Posts Tagged ‘The Corner’

“A few moments ago, I spoke to someone in the Romney camp,” writes Byron York of NRO’s The Corner in a blog burst titled Romney Pulling Out? Campaign Doesn’t Want “To Look Destructive At What Might Be The End.”

Would I be crazy to read that into the email traffic? “You would not be crazy to read that into it,” he said. “There have been a lot of discussions going on about whether there is a path to victory, and not wanting to look destructive at what might be the end. You are reading the right thing into it.”

Update: It’s official, Gov. Romney to withdraw.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

[...] “Lots of talk in the media about McCain vs. The Mighty Wombats of Talk Radio,” writes the insipid Richelieu in an insipid Campaign Standard blog burst titled Richelieu: Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene

Ask President Tancredo about that one. The talkers can raise an issue to prominence, they can entertain, but they do not really deliver actual votes. Sorry Rush [...]

That should be “Sorry Romney.

Still, however, Romney wants to capitalize on the new love radiating from talk radio

[...] “It might be preaching to the choir, but the members of this choir are precisely the people Mitt Romney needs to stop John McCain from getting a stranglehold on the Republican nomination on Super Tuesday,” writes the estimable Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, ina http://www.boston.com blog burst titled Romney puts ad on Limbaugh show

Romney aired an ad today on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show that excoriates McCain’s record on taxes and immigration.

“John McCain, he’s been in Washington a long time,” the announcer says, before the ad cites conservative commentators and the National Review.

Limbaugh, while not explicitly endorsing Romney, has been warning his listeners for weeks that McCain’s nomination would destroy the Republican Party. He repeated those warnings again today. Romney and McCain have been sparring over who is the true conservative [...]

The always a little baffled and befuddled Ed Morrissey laments what he foresees as a growing rift between the media figure of the right-wing shock jock and the Republican Party:

[...] But this showdown isn’t just about the media. It looks like the first really open GOP primary in decades will test a couple of widespread assumptions. First, does conservative talk radio have the influence that many presume to impact an election? Second, if it does not, what will that say about the future of conservative talk radio?

The answer to the first question will, I think, demonstrate that listeners have never been the monolithic, Clone Army style force that its critics presume. While they appreciate and enjoy the programs, listeners think for themselves. Anyone who spends any time at all listening knows the diversity of opinion unleashed through the call-in lines. Having spent time behind the mike as Hugh’s replacement on occasion, I can tell you that the callers are smart, informed, and sometimes have a much different opinion than me or Hugh.

So the answer to the second question follows from there. People will continue to listen to talk radio as they always have — for entertainment, information, and debate. The hosts will influence the opinions of the listeners, but they’re independent and will go their own way.

I expect that the hosts will change some minds before Tuesday. I expect the endorsements of the party’s establishment figures to do the same. In the end, most of the voters will make their decision based on their own logic, as they usually do. However, there will be one part of the showdown that may not survive, and that is the affinity of the conservative hosts for the Republican Party as an entity for conservative values. For that, High Noon has been a long time coming, and a McCain win may have some activists feeling very forsaken [...]

We grieve for those forsaken activists. We truly do.

Morrissey does understand the distinction between the activities of corporate content providers and the task of political parties, right?—the one is not the propaganda arm of the other. And if the one—or elements among the one—elect to promote a faction within the GOP at the expense of a governing coalition, then it deserves whatever it gets. The party is not the movement; the movement is not the party. And talk radio is neither party nor movement; it is information, entertainment, and opinion provided by organizations whose business is business.

Our prediction: our brothers and sisters in talk radio will soon learn why journalists and other media figures cherish the integrity that a sense of independence confers on them.

Meanwhile, Michael Graham of the NRO muses on the Sen. John McCain nomination that hasn’t happened yet, and answers the question that Morissey never posed but should have:

[...] John McCain didn’t win this nomination. Everyone else lost it. Mitt Romney had every chance — and then some — to win this nomination. He campaigned hard, and with lots of money, in every key primary state. And in every key state where his father never served as governor, he lost. He came, he saw (and was seen), and he got 31% of the vote. He wasn’t defeated by McCain. He’s just a mediocre candidate” [...]

This isn’t about talk radio. Nor should it ever have been. This is not even about the conservative movement. Note to Morrissey: Romney is not the conservative movement. The conservative movement is not Romney. Conservatism is for Romney a means to an end and that end is power.

