Archive for the ‘gaffs and pratfalls’ Category

“It would have been better for the nation if Mitt Romney had said he just wanted to spend more time with his family,” write the editors of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in an article titled A graceless Mitt Romney shows the nation how not to bow out of a race, reproduced in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Instead, the former Massachusetts governor, in dropping his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Thursday, insulted the patriotism of most of the American electorate – and its intelligence as well.

In his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Romney said he was stepping aside because, ”I simply cannot let my campaign be part of aiding a surrender to terror.”

Both of the candidates for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, Romney said, ”have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the war on terror: They would retreat, declare defeat.” For him to continue campaigning, he said, would ”forestall the launch of a national campaign, and frankly, I’d make it easier for Sen. Clinton or Obama to win.”

Even by today’s debased standards of political discourse, this borders on slander. Most Americans in both political parties have rejected President George W. Bush’s attempt to conflate the war in Iraq with the war on terrorism. Romney is bright enough to know the connection is dubious, but his comments suggest he’s craven enough to use it to curry favor with the party’s extreme right – just in case he wants to try again in 2012.

Yet it is exactly this sort of transparent, say-anything political opportunism that characterized and, ultimately, torpedoed Romney’s campaign. Time and again, he espoused positions that conflicted with views he had expressed previously – on abortion, gay rights, stem cell research, immigration and health-care reform. Those flip-flops, more than his Mormon faith, caused evangelical Christians in the GOP to be wary of him […]

[…] Romney tried Thursday to compare his 2008 campaign with that of former California Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1976. Reagan, although narrowly trailing President Gerald R. Ford in the delegate count, took his battle for the nomination to the August convention in Kansas City. But those were different times, when primaries and state party conventions lasted well into the summer. Reagan didn’t have to wage an expensive six-month campaign to stay in the race, as Romney would.

Reagan did emerge, however, as the party’s heir apparent, a slot Romney clearly covets. His withdrawal from this race gives him four years to polish his conservative credentials for the next one – or change them if that’s more expedient […]

John Ellis in a RealClearPolitics article titled The Romney Campaign’s 5 Big Mistakes comments as well on Romney’s invocation of Reagan:

[…] Having mismanaged their candidate to political defeat, the Romney team added insult to injury by spinning his departure as reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s defeat in 1976. This is preposterous. Reagan electrified the conservative movement in 1964 with his televised address on behalf of Barry Goldwater. Reagan came within one endorsement — Strom Thurmond’s — of wresting away the Republican nomination from Richard Nixon in 1968. And when he arrived in Kansas City in the summer of 1976, he had carried any number of critical states by majority votes (and in some cases, by wide margins) in Republican primary elections. Reagan left the stage as a force because he was a force. Romney leaves the stage having carried Michigan and Massachusetts and a number of caucus states. And he leaves having given it his very best effort. But he does not leave as a force, because he is not yet a significant force in the Republican Party […]

The emphases are ours, all ours.

The editorialists of The Kansas City Star concur with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in an editorial titled Romney’s withdrawal clears way for GOP’s best candidate

[…] In ceding the Republican nomination to John McCain on Thursday, Mitt Romney did not blame his own inept campaign.

He did not blame inconsistencies between his campaign rhetoric and his record as governor of Massachusetts.

He did not blame intraparty religious squabbles that another candidate, Mike Huckabee, cynically encouraged.

No, Romney chose to blame his withdrawal on . . . the Democrats!

As Romney told it, Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama would “surrender” to our enemies abroad.

By prolonging the Republican nomination battle, Romney said, he would dangerously hobble McCain’s ability to attack the Democrats. “And in this time of war,” Romney said, “I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.”

That’s quite a charge, reminiscent of Vice President Dick Cheney’s worst rhetorical excesses. In the last presidential campaign, for example, Cheney was widely mocked for his claim that voting for Democrats would raise the danger of another big terrorist attack on the United States.

A question for Romney: Whatever happened to simply congratulating the rival who beat you in a hard-fought primary battle?

Whether they count themselves as Democrats, Republicans or independents, many voters have tired of the bitter political partisanship they see in our national government.

So Romney’s statement Thursday provided further evidence of the tin ear that hurt his candidacy […]

The reviews are in. Romney’s final tirade tanked. Romney departed us the same way he greeted us, disastrously.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“An interview with John McCutcheon, a state consultant for Mitt Romney, made clear why he is expected to win easily,” writes the estimable Michael Luo for the Caucus, The NYT Political blog, in a post titled Romney at the West Virginia Convention

[Credit: Kavon W. Nikrad]

“We have had the only organizational presence in West Virginia to speak of,” said John McCutcheon, a state consultant for Mr. Romney. “It’s all Romney all the time.”

