Posts Tagged ‘Boston Globe’

WASHINGTON (AP) — A campaign fundraising report shows Republican presidential dropout Mitt Romney lent himself $7 million last month. That means Romney spent more than $42 million of his personal fortune on his failed campaign,” writes Jim Kuhnhenn in an Associated Press transmission titled Romney Lent His Campaign $7M in January

The former venture capitalist and Massachusetts governor finished January with nearly $9 million in the bank. But more than $3 million of those funds must be returned to donors because they were earmarked for the general election […]

[…] “Before abandoning his bid to become president, Mitt Romney put in at least $42.3 million of his own money, a big chunk of the $97 million he spent on the campaign,” writes the entire staff of the Boston Globe in an article titled Romney spent $42.3m of own money; McCain reports raising $49m

His campaign reported to the Federal Election Commission yesterday that he loaned his campaign $6.95 million during January to reach that total.

The former Massachusetts governor’s total self-financing puts him ahead of Steve Forbes, the publisher who spent $38 million on his unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination in 1996, but shy of the $63.5 million that H. Ross Perot spent on his 1992 third-party presidential campaign.

Romney’s total loan also equates to about $167,000 for each of the 253 delegates he won before suspending his campaign. By suspending his bid, Romney, who made an estimated $250 million as a venture capitalist, can keep raising money to possibly pay himself back.

Romney also reported raising $9.7 million last month, bringing his campaign total to $63.6 million.

That total is appreciably more than that raised by John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee whom Romney endorsed last week. McCain received contributions totaling about $49 million and borrowed nearly $4 million more by the end of last month.

During January, McCain raised $11.7 million and borrowed $950,000, his campaign reported to the FEC. After he emerged as the front-runner, he raised nearly twice as much in January than during the previous three months combined […]

Conclusion: Romney dominated the field with his own money and his fund raising prowess. Yet he still failed. More evidence of Romney’s preposterously low ROI for his every campaign dollar.

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dr. g.d.

“In early 1995, as the Ampad paper plant in Marion, Ind., neared its shutdown following a bitter strike, Randy Johnson, a worker and union official, scrawled a personal letter to Mitt Romney, pouring out his disappointment that Romney, then chief executive of the investment firm that controlled Ampad, had not done enough to settle the strike and save some 200 jobs,” writes Robert Gavin of the Boston Globe in an article titled As Bain slashed jobs, Romney stayed to side

“We really thought you might help,” Johnson said in the handwritten note, “but instead we heard excuses that were unacceptable from a man of your prominent position.”

Romney, who had recently lost a Senate race in which the strike became a flashpoint, responded that he had “privately” urged a settlement, but was advised by lawyers not to intervene directly. His political interests, he explained, conflicted with his business responsibilities.

Now, Romney’s decision to stay on the sidelines as his firm, Bain Capital, slashed jobs at the office supply manufacturer stands in marked contrast to his recent pledges to beleaguered auto workers in Michigan and textile workers in South Carolina to “fight to save every job.”

Throughout his 15-year career at Bain Capital, which bought, sold, and merged dozens of companies, Romney had other chances to fight to save jobs, but didn’t. His ultimate responsibility was to make money for Bain’s investors, former partners said.

Much as he did when running for Massachusetts governor, Romney is now touting his business credentials as he campaigns for president, asserting that he helped create thousands of jobs as CEO of Bain. But a review of Bain’s investments during Romney’s tenure indicates that job growth was not a particular priority.

Romney’s approach at Bain Capital was more reflective of the economic philosophy articulated by his opponent, John McCain: to acknowledge that some less efficient jobs will be lost and concentrate on creating new jobs with potential for higher growth.

In many cases, such as Staples Inc., the Framingham retailer, and Steel Dynamics Inc., an Indiana steelmaker, the companies expanded and added thousands of jobs. In other cases, such as Ampad and GS Industries, another steelmaker, Bain-controlled companies shuttered plants, slashed hundreds of jobs, and landed in bankruptcy.

