Posts Tagged ‘corruption’
“Mitt Romney’s had an 8 to 1 television ad advantage in Florida … “ writes Marc Ambinder in a theatlantic.com blog burst titled Romney’s Major Florida Advantage
… part of the reason why he’s made the competitive. Heck, most of the reason he’s made the race competitive has been his ads.
According to Neilsen, he’s run 4,475 ads compared to John McCain’s 470 through 1/22.
McCain did not run a single ad until January; Romney ran more ads in September than McCain has run to date [...]
8 to 1 advantage in television advertising. Yet Romney is deadlocked with Sen. McCain. Yet more evidence of Romney’s outrageously low ROI for his every campaign dollar. Yet more evidence that Romney’s funding levels are not a reliable indicator of his fitness as a candidate.
- Tim Russert: Romney “could buy the (GOP) nomination”—our response: that was Romney’s intention all along
- Cox: “Romney has been accused of trying—though often failing—to buy elections—But Florida is the first state money really can buy.”
[...] “That’s why the GOP’s other post-Florida choice, Mitt Romney, troubles me so,” opines race42008‘s DaveG in an editorial discursis titled Uniters and Dividers
Ultimately a sane, empirical, good government Northeastern Republican, Romney has spent the past few years letting the GOP Pharisees know that they can push him around. He’ll change his views on anything and everything in order to please the Pharisees. Instead of running to lead the GOP, he’s running to be the proxy candidate of the dividers. And the sad part is, that sort of strategy might actually work due to the cocoon mentality of today’s Republican base. Conservatives who react with dismay at the Independents that cross the aisle to vote for McCain in GOP primaries need to step back and think about what they’re saying — that no new voters are welcome in today’s Republican Party. We’ve seen this attitude before in places like California and New Jersey, where similarly terrified conservatives destroyed their respective state parties rather than allow them to be modernized. Sadly, the GOP may have to lose a couple of more elections before the base finally learns that fifty-one percent, and not moral certitude or a sense of entitlement, is what makes a majority [...]
We heartily concur.
Regard: Political power requires developing the issues—living issues, felt issues, current issues—that can form the basis of a coalition. After you have developed your issues coalition, or at least its basis, and after you have tested its themes at the ballot box or other performance indicators (e.g. fund raising, attendance at rallies, play in the media), then and only then you can begin the slow, patient, and often painful process of popular education through political action and calls to action or calls for support, through policy proposals, and through the pursuit of a positive program to consolidate and continually renew your coalition. You will suffer reverses, setbacks, take a lot of beatings, and you will be forced to compromise at every turn, but this is the way the game is played.
In other words, you begin from the experience of the people, especially the people who vote, by acting on their self-interest, which you identify with the national interest because, after all, they are the nation or at least an important part of it. Then you begin the slow, painful process of drawing them closer to your point of view—this is when ideologies form—after, and not before, political labor, action, and thorough self-criticism and review.
This is where the center-right and the conservative movement have failed most critically, and probably fatally at least in the short term.
In the person of Willard Milton Romney, however, the GOP establishment and its institutions propose another path to power, only it isn’t popular power but their own power, a path predicted by the iron law of institutions.
We call it Romneyism.
Here is our question. Is the Romney candidacy
(a) the case of a corrupt party establishment bilking a super-rich ingenue of his many millions?
(b) the case of a super-rich Richard III purchasing a morally, deologically, as well as financially bankrupt GOP establishment to pursue his own advantage?
Or could both (a) and (b) be true? To be honest, we don’t yet know.
“Talk really is cheap for elected Massachusetts Republicans who publicly endorsed former Gov. Mitt Romney for president,” writes Jessica Heslam for the Boston Herald in an article titled Money, whoa; GOP officials balk at ponying up for Mitt
A Herald review has found only nine out of 27 Bay State GOP politicians who are supporting Romney actually ponied up money for his campaign. None came close to the maximum donation of $4,600 allowed under federal law.
The excuses range from, “I’ve got kids in college,” to “I just got married,” to those who hadn’t “gotten around” to writing a check.
Several officials contacted by the Herald said they “thought” they had contributed but couldn’t say when. After being reminded that donations made before Sept. 30, 2007, are posted publicly on the Federal Election Commission Web site, most of those officials remembered they had not donated [...]
Romeny’s so-called friends issue their excuses and rationales:
[...] Greg Casey, chief of staff for Sen. Scott Brown (R-Wrentham), who has received $1,250 in donations from Mitt Romney, said the senator has been primarily focused on his own work in his district.