Mr. McCutcheon, who has been working with Mr. Romney since 2006, when he had only a national political action committee. The campaign’s field director, Wendy McCuskey, was hired over the summer. In all, the campaign has three paid people in the state, along with hundreds of volunteers.

Early on, the campaign had believed West Virginia might be one of the early voting states before Feb. 5. Even after it became clear that would not happen, the campaign still poured out significant resources in the state.

Mr. McCutcheon described an ambitious county-by-county ground operation, complete with phone-banking, direct mail and radio advertisements, compared to only modest efforts made by all the other candidates.

“Any presence that has come in has been last minute and skeletal,” he said about the other campaigns […]

Yet Romney’s investment was all for naught. Romney got out-maneuvered by his under-funded rivals. Romney’s response? A burst of rage in the form of a press release:

Campaign Manager Beth Myers On The West Virginia Convention

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kevin Madden (857) 288-****

Boston, MA – Today, Romney for President Campaign Manager Beth Myers issued the following statement regarding the outcome of West Virginia’s Republican Party convention:

“Unfortunately, this is what Senator McCain’s inside Washington ways look like: he cut a backroom deal with the tax-and-spend candidate he thought could best stop Governor Romney’s campaign of conservative change.

“Governor Romney had enough respect for the Republican voters of West Virginia to make an appeal to them about the future of the party based on issues. This is why he led on today’s first ballot. Sadly, Senator McCain cut a Washington backroom deal in a way that once again underscores his legacy of working against Republicans who are interested in championing conservative policies and rebuilding the party.”

Yuh-huh. Note the anger. Note the name-calling. Note to Romney: This is the price you pay for alienating the other candidates. See:

how friend and foe alike make careful note of Romney’s duplicity—on Santorum’s endorsement of Willard Milton Romney, where we discuss the “I hate Romney club”

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Mitt Romney backpedaled Tuesday after saying former Sen. Bob Dole is ‘probably the last person I would have wanted to have write a letter for me,'” write Carl Cameron, Shushannah Walshe, and the Associated Press in a http://www.foxnews.com release titled Romney Backpedals Over Bob Dole Comments

Romney made the remark in response to a letter Dole wrote to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in defense of Romney rival John McCain.

Romney even tried to call Dole, with no luck, from the plane as he and other candidates criss-crossed the country to campaign while voters in the 24 Super Tuesday states cast their ballots for both parties.

“Let me make it very clear. Senator Dole is an American hero, a war hero, a fine man and a great leader for our party,” Romney said in Charleston, W.Va., where GOP voters were a holding a state convention Tuesday […]

[…] In Charleston, Romney said his comment on Dole was only meant to point out that “the selection of our nominee based on someone having served in the Senate a long time … did not do well for us in that election.”

He said he was referring to “that aspect,” not Dole specifically, when he made his comments.

Romney and McCain have been tireless in accusing each other of being soft on key GOP issues, and with McCain leading in most of the Super Tuesday states Romney has been fighting to stay competitive. The former Massachusetts governor was logging more than 5,000 miles as he undertook a 37-hour coast-to-coast tour in the 21 states holding GOP contests Tuesday […]

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

ATLANTA — Mitt Romney is leading a citizen revolution, or at least that is what he has been telling people these last few days as he has tries to right his bid for the Republican nomination,” writes the estimable Michael Luo in a NYT article titled Meet the New Mitt Romney, the Anti-Insider Populist

It may seem an unlikely role for a PowerPoint-loving, buttoned-down multimillionaire, but there Mr. Romney was, on stage Monday here in his starched white shirt and tie, raising his voice to be heard above the crowd and portraying himself as the anti-establishment insurgent.

“It’s time for the politicians to go and the citizens to come into Washington!” he said, drawing a roar from the several hundred gathered at his feet […]

[…] It was in New Hampshire that he settled on a theme about Washington’s being broken and his ability to bring change.

But with Mr. McCain now threatening to run away with the nomination, Mr. Romney has melded the old with the new, lobbing conservative grenades once again while talking about change. His latest script is calculated to sound the alarm over the prospect of Mr. McCain as the Republican nominee.