This is, and has always been, about Romney, a surpassingly mediocre candidate.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“I predict we’re going to hear a growing conversation on the right about whether it’s better for America, conservatism, etc to have a president who feels he has to placate the conservative base versus having a president who claims to be a member of it,” writes Jonah Goldberg in a National Review TheCorner Blogburst titled One of Us Vs. One Who Owes Us

Goldberg issues a safe prediction.

Every candidate proposes a theory of representation whether explicitly or otherwise, i.e. an account of not just how the candidate as an elected official will advance the issues of his or her constituencies, but an explanation of why he or she would want to do so consonant with the candidate’s values, biography etc.—e.g. I am one of you, I believe as you believe etc.

Romney’s theory of representation is a unique one in our experience. Romney proposes to represent you by becoming you. See:

WSJ: “Plenty of politicians attune their positions to new constituencies—The larger danger is that Mr. Romney’s conversions are not motivated by expediency or mere pandering but may represent his real governing philosophy”

Back to Goldberg

President Bush won enormous good faith — no pun intended — from evangelicals and other social conservatives by saying, in effect, “I’m one of you.” A case could be made that some of Bush’s problems stem from the fact that the White House was internally confused about whether conservatives were simply another constituency or if they were more like a loyal army. I don’t think the distinctions are clean and neat, since there isn’t a monolithic conservative base and the Bush White House has been itself divided between Nixonians (i.e. the Poppa Bush crowd) and Reaganites. But I think we’ll see the conversation emerge as candidates like Giuliani and McCain make “transactional” overtures to the conservative base, saying something like “Support me and I’ll support what you care about” rather than “support me because I am one of you.”

National Review had a similar conversation over Richard Nixon. That didn’t turn out great.

The National Review also endorsed Willard Milton Romney. That hasn’t turned out so great either. See:

NRO organizes conference call to defend questionable decision to endorse Romney—eyeon08.com reports that they received not one supportive question, and no one spoke in favor of the endorsement

In other news from the frantic flunkies of the GOP establishment, Hugh Hewitt announces a talk-radio counter-strike against Sen John McCain as he attempts to consolidate his gains.

[...] Expect the talkers, led by Rush but seconded by Ingraham, Bennett, Prager, Beck, Hannity, Levin and me to spend the next few days putting down a marker: McCain is a very weak general election candidate, and if he was to win, would not govern as a conservative in any significant way. Our audiences are not, as MSMers like to imply, not only shrinking but mindless. They are growing, but they are incredibly independent of thought. They also take in and respond to good information, and now the information will be focused on John McCain and the choice before them.

MSM will of course be sending a very different set of talking points into the general population, one that obscures McCain’s record and which refuses to remind voters of the immigration fiasco etc. MSM will focus on Rudy and Arnold and leave the impression of a coalescing around McCain. Romney will battle to keep the issues out front, McCain the process.

But the new media is at work. We’ll see how it plays out [...]

So far this hasn’t played out well either. See:

Our question: What possible theory of representation justifies Limbaugh, Ingraham, Bennett, Prager, Beck, Hannity, Levin, and Hewitt himself, denouncing Sen. John McCain and advocating for Willard Milton Romney? Also: what is Hewitt’s object? It is this: To persuade Gov. Mike Huckabee voters to vote for Romney.

[...] If the Huckabee supporters are conservatives, they will recognize the peril to their party’s core beliefs and abandon their favorite who has no chance of winning in favor of Mitt Romney who does [...]

Based on analysis by Patrick Ruffini, we discuss why this will not be a simple proposition here:

Romney’s viciously negative attacks on Gov. Huckabee in Iowa still returning rich dividends for the hapless candidate from Bain Capital

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This line is reasonable on its face.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Problems with Mitchell’s line of argument:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

[...] “Over in Michigan, the Republican voters clearly had the same thought on Tuesday when they went out and gave their primary win to a candidate absolutely no one would want to have a beer with,” writes Gail Collins in an NYT editorial titled The Anti-Charm Offensive

(Or in his case, a bracing lemonade.) Mitt Romney! Mitt Romney!Michigan voters are so frightened of falling into permanent economic collapse that they’ll grab onto almost anything. Romney, the native son who lived in Michigan in the Eisenhower era, played them for all they were worth. He was going to bring back the old-time auto industry and the rest of the 1950s with it. There was no lost job that could not be retrieved under Mitt’s skilled-businessman’s supervision. He’d bring them all home!

Human nature being what it is, you have to give politicians a pass for one pander per primary. (The Democrats have spent the last week in Nevada arguing about who is the most against a federal plan to store used nuclear fuel in Yucca Mountain as if it were a plot to tax air.) But in Michigan, Romney went way over quota.

