Posts Tagged ‘new media’

[…] “Following John McCain’s victory in Florida last week the chorus of McCain-hatred grew louder on talk radio shows and on many conservative blogs,” writes Jennifer Rubin in a New York Observer article titled Voters Reject Romney … and Limbaugh and Coulter and Dobson

Rush Limbaugh declared that McCain was not conservative and unacceptable as a candidate. Formerly respectable conservative figures took delight in criticizing McCain’s war record—yes, his war record—by tallying up the number of planes he had lost in combat. Ann Coulter and James Dobson, a social conservative leader and head of the Focus on the Family organization, declared McCain so indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton, the featured villainess in any conservative drama, that they would vote for her or stay home.

In short the McCain villifiers doubled down on their bet that they could derail McCain and lift their favored alternative, Mitt Romney, to victory.

Then the voters had their say. McCain racked up victories from California to New York to Missouri. Romney was pretty much relegated to Utah and Massachusetts, two more home states to go along with his Michigan win. Mike Huckabee, also the object of talk show and blogger derision (for, among other grave offenses, raising taxes to build schools and allowing children of illegal immigrants access to college scholarships) had a fine night, taking a batch of southern states.

The talk-show conservatives who were so successful in riling the conservative opposition to immigration reform in 2007 proved to be the flimsiest of paper tigers. Their shouted directions to the conservative foot soldiers, and their warnings of the dangers of a McCain presidency, were ignored.

They did their best to boost Romney, who had striven mightily to endear himself to this crowd, but the voters shrugged and rejected him overwhelmingly. Had Romney not changed residences so often he might have been shut out of the primaries entirely […]

[…] [Limbaugh, Coulter, Dobson et al] might threaten to withhold support for McCain, but does it even matter at this point? Will voters listen to that marching order when they did not follow previous voting advice?

McCain cannot, in what will likely be a close election, entirely ignore the possibility. But something has clearly changed. The façade of influence, the illusion of electoral importance that these conservative pundits previously held, is gone. They can raise issues, jam the White House switchboard and scare timid politicians. When the chips are down, though, they cannot determine elections. Voters, who base their decisions more on common sense than extreme ideology, get to do that […]

We concur. Well, for those most part. But, sadly, there is evidence to suggest that the radio talkers and conservative celebrities were beginning to affect attitudes about Sen. McCain. Here be evidence for our claim, as provided by the estimable John Dickerson in a slate.com article titled McCain Not Stopped; But Romney is not seen as a true conservative:

[…] Exit polls nevertheless show that McCain’s problems with conservatives run deep. He lost among conservatives in almost every state except Connecticut and New Jersey, where he split them evenly with Romney. McCain also lost conservatives even in the states he won. Conservatives went for Romney in New York and Illinois. “Hard to do well with conservatives when everyone with a microphone is beating hell out of us,” says a top McCain aide. While the conservative voices weren’t enough to stop McCain, or to elect their guy, tonight they were enough to bruise him […]

Now with Romney promising to hold out and fight until the convention, and even attempt to turn around promised but not-officially-bound delegates, we can expect the voices of Limbaugh, Coulter, Dobson et al to grow louder, more dire, and more shrill. See:

Romney attempting to engineer a brokered convention, hints at plans to foment mutiny among promised but not officially bound delegates

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dr. g.d.

“I predict we’re going to hear a growing conversation on the right about whether it’s better for America, conservatism, etc to have a president who feels he has to placate the conservative base versus having a president who claims to be a member of it,” writes Jonah Goldberg in a National Review TheCorner Blogburst titled One of Us Vs. One Who Owes Us

Goldberg issues a safe prediction.

Every candidate proposes a theory of representation whether explicitly or otherwise, i.e. an account of not just how the candidate as an elected official will advance the issues of his or her constituencies, but an explanation of why he or she would want to do so consonant with the candidate’s values, biography etc.—e.g. I am one of you, I believe as you believe etc.

Romney’s theory of representation is a unique one in our experience. Romney proposes to represent you by becoming you. See:

WSJ: “Plenty of politicians attune their positions to new constituencies—The larger danger is that Mr. Romney’s conversions are not motivated by expediency or mere pandering but may represent his real governing philosophy”

Back to Goldberg

President Bush won enormous good faith — no pun intended — from evangelicals and other social conservatives by saying, in effect, “I’m one of you.” A case could be made that some of Bush’s problems stem from the fact that the White House was internally confused about whether conservatives were simply another constituency or if they were more like a loyal army. I don’t think the distinctions are clean and neat, since there isn’t a monolithic conservative base and the Bush White House has been itself divided between Nixonians (i.e. the Poppa Bush crowd) and Reaganites. But I think we’ll see the conversation emerge as candidates like Giuliani and McCain make “transactional” overtures to the conservative base, saying something like “Support me and I’ll support what you care about” rather than “support me because I am one of you.”

