Posts Tagged ‘Giuliani’

“DUBUQUE, Iowa — At a gathering of the Iowa Christian Alliance here last night, James Bopp Jr., a leading social conservative activist and supporter of Mitt Romney’s presidential bid, said that a vote for any candidate other than Romney in next month’s Iowa caucuses was a de facto vote for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani,” writes Chris Cillizza in a post titled Romney Surrogate Pushes Anti-Rudy, Anti-Huckabee Messages for Wapo’s The Fix.

The last we heard from James Bopp he had come unglued because Sen. Brownback held talks with Mayor Giuliani. See:

Back to Cillizza, which rhymes with pizza.

“Either a conservative is going to emerge” with the financial and organizational power to take on Giuliani, predicted Bopp, or “Giuliani is going to be the nominee.”

Remarks:

(1) Bopp’s argument strikes us at first as deliberation—the loci of the preferable, this is preferable to that.

(2) Bopp’s argument, however, is not so much deliberation as it is ground and consequent, cause and effect, either x happens or y occurs; if not x, then y. Hence: a vote for anyone but “a conservative with financial and organizational power” is a vote for Mayor Giuliani.

(3) Herein lies the mystery:

(a) once again Romney or a Romney surrogate confronts us with a dissociation between the real and the apparent—your apparent vote for e.g. Gov. Huckabee is really a vote for Mayor Giuliani. Nothing in Romney’s world is as it appears. We explore Romney’s use of dissociation here:

Romney’s inflection point—the strange rhetoric of a troubled campaign

(b) Romney exists in this argument only in the negative. Bopp argues not for Romney (in a positive sense), but against Mayor Giuliani.

(4) About Bopp’s qualifiers, “a conservative with financial and organizational power”—this is laboratory pure expression of what we call Romneyism. Does Romney have money and has he built an organization? Clearly, yes. But: is Romney’s funding and organization a reliable index of Romney’s political fitness, of the breadth or depth of his following, of the clarity or power of his message? Absolutely not. Precisely not. In fact, given the appallingly low ROI that Romney gets for his every campaign dollar, precisely the opposite is the case—in other words, Romney’s bloated organization and frantic spending are an index of Romney’s peril and paralysis, not of his strength.

Romney has self-financed from his personal fortune at historic, unprecedented levels. So what Bopp is saying reduces to this: only a super-rich candidate can overturn Mayor Giuliani. For more on Romneyism see:

Romneyism: when a corrupt and disconnected party establishment recruits the rich and the super-rich to subsidize its non-performance

Back to Cillizza.

Bopp’s rhetoric was aimed not just at Giuliani but also at former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who has made up considerable ground on Romney in recent week here in the Hawkeye State. “I love Mike Huckabee,” Bopp said, quickly adding: “Something I know for sure [is] he does not have the resources to compete.” Boiled down, Bopp’s argument is simple: You might like Huckabee best but he can’t win. So, vote for the guy—Romney—you like second best.

Translation: Hold your nose and vote Romney!

The call to practical thinking represents a major break with the past approach of social conservatives when it comes to picking a candidate. In cycles past many social conservatives threw their support behind candidates like Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer and even Rev. Pat Robertson — none of whom were seen as top tier contenders or were able to compete with those “A” list candidates financially.

Practical thinking? What Jimmy Bopp proposes is the antithesis of practical thinking. Yes, Bopp argues on pragmatic grounds for a compromise solution, i.e. to vote for Romney. But why? Only because Romney can win—not because of who Romney is or what he can offer, but because he can win. Bopp is appealing to our partisan zeal, not to any notion of precedent, presumption, or practical reason.

Back to Cillizza:

Bopp’s argument seems to suggest that times are changing. Romney’s past positions on abortion and gay rights are clearly not in keeping with the base of the party but he has now brought himself into line with those views as he pursues the presidency. Giuliani has not — making the strategic calculation that being seen as a flip-flopper is more detrimental to his chances at the nomination than being pro-abortion rights. (He’s also managed to win the support of some leading social conservatives including Robertson himself.)

