Posts Tagged ‘cnn’

“Mitt Romney knew John McCain would be a tough competitor on Super Tuesday,” writes Michael Levenson in a http://www.boston.com article titled After tough Tuesday, Romney forces to meet on next steps

What he didn’t count on was Mike Huckabee’s strong showing, which stopped Romney from staying close to McCain in the delegate chase for the nomination.Romney, however, vowed to continue on stay in the race, and his spokesman played down Huckabee’s victories.

‘‘A Southern candidate who appeals on social issues had an appeal to a Southern constituency on social issues,’’ spokesman Kevin Madden said last night. ‘‘It’s not a surprise.’’

The contrast between them is clear, he said.

‘‘The case we’re going to make to Republican voters is that Governor Romney is the full spectrum conservative, whereas Mike Huckabee is only a social conservative’’ [...]

Note that Romney compares himself favorably to Gov. Huckabee, not Sen. McCain. Conclusion: Romney assumes that Gov. Huckabee split the conservative vote. So his message is to Gov. Huckabee voters in particular and conservatives and value voters in general.

We disagree with this assumption. And so do others.

Back to Levenson:

Romney and his inner circle plan to huddle today at the campaign’s North End headquarters and consider their next steps [...]

Oh, what we would not give to be allowed to stand in that huddle, shoulder to shoulder with the mighty men (and women) of valor who have delivered Romney triumph upon triumph. John King and Dana Bash of CNN’s Political ticker also harp on the string of Romney’s Wednesday morning huddle in a post titled Romney set to huddle with top advisors

[...] “It is tough to saddle up this AM,” said one top Romney adviser who spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Romney has poured more than $35 million of his personal fortune into the campaign, and after a rough Super Tuesday faces a decision of whether to spend more. Several advisers said there was a plan, in place before the Tuesday votes were counted, to begin advertising in the Washington, DC and Baltimore markets. Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia hold primaries next Tuesday.

“As of early this AM it was a go,” said one of the campaign sources. “We can do the math but there are still openings,” said another.

The official agenda for the meeting was discussion strategy though the March 4 GOP contests. Romney has no public events scheduled and aides say there are, at the moment, no plans for any public statement. An address to a major conservative gathering in Washington is planned for Thursday; McCain is also addressing the group [...]

Here be the problem: there is pressure developing from every direction—party elites, media, punditry, even from within Team Romney itself—to withdraw now that a clear front-runner has finally emerged. The political primitives of Team Romney are faced with the daunting task of developing and disseminating a new rationale for the Romney campaign in light of yesterday’s losses. At the moment the message is “I am the full spectrum conservative; Gov. Huckabee is but a half-formed, only partially realized conservative.” We shall see how long they can hold their diminished position on the strength of so limp an argument. Here is the reasoning that the finest minds that Romney can buy must rebut, refute, or counter with their own narrative:

[...] “The Super Tuesday shake out has left Arizona Sen. John McCain riding high with more than twice as many delegates as GOP rival Mitt Romney, who despite spending millions of dollars of his personal fortune was left out in the cold yesterday,” writes Jessica Fargen in a news.bostonherald.com release titled Pundits: Romney may be out soon

McCain, who won the big-delegate state of California, has 613 delegates, followed by former Bay State Gov. Romney with 269 and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 190 delegates, according to the Associated Press. It takes 1,191 to win the GOP nomination.

“I think Romney will probably not be in the race that much longer,” said Republican media consultant Todd Domke, who is not affiliated with any GOP campaign. “He performed below expectations. Romney has rasied the expectations so high that when he failed it was all the more devastating” [...]

In other words, once again Romney outflanked Romney—i.e. the campaign botched its own expectations game. Sen. McCain’s campaign adds its own voice to the chorus in the form of a memo, as reported by Jessica Van Sack in a bostonherald.com Presidential Briefings blog burst titled McCain internal memo leaves Romney for dead

From the memo:

[...] Senator McCain went into Super Tuesday with nearly a two-to-one lead in the Delegate count. He ends Super Tuesday (unofficially) with nearly 750 delegates in his column (estimates based on proportionally divided states and unofficial returns) while Romney has only 236, just a few ahead of Huckabee. Our unofficial count shows Mitt Romney trails by 510 delegates. As of today, more than 1400 delegates have been assigned or decided through primary or caucus contests.

The remaining contests account for roughly 963 delegates. For Mitt Romney to match our delegate count, he would have to win more than 50% of those delegates. And, he would have to win nearly every single delegate still available in order to become the nominee. And, many of these contests are proportional, so Mitt will have to win by big margins in many states to garner every last delegate. For example, in this weekend’s Louisiana Primary, he would have to win the with more than 50% of the vote in order to win (1191 delegates to win, 963+236=1,199) [...]