“He hasn’t been terribly focused on the Romney campaign,” Casey said. “He has acted as a surrogate speaker for Mitt and has spoken on behalf of Romney on several talk shows.”
An aide to Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) said the senator hasn’t “gotten around to writing a check.” Hedlund has received $1,250 in contributions from Ann and Mitt Romney.
Rep. Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) said he made calls on Romney’s behalf up in New Hampshire before the primary. Why hasn’t he donated any money to the campaign? Unlike Romney, Ross said he doesn’t have a personal fortune. “I’ve got kids in college,” Ross said [...]
Conclusion: To endorse or support a self-funder is easy and cheap. This accounts in part for Romney’s illusory support. See:
- Romneyism: when a corrupt and disconnected party establishment recruits the rich and the super-rich to subsidize its non-performance
- Levenson: “Romney’s strategy has produced broad-based, but not deeply loyal, support—Romney’s supporters are the least likely to have made up their minds, compared with backers of Giuliani and Senator John McCain of Arizona”
“In recent months Mitt Romney, whose personal fortune is estimated to be as much as a quarter of a billion dollars, blanketed the airwaves of Iowa and New Hampshire with dozens of campaign advertisements,” write the editors of the Washington Times in an article titled Romney and his money
[Romney] clearly has spent tens of millions of dollars of his own money in Iowa and New Hampshire, but he steadfastly declines to say how much. The Romney campaign suffers from a glaring transparency deficiency, which it should address at once.
Mr. Romney has every right to bankroll his presidential campaign with his own money. No argument here. But why has he refused to tell voters how much of his personal fortune he has funneled to his campaign since the end of the third quarter?
On Jan. 4, the day after Mike Huckabee defeated Mr. Romney in Iowa, this newspaper asked the Romney campaign to say how much Mr. Romney had personally contributed since Sept. 30. During the first nine months of last year, Mr. Romney had given his campaign $17.4 million, about 90 percent more than the $9.2 million in the campaign’s cash-on-hand on Sept. 30 [...]
Yet the Romneys refuse to release their fourth quarter numbers until the filing deadline of Jan. 31. This date falls after the primary contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, and Florida.
Also from the article, Romney’s fund raising “declined from US$20.8 million in the first quarter to US$13.9 million in the second, to less than US$10 million in the third.”
Romney increased his own contributions to compensate.
Conclusion: The Romney campaign is a Potemkin village.
“Mitt Romney will become the Republican nominee and will lose to Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College by a 323 to 215 margin, with New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, and Virginia switching from Red to Blue,” predicts William Reston in a race42008.com post titled Race 4 2008 New Year’s Writer’s Predictions …
Defying all conventional wisdom regarding her “ceiling”, Hillary wins the popular vote by over 2%.
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.
Reacting to the nomination of a Republican candidate who starts even with the Democratic nominee in Red States like Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas-many Republicans simply sit this one out; not due to any ideological contention, but due to a sense of hopelessness regarding Romney’s electoral prospects. By August of 2008, Romney is essentially a self-funded candidate, with his staff and volunteers at the state level exceed 5o% LDS in many areas, as they refuse to jump ship with the rest.
The blame for Hillary Clinton’s Presidency is also laid at the feet of the two biggest proponents of Mitt Romney in the conservative media-Hugh Hewitt and the National Review. Hugh Hewitt’s radio show will be off the air before the end Hillary’s first term (although Townhall will remain). The National Review, which already depends on donations to survive, will cease to publish a print edition within Hillary’s first four years as well.
President Hillary Rodham Clinton replaces retiring Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens and David Souter with liberal justices in their late 40’s within the first two years of her administration.
The emphases are ours, all ours.
Our concern: The story the media spools out from these events will be the discrediting of conservative governance, and not how a super-rich and fantastically ambitious non-entity destroyed the GOP by purchasing influence and corrupting its elites, intellectuals, and institutions. Our only consolation is that Romney will take all who cling to him down with him: this would be Team Romney’s one historical task that we hope they accomplish with vigor and precision.
… “By keeping Tompkins on his payroll for the final weeks of this state’s primary, especially after such a slam-dunk admission of guilt by someone directly involved, Romney is essentially saying that he’s fine with the unconscionable style of campaign filth peddled during the 2000 election,” writes Adam of the Palmetto Scoop.
Worse than that, his failure to disassociate with Tompkins’ firm — which has already been busted for anonymously smearing rival Fred Thompson — could be a warning that we can expect similar or possibly worse attacks in the final days of the primary election.
And this time, Tompkins’ victims might include more than just McCain … etc.
Moral: expect the worst from the Romneys. They very worst. Just expect it.