“In our party right now, there’s a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party,” he said, addressing an enthusiastic audience on Sunday at a community college in Glen Ellyn, Ill., a rock-ribbed Republican suburb of Chicago. “Which way are we going to go? Are we going to take a sharp left turn in our party, get as close as we can to Hillary Clinton, without being Hillary Clinton?” […]

[…] Conservative commentators, including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, have thrown their support behind him or sharply criticized Mr. McCain, something that Mr. Romney now regularly cites.

Their influence, he said, helped lead him to victory in the Maine caucuses over the weekend.

“All the power structure was behind him,” Mr. Romney said in Glen Ellyn, in reference to Mr. McCain. “But you know what? Conservative voices on talk radio and news magazines, they got behind me and said, ‘This guy Romney’s the guy’ ” […]

[…] Mr. Romney has been making more of an effort to cultivate the news media as part of his refashioned candidacy. When he sauntered back onto a flight on Saturday, he broke the ice with an unusual remark.

“What did they say in ‘Star Wars?’ ” he asked. “What’s that line? ‘There’s nothing happening here. These droids aren’t the droids you’re looking for.’ ”

Eric Fehrnstrom, his traveling press secretary, said it had actually been rendered: “These are not the droids you are looking for.”

“These are not the droids you’re looking for,” Mr. Romney said. “Sorry” […]

Smooth.

So why has Romney suddenly recast himself from android data-cruncher, problem-solver into an outraged everyman Howard Beale figure? Bryan Dumont, a guest contributer to Virtual Vantage Points offers us a clue. His conclusions are based on an APCO World Wide emotional factors analysis of the GOP and Democratic candidates. Says Dumont:

[…] On the Republican side, McCain has a stronger link with voters on all the nine emotional dimensions essential to building a strong brand relationship. However, he has a slightly weaker link on Approachability, relative to other key emotional factors. Compared to other emotional dimensions, Huckabee’s key emotional strength is building a sense of Identification with Republican voters. Meanwhile, the Emotional Factor tool indicates that Republican voters have yet to connect to Romney on an emotional level. He falls far behind all of the other Republican candidates on every emotional dimension […]

From the APCO study itself:

[…] Gov. Mitt Romney has the weakest emotional connection with GOP voters overall. Romney is also building weaker emotional links with his supporters than the other candidates are with their supporters. Our study indicates that Romney has a particular vulnerability on Warmth—described as a sense of personal admiration and fondness […]

[…] All of the nine emotional dimensions are fairly equal in their impact in driving voters’ candidate preferences. However, among both Democratic and Republican likely voters, Relevance is the most important emotional driver. Building a sense that the candidate “fits who I am” and “speaks to me” is the most important emotional link in driving voter choice; while Approachability and Familiarity are less decisive. Republican voters are slightly more driven by Pride in their candidates than Democratic voters as a deciding factor in how to vote […]

The emphases are ours, all ours.

Comment: Yuh-huh. So Romney’s “anti-insider populism” is Romney’s absurdist, fantasy-land solution to the problem of how to develop an emotional connection with voters. It is a play for Relevance, however misguided. This is beyond farce. This is risible on its face. This is vanity politics.

Oh, and by the way, according to Wonkosphere, Romney has dropped to less than half of Sen. John McCain’s buzz share on the very eve of super-duper apocalypse Tuesday.

Romney descends to 12; Sen. McCain remains steady at 30.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

[…] “Most observers thought that debate was won by former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney, but Mr. Romney handed back whatever advantage he might have won with some clumsiness of his own,” writes Jack Kelly in a realclearpolitics.com article titled Only Hillary Can Reunite Republican Party

Mr. Romney received a modest bump in the polls immediately after the debate, but it dissipated when Florida’s popular governor, Charlie Crist, and Sen. Mel Martinez, popular with Cuban-Americans, endorsed Sen. McCain. Both likely would have remained neutral were it not for the heavy handed tactics of Mr. Romney’s operatives, said the American Spectator’s “Prowler.”

The Prowler reported Monday he’d been told by a consultant who’s worked for both Gov. Crist and Sen. Martinez that: “It finally got to the point for the both of them that they just got fed up with the constant harassment. They weren’t going to endorse Romney, and under the right circumstances, one or both of them might have chosen to sit the primary out, but the Romney people just made it intolerable.”

