Posts Tagged ‘newsweek.com’
[...] “I have covered a lot of presidential campaigns, and I can’t think of one that so lost its way-so expensively-as that of the former governor of Massachusetts,” writes Howard Fineman in a newsweek.com article titled Burying Mitt; Romney failed because he ran as something he’s not
A board room and business favorite, a man with a Midas managerial touch, he was widely admired and even beloved. But he was a Republican of an old moderate school-that of his own father-and, like George W. Bush, Romney the Younger decided that he had to jettison all that he was to become something that he was not.
And so it was that this square peg spent perhaps $80 million-including at least $30 million of his own money-trying to pound himself into a round hole. It didn’t work. The irony of his failed campaign: if he had just stuck to selling his managerial mettle, he might well have won the nomination, given the way the country’s economic anxieties have become voters’ number one concern.
Even as conservative radio talk-show hosts reluctantly settled on him as their savior, they were uneasy about it and about his previous record of social moderation and fiscal flexibility. They sold him hard in the last few weeks, but to no avail. Romney won his home state and the states in the West where Mormonism was familiar, but not much else.
The quality of being genuine is hard to convey, and deciding who should be president based solely on that basis can lead to disaster; you need brains and an ability to go with the flow as well. But voters know a phony above all and Romney came off as one from the get-go. Over the last decade he had changed his views in a rightward direction on so many issues to suit what he thought he needed to win the GOP nomination that he ended up standing for nothing but his own ambition [...]
More on this theme from Janet Hook, Los Angeles Times staff writer, in an LA Times article titled Romney failed the ‘authentic’ test; The GOP establishment had high hopes for the former Massachusetts governor, but among voters he never overcame charges that he had flip-flopped his way through his political career
WASHINGTON — For many Republican insiders, it was love at first sight: Mitt Romney had an exquisite resume, a command of the issues and boatloads of money to finance a presidential campaign. As Romney started wooing support in Washington, some lawyers and lobbyists were so smitten that they endorsed him after meeting him only once or twice.
But the collapse of Romney’s campaign contains an important reminder that what impresses in political backrooms does not always impress voters. A long list of political assets, and the support of party leaders, is not enough to make up for a failure to connect with voters and to deliver a clear, consistent message.
Although much of the Republican establishment called him an authentic conservative, Romney, in his appeals to voters, never overcame charges that he had flip-flopped his way through his political career — on abortion, gay rights and other issues of importance to those he was hoping to win over.
“People fundamentally understand where John McCain and Mike Huckabee are coming from. But in Mitt Romney’s case, that was harder to discern,” said Terry Holt, an advisor to President Bush’s 2004 campaign. “There is too much uncertainty about who Mitt Romney really is” [...]
Yet more on this theme from Elizabeth Holmes in an online.wsj.com release titled Romney’s screen test falls flat
WASHINGTON — Throughout his 18-month bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney tried his best to play the part.
He looked the part, with his perfectly coifed hair and crisp blue suits. He sounded the part, shaping his stump speech around cries to reinstate Reagan’s three pillars of the Republican party. And he acted the part, spending nearly a year campaigning heavily in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
But in the end, Mr. Romney didn’t fit the part. Amid cries from critics of changing stances on key issues, the former governor of Massachusetts never connected with voters. He devised a message that alienated party stalwarts. And although he was the first to air negative ads against opponents in Iowa, the millionaire investor proved weak at blocking his rivals’ last-minute punches.
The result: a dismal performance in the coast-to-coast primaries on Tuesday, the moment that Mr. Romney, who lost Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, needed to shine. The passion he lacked on the campaign trail instead came during his concession speech, when he suspended his candidacy. Fighting back emotion, he told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference here that he was withdrawing “for our party and our country.”
Mitt Romney stepped out of the race Thursday, saying that by staying in the race he “would be aiding a surrender to terror.”
From the beginning, Mr. Romney had much to prove. With little name recognition, he was known as “the Mormon” candidate with a pro-choice past. As a result, Mr. Romney, co-founder of private-equity firm Bain Capital Partners LLC, approached the race as a science, not an art. After Mr. Romney began publicly discussing a bid in late 2006, his advisers drew up a list of benchmarks and went about devising a schedule to reach those goals. In the process, they overlooked the need to ignite passion and fire [...]
Please note the contradictions in these accounts. The same man spent nearly US$40 million dollars on his own money on his campaign, went so viciously negative on his rivals that they concerted their efforts against him, and in the end planned to engineer a brokered convention and nullify the expressed views of the primary voters by targeting promised but technically unbound delegates—yet Romney lacked passion or fire?
The man nearly tried to pull a Guy Fawkes on the GOP and he lacked fire?
“Vanderbilt’s John Geer and Brett Benson and Claremont Graduate University’s Jennifer Merolla have released a new study on the extent of anti-Mormon bias among the public and the best ways to counter it,” writes Brendan Nyhan in a post titled How to counter anti-Mormon bias
… Unfortunately, as Geer pointed out in an interview about the study with Newsweek.com, Romney’s speech on faith in America took exactly the wrong approach:
NEWSWEEK: Let’s talk about the address specifically. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Romney said Monday that he would not focus on his Mormon beliefs in a major speech on religion this week and instead would discuss his concern that “faith has disappeared from the public square.” Based on your data, is this the right approach?
GEER: The data we have suggests it’s probably not a good idea. How much he wants to talk about his faith and the Mormon religion is not entirely clear based on our evidence. But we have pretty compelling results that suggest that if people learn more about the Mormon religion–in a sense checking the kind of bias that exists out there, that Mormons believe in polygamy, that Mormons represent a cult, etc.–that if you check that information with counter-information, such as letting people know that the Mormon church banned polygamy a hundred years ago, and you provide that kind of context, that people become a little bit more tolerant and show less bias. Our data are pretty clear. There is bias against Mormons–but it dwindles once people learn more.
NEWSWEEK: What about a plea for tolerance, like Kennedy made in 1960?
GEER: We gave people the biased information against Mormons and try to counter it with various scenarios, information being one of them–like “the LDS church is big on family and traditional values.” Then we just did a plea for tolerance, literally clipping from Kennedy’s Houston ministers speech one of the passages where he talks about the need to have tolerance. The tolerance doesn’t work. It’s the information that checks the bias. When people who are not aware that Romney is Mormon are given the classic caricature of Mormons, that drives down Romney’s ratings. But the thing is, you can only bring back the ratings of Romney with new information. A plea to tolerance does not work. Sure, it’s a good thing. But you first have to let people know what you’re asking people to be tolerant of. That’s the key takeaway.
The emphases are ours, all ours.
Of course Romney knew all this in advance. Rep. Inglis, David Brody et al. almost begged his imperious majesty to not try to blur distinctions—but rather to admit them, own them, and thereby draw them more plainly. Romney’s response? To do precisely the opposite. Examples:
- eyeon08.com: “Is there any evidence that this poll contacted anyone in Iowa who was not a Romney staffer or supporter?”—also: Romney completes step (1) of the Romney crisis protocol, where we discuss Romney’s response to Rep. Inglis’ admonition to Romney that “You cannot equate Mormonism with Christianity; you cannot say, ‘I am a Christian just like you,’“
- about “the speech”: Evangelicals want clear divisions, Romney wants to blur distinctions, and none of it matters anyway because Romney allowed the moment when he could have profitably addressed the so-called Mormon issue pass him by months ago
- Brody: Romney’s answer to bible question “problematic”