The super-duper apocalypse Tuesday contests have passed into their archival phase. Now the struggle becomes what to make of the data that the voters and caucus goers returned when they were asked to express their views on the candidates with their ballots or other means. Sen. McCain’s message: The process is over. Allow me to address the several blocs that make up the base of the party and attempt to develop grounds for going forward together. And Romney’s message so far today? The conservative base has yet to speak. And when they do, they will speak through me. I am the authentic conservative.

Only here is the problem for Romney: the conservatives have already spoken. In contest after contest, they issued their ruling on Romney’s clumsy and caricatured, unreconstructed, newly acquired conservatism. Their answer to Romney’s call was simply not the answer that Team Romney wanted to hear.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Romney’s answer [to the 'do you believe this book' asked at the CNN YouTube debate] is more problematic,” writes David Brody of the Brody file in a post titled Bible Lesson, Republican Style

I’m not talking theology here. Forget the Mormon vs Evangelical question. What I’m talking about is the way Romney answered that question. He hesitated about whether the Bible was the literal word of God. He looked very uncomfortable up there during that moment. For Evangelicals, that hesitation is code for “not really”. You got the sense that, in that moment of hesitation, Romney was trying to figure out what the best political answer was going to be …

Nota: Brody’s interpretation based on observation is consonant with experts recruited by Psychology Today (August 2007) to evaluate the rhetorical styles of the 08 candidates—Romney was said to e.g. shrug, hesitate, smile defensively (masking), and in other ways communicate detachment from his own themes. In other words, Romney’s words and Romney’s gestures are often incongruent. His most impassioned appeals often evince a divided self … etc.

Back to Brody:

Look, Romney already has an image problem when it comes to flip-flopping on some issues so why not just come out and address the Mormon thing head on …

But Romney refuses to “address the Mormon thing head on”; he prefers delay and a strategy of blurring distinctions. See:

Back to Brody:

He could take the lead on this and be a straight shooter rather than dancing around it. It’s not like he’s fooling Evangelicals in Iowa. They know the deal. They know there is a difference. Why not just recognize the differences between the two religions and then pivot to higher ground by saying this election shouldn’t be about a religious test for office. Romney and his advisors seem so concerned about the Mormon issue, but Romney also has an authenticity issue too. Addressing the Mormon issue may kill two birds with one stone. It was an opportunity missed … etc.

Brody gets it, just as Rep. Inglis gets it. Team Romney, alas, does not. It is acceptable to be distinct; it is unacceptable to be distinct and to claim that there is no distinction.—here is how Romney himself puts it:

“ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said yesterday that he hopes to convince voters that his Mormon faith is mainstream,” writes Joseph Curl for the Washington Times in an article mis-titled Romney puts faith in Christian past.

“I think as people come to know my faith they’ll recognize that the values of my faith are — they very much flow from the Judeo-Christian tradition of this country. I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe in the equality of all humankind,” Mr. Romney said in an interview with The Washington Times … etc.

Here is the problem for Romney. Christianity is not a philosophy; it is a confession, and what you confess are creeds—e.g. The Nicene Creed, The Apostle’s Creed, The Creed of St. Athanasius—i.e. Christianity discovers its personal and even organizational basis in creedal declarations of belief, intent, and value. Even non-liturgical traditions—e.g. Pentecostals—establish their identity (their difference, their sense of uniqueness) as enumerated sets of claims. To adhere to a creed is to be distinct. And: different confessions depart from one another on the basis of their own creeds—and they cherish their distinctions, even their minor ones—especially their minor ones. And: You cannot stake out common ground until you acknowledge the differences and distinctions.

To say to an Evangelical, as does Romney, “I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe in the equality of all humankind,” is at best meaningless and at worse inconsistent to the point of being false, because as every confirmed Christian knows the terms God and Christ achieve specificity only as articulated in a line of confession that links the confessor to the witness of the apostles. What is it that you Christians say?—something like this:

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble

The tradition is the terrain, Boy Romney. Learn it, or perish upon it.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S. We’re Orthodox Jews, BTW. But we’re also immersed in the classics. A lot of the classics are Christian.

“With rival Rudy Giuliani also spending the weekend in the Granite State, Mitt Romney called the former New York mayor a ‘friend,’ but said he said he ‘left a bit of a problem’ in New York City by leaving a three billion dollar deficit,” writes the cerebral and remote Sareena Dalla, the New Hampshire Producer for CNN, in an article for the CNN Political Ticker titled Romney attacks Giuliani’s fiscal record

“Mayor Giuliani is a friend of mine, I think he is a good man, the former Massachusetts governor said. “And I know he did a good job as mayor of New York City, but on spending and fiscal matters, they left a bit of a problem there, because when he came in, there was a budget gap, but when he left, he left a budget gap twice as big as the one he inherited – over three billion dollars” … etc.

