Posts Tagged ‘attacks’

“This is what people like to call ‘industrial policy,’ and what Jonah Goldberg [of the National Review, which endorsed Romney for president] likes to call liberal fascism – big business and big government working hand-in-glove for the purposes of economic nationalism,” writes Ross Douthat in a blog burst titled Where’s the Outrage

Douthat’s claim is a rejoinder to this quote from Romney’s infamous address to some insignificant group of nobodies whose name we refuse to recall:

[…] “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” […]

Back to Douthat:

It’s “sustained and detailed,” all right, just as Frum says – a sustained and detailed infringement on free-market principle, and one that appeals to voters in places like Michigan precisely because it goes much further to the left than Mike Huckabee’s substance-free talk about how the current period of economic growth isn’t doing all that well by the working class, or John McCain’s straight talk about how Michiganders can’t expect the federal government to bring back the glory days of Chrysler and GM. But because conservatives spend way, way more time worrying about the spectre of “class warfare” than they do about than the nexus between big business and the Republican Party, Romney gets off with a mild slap on the wrist, while McCain and Huckabee get tarred as liberals.

I’m overstating the case a bit, obviously; there a variety of good reasons, besides their response to Michigan’s economic pain, why McCain and Huckabee have come by their crypto-liberal reputations. But the extent to which Romney is getting a free pass for his back-to-the-’70s, “D.C. will save the auto industry” promises , while conservatives are still obsessing over how John McCain’s 2000-2001 preference for a more progressive tax code makes him a “class warrior,” seems more than a little ridiculous […]

Yuh-huh. We concur. See:

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

Meanwhile, Romney attacks Gov. Huckabee through the Club for Growth on grounds of Gov. Huckabee’s allegedly non-free market policies. See:

“The Club for Growth has an affiliated 527 group, Club for, running anti-Mike Huckabee ads in early primary states,” writes Team Huckabee in a Mike Huckabee for President post titled What Does $585,000 buy you

– At least $585,000 in contributions from Mitt Romney financial backers.

– Club for Growth has spent $750,000 against Governor Huckabee in Iowa, South Carolina and Michigan […]

Operating under cover of 527s is part of Romney’s overall strategy—the following is from a left-of-center blog titled Think Progress:

[…] To hit McCain, Romney has relied on an anti-environment front group, the American Environmental Coalition (AEC) to do the work for him. Last week, George Landrith, the co-Chairman of the group, likened McCain to Al Gore and compared the senator to a wolf in sheep’s clothing […]

Romney attacks his opponents on the right through surrogates and 527s even as he veers hard to the left. Where is the real Romney in all this angry noise? What does the man really believe?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.


“This morning our servers are overheating with a barrage of negative McCain posts, and we are receiving many mails about it, some claiming that we are favoring Romney,” writes WonkoSteve in a wonkoblog warning to the political blog community titled McCain Taking Heavy Fire–Don’t Blame Us

McCain supporters out there, please keep in mind the following:

1. Wonkosphere doesn’t favor any candidate.
2. All our posts are selected automatically, based on the same algorithms we’ve been running since August. We do not select any posts by hand. […]

[…] 6. Heavy negative traffic on McCain, especially also involving Romney, is not surprising given current reports that Romney is going heavily negative on McCain.
7. The solution to this is for McCain bloggers to return fire en masse.

The legitimate candidates showed us the way at the debate tonight. Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain have shown us the way. Against a common threat to the integrity of our troubled party and its primary process—one Willard Milton Romney—they set aside their differences and concerted their efforts.

Every political blogger—without respect to who you support, whether you are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, Independent or other—needs to return fire on Romney now, en masse.

Spread the word.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

… “The concept of one state making or breaking a race for the presidential nomination is nothing new,” writes the estimable Reid Wilson in a realclearpolitics speculative article titled “McCain, Giuliani Like Gephardt, Kerry?”

In 2004, as former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean surged in early state polls, former House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt, whose entire campaign strategy rested on winning Iowa, threw most of his campaign treasury into taking Dean down. The result: Sen. John Kerry, who was viewed as staying above the fray, took Iowa, and with it, began a snowball effect that handed him the nomination.

