Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

“Manchester, N.H.— If you think things got a bit testy between John McCain and Mitt Romney during the ABC News debate here at St. Anselm College Saturday night, you didn’t see the half of it,” writes Byron York in a surprisingly objective article posted to our least favorite blog-for-Mitt, the National Review, titled The Feud Behind the Feud at the GOP Debate; Do you think these guys don’t like each other?

After the debate, when top campaign aides and surrogates came to the Spin Room to tout their candidates’ performances, members of the Romney and McCain camps said the things their bosses might have been thinking but did not dare utter onstage.

McCain delivered “cheap shots,” said one Romney adviser. Another called McCain’s criticisms of Romney “snide remarks” and “name calling.” Yet another said they were “unbecoming.” All of which caused Mark Salter, McCain’s closest aide, to go off.

“Come on, Mitt, tighten up your chin strap,” Salter, standing just a few feet away from the Romney team, told reporters. “Of all the ludicrous suggestions – Mitt Romney whining about being attacked, when he has predicated an entire campaign plan on whoever serially looks like the biggest challenger gets, whatever, $20 million dropped on his head and gets his positions distorted. Give me a break. It’s nothing more than a guy who dishes it out from 30,000 feet altitude and then gets down in the arena and somebody says, O.K. Mitt, gives him a little pop back, and he starts whining. That’s unbecoming.”

What had McCain aides particularly heated was Romney’s exchange with McCain on the issue of McCain’s immigration proposals and the question of amnesty. “The fact is, it’s not amnesty,” McCain said during the debate. “And for you to describe it as you do in the attack ads, my friend, you can spend your whole fortune on these attack ads, but it still won’t be true.”

“I don’t describe your plan as amnesty in my ad,” Romney answered. “I don’t call it amnesty.”

With that, the issue became not whether McCain’s plan was or was not amnesty but whether Romney had or had not called it amnesty. And jaws dropped at McCain headquarters.

“What got us all going was when Governor Romney said, ‘We never called what you did amnesty,’“ said McCain confidante Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “Look on TV. Look in your mailbox in New Hampshire. John’s been pounded by Governor Romney with that charge. I was just dumbstruck.”

Indeed, after the debate, McCain aides produced a Romney mailing which said “John McCain: Supports Amnesty.” An e-mail from the Romney campaign earlier in the day referred to McCain’s “amnesty plan.” And a new Romney TV ad featured Romney supporters saying McCain “supported amnesty for illegal immigrants” and “wrote the amnesty bill.” In light of that, it is hard to see how Romney was being straight when he said he didn’t “describe [McCain’s] plan as amnesty.” After the debate, Romney’s spokesman, Kevin Madden, choosing his words carefully, said McCain favored “an amnesty-like approach” […]

Once again Romney elects to dispute not with his rival but with the universe itself. He wants the privilege to call white black, and darkness light, and have it be so. The lesson Romney has yet to learn is that when you deny a publicly available fact the issue becomes not the point at dispute, but you.

Luntz: “Romney made a ‘big mistake’ by going negative against Huckabee”—how a Faustian Romney rages against the laws of physics

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dr. g.d.


“WASHINGTON (CNN) — Two negative ads recently launched by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has spent more on advertising than any other candidate, either misrepresent his rival’s records or include distortions, according to a CNN analysis of the commercials,” writes Howard Kurtz in a release titled Analysis: Romney attack ad misrepresents facts

The ads come as the Republican air war has erupted into a series of attacks ads, just days before the Iowa caucuses on January 3, Wyoming caucuses on January 5, and the New Hampshire primary on January 8.

In one Romney television ad running in New Hampshire, the announcer calls rival Sen. John McCain “an honorable man” then goes on to ask “but is he the right Republican for the future?”

“McCain pushed to let every illegal immigrant stay here permanently…” the announcer charges. “Even voted to allow illegals to collect Social Security.”

But the ad distorts the position of the Arizona Republican, who has narrowed Romney’s lead in New Hampshire. McCain’s compromise legislation introduced last summer, which was backed by President Bush, would have required illegal immigrants to return to their home countries and pay a fine for breaking the law before applying for legal statusmore, so much more

Would an honorable man like Romney distort the records and positions of his rivals!?

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dr. g.d.

