Posts Tagged ‘McCain’
“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 days … etc., 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.
… “This is admittedly subjective, but Jonah Goldberg aptly summarized the way Romney often comes off in public by describing [Romney's] demeanor as, ‘What Do I Have to Do To Put You In This BMW Today?'” writes the estimable Dan McLaughlin in a not-to-be-missed Redstate post titled The Trouble With Mitt Romney (Part 1 of 5)
I’ll discuss the specifics in more detail later, but the broader issue is that Romney seems unconvincing as the conservative he is running as; his calculations seem too close to the surface.
When the race kicked off, with Rudy and McCain as the frontrunners and the second tier filled with unknowns and/or candidates with their own issues with the base (e.g., Huckabee on taxes, Brownback to some extent on immigration), there was an opportunity for a candidate to build a market niche as the sane, electable conservative. Romney, to the credit of his business instincts, jumped on that opportunity like a starving man on a sandwich. The problem is that that posture is just not consistent with Romney’s history of campaigning and governing as a moderate, pragmatic, non-ideological Northeastern Republican, and specifically with numerous stands he has taken in the very recent past. Now, a good businessman, or even a candidate running principally as a competent technocrat, can get away with running on what the public wants today rather than on principles. But Romney is running a fundamentally ideological campaign, and he is doing so all too transparently as a businessman pursuing an underserved market rather than as a true believer.
Romney’s air of slickness and phoniness manifests itself in a number of specific ways I will get into later in this series, but the overall effect is an even more pronounced than usual (for a politician) tendency to leave people feeling like he will say anything to get elected. Democrats have, justly, suffered for that perception in the last two presidential elections, and they are almost certainly nominating a candidate who is legendarily calculating (Bill Clinton, by contrast, was a master at faking sincerity; but Romney, like so many others in politics, lacks Clinton’s talents in this regard and would do well not to try to imitate him). Republicans, having successfully and appropriately attacked Gore and Kerry and most likely Hillary as well on this basis, cannot afford to run a candidate who comes off as a phony … more [Emphasis ours]
Question: Does anyone like phonies?
Excellent metaphor: Romney as a “businessman pursuing an underserved market.”
“One of President Bush’s closest advisers has a brutally candid analysis of the Republican nomination battle: Fred Thompson is the campaign’s “biggest dud,” Mitt Romney has “a real problem in the South” because people will not vote for a Mormon, Mike Huckabee’s last name is too hick and John McCain could end up repeating 2000 by winning New Hampshire but losing the nomination,” writes the estimable Peter Baker in a post to Wapo’s The Trail titled Bartlett on the GOP Field: A Hick, a “Dud” and a “Flip-Flopper”
[Bartlett's] judgment of Romney was only somewhat less negative [than his judgment of Fred Thompson]. While crediting the former Massachusetts governor with the “best strategy and organization” born out of his “business acumen,” Bartlett said “the flip-flopping on positions” stemmed from a miscalculation that the primary field would be more conservative than it proved to be. “They were trying to solidify his conservative credentials.” Bartlett added: “He’s getting a narrative in the national media as somebody that is too much trying to position himself, trying to hedge himself, almost too mechanical about the issues. Authenticity is going to be a very important principle in this campaign. And right now that?s their biggest danger” … more
You don’t have to be Dan Bartlett to figure this one out. We have harped upon the string of Romney’s ridiculous “miscalculation of the primary field” for weeks now:
- Romney outflanks himself (iii): the Romney mix of issues
- Romney tries to outbid Giuliani on tax-cuts and fails—again
- Romney outflanks himself yet again!–poll indicates Romney’s pull to the right alienates independents, centrists, and moderates
- analysis: Romney outflanks Romney
Back to Bartlett:
The flip-flopping issue, Bartlett added, provides an outlet for another big reason why Republican voters will not back Romney — his religion. “The Mormon issue is a real problem in the South, it’s a real problem in other parts of the country,” he said. “But people are not going to say it. People are not going to step out and say, ‘I have a problem with Romney because he’s Mormon.’ What they’re going to say is he’s a flip-flopper. … It’s a fact, it’s reality. I don’t know if it’s one that will keep him from becoming the nominee for the party but it’s something they clearly understand they’ve got to deal with.”
