Posts Tagged ‘New York Observer’
Rubin: “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”
[…] “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:
“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 …
“On paper, Mitt Romney seems the most attractive G.O.P. contender,” writes the fantastically insightful Jennifer Rubin in a NY Observer Op Ed titled Romney Can’t Believe He’s Losing to These Guys
He has business and executive experience, a fine family and no connection to the “Washington mess.”
Yet his chance to win the nomination is slipping away. His national poll numbers barely hit double digits, his New Hampshire lead is vanishing, and he’s spending millions of dollars just to keep afloat.
As he stood next to Fred Thompson at the Dearborn debate looking puzzled, one was reminded of the Saturday Night Live skit in which the Michael Dukakis character looked at the George H. W. Bush figure and said incredulously, “I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy.”
There are several popular explanations, ranging from his now-renounced liberal past to his religion, but it is also something more fundamental than any of that: Mitt Romney is the least adept politician in the field and comes across as the least in tune to Republicans’ dominant concerns.
In interacting with voters, he often appears to be at a shareholders’ meeting, impatiently waiting out an obstreperous protestor so he can resume his prepared remarks.
In New Hampshire’s Red Arrow Diner earlier this year, he seemed unmoved as a waitress described her family’s medical difficulties, robotically informing her of his Massachusetts medical plan’s low deductibles.
And when he has been forced to think on his feet, he has displayed a remarkable tone-deafness. His “let the lawyers sort it out” answer to a question at a New Hampshire debate about the need to consult Congress about stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, a perfectly corporate approach to a nettlesome problem, was a perfectly awful answer. As all three of his major rivals piled on, he stubbornly insisted for days that his answer was just fine until forced to write an explanatory letter to The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Romney has also made a fetish of checking the policy boxes for social conservatives and rolling out a slew of policy papers with accompanying PowerPoint presentations. Voters soon sense that he has many ideas but little gravitas. He has lots of pitches—the “three-legged stool” of conservative values, “change” and “private sector experience”—but no overarching theme or core. If Mr. Giuliani is tough and Mr. Thompson is soothing, what is he?
Making matters worse, his manicured appearance and cautious language (he really likes “apparently”) fail to convey a robust commander in chief profile that conservatives crave. Promising to “double” the size of Guantanamo seems a comical attempt to keep pace with his more macho rivals.
As a result, Mr. Romney has the highest unfavorable rating of any candidate. He doesn’t seem to like his audience much, and they don’t like him … etc., etc.
The emphases are ours.
No theme. No core. No message. None. Nothing. Nothing but garbled noise. Who is Romney’s national communications director?—and why can’t he or she communicate!?
At last: journalists, editorialists, analysts—i.e. the media—are beginning to notice and to elaborate upon themes that we’ve been developing for months and months. Conclusion: Romney doesn’t like his audience, i.e. us. Anyone who has ever met the man can sense it. Anyone who has ever seen the man can read it in the furrows of his troubled brow.
Now even other campaigns are talking about it—we mean, finally they’re talking about it: Sen. McCain boldy states the obvious: Romney disrespects voters