In his own remarks at the event last evening, Romney shied away from mentioning either Huckabee or Giuliani by name, choosing instead to deliver his standard stump speech with a special focus on the importance of preserving America’s culture. “Culture makes all the difference,” Romney said, adding that he was “pro-life and pro-family” — an assertion that was interrupted by applause from the assembled attendees … etc.

Say what? Is Romney pro-life again? See:

Kornacki: Not the first time Romney has changed public position on abortion

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“It’s getting increasingly hard for Mitt Romney to stick to the script about his record,” writes the estimable Jennifer Rubin for the New York Observer in an article titled A Bad Fight for Mitt Romney

As he traveled through chilly New Hampshire on his post-Thanksgiving campaign tour, he found himself in a toe-to-toe fight with Rudy Giuliani about their respective records.

This is particularly dangerous territory for the Romney campaign.

In broad strokes, Mr. Romney should be happy to tout his executive experience – which he contends Hillary Clinton and many of his opponents sorely lack – as a business executive, Olympics chairman and Governor. But the details of his Massachusetts record are problematic, especially in New Hampshire, where many voters are Massachusetts transplants or live within the Boston media market. Indeed, the more specific the arguments get, the worse they are for Mr. Romney.

The problems start with his immigration stance … The Annenberg Center’s factcheck.org confirmed that Mr. Romney’s plan was a last-minute gambit that never went into effect and that he had a handful of his own sanctuary cities. The result: his latest immigration ad mentions neither issue.

Likewise he has been challenged on his economic record. Mr. Romney contends he “never raised” taxes and balanced the budget despite a liberal legislature. However, that provided an opportunity for the Giuliani campaign to talk about Mr. Romney’s “C” rating from the CATO institute, his failure to deliver on his promised reduction of state income taxes and his efforts to raise revenue by “closing loopholes” in the tax code.

Most troublesome for Mr. Romney is his record on healthcare. Mr. Romney trumpeted his record of achieving near universal healthcare with “no taxes.” Mr. Giuliani and other Republican rivals responded by pointing out that the “no tax” plan sounded quite a bit like Hillary Clinton’s health care plan and included fines on businesses and individuals who did not comply with the mandate to buy insurance. Meanwhile, Fred Thompson and other pro-life rivals were more than happy to highlight another feature of Mr. Romney’s healthcare plan: subsidized abortion services.

And this weekend, Mr. Giuliani seized on a Romney-appointed judge’s decision to release a convicted murder (who proceeded to kill a newlywed couple) as an opportunity to label his rival as weak on crime. Mr. Giuliani produced FBI crime statistics to argue that murders went up over 7 percent during Mr. Romney’s tenure. Mr. Romney shot back that crime rates overall decreased (by over 8 percent). But still, comparing crime-reduction records with Rudy Giuliani is surely an activity the Romney campaign will want to move on from as quickly as possible … etc., etc.

In an NRO The Corner post, Andy McCarthy comments on Romney’s bitter and personal attacks on Mayor Giuliani:

… I am a declared Rudy guy who likes Mitt, so I’m not enjoying the cross-fire. But after reading Byron’s piece, I gotta say I’m surprised — and offended — that Mitt claims voters are worried about a candidate who has “been married more than once.”

Like Ronald Reagan, I’ve been married twice. So have a lot of people. It’s to his great credit and good fortune that Mitt found the right person at a young age and has obviously enjoyed an enduring, wonderful marriage. But, y’know, Bill Clinton’s only been married once, too. Does Mitt really think there is upside in playing this game? I think he’s gonna turn off many more people than he’ll appeal to. It’s not the sort of thing people base their vote on, but I liked him less after reading it than I did before …

Also see:

Mayor Giuliani: “Romney fail[ed] as governor of Massachusetts to lower taxes, [failed to] fight illegal immigration, and [failed to] stand by politically tarnished allies and friends”

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dr. g.d.

