Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

[...] “McCain isn’t a prohibitive favorite, but he’s a strong one,” writes William Kirstol in a weeklystandard blog burst titled Kristol: The Next 12 Hours

What could change the situation? It’s hard to believe paid advertising across 22 states (even if Romney’s willing to splurge) could fundamentally change the dynamic. There could always be some sort of scandal, revelation, or gaffe, or course – though that would be far more likely if there were a new, suddenly-emerged frontrunner, than with the most veteran and best-known candidate in the field. So the most likely game-changer, if there were to be one, would be tonight’s debate. It’s likely to be Romney’s last direct shot at McCain. If Romney were to land a really telling blow, it could shape the narrative for the rest of this week. If not, if this debate follows the course of almost all its predecessors and has no decisive moment, then all attention turns to Clinton-Obama, and McCain should have a pretty clear path.

The Romney camp has twelve hours to come up with a startling factoid, formulation, or revelation. The McCain camp has twelve hours to prepare for any such eventuality. If McCain does well tonight, he should be the GOP nominee [...]

Sen. McCain can win. But Romney cannot be defeated, at least not decisively, and at least not yet. Romney’s vast personal fortune, Sen. McCain’s ceiling of 36% in the earlier primaries according to Kristol, alleged conservative disaffection—all these things suggest that Romney could stick it out. However:

“Two questions come to mind” for Matt Lewis in a townhall.com blog burst titled Romney after Tsunami Tuesday?

  1. Would this shrewd business man, who has already spent well-over 20 million dollars of his own money, continue spending money on what could be a losing cause? Smart businessmen don’t throw away money.
  2. Would Mitt Romney want to be blamed for a Republican loss in the General Election. Fair or not, if he prolongs the race too long, that’s what some people would say …

Ronald Reagan went all the way to the Convention in ’76, and was rewarded with the nomination in ’80. That could happen for Mitt, too. Or, he could be more like Ted Kennedy — who was blamed for costing Jimmy Carter the election that same year [...]

Our comments and reflections: Romney’s shrewdness does not extend to the management of his political operations. Evidence: his appallingly low ROI for his every campaign dollar.

And whether or for what Romney gets blamed will affect Romney’s decision not in the least—recent history alone predicts this. Romney had it within his power to attempt to repair the damage that his negative advertising wrought in Iowa and New Hampshire; he has had the chance to reach out to Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain supporters. But he never has, and he probably never will. Conclusion: the man simply does not care what people think of him, he does not care how much his arrogant behavior costs him in polling numbers or at the ballot box, and he has no loyalty to either party or principle to moderate his behavior.

Our prediction: Romney will stick it out to the end. When the GOP collapses into a smoking wreck, Romney will turn and blame conservatives for failing to support him in sufficient strength, intensity, or depth.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

[...] “But it’s true”—i.e. true that the presumptive GOP nominee is Sen. John McCain, writes the sniveling and asinine Michael Graham in a TheCorner blog burst titled, despairingly, It’s All Over

When the campaign comes here to Massachusetts on February 5th, I’ll proudly cast my vote for any option on the GOP ballot other than You-Know-Who. But it will be a futile gesture. Mr. “1/3rd Of The GOP Primary Vote” is going to be the nominee.

He’s going to win the big, left-leaning states on Tuesday. Huckabee will stay in and deny Romney a one-on-one contest for GOP voters that Captain Amnesty would almost certainly lose. The result: More wins for He Who Must Not Be Named, and fewer wins for Romney—regardless of delegate count.

Florida has launched the one ship that Romney’s money and Rush Limbaugh cannot stop: The U.S.S. Inevitable. It’s gonna happen. Even if there were a realistic pathway to stop him, the media have seized control of the process now and are declaring him inevitable. He is, after all, the favorite son of the New York Times.

So it is over. Finished. In November, we’ll be sending out our most liberal, least trustworthy candidate vs. to take on Hillary Clinton—perhaps not more liberal than Barack Obama, but certainly far less trustworthy.

And the worst part for the Right is that McCain will have won the nomination while ignoring, insulting and, as of this weekend, shamelessly lying about conservatives and conservatism.