But in almost all cases Bain Capital made money. In fact, the firm earned substantially more from Ampad than Staples. Staples returned about $13 million on a $2 million investment; Ampad yielded more than $100 million on $5 million, according to reports to investors.

“It’s not that employment grows, it’s that their investment grows,” said Howard Anderson, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “Sometimes its expansion, and sometimes it’s shutting things down” […]

[…] Bain acquired GS Industries in 1993. The steelmaker borrowed heavily to modernize plants in Kansas City and North Carolina, as well as pay dividends to Bain investors. But as foreign competition increased and steel prices fell in the late 1990s, the company struggled to support the debt, according to Mark Essig, the former CEO. GS filed for bankruptcy in 2001, and shut down its money-losing Kansas City plant, throwing some 750 employees out of work.

Ampad, too, became squeezed between onerous debt that had financed acquisitions and falling prices for its office-supply products. Its biggest customers – including Staples – used their buying power and access to Asian suppliers to demand lower prices from Ampad.

Romney sat on Staples’s board of directors at this time.

Creditors forced Ampad into bankruptcy in early 2000, and hundreds of workers lost jobs during Ampad’s decline. Bain Capital and its investors, however, had already taken more than $100 million out of the company, in debt-financed dividends, management fees, and proceeds from selling shares on public stock exchanges.

By the time Ampad failed, Randy Johnson, the former union official in Marion, Ind., had moved on with his life. After the Indiana plant shut down, he worked nearly six months to help the workers find new jobs. He later took a job at the United Paperworkers union.

“What I remember the most,” said Johnson, “were the guys in their 50s, breaking down and crying.”

In his reply to Johnson’s letter, Romney said the Ampad strike had hurt his 1994 bid to unseat Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and no one had a greater interest in seeing the strike settled than he.

“I was advised by counsel that I could not play a role in the dispute,” Romney explained, adding, “I hope you understand I could not direct or order Ampad to settle the strike or keep the plant open or otherwise do what might be in my personal interest” […]

Yuh-huh. See:

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dr. g.d.

“Consider some recent sound bites,” requests Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe in an article titled What would Reagan say?

  • “You said we would fight for every job! You said that we would fight to get healthcare for all Americans! You said we’d fight to secure our border! You said we’d fight for us to be able to get lower taxes for middle-income Americans!”
  • “Guess what they’re doing in Washington: They’re worrying, because they realize, the lobbyists and the politicians realize, that America now understands that Washington is broken. And we’re going to do something about it.”
  • “Washington told us that they’d get us better healthcare and better education – but they haven’t. Washington told us they’d get us a tax break for the middle-income Americans – but they haven’t.”

You don’t have to be a political junkie to recognize those as specimens of populist Democratic boilerplate, right? The only challenge is to match each quotation to the Democratic candidate who said it.

Except that no Democrat uttered those words. The three big-government platitudes above were taken from Republican Mitt Romney’s Michigan primary victory speech on Tuesday.

No one is surprised when Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards insists that it’s the federal government’s responsibility to “get us better healthcare and better education.” Coming from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the claim that the Bush tax cuts shortchanged middle-income Americans is all too familiar. But from a Republican like Romney, who casts himself as the truest, most Reaganesque conservative in the GOP field?

Romney’s message used to be one of unabashed small-government conservatism: “Government is simply too big. State government is too big. The federal government is too big. It’s spending too much.” Those words still appear on his website, but there was nothing like them in his remarks last week. He told his supporters that Washington is broken and needs to be fixed – which is decidedly not the same as saying it needs to be shrunk. Romney used to boast of the hundreds of spending line-items he vetoed as Massachusetts governor; “I like vetoes,” he told audiences. But these days he’s singing from a different hymnal […]

Yes. And about those lobbyists Romney broods about:

“Insisting that he is a Washington outsider, Mitt Romney has been captured on tape arguing with a reporter about whether a Washington lobbyist named Ron Kaufman runs or just advises his campaign for president,” writes Cliff Kincaid in a NewsWithViews.com article titled ROMNEY SURROUNDED BY PRO-U.N. LOBBYISTS

The more important issue is what Kaufman lobbies for. It turns out that Kaufman’s firm, as well as another Romney adviser, Vin Weber, have worked to put more American taxpayer dollars into the coffers of the corrupt United Nations and other international agencies.