… The only top-tier candidate Bartlett did not criticize was Rudy Giuliani, whom he credited with the “best message,” particularly because the former New York mayor has kept his focus on attacking Democrats, not fellow Republicans, which serves as an effective distraction from his own liberal positions on guns, gays and abortion. “He’s doing it particularly with Hillary,” Bartlett said. “There’s headlines the other day. He wants to engage in this debate. And there’s a very practical aspect of it because if he’s engaged with the Democrats, he’s not engaged on … his own positions, whatever those that would not be very receptive in a typical Republican primary” … more
This is yet another string upon which we harp: Romney has no message. What he emits is often very angry noise. See:
- Romney’s inflection point—the strange rhetoric of a troubled campaign
- the Romney message in total flux—where is the real Romney amidst all the obfuscation and conflicting testimony?
- Romney airs nearly 10,000 TV spots yet he still sags, lags, and drags in the polls—yet more evidence of Romney’s strikingly low return on investment (ROI) for his every campaign dollar
- Romney has the most negative image at this point of any of the major candidates for president, claims Newport of USA Today’s GallupGuru; the Romney campaign’s death-by-internal-memo part (ii)
“Check out this analysis by Evan Tracey of TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG,” writes Chuck Todd with editorial assistance from the apt and precise Domenico Montanaro in an MSNBC FIRST READ: THE DAY IN POLITICS post titled Romney’s 10,000 TV spots
“Mitt Romney has aired nearly 10,000 TV spots since late February and spent close to $8 million dollars with a majority of his spending in Iowa and New Hampshire. He is now expanding this strategy to South Carolina and Florida. To date, John McCain has relied on some internet ads to drive organization and fundraising. In hopes of reviving his campaign in New Hampshire, he released his first TV commercial last week. Rudy Giuliani continues to build a Feb. 5 war chest and has used some radio ads and the web — and yes, the New York Times — to make some strategic points along the way” … more
Hence: Romney’s astonishing campaign money “burn rate”: Romney’s “burn rate” unsustainable; further evidence of Romney’s frighteningly low campaign dollar ROI.
Yet: despite the media saturation, Romney’s poll numbers—especially nationally—are all flabby, dimpled, sagging, and pear-shaped: Romney has the most negative image at this point of any of the major candidates for president, claims Newport of USA Today’s GallupGuru; the Romney campaign’s death-by-internal-memo part (ii).
And: the more cash Romney burns on super-expensive television media buys, the less return Romney gets on those media buys because, once again, Romney’s smooth face, preposterous hair, and garbled message have already reached a saturation point: Romney’s massive media expenditures less and less effective; more on Romney and the law of diminishing marginal returns on investment.
“One of the most regular and predictable behaviors on the part of political candidates and their handlers is the ritual of denying the importance of polls,” writes the estimable Frank Newport for USA Today’s GallupGuru in a post titled Romney and Obama campaign handlers: Ignore the polls!
That’s particularly true, of course, when the candidate is down in the polls. I wait each year for candidates to cry out on the stump: “The only poll that matters is on Election Day!”, as they warn supporters not to believe or not to pay attention to what the pollsters find.
We have a couple of these predictable examples in the last several days.
A strategy memorandum from Alex Gage of the Romney for President campaign found its way onto the Internet. The purpose of the memorandum appears to be an attempt to keep supporters’ spirits up in the face of pretty sour national poll numbers. (As Gallup Guru loyalists will know, Romney is lagging now in 4th place among Republican candidates, behind Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John McCain, and just a few points ahead of Mike Huckabee).