“HAMPTON, N.H. — Mayor Giuliani is attacking his closest rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, for failing as governor of Massachusetts to lower taxes, fight illegal immigration, and stand by politically tarnished allies and friends,” writes SETH GITELL for the New York Sun in an article titled Mayor Giuliani Attacks Romney on Record as Mass. Governor

Mr. Giuliani embarked on two-day bus tour across the Granite State over the weekend as a political controversy surrounding Mr. Romney rippled across New England.Prosecutors in Washington State have charged Daniel Tavares Jr. — who was freed in July by a Massachusetts Superior Court judge appointed by Mr. Romney, Kathe Tuttman — in connection with the murder of Brian and Beverly Mauck. The story has played out on the front page of a local tabloid, the Boston Herald, whose reach extends into the voter-rich districts of southern New Hampshire, where Mr. Giuliani campaigned yesterday.

On Saturday, Mr. Giuliani told the Associated Press that Mr. Romney would “have to explain his appointment” … etc.

Remarks:

Why does Mayor Giuliani call out Romney directly when Romney himself couches his bitter attacks on Mayor Giuliani in expressions of friendship and affection (see here)? Because he can. Mayor Giuliani’s negatives are far lower and he is a nationally respected figure in his own right, apart from the primary process.Can Mayor Giuliani win NH? Probably not. But he doesn’t need to. The Giuliani campaign’s task at this stage, pre-Florida, is simply to further diminish Romney’s ROI for his every campaign dollar by

(a) placing NH back into play such that Romney must spend more and more money to defend his lead; see:

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]”

(b) raising Romney’s already ultra-high negatives

Giuliani’s strategy? See here:

how hizzoner brings the fight to Romney—Romney caught in a punic pincer

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dr. g.d.

“With rival Rudy Giuliani also spending the weekend in the Granite State, Mitt Romney called the former New York mayor a ‘friend,’ but said he said he ‘left a bit of a problem’ in New York City by leaving a three billion dollar deficit,” writes the cerebral and remote Sareena Dalla, the New Hampshire Producer for CNN, in an article for the CNN Political Ticker titled Romney attacks Giuliani’s fiscal record

“Mayor Giuliani is a friend of mine, I think he is a good man, the former Massachusetts governor said. “And I know he did a good job as mayor of New York City, but on spending and fiscal matters, they left a bit of a problem there, because when he came in, there was a budget gap, but when he left, he left a budget gap twice as big as the one he inherited – over three billion dollars” … etc.

Note the sniveling language: “Mayor Giuliani is a friend of mine, I think he is a good man.” Recent events have taught Team Romney the painful lesson that their their candidate’s ultra-high negatives and cold, remote demeanor will not support a negative message. Their solution—strangely, unbelievably—is to couch their bitter attacks in expressions of friendship and affection, a gesture redolent of a mafiosi kiss of death.

But what about Romney’s record?

“Anti-tax advocates are scrutinizing Mitt Romney’s (R) record as governor of Massachusetts and focusing on the fact that he increased fees in the state by $500 million and proposed nearly $400 million in business tax increases,” writes Alexander Bolton in a thehill.com release titled Romney’s tax record gets a closer look

This could erode whatever advantage on tax policy he hopes to have over 2008 presidential rivals such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (R).

The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, published a fiscal-policy report card for 2006 that gave Romney a C grade, ranking him behind 11 other governors, including Democratic White House hopeful Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico.

Cato found that Romney increased annual state fees by $500 million as governor and proposed two corporate tax increases totaling close to $400 million a year.

When he took office, Romney faced a budget deficit of $3.2 billion, which he eliminated. He did not hike personal income or sales taxes. He is now highlighting his efforts to cut Massachusetts’s income tax rate from 5.3 percent to 5 percent and his successful shepherding of a $250 million capital gains tax refund through the Democrat-dominated state legislature.

