“MANCHESTER, N.H. — Having barely slept after landing at 3 a.m. on Friday, weary advisers for Mitt Romney gathered a few hours later in a conference room in the Courtyard Marriott in Portsmouth to regroup after the resounding defeat Mike Huckabee handed them in Iowa,” writes the estimable Michael Luo in a NYT article titled Romney Embraces Theme Used to Beat Him

Romney’s model is simple predict-and-control. For example, Romney and his same “advisors” developed Romney’s last plan over a year ago in a posh Boston suburb:

“We were sitting around with a PowerPoint”—said a senior Romney advisor, “We weren’t sitting around with a crystal ball”—how Team Romney lost Iowa over a year ago in a posh Boston suburb

This was Romney’s ill-considered early state von Schlieffen plan. Romney clung to it for months in the very teeth of contrary data. And lots of contrary data developed all around the hapless candidate in Iowa and elsewhere—we harped on it in this blog almost constantly. Romney’s response? To try to control for whatever contrary stimuli developed around him, e.g., Romney’s hyper-massive out-of-control spending as an attempt to control for Gov. Huckabee’ s ascendency.

Only predict-and-control failed for the hapless candidate. Iowa decided against him.

Back to Luo:

Dominating the conversation was the idea that the central lesson from Iowa in both parties was that voters wanted change in Washington and a focus on how Mr. Romney might harness that sentiment to defeat his main rival in New Hampshire, Senator John McCain.

So far Mr. Romney has tried with varying degrees of fervor to portray himself as a change agent for Washington, often playing up his private-sector background and arguing that he has not been in politics long enough to be “infected.” In September, he even rolled out the slogan “change begins with us.”

Often, however, the point has gotten lost in Mr. Romney’s speeches as he has tried to hit a jumble of other notes establishing his conservative credentials. It is also a balancing act for any Republican presidential candidate to try to carry off, given how popular President Bush remains with the Republican base. […]

Yuh-huh. The larger question: Has the noisy and frantic candidate from Bain Capital learned how to stay on message? See:

Luo: “Ever since Mr. Romney began his presidential bid, his campaign has oscillated between two distinct, some would say contradictory, themes—Mr. Romney as a conservative standard-bearer and him as a pragmatic problem-solving businessman”

Also: Romney has been reduced to a regional player after months of ridiculing the other campaigns for their regional stronghold strategies. Romney’s last redoubt (or firewall)? Michigan.

[…] A loss in New Hampshire would be devastating for the Romney campaign, his aides privately conceded, given their stated strategy of winning “early and often.” They argue that they will be able to fight on, with Michigan’s primary on Jan. 15 acting as a fire wall. The campaign has recently stepped up efforts in Michigan, where Mr. Romney has deep roots, releasing an advertisement focused on the economy and starting a direct-mail campaign on economic issues. […]

Yeahright. This is meaningless noise of course. Romney has no base, no region, no natural constituency. He cannot carry his home state. He is running against his own record of governance and policy. He will fight on because he is flush with funds, his own funds in the form of the patrimony of his beloved sons, whether NH or MI decide for him or not.

For months the chattering classes insisted that Romney’s national strategy indicated the candidate’s strength. They claimed Romney was the only GOP candidate in control of his destiny. They also argued that the regional stronghold strategy of the other candidates was an artifact of their various weakness etc. We argued here on this blog that precisely the opposite is the case. It is precisely because Romney has no natural constituency, and no base, that the hapless candidate is constrained to try to “win early and often” to compensate. This is why we refer to Romney’s desperate early state plan as his von Schlieffen plan, another shock-and-awe plan that depended for its success on lightening and nearly simultaneous victories on multiple fronts, and another plan that failed to survive its first encounter with grim reality.

Our surmise: Romney knows by now that he cannot win the GOP nomination through the primary process. His only chance is a brokered convention. And his only chance of prevailing at a brokered convention is to so slime his rivals that none can any longer rise to national standing.

Does this sound preposterous? Of course it does. But the one premise we use to ground all our analyses posted to this blog is that whatever Romney says is the case is either

(a) flat wrong

or

(b) the precise opposite of what is actually the case

To satisfy yourself that our method returns fairly predictive and explanatory results, peruse our blog going back to last summer.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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  1. 1 Romney varies and riffs on themes by Barack Obama as he struggles to pull off his second humiliating defeat « who is willard milton romney?

    […] is more evidence of Romney’s predict-and-control operational […]

  2. 2 candidate endorsed by the National Review, Romney, suddenly veers hard left, argues that Washington must subsidize, become “partner” with, US automobile industry « who is willard milton romney?

    […] Romney’s new theme of “change in Washington” developed by same super-genius advisors who deliv… […]




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