National Review had a similar conversation over Richard Nixon. That didn’t turn out great.

The National Review also endorsed Willard Milton Romney. That hasn’t turned out so great either. See:

NRO organizes conference call to defend questionable decision to endorse Romney—eyeon08.com reports that they received not one supportive question, and no one spoke in favor of the endorsement

In other news from the frantic flunkies of the GOP establishment, Hugh Hewitt announces a talk-radio counter-strike against Sen John McCain as he attempts to consolidate his gains.

[…] Expect the talkers, led by Rush but seconded by Ingraham, Bennett, Prager, Beck, Hannity, Levin and me to spend the next few days putting down a marker: McCain is a very weak general election candidate, and if he was to win, would not govern as a conservative in any significant way. Our audiences are not, as MSMers like to imply, not only shrinking but mindless. They are growing, but they are incredibly independent of thought. They also take in and respond to good information, and now the information will be focused on John McCain and the choice before them.

MSM will of course be sending a very different set of talking points into the general population, one that obscures McCain’s record and which refuses to remind voters of the immigration fiasco etc. MSM will focus on Rudy and Arnold and leave the impression of a coalescing around McCain. Romney will battle to keep the issues out front, McCain the process.

But the new media is at work. We’ll see how it plays out […]

So far this hasn’t played out well either. See:

Our question: What possible theory of representation justifies Limbaugh, Ingraham, Bennett, Prager, Beck, Hannity, Levin, and Hewitt himself, denouncing Sen. John McCain and advocating for Willard Milton Romney? Also: what is Hewitt’s object? It is this: To persuade Gov. Mike Huckabee voters to vote for Romney.

[…] If the Huckabee supporters are conservatives, they will recognize the peril to their party’s core beliefs and abandon their favorite who has no chance of winning in favor of Mitt Romney who does […]

Based on analysis by Patrick Ruffini, we discuss why this will not be a simple proposition here:

Romney’s viciously negative attacks on Gov. Huckabee in Iowa still returning rich dividends for the hapless candidate from Bain Capital

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Astroturf defined here.

Flak-claque fraud-blog Jews for Mitt available here.

Evidence of Romney’s profound respect for the Jews available here.

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dr. g.d.

“This morning our servers are overheating with a barrage of negative McCain posts, and we are receiving many mails about it, some claiming that we are favoring Romney,” writes WonkoSteve in a wonkoblog warning to the political blog community titled McCain Taking Heavy Fire–Don’t Blame Us

McCain supporters out there, please keep in mind the following:

1. Wonkosphere doesn’t favor any candidate.
2. All our posts are selected automatically, based on the same algorithms we’ve been running since August. We do not select any posts by hand. […]

[…] 6. Heavy negative traffic on McCain, especially also involving Romney, is not surprising given current reports that Romney is going heavily negative on McCain.
7. The solution to this is for McCain bloggers to return fire en masse.

The legitimate candidates showed us the way at the debate tonight. Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain have shown us the way. Against a common threat to the integrity of our troubled party and its primary process—one Willard Milton Romney—they set aside their differences and concerted their efforts.

Every political blogger—without respect to who you support, whether you are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, Independent or other—needs to return fire on Romney now, en masse.

Spread the word.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“The conservative Wonkosphere continued to focus most of its attention on Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, the two front-runners in the upcoming Iowa caucus. Both are kind of hobbling into the finish line though–most of the attention to both of them is strongly negative, and this negativity has gone on for the last 3 weeks,” writes WonkoKevin for the WonkoBlog in a post titled Ennui: Conservative bloggers increase their negative focus on Huckabee and Romney

… IF we assume that conservative bloggers yesterday are of similar sentiment to conservative voters in Iowa, then we might predict low turnout, which helps Huckabee, probably helps Paul challenge for third place … etc.

Pass in review. What happens when your own negatives are high and you go negative? You implode.