Kaufman’s firm, Dutko Worldwide, represents and works directly with an organization chaired by Bill Clinton, the Global Fairness Initiative (GFI), whose board includes AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and is dedicated to promoting “a more equitable and sustainable world for all people” […]

[…] But that’s not all. Romney adviser and lobbyist Vin Weber, a former Congressman and member of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations, worked for an organization promoting a U.S. taxpayer financial bailout of the United Nations. This group, the so-called Emergency Coalition for Financial Support of the U.N, included the pro-world government World Federalist Association, National Council of Churches, Catholics for a Free Choice, Americans for Democratic Action, and the United Nations Association […]

Romney and his lobbyists. See:

AP journalist Glen Johnson rocks!—dared to call out his imperious aloofness, Willard Milton Romney, when Romney issued yet another unabashed lie

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dr. g.d.

“In the wide-open Republican presidential contest, Mitt Romney boasts an influential fan who has the ear of millions of voters,” writes Michael Levenson in a Boston Globe article titled Limbaugh talking up Romney

Rush Limbaugh, the cigar-chomping conservative stalwart, has been on a tear over the last few weeks, talking up Romney and taking whacks at John McCain and Mike Huckabee. And in a race where no candidate has been able to unify the base of the Republican Party, Limbaugh’s chatter matters. With 13.5 million listeners on 600 stations, the nation’s most highly rated talk-radio host could give Romney a big boost.

“Of course it helps,” said Stuart Stevens, a media adviser for Romney. “He’s like the NPR for conservatives.”

Limbaugh, who makes a point of saying he does not officially endorse in the primaries, has nonetheless praised Romney effusively, repeated Romney’s policy talking points, defended him against attacks from fellow conservatives, and after Romney’s win in Michigan this week, declared him the front-runner.

Just as tellingly, Limbaugh has been crusading against Huckabee and McCain, whom he does not consider real conservatives or suitable heirs to the Reagan legacy.

If either wins the nomination, “it’s going to destroy the Republican Party,” he told listeners Tuesday […]

[…] Limbaugh also derides the independents and moderates supporting McCain and Huckabee as “quivering masses of Jell-Os” and not real Republican conservatives […]

Here is the problem for Limbaugh and the National Review. Post-Michigan the hapless candidate has shed his allegedly new-found conservatism like a reptile sloughs its hide, as anyone with any sense could have predicted—as anyone with any sense did predict.

Romney himself is paying a heavy price for his viciously negative campaigning—question: will Limbaugh pay a share of the invoice since he now carries water for the Romney family?

Cost: Romney’s furiously negative campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire may have already cost Romney the nomination by alienating Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain voters

Reston of race42008.com earlier predicted that National Review and others will pay a price:

Reston’s prediction for 2008: “Romney’s nomination results in the GOP losing six-senate seats instead of three (Virginia, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, New Mexico, and New Hampshire) and a push in the House where at least modest gains were expected”

Here is what is most perverse, at least for us. Romney has already walked away from his botched, misshaped, caricatured, unreconstructed “conservatism” that idiots like the editors at the National Review and media voices like Rush Limbaugh insist upon:

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P.S. Rush Limbaugh’s carrier, Clear Channel Communications, was recently acquired by Romney’s Bain Capital. Coincidence?

“INDIANOLA, Iowa — Mike Huckabee called chief rival Mitt Romney ‘dishonest” today for what Huckabee said were gross distortions of his record, and said voters should question whether Romney would tell the truth if he were elected president,” writes Susan Milligan for the Boston Globe in an an article titled Huckabee says Romney is ‘dishonest’

“If a person will become president by being dishonest, just remember, if he becomes president, he likely will not be honest on the job,” Huckabee told voters at a restaurant campaign stop.

