Posts Tagged ‘Fred Thompson’

“It’s getting increasingly hard for Mitt Romney to stick to the script about his record,” writes the estimable Jennifer Rubin for the New York Observer in an article titled A Bad Fight for Mitt Romney

As he traveled through chilly New Hampshire on his post-Thanksgiving campaign tour, he found himself in a toe-to-toe fight with Rudy Giuliani about their respective records.

This is particularly dangerous territory for the Romney campaign.

In broad strokes, Mr. Romney should be happy to tout his executive experience – which he contends Hillary Clinton and many of his opponents sorely lack – as a business executive, Olympics chairman and Governor. But the details of his Massachusetts record are problematic, especially in New Hampshire, where many voters are Massachusetts transplants or live within the Boston media market. Indeed, the more specific the arguments get, the worse they are for Mr. Romney.

The problems start with his immigration stance … The Annenberg Center’s factcheck.org confirmed that Mr. Romney’s plan was a last-minute gambit that never went into effect and that he had a handful of his own sanctuary cities. The result: his latest immigration ad mentions neither issue.

Likewise he has been challenged on his economic record. Mr. Romney contends he “never raised” taxes and balanced the budget despite a liberal legislature. However, that provided an opportunity for the Giuliani campaign to talk about Mr. Romney’s “C” rating from the CATO institute, his failure to deliver on his promised reduction of state income taxes and his efforts to raise revenue by “closing loopholes” in the tax code.

Most troublesome for Mr. Romney is his record on healthcare. Mr. Romney trumpeted his record of achieving near universal healthcare with “no taxes.” Mr. Giuliani and other Republican rivals responded by pointing out that the “no tax” plan sounded quite a bit like Hillary Clinton’s health care plan and included fines on businesses and individuals who did not comply with the mandate to buy insurance. Meanwhile, Fred Thompson and other pro-life rivals were more than happy to highlight another feature of Mr. Romney’s healthcare plan: subsidized abortion services.

And this weekend, Mr. Giuliani seized on a Romney-appointed judge’s decision to release a convicted murder (who proceeded to kill a newlywed couple) as an opportunity to label his rival as weak on crime. Mr. Giuliani produced FBI crime statistics to argue that murders went up over 7 percent during Mr. Romney’s tenure. Mr. Romney shot back that crime rates overall decreased (by over 8 percent). But still, comparing crime-reduction records with Rudy Giuliani is surely an activity the Romney campaign will want to move on from as quickly as possible … etc., etc.

In an NRO The Corner post, Andy McCarthy comments on Romney’s bitter and personal attacks on Mayor Giuliani:

… I am a declared Rudy guy who likes Mitt, so I’m not enjoying the cross-fire. But after reading Byron’s piece, I gotta say I’m surprised — and offended — that Mitt claims voters are worried about a candidate who has “been married more than once.”

Like Ronald Reagan, I’ve been married twice. So have a lot of people. It’s to his great credit and good fortune that Mitt found the right person at a young age and has obviously enjoyed an enduring, wonderful marriage. But, y’know, Bill Clinton’s only been married once, too. Does Mitt really think there is upside in playing this game? I think he’s gonna turn off many more people than he’ll appeal to. It’s not the sort of thing people base their vote on, but I liked him less after reading it than I did before …

Also see:

Mayor Giuliani: “Romney fail[ed] as governor of Massachusetts to lower taxes, [failed to] fight illegal immigration, and [failed to] stand by politically tarnished allies and friends”

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dr. g.d.

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” And who is this Yoest person praising Huckabee and telling people about his great get?”—asks eye of eyeon08.com in post titled Huckabee consolidates the religious right

She is the communications director for the Family Research Council, the advocacy arm of the James Dobson media empire.

Oh yeah. And the American Spectator and Jonathan Martin are reporting that Dobson is going to endorse Huckabee. And one of his communications underlings is praising Huckabee. And independent sources at FRC confirmed the story to me, but say that the Mitt Romney supporters at FRC are fighting it. Indeed, Paul Weyrich and some others are denying it.

That sounds like a consolidation of the religious right in a way that could be worth a good 5-10% in places like Iowa and South Carolina. And in Iowa, Huckabee is in 2nd, and this kind of thing could include votes coming out of Romney’s hide. In South Carolina, it is less clear, but it seems likely that it would come out of the hides of both Romney and Fred Thompson … etc.

The emphasis is ours, all ours.

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dr. g.d.

“Romney has a flip-flopping, character, and authenticity problem,” writes the estimable eye of eyeon08.com in a speculative discursus titled Questions that Remain

But someone is going to have to actually buy gross rating points to move this message. Who? Rudy has the resources, but is probably saving them for later. And, in any case, both Mike Huckabee and Thompson are only relevant if Romney fails. The incentives are there.

Sixth, Huckabee’s performance at the Value Voters summit seems to have reshaped the moral conservative field. The contrast between his authenticity and Romney’s phoniness seems to have stopped Romney’s forward momentum among the interest group leaders here. But can he execute? Attacks on Romney’s credibility and religion only get so far without GRPs. But … if no one else really contests Iowa, is there any chance that Huckabee could out-perform Romney? I mean… if that were really the ballot choice (yeah, I know, it isn’t a ballot), doesn’t Huckabee win?… etc., etc.

