Posts Tagged ‘sen. fred thompson’
“PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Mitt Romney built his campaign on a carefully managed strategy to win early and often, and Iowa was arguably the most important piece of the puzzle for the former Massachusetts governor. But that did not stop Romney from putting a positive spin on last night’s damaging defeat,” writes Scott Conroy in a http://www.cbsnews.com release titled Romney is “Delighted” With “Important Victory”—nota: the scare quotes around “important” and “victory” are in the original!
(Question: Is this naive and transparent spin? or is this delusion?)
“Things look very good for me at this stage,” Romney said at a morning press conference that felt more like the middle of night to the slew of staffers and reporters who hadn’t slept in over 24 hours. “I’m very, very pleased. I was delighted, as you know, with a second place finish. I wish I’d have had a first-place finish, but being able to beat three household names — John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson — was an important victory for me.” [...]
Only here is the problem for the Romney: Sen. McCain, Mayor Giuliani, and Sen. Thompson wisely invested almost nothing in the Iowa contest. Gov. Huckabee, Romney’s nearest competitor, got outspent by Romney dollar for dollar about 20 to 1, yet he defeated Romney decisively.
Back to Conroy. Here Romney elaborates on the lesson he took from Iowa:
[...]“The message I got out of Iowa was that people in Iowa said they want change,” Romney said. “The two Washington insiders — John McCain and Hillary Clinton — both lost. John McCain by a lot. And I look at that and say what you’re seeing from the people of Iowa is that they want someone from outside Washington to come in and change things in Washington. And that’s right up my alley. There’s no way Senator McCain is going to be able to come to New Hampshire and say he’s the candidate that represents change and he’ll change Washington. He is Washington” [...]
Only here is the problem for Romney. He has spent an entire year and US$80 million dollars to cast himself as an agent of continuity and conservative orthodoxy (as he construes it in his unreconstructed, ingenue way), not change.
Brooks of the NYT: “But [Romney’s] biggest problem is a failure of imagination—Market research is a snapshot of the past—With his data-set mentality, Romney has chosen to model himself on [And the painfully literal rubes of the National Review have chosen to endorse] a version of Republicanism that is receding into memory—As Walter Mondale was the last gasp of the fading New Deal coalition, Romney has turned himself into the last gasp of the Reagan coalition”
Sen. McCain, on the other hand, has spent his entire career driving the GOP establishment and its institutions—think tanks, party operations, talk radio shock-jocks—hopping mad with white-hot rage. Sen. McCain doesn’t even need to argue that he is an agent of change. He has respected Democrat, Sen. Leiberman, to do it for him, a gesture that in itself represents change and national unity.
Conclusion: Strangely, bizarrely, Romney once again develops and retails a message that requires his audience to
(a) interpret facts as their opposites
(b) construe events not on their face, but according to a tormented casuistry
Only in the post-Iowa phase of the process Romney’s Humpty-Dumpty rhetoric (see our post-script) provokes derisive laughter instead of strained credulity. Please note Conroy’s sneering scare quotes in the title of his article. Please note how he invites his reader to laugh behind the hapless candidate’s back. These are not good signs for the hapless candidate. The media has scented blood.
P.S. From Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, CHAPTER VI, HUMPTY DUMPTY:
[...]`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’ [...]
“Gov. Romney is new to the pro-life movement and his campaign clearly has a few things to learn about it, “ thunders Fred Thompson communications director, the estimable Todd Harris, a gentleman who communicates plainly, clearly, pointedly, coherently, and vigorously, unlike Romney’s own gibbering helper-monkey, the maddeningly inarticulate Kevin Madden, a man who cannot clear his throat without flatly contradicting himself. Mr. Rhett Hatcher posted excerpts of Harris’s rejoinder to race42008.com, added his own apt and precise comments, and titled it Personal Attacks?
First, [continues Harris, Team Romney] should understand that despite their campaign’s every effort, groups like the National Right to Life Committee’s PAC (NLRC-PAC) cannot be bought. NLRC-PAC is supporting Fred Thompson because of Fred’s 100% pro-life voting record. They know he stood with them yesterday, he stands with them today, and he will stand with them tomorrow. It is unseemly for the Romney campaign and its supporters to suggest that NLRC-PAC’s coveted endorsement is based on a bribe. Second, this unfounded accusation is as outrageou s as it is ironic, given the Romney campaign’s long history of spreading money around to anyone who will take it.
“If the Romney campaign is looking for the reason they did not receive the NLRC-PAC endorsement, they can start with the fact that Gov. Romney was pro-choice just two years ago. They should also consider the fact that Gov. Romney’s own health care plan in Massachusetts offers taxpayer funded abortions for a mere $50 co-pay and requires by law that a representative from Planned Parenthood sit on the MassHealth advisory board. Tellingly, Gov. Romney made no such requirement for a representative from the pro-life movement.
“The Romney campaign was clearly hoping for this endorsement and are now clearly upset. But being denied an endorsement is no excuse to impugn the integrity of the very organization they were just days ago trying to woo” … etc.