So apparently distressed at Romney’s criticism, Huckabee refused even to commit to voting for Romney for president if the former Massachusetts governor wins the Republican nomination. “I would never vote for a Democrat in the presidential election next year,” Huckabee said. But asked if he would prefer an honest Democrat to a “dishonest” Republican, Huckabee refused to answer … etc.

Thank you, Gov. Huckabee. We concur. Here is the problem for the party: Romney alienates and estranges all with whom he comes in contact—he had divided the other candidates against him—he is tearing the Republican coalition, the sad remnants that may be left of it, apart.

Question: Are we who value the person, character, and message of Gov. Mike Huckabee—or that of Sen. McCain, or that of Mayor Giuliani, or that of Sen. Fred Thompson—supposed to forgive and forget Romney’s lies, calumnies, and unprovoked abuse in the name of party unity?

Also, did Sen. McCain call Romney a pig? We sure hope so.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“MANCHESTER, N.H. – The battle between Mitt Romney and John McCain in New Hampshire’s Republican primary took a significant turn yesterday as Romney unveiled his first television advertisement attacking McCain’s record,” writes Michael Kranish, with the apt and able assistance of Michael Levenson in a Boston Globe article titled Attacking McCain seen risky for Romney

But the strategy entailed significant risks, possibly turning voters against both candidates and toward another contender, analysts said.

Romney’s negatives are preposterously high, higher than McCain’s. We discuss what it means for someone with high negatives to go negative on an opponent with lower negatives here:

Rasmussen Reports: Romney has the least core support, and the most core opposition of all the leading candidates, Republican or Democrat—these findings predict the sudden and fierce backlash against Romney’s negative attacks on other candidates

Back to Kranish:

The ad calls McCain “an honorable man,” but questions whether he is “the right Republican for the future.” It says McCain favored amnesty for illegal immigrants and opposed President Bush’s tax cuts. McCain, who has revised his immigration proposal and later supported the tax cuts, laughed off the ad as the move of a candidate in a tailspin.

“I was encouraged because it was very clear that Governor Romney attacks when people are catching up with him,” McCain said at a news conference shortly after arriving in Manchester yesterday. “I understand why he is talking about the future, since he spent most of his time running away from his past.”

Last night McCain struck back at Romney, releasing a television commercial that quotes some stinging editorials this week about his opponent. Most prominently, the ad quotes the Concord Monitor editorial published on Sunday that urged voters to reject Romney, saying, “If a candidate is a phony . . . we’ll know it.” The ad also quotes the New Hampshire Union Leader saying that “Granite Staters want a candidate who will look them in the eye and tell them the truth. John McCain has done that . . . Mitt Romney has not.”

By using the words of newspaper editorial writers instead of an anonymous announcer, McCain is hoping to add a tone of credibility and authority to his advertisement.

In response, Romney defended his ad and blasted McCain’s.

“We worked very hard to make sure it was accurate and honest and looks at contrasting issues,” Romney told reporters on his campaign bus in Iowa. “I begin the ad by indicating he’s an honorable man. I believe he is, and a good person. I make no attacks on his character. I make no attacks of a personal nature whatsoever.

“I’ve just seen the text of his ad,” Romney added. “It’s obviously of a very different nature. It’s an attack ad. It attacks me personally. It’s nasty. It’s mean-spirited. Frankly, it tells you more about Senator McCain than it does about me – that he’d run an ad like that” … etc.

Let us pass in review. Romney attacks Sen. McCain. Sen. McCain strikes back only harder. And Romney cries foul? On what possible grounds does this primped, preened, powdered, and pampered little man—a man who would be a complete non-entity were it not for his wealth and life of privilege—believe that he is entitled to lie about and abuse others with impunity?

Back to Kranish:

… David Carney, a New Hampshire political consultant who is not allied with any presidential campaign, said that Romney’s strategy is risky because, even if it turns voters against McCain, it might also turn them against Romney.