He told the auto executives that they were being picked on when Congress required fuel efficiency to reach 35 m.p.g. by 2020. (Washington told Detroit to improve mileage in 1975, and just 32 years later, here’s Big Brother, harping again.) And he promised $20 billion in federally funded research and development to get the auto industry back on track.

Let’s see, $20 billion for Michigan, and 46 states left to go. We’re looking at nearly a trillion dollars in potential pander just to get Mitt to the conventions. We won’t have to worry about Congress doling out pork anymore — Romney will give the entire store away himself.

In his victory speech, Romney said his inspiration came from “Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush.” I’m not sure how Reagan would have felt about that $20 billion, but I’m pretty sure this is the first time the words “George Herbert Walker Bush” and “inspiration” have appeared in the same sentence [...]

Yuh-huh. And it suddenly occurs to York of the formerly conservative NRO—the knuckle-draggers who endorsed Romney for president—how Romney’s proposal to MI will play in the upcoming primary contests:

[...] “if Romney’s success in Michigan prompts more and more candidate attention to economic issues, the campaign will take on a new, decidedly post-war-on-terror feel,” writes Byron York of the National Review in a The Corner post titled Message: We Care

And if that happens, it will probably go in directions that few conservatives are happy with. When candidates start talking about easing voters’ pain, there’s no telling what they will promise – Romney’s $20 billion check to the auto industry might be just the beginning [...]

Well, duh. We make the same case here:

[...] Not only does Romney’s plan to nationalize the US automobile industry reflect yet another complete ideological reversal for the hapless candidate—Not only is Romney’s proposal impracticable and nearly impossible on its face, just the worst possible public policy imaginable—Not only will Romney’s proposal issue into in a furious race to the bottom as Romney himself and the other candidates are forced to out-bid each other promising to bail-out, subsidize, or protect from competition other ailing industries and entire economic sectors—but Romney’s plan for MI is also based on a risibly inaccurate and historically flawed assessment of an already globalized and post-industrial US automobile “industry” [...]

We conclude this sad blog burst with an excerpt from an editorial by the Washington Times:

[...] “No doubt [Romney] will soon saturate Florida’s airwaves the way he bombarded Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan,” write the crack editorialists of the Washington Times in an article titled Romney’s Michigan Win

Too bad Mr. Romney continues to refuse to tell voters how much of his personal wealth he spent during the fourth quarter even as he ratchets up his personal spending throughout the critical month of January.

… Mr. McCain told Michigan voters what they know in their hearts to be true. Those auto jobs are gone. But they chose to believe, at least for a day, Mr. Romney’s dubious optimism, which, if he is elected in November, will surely become one of the first campaign promises he will have to break [...]

We can only hope he breaks it. Now that Romney could actually end up as our president, we need to hope and pray that his lies and duplicities work in our favor.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

[...] “Meanwhile, the Republican prospects in the fall just got even dimmer,” writes David Brooks in an NYT Campaign Stops blog burst titled Republicans Brawl, Democrats Yawn

I say this not only because a weak general election candidate won a primary, but because Mitt Romney’s win pretty much guarantees a bitter fight for the nomination. If you doubt that, here is what Rush Limbaugh said about McCain and Huckabee on his program today: “I’m here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it’s going to destroy the Republican Party, it’s going to change it forever, be the end of it.” This week, Rush and his radio mimics have been on the rampage on the party’s modernizers, from Newt Gingrich on over.

Dear reader, were you aware that Romney’s Bain Capital recently acquired Clear Channel?

Rush Limbaugh is owned and operated by Romney.

Back to Brooks:

This thing will only get uglier.

Second, Mitt Romney found, as Hillary would say, his voice. I remember watching him campaign at a financial company about 6 months ago. He talked about business and was fantastic. The next event was at a senior citizen center. He was ideological and dreadful. In Michigan, the full corporate Mitt was on display.

His campaign was a reminder of how far corporate Republicans are from free market Republicans. He proposed $20 billion in new federal spending on research. He insisted that Washington had to get fully engaged in restoring the United States automotive industry. “Detroit can only thrive if Washington is an engaged partner,” he said, “not a disinterested observer.” He vowed, “If I’m president of this country, I will roll up my sleeves in the first 100 days I’m in office, and I will personally bring together industry, labor, Congressional and state leaders and together we will develop a plan to rebuild America’s automotive leadership.”

This is how the British Tory party used to speak in the 1970s [...]