This year, Romney in many ways parallels Dean. Both former New England governors and viewed as outsiders in their own parties, Dean found then, as Romney does now, that criticizing a party that has lost its way can pay off. Dean criticized fellow Democrats as “Bush-lite,” while Romney, in a recent advertisement, reminds Republican voters that “change begins with us.” Both are well-funded, and both saw themselves rise in early state polls.

Their language, too, bears striking resemblance. At a Democratic National Committee meeting in Washington in 2003, Dean worked the crowd in a frenzy, borrowing a line from the late Sen. Paul Wellstone when he said he represented the “Democratic wing of the Democratic party.” Last Friday, in Nevada, Romney mirrored the assertion. “Conservatives that have heard me time and again recognize that I do speak for the Republican wing of the Republican Party,” he said.

It remains, it seems, up to John McCain or Rudy Giuliani to disabuse Republican primary voters of that notion, should either hope to break Romney’s lead in New Hampshire.

Giuliani and Romney have skirmished frequently in recent weeks, most prominently on issues of taxes and spending. The two candidates each claim to have cut taxes while accusing the other of raising taxes and fees.

But both Romney and Giuliani have to overcome issues with the Republican base that have little to do with fiscal conservatism. Both have in the past made statements supportive of Roe v. Wade and gay rights, issues on which social conservatives vehemently disagree. Both are now tacking to the right, though Romney’s efforts seem more successful – this week, prominent evangelical leader Bob Jones III, grandson of the university’s namesake, announced he would back Romney.

McCain has come out strongest against Romney’s assertion of himself as the conservative standard bearer. “As we all know, when [Romney] ran for office in Massachusetts, being a Republican wasn’t much of a priority,” McCain told a crowd in Manchester, according to the Associated Press. “In fact, when he ran against Ted Kennedy, he said he didn’t want to return to the days of Reagan-Bush. I always was under the impression Ronald Reagan was a real Republican.”

In fact, McCain noted, Romney has admitted to supporting Democrats in the past, including 1992 Democratic presidential candidate Paul Tsongas and former New Hampshire Congressman Dick Swett.

On Wednesday, McCain continued his assault on Romney, citing a recent debate gaffe as a sign of Romney’s “inexperience” and, when asked whether he meant Romney was too inexperienced to be president, responded, “Sure,” according to an influential South Carolina political blog and The State newspaper.

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden took direct aim at McCain in response: “Governor Romney has run a state and balanced budgets, while other campaigns have only run a Senate office on Capitol Hill or have mismanaged their campaigns to the point that they are mired in debt.”

While Giuliani has the same, if not more severe, problems with conservatives that Romney has, McCain has yet to take serious aim at the New Yorker. Nor has he taken shots at former Senator Fred Thompson, of Tennessee, who began his campaign last month and has been dogged by questions of commitment and ideological purity. But the difference is that McCain counts both men as personal friends; he and Giuliani had dinner late last year to discuss their presidential bids, while Thompson served as McCain’s national campaign co-chair in 2000.

The increasing bitterness of the Republican race, centered around three candidates’ struggles to win New Hampshire, are only likely to get worse in the coming months. The turning point, from running a positive campaign to a comparative campaign, could be an ominous sign for either McCain or Giuliani. As they both train their fire on Romney, one will likely become this year’s version of Dick Gephardt.

The other could become this year’s John Kerry, who stays above the fray, and out of harm’s way, bound onward to a general election.

The emphases are ours, all ours.

We concur with Wilson’s tacit assumption that the Romneys must depart the race. The question then becomes: how and when. We humbly rejoin with the following points and counter-arguments:

1. Patrick Ruffini has also likened Romney to Dean—Ruffini: “Romney’s leads remind me of Howard Dean’s hard-earned leads in those states in 2004″

2. We, OTOH, have likened Romney to an out-of-control Gephardt: Romney’s negative attacks on others and his negatives in the polls–what is the link?

Our point: the Dean-Gephardt story has entered the contemporary canon of political analogy.

