Posts Tagged ‘editorial’
“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.
“Mitt Romney has emerged as the last Republican with a chance to stop John McCain, and there’s no doubt he’s a candidate from central casting: successful in business and politics, a family man, and quicker and more articulate than most,” write the editors of the Wall Street Journal in an editorial titled Romney’s Convictions
The main doubt about him has been whether he believes in anything enough to stick to it if he did become President.To hear the candidate himself tell it, Mr. Romney believes above all in “data.” As he told us on a visit, his management style includes “wallowing” in data about a problem, analyzing that data like the business consultant he once was, and then using it to devise a solution. A major theme of his candidacy is that he’ll bring that business model to a “broken” Washington, apply it to Congress and the bureaucracy, and thus triumph over gridlock and the status quo.
To which we’d say: Good luck with that. Washington’s problem isn’t a lack of data, or a failure to calibrate the incentives as in the business world. Congress and the multiple layers of government respond exactly as you’d expect given the incentives for self-preservation and turf protection that always exist in political institutions. The only way to overcome them is with leadership on behalf of good ideas backed by public support. The fact that someone as bright as Mr. Romney doesn’t recognize this Beltway reality risks a Presidency that would get rolled quicker than you can say Jimmy Carter.
All the more so because we haven’t been able to discern from his campaign, or his record in Massachusetts, what his core political principles are. Mr. Romney spent his life as a moderate Republican, and he governed the Bay State that way after his election in 2002. While running this year, however, he has reinvented himself as a conservative from radio talk show-casting, especially on immigration.
The problem is not that Mr. Romney is willing to reconsider his former thinking. Nor is it so much that his apparent convictions always seem in sync with the audience to which he is speaking at the moment. (Think $20 billion in corporate welfare for Michigan auto makers.) Plenty of politicians attune their positions to new constituencies. The larger danger is that Mr. Romney’s conversions are not motivated by expediency or mere pandering but may represent his real governing philosophy [...]
[...] John McCain’s difficulties in selling himself to GOP voters reflect his many liberal lurches over the years — from taxes to free speech, prescription drugs and global warming cap and trade. Republicans have a pretty good sense of where he might betray them. Yet few doubt that on other issues — national security, spending — Mr. McCain will stick to his principles no matter the opinion polls. If Mr. Romney loses to Senator McCain, the cause will be his failure to persuade voters that he has any convictions at all [...]
We so heartily concur. See:
[...] “Many professional conservatives do not regard Mike Huckabee or John McCain as true conservatives,” writes David Brooks in a NYT editorial titled The Voters Revolt
“I’m here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it’s going to destroy the Republican Party,” Rush Limbaugh said recently on his radio show. “It’s going to change it forever, be the end of it.”
Some of the contributors to The National Review’s highly influential blog, The Corner, look to Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney to save the conservative movement. Their hatred of McCain is so strong, it’s earned its own name: McCain Derangement Syndrome.
Yet a funny thing has happened this primary season. Conservative voters have not followed their conservative leaders. Conservative voters are much more diverse than the image you’d get from conservative officialdom.
In South Carolina, 34 percent of the Republican voters called themselves “very conservative,” but another 34 percent called themselves only “somewhat conservative” and another 24 percent called themselves “moderate.” Only 28 percent of the primary voters there said that abortion should be “always illegal.” This, I repeat, was in South Carolina, one of the most right-wing places in the country.
While various conservative poobahs threaten to move to Idaho if Huckabee or McCain gets the nomination, the silent majority of conservative voters seem to like these candidates. Huckabee has done very well among evangelical voters while loudly deviating from conservative economic orthodoxy. John McCain leads among Republicans nationally. He has a 71 percent favorable rating and a 23 percent unfavorable rating. He has a 63 percent favorability rating among Huckabee supporters, 66 percent favorability among Romney supporters and 81 percent favorability among supporters of Rudy Giuliani. These are much higher second choice ratings than any other candidate.
McCain’s winning coalition in South Carolina was pretty broad. He lost among the extremely conservative but won among the somewhat conservative and the moderates. He lost among those who go to church more than once a week, but won among weekly churchgoers. He won among those who strongly support the Bush administration and among those who are angry at the Bush administration, among those who strongly support the war and among those who strongly oppose it. He won every income group over $30,000.
Even among people who want to deport every immigrant, McCain only lost to Huckabee by 34 percent to 26 percent.