Just so. See:
Moral: this is what happens when you have high negatives and you go the least bit negative—it all blows up in your face. The Romneys have effectively resuscitated Sen. Thompson’s campaign.
This is why the pensive and petulant political primitives of the Romney clan even now huddle together to deliberate the urgent question of whether to risk going negative against former mayor and national hero, Rudy Giuliani. We suppose the Romneys thought Sen. Fred Thompson would be an easier kill. But the sudden and fierce reaction from all quarters has taught the Romneys a painful lesson in the social uses of temperance, moderation, and restraint. See:
Let us see if the lesson sticks. Not quick learners, the Romneys. They may need a few more punishing high-voltage jolts before they connect the stimuli to the response and abandon that oh-so-tempting food pellet.
“I feel comfortable saying, based on conversations with NRLC members, that Jim Bopp’s attack on Sam Brownback did not help the Romney team with the NRLC,” writes Erick in a Redstate post titled Paul Weyrich Comes Unglued [Updated and bumped]
… Paul Weyrich coming unglued and accusing Thompson of bribing NRLC for their endorsement is really not going to help Romney at the grassroots level. [reported here]
Weyrich can say what he wants, but (a) it’s not true and (b) it’s not helpful. I would suggest that if they don’t think Thompson is a threat, the Romney camp might not want to get bogged down on this. The latest poll numbers in Iowa and South Carolina are certainly not painting a pretty picture for the Thompson camp. But, this endorsement just might help …
Erick links to these comments by Jennifer Rubin titled Does this Help?
Listen, there is room to debate which candidate should have gotten the NRLC nod. But isn’t accusing Thompson of in essence paying money to get the endorsement just beyond the pale? That’s what Romney supporter Paul Weyrich says here … Does any of this help Romney with social conservatives or reflect well on him? … etc.
Our question: Why the head-scratching? Why is anyone surprised? This is how Romney and his flatterers always behave when their sense of entitlement gets challenged.
Our own conclusion: Weyrich, like Bopp, is through, over, spent, finished, no longer a player—he sold out to the Romneys but failed to deliver on his promises or accomplish any of his tasks—no one followed him—so now he is useful to precisely no one, not the Romneys, not the pro-life movement. His last gasp—the death rattle of his lost reputation—consists in issuing accusations and rationales for why everyone walked away from him and, by implication, his imperious master, Romney.
“Klein hits on the prime issue regarding Romney and the NRLC. Romney, for all his business skill, is too good of a salesman. People watch his debates from 1994 and 2002 and don’t just see someone promising to uphold the law, but someone who is not only persuasive, but passionate and convincing. Now, fast forward to this year, you have Romney passionately and convincingly arguing for the pro life cause,” writes the estimable Tommy Oliver as he attempts to divine the intentions of the NRLC board of governors in a race42008.com post titled National Right to Life Committee to Endorse Fred Thompson, Here [be] why ...
eye of eyeon08.com, OTOH, speculates on the meaning of the endorsement itself in a post titled NRLC goes with Fred Thompson
… It has been conventional wisdom for a while that Romney and Thompson are fighting over the same voters. You can expect the mailboxes and phones of those voters to light up with detailed explanations of why Mitt Romney is not the right man to be president, or at least our nominee. From a very credible outside group. I have long asked who is actually going to attack Romney. We have our answer. In the end, this will move numbers.
On a deeper level, though, one wonders if this is a split in the conservative movement. With so many people going so many different ways, a shatter seems inevitable. There are a number of endorsements left, but you almost wonder if this is a direct challenge to James Dobson. Does Dobson dare to come out now, challenging NRLC and setting up a deep split? After all, Dobson actually can move votes and money, as can NRLC. But if the ultimate goal is to stop Rudy, then perhaps they need, at least, implicit agreement.
The other question is what happens if Romney really fights for this turf. Can he undermine the interest groups? Can he go back to his pragmatic self after his strange rightward lurch[?] …. etc.
Team Romney has failed at every task it set for itself—e.g. it has failed to secure its right flank, and it has failed to consolidate the religious right. It clings tenaciously to its “early state” strategy, but this move by the NRLC—a move that “has juice” according to eye, as it comes with money, volunteers, and organizational resources on the ground—could effectively open another front for Romney in Iowa and even New Hampshire, especially if it forces Dr. Dobson’s hand.
Fascinating, wouldn’t you say? Why, it’s almost as if Romney faces a rival who has mastered the art of dividing his opposition. But no, this couldn’t be. A far simpler hypothesis: Romney has failed, and continues to fail, to make his case.
… but still …
P.S. Also see:
Giuliani can win without S.C., campaign says—yes, OK, this is true on its face, but here is what the campaign is not telling you—they are active in the early states, including SC, only indirectly, as evidenced above. To understand the former Mayor of NYC, you need to understand the Byzantine character of NYC politics and the art of balancing players off of one another. Romney, the data-driven, linear-thinker, now faces his point-for-point antithesis. Romney has no idea what he’s up against.