The emphasis is ours, all ours.

We disagree—humbly, respectfully disagree as eye is most definitely our superior in all things political. We would argue that it wasn’t Huckabee so much as an overreaching Romney who discomfited Romney at the so-called value voters summit, and halted the shambling Romney machine dead in its tracks. See:

This is no special case, we would contend. Romney has overreached, overextended, and grossly over-invested everywhere—for yet another example see: Romney poised to fail in Iowa no matter what the outcome. This is Romney’s way. This is Romney’s pattern. The man has no sense of proportion. Our conclusion: no one needs to lift a finger or utter even a whisper to solve the Romney problem. No one needs to soil their shirt sleeves or stain their hands. It will fall to Romney himself to take out Romney. This is our prediction.

Romney’s most dangerous rival is—and always has been—Romney.

We explain why here—poised to fail: Team Romney’s over-reliance on instruments of direct influence and its consequences 

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dr. g.d.

“Mitt Romney is amping up the argument that he — not Rudy — is the Republican who’s truly electable. His campaign just blasted out the following just moments ago,” writes Greg Sargent in a shamelessly pro-Romney TMP ElectionCentral post titled, preposterously, Romney: Forget Rudy — I’m The Real Electable Republican

Willard Milton Romney: STRATEGY FOR A STRONGER AMERICA: THE THREE-LEGGED REPUBLICAN STOOL

“I believe that to win the White House that our candidate has to be somebody who can represent and speak for all three legs of the conservative stool or conservative coalition that Ronald Reagan put together — social conservatives, economic conservatives and defense conservatives.” — Governor Romney

Of course, as Jonathan Martin points out, Rudy is presenting a three-legged stool of his own: National security conservatism, economic conservatism, and in place of social conservatism, Hillary-bashing, that is to say, Rudy’s claim that only he can slay her.

So what Romney’s doing with the above argument is to try to undercut not one, but two of Rudy’s campaign rationales. First, Romney’s trying to dilute the importance of national security issues as a primary driver of GOP Primary voters. And second, he’s simultaneously undercutting Rudy’s I’m-electable-against-Hillary claim by saying that only someone who meets all of these three conservative thresholds can assemble the coalition necessary to get elected President as a Republican … etc., etc.

Romney’s tired furniture metaphor aside, most agree that “conservatism has lots its coherence”; regard:

“But the base is not so happy right now,” writes eye in an eyeon2008.com post titled Just babies, guns, and taxes? Or more?

The party is angry because George Bush isn’t conservative enough. What does that mean? Taxes? Um, no. He cut those. A bunch. Babies? PBA. Judges. A huge number of executive orders. Probably not that. Guns? Well, he let the Assault Weapons Ban expire. Probably not the problem there. What are the problems? Spending. Immigration. Campaign finance reform. Etc.

When someone can count the conservative principles on one hand, I will know what it means to be conservative again. We aren’t there. We need new ideas. Some of that is a reorganization of our existing ideas. Some of it is new stuff. Time to start workingetc., etc.

This is especially true in light of the Romney Question—in light of a “suddenly conservative” super-rich person and his hireling dilettanti—a man who claims to have redefined conservatism in advance of any movement by the movement. See:

Rubens on Romney: “Beware Candidates Trying to Purchase a Conservative Label”—NH Republicans “ought to heed the attacks” by other GOPers on Romney “by remembering the the last time a wealthy businessman spent millions of his own money in a campaign to re-define himself as a conservative”

The other GOP candidates appear to have a plan of their own to address the Romney Question. Regard:

“On the trail in South Carolina last week, Giuliani said that ‘from California to New York . . . the things that hold us together as a party are a strong national defense and a strong national economy,'” reports Jonathan Martin in a Politico blog post titled Romney’s three legs vs Rudy’s two (and a half?)

So then how does Rudy keep the GOP stool upright?

It’s becoming more obvious that Rudy’s third-leg is no issue at all, but rather something more pragmatic: electability.

As Perry Bacon smartly observes in his piece from the Palmetto State, Rudy has made Hillary-bashing, and the I-can-beat-her narrative it connotes, “the third plank of his brand of conservatism in lieu of orthodoxy on social issues.”

And if McCain and Fred keep focusing their fire on Romney instead of Rudy, he may just get away with it … etc., etc.

Let us pray that he does, as this is probably the best we can hope for at the moment.

Aside: you sort of have to wonder—are the Romneys themselves asking why it is that everyone is against them?—or: do they have the presence of mind or critical self-awareness necessary to even pose such a question? We don’t know.

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dr. g.d.

The imbroglio begins at the last debate; a dispute ensues between Romney and Guiliani; see:

Romney takes the bait; goes negative against Giuliani—Romney accuses: Giuliani “gets first place when it comes to suing and lawyering”

Then McCain—yes, the honourable Sen. John McCain, a decorated combat veteran—blindsides Romney with a brilliant rejoinder:

McCain discovers his voice; initiates Republican pile-on atop a hapless Romney

Now suddenly others leap into the fray—e.g. the estimable former Sen. Fred Thompson.