The fact is, this has been a bad year for the conservative establishment. Fred Thompson was supposed to embody the party line, but he has fizzled (despite being a good campaigner the past month). Rudy Giuliani proposes deep tax cuts that do not seem to excite. Mitt Romney ran as the movement candidate in Iowa and New Hampshire and grossly underperformed. Now he’s running as a nonideological business pragmatist for the exurban office parks, and his campaign has possibilities.
The lesson is not that the conservative establishment is headed for the ash heap. The lesson is that the Republican Party, even in its shrunken state, is diverse. Regular Republican voters don’t seem to mind independent thinking. There’s room for moderates as well as orthodox conservatives. Limbaugh, Grover Norquist and James Dobson have influence, but they are not arbiters of conservative doctrine [...]
The emphases are ours, all ours.
[...] “Over in Michigan, the Republican voters clearly had the same thought on Tuesday when they went out and gave their primary win to a candidate absolutely no one would want to have a beer with,” writes Gail Collins in an NYT editorial titled The Anti-Charm Offensive
(Or in his case, a bracing lemonade.) Mitt Romney! Mitt Romney!Michigan voters are so frightened of falling into permanent economic collapse that they’ll grab onto almost anything. Romney, the native son who lived in Michigan in the Eisenhower era, played them for all they were worth. He was going to bring back the old-time auto industry and the rest of the 1950s with it. There was no lost job that could not be retrieved under Mitt’s skilled-businessman’s supervision. He’d bring them all home!
Human nature being what it is, you have to give politicians a pass for one pander per primary. (The Democrats have spent the last week in Nevada arguing about who is the most against a federal plan to store used nuclear fuel in Yucca Mountain as if it were a plot to tax air.) But in Michigan, Romney went way over quota.
He told the auto executives that they were being picked on when Congress required fuel efficiency to reach 35 m.p.g. by 2020. (Washington told Detroit to improve mileage in 1975, and just 32 years later, here’s Big Brother, harping again.) And he promised $20 billion in federally funded research and development to get the auto industry back on track.
Let’s see, $20 billion for Michigan, and 46 states left to go. We’re looking at nearly a trillion dollars in potential pander just to get Mitt to the conventions. We won’t have to worry about Congress doling out pork anymore — Romney will give the entire store away himself.
In his victory speech, Romney said his inspiration came from “Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush.” I’m not sure how Reagan would have felt about that $20 billion, but I’m pretty sure this is the first time the words “George Herbert Walker Bush” and “inspiration” have appeared in the same sentence [...]
Yuh-huh. And it suddenly occurs to York of the formerly conservative NRO—the knuckle-draggers who endorsed Romney for president—how Romney’s proposal to MI will play in the upcoming primary contests:
[...] “if Romney’s success in Michigan prompts more and more candidate attention to economic issues, the campaign will take on a new, decidedly post-war-on-terror feel,” writes Byron York of the National Review in a The Corner post titled Message: We Care
And if that happens, it will probably go in directions that few conservatives are happy with. When candidates start talking about easing voters’ pain, there’s no telling what they will promise – Romney’s $20 billion check to the auto industry might be just the beginning [...]
Well, duh. We make the same case here:
[...] Not only does Romney’s plan to nationalize the US automobile industry reflect yet another complete ideological reversal for the hapless candidate—Not only is Romney’s proposal impracticable and nearly impossible on its face, just the worst possible public policy imaginable—Not only will Romney’s proposal issue into in a furious race to the bottom as Romney himself and the other candidates are forced to out-bid each other promising to bail-out, subsidize, or protect from competition other ailing industries and entire economic sectors—but Romney’s plan for MI is also based on a risibly inaccurate and historically flawed assessment of an already globalized and post-industrial US automobile “industry” [...]
We conclude this sad blog burst with an excerpt from an editorial by the Washington Times:
[...] “No doubt [Romney] will soon saturate Florida’s airwaves the way he bombarded Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan,” write the crack editorialists of the Washington Times in an article titled Romney’s Michigan Win
Too bad Mr. Romney continues to refuse to tell voters how much of his personal wealth he spent during the fourth quarter even as he ratchets up his personal spending throughout the critical month of January.
… Mr. McCain told Michigan voters what they know in their hearts to be true. Those auto jobs are gone. But they chose to believe, at least for a day, Mr. Romney’s dubious optimism, which, if he is elected in November, will surely become one of the first campaign promises he will have to break [...]
We can only hope he breaks it. Now that Romney could actually end up as our president, we need to hope and pray that his lies and duplicities work in our favor.