Gage says: “We also know there will be an endless stream of state and national polling and many in the media will also obsess over Gov. Romney’s standing in them.” And “…we will not be measuring ourselves through the lens of national polls and we do not expect to be competitive in them”. And “We should not expect him (Romney) to be competitive in national polls with better-known celebrity candidates like Giuliani, Thompson, or McCain until after Iowa and New Hampshire” … more
We commented on Gage’s desperate attempts to keep the few Romney supporters there are from breaking ranks and fleeing into the warm embrace of more viable, and less ethically questionable, candidates:
Back to Newport:
… It is of course true that the candidates’ standings in the polls can (and most probably will) change as the campaign progresses. Changing voters’ minds is the whole purpose of presidential campaigns, and the reason why candidates raise and spend millions of dollars on advertising and are now spending most of their waking lives making speeches in front of small crowds in rural towns in Iowa and New Hampshire.
So we have to grant Romney and Obama’s campaign strategists the point that their candidates’ relatively poor showing in the current national polling is not necessarily permanent. It can change. These two candidates can charge from behind to win.
But the national polls raise important questions for the Romney and Obama campaigns. It’s not as if these two have not been campaigning already. They are both in essentially full time campaign mode. And while most of their efforts have been spent in the early primary states, there has been intense and continuing national media news coverage of their efforts. Both have been all over national television, in newspaper coverage, and both have appeared on the cover of national news magazines.
Yet through all of this, they have barely moved the numbers among members of their party.
The national numbers must be particularly disappointing to the Romney campaign team. While Romney strategist Gage dismisses Giuliani, McCain and Thompson as “celebrity candidates”, it’s important to note that in fact Romney is at this point still better known that is Thompson nationwide, and Thompson’s name ID among Republicans is just 4 points higher than Romney. Yet Thompson gets 22% of the Republican vote in our latest survey compared to 7% for Romney.
A second disappointment for the Romney campaign that is difficult to dismiss is the fact that Romney has the most negative image at this point of any of the major candidates for president. Our mid-September poll shows him with a 27% favorable and 35% unfavorable rating. That makes Romney the only candidate we tested (including Hillary Clinton) who has a higher unfavorable than favorable rating. Among Republicans, while Giuliani’s favorable to unfavorable net difference is +54, and McCain’s is +47 and Thompson’s is +45, Romney’s is +19. In other words, Romney is much less well liked among Republicans nationally than any of his three chief competitors.
Plus, as my colleague Jeff Jones has pointed out, Romney has a significant problem among highly religious Protestant Republicans – who will form a not insignificant block of voters in some early primary states.
So while the national polls may change, particularly if – as Romney strategists hope – he does well in Iowa and New Hampshire, there are substantial enough problems now with his standing nationally to cause significant concern … more [Emphases ours]
“As he travels the country, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney often boasts of his presidential campaign’s healthy finances. “I think our numbers have shown that we are able to raise the money,” he said at a recent press conference in Michigan. ‘And that’s essential to run a 50-state campaign,'” writes the estimable Michael Scherer for Salon.com in an article titled Mitt Romney’s money machine; The identity of his biggest multimillion-dollar donor, and how Romney could blow away his GOP competitors on campaign spending
It’s a story line the Romney campaign wants to promote. He is the popular front-runner who has been able to energize donors in the party’s base, raising more money than any other Republican candidate. Through the first two quarters, he hauled in more than $44 million, about $10 million more than his nearest rival in the money race, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The money has allowed Romney to spend lavishly on television advertising in early voting states, open the only fully staffed Republican campaign office in Michigan and even hire a full-time organizer in a state as obscure as West Virginia.
But Romney’s boasts do not tell the whole story. As much as he likes to talk about his campaign’s brimming coffers, he avoids speaking about his campaign’s biggest single donor — a man worth between $190 million and $250 million, who has single-handedly allowed Romney to break away from the pack by giving the campaign one out of every five of its dollars. That donor’s name: Mitt Romney.
