Posts Tagged ‘David Brody’
“CBNNews.com – First Mitt Romney went negative on Mike Huckabee in Iowa after he saw his lead slip away. (oh, wait,, that’s right he was just contrasting positions because he just has a “fundamental disagreement” with Huckabee..right),” writes an incredulous David Brody for CBN’s The Brody File in a post aptly titled Is Romney Desperate?
The last week or so he’s been going negaive on McCain in New Hampshire where he sees his lead slipping away there as well.
Listen, negative attacks are part of campaigning. Most candidates engage in them. But here’s the problem when it comes to Romney.
Fair or not, perceived or otherwise, Romney has developed the reputation as someone who will change positions or just say anything to get elected President. When he goes negative against Huckabee and McCain, it plays into the perception that is already formed about him. It makes him look desperate. The mental picture is that Romney’s arms are flailing in every direction looking to hit something. McCain on taxes may work but Romney has some of his own issues with increasing fees in Massachusetts. Hitting Huckabee on immigration may also work but Romney needs to duck for cover on that issue too because of some of his past statements.
We concur. See:
- Romney’s bitter and personal attacks on other candidates tearing the GOP apart
- Romney’s negative campaigning: is Romney willing to take the party down with him?
- Romney circles drain, goes desperately negative in Iowa AND New Hampshire
Back to Brody:
The problem here for Romney is that he’s not pure on these issues either so everytime he attacks, he gives his opponents a chance to strike back. John McCcain has been skewering Romney lately by mouth and press release.
In other words, when Romney attacks e.g. Sen. McCain, he provides the Senator sudden and immediate earned media opportunities the Senator would not otherwise enjoy—in still other words, Romney’s high-risk, high-cost strategy drives, perversely, the costs of other campaigns down.
Back to Brody:
Romney makes himself out to be a Reagan conservative (remember, he represents the “Republican wing of the Repulican party”) and has been calling out everybody else’s shortcomings. The issue though is that Romney hasn’t been a Reagan conservative long enough to build up the “street cred” to do his attacking.
The emphases are ours, all ours.
Here is where we discuss what it means for a candidate with high negatives—e.g., Romney—to go negative against competitors with lower negatives:
Rasmussen Reports: Romney has the least core support, and the most core opposition of all the leading candidates, Republican or Democrat—these findings predict the sudden and fierce backlash against Romney’s negative attacks on other candidates
To address Brody’s question, is Romney’s desperate?—whether desperate or not he is certainly hostile, abusive, and mean-spirited.
“MANCHESTER, N.H. — Mitt Romney said today that his long-awaited speech on his Mormon faith would not be a clear echo of the address made by John F. Kennedy in 1960 as he sought to become the nation’s first Catholic president,” writes Michael Levenson, Globe Staff, in an article titled Romney talks about his Mormon speech
Instead of a highly personal speech, Romney said he would talk more broadly on Thursday at the George Bush presidential library in College Station, Tex., about the role of religion in politics and of the nation’s religious heritage.
“I think JFK, or President Kennedy really did give the definitive speech on politics and religion, the political process and religious discrimination,” Romney said. “I think he said what had to be said. I don’t have anything really to add what he did, so I’m speaking on a related but different topic, which is the role of religion in a free society, if you will the faith in America, and the fact that I’m concerned that faith has disappeared in many respects from the public square.
“So I want to make sure we maintain our religious heritage in this country, not of a particular brand of faith, if you will, not of particular sect or a denomination but rather the great moral heritage we have is so critical to the great future of this country,” the former Massachusetts governor added … etc.