3. Any top tier candidate could take out Romney at little or no cost. Conventional wisdom: When your favorables are high, you can go negative, but it will cost you. When your own negatives are high, do not go negative; you may take out your target, but only at the cost of your own viability. Romney’s negatives are frighteningly-historically high. Higher than anyone. Higher than Hillary. Further: Romney is a polarizing figure; independents and Democrats loath and despise him. Evidence:

4. We would contend that no one should lay a glove on Romney just yet. The timing is not right. The Romney candidacy is proving to be useful despite the increasingly remote danger of a Romney presidency—a probability that has receded to the level of a possibility.

The task of the Romney campaign at the moment is to (a) lavishly fund and therefore help develop interest groups, consultants, and party organizations on the right; (b) push other, more viable candidates to the right; (c) dominate the airwaves with Republican messages; (d) compel other candidates to adapt against a hostile terrain dominated by a resource-intensive campaign. These conditions will obtain in the general election, so the candidates had better learn how to cope, and learn how to develop and promulgate a successful message in a hostile media environment.

Contra (b), is Romney really pushing other candidates to the right?—well, no. This is wishful thinking on our part. His influence has been as negligible. But he has allowed other candidates to occupy the moderate ground. It is difficult for someone to accuse you of being extreme if your rival—and basis for comparison—is Romney in his current incarnation. In other words, it is precisely the unequivocal failure of Romney’s caricatured, naive, and un-reconstructed conservatism that has cleared the ground for a newly emerging center-right consensus. (Regard: Would Brownback reach out to Giuliani were it not for Romney?—it is precisely because Romney is so alienating and estranging a figure that he can be marginally useful in indirect and unintentional ways—he brings people together. OK., so he brings people together against him. But he brings them together nonetheless.)

Contra (c), you can just as easily argue that Romney is discrediting Republican messages by association with himself and his campaign. This galls us a little bit, but it is consistent with contra (a).

Even so, at this precise moment we would contend that the Romney campaign is more useful on the life-support of Romney’s personal fortune than it would be dead and gone. Besides: Romney’s consultants, operatives, and hacks—never terribly efficient or effective—have yet to complete the necessary task of separating Romney from whatever wealth Romney is willing to sacrifice to his vanity—hey, everyone’s got to eat!—who are we to begrudge the vultures of a corrupt party establishment their chance at a fat carcass?   

5. Consistent with (4), consider the work that the Romney campaign has already accomplished. It was Romney’s titanic botching of the value voters summit that exposed the internal divisions and contradictions of the Evangelical movement and effectively nuetralized their influence. See:

out-of-touch Evangelical “leaders” stunned by Huckabee upset at the value voters summit—prepared to sigh, shrug, and coronate Romney as their Lord, G_d, and King—oh, the irony! 

6. We further contend: The Romney problem will solve itself according to its own inner logic. This is because of Romney’s over-reliance on direct methods of developing influence, which explains the contradiction of Romney’s non-showing in the national polls yet competitiveness in the early states precisely where Romney has concentrated his spending. We argue the case here:

positioned to fail: Team Romney’s over-reliance on instruments of direct influence and its consequences

Consistent with (5), the Romneys will probably teach the GOP and the conservative movement many painful lessons before they depart the scene. But the lessons themselves will be useful. Moral: No one needs to play Gephardt to someone else’s Kerry. Allow Darwin’s mysterious laws to do their work. On the other hand, it would be highly entertaining and virtually cost-free to the candidate who wants to play Gephardt.

So, weighing the one option against the other, a presumption toward an economy of effort would compel us to advise against moving against Romney. The Romney problem will resolve itself.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“‘That’s a phony issue,’ Romney told reporters,” as reported by an anonymous retailer of facts and sparkling wit for’s blog Political Radar in a post titled More Rudy-Romney back and forth

Romney continues: “I’d make a decision based on the safety of the American people. But of course we’d also check to make sure what our legal and constitutional responsibilities are, that’s why we swear an oath of office.”