Through June, Romney has already given himself nearly $9 million in loans to fund his campaign, a number that is sure to grow in the coming weeks when he announces his third-quarter fundraising. Under current campaign finance law, there are no limits to how much a candidate can donate to his own campaign, giving Romney a huge advantage over other candidates who are forced to collect donations with a maximum value of $2,300 per donor. If Romney so chooses, he will be able to blow his rivals out of the water in January campaign spending … more
“When former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney closes the books on his latest campaign finance report today, it will reveal a slow but steady shift from a candidacy built on thousands of individual donations to one relying increasingly on his own personal fortune,” writes the estimable Matthew Mosk with the aid of his fast-learning apprentice, Perry Bacon Jr., and crack researcher Madonna Lebling, in a Washington Post article titled Report to Show Romney Fortune’s Bigger Role
Top Romney advisers said last week that they expected his campaign to raise almost $40 million in the first nine of months this year. And though they have not released a firm figure, they expected that Romney will have supplemented those contributions with nearly $15 million of his own money.
Romney’s candidacy has quietly morphed into one of the nation’s first hybrid campaigns for a major-party presidential nomination: one that is neither a traditional bid built on individual donations nor a self-funded effort such as those launched by billionaires Steve Forbes and Ross Perot.
“Romney is something different,” said Jennifer A. Steen, a Boston College professor who has written a book on self-financed candidates.
That Romney is spending some of his personal fortune, estimated to be between $190 million and $250 million, in part reflects a decline in donations to his campaign. He led all of the GOP contenders in fundraising during the first three months of the year. But he relied in large part on maximum donations from business allies in Massachusetts, where he ran the venture capital company Bain Capital Partners, as well as from fellow Mormons in Utah, where Romney managed the 2002 Winter Olympics. His donations from those two states fell sharply between April and June.
Romney’s personal money has helped him avoid the plight of another White House contender, Sen. John McCain, who found himself laying off staff in July while Romney was able to air ads in key primary states. His spending is a more dramatic and expansive version of what then-candidate John F. Kerry did in December 2003, when the Democratic senator from Massachusetts lent his campaign more than $6 million in a last-ditch effort that helped him win the Iowa caucuses …
… Ron Kaufman, a top Romney adviser who attended the event, said it sent a powerful message to potential supporters who might have wondered whether Romney would simply run on his personal fortune.
“As self-funding, big-spending candidates have proven, it doesn’t get you anything,” Kaufman said. “The bottom line is: The way to be a candidate for president is prove you can put the organization together, prove to the voters that you’ve earned the right to be a serious candidate for president. You’ve got to earn it; you can’t buy it.”
After that [Romney's campaign launch], Romney punctuated that message, telling reporters that it would be “akin to a nightmare” if he were forced to contribute much of his own money to his presidential effort.
By the end of the first fundraising quarter, which closed on March 31, he had posted a headline-grabbing $21 million total, helping to vault him into the top tier of candidates seeking the GOP nomination.
That figure was critical to establishing Romney as a viable candidate. As almost an afterthought, the campaign revealed that the candidate had also put $2.4 million into his campaign account. When asked about it by a Boston Globe reporter, an aide stressed that the money was a loan to the campaign, not a gift.
Over the next three months, the balance between the money Romney raised from contributors and the money he drew from his own accounts began to shift. His fundraising haul dropped to $14 million, compared with the $17 million total of one of his top rivals, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and the more than $32 million taken in by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). But Romney also lent himself an additional $6.5 million.
At a news conference, he signaled that his message about the role his bank accounts would play had shifted. “It would be nice not to have to loan or contribute to your own campaign, but the reality is, if you want to have a strong campaign that gets out there and can talk across the nation, you’re going to have to do what’s necessary,” he told reporters.
Kevin Madden, a campaign spokesman, said Romney’s top advisers carefully weighed the political implications of turning to the candidate’s own money for help. What they determined, he said, was that the investments the campaign was making in early television ads were yielding a return, and that the campaign appeared to be blossoming.
“In order to maintain the campaign’s growth, we needed to have the resources,” Madden said. “The decision was to match that growth with his own personal contribution, so this campaign would not be short of resources, so we would remain competitive and grow into a national organization.”
The campaign also faced a significant challenge that was not confronting Romney’s chief Republican rivals, Giuliani, McCain and former senator Fred D. Thompson of Tennessee: Romney is much less well-known around the country.