You think he supported amnesty six months ago? You think he was squishy on tax cuts and judicial nominees before? Wait until he has the power to anger every conservative in America, and feel good about it.

Every day, he dreams of a world filled with happy Democrats and insulted Republicans. And he is, thanks to Florida, the presidential nominee of the Republican party [...]

Note the bitterness. Note the spite. You think Sen. McCain was bad before, you Florida swamp-bunnies who allowed this to happen? You just wait. But what is worse for Graham is that he feels slighted by both Sen. McCain and Florida: “the worst part for the Right is that McCain will have won the nomination while ignoring, insulting and, as of this weekend, shamelessly lying about conservatives and conservatism.”

Translation: The voters have returned a decision that undermines the premises of the National Review itself. Further, these morons endorsed Willard Milton Romney.

Victor David Hanson pleads with his colleagues to not retail rumor without foundation and write responsibly

“At the risk of offending some in the Corner, I make the following observation about the recent posts-especially concerning those second-hand reports about what McCain purportedly said in Senate cloak rooms, or what is reported through anonymous sources about interviews he gave, or the legion of his other noted supposed sins,” writes Victor Davis Hanson in an NRO TheCorner post titled A Simple Warning

Note how the writer suddenly cannot a compose a clear or concise sentence.

Translation: This may offend some of you, but I need to comment on the rumors of what Sen. McCain is alleged to have said at this or that point in the past.

Back to Graham:

It is clear that the animus toward McCain shown by Romney supporters is growing far greater than any distaste those who support McCain feel for Romney. I am sympathetic to the McCain effort, but would of course, like most, support Romney should he get the nomination, given his experience, intelligence and positions on the war and the economy. I would worry about his ability to win independents and cross-overs, and note that his present positions are sometimes antithetical to his past ones, but also note that such concerns would be balanced by the recognition that it is hard for conservatives to get elected to anything in Massachusetts, that McCain in turn would have commensurate problems stirring the conservative base, and that McCain too has ‘adjusted’ on things like immigration et alia.

This is so unclear.

Translation: The animus of Romney supporters toward Sen. McCain is out of all proportion to the animus of Sen. McCain supporters for Romney. I support Sen. McCain. But I would support Romney were he to get the GOP nomination. I would still worry about how Romney polarizes people and his present inconsistency with positions he has taken in the past. But I would balance these concerns against how hard it is for conservatives in MA to get elected to anything. Sen. McCain, too, is going to face challenges because of his past positions.

Back to Graham:

[...] But all that said, at some point there should be recognition that some are becoming so polarized-and polarizing-that we are reaching the point that should a McCain win (and there is a good chance he will), and should he grant the necessary concessions to the base (chose someone like Thompson as his VP, take firm pledges on tax cuts, closing the border, etc), go on Limbaugh, Hannity, etc. for some mea culpas, all that still seemingly would not be enough. And if that were true, the result would vastly increase the chances of the Presidents Clinton, under whom there would be a vastly different Supreme Court, some chance of forfeiting what has been achieved in Iraq, and surely greater growth in government and earmarks [...]

[...] Some here have become so polarized that should Sen. McCain win and grant all the necessary concessions to the base, that would still not be enough. The sad result of that would be a President Clinton or Obama [...]

[...] Keeping all that in mind seems far more important than tracing down the anonymous source who claims McCain said something to someone at sometime [...]

Translation: You NRO writers need to be responsible for what you write. Do not just reproduce rumors or issue a single candidate’s spin. Instead: pursue your sources, and cite your sources. Right now, colleagues, you are poisoning your own well; you are fouling your own nest.

We concur.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

From the Prowler release that Kelly references:

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

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

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

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

Apparently the strategy included arrogant threats:

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

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

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

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

[...] “It’s the perfect opportunity for a Wall Street Republican to make the case that what the country needs now is good business mind, not a former war hero,” writes Rex Nutting, Washington bureau chief of MarketWatch, in a MarketWatch article titled Romney running for tycoon in chief; Commentary: Will business background be a plus?

Unfortunately for Romney, that appeal isn’t working in the Republican primaries.