“But if there’s anybody with a propensity to go to lawsuits . . . it’s the mayor,” Romney continued. “The Mayor’s the one who sued Governor Pataki to keep the commuter tax in place. It’s the mayor who sued the government of the United States over the line item veto. The mayor’s the one who shows the propensity to want to put in place a legal tax. . . . He’s been the one suing. Suing on the line item veto, suing on the commuter tax. . . . I think he also brought a suit to try and keep the federal welfare law from applying to the city of New York.”

Summed up Romney: “he gets first place when it comes to suing and lawyering.”

In response, Giuliani campaign communications director Katie Levinson, issued a statement saying, “hopefully, Mitt Romney isn’t going to check with the same group of lawyers who told him the Bill Clinton line item veto was constitutional” more

Observation: Romney has gone negative—and he’s angry—well, he’s always angry. He’s also gotten himself wrangled in a tit-for-tat contest of attrition with a more intelligent, more agile player. The problem for Romney: his negatives are way, way higher than Giuliani’s. We explore that issue here:

Romney’s “gotta-call-my-laywer” response to the Iran question object of scorn, derision, and belly-laughs among other GOP candidates—how will Romney respond?

Even Romney’s own supporters realize the campaign-killing insanity of attacking Giuliani. Example: A tedious and tired David French issues a veiled warning to the Romneys in an Evangelicals for Mitt post titled third party?

… Here at EFM we have long considered Rudy to be far more of a threat to capture the nomination than John McCain or Fred Thompson. He’s a great campaigner. He shines in the debates, he has all the right enemies (the New York left just hates the guy), since 9/11 he’s cornered the market on public perceptions of effective leadership in the face of horrific terror, and there’s a deep reservoir of affection for him. Cold-blooded political consultants have long discounted the power of the visceral bond he formed with much of America on the afternoon of September 11, 2001. And those kinds of bonds matter in politics.

The challenge for Governor Romney is to persuade the ordinary American voter that they can love and respect Rudy for all that he did . . . and still vote for someone else. You don’t beat Rudy by trashing him. You beat him by presenting a better alternative
more [Emphasis ours]

Events have proven that Romney was not equal to this challenge either—the simple challenge of not self-immolating. Question: Has there been a challenge yet that Romney could meet on its own terms? We mean, a challenge that could not be met with a personal check drawn on Romney’s personal funds?

Some are trying to spin the dispute as a Rudy-Romney passion play, i.e. as dispute in which the parties enjoy a certain moral equivalence, e.g. Justin Hart’s post strangely titled The Rudy-Romney Shadow, in which Hart, a Romney partisan, quotes approvingly the Thompson campaign:

Yesterday, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani continued their partisan bickering, this time over things like the constitutionality of the line item veto.  While they played politics, Fred Thompson rose above it and took his conservative, small government, tax cutting message straight to the American people more

This argument allows Romney supporters to claim that Romney stands at the same level as the former mayor. Only he doesn’t—the two parties are not equal, and they will not be perceived as equal. To demonstrate, let us ask the same question in different terms: When people hear the name Giuliani they think of the courage and heroism of New York and New Yorkers on 9.11 and in its aftermath—or they think of how NYC became livable during his tenure as NYC’s mayor. When people hear the name Romney—if they have ever heard of him at all—they think of gay marriage. Question: So who do you think is going to win this dispute?—or, more to the point: who does Romney or his crack staff of hirelings and hangers-on think is going to win this dispute? Conclusion: Team Romney desperately needs some adult supervision.

The maddeningly inarticulate Kevin Madden—Romney’s chief helper-monkey in times of distress—had better immediately issue lots of conciliatory noise about the former mayer of NYC and about how much the Romneys respect his years of public service etc., etc.—and he had better do so before the next news-cycle.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Context: A “friend of Mitt” suffers the online version of a brain aneurysm that causes him to behave in a manner he affects to condenm in a cry-for-help of a post titled Hey, Jim Geraghty, how about some context?