But he increased fees for getting married, buying a house, bringing a case to court, and using a public golf course, to name a few reported examples. However, in a move that could prove controversial with social conservatives, Romney decided not to raise fees for convicted sex offenders. He vetoed a $75 fee for offenders required by law to register with the state.

“Romney’s people are trying to spin this by saying he kept his ‘No new taxes’ pledge,” said Stephen Slivinski, director of budget studies at Cato. “I guess if you consider only personal income taxes and sales taxes, he’s within bounds. If you take a broader view, he is not.

“The spirit of [anti-tax pledges] is to force governors to find more innovative ways of funding government,” he added. “If the spirit is to save money before you increase revenues, I don’t think Romney has held to the spirit of the no-new-tax pledge.”

Slivinski said he based his report on publications by Tax Analysts, a non-partisan group that tracks state and federal tax activity, and by the National Conference of State Legislatures … etc.

Also see:

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dr. g.d.

“Romney has a flip-flopping, character, and authenticity problem,” writes the estimable eye of eyeon08.com in a speculative discursus titled Questions that Remain

But someone is going to have to actually buy gross rating points to move this message. Who? Rudy has the resources, but is probably saving them for later. And, in any case, both Mike Huckabee and Thompson are only relevant if Romney fails. The incentives are there.

Sixth, Huckabee’s performance at the Value Voters summit seems to have reshaped the moral conservative field. The contrast between his authenticity and Romney’s phoniness seems to have stopped Romney’s forward momentum among the interest group leaders here. But can he execute? Attacks on Romney’s credibility and religion only get so far without GRPs. But … if no one else really contests Iowa, is there any chance that Huckabee could out-perform Romney? I mean… if that were really the ballot choice (yeah, I know, it isn’t a ballot), doesn’t Huckabee win?… etc., etc.

The emphasis is ours, all ours.

We disagree—humbly, respectfully disagree as eye is most definitely our superior in all things political. We would argue that it wasn’t Huckabee so much as an overreaching Romney who discomfited Romney at the so-called value voters summit, and halted the shambling Romney machine dead in its tracks. See:

This is no special case, we would contend. Romney has overreached, overextended, and grossly over-invested everywhere—for yet another example see: Romney poised to fail in Iowa no matter what the outcome. This is Romney’s way. This is Romney’s pattern. The man has no sense of proportion. Our conclusion: no one needs to lift a finger or utter even a whisper to solve the Romney problem. No one needs to soil their shirt sleeves or stain their hands. It will fall to Romney himself to take out Romney. This is our prediction.

Romney’s most dangerous rival is—and always has been—Romney.

We explain why here—poised to fail: Team Romney’s over-reliance on instruments of direct influence and its consequences 

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dr. g.d.

Read about it on Mark Halperin’s The Page.

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dr. g.d.

“Sensing weakness, Sen. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani have formed an unspoken alliance to try to torpedo Mitt Romney just as many voters are tuning in to the Republican presidential race,” writes the estimable if a little too literary Mike Allen in a politico post titled Romney gets joint drubbing; Mitt Romney is fighting off assaults from both Rudy Giuliani and John McCain.

“I’m not going to con you,” McCain said Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” when asked about Romney. “It’s important to be honest with people.”

The two are teaming up at a time when the heat is escalating in both nominating contests. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) started attacking Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) by name last week after resisting for months in the service of his “new kind of politics.”

On the Republican side, Romney must figure out how to retain his strength in Iowa and New Hampshire now that loyal Republicans are hearing a lot more about him than the soothing messages they were getting from his heavy schedule of television commercials.

McCain has been running a mostly positive race, even refusing at one point to read a text by his aides that included attacks on Clinton. So his joint barrage with Giuliani is enough of a departure that it is even sparking GOP speculation about whether they might form a future ticket.