Polls show that national security concerns continue to rank much higher among Republican voters, even if worries about the economy are growing. According to the Rasmussen Poll, Republican voters in Florida would rather pick a commander in chief than a chief executive for the U.S. economy.

Romney’s support has soared over the past two weeks, especially in Florida. He’s tied with Sen. John McCain in the latest polls ahead of Tuesday’s vote. But the Romney surge isn’t related to the bad news about the economy; rather, he’s picking up conservative voters stranded by Fred Thompson’s withdrawal from the race and Huckabee’s partial pullback from Florida.

Romney leads McCain among conservative voters, and he’s hoping that his message of economic competence could gain him support among voters who see themselves as moderates, where McCain holds a sizable lead.

Romney has been going directly after McCain, his chief rival for the nomination, accusing him of being out of touch on the economy. He has mocked McCain for saying “economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.”

McCain has fired back, saying that while Romney was making millions and working for “profit,” he was serving “patriotism.”

So far, the economic themes haven’t been registering for Romney.

According to pollster Scott Rasmussen, “McCain actually holds a slight lead over Romney among voters who name the economy as the top issue.” Seven of 10 Republicans say the best thing the government can do to help the economy is get out of the way, which is more McCain’s view than Romney’s.

Maybe Romney understands the economy, but it looks as if it’s McCain who understands Republicans.

If Romney can get past McCain and win the nomination, he’ll try to persuade independents and hesitant Democrats that his business background qualifies him to be president.

But if he does make it past the convention, it’ll be an uphill struggle to run as a tycoon after the mess Wall Street has made of the economy, with its overhyped dotcoms, its phony accounting, its bloated bonuses, and its toxic mortgages [...]

The emphases are ours, all ours.

We heartily concur. See:

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“MIAMI — As the economy takes center stage in the Republican presidential race, Mitt Romney spoke in unusually personal terms about his own business experience during remarks to the Latin Builders Association this morning,” writes the credulous Scott Conroy in a cbsnews blog burst titled Romney: Making Layoffs “An Awful Feeling”

“I’ve had settings where I’ve had to lay people off,” Romney said. “It’s an awful feeling. No one likes laying people off. Someone who thinks you’re a bad person if you lay someone off doesn’t understand. You feel bad. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve done in business was asking a person to be let go.”

Remarks:

(1) Follow Romney’s “reasoning”

(a) Someone who thinks you’re a bad person if you lay someone off doesn’t understand.

(b) You feel bad.

(c) It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve done in business was asking a person to be let go.

Note the passive voice in (c)—Romney’s awkward attempt to obscure his own agency—not lay a person off, or let a person go, but “ask a person to be let go.” But this bizarre locution implies consent, as if those “to be” laid off were given a choice!

(2) So we should not resent those who like Romney lay people off because they feel bad about it? Is Romney serious? Is Romney really making the case that his feelings are more important that peoples’ jobs?

(3) Does it not follow that Romney can excuse himself of any act by referring to his hurt feelings? Yes, I campaigned negatively against McCain and Huckabee—I lied, and I distorted their records—but anyone who would call me a bad person just doesn’t understand—I felt really bad about it.

(4) How do you reconcile Romney’s appeal to the sufferings of fund managers who engineer layoffs to benefit investors at the expense of workers with Romney’s repeated promise “to fight for every job”:

[...] [Romney:] “You’ve seen it here, in furniture. You’ve seen the textile industry, where Washington watched, saw the jobs go and go,” the Republican presidential contender told a group of senior citizens at the Sun City Hilton Head Retirement Center.

“I’m not willing to declare defeat on any industry where we can be competitive. I’m going to fight for every job,” Romney said […]

Answer: You can’t. The two positions cannot be reconciled.

Back to the credulous Conroy:

Throughout the campaign, Romney has touted his success in the consulting and venture capital fields in contrast to the “lifelong politicians” in the race. But yesterday, Mike Huckabee alluded to a negative impact of Romney’s days at Bain Capital, as the former Arkansas governor continues to brandish his own brand of economic populism.