“Here’s an interesting one,” writes NRO’s Byron York in a The Corner post titled McCain Attacks Romney’s Attack on Huckabee

The Romney campaign is set to release the first negative ad of the season in Iowa tomorrow – an attack on Mike Huckabee on the immigration issue. Huckabee will certainly respond – and now, he has help from another candidate, John McCain. A few minutes ago, the McCain campaign released a statement from Iowa chairman Dave Roederer denouncing the attack on Huckabee:

News that Mitt Romney will launch a new attack ad tomorrow is another move by a campaign that continues to insult Iowa voters. Iowa families should not be subjected to this negative style of campaigning, especially during the holiday season.

Governor Romney has flip-flopped on several major issues that voters care about. It’s particularly amazing that Governor Romney would attack anyone on immigration when he’s on his third position. John McCain has run an honorable campaign that all Iowans can be proud of. I call on Governor Romney to drop his plans for this negative attack and follow John McCain’s lead. Candidates need to raise the level of the debate, not lower it …

AmSpec blog’s J. Ruben comments:

[York’s NRO post] tells the latest battle of McCain vs. Romney — over the new ad directed at Huckabee. The response by a Romney “supporter”– ” Hey McCain touted Romney in 2002 ” — shows roughly the same level of self-delusion as the “politically incorrect” ad. In 2002 , of course, Romney had yet to reverse himself on abortion, gay rights, gun rights, campaign finance reform, Ronald Reagan, the Bush tax cuts and immigration … etc.

Dear Team Romney, you have a problem. No one fears you. Nor should they. Your negatives are too high, your poll numbers too soft, and your candidate is too icy-cold unlikable to support or sustain a negative message. Hence the instant blowback you experience every single time you try to go negative.

Dear Sen. McCain, Gov. Huckabee et al, please leave Romney alone. Never interfere when your enemies are determined to commit suicide.

Of course we predicted that the other candidates would begin to concert their activities contra Romney:

Romney bravely—or unwittingly—faces the gathering storm, er, we mean swarm

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“AP’s Glen Johnson and Liz Sidoti have news of the first negative ad to air in the GOP race,” writes Jonathan Martin of the Politico in a post titled Romney to hit Huck on immigration in Iowa

Who: Mitt on Huck
What: Immigration
When: Starting tomorrow
Where: Iowa

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden tells me that the spot “clarifies the distinct differences between Governor Romney and Mike Huckabee on the issue of immigration.”

UPDATE: I’ve gotten my hands on the ad itself, “The Record.”

Note the gentle lead-in. Romney’s camp plainly recognizes the danger of going negative in Iowa, so they go to considerable length to frame the attack with what is both a nod of respect to Huckabee and a sly effort at dulling the differences between the two on cultural issues.

Then comes the knife, aimed squarely at Huck’s support for providing the children of illegal immigrants tuition breaks … etc.


Landscaper: Romney Never Insisted Employees Be Legal—as reported by Fox News. The landscaper who Mitt Romney fired earlier this week for continuing to employ illegal immigrants says the termination boils down to little more than politics.

And again:

“Romney doesn’t deserve “amnesty” for this recurring lapse in judgment,” writes Ruben Navarrette in a story titled Romney Makes It Hard to Trust Him

And for two reasons:

First, there is the hypocrisy. Millions of Americans benefit from the sweat of illegal immigrants – directly or indirectly – but Romney is the one trying to score political points off these people. As if illegal immigrants don’t do enough, they are now fodder to help put Mitt Romney in the Oval Office.

And second, there is the issue of authenticity. Romney may have tripped up in his effort to fool Republican voters into believing that he’s a real conservative – on abortion, gun control, gay rights and now on illegal immigration – and that he takes to heart the concerns of conservative voters.

Romney desperately needs to sell that line, especially in conservative states such as Iowa where Republican voters at town halls demand to know how candidates will stop illegal immigration. And if Iowans are like many other Americans, after they’ve said their peace, they retreat to their homes to watch cable television demagogues and wring their hands over the “invasion” while someone else does the yardwork, or the housework, or the child care, or the cooking … etc., etc.

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dr. g.d.

“Mitt Romney’s Republican rivals wasted little time tonight ridiculing him for his second go-round with illegal immigrants working at his home,” writes Michael Levenson and Sasha Issenberg of the Boston Globe in a story titled Rivals hit Romney on illegal workers

… etc.

