Low turnout in Nevada should concern GOP

The good news for Romney in Nevada is easy to see. I’ve already predicted that he will be our nominee so rather than say I told-you-so, I’d rather dwell on the bad news for the GOP. Good news has a way of taking care of itself; bad news needs your attention.

It looks like the bad news is low voter turnout for the caucuses. Why should we have low turnout? Isn’t voter intensity with the Republicans? Aren’t we fired up to dispose of the Obama presidency? I ask the question not to make a point, but because I really don’t know the answer. I’m sure we will have some droll spin that explains the low turnout but privately I hope we are conducting a cold analysis of what this really means.

Who finished second, or third doesn’t matter. Newt, Paul and Santorum all lost, big.

Meanwhile, Romney is a major candidate and he is now going to have Secret Service protection. For Romney, that is not a political plus. Of course he needs to stay safe and healthy, period. But, the Secret Service creates atmospherics for candidates that is helpful for some but not for others. By definition, the Secret Service wants more of a buffer between the crowds and the candidate. For Romney who has a weak connection between his persona and an audience it is not helpful. He will seem even more removed and aloof.

Other candidates benefit from the derivative seriousness and stature that the presence of the Secret Service infers. For Romney’s campaign, it will require some very experienced hands to insure that the balance between the necessary security and his political problems are managed so that his safety and his negative, remote stereotype coexist in a way that doesn’t hurt his retail voter appeal even more.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.

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