Posts Tagged ‘authenticity’

“‘It’s over,’ one Romney advisor said of the former Massachusetts governor’s effort in his neighboring state’s primary,” writes anonymous in an abcnews.com Political Radar blog burst titled Romney Advisor: ‘Authenticity’ Made the Difference in N.H.

When asked what made the difference in Romney’s projected loss to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one Romney advisor simply said, “Authenticity.”  Romney called to congratulate McCain at 8:20 p.m.

But the campaign is looking ahead, with staffers saying, “it is on to Michigan for round three.” […]

Here is another idea. Don’t go to Michigan. Instead: Decide who you are before you do anything else.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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“1. The national media doesn’t know squat,” writes Jennifer Rubin in a stream-of-consciousness AmSpec blog-burst titled Thoughts

They didn’t get Huckabee’s appeal and mocked him incessently for his admittedly weird presser. In places in which they have no idea and couldn’t care less who Joe Klein is or whether the NY Times thinks Huckabee made a horrible gaffe they really don’t do a very good job of predicting results or interpreting events. And with due modesty, the voters don’t always pay that much more attention to conservative media.

2. People vote for people for president not a list of policy positions or resume points. Obama and Huckabee connect on a very emotional level. We forget that at our peril. (See #1) […]

Also from Rubin:

If figures are correct and Romney spent about $10M then he spent $322.58 per vote for a projected 31,000 votes. By contrast,
Mike Huckabee spent $47.44 per vote for a projected 42,160 votes […]

We would add that the conservative media performed worse than the national media. At this precise historical moment the conservative movements most formidable enemy is the conservative movement.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Romney, with a straight face, without a trace of irony: “Americans do not respect believers of convenience” …  “Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world” …

“This from a man who campaigned for governor of Democratic-leaning Massachusetts as a supporter of abortion rights, gay rights and gun control — only to switch sides on those and other issues in time for the GOP presidential race,” writes the estimable Ron Fournier for the Associated Press in a story titled Romney’s Sweet Spot Weak Spot

The first thing he did as a presidential contender in January was sign the same no-tax pledge an aide dismissed as “government by gimmickry” during the 2002 campaign.

“The Romney strategy with the speech appeared to be to try to kill two birds with one stone — to placate voters who are apprehensive about him as a Mormon or as a flip-flopper,” said Costas Panagopoulos, a political scientist at Fordham University.

“But I am not convinced he was successful in doing either,” Panagopoulos said. “At the end of the day, it is very difficult to change voters’ pre-existing beliefs, and it would probably take a much more powerful speech than the one Romney delivered today.”

It also may take more speeches …

More speeches!? Will this nightmare ever end?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“WASHINGTON – No, this is not another piece about Mitt Romney and his religion,” writes Chuck Todd, the Political Director of NBC News himself, in an article titled Romney’s Crunch Time

His speech on Thursday will be a turning point for the campaign, but not because religion is the candidate’s biggest hurdle.

In fact, his faith may be the least of Romney’s problems.

The premise of Romney’s speech on religion tomorrow is that religion is Romney’s problem. But a counter-message has developed, the “religion is not Romney’s problem” theme elaborated here by Todd. Other examples:

Back to Todd:

Because the chattering press class and political elite got it so wrong with Howard Dean four years ago, his name is invoked all too often. It is used as an example of why folks shouldn’t take Clinton’s or Giuliani’s national poll lead so seriously. Or why no one should assume Romney’s or Obama’s financial resources and early state gains are guarantees of future success …

… Plan B
It’s not an exaggeration to say that every major candidate is at a cross roads, but Romney is a special case. More than any other major candidate, his path to the nomination is tied to an early state strategy. Even Clinton and Obama seem to be attempting to come up with a Plan B if they don’t sweep in the first two states.

So what is Romney’s Plan B? Lose Iowa and win New Hampshire? Well, then he can live to campaign another day. Michigan comes a week later and it’s a state he should do well in.

But lose both Iowa and New Hampshire? Suddenly his chances plummet.

That’s why Dean isn’t the analogy folks should use if Romney’s campaign doesn’t succeed. For Romney, the dubious comparative could be Phil Gramm …

… This leads me to write one of the more cliched pieces of advice political backseat drivers offer up: Romney needs to figure out how to be Romney again.

Thursday’s speech on faith is one of the moments that the Romney camp hopes serves as the beginning of the turnaround. But if religion were the only issue Romney had to deal with, he’d be a more formidable frontrunner.

Right now, no campaign has struggled more with finding its center. The guy who had the best shot at becoming the “change” candidate inside the Republican Party morphed into someone who is trying to assure primary voters he’ll be no different than any other Republican nominee before him

The emphases are ours, all ours.

Remarks:

Todd links Team Romney to the ill-fated Gramm campaign, and argues that Romney has no “plan b.”

Conclusion: the Romney bubble—bubble as in market bubble—has burst. Even senior journalists are already writing Romney’s post-mortems and speculating on the meaning of Romney’s departure from the race. And note how Todd summarily rejects Romney’s premise—the premise that religion is Romney’s problem—to harp upon the familiar string of Romney’s authenticity problem.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“WASHINGTON — With a massive marketing effort, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has tried to introduce himself as a family man with a solid marriage, five wholesome sons and the moral values desired by the Republican Party’s most conservative voters,” writes Peter Wallsten, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, in a story titled Authenticity is Romney’s biggest hurdle, poll suggests

But now that voters have met him, many are ready to offer an opinion: They still do not know who he is.

Some voters are holding Romney’s Mormon heritage against him, rivals and supporters of Romney acknowledge. But a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll shows that his deeper problem is not his adherence to a faith that many conservative evangelicals view with skepticism.

Instead, Romney has not overcome a record of shifting views on abortion and other social issues. His failure to present a clear picture of his faith and its role in his life appears to be just one part of a broader challenge: proving to GOP voters that he is being straightforward with them.

Romney’s predicament is underscored in the new poll, which found that he ranked last when Republican voters were asked which of the top-tier GOP candidates were “best at saying what they believe, rather than saying what they think the voters want to hear.”

Just 8 percent said Romney was best at saying what he believes, compared with 18 percent for Rudolph W. Giuliani, the national front-runner, and 20 percent for Mike Huckabee, who has sprung from near obscurity to a leading position in Iowa.

Although Romney has scheduled a speech for Thursday in Texas to address questions of faith, the new survey suggests that the broader authenticity question is more damaging to his candidacy than religion itself.

Some 13 percent of Republican voters in the Times/Bloomberg poll said Romney’s Mormon faith made them less likely to vote for him, including 8 percent who said it made them “much less likely” to do so.

But 10 percent said Romney’s religion made it more likely they would support him. And 73 percent said it made no difference.

“The religion part has never bothered me,” said poll respondent Jenelle Pritchard, 43, a school administrator from Omaha, Neb., who is an observant Catholic and has decided to support Huckabee. “But with Romney, I really don’t know where he stands. You can transform yourself, but why are you transforming yourself?” … etc.

The emphases are ours, all ours. Conclusion: The Romney bubble—as in market bubble—has burst. Note how the journalists are not asking if Romney’s support is weak, but why.

For more on this theme see:

Selzer: “What people don’t seem to realize is that Romney’s support has been pretty soft all along—Romney was sort of there by default. He spent a lot of money. He got a lot of attention—He has many of the appearances of a good candidate and a good president, except that when people really think about it, there’s someone else they’d rather have”

yours &c.
dr. g.d.