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

This explains Romney’s sudden and wild over-spending—on top of his earlier over-spending—in Iowa. He needs to compensate for the collapse of his own support. Evidence: Romney’s ROI for his every campaign dollar continues to plummet; he spends wildly, he spends more and more, yet his numbers are static.

Romney’s Kevin Madden “flabbergasted” at Team Romney’s helplessness against under-funded and un-organized Gov. Huckabee—Romney loses control of his spending says Carr—more on Romney’s fantastically low ROI for his every campaign dollar

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dr. g.d.

… “Much more so than the Democrats, the Republican share numbers are showing convergence,” writes WonkoSteve in a WonkoBlog post titled December Frontrunner Trends by Party

Romey, though volatile, is keeping a more or less level trend line, whereas Huckabee is coming down somewhat. McCain shows the biggest surprise here, seeming to have jumped up 10% to a new level following Christmas Day. Could the Bhutto assassination have focused the conservative sphere on his foreign policy credentials? …

[Please go to wonkosphere and gape in wonder at the data displays]

… The tone numbers are slightly more interesting for the Republicans. They have obviously converged too, but this is mostly from a decline for Huckabee. Interestingly, conservative tone fell farther after the Bhutto assassination and has yet to recover the pre-Christmas levels.

Based on these numbers I would be most worried if I were Romney … etc.

Wonkosphere’s latest findings as of this writing, Dec 31 07:00 MST: Romney’s buzzshare has plateaued after days of rising, but the tone of those discussing Romney continues to trend down, i.e. to become more negative relative to the general buzzshare for the other candidates.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S. Also see:

“What do you call it when a corporation or campaign finances a fable grassroots movement? What do you call it when politically funded ghost writers fabricate a site that pretends to be from genuine voters and supporters? The technical term for such a fake grassroots movement is ‘Astroturfing,'” writes bulkhater in a digg.com post titled Romney Campaign lacks grassroot support, plants astroturf

Instructions,

(a) follow the link,

(b) digg bulkhater’s post,

(c) follow bulkhater’s link to the astroturf site and bask in the naive and transparent fakery of a desperate campaign

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“We’ve all heard about return on investment (ROI) as well as search frequency research” assumes Curtis Dueck in an Epiar Market Research blog post titled Presidential Candidates & ROI: An Unusual Popularity Poll

But what happens when we combine the two to see which of the 2008 US Presidential candidates have the highest levels of public interest (as measured by the number of online searches for each candidate’s name) compared to each campaign’s expenditures? Do we arrive at a rudimentary form of a Presidential campaign ROI?

[Please go to the post and see this graphic!—Romney has out-spent everyone for a return that ranks as pitiful.]

Early estimates indicate that, while Ron Paul and Hillary Clinton share a similar number of daily online searches, the amount of money they have spent differs wildly. Big spenders Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have yet to capture the curiousity of online citizens despite already spending tens of millions of dollars. Alternately, small spenders Mike Huckabee and Dennis Kucinich have disproportionately high levels of public interest compared to their undersized budgets. Perhaps the over-achieving campaigns of Huckabee, Kucinich, and Paul are a good early indicator of identifying this election’s most potent dark horse candidates?

While charting the online searches for a candidate may not be the most important metric for predicting the outcome of the 2008 Presidential election, I sure would not be happy if my campaign showed an imbalanced ROI like Romneyetc., etc.

We have harped upon this string for weeks and weeks. See: Kleefeld: “High Burn Rate Puts Romney Behind Rudy In Cash On Hand”—more evidence of the scarily low ROI Romney gets for his every campaign dollar

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S. “Epiar is an Edmonton-based internet market research and search engine optimization company. Please contact us for more information or to commission your own research reports.”

“Hat tip to Ankle Biting Pundits for posting these videos. It looks like Romney is the GOP version of John Kerry this time around,” writes the estimable Rico J. Halo in a ThatPoliticalBlog post titled, innocuously, Romney on Various Issues—please consider following this link, or the Ankle Biting Pundits link to enjoy the videos.

“I’m an admirer of Mitt Romney, but it seems that his rivals are getting traction with their attacks on the not-very-conservative aspects of his record,”
admits John Hinderaker of the Powerline Blog in a post titled Mitt1.0.

This morning, John McCain went after Romney effectively on Face the Nation. Fred Thompson weighed in with a crack about Romney running for the Senate to the left of Ted Kennedy, which was hyperbolic but not ridiculously so.