Say, what? Is that the issue? Evangelicals demur to vote for a Mormon because “faith has disappeared in many respects from the public square?” How does that follow? Here is CBN’s Brody’s account of Romney’s rhetorical problem:
… “If Romney wants to grab those crucial Evangelical votes in Iowa and elsewhere, he will earn their respect and come across as honest and authentic if he acknowledges the differences between the two religions. Evangelicals, for the most part, don’t want him to lump Mormonism and Christianity into the ‘we’re all the same’ category. I know Mormons feel differently about this but I’m just giving it to you straight. Values wise the two religions have a lot in common and I’m sure that will be a big part of his speech. But Evangelicals would trust him more, appreciate him more and respect him more if he came clean about the differences. I’m not saying he needs to do theological bullet points here. Of course not. But a little more would go a long way” …
NOTA: What Romney proposes is the precise opposite of what Brody advises—Brody wants distinctions, and Romney wants to claim that all sects and their sectaries are parts and equal partners in a grand mosaic of sectarian unity-in-diversity, our so-called “great moral heritage,” whatever that means. But the point is moot. No matter what solution to the problem Romney chooses, he loses. He missed the moment and has allowed others—like Brody—to frame the debate and to specify its terms. The time to address this issue was last summer, or perhaps even as late as the Value Voters Summit. See:
how Romney botched the Mormon-Kennedy-speech issue by setting up impossible expectations, by consistently failing to identify opportunity and seize the initiative, and by allowing others to frame the debate
“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:
- eyeon08.com: “Is there any evidence that this poll contacted anyone in Iowa who was not a Romney staffer or supporter?”—also: Romney completes step (1) of the Romney crisis protocol, where we discuss Romney’s response to Rep. Inglis’ admonition to Romney that “You cannot equate Mormonism with Christianity; you cannot say, ‘I am a Christian just like you,’“
- how Romney botched the Mormon-Kennedy-speech issue by setting up impossible expectations, by consistently failing to identify opportunity and seize the initiative, and by allowing others to frame the debate
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.
P.S. We’re Orthodox Jews, BTW. But we’re also immersed in the classics. A lot of the classics are Christian.
“The Romney campaign may be disappointed because they didn’t get the endorsement from National Right to Life but maybe the organization had a look at the following videotape,” writes David Brody of the eponymous Brody File in a post titled Why Romney Didn’t Get the Right to Life Endorsement
… This video has been out before but I bring it up because in it, [Romney’s] speaking directly to the endorsement issue and arguing vigorously against it. This is what is known as “political baggage”. It also speaks directly to why Romney has some problems with pro-lifers, especially at the grassroots level. For them, it’s not that he was pro-choice. It’s that he argued so forcefully for the position …
The emphasis is ours.
“Pat Robertson, one of the most influential figures in the social conservative movement, announced his support for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential bid this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.,” writes Chris Cillizza for Wapo’s The Fix in post titled Pat Robertson Endorses Giuliani
Robertson’s endorsement of Giuliani is a significant blow to Mitt Romney, who has worked hard to court evangelical leaders.
Robertson’s support was coveted by several of the leading Republican candidates and provides Giuliani with a major boost as the former New York City mayor seeks to convince social conservatives that, despite his positions on abortion and gay rights, he is an acceptable choice as the GOP nominee.
It also slows any momentum for Mitt Romney within the social conservative movement …
… The other major effect of Robertson’s support for Giuliani is that it will quiet talk in social conservative circles that nominating Giuliani would lead “values voters” to abandon the Republican Party. The stamp of approval from Robertson should assuage the doubts of many (although certainly not all) of the rank-and-file social conservatives …
Thank you, Mr. Robertson. Does anyone else feel like a cigarette and a snuggle?
P.S. We note with interest that David Brody of CBN.com—Robertson’s own network—and the man who broke the Weyrich endorsement, got scooped on this one. You would think he would have been the first to know.
You can read it about here: Romney Scores Major Endorsement
Typically Team Romney times the release of its endorsements to coordinate with other events, e.g. the value voters summit. See:
The timing of this release seems odd to us. What what could it possibly be coordinated?—it also seems out-of-synch with other themes the Romneys are currently developing etc. OTOH: It is at least consistent with Romney’s general project of accumulating endorsements etc. We just hope that Mr. Weyrich received consideration—e.g. funding for his research and education outreaches—commensurate with whatever his reputation for sound judgment may have been before he squandered it.