Aggressive, obnoxious stupidity. None of the other candidates like Mitt Romney. This is an indication why […]

[…] Both Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney are too flawed to reunite and reinvigorate a dispirited Republican party. There is only one candidate who can do that. And she might lose to Barack Obama […]

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

From the Prowler release that Kelly references:

[…] “In the past week both Florida Sen. Mel Martinez and Gov. Charlie Crist wavered on their promised endorsements for Sen. John McCain, before finally having their fill of the heavy-handed arm-twisting of the Mitt Romney campaign,” writes the Prowler for the American Spectator in a Washington Prowler column titled Heavy-Handedness Backfires

“It finally got to the point for both of them that they just got fed up with the constant harassment,” says a source close to both men who has worked for them as a political consultant. “They weren’t going to endorse Romney and under the right circumstances, one or both of them might have chosen to sit the primary out, but the Romney people just made it intolerable.”

In the middle of last week, it appeared that both Martinez and Crist would sit out what has become the battleground state for the Republican nomination for President.

It is believed that the Romney campaign has been able to use its candidate’s unfettered wealth to run a successful absentee ballot program, something the other campaigns have not been able to do as well. Those absentee ballots may swing Romney to victory, and keeping Martinez and Crist on the sidelines was part of the strategy for victory […]

Apparently the strategy included arrogant threats:

[…] If Sen. John McCain was anticipating endorsements from Sen. Mel Martinez and Gov. Charlie Crist in the Florida primary, he’s in for a disappointing surprise, according to Romney campaign aides.

“If those guys want a political future in this state, they will sit on the sidelines,” says one Romney adviser. “We have some of the biggest Florida fundraisers with us right now, and if Mel or Charlie went with McCain, we’d make them both pay when it came time for them to get donor dollars for another race.” […]

A dream is a wish your heart makes. And Romney operatives are thugs.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

On January 25th the astroturf flak-claque fraud-blog laughably titled Evangelicals for Mitt touted the newly released Focus on the Family video voters guide in a blog burst titled FOCUS ON THE FAMILY’S ASSESSMENT

Charles Mitchell, the author, cites Time’s account of the voters guide and emphasizes how the voters guide is said to criticizes Gov. Huckabee. Mitchell also quotes, but allows to pass without comment, this particular claim:

[…] “Mitt Romney has acknowledged that Mormonism is not a Christian faith,” Minnery adds. “But on the social issues we are so similar” […]

About Time’s account of the Focus on the Family voters guide, Mitchell issues this strange disclaimer: “I’m not saying the TIME story is right—and Minnery denies that it is.”

Precisely what Minnery denies Mitchell leaves unspecified. But could it have something to do with Minnery’s preposterous claim that Romney had, at any time, acknowledged that he is not a Christian?

“Last week, the political arm of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family released an online video voter guide to help Christians sort through the “pro-family” records of the presidential candidate,” writes Michael Scherer for http://www.time-blog.com’s Swampland in a blog burst titled Focus on the Family Voter Guide Wrong About Romney

The guide offers largely negative appraisals of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mike Huckabee, and a far more glowing description of Mitt Romney.

But not everything the voter guide says about Romney is true. In one key part, Tom Minnery, a public policy expert at Focus on the Family, says the following:

Mitt Romney has acknowledged that Mormonism is not a Christian faith, and I appreciate his acknowledging that.

On Saturday, I read this quote to Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s traveling press secretary. He did not hesitate or mince his words. “The governor has not made that acknowledgment,” Fehrnstrom told me. “He has said that his belief is not the same as others. But there is no doubt that Jesus Christ is at the center of the LDS church’s worship.”

In fact, the Church of Latter Day Saints, also know as the Mormon church, holds as a central belief that it is a Christian faith. This belief is a concern for some evangelical Christians, who see Mormonism as a competing religion. On the campaign trail, Romney has avoided discussing his faith in depth, and he has acknowledged that there are differences between his faith and others. But he has not been quoted saying Mormonism is not a Christian faith […]

Romney’s own claims on this issue have been vexed and misleading. See:

Romney retreats from “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind” blur-the-distinctions line, falls back to weaker, compromising, pragmatic, “different faiths, same values” line delivered through screen of Evangelical surrogates—conclusion: Romney’s “speech” failed completely

Dr. Dobson’s publicly articulated—or often disarticulated—attitude toward Romney has also been vexed and varied:

Dr. James C. Dobson goes not gentle into that good night/burns and raves at close of day;/ rage, rages against the dying of his light in Republican coalition politics

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

[…] “It had been a long time coming,” writes Ana Marie Cox in a time-blog blog burst titled One Lie Too Many

In Michigan, the frustration over Romney’s complete disingeniousness about “bringing your jobs back” conjured a rare degree of camaraderie, and we caucused together and came up with a list of questions that we agreed to ask no matter who got called on at the next press conference. For instance: “If Bain Capital was going to invest in the auto industry, what segment would it invest in, and how would that help Michigan?” Salon’s Mike Madden actually got that in, but it elicited a non-answer: “I’ve been out of the private sector too long to advise people on that kind of thing.” In other words, his experience in the private sector is relevant, until he’s called upon to use it […]

See:

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dr. g.d.