“And I would also suggest one needs to look very carefully at what exactly the business record is,” Huckabee said. “If it’s taking companies who are in serious trouble, buying them when they are in pain, selling off their assets, and then making a huge profit off of it, that’s not something a lot of Americans can relate to, except those who have lost their jobs because of those kinds of transactions. If that’s the turnaround, there are a lot of Americans who would really not like to see their own lives turned around quite like that” [...]

Yes. We have harped on these finely tuned strings for a long, long time:

Back to the credulous Conroy:

[...] “If you haven’t changed and improved the way you provide your product to the marketplace, your competitor will, and ultimately you’ll be gone,” Romney said. “Constant improvement, constant change is called for. And that’s where I spent my life, where you have, in the private sector” [...]

Here is the problem: the marketplace operates according to different rules than the state. Citizens have a right to expect continuity from the decisions and operations of a state. Citizens also have a right to expect continuity from their elected officials. For example, Romney’s sudden conversion to the notion of Washington supervising industry, here neatly summarized and commented upon by the estimable Daniel Larison:

[...] There is a developing conventional wisdom that Mitt Romney primarily appeals to and represents “economic conservatives” within the Republican coalition, a view that has not been shaken very much by the candidate’s interventionist promises to quintuple government spending on technology research to benefit Michigan’s battered auto industry. Romney backers seem to be unfazed by this, just as his record of signing universal, government-mandated health care into law did not deter them from labeling him sound on economic and fiscal policy, but among those not already declared for the former governor, Romney’s latest round of telling his audience whatever they wanted to hear has gone over very badly.

Romney must be one of the first Republican candidates ever to be likened to a Soviet premier on account of his economic proposals [...]

[...] There are two things particularly striking about Romney’s appeal to Washington for the solution to Michigan’s economic woes. The first is that Romney has partly built his “transformation” campaign around the argument that the federal government has been overspending, but has vowed to increase spending within the “first 100 days” in a transparent (and successful) effort to buy votes in Michigan—his own fortune is no longer sufficient to buy supporters, so now he must draw on our money as well. The second, more telling problem is that Romney embodies not only the image of corporate America, but also possesses the mentality and ideology of the free-trading globalists who policies have worked to reduce manufacturing in Michigan and across the Midwest and the country to its present state. Even if Romney’s proposals were sincere (doubtful) and even if they were efficacious (unlikely) in ameliorating some of the damage of broader trade policy, he has stated that he has every intention of pushing for additional free-trade agreements and exacerbating the causes of de-industrialization and job losses. It is therefore all the more disturbing that someone who embraces the policies that have contributed to the economic ravaging of his home state can win over a plurality of voters based on little more than sentiment and promises to make them more dependent on the government that has failed them [...]

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Romney leads in the delegate count, but I think this weekend’s results show astounding weakness in the candidate who was supposed to be the most electable conservative in the race,” writes Jonahtan Andler in an NRO The Corner blog burst titled Is Romney Viable?

Consider two things: 1) Romney spent $4 million and 22 days in South Carolina, and still finished behind Fred. 2) Romney has not one any seriously contested constest. Nevada? Wyoming? Please. Where Romney has made a major investment (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina) he has failed. Michigan? No other candidate made a comparable investment or effort to winning the state, so I’m not sure that helps the case.What’s Romney’s problem? For many folks (my self included), it is a perceived insincerity. I too often get the sense that Romney is saying what he thinks folks want to hear instead of what he believes. It isn’t just the “evolution” of his views, it is also the small things: The small, subtle exaggerations that arise when Romney is trying to ingratiate himself with various groups. (Remember Romney the life-long hunter?) The blatant pandering to the auto industry in Michigan in a way that suggests some very unconservative views. Romney’s MBA style does not help much here, as it reinforces the perception of Romney as someone who solves problems without much regard to underlying ideological principle [...]

Yuh-huh. We concur. However: what impresses us are the numbers: US$4 million and 22 days, numbers consistent with every other contest that Romney has participated in, win or lose. Romney always-always draws the most pitiable ROI for his massive expenditures.