“If the ad is so successful it gets people to decide not to vote for McCain, it is highly unlikely they will go to Romney,” Carney said. “In a multicandidate primary race, it doesn’t help the attacker.”

Nonetheless, the ad is reminiscent of one of the most famous ads in the history of the New Hampshire primary, in which George H. W. Bush in 1988 attacked his rival, Senator Bob Dole, as “Senator Straddle.”

Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, which conducts polls for the Globe, said it is unclear whether the Romney ad will be effective because McCain has built up his reputation as a straight talker, which Smith said many voters respect “even if they disagree with him.”

We concur with Smith, and argue our case here:

Romney circles drain, goes desperately negative in Iowa AND New Hampshire

Another point: Romney’s ridiculously low ROI for his every campaign dollar. Will Romney’s negative advertising be as spectacularly ineffective as his other advertising?

Edsall: “Since January 1, 2007, the former Massachusetts governor has spent well in excess of $80 million, including at least $17.4 million of his own money, paying media fees in excess of $30 million, salaries of roughly $16 million, and consulting payments of more than $15 million”—more on Romney’s ridiculously low ROI for his every campaign dollar (iii)

Our conclusion: Romney believes that the GOP nomination is rightfully his. And why not?—he bought and paid for it. Therefore: Romney has demonstrated himself willing to destroy the characters and reputations of his rivals. Our question: How soon—and in what specific form—will the anti-Romney backlash suddenly appear?

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dr. g.d.

“Mitt Romney is up with well over 1,000 gross ratings points in every major Iowa television market this week, a footprint that that is significantly larger than that of his nearest competitor,” writes Jonathan Martin for the politico.com in a post titled Romney saturating Iowa airwaves

Romney has purchased over 2,000 points on Cedar Rapids TV, just over 1,700 in Des Moines and just shy of 1,500 in Davenport. The three markets comprise the vast swath of central and eastern Iowa and are the largest in terms of Iowans reached in the state. The records were provided by a Democratic source who tracks media buys.Roughly speaking, 1,000 points means that the typical viewer will be exposed to an ad 10 times in a given week. Ad buys larger than 1,000 points are generally considered as having reached “saturation.”

Beyond these three markets, Romney also has ads up in the four cities that serve Iowa viewers (including 1,900 points in the heavily GOP Sioux City market) … etc.

Further, while Romney hemorrhages money in Iowa for continuously diminishing marginal returns, he hemorrhages credibility in New Hampshire as

(a) No newspaper has endorsed him while the more liberal Concord Monitor and the conservative NH Union Leader have un-endorsed the hapless candidate

and

(b) Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain have formed an Iowa-New Hamphshire axis, as reported by Michael Levenson of the Boston Globe in a story titled McCain, Huckabee form unusual alliance against Romney

John McCain and Mike Huckabee have become unusual allies, united by their desire to stop Mitt Romney from winning the early presidential nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

While Huckabee and McCain have repeatedly criticized Romney, they have showered each other with affection. McCain has lauded Huckabee as “a man of integrity, honesty, and decency.” And Huckabee has praised McCain as “a true, honest-to-God American hero.”

The warmth between them may be heartfelt, but both men recognize that they need each other over the next two weeks. McCain needs Huckabee to beat Romney in Iowa’s Republican caucuses on Jan. 3, so that Romney is weakened for the New Hampshire primary five days later. And Huckabee needs McCain to draw votes from Romney in Iowa. Polls indicate McCain and Romney are in a statistical tie in New Hampshire, and Huckabee is leading Romney In Iowa … etc.

We predicted long ago that other campaigns would react by acting in concert to Romney’s ill-advised attempts to shut them out of the early states:

Romney bravely—or unwittingly—faces the gathering storm, er, we mean swarm

By concerting their activities, Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee significantly lower the costs of engaging Romney while forcing Romney to divide and disperse his efforts to resist them.

