Posts Tagged ‘democrats’

Romney flaks want to spin NH Gov. Lynch attending a McCain townhall meeting as McCain “campaigning” with Democrat etc., etc.

“Governor Romney is the candidate best prepared to change Washington and represent the Republican Party’s most important principles – a strong economy, a strong military and stronger families.

“Only John McCain would criticize a fellow Republican one day and then campaign with a Democrat the next. At a town hall meeting yesterday, McCain stood alongside the Democrat Governor of New Hampshire, John Lynch, and said ‘America needs more of what you’ve done here in the State of New Hampshire'” … reproduced via The American Federalist’s Romney Ramblings aggregator in an Organization for Mitt Post titled McCain Standing with Governor John Lynch (D-NH), as if standing with someone was a problem.

eyeon08.com’s eye queried “blog-outreach guy for John McCain,” the estimable Patrick Hynes, probably the coolest guy in the universe, about the event.

“… it is a tribute to the New Hampshire primary process that a sitting Democratic Governor would attend a townhall for a Republican candidate for President. Governor Lynch’s visit demonstrates the decency and respect that New Hampshire voters expect in their politicians. To draw a parallel between Senator McCain’s and Governor Lynch’s mutual respect and Governor Romney’s prolonged and repeated support for liberal Democrats, like Dick Swett and Rocky Anderson, over conservative Republicans, is the kind of intellectual corner-cutting that we have come to expect from the Romney campaign,” writes eye quoting hynes in an eyeon08.com post titled Romney’s “Romney’s Real Republican” Overreaching? [Emphasis ours]

Well, this explains it. The terms decency and respect simply do not exist in the Romney lexicon. Neither, apparently, do the terms “warm,” “human,” or “charisma.” “This is a touchy subject in Utah,” writes someone for voluntaryXchange in a post titled The Problem with Mitt Romney.

… but here’s Russ Roberts of Cafe Hayek

Romney … came across as robotic and plastic, if it’s possible to do both at the same time. Someone described him to me before as charisma-free.

I read somewhere the other day that John Kerry is a Democrats idea of what a Republican might vote for. Romney just might be the converse etc., etc.

It is as plausible an explanation as we’ve heard yet—oh, and the emphasis is ours.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Sept. 30, 2007 | WASHINGTON — “A powerful group of conservative Christian leaders decided Saturday at a private meeting in Salt Lake City to consider supporting a third-party candidate for president if a pro-choice nominee like Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination,” writes the estimable Michael Scherer of Salon.com in an article titled Religious right may blackball Giuliani Christian conservative leaders privately consider supporting a third-party, antiabortion candidate should Rudy Giuliani win the GOP nomination.

Various responsa follow:

“Now, I like Rudy Giuliani very much. And lest anyone think I have a vested interest in this Christian Right boycott of America’s Mayor please understand that my guy John McCain is hardly the favored candidate of this same group,” writes Patryck Hynes in an Ankle Biting Pundits post titled Rudy and the Religious Right (Updated).

But I don’t understand why some conservatives think that the GOP is entitled to the votes of the Religious Right and that religious conservatives are expected to act against their interests for the benefit of the partisan good. Indeed, I get the feeling that the Religious Right is the only group within the body politic of whom such a cynical bargain is expected (not that they aren’t also criticized when they do behave with such cynicism) more

“These leaders may even damage their influence within their own faction,” writes some random guy apparently named Ed Morrissey in a Captains Quarters Blog post titled Christian Conservatives For Hillary.

Right now, Giuliani receives a significant amount of support from the very Evangelicals for whom James Dobson and Tony Perkins speak. If they call for the formation of a third party to oppose Giuliani’s nomination and these voters do not follow them, they will find themselves very lonely in political circles, and the Council for National Policy along with them. Republicans have already figured out that Presidents can’t do much about abortion except appoint strict-constructionist judges, which Rudy has pledged to do already, and that other issues hold more significance in this election — like war, taxes, spending, and beating Hillary Clinton.