Note the sniveling language: “Mayor Giuliani is a friend of mine, I think he is a good man.” Recent events have taught Team Romney the painful lesson that their their candidate’s ultra-high negatives and cold, remote demeanor will not support a negative message. Their solution—strangely, unbelievably—is to couch their bitter attacks in expressions of friendship and affection, a gesture redolent of a mafiosi kiss of death.

But what about Romney’s record?

“Anti-tax advocates are scrutinizing Mitt Romney’s (R) record as governor of Massachusetts and focusing on the fact that he increased fees in the state by $500 million and proposed nearly $400 million in business tax increases,” writes Alexander Bolton in a thehill.com release titled Romney’s tax record gets a closer look

This could erode whatever advantage on tax policy he hopes to have over 2008 presidential rivals such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (R).

The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, published a fiscal-policy report card for 2006 that gave Romney a C grade, ranking him behind 11 other governors, including Democratic White House hopeful Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico.

Cato found that Romney increased annual state fees by $500 million as governor and proposed two corporate tax increases totaling close to $400 million a year.

When he took office, Romney faced a budget deficit of $3.2 billion, which he eliminated. He did not hike personal income or sales taxes. He is now highlighting his efforts to cut Massachusetts’s income tax rate from 5.3 percent to 5 percent and his successful shepherding of a $250 million capital gains tax refund through the Democrat-dominated state legislature.

But he increased fees for getting married, buying a house, bringing a case to court, and using a public golf course, to name a few reported examples. However, in a move that could prove controversial with social conservatives, Romney decided not to raise fees for convicted sex offenders. He vetoed a $75 fee for offenders required by law to register with the state.

“Romney’s people are trying to spin this by saying he kept his ‘No new taxes’ pledge,” said Stephen Slivinski, director of budget studies at Cato. “I guess if you consider only personal income taxes and sales taxes, he’s within bounds. If you take a broader view, he is not.

“The spirit of [anti-tax pledges] is to force governors to find more innovative ways of funding government,” he added. “If the spirit is to save money before you increase revenues, I don’t think Romney has held to the spirit of the no-new-tax pledge.”

Slivinski said he based his report on publications by Tax Analysts, a non-partisan group that tracks state and federal tax activity, and by the National Conference of State Legislatures … etc.

Also see:

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Retired General James ‘Spider’ Marks, who has just been named a new national security adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign, asserted in a 2005 interview that he would readily torture prisoners to save a soldier’s life or stop a terror bomb, saying: ‘I’d stick a knife in somebody’s thigh in a heartbeat,’” as reported by Greg Sargent in a TMP ElectionCentral post titled Romney’s New National Security Adviser Said He’d Torture “In A Heartbeat”

In announcing the appointment of Marks, the Romney campaign put out a press release emphasizing his “more than three decades of experience in the intelligence field.” But according to CNN, Marks also is a teacher of “interrogation.” And as a CNN analyst, he elaborated on his views of torture on the network on November 8, 2005 …

… [CNN Interviewer] FOREMAN: …So in your experience and in your view, torture as a policy should be against the law?

MARKS: True.

FOREMAN: And yet, we might still have to use it.

MARKS: True.

That would appear to be an explicit endorsement of illegal torture.

Contacted by Election Central, Romney spokesman Kevin Madden declined to comment on Marks’ assertions or say whether Governor Romney agreed with them. Madden did, however, say that Romney opposes torture, though he also confirmed that Romney supports the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Madden declined to specify what techniques in particular Romney was referring to … etc., etc.

Let us leave aside the fact that the good general thinks he’s Jack Bauer. At least Jack Bauer—a fictional character in the Fox television series 24—is morally, and logically, consistent, at least within the framework of an evolving narrative. Would the general really have violated the Laws of Land Warfare that he is, or was, sworn to protect and uphold?—this is a frightening arrogation of personal power and prerogative by a US flag officer in command of armed formations—what other laws or norms of conduct would the general set aside, under what conditions, and upon what basis or according to what theory of military law or conduct?

The good general should feel right at home in the primate exhibit that passes for Team Romney’s posh waterfront headquarters. Perhaps the only person as inconsistent, equivocal, inarticulate, and possibly dangerous to our troubled republic as General “Spider” Marks is Romney’s gibbering helper-monkey Kevin Madden, or especially Romney himself.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.





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