When Adler generalizes from his own perceptions we are sympathetic but less impressed. Yes, Romney excites our gag reflex too. But so did Pres. Clinton and he served two full terms. Our gag reflex is an unrealiable predictor. And so, we assume, is Adler’s.

The non-Evangelicals at the astroturfing flak-claque fraud-blog preposterously titled Evangelicals for Mitt issue this painfully honest rejoinder:

“Governor Romney did best in Michigan, the biggest and most urbanized of the major early states,” writes Charles Mitchell in a blog burst titled THE GOOD PROFESSOR MISFIRES

Now, ask yourself this question: Which of those states most closely resembles the battles to come? Unquestionably it’s Michigan. If you compare the size (big) and demographics (diverse) of Florida to any of these other places, Michigan’s the only reasonable answer. And then after Florida we have February 5th — where there are numerous contests across the country.

Florida, California, New York etc., resemble Michigan to the degree that they are big and urban? This is the point?

In both cases — Florida and February 5th — the candidates simply are not going to be able to reach most voters one-on-one (Senator McCain’s specialty) or prevail by appealing to a select set of religious believers (Governor Huckabee’s only recourse). They are going to have to do a lot of TV and use messages that resonate with a lot of people. That’s Governor Romney’s strength, and Michigan is the proof. He didn’t win there on account of his dad — if you look at the exit polls, he actually lost among the older voters who’d actually remember George Romney’s 1960s governorship. He won because he reached a huge number of voters on a topic they care about (the economy) with a message that was both conservative and forward looking (a.k.a. non-Huckabeean).

Retail (F2F) politics—as in the early primaries—is no longer possible let alone practicable, argues Mitchell. Targeting select demographics or communities of interest—Evangelicals, home-schoolers—is no longer as feasible, nor will it be as effective, he continues. In other words, expect less dialog (with voters and voter groups in shared spaces or various fora), and more dissemination (to the masses through media channels).

So: broadcast media become dominant in these later primaries, e.g. television.

This line is reasonable on its face.

This is the argument that interests us, yet another variation on the dejected, and despairing theme of “the voters will default to Romney!”

Those who — like Professor Adler — don’t think Governor Romney can connect with primary voters are misjudging this race. This isn’t 2000, 1996, 1992, or any of the other recent campaigns — where you won by doing well in a large number of diners early on. That happened, but it didn’t prove decisive. Given that, we’re now in a different type of campaign — one where the primary weapons are broad-based, public appeals. And we’re also now at the stage of the campaign where the options available to conservatives who don’t want to find themselves making a choice in November between two people who might have been on the Democratic ticket in 2004 — Senators Clinton and McCain — are narrowing. As things start to settle, I think they’ll like what they see — mainly on TV, and addressing the range of issues we care about — from Governor Romney [...]

Follow the argument—we have paraphrased it, and enumerated the points, for clarity:

(1) Those who think Romney cannot connect with primary voters have misjudged this race.

(2) This is not like earlier races where you win by visiting lots of diners—Romney did this, but it did not prove decisive

(3) Given that we’re not in one of these earlier races, we’re now in a different kind of campaign (?)

(4) In this new kind of campaign the weapons are broad-based, public appeals

(5) And we’re at a stage in this new kind of campaign where the options for conservatives are growing fewer.

(6) As things start to settle [become more coherent? intelligible?] people will like what they see on television, and what they will see on television is Romney addressing the issues that they care about.

Mitchell’s conclusion as we understand it: Whether Romney can connect with voters or not will not decide the primaries. (Mitchell clearly assumes that Romney cannot connect with voters, otherwise we presume he would argue the point and provide evidence, but he doesn’t.) Other factors obtain: the size of the states, the sprawling urban battlegrounds, the nationally dispersed scope of the contests. So Romney need not connect with anyone in the concrete; he need only do so in the abstract. He need only connect with a television camera and say what people want to hear, as in Michigan.

Romney will prevail as he passes into the distributed and abstracted form of a talking-head, available only behind the prophylactic of a glowing screen.

Is the converse also true?—i.e. As a flesh-and-blood creature Romney loses. We would answer yes, and here is where we agree most heartily with Mitchell’s grim and despairing reasoning.

