Mittens. Ken Doll. Vulture Capitalist. Pious Baloney. All these labels have been launched by some conservatives at Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The frontrunner is always the target in an election year. But the question is -- why do conservatives hate their fellow Republican Romney?
"They don't believe him," said Sacramento political analyst Gary Dietrich. "He does not appear to them to be a true blue believer."
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has been the most vitriolic in his attacks against Romney. Newt was far from the gracious loser after the Iowa caucus. Instead of using national airtime to promote himself, he blamed Romney's Super Pac for his defeat and tried to dub him a "Massachusetts moderate." In a poor political move, Newt ended up looking like a sore loser instead of a leader.
A day before the New Hampshire primary, on January 8, 2012, Newt launched a buzzword phrase at Mitt during a debate he hoped would stick...
"Can we drop a little bit of the pious baloney?" It was followed up by a Tweet: "Help Me Stop Romney's Pious Baloney today." Snarky Tweets followed on what kind of bread and cheese would go with pious baloney.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who almost dropped out of the race after a poor showing in Iowa, joined in the Romney attacks by accusing him of being a "vulture capitalist."
" I happen to think that companies like Bain Capital could have come in and helped these companies if they truly were venture capitalists, but they're not -- they're vulture capitalists," said Perry.
Conservatives and talk show hosts have been less than subtle of their dislike of Romney, making sure followers knew about his "Ken Doll" image. It also doesn't help that two percent of the voting population believe Mitt's real name is "Mittens" instead of Willard, according to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll.
His opponents and the media have so documented Romney's changing positions on issues that they are now being referred to as "footwear you wear in summer" instead of "flip flops" on abortion, guns and traditional marriage.
And that's what makes conservatives cringe.
"Is this the type of conservative we want representing us at the top of the ticket?" asked Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Sacramento political analyst Dietrich said conservatives just don't trust Romney.
"We don't know if this dude is really a conservative," Dietrich said.
"He's not been a champion of conservative things," said Sacramento Republican political analyst Rob Stutzman, who was deputy communications spokesman for former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. "They don't trust he's a conservative."
So far, the attacks by Gingrich and Perry on Romney are not working. If anything, they are rallying such conservative icons as talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to come to Romney's defense. Plus, Gingrich placed fourth in Iowa and Perry had a dismal sixth place finish.
Ronald Reagan is credited for the infamous so-called "11th Commandment" -- "Thou shall not speak ill of any fellow Republican." We'll see what happens in the South Carolina primary on January 21st Because despite the efforts of Newt and Perry, MSNBC has already dubbed Romney the "Rom-inee."