Posts Tagged ‘mark kilmer’

“MINNEAPOLIS — Republican hopeful Mitt Romney said Sunday he was counting on the ‘voices of conservatism’ and a non-binding caucus in Maine to propel him to within fighting distance of frontrunner Sen. John McCain, who has opened a double-digit lead in polls before Tuesday’s pivotal votes,” writes Andrea Stone in a USA Today article titled Romney courts ‘voices of conservatism’

Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Romney said his win in Maine “shocked” McCain, who had been endorsed by the state’s senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both widely viewed as moderate Republicans. The results showed Republicans were “staying in the house that Reagan built,” Romney said.Romney reiterated a litany of McCain positions he says are out of the mainstream of their party, including votes against drilling for oil in the Arctic preserve and President Bush’s tax cuts and for campaign finance bills and “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.

Asked about the McCain campaign accusations that he has changed positions on issues such as a 50-cents-a-gallon gas tax that Romney now rails against at campaign stops, the former Massachusetts governor rejected what have now become familiar charges of flip-slopping.

“They have stretched, twisted and completely walked away from the truth,” Romney said […]

Truth? Just what is the truth to a person like Romney?

Here is the problem for Romney: Romney’s icy-cold persona and ultra-high negatives cannot support a negative message. Romney’s own poll numbers crash whenever he does so. Yet here is, again, in person, attempting to slime McCain at the expense of whatever slim chances the GOP may have had in November against Senators Clinton or Obama.

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

Say for the sake of argument that Romney succeeds in driving up Sen. McCain’s negatives to the point that Sen. McCain is no longer viable. History would predict that the result would be equally disastrous for Romney. This is because whenever Romney lurches to the right, he alienates the very moderates and independents that comprise Sen. McCain’s coalition of voters. Yet Romney will need those very voters—voters Romney has ridiculed for not being real Republicans—in the general election. See:

Romney outflanks himself yet again!–poll indicates Romney’s pull to the right alienates independents, centrists, and moderates

In other words Romney’s fight is not with Sen. McCain. Romney’s fight is with the GOP itself.

[…] While McCain has racked up endorsements from governors and other high-profile Republicans on a wholesale basis since his Florida victory, the conservative commentariat of radio and TV have rallied to Romney. Long-time fan Rush Limbaugh was joined this week by Fox News personality Sean Hannity and right-leaning radio talkers Laura Ingraham and Lars Larson. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter went so far this week to say that if McCain, who has angered conservatives with his stands on immigration, taxes and other issues, were the GOP nominee, she would vote for Sen. Hillary Clinton.

” I don’t think you can buy as much advertising” as radio talk show hosts have provided for free, he said […]

Not entirely for free. Romney’s Bain Capital acquired Clear Channel—the carrier of conservative “voices” like Rush Limbaugh—over a year ago.

The price tag was more like US$26.7 billion.

And the effectiveness of the sale is, at least to date, still in doubt. See:

Here is yet another take on Romney’s sudden bout of Tourette’s syndrome

[…] “ROMNEY ON TW. Mitt Romney came out with guns blazing, accusing John McCain of trying to characterize his positions while he characterized McCain’s,” writes Mark Kilmer in a http://www.redstate.com blog burst titled The Sunday Morning Talk Shows—The Review

Romney said he was winning the “battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party,” the “house Reagan built.” (He’s still invoking Reagan.) Romney boasted of the conservative commentators “coming out for me in record numbers.” Which begs the question, what is the old record which he claims to be breaking? Also, how many of these commentators are supporting him and how many are trying to flex their muscles concerning McCain?

Romney pointed out that McCain’s positions on ANWR, BCRA, immigration, and global warming “cause many conservatives to rally to my camp.” Is this a big Romney rally or a STOP MCCAIN fest?

Romney did allow that he and McCain agree on Iraq. (But he moved to McCain’s position, not v/v.)