Problems with Mitchell’s line of argument:

(a) Romney’s use of television has delivered a wildly low ROI even where Romney has won. And Romney’s saturation tactics have more often than not backfired on the candidate. Question: Has Romney learned how to use the medium effectively in so short a time? Was Michigan a special case? Perhaps, perhaps not. See:

Zogby: “Iowan Republicans may have long ago grown tired of Mr. Romney’s ubiquitous presence. ‘You can advertise too much,’ he said. ‘People get tired of seeing the same old face, and he went negative. Iowans didn’t like it’”

(b) Romney’s message to Michigan was clearly and distinctly not just non-conservative, but counter-conservative. See:

Will Romney follow or develop this model? And: how much will it cost the US treasury if he does?

(c) And isn’t it odd that the chief argument emitted by Romney supporters is always “When Republicans have no choices, Republicans will choose Romney!” Here would be our favorite example:

Bopp’s argument according to Cillizza: “You might like Huckabee best but he can’t win. So, vote for the guy—Romney—you like second best”

(d) What about the South? What does SC predict for Romney in the South?

What Mitchell leaves unsaid is that Romney is a fabulously wealthy self-funder who has already squandered upwards of US$20 million on his own campaign: he is on the only candidate disposed to take full advantage of the new terrain as Mitchell describes it, as he is the only candidate with the money—his own—to pay for the expensive television ad buys. This is yet another aspect of Romneyism.

For the record: We predict that Romney wins the GOP nomination, but at tremendous cost to himself and, especially, the GOP. Our conclusion: Romney is viable only because the GOP is not. Think of Romney like a carrion beetle. A healthy organism only need crush it like a bug. A sick organism, on the other hand …

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Here be his imperious aloofness, Willard Milton Romney himself, from a Romney campaign press release titled Governor Romney Addresses His Victory In Nevada And His Strategy To Strengthen The Economy

[...] “In the last week, that means that two of the battleground states have come out strongly for our campaign.

They’ve heard our message of change.

They’ve heard our message that Washington is broken, that we need to have the kind of change that will solve America’s problems.

Remarks:

Note what the hapless candidate thematizes (see our post script for what we mean by theme): “two battle ground states,” which gets pronominalized as “they” who heard our message of change etc., and “they” who heard our message that Washington is broke etc.

Note what the hapless candidate rhematizes: our campaign, and various messages.

The emphases are ours. Themes we have bolded.

Translation: We issued a message. Two battle ground states heard and agreed.

Michigan is Romney’s home state. Or one of his home states, and he promised Michigan voters a US$20 billion dollar bail out, only Romney wants to call it a “work out,” combined with a Washington-US automobile industry “partnership.”

Nevada was uncontested.

South Carolina, Romney’s first contest in a southern state, decided for Sen. McCain. Ominously, despite huge media buys that go back for months, despite having spent US$4 million (well in excess of any of his rivals), despite having camped out in the Palmetto State for 22 days, Romney came in fourth—fourth.

Back to Romney:

We won the primary together in Michigan, and we won this caucus process in Nevada.

Remarks:

An elaboration by way of specification. Romney now specifies which states (NV and MI) and by what processes (a primary and a caucus).

Note the abrupt change in point of view (POV), from “they” to “we.”

The “we” becomes the theme.

Back to Romney:

And if we were lucky enough to win Michigan and Nevada, that [combined victory] would be a pretty clear indication, in November of ’08 that is, that [combined victory] would be a pretty clear indication we were going on to win the White House.

Remarks:

Suddenly Romney shifts to a subjunctive mood and issues an if-then conditional clause.

If we were lucky enough?—Apparently we were lucky enough.

We only have one other state that would be keythat’s the state we happen to be in right now, which is Florida.

Remarks:

Florida.

Everything hinges on the sunshine state. Formerly all hopes rested on New Hampshire. Then it was surmised that Michigan would decide the issue of the GOP nomination. Then South Carolina. Now it is Florida.

The anticedent of that’s—the theme of the second clause is key, as in “the other state that would be key.”

South Carolina has disappeared.