“THERE IS A reason Mitt Romney has not received a single newspaper endorsement in New Hampshire,” write the editors of the NH Union Leader in an editorial titled The Romney backlash: Conservatives are coming home
It’s the same reason his poll numbers are dropping. He has not been able to convince the people of this state that he’s the conservative he says he is.
The data points support the Union Leader’s conclusion. People really do perceive Romney as less and less conservative.
Rasmussen Reports: “Romney is now viewed as politically conservative by 38% of Republican voters and moderate or liberal by 43%—Those figures reflect an eight-point decline in the number seeing him as conservative and a ten-point increase in the number seeing him as moderate or liberal”
Back to the editorial:
Like a lot of people in New Hampshire, we wanted to believe Romney. We gave him the benefit of the doubt. We listened very carefully to his expertly rehearsed sales pitch. But in the end he didn’t close the deal for us. Now, two weeks before the primary, the same is happening with voters.
Republicans and right-leaning independents in New Hampshire gave Romney a chance. His events have not been sparsely attended. Nor have they been scarce. He’s made more campaign stops here this year than any other Republican, even John McCain.
And after a year of comparing Romney to McCain, of sizing up the two in person and in the media, Granite Staters are turning back to McCain. The former Navy pilot, once written off by the national media establishment, is now in a statistical dead heat with Romney here.
How could that be? Romney has all the advantages: money, organization, geographic proximity, statesman-like hair, etc.
But he lacks something John McCain has in spades: conviction.
Granite Staters want a candidate who will look them in the eye and tell them the truth. John McCain has done that day in and day out, never wavering, never faltering, never pandering.
Mitt Romney has not. He has spoken his lines well, but the people can sense that the words are memorized, not heartfelt.
Last week Romney was reduced to debating what the meaning of “saw” is. It was only the latest in a string of demonstrably false claims — he’d been a hunter “pretty much” all his life, he’d had the NRA’s endorsement, he saw his father march with Martin Luther King Jr. — that call into question the veracity of his justifications for switching sides on immigration, abortion, taxes and his affection for Ronald Reagan.
In this primary, the more Mitt Romney speaks, the less believable he becomes. That is why Granite Staters who have listened attentively are now returning to John McCain. They might not agree with McCain on everything, as we don’t, but like us, they judge him to be a man of integrity and conviction, a man who won’t sell them out, who won’t break his promises, and who won’t lie to get elected.
Voters can see that John McCain is trustworthy. Mitt Romney has spent a year trying to convince Granite Staters that he is as well. It looks like they aren’t buying it. And for good reason … etc.
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
Context: Romney issued his typically noisy stump-speech jeremaids and scolding op-eds on the issue of Ahmadinejad’s addresses to the UN and Columbia University.
The response?—predictable. Consider
“Voters expect a certain amount of malarkey in political ads designed to press emotional hot-buttons,” begins a section of a Boston Globe editorial subtitled Romney: I run, therefore Iran
But the recent campaign ad for Mitt Romney exploiting anxieties about Iran sets a new standard for cynicism. The radio ad lauds Romney for denying a State Police escort last September for the reformist former president of Iran, Mohammad Khatami, when he visited Harvard and MIT. The reality was that Khatami was escorted everywhere by the State Department’s special security force for foreign dignitaries. Romney insulted Harvard and MIT more than Khatami when he called their invitation to him “a disgrace.” Instead of showing that Romney can be tough on terrorism, the ad suggests that Romney has little idea who Khatami is or what his role had been in Iran. Toughness may be a desirable quality in a president; indifference to the complex realities of foreign hot spots is not … more [emphases ours]
“Another Republican contender, Mitt Romney, grandstanded even more shamelessly [about Ahmadinejad's visit and address], proclaiming that the Iranian shouldn’t have received an entry visa in the first place,” argues Jesse Walker in a reasononline article titled Who’s Afraid of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? After all the trembling, the Iranian president got a bruising instead of a boost.
If you suspected that Silver and Hunter represent just a tiny sliver of the electorate, Romney’s statement should give you pause. Romney isn’t an ordinary flesh-and-blood candidate, after all; he’s a machine calibrated to say whatever is most likely to emerge from a focus group of Republican primary voters … more [emphasis ours]
For more on the evolving Romney-rhetoric, see:
- Romney’s inflection point—the strange rhetoric of a troubled campaign
- Romney’s language of blame indicates a personality that believes itself powerless and uncared for