Wallace asked Romney about his support for a cap and trade program to reduce carbon emissions, and Romney accused McCain of twisting his position around. Yes, though, he said that he did support cap and trade.

Romney launched waves of attacks into McCain and McCain’s positions as characterized by Romney.

This was Romney knowing that the numbers do not look good for him right now trying to draw sharp distinctions between his rival and himself. It would have worked better, I think, if he could have focused on a few areas at a time, rather than a general broadside, but time is short. We’ll see how this plays on Tuesday […]

[…] ROMNEY ON CNN. Mitt Romney was Wolf Blitzer’s first guest on CNN’s Late Edition this morning; Romney was in Minnesota. Blitzer pointed out that McCain blames Romney for the nastiness in this campaign. Romney said that he attacks only on issues, while McCain got personal in Florida. He said that he was not going to talk about that. (Romney’s stance vis-à-vis the surge is oriented toward an issue. Romney promised that he would keep mentioning that John McCain had repeated reports that Romney had talked of a timetable for withdrawal.)

Romney said that McCain’s “lack of understanding of the economy” was bad for the country, adding that we have to have someone who has had a real job in the private sector in the Oval Office. (That is a personal attack on the former chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.)

Romney belittled “reaching across the aisle” and “making political deals.” He said that he is a man of action, of getting things done.

Comment: Say what!? How does one “get things done” if one sorely lacks the political skill necessary to build coalitions? For more on this melancholy theme see:

Why do only 3 out 22 Republican governors support Romney?—yet more evidence of Romney’s incompetence and lack of political skill

Back to Kilmer:

Romney said that McCain-Feingold hurt the Republican Party (it didn’t) and McCain-Kennedy granted amnesty to oodles of illegals (it didn’t even pass). He said that the Florida primary was close, “only a few points.” (Five points is a big win.) He said that conservatives were rallying behind him as a way to stop John McCain, which is why he won the uncontested caucuses in Maine at which no delegates were awarded. (Maine is a bastion of conservatism, electing Senators Collins and Snowe, both of whom endorsed John McCain after co-chairing his exploratory committee last year.)

Blitzer pointed out that polls show McCain beating Hillary and Obama with Romney losing. Romney claimed that the polls swing wildly.

Romney repeated that with our economy “struggling,” we need to elect someone who has held a “real job.” He compared himself again to Ronald Reagan […]

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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[…] On TW, Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said that he erred in calling the McCain immigration plan “amnesty” even though it was “amnesty.” You see, he said, though it was not “amnesty” by the dictionary definition, it was “amnesty” by the “normal, colloquial definition.” (Would he know it if he saw it, under the alternate definition of “saw”?) Steph argued that after Saturday night’s debate, it seems the term “flip-flop” had stuck to Romney. Romney blamed McCain […] writes Mark Kilmer in a RedState.com blog burst titled The Sunday Morning Talk Shows – The Review

[…] Wallace asked Romney about his false claim that John McCain’s proposed legislation would have granted amnesty to illegals. Romney said that McCain would have offered a “form of amnesty.” Wallace asked Romney about his false assertion that McCain would have granted Social Security to illegal immigrants. Romney argued that he had read in newspapers that this is what McCain’s measure did. He further argued that the McCain bill he had called “reasonable, quite different from amnesty,” was not the same as the one which passed. Romney said that he has opposed McCain’s bill “from the outset.” He reiterated that he thinks McCain’s bill offered a “form of amnesty, though technically it is not.” [NOTE: See the notes on Romney’s TW interview, below.]

Wallace asked Romney how much of his personal fortunate he had spent to try to secure the nomination. Romney answered that he’d spent “more than I’d like, but not as much as I’m willing” to spend to get the nomination. Wallace asked him if there were a limit on what he is willing to spend, and Romney replied that while he had no limit, his wife did […]

[…] MITT ROMNEY ON TW. Steph asked Romney about his use of the term “amnesty” to describe John McCain’s immigration plan. Romney admitted that he “was incorrect,” then he made the case for why he was correct.

