotline is wrong, the good folks at the Corner are wrong, and many others in the blogosphere who’ve been bemoaning Romney’s lack of momentum with conservative activists are wrong. By most every empirical, objective measure, the Governor’s had three very good months in the first quarter of 2007.
Let’s just review: Not only does he blow away the field by raising almost as much money as his two closest competitors combined, he wins the CPAC straw poll, continues to accumulate supporters in key states, wins a poll of “Republican insiders,” finishes strongly in polls of Iowa insiders, has made big gains in New Hampshire, and now stands much higher in the national polls at this stage in the game than many other “previously unknowns” who went on to win their nomination (such as Bill Clinton).
And all this has occurred against a backdrop of sniping and complaining from the internet activist base. So how does this happen? I think I’m beginning to realize that the audience for the Internet activist base is primarily…the Internet activist base. In many ways, we’re a closed, self-reinforcing loop that could be almost as insular as the Democrats’ famed “netroots.”
While the folks who write (and read) blogs have been debating “flip-flops” and parsing quotes more than a decade old, the Governor has been hosting fundraisers and meeting people who write checks. And impressing them. Moreover, he’s been on Fox News more, on local television more, and in local newspapers. Even conservative talk radio has not been playing up the “true conservative” critique quite as much as the blogosphere. Rush Limbaugh has strongly defended the Governor on more than one occasion.
So the Governor has had a rough few months among the thousands that read (and dominate) the blogosphere, but amongst the millions that watch cable and local news and tune into talk radio, he’s making slow and steady progress. With $23 million, he’ll now be able to take his message more directly to the masses of voters.
Look for more progress in the weeks and months to come…blogosphere carping notwithstanding.