… I’m sick and tiredcomplains the exasperated “friend of Mitt”of people who make charges and don’t give any details. Jim says “Neither man has a perfect record” but he gives no examples of why they weren’t perfect. I understand that no one is perfect, but Jim makes it sound like he has a specific complaint, but he keeps that to his smug self, and lets us guess, or just assume that he has actual examples of their shortcomings. So, according to Jim, who has a perfect record? Romney balanced a 3 billion dollar deficit without raising taxes. What more does Jim want? … more

The dialog develops along these lines:

Geraghty responds: “I’m going to ignore the typically charming comments about my disappointing intellectual rigor, the suggestion that candidates declare Reagan was perfect, my smugness, etc. I’ll just note that with persuasive friends like this, Mitt Romney could use a few more enemies,” responds the flustered and flummoxed Geraghty, who then issues a point-for-point rejoinder in the form of a clarification and statement of facts titled So What Did Romney Mean When He Said, “I Was an Independent During Reagan-Bush”?

(Question: why do so many questions about Romney and his campaign reduce to “So what did Romney really mean … ?—conclusion: Romney has a serious communication problem among his other image issues.)

In response to Geraghty’s response, the so-called “Friend of Mitt” gibbers, pants, barks, and spits: “Jim is not engaging in a debate of ideas. He is trying to avoid the issues by talking about us vs. them. I stick by the logical soundness of everything I said in my post. Jim did not respond to a single point I made. Fine. Points don’t matter if you don’t have your facts right. But I have all my facts correct now, and I re-assert every single one of my arguments,” writes the Friend-of-Mitt in a horrendously tedious, digressive, whining, defensive, often fallacious, nit-picking, and convoluted rejoinder titled According to Jim Geraghty … and redolent of a USENET flame riposte or instance of Fisking.

What was it that Henry Kissinger once said of the Iran-Iraq war?—It’s a shame they can’t both lose, in this case Geraghty and the “Friend of Mitt.” But this much we appreciate: Geraghty did not roll over this time. This gave the Romney flak the opportunity to demonstrate in prose the campaign’s true character and intentions. Consider: “Jim is not engaging in a debate of ideas. He is trying to avoid the issues by talking about us vs them”—huh!?—this attempt to reframe the question of the propositional content of Romeny’s own claim into a “debate of ideas” is as sad as it is transparent. But what really provokes laughter is how this “friend of Mitt” draws his gassy screed to a close:

  1. I stick by the LOGICAL SOUNDNESS of everything I said in my post
  2. Jim did not respond to a single POINT I made
  3. Fine. POINTS don’t matter if you don’t have your FACTS right (Comment: say what?)
  4. But I have all my FACTS correct now, and I re-assert every single one of my ARGUMENTS”

<translation> What I wrote is logically sound. Jim did not respond to any of my points. Fine, because points don’t matter if you have your facts right. Only the my facts weren’t right, as I admit when I concede that Kennedy was talking about policy, not deficits, so by my own admission

  • my points mattered


  • they were logically unsound

But I have all my facts correct now—well, yes, um, thanks to Geraghty, who apparently was able to correct my point without responding to a single one of my, um, points. Anyway, I am now in a position to reassert every one of my arguments, which does not follow from the conclusions that I wish to draw from the relations that obtain between facts and points because as far as I am concerned this is a “debate” and my goal, apparently, is to score points. Got it? </translation>

Does this sound incoherent to you? It sure does to us.

Also: who does the the Romney flak think is his audience? Does he or she really believe that it is wise to so bitterly and resolutely attack someone whose very profession—whose job, whose task, whose purpose in life—it is to write about politics, particularly center-right politics, when it is a primary goal of your ill-fated candidate to affect the pose of a center-right candidate after many years of describing himself as a social progressive?

What a moron!

Dear Romney people: You can whine about the “press” or the “bias” of the “media” in exceedingly general terms even as you maintain good relations with media elites etc. Republicans do this all the time, especially the weaker candidates. This will make you appear a little like a loser, and criticizing the media is a fairly reliable index of the ill-health of a campaign, but it is generally not fatal in itself.

But you never want to attack anyone in the media by name or institution. Never. Never. Never We repeat: You never attack anyone in the media. You may offer to help them get their facts straight even as you praise them for their meticulous attention to detail, or ask them to help you correct a oversight even as you acknowledge their tireless devotion to the development of an informed electorate, but you never, ever, attack them. Does anyone remember when President Clinton attacked radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh? Or Vice President Quayle criticized a television character named Murphy Brown? Only at least President Clinton and Vice President Quayle had the good sense to attack political-ideological opponents. This so-called “friend of Mitt” has turned about to charge his own flank, his own right flank, a flank the Romneys have left perilously exposed despite all their great noise about how suddenly “conservative” they are.

