Curling’s “rebuttle” to Ruffini’s “Where’s Romney’s Bio” further details and demonstrates the problems of the ailing Romney campaign
“Despite spending gobs of money, despite eclipsing Fred Thompson in the invisible primary, [Romney] still can’t quite connect with conservatives,” writes Patrick Ruffini in a post titled Where’s Romney’s Bio.
Contra Ruffini, in a Romney-in-2008 post titled Rebutting Ruffini’s “Where’s the Bio,” the estimable Ann Marie Curling argues point-for-point:
- “I disagree with [claim that Romney emphasizes issues over Romney’s biography]. Romney’s campaign from the very beginning has promoted his experience as a businessman, at the Olympics, and as Governor while also putting forth great ideas of ways to manage our country better. First, lets go to the bio question” … Curling provides a number of Romney bio-vids of variable quality and substance to shore up her claim
- “What a mischaracterization [Ruffini] has going on here [about e.g. the value voters summit] … If you’ll read this post from Evangelicals for Mitt it explains how the poll turned out and why. I don’t know why Patrick has decided to keep this mischaracterization going even after this was already explained now at least two or three days ago” … and yet the perception remains!—why is that?
- “This [Ruffini’s] claim that Romney cannot out-conservative other candidates] makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, lets take some of the conservative issues. If you go to this link, it spells out in depth Governor Romney’s agenda. Lets list them (be patient these are PDF documents)”—here Curling laughably, and without a trace of irony, demonstrates precisely the behavior that Ruffini claims is so problematic, i.e. enumerating policy positions like you’re reading bullet points.
- Curling concludes with examples of Romney’s bio-vids “high-lighting” Romney’s “accomplishments.
Curling completely misses the point of Ruffini’s analysis. Please understand: it no longer matters how many policy initiatives that Romney can rattle off—no one believes him!—in fact, the gesture itself only further undermines Romney’s credibility as it underscores the perception that Romney will say anything to get elected—that’s the point!—that’s the whole issue! Back to Ruffini:
Romney’s speeches are built on the assumption that he can out-conservative Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee by out-talking them. His words are a litany of conservative talking points.
Earlier this year, when his conservative credentials were genuinely in question, the issues-talk might have helped. But now his problem has morphed into something far worse: an authenticity problem centered around flip-flopping. And arguably, each time he opens his mouth and spouts platitudes, he only makes it worse.
Romney has done to himself what the Bush campaign did to John Kerry. The Bush team made it so that every time Kerry opened his mouth, he hurt himself, thanks to the perception that he was talking out of both sides of his mouth. Kerry couldn’t help himself by saying the right things because nobody believed what he was saying.
Romney’s situation is further complicated by the fact that issues are actually friendly terrain for Rudy Giuliani. Huh? That’s right — because people assume Rudy’s positions are liberal, when he talks conservative, that’s reassuring. When Romney talks issues, people assume he’s pandering … etc., etc.
But here is where Curling is right and Ruffini may be wrong: yes, granted, contra Ruffini, the Romneys have done their level best to promote Romney’s bio. The problem: no one cares. Further problem: those few who do care—e.g. us—discover lots of evidence to never vote for Romney in his bio.
Your resume can prevent you from getting elected. But no one ever got elected because of their resume.