“What would it cost to buy the support of just about every nationally-syndicated neocon talk show host in America?”—asks Chris Brunner of Alex Jone’s TruthNews.us in a post titled Mitt Romney to Buy Clear Channel Communications
About $19.5 Billion, which is what Mitt Romney’s private equity firm, Bain Capital, and Thomas H. Lee Partners have agreed to pay in a leveraged buyout agreement with Clear Channel Communications, the largest radio station owner in the country.
Clear Channel owns over 1,100 full-power AM, FM, and shortwave radio stations, twelve radio channels on XM Satellite Radio, and more than 30 television stations in the United States. Premiere Radio Networks, which is the largest syndication company in the United States, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Clear Channel and is home to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and many others. Sean Hannity recently signed a large multi-market contract with Clear Channel, as well … etc.
In a NolanChart.com post titled Implications of Mitt Romney’s Purchase of Clear Channel Communications; Mitt Romney’s firm Bain Capital is in the process of trying to buy Clear Channel Communications, the sort-of kind-of off-again on-again libertarian CT Johnson opines:
This deal, even though not closed yet, could be significant. No candidate running for President of the United States at this time could boast such direct influence with the media. One has to wonder if the Romney campaign would make it publicly known that their candidate was tied to the above mentioned 1,100 radio stations 12 XM stations and 30 plus TV stations. Would these stations in the tradition of honest journalism mention their ties to Romney whenever a story about the 2008 Presidential race was discussed? This writer sure hopes so. The American electorate deserves to have the whole truth so that any bias, accidental or not, can be considered …
Our comment: Holy bloody crap!
“[Romney] still has some convincing to do with other conservatives,” write the buffoons at National Review in an “editorial” titled Romney for President
We suppose Romney could convince the rest of us the way he “convinced” the goofball-sycophants at National Review. Only we would be far, far more expensive.
- Willard Milton Romney purchases influence at National Review
- National Review challenged by Movement Conservatives; the issue: Romney
- The equity sector candidate, Romney, discovers that the political right is largely for sale
“Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday called one of Mitt Romney’s mailers in New Hampshire ‘not true,” writes the all-seeing eye of eyeon08.com in a post titled Fox News: Romney mailer “is not true”
What is Romney’s strategy? Lie about everything through the primary? CNN caught him being dodgy yesterday. But the guy has the money to do it.
I don’t think that the Republican Party wants a guy who spends millions of his own money to spread lies about other Republicans. I just think that the party is more decent than that.
Comment: There are Republicans that are more decent than that—however many or however few remains an open question. But is the party more decent than that? That would depend on what you mean by “party.” The basis of the US party system is the state organization—US parties tend to be nearly incoherent at the national level except during presidential election cycles; they are far more coherent and organized at state and local levels. Part of the task of the Romney campaign has been to generously fund state and local party organizations, right-wing and right-of-center foundations, PACs, think-tanks, ad hoc committees, pressure groups etc. at a time when Republican party influence (and, hence, fund-raising power) is on the wane. We refer to this as Romneyism, when a national party in decline recruits the rich and the super-rich—so-called self-funders—to compensate for its competitive deficits. See:
Our conclusion: While many Republicans are probably far more decent than to support a candidate who spends millions of his own money to slime other Republicans, the Republican party establishment and its many elites are content to allow Romney the full use of his resources to destroy the careers of better men than he just so long as the party elites get their cut.
Some people ask us why we are so opposed to Romney. This is precisely why.
P.S. The Coptic Eye provides this update: Quote of the day from Rudy Giuliani’s campaign:
“Mitt Romney’s already changed his own position on illegal immigration, so it should come as no surprise that he’s trying to change everybody else’s position as well.”
“The facts are well-known, but worth repeating,” writes Jonathan Martin of the Politico in a post titled Huckmania running wild in Hawkeye Country
Mitt Romney has been on TV almost non-stop for nine months in Iowa. He’s been to the state dozens of times over the last three years. His 99-county organization is viewed as the most formidable of any Republican in the state.
And now he’s lost the lead he’s enjoyed for the past six months to somebody who just in the past few weeks has gone up on TV, has been to the state less (almost not at all in the past month) and whose campaign team, by their own admission, does not have what Romney does on the ground.
The cross-tabs are not available on the Register website now, but apparently voters sampled see Romney as more presidential and Giuliani as more electable. So why are they moving to Huckabee? Beyond his social conservative credentials, he also wins points for being the most civil and principled in the field. In short, they just like him.