Who in the Romney campaign approved this so-called “friend of Mitt’s” cry-for-help getting posted on an official campaign website?—it hardly matters. The problem reaches beyond any one particular non-professional. So: Please, Romney people, consider firing your entire communications staff—right down to the last unpaid interns or fetchers-of-warm-coffee-beverages—and hiring all new ones, immediately.

Conclusion: The Romneys are not nice people. Their lack-wit supporters are not nice people. And: They do not tolerate dissent. And as Geraghty has learned, no amount of sucking-up can insulate you from their rage.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Context: Romney issued his typically noisy stump-speech jeremaids and scolding op-eds on the issue of Ahmadinejad’s addresses to the UN and Columbia University.

The response?—predictable. Consider

“Voters expect a certain amount of malarkey in political ads designed to press emotional hot-buttons,” begins a section of a Boston Globe editorial subtitled Romney: I run, therefore Iran

But the recent campaign ad for Mitt Romney exploiting anxieties about Iran sets a new standard for cynicism. The radio ad lauds Romney for denying a State Police escort last September for the reformist former president of Iran, Mohammad Khatami, when he visited Harvard and MIT. The reality was that Khatami was escorted everywhere by the State Department’s special security force for foreign dignitaries. Romney insulted Harvard and MIT more than Khatami when he called their invitation to him “a disgrace.” Instead of showing that Romney can be tough on terrorism, the ad suggests that Romney has little idea who Khatami is or what his role had been in Iran. Toughness may be a desirable quality in a president; indifference to the complex realities of foreign hot spots is not more [emphases ours]

Or consider:

“Another Republican contender, Mitt Romney, grandstanded even more shamelessly [about Ahmadinejad’s visit and address], proclaiming that the Iranian shouldn’t have received an entry visa in the first place,” argues Jesse Walker in a reasononline article titled Who’s Afraid of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? After all the trembling, the Iranian president got a bruising instead of a boost.

 If you suspected that Silver and Hunter represent just a tiny sliver of the electorate, Romney’s statement should give you pause. Romney isn’t an ordinary flesh-and-blood candidate, after all; he’s a machine calibrated to say whatever is most likely to emerge from a focus group of Republican primary voters more [emphasis ours]

For more on the evolving Romney-rhetoric, see:

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Mitt Romney’s evolution on various issues has made it hard for many voters to get a read on him, but this much is clear: the man sure can deliver a tongue-lashing,” writes the estimable and insightful Alec MacGillis in post to WaPo’s The Trail titled Mitt Romney’s Way with Words.

Judging from his recent statements on the trail, one gets the sense that, as happy as the Romney boys all now seem while stumping for their father, the Romney household was probably not a place one wanted to be when young Tagg or Matt failed to mow the lawn or write a thank you note. The former Massachusetts governor may spare the rod, but he sure doesn’t spare the adjectives:

First, there was his upbraiding of Larry Craig the morning after news broke of the Idaho senator’s arrest in a Minneapolis airport bathroom. While some other Republicans adopted a wait and see pose, Romney wasted no time in separating himself from the co-chair of his Idaho campaign advisory committee: “Once again, we’ve found people in Washington have not lived up to the level of respect and dignity that we would expect for somebody that gets elected to a position of high influence. Very disappointing. He’s no longer associated with my campaign, as you can imagine… I’m sorry to see that he has fallen short,” Romney said on CNBC. He added, “The truth of the matter is, the most important thing we expect from an elected official is a level of dignity and character that we can point to for our kids and our grandkids, and say, `Hey, someday I hope you grow up and you’re someone like that person.’ And we’ve seen disappointment in the White House, we’ve seen it in the Senate, we’ve seen it in Congress. And frankly, it’s disgusting”more

Conclusion: Romney, in his speech and his writing, affects the pose of a blamer. What do we know about blamers?