The two are friends and Giuliani said that if he weren’t running, he’d support the senator from Arizona. If Giuliani were the nominee, though, he’d need someone to help him turn out the Republican base, and McCain wouldn’t be much help there.

Romney aides see they are facing a fight and are pushing back hard. Kevin Madden, Romney’s national press secretary, said: “Other campaigns will flail about and try and attempt to launch angry attacks on us, and we’re prepared for that.”

“Angry” is aimed at one of Giuliani’s big vulnerabilities – his volatile temperament and the mixed view that New Yorkers had of him when he was mayor. The Romney campaign plans to push that idea – at first subtly and perhaps later overtly – in coming daysetc., etc.

Kevin Madden!?—Giuliani can relax—the maddeningly inarticulate Kevin Madden is the singularly least successful “national press secretary” in the history of either secretaries or of a national press. Also: This is not the first time that the Romney people have expropriated Democrat talking points: “As this Peter J. Boyer report from August makes clear, there were a lot of New Yorkers who had problems with Giuliani by the time hizzoner left office,” writes Matthew Continetti in a Campaign Standard post titled Rudy’s Anger.

As the Allen report suggests, the Romney campaign seems to recognize this and is planning an attack on the grounds that Giuliani is “angry.”

Here’s the thing, though: Most of those New Yorkers who didn’t like Giuliani in 2001 were liberals who, once the mayor saved their city from them, were able to focus on those aspects of Rudy’s personality which they did not like. Those aspects of his personality, uncoincidentally, also allow him to achieve his desired results.

In other words: If Romney focuses on Giuliani’s “anger,” he once again will be borrowing rhetoric from the Democrats in order to bash a fellow Republican. It’s an audacious gambit. But is it necessarily the best strategy by which to win a Republican primary?etc., etc.

Does this argument work with Republicans?—do we value cold, bloodless, spineless, mindless drones.? Apparently the Romneys think we do. Hence: Romney.

Back to Allen’s Romney gets joint drubbing:

Giuliani and his campaign moved ruthlessly to capitalize on Romney’s statement in last week’s debate that a president should “sit down with your attorneys” in deciding whether congressional authorization was needed to strike Iran.

In a post-debate interview, Giuliani made sport of Romney. “That’s one of those moments in a debate where you say something and you go like this,” Giuliani told ABC’s Jake Tapper, cupping his hand over his mouth — ” ‘Wish I can get that one back.’ “

The former Massachusetts governor, trying to regain his footing, went on the offensive Friday in Sparks, Nev., saying: “Conservatives that have heard me time and again recognize that I do speak for the Republican wing of the Republican Party,” Romney said. That was an echo of a crowd-pleasing 2004 line by Howard Dean that he represented the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party”etc., etc.

That line went over brilliantly. See:

Romney gets owned by Ron Paul at Conservative Leadership Conference; defeated decisively in straw poll despite fawning in-person appeal to the crowd—also, Romney riffs on a line by Howard Dean and gets lashed and lampooned by DNC and other GOP candidates

VDS comments on Mike Allen’s reportage in Reply #: 2, Date: Oct. 15, 2007 – 8:39 AM EST:

Aside from the fact that most of what Rudy and McCain are saying about Mitt is true, this is a wise strategy. Romney’s poll numbers are stuck in the tank with no sign of improving, however much of his own money he spends. But he is a major distraction and a potential harm to the eventual nominee. Rudy needs to dispense with him quickly in order to further establish himself as the frontrunner. McCain needs to pick up major support ahead of the Thompson campaign’s pending collapse. (Where is he hiding anyway?) Romney is a mean-spirited fraud without credibility as a Republican. The sooner he is out, the better for everyone.

We concur. Emphasis ours.

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dr.g.d.