Republicans don’t need petulance from its internal factions. Primaries exist for these groups to make their best case to the voters, and the voters decide which candidate fits their agendas. Threatening to take one’s ball and go home doesn’t build respect or confidence in any faction, and it’s getting old from this particular one, even among its own members. The Christian Right needs to find a primary candidate to endorse and make its best case — and then make a mature and intelligent decision about the general election if they lose the primaries … more

“The politician wants his power short-term. The movement activist wants his power long term. One of the great questions will be who voters side with. The politicians purport to offer victory in the war on terror, a 5th judge to overturn Roe, and a couple more things. To a normal person, these could override a greater concern about the candidate’s total vision,” writes eye of eyeon08.com in a post titled Rudy, the conservative movement, their constituents, and power.

The movement activist offers a strategy for moving the country to the right over the long-term. And over the medium-term, the movement activist actually probably grows his organization and his power with a target like Hillary Clinton to attack. And this is the point. Many, many conservative consultants will say in private that they know that they will make a lot of money attacking Hillary Clinton if she is President. And many suspect that she can’t be beat. The one way for them to lose is to lose influence in the party over the short term. And that’s what Giuliani brings, especially if we manages to win more

In sum—if we read the above arguments correctly: Hynes suggests that the GOP should not take the religious conservatives for granted; on the other hand, some random guy apparently named Ed Morrissey argues that religious conservatives should sit down and shut up as it is their responsibility to forward a candidate or candidates in the primaries etc., etc. To threaten to walk is to hand Sen. Clinton the presidency. eye of eyeon2008.com bases his analysis on the asymmetry of interest between politicians and movement activists—the one thinks, acts, and organizes for the long term, the other for the shorter term. A Rudy victory means short term gains for the politicians and loss of influence for the movement conservatives, although “[movement conservatives] will make a lot of money attacking Hillary Clinton if she is President.” We favour eye’s analysis—we do tend to think long-term, and the term “republican” means very little to us. Hence the threat of another Clinton presidency or else is to us a vain and empty threat. We will not support a candidate or a nominee simply because he or she is not Sen. Clinton.

Our own position has been consistent since the inception of this humble, anonymous vanity web log: as religious conservatives we make compromises all the time. There are no perfect candidates, or candidates that perfectly represent our views—we don’t even expect that there should be. So: based on what know now about the candidates, we would probably vote for any Republican nominee to the general election—McCain, Giuliani, Huckabee, Paul etc.—except Willard Milton Romney.

And here is why:

Joseph Farrah of Worldnet.daily rejects Willard Mitt Romney: “I will not vote for Romney under any circumstances, no matter who his opponent might be.”

Were Romney to win the GOP nomination we would be happy to vote for Sen. Clinton or any one else who is not Willard Milton Romney. Party means nothing to us—it is but an organizational means to an end that issues in policy; what has meaning for us is principle, how we live our lives. You simply cannot be a Willard Milton Romney and expect our support—ever. We don’t necessarily need to trust our leaders—we generally don’t—or, put differently, we generally trust that they will behave badly, make wretched decisions, and act in their own interest most of the time, just like everyone else—but we do need to know who they are, to be confident that we know who they are. How can you know a figure who has reversed himself so many times on so many important issues?—what does Willard Milton Romney truly believe!?—we have no idea!—and neither does anyone else, least of all Romney himself!

That said, if Romney wins the nomination we will probably vote Libertarian.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Today, our country faces an inflection point where our course must change if we are to meet unprecedented challenges here at home and abroad,” writes Romney himself (presumably) in a redstate.com post titled Change Begins With Us

An inflection point?—say what!?

An inflection point is a point on a curve at which the sign of the curvature (i.e., the concavity) changes. Inflection points may be stationary points, but are not relative maxima or relative minima. For example, for the curve y==x^3 plotted above, the point x==0 is an inflection pointmore

We are at “a point on a curve at which the sign of the curvature changes?”—huh?—is this an inspiring metaphor in some niche community? Who does Romney presume is his audience?

