Posts Tagged ‘chris matthews’

“Credit Chuck Todd for candor,” writes the painfully literal, naive, and unreflective Mark Finkelstein in a NewsBusters expository gloss titled Iowa: ‘Media Ready to Take 3rd-Place McCain Finish and Catapult Him to NH Win’

The NBC News Political Director has acknowledged that the media is poised to take a third-place finish by John McCain in Iowa, declare him the winner and catapult the Arizona senator to victory in New Hampshire …

From the interview that Finklestein quotes:

CHUCK TODD: Yeah you know, I hate to be existential here, but the media — and I say this as if I’m not a member of it — but the media does seem to be ready to will John McCain out of Iowa [i.e., with his “ticket punched” for NH]. It is a stunning thing, and if I were Mitt Romney, or Giuliani or Mike Huckabee I’d be like “wait a minute. You’re gonna take a third place finish and somehow use that to catapult this guy, with free media, and get him the victory in New Hampshire?” And frankly that is what’s gonna happen. There’s a reason John McCain is sort of the king of working the media. He’s doing a great job of it.

MATTHEWS: Gary Hart back in 1984 got 17% in Iowa, Walter Mondale got 49%. Guess who “won”? Gary Hart “won.” The media declared him the winner and he won in New Hampshire. You are so dead right, if it happens … etc.

Well, duh.

No, Finklestein, you have not stumbled across a conspiracy of media elites to dupe the American electorate, but precisely the opposite. What is at stake for Todd and Matthews is the interpretation of events and how to accurately report them.

Here is the question at issue: Should the decision that Iowa returns be accepted on its face, or should observers consider and compare other data, other evidence?

Our own answer: Long ago we argued that Romney had so over-spent and so over-organized in Iowa and New Hampshire that he had prejudiced the outcome—any outcome—in advance. In other words, Romney has denied himself the possibility of an unequivocal victory in either state. Will Romney win? Of course he will—he has wildly out-spent all his rivals combined. So a Romney win is by definition a non-story: dog bites man is not a story. But for Gov. Huckabee with no money or organization to eke out a close second, or Sen. McCain a close third—this resembles man bites dog, which is a story. And should Romney lose?—this would be the story of the decade. See:

Romney poised to fail in Iowa no matter what the outcome (iii)—Romney’s massive spending using his own money has denied Romney the perception of a clean win on fair and equal terms

Our own conclusion? Iowa and New Hampshire no longer matter no matter who wins. Romney will have spent US$80 million dollars—over US$20 million of it his own—for no clear return. But please understand: Team Romney’s death-spiral drain-circling began over a year ago. All of Romney’s alleged successes since then have been an illusion.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.


“Jim, Mitt Romney was asked if he thought the president would need congressional approval before striking Iran’s nuclear facilities, and Romney’s exact words were “let the lawyers sort that out.” Then he repeated that phrase when Matthews asked him AGAIN. Each time he said it very fast and jumped the subject to something more palatable to the audience. He’s a curdled skank,” writes the eloquent Karen DeCoster for LRC Blog’s BREAKING NEWS in a post titled “let the lawyers sort that out” provides a transcript and notes on context in a Justin Hart post titled Romney on Iran Hypothetical—we have no idea what that strange title is supposed to mean. This is Byron York’s transcript of Romney’s “gotta-check-with-the-lawyers answer on Iran,” available in an NRO The Corner post titled Romney and the Lawyers:

MATTHEWS: Governor Romney…if you were president of the United States, would you need to go to Congress to get authorization to take military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities?

ROMNEY: You sit down with your attorneys and tell you what you have to do, but obviously the president of the United States has to do what’s in the best interest of the United States to protect us against a potential threat. The president did that as he was planning on moving into Iraq and received the authorization of Congress…

MATTHEWS: Did he need it?

ROMNEY: You know, we’re going to let the lawyers sort out what he needed to do and what he didn’t need to do. But, certainly, what you want to do is to have the agreement of all the people — leadership of our government as well as our friends around the world where those circumstances are availablemore

Mark Hemingway glosses York’s transcript in an NRO The Corner post titled The Wrap-Up:

—Upon reflection, Byron’s transcript helped put Romney’s “First, kill all the terrorists and let the lawyers sort ’em out” answer about where to derive National Security authority in a better light. But it’s still mindbogglingly awful more [emphasis ours]

We concur. But what interests us is Romney’s personal evolution on the issue of Iran.

First, Romney issues this scarily confused policy formula:

” … there’s no question, says Romney, that people understand that the reason that we have the thousands upon thousands of nuclear warheads we have is that we intend to protect ourselves. And I would never shrink from protecting the American nation, the American people, nor shrink from retaliation if somebody used something as awful as a nuclear device. We will be safe.”

We interrogate the Romney Doctrine in a post titled Romney dangerously confused on issues of deterrence and defense

Second, Romney experiences a rare moment of lucidity, retreats from the Romney Doctrine, and issues a redaction of the Bush doctrine. See: Romney retreats from the Romney doctrine; now recapitulates the Bush doctrine

Third, Romney issues his 5 bullet point powerpoint slide plan, his favoured means of expression. See: Mulhern: Romney’s “5 point plan” for Iran is “drivel.” He also continues to grandstand: the reviews are in: Romney’s “grandstanding” about Ahmadinejad ineffective, counterproductive

Now, Romney retreats yet further. He wants to call his lawyer. What leadership. What stern resolve. What presence of mind. What moral courage. Translation: What a mess!

Dear, dear precious little Willard Milton Romney. Please take a stand, will you?—i.e. please develop in advance a position that you can defend with consistency, or at least with a straight face.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S. UPDATE: 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?