Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’
“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.”
(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:
- Flaherty: “Layoffs are a common result of private equity takeovers, with [Romney’s] Bain Capital no exception”
- Samuelson: “it is becoming clear that capitalism’s most dangerous enemies are capitalists”—our conclusion: capitalists like Romney
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 [...]
“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:
- Romney in MI champions big business and big government partnership for the purpose of economic nationalism even as he funds Club for Growth attacks on Gov. Huckabee—oh, the cynicism
- in MI Romney spends more on paid media than both his rivals combined, but the real cost of Romney’s MI campaign will be paid by the US taxpayer
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:
(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 …
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.
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.
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.
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 key – that’s the state we happen to be in right now, which is 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.
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 [...]
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.
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.
“BLUFFTON, S.C. (AP) — Mitt Romney on Wednesday swapped talk of resurrecting the auto industry that helped him in Michigan with a pledge to pay attention to textile and other industrial job losses that have punished the South,” writes the estimable Glen Johnson in an Associated Press article titled Romney Pledges to Save Southern Economy
“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 [...]
Yuh-huh. The protean Willard Milton has transmuted from an un-reconstructed and caricature-cartoon arch-conservative self-described Reaganite to a progressive-populist in the space of a single speech, his speech to the credulous rubes of the Detroit Economics Club, rubes very nearly as credulous and gullible as the dustpan-heads at the National Review who endorsed the hapless candidate, Willard Milton Romney.
Back to Johnson:
Later, during a news conference, the former Massachusetts governor acknowledged he may not always be successful, but he renewed his Rust Belt criticism of rival John McCain for suggesting some automotive jobs will not be replaced.
The Arizona senator has suggested Romney is pandering for votes and ignoring the realities of the global economy.
“Can I guarantee that we’ll be able to protect every industry and every job and be successful keeping every job?” Romney said to reporters. “I don’t think any person can make that guarantee. But I can guarantee that I’ll fight and do my best.”
We discuss the trope of “working hard for the American people” here.
South Carolina votes Saturday, and Romney’s trip south inspired a reassessment of his victory a night earlier in Michigan. That was the state where he was born, Romney’s father served as governor for three terms and where Romney himself pledged to do more than any other candidate to reduce the state’s nation-leading 7.4 percent unemployment rate [...]
For more on these sad themes:
- Romney in MI champions big business and big government partnership for the purpose of economic nationalism even as he funds Club for Growth attacks on Gov. Huckabee—oh, the cynicism
- equity sector multi-millionaire Romney now champions the dignity of human labor, completely abandons arch-conservative line for latest version of Romney, Romney the progressive-populist
As we wrote elsewhere of this latest Romney incarnation:
[...] After humiliating defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire, Romney in Michigan finally develops a winning formula. It is a formula consistent with Romney’s risibly low ROI as it allows the hapless candidate to offload his astronomical costs on others. It is simply this: political spoil in its most primitive form. It takes this shape: Promise key sectors of the economy unlimited subsidies from the public treasury [...]
“Imagine if John McCain had narrowly lost to Mitt Romney in New Hampshire last night, and, when you down broke down the results, it was clear that the voters most concerned about the war in Iraq and terrorism went heavily for Romney—plus thought he would make a better commander in chief,” writes James Pethokoukis in a USNews.com blog burst titled Struggling Romney Needs an ‘Oprah Moment’ to Win
That would kind of kill McCain’s whole rationale for running, don’tcha think?
Well, that is pretty much what did happen, except in reverse. Voters who were most concerned about the economy went strongly—41 to 21 percent—for McCain over Romney, the multimillionaire venture capitalist. The Wall Street legend. The guy with the M.B.A. The guy who turned around the Salt Lake City Olympics. The guy who says, “I know how the economy works.” Even worse, Romney lost to a fellow who has admitted in the past that economic policy is not his strong suit and that he might need more of an expert as his veep if nominated.
See, the problem with Romney isn’t necessarily that voters don’t like his ideas—such as cutting corporate taxes or eliminating investment taxes for middle-class voters. It’s that voters don’t think he understands their problems. Until that hurdle is overcome, ideas don’t matter.
You have to do politics before you can do policy [...]
We concur. The struggle for NH has entered its archival phase. As we wrote before of Iowa, this is when the political community and various media dispute, interpret, or redact he outcomes of the contest.
Team Romney has failed at every task it set for itself. It failed to consolidate the social-conservative base as evidenced by the exit polling from IA and NH. It crucially failed to return clear decisions for Romney in IA and NH. Further, Romney massively-titanically overspent and received precious little in return. How much? Upwards of US$20 million of his own money on top of the US$80 million that he raised, but no one really knows. Tellingly, Team Romney isn’t saying.