“You’re going to have to define the word for me,” Romney said regarding amnesty. (There you go again.) He said that under the dictionary definition, it wasn’t amnesty, but it was amnesty under the “normal, colloquial definition.” Well, “is” is what? Would we know it if we saw it, under the alternative definition of “saw”?

Steph played a few clips from last night’s debate, some of the various jabs at Romney for his position-changes, and proclaimed: “It seems ‘flip-flop’ has stuck.” (It certainly was underscored at Saturday night’s debate.) Romney blamed McCain […]

Remarks:

In Goffman’s terms, Romney’s line that Sen. McCain does not support amnesty only he does support it, requires

(a) heroic face-work as the candidate must labor to clarify and defend his position against all encounters with common sense meanings of the relevant terms

-and-

(b) casuistry in the form of strained distinctions, i.e. the distinction between dictionary and colloquial definitions

Here is the problem for Romney—and it is a dynamic and evolving problem—(a) Romney’s face work, and (b) Romney’s casuistry, together complete a causal loop. It goes like this. Romney issues a flat contradiction. This requires face work to repair, i.e. Romney must justify his claim to save his reputation. So Romney issues distinctions that strain credulity. This further damages Romney’s face. This requires face work to repair etc., etc.

The last time Romney caught himself in one of his death-spiral causal loops was on the question of whether, or in what sense, Romney “saw” his father (may his name be for a blessing) march with MLK.

Parker: “casualness with the truth [by figures like Romney] is what has alienated good citizens across the country from the elites who are running our political machinery”—and: was Mike Allen Romney’s unwitting dupe, or was he complicit in Team Romney’s campaign of lies and obfuscations?

The effect is cumulative. It supports the fixed point that Romney is cynical, dishonest, and that he simply cannot let things go.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Consistent with David Brody’s point that Romney’s attacks open up opportunities for Romney’s rivals to respond using earned media, Tim Russert of Meet the Press turned the microphone over to Gov. Huckabee this morning and allowed the Governor to answer each of Romney’s false and baseless charges one after the other. This is an excerpt from Kilmer of Redstate’s account, available in post titled The Sunday Morning Talk Shows—The Review:

Russert asked if Mitt Romney had said anything about Huckabee which was untrue. Huckabee started the list.

  • Mitt claimed that Huckabee had reduced Meth sentences in Arkansas when the truth is that he signed a bill in 1999 which doubled Meth sentences, which are four times greater than those in Romney’s Massachusetts.
  • Huckabee said that Romney accused him of giving “special breaks” to illegal immigrants. Actually, it was a bill concerning the children of such people who had “earned” scholarships, and it never made the legislature.
  • Romney accused Huckabee of increasing spending “by some ridiculous amount,” and even the New York Times “took him apart” on this false claim.
  • Huckabee said that Romney’s claim about tax increases was wrong because the tax increases in Arkansas were either court ordered or approved by the voters, such as the one to improve roads.
  • Huckabee said that he left Arkansas with good roads, while Romney’s “were a mess” in Massachusetts.
  • Romney claims that he did not raise taxes, when actually he did raise taxes in the form of fees by a half-billion dollars. [Huckabee] said that he raised taxes for “educational purposes” and for roads. (I take it, then, that he opposes abolishing the Department of Education.)

The formatting is ours, all ours.

Kilmer issues this coda to his account of Gov. Huckabee’s performance: … “It went on for a while. Russert’s questions, while not softballs, were not as tough as some of the questions I’ve seen asked here at RedState. Huckabee did not implode, by any stretch, and handled himself well” …

Our conclusion: What is happening in Iowa to Gov. Huckabee would offend anyone’s sense of fair play, even Russert’s. Hence Russert’s performance this morning. This is a part of the price Romney pays for his viciously negative campaign—others are coming to the defense of Romney’s rivals.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.