Posts Tagged ‘delusion’
“PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Mitt Romney built his campaign on a carefully managed strategy to win early and often, and Iowa was arguably the most important piece of the puzzle for the former Massachusetts governor. But that did not stop Romney from putting a positive spin on last night’s damaging defeat,” writes Scott Conroy in a http://www.cbsnews.com release titled Romney is “Delighted” With “Important Victory”—nota: the scare quotes around “important” and “victory” are in the original!
(Question: Is this naive and transparent spin? or is this delusion?)
“Things look very good for me at this stage,” Romney said at a morning press conference that felt more like the middle of night to the slew of staffers and reporters who hadn’t slept in over 24 hours. “I’m very, very pleased. I was delighted, as you know, with a second place finish. I wish I’d have had a first-place finish, but being able to beat three household names — John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson — was an important victory for me.” […]
Only here is the problem for the Romney: Sen. McCain, Mayor Giuliani, and Sen. Thompson wisely invested almost nothing in the Iowa contest. Gov. Huckabee, Romney’s nearest competitor, got outspent by Romney dollar for dollar about 20 to 1, yet he defeated Romney decisively.
Back to Conroy. Here Romney elaborates on the lesson he took from Iowa:
[…]“The message I got out of Iowa was that people in Iowa said they want change,” Romney said. “The two Washington insiders — John McCain and Hillary Clinton — both lost. John McCain by a lot. And I look at that and say what you’re seeing from the people of Iowa is that they want someone from outside Washington to come in and change things in Washington. And that’s right up my alley. There’s no way Senator McCain is going to be able to come to New Hampshire and say he’s the candidate that represents change and he’ll change Washington. He is Washington” […]
Only here is the problem for Romney. He has spent an entire year and US$80 million dollars to cast himself as an agent of continuity and conservative orthodoxy (as he construes it in his unreconstructed, ingenue way), not change.
Brooks of the NYT: “But [Romney’s] biggest problem is a failure of imagination—Market research is a snapshot of the past—With his data-set mentality, Romney has chosen to model himself on [And the painfully literal rubes of the National Review have chosen to endorse] a version of Republicanism that is receding into memory—As Walter Mondale was the last gasp of the fading New Deal coalition, Romney has turned himself into the last gasp of the Reagan coalition”
Sen. McCain, on the other hand, has spent his entire career driving the GOP establishment and its institutions—think tanks, party operations, talk radio shock-jocks—hopping mad with white-hot rage. Sen. McCain doesn’t even need to argue that he is an agent of change. He has respected Democrat, Sen. Leiberman, to do it for him, a gesture that in itself represents change and national unity.
Conclusion: Strangely, bizarrely, Romney once again develops and retails a message that requires his audience to
(a) interpret facts as their opposites
(b) construe events not on their face, but according to a tormented casuistry
Only in the post-Iowa phase of the process Romney’s Humpty-Dumpty rhetoric (see our post-script) provokes derisive laughter instead of strained credulity. Please note Conroy’s sneering scare quotes in the title of his article. Please note how he invites his reader to laugh behind the hapless candidate’s back. These are not good signs for the hapless candidate. The media has scented blood.
P.S. From Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, CHAPTER VI, HUMPTY DUMPTY:
[…]`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’ […]
[…] “Romney outspent Huckabee 20-1 in the state, according to some estimates, yet the advertisements, ground structure and piles of mailers couldn’t help him at the caucuses, the first test of the presidential primary election process,” writes Thomas Burr of the Salt Lake Tribune in an article titled Romney’s big investment in Iowa turns bitter; Evangelicals distrust of Mormons likely factored in Huckabee victory
On Fox News, pollster/commentator Frank Luntz said Romney made a “big mistake” by going negative against Huckabee. Focus groups used by Luntz indicated that Iowa Republicans were turned off by the blizzard of attack ads from the Romney campaign and found Huckabee the “most human of all the candidates” […]
We have harped on this string for weeks and weeks. You cannot go negative against a rival with lower negatives than yours without doing more damange to yourself than to your opponent. Calling your attack ads “contrast ads” and beginning your personal attacks with “x is an honorable man” fools precisely no one. See:
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
Conclusion: Romney’s high negatives, credibility issues, and icy-cold humanoid demeanor, will not support a negative message. But has Romney learned his lesson yet? No. Romney promises to continue his negative and personal attacks on his rivals.
Morris: “[Romney] doesn’t have to win, place or show”—but: Romney himself has promised to “absolutely” continue airing viciously negative personal attacks on his rivals—so whatever happens in Iowa, the GOP is the loser
Romney is not just at war with the GOP base and its divided and dispersed coalition. Faustian Romney is at war with the laws of physics. He deludes himself that e.g. gravity or entropy does not apply to him, or that he can declare white to be black, or hot to be cold, or negative ads to be contrastive ads, and it will be so. Romney is like a satyric version of a Romantic (anti)hero, raging at the universe like Shelley’s Frankenstein or Melville’s Ahab. Here is the problem for us: Romney may well destroy our party before he’s finished working through his personal issues at our expense.