This must be seen to be believed.

Who says that this equity-sector multi-gazillionaire can’t connect with the people?

More from the Baha Men:

[…] Wait for y’all my dogs, the party is on
I gotta get my girl I got my myind on
Do you see the rays comin’ from my eye
What could you be friend
That Benji man that’s breakin’ them down?
Me and My white short shorts
And I can’t seek a lot, any canine will do
I’m figurin’ that’s why they call me faithful
‘Cause I’m the man of the land
When they see me they doah-ooooo (howl) […]

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“This is what people like to call ‘industrial policy,’ and what Jonah Goldberg [of the National Review, which endorsed Romney for president] likes to call liberal fascism – big business and big government working hand-in-glove for the purposes of economic nationalism,” writes Ross Douthat in a theatlantic.com blog burst titled Where’s the Outrage

Douthat’s claim is a rejoinder to this quote from Romney’s infamous address to some insignificant group of nobodies whose name we refuse to recall:

[…] “If I’m president of this country, I will roll up my sleeves in the first 100 days I’m in office, and I will personally bring together industry, labor, Congressional and state leaders and together we will develop a plan to rebuild America’s automotive leadership” […]

Back to Douthat:

It’s “sustained and detailed,” all right, just as Frum says – a sustained and detailed infringement on free-market principle, and one that appeals to voters in places like Michigan precisely because it goes much further to the left than Mike Huckabee’s substance-free talk about how the current period of economic growth isn’t doing all that well by the working class, or John McCain’s straight talk about how Michiganders can’t expect the federal government to bring back the glory days of Chrysler and GM. But because conservatives spend way, way more time worrying about the spectre of “class warfare” than they do about than the nexus between big business and the Republican Party, Romney gets off with a mild slap on the wrist, while McCain and Huckabee get tarred as liberals.

I’m overstating the case a bit, obviously; there a variety of good reasons, besides their response to Michigan’s economic pain, why McCain and Huckabee have come by their crypto-liberal reputations. But the extent to which Romney is getting a free pass for his back-to-the-’70s, “D.C. will save the auto industry” promises , while conservatives are still obsessing over how John McCain’s 2000-2001 preference for a more progressive tax code makes him a “class warrior,” seems more than a little ridiculous […]

Yuh-huh. We concur. See:

equity sector multi-millionaire Romney now champions the dignity of human labor, completely abandons arch-conservative line for latest version of Romney, Romney the progressive-populist

Meanwhile, Romney attacks Gov. Huckabee through the Club for Growth on grounds of Gov. Huckabee’s allegedly non-free market policies. See:

“The Club for Growth has an affiliated 527 group, Club for Growth.net, running anti-Mike Huckabee ads in early primary states,” writes Team Huckabee in a Mike Huckabee for President post titled What Does $585,000 buy you

- At least $585,000 in contributions from Mitt Romney financial backers.

- Club for Growth has spent $750,000 against Governor Huckabee in Iowa, South Carolina and Michigan […]

Operating under cover of 527s is part of Romney’s overall strategy—the following is from a left-of-center blog titled Think Progress:

[…] To hit McCain, Romney has relied on an anti-environment front group, the American Environmental Coalition (AEC) to do the work for him. Last week, George Landrith, the co-Chairman of the group, likened McCain to Al Gore and compared the senator to a wolf in sheep’s clothing […]

Romney attacks his opponents on the right through surrogates and 527s even as he veers hard to the left. Where is the real Romney in all this angry noise? What does the man really believe?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“‘It’s over,’ one Romney advisor said of the former Massachusetts governor’s effort in his neighboring state’s primary,” writes anonymous in an abcnews.com Political Radar blog burst titled Romney Advisor: ‘Authenticity’ Made the Difference in N.H.

When asked what made the difference in Romney’s projected loss to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one Romney advisor simply said, “Authenticity.”  Romney called to congratulate McCain at 8:20 p.m.

But the campaign is looking ahead, with staffers saying, “it is on to Michigan for round three.” […]

Here is another idea. Don’t go to Michigan. Instead: Decide who you are before you do anything else.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.





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