Romney “invested” — the term his campaign likes to use to describe the use of his personal resources — significant sums in paid advertisements, far outpacing the other candidates by devoting more than $6 million to television spots, according to Evan Tracey of the Campaign Media Analysis Group. He also poured money into Iowa, assembling an operation for the state’s straw poll that included a statewide corps of 60 “super-volunteers,” who were paid between $500 and $1,000 per month to talk up his candidacy; a fleet of buses; a direct-mail campaign; and a straw poll consultant who was paid nearly $200,000 …
Romney’s aides have signaled that he will report putting in about $6 million more of his own money over the past three months, and there are reasons for this. Romney’s poll numbers in New Hampshire are slipping; and with him still running fourth among the leading GOP contenders in national surveys, his campaign sent out a memo both to reassure supporters and to lower their expectations.
And as Romney prepared to release his third-quarter numbers this week, he began hinting that he will be using even more of his own money. He presented at an event in California a new rationale for doing this — far from the “nightmare” he had described earlier — telling supporters that, by dipping into his pocket, he would not be “beholden to any particular group for getting me into this race or for getting me elected” … more
What interests us about this article is how succinctly it chronicles how every conclusion that the Romney campaign reaches is based on self-deception and circular reasoning. Consider what we call the Madden Doctrine—we call it that because in the article it gets articulated by Romney’s maddeningly inarticulate helper-monkey Keven Madden, and because it is maddeningly circular—it goes like this:
- We determined that the investments the campaign was making in early television ads were yielding a return
- Because of these investments the campaign appeared to be blossoming.
- In order to maintain the campaign’s growth, we needed to have the resources.”
- So: “The decision was to match that growth with his own personal contribution, so this campaign would not be short of resources, so we would remain competitive and grow into a national organization.”
To paraphrase: we believed our early television ad buys were working; the campaign appeared to be blossoming. (Note the use of the modal operator appeared—was it blossoming, or wasn’t it?) But to keep blossoming—to maintain our “growth”—we needed more resources—i.e. we needed more of Romney’s cash. Here is the problem: the Romney campaign was hardly “blossoming” or “growing”—i.e. developing a base of support, i.e. people willing to invest their labour or substance in the campaign—if the blossoming and growing were only sustainable with massive infusions of cash from Romney’s personal accounts. Apparent is right!—what Madden describes as “growth” was, and is, an illusion, an artifact of Romney-cash and not of interest in the candidate himself—otherwise the campaign would call on its supporters to support it, a far surer and more reliable sign of political strength.
In other words, the campaign spent lots of money, Romney-money. In return the Romneys got lots of attention. Only in the Romney-Hall-of-Mirrors this attention somehow got mistook for a “blossoming” of “growth” and support—it was not as if the Romneys were trying to deceive anyone—per contra: they had managed to deceive themselves. Now the campaign is announcing further Romney infusions to maintain the illusion as opposed to developing a genuine base, coalition, or successful message!—it is as if a patient on palliative care mistook the absence of pain as a sign that they should forgo a life-saving surgery—such is the power of illusion born of self-deception, and such are the addictive properties of free money among Romney’s entourage of parasites and hangers-on, the hireling flaks and flatterers that pass for Romney’s campaign staff.
We have been both predicting, and chronicling, these melancholy developments here for weeks now—we started this blog to follow these events to their inevitable conclusion—question: are we the only ones who have made note of this slow motion train wreck? For only a small sampling see:
- David S. Broder describes the fuhrerbunker-like gloom that hangs over the waterfront headquarters of a besieged Team Romney
- Romney campaign out of control (iii): Romney campaign US$9,000,000.00 in the red
- Harris Interactive: Romney’s [so-called success] fails to excite or generate support
- Romney’s spectacularly low marginal rate of return on his campaign dollars now a campaign issue!
- Romney: GOP for sale; says US$20,000,000.00 is the price for a top-tier position
- Romney failing in SC—we ask: given Romney’s massive spending, why?
- Romney equivocates anew; republican base largely unmoved despite massive spending
- Romney spends “like drunken sailor” even as he gets less return for his every campaign dollar, and even as his personal investment portfolio tanks
- Gronke asks: “will Mitt Romney be the John Connally of our age?”