As we have always done, the American people will rise to the occasion. But at this critical time, Washington is failing us.

Romney: We will rise. But Washington is failing us. (Wait. Does this mean that we won’t rise after all?) Romney warms to his theme by means of a distinction: by Washington he means the parties, Democrats and Republicans.

The blame for Washington’s failures lies not just with the Democrats but with Republicans as well. We have to put our own house in order. We can no longer be a party of big spenders with ethical standards more fitting of a Jay Leno punch line. We can no longer pretend our borders are secure. When Republicans act like Democrats, America loses. It’s time for change in Washington and change begins with us.

Romney: Republicans share the blame for Washington’s failures. Our house is out of order. We spend too much. Our ethical standards are low. We pretend that our borders are secure. Hence: we are behaving like Democrats. Conclusion: we must change, and change begins with us—and by us Romney means Republicans—only Romney means some but not all Republicans, because Romney qualifies the term Republican with the prepositional phrase for change.

Romney enlarges on his distinction of Republicans as opposed to Republicans for Change by using it to introduce the topics of the next 7 paragraphs. The topics are:

  • limited government
  • fiscal responsibility
  • strength
  • ethical standards
  • civility and respect
  • tackling big problems, which for Romney is a way of introducing the War on Terror, which Romney articulates as checking the “spread of radical, violent Jihadism.”
  • protecting families from obscenity, pornography, child predators etc.

The list resembles a series of power-point slides. This is argument by catalogue or bullet points. And: These are all Republican core issues. Here is the problem: the list of issues Romney develops here are not the issues that Romney is running on, at least not on the stump, and at least not according to Mary Jacoby of WSJ.com in a release titled Romney Tries to Show Voters He ‘Gets It,’ a release we commented on earlier.

Jacoby describes Romney as attempting to argue for center-left issues, e.g. healthcare, education, and economic security, in the idiom of the center-right. Hence Romney “can sound at times part Rush Limbaugh, part Bill Clinton, braiding red-meat conservative lines with feel-your-pain prescriptions for health care and retirement security“—translation: Romney “can sound” incoherent.

Romney digresses from his values list to propose “easy to engage” content “filters” on computers to protect our children from the “culture that surrounds them,” a culture that happens to be our culture, before Romney returns again to Republicans for Change on the concluding topics of faith and patriotism. (Note to Romney: we like, nay, we love our culture; we are, after all, cultural conservatives. What e.g. porn sites purvey is not culture, Mr. Romney.)

American patriotism is why I am convinced this nation will always prevail as the greatest hope of the earth. America faces unprecedented challenges, a virtual perfect storm buffeting the pillars of our strength. The course of our history will change. For America to remain the great nation it has always been, it will look to Republicans for leadership.

A “perfect storm” “buffets” our “pillars”? What an interesting image. The “course of history” will change, like a ship. Question: What happened to Washington?—the Washington that was failing us? What happened to our point of inflection—we will be able to halt or arrest the turn of the curve? Is this what Romney means by course changing?

If we read Romney’s composition correctly—and we are not by any means confident that we are—Republicans for Change, with whom the reader is invited to identify, stand as the antithesis to Republicans who behave like Democrats, bogus Republicans who e.g. spend too much, pretend as if our borders are secure. In other words, for Romney the crisis is effectively one of blurred distinctions; we cannot tell the Republicans from the Democrats; one behaves like the other. Hence Romney addresses in Perelman’s terms an elite as opposed to a general or universal audience—in this case, an imagined vanguard of Republicans who are genuine as opposed to nominal Republicans, a dissociation of the term Republican into the real and the apparent.