I have to admit that I was taken aback by this YouTube video of Romney in a 1994 debate with Kennedy, which is making the rounds. Maybe everyone else has already seen it, but what struck me was that it wasn’t just the social issues, abortion and gay marriage, on which Romney took a moderate to liberal line. More disconcerting was his effort to distance himself from the Reagan administration, during which he pointedly said that he had been an independent:

For a lot of Republican primary voters, that could put Romney in St. Peter territory …  etc., etc.

You don’t say.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“From Mitt Romney’s headquarters in Boston, they issued a call to the online video editing masses. And the call was answered…sort of,” writes the estimable Antonio Vargas in a post titled Mashing Mitt Romney for WaPo’s The Trail.

Nearly a month after asking his supporters to create a TV ad by using an archive of photos and audio and video files provided by the campaign, Ryan Whitaker, a 23-year-old student at Romney’s alma mater, the Mormon-run Brigham Young University, has been named the winner of Romney’s “Create Your Own Ad” mash-up contest.

Out of 129 submissions, 9 videos made the final round, with finalists chosen based on the campaign’s favorites and the number of views and positive ratings (called “loves”) they received on the online video site Jumpcut. That’s also how the winner — a dynamic, expertly-edited spot created by Whitaker– was selected. Aides to Romney said the winning video will air at the end of the month, possibly in the early voting states of Florida or South Carolina.

The results show that the online public takes its ad production responsibilities seriously, with many professional-looking spots. But while the quality was high, the quantity was not. For a contest open for more than two weeks, 129 submissions seems a small number — a reflection, perhaps, of the former Massachusetts governor’s relative obscurity among voters.

Imagine if a similar contest had been held for supporters of Rep. Ron Paul or Sen. Barack Obama, both of whom have consistently led their respective fields in the total number of YouTube views, MySpace friends and Facebook supporters, three ways of measuring online popularity. (Number of MySpace friends? Paul: 64,572. Romney: 30,520. Number of YouTube views? Paul: 4.2 million. Romney: 2.2 million.) But as Micah Sifry of TechPresident.com, which tracks how the candidates are campaigning online points out: “Look, it’s not easy to make an online video. Making an online video is far harder than writing a blog post.” Indeed. Still, Dan Manatt of PoliticsTV.com, which creates news and satirical online videos, counters: “If the contest response is an omen for the primaries, Romney should be worried. MoveOn.org’s ‘Bush in 30 seconds’ contest” — the liberal group asked members to create an anti-President Bush spot — “got 10 times more responses than Romney got. And that was in 2004, before Web video was even big”

… Online video has turned into the big X factor– the YouTube effect — of this campaign. Sen. Hillary Clinton showed her cool, hip side with her “Sopranos”-inspired video in June and when she announced the winner of her help-me-pick-a-campaign-song contest. Earlier this week, while touting his re-designed site, John Edwards plugged his voting reform initiative by asking supporters to become “Why Tuesday?” video correspondents. Ask your local council member, mayor, congressman, etc., why Americans vote on Tuesday on camera and upload the video online.

Romney, for his part, has had a complex, love-and-hate relationship with online videos.

When an online video showing his previous support for abortion and gay rights surfaced on YouTube, he responded on YouTube, a deft move. But that didn’t stop YouTubers from uploading more anti-Romney videos. Type “Romney” and “abortion” on YouTube, and the first two of 100 videos that pop up — one is called the “Mitt Romney Abortion Flip Flop Quiz” — highlight his changing positions on abortion. Sure, he’s got more videos on his YouTube channel — 357 and counting — than Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain and Paul combined. But while all three are scheduled to participate in the the CNN/YouTube debate in November, Romney has yet to accept the invitation. He’s criticized the format and has taken special offense to a YouTuber, dressed as a snowman, asking a question about global warming.

And while the 129 submitted contest videos play on the common campaign themes of “strength,” “innovation” and “experience,” the campaign couldn’t stop users from mocking its contest and creating their own anti-Romney videos — right on Jumpcut. A popular one is a re-telling of a story that Romney told his eldest son, Tagg. The young Tagg, Romney has said, was thinking of becoming a Democrat. But when father told son that Democrats want gay marriage, Tagg said, “No Way!” The video, created by Slate’s Bruce Reed, is titled “Way!”

As it happens, Reed’s video has been viewed nearly 64,000 times on Jumpcut. Whitaker’s winning video has clocked in some 17,501 viewsmore [emphases ours]

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dr. g.d.