The Blamer feels powerless and uncared-for. All alone in the world, they feel that nobody will ever do anything for them.

When they feel stressed, their feelings of isolation increase further. As a result, they compensate by trying to take charge, bluffing their way out, hiding their aloneness in attempted leadershipmore [emphasis ours]

More on Romney’s campaign of blame and accusation:

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Lately, Romney has been branding himself as the scold of the Republican Party, calling in one ad for the GOP to embrace lower spending, higher ethics and tough immigration policies. He sits atop the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, though nationally he trails Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John McCain,” reports Jim Kuhnhenn in an AP release titled Campaigns Prepare for Big Spending Spree.

Calculated attack ads by candidates seeking to shake up the field are likely in the next three months.

“The thing about the Republican side of the coin is that virtually every single one of the candidates has a glass jaw,” said GOP pollster and strategist Tony Fabrizio. “The question becomes when the punches start flying who is the guy who’s going to be able to put back together his glass jaw” … more

About Romney’s negativity, and the coming GOP-apocalypse when the Romneys and their flaks and hirelings finally decide to unleash themselves—and they will, and what ensues will be ugly, bloody, and extreme—see:

Romney’s negative attacks on others and his negatives in the polls–what is the link?

On Romney’s spending

Mitt Romney is the only Republican to buy television time. He has spent more than $6 million, with at least $2.7 million in Iowa and $1.7 million in New Hampshire, according to totals compiled by Tracey. Those numbers will increase as a result of new buys of air time in the two states through Oct. 2. Romney also is buying time in Florida and South Carolina and has spent at least $2 million on national advertising.

His advertising has largely been underwritten by his own wealth. The former Massachusetts governor, who has said his assets are worth between $190 million and $250 million, pumped nearly $9 million into his campaign in the first six months of the year and has said he has lent it more this quartermore

Conclusion: Romney has no base, no following. What he has is cash, his own cash. Further conclusion: Every question about every task that awaits the Romney campaign reduces to how much of Romney’s own money—the patrimony of his beloved sons—is Romney willing to squander? This whole farce could end tomorrow—or even tonight—this very moment it could all disappear as if it were a dream—were Romney to somehow summon up the courage within himself to refuse to sign another check and demand that his friends and followers support him with more than polite nods and nervous smiles.

Romney’s only empirical limit is, alas, Romney.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Kudos to Romney for taking on the GOP’s image problems head on. I think an electorate that is tired of finger-pointing, excuses, and evading responsibility will appreciate a candidate who says, ‘our side screwed up,'” swoons shameless Romney sycophant Jim Geraghty in a Campaign Spot post titled “I’m a fan of Romney’s new message, ‘change begins with us.'” Geraghty includes the script:

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: “If we’re going to change Washington, Republicans have to put our own house in order.

“We can’t be like Democrats – a party of big spending.

“We can’t pretend our borders are secure from illegal immigration.

“We can’t have ethical standards that are a punch line for Jay Leno.

“When Republicans act like Democrats, America loses.

“It’s time for Republicans to start acting like Republicans.

“It’s time for a change and change begins with us.

“I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message … more

Matt C., in a post titled New Romney Ad: “Change Begins With Us,” opines with no trace of irony: This ad is music to my ears – finally, somebody saying exactly what I’m feeling.

eye of, however, has a different take:

Of course, this is the same guy who said:

My R doesn’t so much stand for Republican as Reform

Jonathan Martin asked recently why people dislike Romney so much. For me it is not so much that he is dishonest, venal, and hypocritical. I am a political professional. I deal with politicians all the time, and I am used to that. But he is so brazen. I am pretty cynical, but he is too much even for me.

After all, this is the guy who has flip-flopped on abortion, gay-rights, taxes, guns, embryonic stem-cell research, Ronald Reagan, the Contract with America, his draft-dodging, education, immigration, and campaign finance-reform. And now he is lecturing people on being Republican enough? … more

We concur with eye. As for Willard Milton—“it’s OK to change your mind“—Romney’s call for change, we would ask that it begin with the Romneys! See:

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“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 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 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 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

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