“Hypocrites. People who accuse someone of something, only to turn around and do the same thing themselves. People who lie through their teeth for personal gain. People John McCain and Fred Thompson,” writes a peeved and pensive Matt A. in an Act Blog post awkwardly titled Hipocrites 1 and 2 (Also Known as John and Fred).

(Aside: Imagine for a moment a Romney supporter with either ignorance or audacity enough to refer to anyone else as a hypocrite.)

It all started yesterday when Mitt Romney in an attempt to highlight the difference between himself and the more liberal Rudy Giuliani, assured Nevada Republicans that he “stood for the Republican wing of the Republican Party”. Virtually everyone knew he was taking a swipe at Giuliani, yet Giuliani was not the first to respond. Instead, John McCain lashed out at Romney, making the following statement (from The Politico … more rage and urgent remonstrations more

“Where I come from, we have a word (a phrase, actually) for this kind of thing. I won’t repeat it, because this is a family blog, but for a hint, see the title of this post. Given that, I was going to let it go” … begins a typically turbid Evangelicals for Mitt post, reproduced in the American Federalist’s Romney Ramblings feed, titled P____ contest.

But then I saw this from another campaign, and I can’t let it pass without comment. Saying Governor Romney “ran for Senate to the left of Ted Kennedy” in 1994 is just ridiculousmore whining and sniveling

We ask again: What will Romney do?—what can Romney do?—we mean, beyond all the despairing cries and shrieks of rage among Romney’s flaks and surrogates—Romney’s own negatives are too high to support a negative campaign. See:

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dr. g.d.

“Mitt Romney oscillates between the low teens and single digits in national polls. He does better in Iowa and New Hampshire where he has spent a great deal of time and money in the hope that he can ride a wave of early momentum to victory. It won’t happen,” writes the estimable Peter Mulhern in a realclearpolitics.com article titled Why Fred Thompson Will Win, a claim we receive with skepticism, but we appreciate Mulhern’s analysis of Willard Milton Romney.

The only evidence that Romney can generate significant support comes from states where he has campaigned essentially unopposed by kicking his effort into high gear months before anyone else. In the last few weeks before the voting starts the political landscape will be very different and much more crowded.

Romney can’t sustain the support he currently shows in Iowa and New Hampshire unless he can make himself considerably more appealing that he has managed to be so far. Even his greatest admirers usually concede that he is too slick and too packaged to seem entirely trustworthy. As the polling data so far indicates, the great majority of Republican voters are going to choose somebody else when they judge him alongside their other choices.

Oddly, Mitt Romney gives me new insight into Bill Clinton’s career. I always used to wonder how much of Clinton’s appeal, such as it was, depended on his flaws rather than his strengths. Could Clinton have been so charming to so many without the selfishness, the total lack of self-discipline, the sexual incontinence, the dishonesty, the flabby physique and the swollen nose? Did he depend on his repulsive and dysfunctional traits to humanize him?

Romney’s struggle to connect with voters suggests that he did. Sorry Governor, the voters just don’t warm to guys who are classically handsome, athletic, rich, intelligent, decent, and also ambitious enough to be supple about their political principles. You could try taking a personal interest in some interns, but that probably won’t work for a Republican.

Romney would do better, despite his slippery persona, if he could only learn to communicate without dropping into MBA speak. Everything for Mitt is a PowerPoint presentation to potential investors. Consider his approach to the central problem facing our war planners – what to do about Iran? He has a five point plan:

Specifically, we must:

  • First, continue to tighten economic sanctions.
  • Second, impose diplomatic isolation on Iran’s Government.
  • Third, have Arab states join this effort to prevent a nuclear Iran.
  • Fourth, make it clear that while nuclear capabilities may be a source of pride, it can also be a source of peril. The military option remains on the table.
  • Fifth, integrate our strategy into a broader approach to the broader Muslim world–including working with our NATO allies and with progressive Muslim communities and leaders to build a partnership for prosperity.

This is drivel.

The fourth point is supposed to be a threat, but it sounds pro forma. The rest of it is perfect nonsense which leaches away any impact the anemic threat might have had. There are no meaningful sanctions to tighten. We can’t impose diplomatic isolation on Iran and if we did the Iranian government wouldn’t care. Arab states can’t do anything to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions and even if they could they wouldn’t dare. As for number five, what is he talking about? Dumping money on an Arab world already awash in petrodollars?

If I were one of the mad mullahs I wouldn’t be losing any sleep for fear that Mitt Romney might be the next Commander-in-Chief. As a voter, I can’t see any reason to entrust my family’s safety to him. He plainly isn’t the guy to inspire a nation at warmore

Plainly.

For more on Romney’s off-the-wall rhetorical stylings, see:

Romney’s inflection point—the strange rhetoric of a troubled campaign

yours &c.
dr. g.d.