Yes, well, so much for Romney “owning” this week because of his Mormon-Kennedy speech.

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dr g.d.

“Romney continues to make the weirdest gaffes,” writes Anna Marie Cox for the Time-blog Swampland in a post titled Romney’s Imaginary Advisers

Yesterday, he told the Tampa Tribune that he was of the “the more, the merrier” mind when it comes to Cuban immigration,* at least, and then went further:

Romney said on matters dealing with Cuba, he depends on advice from prominent members of Florida’s Cuban American community, such as U.S. Reps. Lleana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, and Al Cardenas, a former state Republican chairman and one of Romney’s leading Hispanic supporters.

“At this stage none of them have suggested that we abandon that policy and develop a new one,” Romney said … etc.

Question: Is this a “weird gaff” or is this a simple lie? When does a lie become a gaff? Nota: Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Barlart deny that they ever advised Romney.

OTOH, it is probable that Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Barlart did advise Romney and that the two are too embarrassed to admit it. The ignominy of advising a figure like Romney can be too much for more delicate souls. Take for instance this hapless Harvard professor:

Romney advisor Mankiw attempts to distance himself from Romney—argues that advisors are responsible only for their advice

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dr. g.d.

“SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, seeking to protect his narrowing lead and fend off challenges from rivals in this early-voting state, assailed Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani over supporting tuition breaks and broader sanctuary for illegal immigrants or their children,” writes Liz Sidoti in an AP release titled Romney Assails Foes on Immigration

As a new poll showed his advantage trimmed in Iowa, the former Massachusetts governor on Tuesday singled out the two Republicans giving chase here and likened them to Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. “There are those people in both parties who are in a sanctuary state of mind, who believe in sanctuary cities, who believe in policies which are sanctuary in nature,” he said.

Just weeks before voting begins, the race in the leadoff caucus state has tightened. Romney led in Iowa by double-digits in polls for months but now is trying to curb Huckabee’s recent rise in surveys and gains among religious conservatives, while working to prevent Giuliani from mounting a more serious challenge.

Underscoring the fragile state of Romney’s lead here, a CBS News/New York Times poll released Tuesday showed Romney with 27 percent backing by likely GOP caucus-goers. Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, now threatens Romney’s lead with 21 percent of support; Giuliani, the former New York mayor, has 15 percent … etc.

Just as we predicted. Here is what we wrote elsewhere:

… (6) Contra assumption (iii), there are players other than Mayor Giuliani in this race. Gov. Huckabee is increasingly competitive in Iowa and has consolidated the religious right. See:

Sen. McCain will contest New Hampshire, and Mayor Giuliani is active in Michigan and South Carolina. Precisely because Mayor Giuliani continues to lead in the polls nationally and to lead in the delegate rich larger states, he enjoys strategic depth—i.e. he can allow other candidates to disperse Romney’s energies and hold Romney to at best a split or unclear decision in the early state primaries. In other words, contra Lunquist, Mayor Giuliani does not need to win in the early state primaries. He doesn’t even need to fight a holding action in the early state primaries. He only needs to allow others to fight a holding action in the early state primaries—which is what they will do anyway. In this way Giuliani conserves his own strength even as Romney nails himself insensibly to the cross of his own early-state strategy, disperses his energies fighting off several other campaigners, and hemorrhages further millions of his own money.

Further: Romney is perceived as the front-runner in Iowa, New Hampshire etc. He is the one whom the other candidates will position as their foils, will draw distinctions against. For evidence and analysis see:

Another problem for Romney: you risk going down in flames when you go negative while your own negatives are high. No ones negatives are higher than Romney’s; see:

Romney has the most negative image at this point of any of the major candidates for president, claims Newport of USA Today’s GallupGuru; the Romney campaign’s death-by-internal-memo part (ii)

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dr. g.d.

P.S. Back to Sidoti:

… responding to Romney, Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella accused him of ignoring his own record as governor while he campaigns for president. “Under Governor Mitt Romney the number of illegal immigrants skyrocketed, while he recommended millions of dollars in state aid to numerous sanctuary cities and to companies employing illegal immigrants, not to mention the illegals working on his own lawn,” she said … etc., etc.