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“In yet another superb piece of journalism, the peerless Charlie Savage of The Boston Globe submitted to the leading presidential candidates a questionnaire asking their views on 12 key questions regarding executive power,” writes Glen from the merry hamlet of Greenwald in a Salon.com article titled Mitt Romney’s pursuit of tyrannical power, literally

But by far the most extraordinary answers come from Mitt Romney. Romney’s responses — not to some of the questions but to every single one of them — are beyond disturbing. The powers he claims the President possesses are definitively — literally — tyrannical, unrecognizable in the pre-2001 American system of government and, in some meaningful ways, even beyond what the Bush/Cheney cadre of authoritarian legal theorists have claimed.

After reviewing those responses, Marty Lederman concluded: “Romney? Let’s put it this way: If you’ve liked Dick Cheney and David Addington, you’re gonna love Mitt Romney.” Anonymous Liberal similarly observed that his responses reveal that “Romney doesn’t believe the president’s power to be subject to any serious constraints.” To say that the President’s powers are not “subject to any serious constraints” — which is exactly what Romney says — is, of course, to posit the President as tyrant, not metaphorically or with hyperbole, but by definition.

Each of the questions posed by Savage is devoted to determining the extent of presidential power the candidate believes exists and where the limits are situated. On every issue, Romney either (a) explicitly says that the President has the right to act without limits of any kind or (b) provides blatantly nonresponsive answers strongly insinuating the same thing.

Just go and read what he wrote. It’s extraordinary. Other than his cursory and quite creepy concession that U.S. citizens detained by the President are entitled to “at least some type of habeas corpus relief” — whatever “some type” might mean (Question 5) — Romney does not recognize a single limit on presidential power. Not one.

And even with regard to his grudging allowance that American citizens should have “some type of habeas relief,” Romney — and only he — implicitly endorses Alberto Gonzales’ bizarre claim that — despite the clear language of Article I, Section 9 — “nothing in the Constitution confers an affirmative right to habeas corpus” (Question 9). Under this twisted Romney/Gonzales view, the right of habeas corpus — which Thomas Jefferson described as “one of the essential principles of our government” and “the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution” — is not constitutionally guaranteed to Americans but can be revoked at any time, for any reason.

In every area, Romney explicitly says that neither laws nor treaties can limit the President’s conduct. Instead, displaying the fear-mongering cowardice that lies at the heart of Bush/Cheney Republican power, Romney described the root of his view of the world this way: “Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive.”

Romney recited that cowardly platitude — what has now become the shameful flagship of the Republican Party — in response to being asked whether the President has the power to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants even in the face of a law that makes it a crime to do so. At its core, the defining principle of the Republican Party continues to be a fear-driven repudiation of the American ethos as most famously expressed by Patrick Henry, all in service of keeping the citizenry in fear so the President can rule without limits … etc.

Yuh-huh. Please see:

meet Team Romney’s security advisors: Cofer—17 Iraqis murdered in cold blood by Blackwater mercenaries—Black and General James “I will disregard the Laws of Land Warfare and stab you in the thigh” Marks

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dr. g.d.

“Mitt Romney’s Republican rivals wasted little time tonight ridiculing him for his second go-round with illegal immigrants working at his home,” writes Michael Levenson and Sasha Issenberg of the Boston Globe in a story titled Rivals hit Romney on illegal workers

… etc.

Yes, well, so much for Romney “owning” this week because of his Mormon-Kennedy speech.

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dr g.d.

“After months of debate within his campaign organization, Mitt Romney has decided to give a speech addressing his Mormon faith, a potentially pivotal step that reflects the surging candidacy of Mike Huckabee, the former Baptist preacher who has been promoting himself explicitly as a Christian leader,” writes the Globe Staff’s Michael Levenson in an article titled Pressed, Romney to speak on his Mormonism; Will ‘share views on religious liberty’ as a Baptist rival leaps ahead in Iowa

NOTA: Levenson’s very headline links Team Romney’s Agony-in-Iowa to Romney’s sudden conversion on the issue of a Mormon-Kennedy speech. Yet further evidence of the disastrous timing of Romney’s speech—Romney’s decision is depicted as a concession, as an act of weakness or desperation.