The argument is functionally identical to a rationale or an alibi. Many Republicans may oppose us, the Romney supporter is invited to rationalize: but real Republicans support us. Hence: raw numbers, or the actual non-performance of the ailing Romney campaign, fails to tell the real story. To dissociate the real from the apparent is often the instrument of the scold as it so easily issues into a double bind, e.g. “if you really loved me … “—blaming and scolding is emerging as Romney’s preferred idiom, see:

Romney’s language of blame indicates a personality that believes itself powerless and uncared for

Also: Continetti of the Weekly Standard demonstrates how the Romney message lacks moral courage in that it affects to criticize the GOP on grounds that any Republican or conservative would heartily agree with. Hence, what masquerades as a critique is in affect an empty, epideictic display.

Romney the scold of the GOP (ii); Continetti: Romney hates fake people

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“I’m not in this race for the next step in my political career. I don’t have a political career, to tell you the truth,” Romney said during a stop at Chapman University. “I’ve only been in politics four years as a governor. I loved the experience, but my life is my wife and my family. My career was building an enterprise, a business, with some other fellows”—so says Romney himself as quoted by Glen Johnson in a HuffPo transmission titled Romney touts his business experience

Note the litotes or deliberate understatement, a figure of ethos: “My career was building an enterprise, a business, with some other fellows.” This is the Romney ethos—the latest one, the one he wants you to accept now—epitomized—it is almost as if Romney is reading from a rhetoric textbook. Here he establishes—or attempts to establish—(a) his phronesis, or practical wisdom (“my career was building a business”), (b) his virtue, or his values (my life is my wife and family), and (c) his alleged disinterest (“I’m not in this for the next step in my political career. I don’t have a political career.”).

Here is the problem: nothing connects; inconsistency, everywhere, abounds. Here is why:

“In the battle to define his presidential candidacy, the former Massachusetts governor is trying to swat away charges that he has changed positions on hot-button issues such as abortion, immigration, gun ownership and gay rights to appeal to his party’s conservative base,” writes Mary Jacoby in an onlineWSJ.com article titled Romney Tries to Show Voters He ‘Gets It'; Republican Reframes Democrat-Owned Issues In Reach for the Middle.

Yet, even as he tries to distance himself from his moderate record, Mr. Romney also embraces it to reach voters in the middle — both Republicans uncomfortable with the direction of the party and independent voters he would need in a general election.

The result is that Mr. Romney’s stump speech can sound at times part Rush Limbaugh, part Bill Clinton, braiding red-meat conservative lines with feel-your-pain prescriptions for health care and retirement securitymore

Romney seeks to capture the middle—OK., fine, whatever. Only Romney never captured the base. Conventional wisdom specifies that a candidate first capture the base of his or her party—or develop a base or a coalition—and only then pivot and attempt to occupy the center or as much of the center as the candidate can capture. Romney, as yet, has no base, has no coalition—Romney has nothing, and what little he has is slipping away. Yet here is Romney, all alone, pivoting and pirhouetting as he enlarges on center-left issues and concerns all the while insisting that he is not just a conservative, but a staunch conservative. (We, by the way, were conservative way back when Romney was voting for Paul Tsongas in a Democratic Primary. To be lectured to about conservatism by this obviously ill-informed newcomer—i.e. Romney—is somewhat galling.)

Further problem: Romney’s lurch to the right in the form of a caricatured and unreconstructed conservatism—a mock-conservatism that takes the form of scolding other candidates for their lack of conservatism, or of railing on largely symbolic and cultural issues—alienates moderates and independents, the very people that Romney is alleged by Jacoby and the Romneys themselves to be positioned to persuade into a broad-based coalition.

See:

Here is a thought: if moderate and independent votes are Romney’s true object, why did he not start with them? Why did he not try to build a base on their support and only then reach out to conservatives once he had the numbers to argue his case? Was it Romney’s famous arrogance or alienation? Or did Romney truly believe that movement conservatives were gibbering idiots moved only by empty symbol and vain gesture?

So: Go ahead, Romney, rail at Ahmadinejad in your noisy stump-speech jeremaids or in your scolding op-eds. This only helps you appear reasonable, as any reasonable person should oppose a figure like Ahmadinejad. This does not help you appear conservative or leader-like.