Well, duh. What Romney describes is redolent of the “social market economies” of post-war Western Europe. Soziale Marktwirtschaft, in German. Here is an adequate description of the model:

[...] The social market economy seeks a middle path between socialism and capitalism (i.e. a mixed economy) and aims at maintaining a balance between a high rate of economic growth, low inflation, low levels of unemployment, good working conditions, social welfare, and public services, by using state intervention.

Basically respecting the free market, the social market economy is opposed to both a planned economy and laissez-faire capitalism. Erhard once told Friedrich Hayek that the free market economy did not need to be made social but was social in its origin.

In a social market economy, collective bargaining is often done on a national level not between one corporation and one union, but national employers’ organizations and national trade unions [...]

In the 90s the model reappears in the less administrative-pragmatic-compromising, and more heatedly ideological form of “third way” speculation by Anthony Giddens et al.

U.S. self-funded outsider campaigns tend to articulate themselves in an intuitive, naive “third way,” “beyond right and left” rhetoric that describes a polity or a society, in weirdly medieval way, as an organic whole comprised of various components, e.g. towns, guilds, fueds, church, estates etc. Ross Perot and Romney both speak of “bringing together” government, labor, corporate interests, engineers, specialists, communities etc. to develop the consensus necessary to support policy solutions. Social problems become technical problems. Political questions become administrative tasks—e.g. Romney’s now infamous to-do list for Washington.

The rubes at the formerly conservative National Review who endorsed Willard Milton Romney because of his—snarf!—guffaw!—constant and steadfast commitment to conservative principles—cough!-cough!—are of course anxious to revise and redact the hapless candidate’s atavistic proposals.

Regard the following strained casuistical divisio to arrive at a mixed ruling:

[...] [Douthat] “thinks that conservatives are going too easy on Romney’s supposedly left-wing, “back-to-the-’70s, ‘D.C. will save the auto industry’ promises” and giving McCain too much grief over his “2000-2001 preference for a more progressive tax code,” complains Ramesh Ponnuru in an NRO The Corner post titled Douthat on Romney

Many of Romney’s policy specifics involved removing Washington-imposed burdens on the industry, such as the prospect of new regulations. You can think he exaggerated their impact—I do—but that’s not left-wing.

Rejoinder: Granted. Only this is not the claim or claims to which Douthat refers.

Convening industry reps and government officials to gab about the industry’s problems doesn’t strike me as all that alarming, either: It’s what comes out of the meeting that matters, and Romney didn’t commit to anything statist.

Rejoinder: We must assume that Romney wants his proposals to be received as meaningful and relevant. So does Ponnoru therefore argue that Romney’s proposal to convene government and industry actors to address the problems of the US automobile industry is at best a palliative exercise or at worst a cynical ploy?

And: does Ponnoru have no experience in political activism, community organizing, or politics in general? What Romney has proposed is called agenda setting, and political formations on the left and center-left use this technique to co-opt and corrupt actors and organizations on the right or otherwise uncommitted all the time. Organize a committee or convene a conference to investigate e.g. healthcare issues, invite lots of different stake holders etc., and everyone present will return a ruling in favor of reform at public expense. Why? Because the principal assumption governing whether you organize a committee or convene a conference is that you have a task, and that task is to address an issue—to attend at all is to assent to the proposition that there is an issue, that the issue resolves itself into a political question or quetions, and that all involved need to act to resolve it.

Romney’s proposal assumes in advance that the Government is committed to, and responsible for, the performance of the US automobile industry. The questions that remain are questions of degree—how much is the US government responsible, what is the US government expected to do, and how much is this going to cost us beyond the US$20 billion already committed.

Romney’s plan to quintuple research spending was pretty bad, in my view—but plenty of free-market folks are okay with such subsidies. The reason Romney got a “slap on the wrist” is that it’s all he deserved [...]

Rejoinder: Granted, Ponnoru. This was bad, as you put it. Really, really bad. But this is still not what has people like Douthat, Brooks, and ourselves exercised. It is rather Romney’s explicit claim that “Detroit can only thrive if Washington is an engaged partner,” combined with his subsidies etc.

Your eagerness to completely miss the point speaks volumes.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

[...] Wolf [of the Late Edition] played a clip of a Huckabee commercial – “[Gov. Huckabee] remind[s people] of the guy they worked with, not the guy who laid them off [i.e. Romney],” reports Mark Kilmer of Redstate.com in a post titled The Sunday Morning Talk Shows

[In response:] Romney chastised Huckabee for criticizing the guy who gives people their paychecks [...]