Kevin McCullough reacts to Mark DeMoss’s letter, in an Evangelicals for Mitt post titled, without a trace of irony, “GREATER MORAL CLARITY”

However, having said that should the choice come down to it as a contest of Mitt v. Rudy – responsible Christians HAVE to vote Mitt. Simply because he has greater moral clarity than Rudy. And while Rudy may in fact be willing to bomb Iran if the need arises, I believe Mitt would too – but with a greater moral code in place – Mitt’s basis for such a decision would be with less question than a man who has had less than absolute integrity in his marriage(S), on the issue of innocent life, on the issue of marriage, and whether or not we even have the right to own guns to defend ourselvesmore

Charles Mitchell correctly describes the McCullough excerpt as a “reaction”—it certainly isn’t a reflection or an instance of reason.

Here is McCullough’s argument:

[grounds] Because he has greater moral clarity than Rudy

[qualifier] should the choice come down to a contest of Mitt v. Rudy -

[conclusion] responsible Christians HAVE to vote Mitt

McCullough bases his conclusion on a distinction that, strangely, results in no practical difference:

  1. Rudy may in fact be willing to bomb Iran if the need arises,
  2. I believe Mitt would too – but with a greater moral code in place -
  3. Mitt’s basis for such a decision would be with less question than a man who has had less than
  • absolute integrity in his marriage(S),
  • on the issue of innocent life,
  • on the issue of marriage,
  • and whether or not we even have the right to own guns to defend ourselves.

So: both Romney and Rudy would, presumably, bomb Iran—there is no practical difference in result. But Romney would bomb Iran with “greater moral clarity.”

That make sense, right?—yeah, well, um, no—The withering “Well, so what!?” question springs to mind—does ordnance released with “greater moral clarity” leave deeper smoking craters?—but even if we were to accept this risible non-argument on its face, the sad fact is that Romney has demonstrated absolutely no clarity on the issue of Iraq, moral or otherwise. See:

Nor has Romney demonstrated “absolute integrity”—whatever that is—on the issues of marriage, innocent life, or guns.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

The intrepid eye of eyeon2008.com responds to an email message from a reader in a post titled Evangelical leaders moving towards Romney? Not so much.

The writer of the email message is responding to Ralph Z Hallow’s article about Romney in today’s Washington Times. Hallow claims that Bauer and Perkins—two Evangelical “leaders”—are now emitting noise that sounds distinctly pro-Romney.

Using only his thumbs and an iPhone, eye text-messaged the Perkins’ Family Research Council for clarification. They quickly messaged him back, as, apparently, they have lots of free time on their hands:

“We are not moving away from Huckabee or toward Romney …

We just want to reiterate that Giuliani is a disaster … He will destroy the coalition among conservatives. Asking us to accept him as the nominees, is like asking fiscal conservatives to accept a candidate who wants to return to the tax rates of the pre-Reagan era”more

Translation: We—the FRC—are blithering idiots—that is to say, knuckle-dragging rubes—who want the right to veto the more general will of the conservative movement. Further translation: We want to be king-makers, and the only candidate so far willing to surrender all human dignity, to bow and scrape the dust at our feet, has been Willard Milton Romney in the stately role of Henry IV. (Paris vaut bien une messe, intones Romney the Risible as he transforms himself into the caricature of a conservative.)

“We just want to reiterate” that Tony Perkins has completely sold out.

Hey, Perkins. Here is a question for you: What do you get when you demand that candidates grovel?—answer: you get a candidate who grovels, you super-genius—i.e. you get a formless apparition like Willard Milton Romney. Now, ask yourself, is that what you really want? Here is the problem, Perkins: What if we find ourselves in a crisis and we really need, you know, a leader, and not a belly-crawling ideological cross-dresser?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“‘That’s a phony issue,’ Romney told reporters,” as reported by an anonymous retailer of facts and sparkling wit for abcnews.com’s blog Political Radar in a post titled More Rudy-Romney back and forth

Romney continues: “I’d make a decision based on the safety of the American people. But of course we’d also check to make sure what our legal and constitutional responsibilities are, that’s why we swear an oath of office.”