Kevin Madden, a Romney spokesman, said yesterday that Romney would give the speech titled “Faith in America” on Thursday at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

“This speech is an opportunity for Governor Romney to share his views on religious liberty, the grand tradition religious tolerance has played in the progress of our nation, and how the governor’s own faith would inform his presidency if he were elected,” Madden said in a statement. “Governor Romney understands that faith is an important issue to many Americans, and he personally feels this moment is the right moment for him to share his views with the nation.”

The problem for Romney is this: how can he “share … how the governor’s own faith would inform his presidency if he were elected” without endorsing the Mormon confession?—without drawing attention to the Mormon confession?—recall: Kennedy in 1960 argued that his confession would not inform his presidency—Romney must somehow argue the precise opposite. What was it Marx said about history repeating itself? First as tragedy, the second time as farce … Romney would be the farce.

The biggest historical precedent for Romney’s decision is the speech that John F. Kennedy delivered before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association during the 1960 presidential campaign. Kennedy sought in the speech to allay concerns among voters about his Catholicism.

NOTA: Romney has encouraged and Levenson endorses the link between Kennedy’s speech and Romney’s—once again, as in Iowa, as in New Hampshire, Romney and his crack staff have set up impossible-to-meet expectations for the hapless candidate. This is a pattern for Romney: he sets himself up not just to fail, but to fail spectacularly.

… Clayton M. Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor and Romney supporter who holds a leadership position in the Mormon Church, saw the decision as a sign that Romney is making a serious bid to become the first Mormon president.

“I’m delighted that he’s decided to do it,” Christensen said. “It really is a great church, and the more people can understand what it is and what it does, the more I think they’ll trust that he acts in the best interests of the country” … etc.

Christensen unwittingly articulates Romney’s peril: to argue that the Mormon confession is “a great church, and the more people can understand what it is and what it does, the more I think they’ll trust that [Romney] acts in the best interests of the country” would be death for the Romney candidacy—Romney would truly become the Mormon candidate whose task it is to draw the Mormon confession into the mainstream not of US public life,  because lots of Mormons already serve the public good in public life and public service with merit and distinction, but rather into the mainstream of the Evangelical movement, which is the audience Romney wants to address. Only this would be patently ridiculous—the primary process is neither the time nor the place for such a dialog.

Wolfe states the case more elegantly than we do:

… Wolfe said Kennedy’s approach would not be a strong model for Romney because many Republican voters, particularly Christian conservatives, bristle at the notion of separation of church and state and want religion to be a guiding principle for the next president.

“Kennedy’s speech was actually an antireligion speech; it was a don’t pay-any-attention-to-my-Catholicism speech,” Wolfe said. “In the 2007 Republican Party you can’t do that, because it’s a party that essentially has a religious test for the nomination” …

… Wolfe said the theological differences could put Romney in an awkward position.

“If he says something about Mormonism as his actual religion, it’s not going to please evangelicals too much,” Wolfe said. “But if he gives the kind of Jesus-is-my-personal-savior speech, evangelicals won’t buy it and he’s going to alienate his own Mormon friends.”

Wolfe said the wisest approach might be to explain the differences and similarities between Mormonism and mainline Christianity.

“If I were in his shoes, I would take a more honest approach and say this what I am, this is what Mormons believe, this is why we’re Christians,” Wolfe said. “He can’t deny who he is” … etc.

Yes. And an honest exposition of the distinctions between Romney’s confession and what Evangelicals consider to be normative may have been effective last summer or even as late as the ill-starred Value Voter’s Summit. Now, however, whatever Romney does, whatever Romney says, will appear as desperation in the very teeth of crashing poll numbers.

Kairos, Romney. Timing. It’s all about timing. See:

how Romney botched the Mormon-Kennedy-speech issue by setting up impossible expectations, by consistently failing to identify opportunity and seize the initiative, and by allowing others to frame the debate

yours &c.
dr. g.d.





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