Romney now leads in delegates, but by one estimate Romney has spent almost US$1 million dollars per delegate—so the question then becomes, given this preposterously low ROI, just how sustainable is the Romney tribe’s campaign?
This is also when a new discursive front opens up against Romney’s flank as
(a) pressure for Romney to withdraw begins to develop
(b) doubt, dissensus, and discord breakout within Romney’s own ranks.
To address (a) Romney has radically scaled back his operations, particularly his massive and massively ineffective media buys. To address (b) Romney has issued internal memos and issued promises to major financial backers.
“BOSTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has decided to pull his advertising from South Carolina, where he was hoping to take on Mike Huckabee and John McCain, and from Florida, where Rudy Giuliani has been spending time and money,” write Jim Kuhnenn and Glen Johnson in an AP release titled Romney Pulls Ads in SC, Fla.
“We feel the best strategy is to focus our paid messaging in Michigan,” Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said Wednesday.
The decision comes on the heels of back-to-back second-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire for the former Massachusetts governor. Romney, a multimillionaire who had used some of his own cash, had invested heavily in both states, counting on the two to give him the momentum toward the nomination.
Earlier on Wednesday, Romney had assured his top financial backers that he will win the upcoming Michigan primary, as he and his staff worked to soothe supporters unsettled by his losses in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
“It’s just getting started,” the presidential contender told hundreds of supporters gathered at a convention center for a followup to the “National Call Day” that raised an unprecedented $6.5 million a year ago
He promised to carry on to Michigan, which votes Jan. 15, as well as Nevada and South Carolina, which vote Jan. 19.
The public spectacle, a rarity for the normally tightly controlled Romney political operation, included appeals for calm from a top financial backer, eBay CEO Meg Whitman, and a top political supporter, former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri [...]
To assuage his paid staff and hirelings in field, Romney’s strategist Alex Gage issued one of his infamous “internal memos.”
Gage’s argument: Despite Romney’s losses and setbacks, “the Republican race remains wide open.” Talking points include:
- Gov. Romney’s message of change generated momentum in New Hampshire.
- Gov. Romney is the best candidate in the Republican field to match up against the Democrats in the fall.
- No other candidate is competitive in as many states as Gov. Romney.
- Gov. Romney has a clear path to victory moving forward.
That the Republican race remains “wide open” is true on its face. The other points in support of a continued Romney candidacy are false or simply meaningless until Romney solves his ROI problem, especially as the campaign transitions to a far more long-term, slow-accumulation-of-delegates strategy. Did e.g. Romney’s message of change generate momentum? No. Or: even if the answer is yes, the outcome of the contest indicates that it was not enough momentum. And how much did Romney spend per day in NH to promulgate his non-momentum message?
Does e.g. Romney have a clear path to victory? Maybe. Perhaps. But at his current spending levels it he would have to blow his entire fortune to pursue it.
What Romney needs, and does not have, is a message that connects with people on the ground—a narrative, a story, something, anything. A successful message could resolve or at least ease his ROI problem. As Pethokoukis argues, what Romney needs is an Oprah moment.
Only Romney needs more than a moment. And Romney’s own moment may have already passed.
“Although Mitt Romney denied that last night’s disastrous showing in Iowa would slow down his bid for the White House, it appears that his South Carolina campaign is preparing for the worst,” writes Adam of the Palmetto Scoop in a blog burst titled DeMint takeover of Romney SC campaign?
Sources tell me that for the last week, Luke Byars, Sen. Jim DeMint’s state director, has been working full time out of the Romney campaign’s SC headquarters.Is this a sign that Romney’s state operation is in trouble? Absolutely [...]
… “By keeping Tompkins on his payroll for the final weeks of this state’s primary, especially after such a slam-dunk admission of guilt by someone directly involved, Romney is essentially saying that he’s fine with the unconscionable style of campaign filth peddled during the 2000 election,” writes Adam of the Palmetto Scoop.
Worse than that, his failure to disassociate with Tompkins’ firm — which has already been busted for anonymously smearing rival Fred Thompson — could be a warning that we can expect similar or possibly worse attacks in the final days of the primary election.
And this time, Tompkins’ victims might include more than just McCain … etc.
Moral: expect the worst from the Romneys. They very worst. Just expect it.
“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.