If you can win those two states – Michigan and Nevada – it’d mean you’ve put together quite a coalition and have been able to make the kind of inroads you have to make to take the White House.

Remarks:

This line puzzles us. Note the shift in point of view from we to you. If you—that is, you being anyone?—if “one” can do x, then one has done “y”? Is this like a box that you need to check, an item on a to-do list?

The “you”—we would argue—is not “you” the listener. The “you” appears to be rival campaigns, or any campaign, or any hypothetical campaign that can win Michigan and Nevada.

This line repeats like a refrain the earlier if-then proposition of a Nevada and Michigan win only it attaches to a more elaborated conclusion: this “indicates” not simply the White House, this indicates that have developed a “coalition” that can “make the kind of inroads you have to make” to win the White House.

Yeah, only Romney has no coalition. He had tried to fashion himself the heir of the Reagan coalition with no success. 

He has no natural base.

His wins in MI and NV earned him nothing in SC.

It’s huge for us and we’re very, very pleased [...]

Remark:

We shift back again to “us,” to “we”.

Romney-oratory fascinates us. It is at once vapid and impoverished—like the prose version of a bulleted list—-yet almost dreamlike in its jarring shifts, strange associations, and jagged-edged dissonances, like the poetry of a file clerk.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S. The theme (or topic) of a sentence or clause is what a sentence or clause is about. It is often but not always the grammatical subject. The theme is usually given information.

The rheme (or object or predicate) of a sentence is the information that links to or elaborates on the theme. The rheme is usually new information.

“Ha-ha! Boy, that Rudy Giuliani, what a loser! Boy, did his strategy backfire! The man’s an afterthought! Barely got fourth place, barely ahead of Ron Paul, not expected to be much of a player in Michigan, not expected to be a player in South Carolina,” writes writes Jim Geraghty in a Campaign Spot blog burst titled Meanwhile, Down in Florida …

… he’s going to have to be desperate, and hope that in Florida he can… he can…

…he can, uh, keep his lead in Florida. Where he’s up, 24 percent to 19 percent for Huckabee, 19 percent for McCain, 13 percent for Romney, 8 percent for Thompson.

Where there are 57 delegates, winner take all; 114 delegates if the RNC doesn’t enforce the penalty.

Hmmmm [...]

Yuh-huh. We predicted all this—precisely this—weeks and weeks ago.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Romney continues to make the weirdest gaffes,” writes Anna Marie Cox for the Time-blog Swampland in a post titled Romney’s Imaginary Advisers

Yesterday, he told the Tampa Tribune that he was of the “the more, the merrier” mind when it comes to Cuban immigration,* at least, and then went further:

Romney said on matters dealing with Cuba, he depends on advice from prominent members of Florida’s Cuban American community, such as U.S. Reps. Lleana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, and Al Cardenas, a former state Republican chairman and one of Romney’s leading Hispanic supporters.

“At this stage none of them have suggested that we abandon that policy and develop a new one,” Romney said … etc.

Question: Is this a “weird gaff” or is this a simple lie? When does a lie become a gaff? Nota: Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Barlart deny that they ever advised Romney.

OTOH, it is probable that Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Barlart did advise Romney and that the two are too embarrassed to admit it. The ignominy of advising a figure like Romney can be too much for more delicate souls. Take for instance this hapless Harvard professor:

Romney advisor Mankiw attempts to distance himself from Romney—argues that advisors are responsible only for their advice

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Republican Rudy Giuliani has taken back the lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton in Florida, 46-43 percent, reversing her three-point margin of victory two weeks ago, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today,” reports the estimable Beth Reinhard for the MiamiHerald.com in a Naked Politics post titled Giuliani up this time in Florida

Giuliani gets 30 percent of the Republican vote, while John McCain has moved up to to 14 percent, tying Fred Thompson. Mitt Romney has dropped to 12 percent.

Not a good week for Mr. Romney. First he had the weekend from hell. Then the Tuesday from hell. Now he gets data that suggests that his ROI on his massive ad buys in Florida have crashed.

If only Team Romney had an effective turn-around manager on staff.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.





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