Romney to the workers of MI: STFU and trust those who who profit the most from your labor.

Romney argues further on Face the Nation that not only should CEOs be immune from criticism, they should also be subsidized at public expense for their insane decisions:

[...] [Romney] said that though it would be difficult to bring back the automotive industry, government could invest in “basic science and research”: fuel technology, automotive technology. With the money of the taxpayers. “We, frankly, are lagging behind,” proclaimed Mitt, and government is the solution [...]

Further:

[...] Schieffer brought up a Huckabee remark, that Mitt’s business would buy businesses and people would lose their jobs. Mitt claimed that he rebuilt businesses, protecting “as many jobs as humanly possible” [...]

Romney protected jobs? Really? This is not consonant with Romney’s earlier testimony. Elsewhere Romney argues for cutting jobs because US workers are lazy and overcompensated:

Romney: American workers are lazy and over-compensated

—and—

Romney really knows how to cut jobs, as he boasted in a live debate:

“Romney was doing great on the job creation answer until he said he knows how to get rid of people who need to be gotten rid of,” writes Andrew Cline of the NRO in a The Corner blog burst titled Romney on Jobs

That is not going to help him in New Hampshire, where another paper mill closed this year and the loss of manufacturing jobs remains a huge issue [...]

We used to ask rhetorically who Romney’s natural constituency could possibly be. Now we know. It is the executive classes of the equity sector. See:

how Romney plans to enrich himself by liquidating the US manufacturing base

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Here’s an interesting one,” writes NRO’s Byron York in a The Corner post titled McCain Attacks Romney’s Attack on Huckabee

The Romney campaign is set to release the first negative ad of the season in Iowa tomorrow – an attack on Mike Huckabee on the immigration issue. Huckabee will certainly respond – and now, he has help from another candidate, John McCain. A few minutes ago, the McCain campaign released a statement from Iowa chairman Dave Roederer denouncing the attack on Huckabee:

News that Mitt Romney will launch a new attack ad tomorrow is another move by a campaign that continues to insult Iowa voters. Iowa families should not be subjected to this negative style of campaigning, especially during the holiday season.

Governor Romney has flip-flopped on several major issues that voters care about. It’s particularly amazing that Governor Romney would attack anyone on immigration when he’s on his third position. John McCain has run an honorable campaign that all Iowans can be proud of. I call on Governor Romney to drop his plans for this negative attack and follow John McCain’s lead. Candidates need to raise the level of the debate, not lower it …

AmSpec blog’s J. Ruben comments:

[York's NRO post] tells the latest battle of McCain vs. Romney — over the new ad directed at Huckabee. The response by a Romney “supporter”– ” Hey McCain touted Romney in 2002 ” — shows roughly the same level of self-delusion as the “politically incorrect” ad. In 2002 , of course, Romney had yet to reverse himself on abortion, gay rights, gun rights, campaign finance reform, Ronald Reagan, the Bush tax cuts and immigration … etc.

Dear Team Romney, you have a problem. No one fears you. Nor should they. Your negatives are too high, your poll numbers too soft, and your candidate is too icy-cold unlikable to support or sustain a negative message. Hence the instant blowback you experience every single time you try to go negative.

Dear Sen. McCain, Gov. Huckabee et al, please leave Romney alone. Never interfere when your enemies are determined to commit suicide.

Of course we predicted that the other candidates would begin to concert their activities contra Romney:

Romney bravely—or unwittingly—faces the gathering storm, er, we mean swarm

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“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”

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“‘I like Governor Romney,’ says Meg Crawford, a woman ‘who has been part of the movement in Union County [IA] since Roe,‘” as reported by David Freddoso in a The Corner post titled, mysteriously, Romney’s Conversion

I have some reservations about his commitment to the right to life. He assures me now that he is pro-life, that he’s been pro-life…but I still have some concerns about where he was when he was governor. I can’t quite commit to him yet. There’s something in me that just says “no.”

Tell us about it, Ms. Crawford. There’s something in us that just says “no” to Romney too—for example:

There is something in us that just says “no” to Romney’s lies and pointless attacks on others.

There is something in us that just says “no” to Romney’s corruption.

There is something in us that just says “no” to Romney’s hair-brained schemes and absurd policy contortions.

There is something in us that just says “no” to Romney—yes, tis’ true—but to say “no” to Romney is to say “yes” to hope. To say “no” to Romney is to say “yes” to sound government. To say “no” to Romney is to say yes to respect, yes to temperance, yes to positions based on principle instead of expediency.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.





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