AIKEN, S.C. (TPS) – “Rumors that Republican State Senate candidate Shane Massey has a hidden liberal record have been circulating the Internet amidst claims that his campaign has been working to silence critics only hours before voters head to the polls for Tuesday’s primary election runoff in district 25. The Aiken County-based blog Kaolin Kronicle, who has had in-depth coverage of the race, had a posting on its website Monday that said Terry Sullivan, a partner in the Tompkins, Thompson and Sullivan political consulting firm which is running Massey’s campaign, demanded an e-mail attacking his candidate be taken down,” writes the editor of the Palmetto Scoop in a post titled Massey campaign up in arms over ‘outing’ of alleged liberal record.
Fascinating. Where does Romney find these people?—we mean, seriously. Are all the Romneys and their hangers-on ideological cross-dressers? Are they all corrupt? Do they all wax indignant when confronted with proof of their duplicities and inconsistencies? Do they all behave like petty criminals?
We lived in Charleston SC for several years—our mother was born there, and our father is from Mt. Pleasant—and we never met anyone like any of these people.
- USA TODAY cites Thompson aide: “Romney will ‘do anything, say anything, flip-flop on any position’ to win”
- Romney and Tompkins throw junior “associate” Donahue “under a bus” to cover up their dirty tricks
“This latest episode only serves to prove what many voters are already figuring out: Mitt Romney will do anything, say anything, smear any opponent and flip flop on any position in order to win,” Harris said. “The American people in general and the Republican Party in particular deserve better than this,”—Thompson aid Todd Harris—as reported by the estimable Michael D. Shear in a The Trail post titled Romney Blames Consultants For Thompson Parody Site
Romney officials today blamed the web site on an employee of one the former Massachusetts governor’s top consultants in South Carolina.
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said the employee, Wesley Donehue, created the website phoneyfred.org without the approval of the campaign. Madden said the campaign ordered the site removed when they received calls from the media about it.
“The site has no direct affiliation to our campaign and we had no knowledge of its development,” Madden said. “We discovered it was created by an individual who apparently parked the site temporarily on the company server space of a firm whose financial partner is a consultant to the campaign.”
Madden’s comments came as Thompson’s advisers have demanded an apology for the attack website, which described Thompson in unflattering ways and appeared to be filled with opposition research about the former senator.
“If this is true, Governor Romney should exercise some of his much-touted executive acumen and immediately terminate anyone related to this outrage,” Thompson spokesman Todd Harris said late Monday evening.
Madden insisted that Donehue is “not an employee of the Romney campaign,” and his name does not appear in the financial disclosures that presidential candidates are required to make with the Federal Election Commission.
But Donehue is clearly an employee of several firms which have been paid tens of thousands of dollars by Romney.
The firm Tompkins, Thompson, Sullivan has received $37,596 from Romney’s campaign, most of it for “Political strategy consulting.” The web site for that firm has been taken down, but a recent page cached by Google lists him as an “associate consultant and vice president” of the firm.
“As the first associate consultant and vice president of TTS, Wesley Donehue runs the daily operations of the firm. Despite being only 27 years old, he is one of the most experienced operatives in the state,” the site says.
The firm is run by Warren Tompkins — Romney’s senior adviser in South Carolina — and Terry Sullivan, who is on Romney’s payroll as the South Carolina state director.
The company Under the Power Lines, which describes itself as an internet consulting firm, lists Donehue as a “Partner/Consultant.” The phoneyfred.org website was hosted on the same server as the Under the Power Lines website.
Donehue is also listed as an “Associate” in a direct mail firm called On the Mark Direct, which has been paid $146,018 by Romney’s campaign for printing.
A Romney ally points out that just working for a firm like Tompkins doesn’t necessarily mean that person is working for Romney. Heath Thompson, another partner in the firm, is reportedly a Giuliani guy.
Asked whether Donehue should be fired, Madden said that it is not up to Romney to decide that. “He has no role with the Romney campaign,” Madden said. He said the campaign will not sever ties with Tompkins or Sullivan because they have told Romney officials that they knew nothing about the development of the website.
Some South Carolina consultants are skeptical of that claim.
“The notion that Romney and them are going to throw one [person] under the bus is just nuts,” said one longtime GOP operative in South Carolina. “it just didn’t happen that way.”
The companies Donehue works for are part of a large political operation founded by Tompkins, a longtime adviser to the late former governor, Carroll Campbell, who is known for his bare-knuckles approach to politics.
Tompkins ran the South Carolina campaign operation for George W. Bush in 2000 and led a concerted effort to defeat Bush’s chief rival that year, John McCain. Romney has paid him $12,000 a month for political advice.
In an e-mail, Tompkins said he did not know anything about the phoneyfred.org site.
“I did not know about a web site and quite frankly am very internet dysfunctional,” he wrote. “Anyone who knows me would laugh at the prospect of my even being involved in such an undertaking.”
Donehue could not be reached for comment … more