“More dissension among social conservatives?”—asks Tommy Oliver in a race42008.com post titled Pat Robertson: “I’m not sure that group in Washington is representative of evangelicals across the spectrum”
I am shocked by some comments coming from none other than Pat Robertson. Here’s what he had to say in a report filed by David Brody for the 700 Club:
“David, I’m not really sure that group in Washington is really representative of evangelicals across the spectrum. This is the Family Research Council, and some of those James Dobson supporters, and I just think that’s a narrow slice of evangelical thought…
“This talk is just totally quixotic. This 3rd party, certainly not now, when all they’ll accomplish is making sure this person they dislike gets elected”
… “More dissension among the Arlington Group?”—concludes Oliver. “In the interview, Robertson seemed very skeptical of the whole event, and very open to Giuliani.”
Conclusion: Are Evangelicals rallying to the Romney banner?—hardly. Why is it that everything Romney touches, or everything that touches Romney,—e.g. straw polls, voters’ summits, key endorsers—gets instantly discredited?
In a post titled Romney Scores An Important South Carolina Endorsement, a breathless Marc Ambinder writes: … Romney’s relentlessness and often monotonous repetition of his conversion story, the hours he spends with each evangelical leader his campaign pursues, the work of key advisers like Peter Flaherty and Gary Marx, the fecklessness of Fred Thompson’s late entrance, the public opposition to Rudy Giuliani, James Dobson’s tacit acceptance of Romney — it’s working.
Yes, right, only not so much, as David Brody of the BrodyFile explains in a post titled Romney Wins Value Voter Straw Poll…Wait. Is Huckabee the Winner?
I’m not sure how to explain this. Let’s start with this. Technically, Mitt Romney won the big Value Voters Straw poll but it’s not that simple. The vote was open to people online and in that sense, Romney won with 1595 votes compared to Mike Huckabee’s 1565 votes. It was just a 30 vote difference. But for the people that actually voted onsite, it was no contest. Huckabee won 488 votes to Romney’s second place 99. That’s called a thumpin’. Look at the results here.
Here’s what I make of all of this. Romney might be able to claim victory but the onsite voting is a better barometer. Still, the press release the Family Research Council sent out says it’s Romney and doesn’t even mention the onsite polling. Read it here. We should point out that there’s already stories about emails circulating to pump the online vote for Romney. Read more here. Clearly, the people that actually heard the speeches thought Huckabee was the best candidate there. It would be one thing if Huckabee and Romney were neck and neck for onsite voting but for Huckabee to be such an overwhelming onsite winner, that is saying something … etc., etc.
Huckabee crushes all comers, is how Erick of Redstate describes the results.
This despite the usual dishonesty and dirty tricks of the Romney campaign: Rivals accuse Romney of stacking evangelical straw poll
This despite Romney’s frantic efforts, as described by Steven Thomma of the McClatchy News Service in a release titled Social conservatives still ‘fishing’ for their preferred GOP candidate; Republican presidential candidates courted social conservatives Friday, seeking the support of a bloc of voters that hasn’t coalesced behind any one candidate
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made perhaps the most focused pitch for support, using an evening speech to portray himself as a zealous foe of abortion and friend of traditional marriage, even dispatching volunteers to hand out buttons proclaiming, “Evangelicals for Mitt” and rolling out endorsements from Christian conservatives.
But Romney faces questions among some Christian conservatives about his switch from abortion rights supporter to foe … etc., etc.
Aside: The hirelings and paid staff who pose as “Evangelicals for Mitt”—i.e. the “volunteers” that Romney “dispatched to hand out buttons”—were “banned from the FRC.”
Conclusion: How many times have we retold this same story about the Romney campaign? Romney spends lots of money, expends tremendous effort, makes a great noise and out-organizes each of his rivals. The result: complete and utter failure.
Dearest, dearest Romney. Please understand: a campaign requires a message. And you haven’t got one. It is rational to reach out to the elites of an e.g. corporation, Mr. Romney—they are the decision makers. But a movement is by definition a loosely coupled, loosely cohering social entity, an entity where the ties that bind are moral as opposed to hierarchal. An e.g. well-known pastor is not like a CEO; he or she has a different kind of relationship with his or organization and its members. So: You’re going to have to learn how to reason, Mr. Romney, how to argue, and how to persuade—lies, bribes, pretending to be something that you are not—this is not persuasion—this is the antithesis of persuasion.