“But if there’s anybody with a propensity to go to lawsuits . . . it’s the mayor,” Romney continued. “The Mayor’s the one who sued Governor Pataki to keep the commuter tax in place. It’s the mayor who sued the government of the United States over the line item veto. The mayor’s the one who shows the propensity to want to put in place a legal tax. . . . He’s been the one suing. Suing on the line item veto, suing on the commuter tax. . . . I think he also brought a suit to try and keep the federal welfare law from applying to the city of New York.”

Summed up Romney: “he gets first place when it comes to suing and lawyering.”

In response, Giuliani campaign communications director Katie Levinson, issued a statement saying, “hopefully, Mitt Romney isn’t going to check with the same group of lawyers who told him the Bill Clinton line item veto was constitutional” more

Observation: Romney has gone negative—and he’s angry—well, he’s always angry. He’s also gotten himself wrangled in a tit-for-tat contest of attrition with a more intelligent, more agile player. The problem for Romney: his negatives are way, way higher than Giuliani’s. We explore that issue here:

Romney’s “gotta-call-my-laywer” response to the Iran question object of scorn, derision, and belly-laughs among other GOP candidates—how will Romney respond?

Even Romney’s own supporters realize the campaign-killing insanity of attacking Giuliani. Example: A tedious and tired David French issues a veiled warning to the Romneys in an Evangelicals for Mitt post titled third party?

… Here at EFM we have long considered Rudy to be far more of a threat to capture the nomination than John McCain or Fred Thompson. He’s a great campaigner. He shines in the debates, he has all the right enemies (the New York left just hates the guy), since 9/11 he’s cornered the market on public perceptions of effective leadership in the face of horrific terror, and there’s a deep reservoir of affection for him. Cold-blooded political consultants have long discounted the power of the visceral bond he formed with much of America on the afternoon of September 11, 2001. And those kinds of bonds matter in politics.

The challenge for Governor Romney is to persuade the ordinary American voter that they can love and respect Rudy for all that he did . . . and still vote for someone else. You don’t beat Rudy by trashing him. You beat him by presenting a better alternative
more [Emphasis ours]

Events have proven that Romney was not equal to this challenge either—the simple challenge of not self-immolating. Question: Has there been a challenge yet that Romney could meet on its own terms? We mean, a challenge that could not be met with a personal check drawn on Romney’s personal funds?

Some are trying to spin the dispute as a Rudy-Romney passion play, i.e. as dispute in which the parties enjoy a certain moral equivalence, e.g. Justin Hart’s race42008.com post strangely titled The Rudy-Romney Shadow, in which Hart, a Romney partisan, quotes approvingly the Thompson campaign:

Yesterday, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani continued their partisan bickering, this time over things like the constitutionality of the line item veto.  While they played politics, Fred Thompson rose above it and took his conservative, small government, tax cutting message straight to the American people more

This argument allows Romney supporters to claim that Romney stands at the same level as the former mayor. Only he doesn’t—the two parties are not equal, and they will not be perceived as equal. To demonstrate, let us ask the same question in different terms: When people hear the name Giuliani they think of the courage and heroism of New York and New Yorkers on 9.11 and in its aftermath—or they think of how NYC became livable during his tenure as NYC’s mayor. When people hear the name Romney—if they have ever heard of him at all—they think of gay marriage. Question: So who do you think is going to win this dispute?—or, more to the point: who does Romney or his crack staff of hirelings and hangers-on think is going to win this dispute? Conclusion: Team Romney desperately needs some adult supervision.

The maddeningly inarticulate Kevin Madden—Romney’s chief helper-monkey in times of distress—had better immediately issue lots of conciliatory noise about the former mayer of NYC and about how much the Romneys respect his years of public service etc., etc.—and he had better do so before the next news-cycle.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.





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