“The facts are well-known, but worth repeating,” writes Jonathan Martin of the Politico in a post titled Huckmania running wild in Hawkeye Country

Mitt Romney has been on TV almost non-stop for nine months in Iowa. He’s been to the state dozens of times over the last three years. His 99-county organization is viewed as the most formidable of any Republican in the state.

And now he’s lost the lead he’s enjoyed for the past six months to somebody who just in the past few weeks has gone up on TV, has been to the state less (almost not at all in the past month) and whose campaign team, by their own admission, does not have what Romney does on the ground.

The cross-tabs are not available on the Register website now, but apparently voters sampled see Romney as more presidential and Giuliani as more electable. So why are they moving to Huckabee? Beyond his social conservative credentials, he also wins points for being the most civil and principled in the field. In short, they just like him.

Romney’s challenge now is to change that dynamic by providing them new information (i.e. oppo) that will lessen this ardor. But it won’t be easy. As I’ve said before, Romney risks a serious backlash by going negative. He’s started to do contrast in the mail and in campaign appearances, but it’s a bigger and riskier step to do so on TV … etc., etc.

Remarks:

(1) We predicted this:

(2) Another string on which we harp here is Romney’s fantastically low ROI for his every campaign dollar, i.e. the ultra-low efficiency of Romney’s organization.

Examples:

We have also harped on the string of Romney’s self-financing:

(3) Follow us for a moment: the point we want to make is a subtle one.

Say that someone buys a home in your neighborhood and what they pay is significantly below market value. What does this do to the price of your home? It drives it down. Say that some agent or agency dumps a commodity on the market at below market prices, even selling at a loss. What happens? Chaos. Dislocation. A crash in the value of the commodity, the ruin of competitors etc. Moral: free money or huge subsidies can cause distortions that correct themselves in chaos and collapse—generally, you want to pay for a good or a service what that good or service is worth (and no more), and you want others to pay for a good or a service what that service is worth. Otherwise, price become meaningless as an index of value.

Now, consider the Romney campaign, awash in free cash from Romney’s own pockets.

Political fund-raising is costly, especially for Republicans at this precise historical moment. But Team Romney is largely insulated from these costs—as well as from the learning these costs exact upon their payers. Campaigns organized on a more rational basis—i.e. campaigns whose spending is constrained by the success of their operations, campaigns more closely coupled to a broader base of funding sources and support—must adjust and adapt to develop their coalitions. Not so Team Romney, which behaves with the arrogance and sense of entitlement of a spoiled rich kid.

Further: the millions that Team Romney has squandered in Iowa and New Hampshire has so distorted perceptions that no one—not pundits, not pollsters, not analysts—can resolve a clear signal—no one really knows what is happening on the ground. The market realized as a price system—to continue our metaphor—will not support accurate comparisons. For example, when Gov. Huckabee gains on Romney in Iowa it is considered huge news for no other reason than what Romney has spent in Iowa, when the real and un-remarkable story is that Romney is a weak candidate with no clear message.

In other words, were Romney a real candidate and not an artifact of Republican decline combined with our absurd campaign finance laws—i.e. if what Romney could spend were a reliable indicator of his political fitness—then there would be no story, as there would probably be no Romney.

Our point: confusion is what results from what we call Romneyism. Romneyism is what happens when a corrupt political establishment sells off a national party for a pittance.

All of the operational questions that confront Team Romney reduce to one: How much of the patrimony of Romney’s beloved sons is Romney willing to squander? Does Boy Romney have the will and the nerve to sustain his current burn-rate?—or: does he lack to the good sense to cut his losses and pull out now? Here is the problem for the political primitives of Team Romney: the distortions caused by all that free-floating low-cost Romney-money will reach their limit in the form of a massive market correction, i.e. a big crash. We wish we could predict with confidence that it will be Team Romney that gets corrected, but we cannot. What is more likely is that Romney will take the party down with him.

“The system that you have is the system that you deserve,” our systems-administrator is fond of saying. The same could be said about leadership.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Advertisements

  1. 1 The Political News You Need to Know » how Romney’s spending has distorted perceptions in Iowa and New Hampshire

    […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  2. 2 Repulicans Presidential Election 2008 » how Romney’s spending has distorted perceptions in Iowa and New …

    […] dotan created an interesting post today on how Romneyâs spending has distorted perceptions in Iowa and New …Here’s a short outline […]

  3. 3 Romney campaign a victim of the “sunk cost effect”—also: how Gov. Huckabee’s sudden ascendancy is an artifact of the Romney campaign’s misguided activities « who is willard milton romney?

    […] (3) Elsewhere we discussed how Romney’s activities have distorted perceptions of the primary race in the same sense that subsidies or bailouts undermine the efficiency of a market to return prices that are an index of value: how Romney’s spending has distorted perceptions in Iowa and New Hampshire […]

  4. 4 Romney’s Kevin Madden “flabbergasted” at Team Romney’s helplessness against under-funded and un-organized Gov. Huckabee—Romney loses control of his spending says Carr—more on Romney’s fantastically low ROI for his

    […] points suddenly become points of exceeding vulnerability, and you can no longer trust your own perceptions. Example: Romney’s principal strength, his vast personal wealth, has become the organizing […]




Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: