Posts Tagged ‘Charles Mitchell’
On January 25th the astroturf flak-claque fraud-blog laughably titled Evangelicals for Mitt touted the newly released Focus on the Family video voters guide in a blog burst titled FOCUS ON THE FAMILY’S ASSESSMENT
Charles Mitchell, the author, cites Time’s account of the voters guide and emphasizes how the voters guide is said to criticizes Gov. Huckabee. Mitchell also quotes, but allows to pass without comment, this particular claim:
[...] “Mitt Romney has acknowledged that Mormonism is not a Christian faith,” Minnery adds. “But on the social issues we are so similar” [...]
About Time’s account of the Focus on the Family voters guide, Mitchell issues this strange disclaimer: “I’m not saying the TIME story is right—and Minnery denies that it is.”
Precisely what Minnery denies Mitchell leaves unspecified. But could it have something to do with Minnery’s preposterous claim that Romney had, at any time, acknowledged that he is not a Christian?
“Last week, the political arm of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family released an online video voter guide to help Christians sort through the “pro-family” records of the presidential candidate,” writes Michael Scherer for http://www.time-blog.com’s Swampland in a blog burst titled Focus on the Family Voter Guide Wrong About Romney
The guide offers largely negative appraisals of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mike Huckabee, and a far more glowing description of Mitt Romney.
But not everything the voter guide says about Romney is true. In one key part, Tom Minnery, a public policy expert at Focus on the Family, says the following:
Mitt Romney has acknowledged that Mormonism is not a Christian faith, and I appreciate his acknowledging that.
On Saturday, I read this quote to Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s traveling press secretary. He did not hesitate or mince his words. “The governor has not made that acknowledgment,” Fehrnstrom told me. “He has said that his belief is not the same as others. But there is no doubt that Jesus Christ is at the center of the LDS church’s worship.”
In fact, the Church of Latter Day Saints, also know as the Mormon church, holds as a central belief that it is a Christian faith. This belief is a concern for some evangelical Christians, who see Mormonism as a competing religion. On the campaign trail, Romney has avoided discussing his faith in depth, and he has acknowledged that there are differences between his faith and others. But he has not been quoted saying Mormonism is not a Christian faith [...]
Romney’s own claims on this issue have been vexed and misleading. See:
Romney retreats from “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind” blur-the-distinctions line, falls back to weaker, compromising, pragmatic, “different faiths, same values” line delivered through screen of Evangelical surrogates—conclusion: Romney’s “speech” failed completely
Dr. Dobson’s publicly articulated—or often disarticulated—attitude toward Romney has also been vexed and varied:
“Romney leads in the delegate count, but I think this weekend’s results show astounding weakness in the candidate who was supposed to be the most electable conservative in the race,” writes Jonahtan Andler in an NRO The Corner blog burst titled Is Romney Viable?
Consider two things: 1) Romney spent $4 million and 22 days in South Carolina, and still finished behind Fred. 2) Romney has not one any seriously contested constest. Nevada? Wyoming? Please. Where Romney has made a major investment (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina) he has failed. Michigan? No other candidate made a comparable investment or effort to winning the state, so I’m not sure that helps the case.What’s Romney’s problem? For many folks (my self included), it is a perceived insincerity. I too often get the sense that Romney is saying what he thinks folks want to hear instead of what he believes. It isn’t just the “evolution” of his views, it is also the small things: The small, subtle exaggerations that arise when Romney is trying to ingratiate himself with various groups. (Remember Romney the life-long hunter?) The blatant pandering to the auto industry in Michigan in a way that suggests some very unconservative views. Romney’s MBA style does not help much here, as it reinforces the perception of Romney as someone who solves problems without much regard to underlying ideological principle [...]
Yuh-huh. We concur. However: what impresses us are the numbers: US$4 million and 22 days, numbers consistent with every other contest that Romney has participated in, win or lose. Romney always-always draws the most pitiable ROI for his massive expenditures.
When Adler generalizes from his own perceptions we are sympathetic but less impressed. Yes, Romney excites our gag reflex too. But so did Pres. Clinton and he served two full terms. Our gag reflex is an unrealiable predictor. And so, we assume, is Adler’s.
The non-Evangelicals at the astroturfing flak-claque fraud-blog preposterously titled Evangelicals for Mitt issue this painfully honest rejoinder:
“Governor Romney did best in Michigan, the biggest and most urbanized of the major early states,” writes Charles Mitchell in a blog burst titled THE GOOD PROFESSOR MISFIRES
Now, ask yourself this question: Which of those states most closely resembles the battles to come? Unquestionably it’s Michigan. If you compare the size (big) and demographics (diverse) of Florida to any of these other places, Michigan’s the only reasonable answer. And then after Florida we have February 5th — where there are numerous contests across the country.
Florida, California, New York etc., resemble Michigan to the degree that they are big and urban? This is the point?
In both cases — Florida and February 5th — the candidates simply are not going to be able to reach most voters one-on-one (Senator McCain’s specialty) or prevail by appealing to a select set of religious believers (Governor Huckabee’s only recourse). They are going to have to do a lot of TV and use messages that resonate with a lot of people. That’s Governor Romney’s strength, and Michigan is the proof. He didn’t win there on account of his dad — if you look at the exit polls, he actually lost among the older voters who’d actually remember George Romney’s 1960s governorship. He won because he reached a huge number of voters on a topic they care about (the economy) with a message that was both conservative and forward looking (a.k.a. non-Huckabeean).
Retail (F2F) politics—as in the early primaries—is no longer possible let alone practicable, argues Mitchell. Targeting select demographics or communities of interest—Evangelicals, home-schoolers—is no longer as feasible, nor will it be as effective, he continues. In other words, expect less dialog (with voters and voter groups in shared spaces or various fora), and more dissemination (to the masses through media channels).
So: broadcast media become dominant in these later primaries, e.g. television.
This line is reasonable on its face.
This is the argument that interests us, yet another variation on the dejected, and despairing theme of “the voters will default to Romney!”
Those who — like Professor Adler — don’t think Governor Romney can connect with primary voters are misjudging this race. This isn’t 2000, 1996, 1992, or any of the other recent campaigns — where you won by doing well in a large number of diners early on. That happened, but it didn’t prove decisive. Given that, we’re now in a different type of campaign — one where the primary weapons are broad-based, public appeals. And we’re also now at the stage of the campaign where the options available to conservatives who don’t want to find themselves making a choice in November between two people who might have been on the Democratic ticket in 2004 — Senators Clinton and McCain — are narrowing. As things start to settle, I think they’ll like what they see — mainly on TV, and addressing the range of issues we care about — from Governor Romney [...]
Follow the argument—we have paraphrased it, and enumerated the points, for clarity:
(1) Those who think Romney cannot connect with primary voters have misjudged this race.
(2) This is not like earlier races where you win by visiting lots of diners—Romney did this, but it did not prove decisive
(3) Given that we’re not in one of these earlier races, we’re now in a different kind of campaign (?)
(4) In this new kind of campaign the weapons are broad-based, public appeals
(5) And we’re at a stage in this new kind of campaign where the options for conservatives are growing fewer.
(6) As things start to settle [become more coherent? intelligible?] people will like what they see on television, and what they will see on television is Romney addressing the issues that they care about.
Mitchell’s conclusion as we understand it: Whether Romney can connect with voters or not will not decide the primaries. (Mitchell clearly assumes that Romney cannot connect with voters, otherwise we presume he would argue the point and provide evidence, but he doesn’t.) Other factors obtain: the size of the states, the sprawling urban battlegrounds, the nationally dispersed scope of the contests. So Romney need not connect with anyone in the concrete; he need only do so in the abstract. He need only connect with a television camera and say what people want to hear, as in Michigan.
Romney will prevail as he passes into the distributed and abstracted form of a talking-head, available only behind the prophylactic of a glowing screen.
Is the converse also true?—i.e. As a flesh-and-blood creature Romney loses. We would answer yes, and here is where we agree most heartily with Mitchell’s grim and despairing reasoning.
Problems with Mitchell’s line of argument:
(a) Romney’s use of television has delivered a wildly low ROI even where Romney has won. And Romney’s saturation tactics have more often than not backfired on the candidate. Question: Has Romney learned how to use the medium effectively in so short a time? Was Michigan a special case? Perhaps, perhaps not. See:
Zogby: “Iowan Republicans may have long ago grown tired of Mr. Romney’s ubiquitous presence. ‘You can advertise too much,’ he said. ‘People get tired of seeing the same old face, and he went negative. Iowans didn’t like it’”
(b) Romney’s message to Michigan was clearly and distinctly not just non-conservative, but counter-conservative. See:
- Romney in MI champions big business and big government partnership for the purpose of economic nationalism even as he funds Club for Growth attacks on Gov. Huckabee—oh, the cynicism
- in MI Romney spends more on paid media than both his rivals combined, but the real cost of Romney’s MI campaign will be paid by the US taxpayer
Will Romney follow or develop this model? And: how much will it cost the US treasury if he does?
(c) And isn’t it odd that the chief argument emitted by Romney supporters is always “When Republicans have no choices, Republicans will choose Romney!” Here would be our favorite example:
(d) What about the South? What does SC predict for Romney in the South?
What Mitchell leaves unsaid is that Romney is a fabulously wealthy self-funder who has already squandered upwards of US$20 million on his own campaign: he is on the only candidate disposed to take full advantage of the new terrain as Mitchell describes it, as he is the only candidate with the money—his own—to pay for the expensive television ad buys. This is yet another aspect of Romneyism.
For the record: We predict that Romney wins the GOP nomination, but at tremendous cost to himself and, especially, the GOP. Our conclusion: Romney is viable only because the GOP is not. Think of Romney like a carrion beetle. A healthy organism only need crush it like a bug. A sick organism, on the other hand …
“I am seeing a lot of conservatives out there buying some ridiculous spin about this weekend’s straw poll,” writes a cranky Charles Mitchell in a transparent attempt to spin the latest Romney debacle titled, petulantly, YOU GUYS DON’T GET IT
Given the state of the Huckabee campaign, I don’t think they can get the credit; more likely, all Governor Romney’s rivals are deploying their press teams to try and deny him a victory.
Basically, people are saying that Governor Romney got swamped by the people who actually attended the FRC conference. Now, in point of fact, I do not contest that Governor Huckabee did get more votes from the people with whom we spent this weekend. But some folks are blowing this way out of proportion, claiming that the published margin of “on-site” votes invalidates Governor Romney’s victory in the total margin …
… I’d bet you a jelly donut that a disproportionate number of Romney voters clicked over from that e-mail and voted right away. Why? Well frankly, I saw the folks at this conference, and many of the folks who were voting for Huckabee weren’t exactly computer savvy. That’s not a slam on them–good for them for not spending all their time on blogs!–but it would contribute to more Huckabee votes being cast at the event … etc., etc.
Huckabee supporters are computer illiterates argues Mitchell? Let us set aside the desperation, dejection, and ugly tone of condescension that taints this bizarre claim. (Way to reach out to Huckabee supporters, you super-geniuses!) The confound in the data that Mitchell argues for makes Huckabee’s online numbers—almost as many as Romney—even more significant. Erick of Redstate writes:
In the online poll that the Romney campaign pushed hard to win, he only managed to get thirty more votes than Mike Huckabee — 1595 to 1565 or 27.62% to 27.10% … etc., etc.
The consensus is that Huckabee ruled the event—you can read about it here:
Conclusion: We think we do get it. We think we get it all too well. Which is precisely why Charles Mitchell has a problem with “[us] guys.”
P.S. How would the so-called Evangelicals for Mitt know about the Huckabee supporters and their variable levels of computer literacy?—by their own admission they got “banned” from the event for their unseemly behavior! Way to front for Romney, dudes.
Kevin McCullough reacts to Mark DeMoss’s letter, in an Evangelicals for Mitt post titled, without a trace of irony, “GREATER MORAL CLARITY”
However, having said that should the choice come down to it as a contest of Mitt v. Rudy – responsible Christians HAVE to vote Mitt. Simply because he has greater moral clarity than Rudy. And while Rudy may in fact be willing to bomb Iran if the need arises, I believe Mitt would too – but with a greater moral code in place – Mitt’s basis for such a decision would be with less question than a man who has had less than absolute integrity in his marriage(S), on the issue of innocent life, on the issue of marriage, and whether or not we even have the right to own guns to defend ourselves … more
Charles Mitchell correctly describes the McCullough excerpt as a “reaction”—it certainly isn’t a reflection or an instance of reason.
Here is McCullough’s argument:
[grounds] Because he has greater moral clarity than Rudy
[qualifier] should the choice come down to a contest of Mitt v. Rudy -
[conclusion] responsible Christians HAVE to vote Mitt
McCullough bases his conclusion on a distinction that, strangely, results in no practical difference:
- Rudy may in fact be willing to bomb Iran if the need arises,
- I believe Mitt would too – but with a greater moral code in place -
- Mitt’s basis for such a decision would be with less question than a man who has had less than
- absolute integrity in his marriage(S),
- on the issue of innocent life,
- on the issue of marriage,
- and whether or not we even have the right to own guns to defend ourselves.
So: both Romney and Rudy would, presumably, bomb Iran—there is no practical difference in result. But Romney would bomb Iran with “greater moral clarity.”
That make sense, right?—yeah, well, um, no—The withering “Well, so what!?” question springs to mind—does ordnance released with “greater moral clarity” leave deeper smoking craters?—but even if we were to accept this risible non-argument on its face, the sad fact is that Romney has demonstrated absolutely no clarity on the issue of Iraq, moral or otherwise. See:
- debate performance: Romney flip-flops on Iran—again!—how many positions can one man have on the issue of Iran?
- Romney’s “gotta-call-my-lawyer” response to the Iran question object of scorn, derision, and belly-laughs among other GOP candidates—how will Romney respond?
Nor has Romney demonstrated “absolute integrity”—whatever that is—on the issues of marriage, innocent life, or guns.
- Kornacki: Not the first time Romney has changed public position on abortion
- Romney on guns: Romney supports tougher victim disarmament laws
- “Romney did no more or less than create the first homosexual marriages recognized in the nation … “