P.P.S. Hey, Romney. Did you ever wonder why experienced marathon runners almost never start out in the lead?—why they tend to cluster for much of the race? Did you ever wonder why experienced commanders will often allow opposing forces to invest an objective before moving on it? Did it ever occur to you that your rivals would adapt themselves to your much-vaunted von Schlieffen plan? We’re just wondering.

“Your friendly neighborhood campaign spot correspondent, yesterday: ‘This reminds me of Romney’s constant touting of that state police program regarding illegal immigration as an accomplishment, even though his successor, Democrat Deval Patrick, rescinded it before it went into effect'”—writes Jim Geraghty in an NRO Campaign Spot post titled Team Romney Objects; I Object to Their Objection

Each time Romney cites it, I’m muttering to anyone in earshot, why are you doing this? Why?”

Romney campaign helper-money Kevin Madden then issues a hair-splitting instance of casuistry that Geraghty calls an “objection,” the text of which Geraghty provides etc., etc.

Yet again the Romneys get into a spitting contest with friend and ally, Jim Geraghty.

formerly shameless-Romney-sycophant Jim Geraghty of the formerly conservative NRO in flame-war with an inarticulate rube identified as a “friend of mitt”

Note to the Romneys: the man is trying to help you. Please believe us: you need all the help you can get.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“PHOENIX — When Mitt Romney swooped into the heart of John McCain country this week, he brought a pointed message on illegal immigration: McCain’s approach is the wrong one,” writes an uncritical Scott Helman in a Boston Globe article titled, strangely, Romney’s words grow hard on immigration

Romney’s words are growing hard? Nothing about Romney is growing hard.

Proudly touting the endorsement of Joe Arpaio, a sheriff in the state who is known nationally for rounding up immigrants in desert tents, Romney boasted of cracking down on illegal immigrants as governor and denounced an immigration bill that the Arizona senator introduced with Senator Edward M. Kennedy in 2005.

It is a theme Romney has hit hard in recent weeks in his appeals to conservatives, many of whom attack McCain’s immigration bill for proposing an eventual path to citizenship for immigrants living illegally in the United States and a guest-worker program to help fill American jobs.

“McCain-Kennedy isn’t the answer,” Romney said in a well-received speech to conservatives in Washington this month, describing it as an amnesty plan that would reward people for breaking the law and cost taxpayers millions to provide them benefits …

“McCain-Kennedy?” Please note how Romney, without benefit of style or subtlety, clumsily-naively attempts to associate Sen. McCain’s name with Sen. Kennedy’s by means of simple combination. Other Romney drive-by conflations: Giuliani-Clinton, Osama-Obama, and even NYC-San Francisco in a DrudgeReport Romney anti-immigrant advertisement.

Is Romney a master propagandist? Well, ahem, no. Here is why. What Team Romney has yet to figure out about civic discourse is that a claim about the world is like a check. You need to have (a) funds in the bank in order to cash it, and (b) the bank itself needs to be solvent. Romney has neither (a) nor (b). In fact, despite Romney’s great wealth, Romney remains desperately poor in the credibility that derives from authority. See:

Romney has the most negative image at this point of any of the major candidates for president, claims Newport of USA Today’s GallupGuru; the Romney campaign’s death-by-internal-memo part (ii)

As Ruffini argues, Romney has done to himself what Bush did to Kerry. See:

Ruffini: “Romney has done to himself what the Bush campaign did to John Kerry”

Hence: the more Romney pulls to the right—e.g. on the immigration issue—the more Romney reinforces the impression that he is valueless and unprincipled, that he will do or say anything to win. And herein lies the irony: Romney has vacillated wildly and unpredictably on the issue of immigration. See:

Romney backs off immigration by fine parsing

yours &c.
dr. g.d

P.S. Counter argument: In 1996 the Clintons were able to link then Sen. Dole to then Speaker Gingrich through just such a juxtaposition. Yes, but (a) President Clinton was, you know, the president, and he out-polled Sen. Dole at often more than 10 points, and (b) Pres. Clinton enjoyed the advantage of months of early advertising, media attention etc. Romney, on the other hand, has nothing.

Note to the Romneys: you can’t just say whatever you want and expect people to believe you. It’s called ethos, and, yes, it’s even quantifiable. Go look it up. And, yes: propaganda techniques can be effective, but you sort of need to know how, and when, to use them, and especially when you can use them, you super-geniuses. Otherwise you will look, and sound, like a total Romney.