We concur with Romney’s claim: he has “no political career.” His instincts and habits of mind are simply not those of a politician, or even those of one who is accustomed to being being challenged or disagreed with.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Read about it in a Teagan Goddard Political Wire post aptly titled Romney Bungles Response to Clinton.

Also see:

Statement of St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan in Reference to Misuse of Hospital as Political Backdrop for Romney Presidential Campaign Press Conference

In other healthcare related debate, DaveG of race42008.com argues that the Clinton Health Plan Requires [a] Real Republican Response, and further argues that Romney’s plan as it stands is not an adequate rejoinder. We concur.

There is also this issue: RomneyCare and HillaryCare are both based on individual mandates. So: Romney’s plan concedes in advance the core issue of whether we will be free to choose to buy in or not to the Democrats, whether Hillary or Edwards, who also favours mandates—the only operational difference between the plans is size, scope, and, hence, price, as argued by eye of eyeon08.com in a post titled Romney’s Clinton Problem, a post that we would re-title The GOP’s Romney Problem.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

In an article titled Obama’s comments on Afghanistan draw sharp rebuke from Romney campaign, language that suggests that Obama is an errant school child, Bill Sammon of The Examiner describes yet another instance of Romney affecting the pose of an outraged school marm. The details are not important.

Does anyone still remember Bill Palmer, the self-styled “flame giant” of USENET? To brief yourself on this uniquely abusive USENET entity, or to refresh your memory, you can refer to this FAQ, follow the links etc. In sum, Palmer, shielded by the anonymity of the medium, would provoke other newsgroup users into flame duels by nit-picking, cheap shot taking, taking claims out of context, and relentless bombast. If called on his behavior he would claim injury even as he would lie, distort, and relentlessly attack his opponent, behaviors summarized here.

Willard Milton Romney behaves similarly.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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In a tedious op-ed titled For Romney, Traction in Iowa, E.J. Dionne Jr. opines:

… The one moment in the ABC debate when Romney seemed agitated came when Brownback attacked his antiabortion credentials, and Romney went out of his way to say that his previous support for abortion rights was his “greatest mistake.” Romney knows that his very skill at political positioning could also be his undoing.

Still, when he was asked about health care, Romney rebuked conservative orthodoxy: He insisted that “tax exemptions” were not enough to cover the uninsured because “the people that don’t have insurance aren’t paying taxes.”

As a rule, Republicans don’t think much about people too poor to pay a lot in taxes. It’s another reason Romney could pose a serious danger not only to Giuliani, McCain and Thompson but also to the Democrats … more

Note how Romney’s line changes yet again on the life issue. No longer was he always personally life; he now admits that he was “effectively” pro-choice and that this was a mistake. Watch for similar concessions and casuistry as it becomes harder for Romney to maintain his SUDDEN CONSERVATISM (sort of like sudden fiction) with a straight face. Even the Eager-Genitals for Mittwit “Evangelicals for Mitt” kick Romney in the head for what they characterize as a “mistake,” like falling down a flight of stairs, and not a serious error in judgment, which is what it is.

The instability of Romney’s line—and by line I mean the “pattern of verbal and non-verbal acts by which” a user of symbols “expresses his view of [a] situation and through this [the user's] evaluation of the participants, especially himself,” as articulated by Goffman in his Interaction Ritual—develops anew in the next paragraph. Romney reverts to his center-leftism on health care in a “rebuke” to the “conservative orthodoxy,” whatever that could possibly be. For more on this theme please see:

Romney abandons conservative line; reverts to previous line

Dionne praises the troubled candidate for his heresy and promises that the more left-center-Romney “could pose a serious danger not only to Giuliani, McCain and Thompson but also to the Democrats.” Here is the problem with this line of reasoning:

Romney outflanks himself yet again!–poll indicates Romney’s pull to the right alienates independents, centrists, and moderates

yours &c.
dr. d.g.

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