- Romney’s massive media expenditures less and less effective; more on Romney and the law of diminishing marginal returns on investment
- Cillizza: “[Romney] campaign has sought to downplay the extent of [Romney’s] personal donations”
Conclusion: Romney as a candidate exists only by virtue of his vast personal fortune. Romney has no base. Romney has no following. And: the man and his staff are ridiculously incompetent—bafflingly so.
Romney is more than an aberration or a transitional figure. Of this we are convinced. He is a sign of a troubled and corrupt era.
“Within weeks of Giuliani changing up his campaign strategy and putting more on New Hampshire, he has closed the gap on Romney in that state. Polls are now showing the two in a statistical dead heat. In fact, there are less than 6 points of separation between Romney, Giuliani, and Mccain,” writes the estimable Tom Cavazos, apparently a friend of Russ Hargraves, Laura Elizabeth Morales, and Travis Weissler, in a Right Up Front web log post.
Translation: This race is still wide open. The sudden shift in the polls is a very bad sign for Mitt Romney, who needs to win both Iowa and New Hampshire to have a shot at the nomination. Romney has raised and spent millions on these two states and has spent the vast majority of his time campaigning in those states. The fact that a couple of weeks of campaigning by Giuliani and a strong debate performance by Mccain could erode that much support from Romney spells disaster for his campaign. Many analysts have suggested that Governor Romney’s support is very weak and largely driven by the media. This sudden and dramatic shift in the polls suggests that this might just be the case.
Governor Romney better get to work fast because this state is a must win for his campaign. The fact that his massive resources have failed to build him any kind of solid support does not speak wonders for his chances.
Speaking of New Hampshire, has anyone seen Mccain’s new ads? Not bad … more [emphasis ours]
We concur. Please see:
“This—[the clarity of Lech Wałęsa and eye's notion that Walesa was the right person for the right historical moment]—made me wonder what the various candidates on the GOP side were “the right candidates” for,” a question posed by eye of eyeon08.com in a post titled Lech Wałęsa: Clarity and inspiration from Europe.
- Rudy Giuliani is clearly the candidate of a muscular response to the War on Terror. There isn’t much subtlety in his policies, but that may just be the theater. Most likely, they will be somewhat generic Republican policies.
- Mitt Romney is clearly the leader for a time of technocratic questions. He celebrates burying himself in data and comes up with answers. He is not the candidate that you want to lead a country at war. He still strikes me as the sort of person you want to be chief of staff. Brilliant administrator. He is probably the right guy for our country if our biggest concerns are economic ones. Trivialities about foreign policy, but probably good ideas about taxes and, even, healthcare.
- John McCain is the candidate of a more nuanced approach to the War on Terror. Respected around the world, but in a way that would provide a very robust response to our international challenges. He is also someone to speak to a country that is at a loss about itself and its institutions. But many of his domestic policies are unclear. Healthcare? Taxes? He had made clear that these don’t drive him.
- Fred Thompson is, perhaps, the candidate who narrowly wants the party to get more conservative. I am not sure.
Which candidate is the candidate for today? For today’s Republican party, I see Giuliani and McCain being the most natural answers. For a party that wants to step back from Bush’s interventionism — back to putting education, healthcare and immigration on the front burner like the pre-9/11 Bush — Romney would be the answer. I don’t think that’s where the party is … more [emphasis ours]
Comment: we don’t think so either. Or at least we hope not. And we disagree about Romney’s alleged “brilliance.”
[New Gallup poll data suggest that] Minor gains by John McCain have solidified his position as a very solid number 3, now way ahead of ahead of Mitt Romney. Actually, McCain is now within 4 points of Thompson, writes the estimable Frank Newport in a USA TODAY Gallup Guru post appropriately titled McCain gains, Romney continues to fade.
Romney’s stock has faded since his mini-bounce following the August Iowa straw poll. (Does this mean that the immediate impact of a Romney victory in Iowa or New Hampshire might also fade?)
Bottom line: This race at the moment is back to the point where it has three leading candidates: Giuliani, Thompson, and McCain, in that order … more