Romney’s challenge now is to change that dynamic by providing them new information (i.e. oppo) that will lessen this ardor. But it won’t be easy. As I’ve said before, Romney risks a serious backlash by going negative. He’s started to do contrast in the mail and in campaign appearances, but it’s a bigger and riskier step to do so on TV … etc., etc.
(1) We predicted this:
- Sargent: “[Grrrr-Romney] was spending $100,000 a week through October, and he’s now upped the ante to $200,000 a week [in NH]”—in which post we discuss how Romney grossly overshot the mark—overshot the culminating point of his gains—in the early primary states.
- how Romney’s early state strategy is creating conditions that resemble a general election—in which post we discuss how Romney mis-timed his media blitz and thereby conceded every advantage to his underfunded, and un- or under-organized rivals.
(2) Another string on which we harp here is Romney’s fantastically low ROI for his every campaign dollar, i.e. the ultra-low efficiency of Romney’s organization.
- Romney has spent upwards of US$10 million in Iowa and all he got was this lousy t-shirt—Romney suddenly aware of his painfully exposed position in the early-state primaries—yet more evidence of Romney’s appallingly low ROI for his every campaign dollar
- Romney spending US$85,000.00.00 per day in Iowa, yet Huckabee has suddenly risen to within 7 points of Romney while spending nothing—zero—goose-egg—yet more evidence of Romney’s appallingly low ROI on his every campaign dollar—yet another blow to the Romney von Schlieffen plan
- Is it “mittmentum,” or is it the US$85,000 a day—$US600,000.00 last week alone—for a total so far of US$10.2 million that Romney is spending on television advertising that has resulted in Romney’s unstable, unreliable early primary-state leads—yet more evidence of Romney’s frighteningly low ROI for his every campaign dollar
We have also harped on the string of Romney’s self-financing:
- Romney with a straight face: “it’s the height of irony that the father of McCain-Feingold now has his supporters raising vast sums of money, more than regular citizens can donate, to support his campaign”—also: will someone at Team Romney please explain to the candidate what “irony” means?
- Tapper: Romney Surpasses Steve Forbes’ Self-Funding Pace
(3) Follow us for a moment: the point we want to make is a subtle one.
Say that someone buys a home in your neighborhood and what they pay is significantly below market value. What does this do to the price of your home? It drives it down. Say that some agent or agency dumps a commodity on the market at below market prices, even selling at a loss. What happens? Chaos. Dislocation. A crash in the value of the commodity, the ruin of competitors etc. Moral: free money or huge subsidies can cause distortions that correct themselves in chaos and collapse—generally, you want to pay for a good or a service what that good or service is worth (and no more), and you want others to pay for a good or a service what that service is worth. Otherwise, price become meaningless as an index of value.
Now, consider the Romney campaign, awash in free cash from Romney’s own pockets.
Political fund-raising is costly, especially for Republicans at this precise historical moment. But Team Romney is largely insulated from these costs—as well as from the learning these costs exact upon their payers. Campaigns organized on a more rational basis—i.e. campaigns whose spending is constrained by the success of their operations, campaigns more closely coupled to a broader base of funding sources and support—must adjust and adapt to develop their coalitions. Not so Team Romney, which behaves with the arrogance and sense of entitlement of a spoiled rich kid.
Further: the millions that Team Romney has squandered in Iowa and New Hampshire has so distorted perceptions that no one—not pundits, not pollsters, not analysts—can resolve a clear signal—no one really knows what is happening on the ground. The market realized as a price system—to continue our metaphor—will not support accurate comparisons. For example, when Gov. Huckabee gains on Romney in Iowa it is considered huge news for no other reason than what Romney has spent in Iowa, when the real and un-remarkable story is that Romney is a weak candidate with no clear message.
In other words, were Romney a real candidate and not an artifact of Republican decline combined with our absurd campaign finance laws—i.e. if what Romney could spend were a reliable indicator of his political fitness—then there would be no story, as there would probably be no Romney.
Our point: confusion is what results from what we call Romneyism. Romneyism is what happens when a corrupt political establishment sells off a national party for a pittance.
All of the operational questions that confront Team Romney reduce to one: How much of the patrimony of Romney’s beloved sons is Romney willing to squander? Does Boy Romney have the will and the nerve to sustain his current burn-rate?—or: does he lack to the good sense to cut his losses and pull out now? Here is the problem for the political primitives of Team Romney: the distortions caused by all that free-floating low-cost Romney-money will reach their limit in the form of a massive market correction, i.e. a big crash. We wish we could predict with confidence that it will be Team Romney that gets corrected, but we cannot. What is more likely is that Romney will take the party down with him.
“The system that you have is the system that you deserve,” our systems-administrator is fond of saying. The same could be said about leadership.