Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Wonkosphere is “your listening post for the 2008 Presidential Election,” and “the best place to keep a finger on the pulse of the 2008 Presidential election.”

[Wonkosphere] uses patented technology to scour the blogosphere and analyze what is being said, who is saying it, and whether they’re ranting or raving. Updated every 4 hours […]

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

[…] “The Republican Party is simply not used to selecting a nominee without having it imposed from above,” writes Dick Morris in a vote.com blog burst titled Michigan’s Meaning: GOP Chaos

In near-monarchic fashion, the party has always had an anointed front-runner in every election since 1944 – Tom Dewey begat Ike who begat Dick Nixon who begat Gerald Ford; Ronald Reagan challenged Ford, and then it was his turn. He begat the first George Bush – who literally begat the current president.

The designated candidate won the nomination in each one of those years but 1964 – and that year, the party met disaster.

But President Bush has been unique in refusing to help his party choose a successor. The result is the fissure now is tearing the party apart.

Comment: The historical task of the current Bush presidency appears to be to (a) discredit the conservative movement, and (b) liquidate the GOP as the political basis of its many constituencies.

Why did we—we meaning me, Gilad D.—ever support this troubled man?

Back to Morris:

The winnowing-down process that’s worked so well in the Democratic Party has failed totally in the GOP contest. With each candidate finding adequate momentum in the results so far, the party faces the prospect of a deadlock with each of the four main candidates (McCain, Romney, Huckabee and Giuliani) winning a share of the vote but nobody winning a majority on Super Tuesday.

Can South Carolina or Nevada winnow down the field? Unlikely. Neither is significant enough, and each is so totally atypical of the rest of the nation that its results won’t have great national credibility.

Florida is probably the last time that the GOP can avoid a destructive fracturing. Its pivotal vote, the week before Super Tuesday, may offer the best chance to focus the field and allow somebody to win a majority. But the state is now a four-way tie, with vote shares ranging from 17 percent to 21 percent […]

The struggle for Michigan has entered its archival phase. As we wrote for Iowa and New Hampshire, this is when the political community and various media dispute, interpret, or redact the outcomes of the contest.

We would dispute Morris’ overwrought conclusion of chaos.

Our own conclusion: Michigan decided the GOP nomination.

It will be Romney. The only chance the other campaigns ever had was to take Romney out early. They failed to do that.

As for Romney himself, he will pay no price for his sudden transformations or the catastrophes he wrought for himself in Iowa or New Hampshire—these will be quickly forgotten as the focus shifts to upcoming contests. The media will receive Romney’s latest incarnation as populist champion of working families—as a moderate pragmatist—quickly, uncritically, and with a straight face. If any decide to comment at all it will be to argue about how the candidate has grown as a person or discovered a compassion within himself. Or, worse, journalists and editorialists will identify with Romney’s duplicity and celebrate how Romney cynically played the rubes and knuckle-draggers of the GOP base so that he could pursue progressive policy goals as he had always intended. And did we ever get played!

Whatever is the case it will be the conservative movement, and not Romney, that gets discredited.

Also: after a lot of painful trial and error Romney has finally field-tested a successful message—a relevant message, and a message consonant with his biography—and it is the economy. Economic insecurity is breaking out everywhere. Markets are crashing. Banks are failing—etc., etc. Against this insecurity Romney offers the palliative care of massive bail outs, other subsidies, and supervision from Washington combined with his own native genius and ferocious appetite for hard work. To fight for every job, Romney promises. See:

The game now becomes a difficult scramble for every last delegate.

Only Romney has the cash—his own, of course—necessary to endure a contest of grim attrition like this one.

The game is effectively over, friends and well-wishers. The details will get worked out along the way. We intend to enjoy the ride.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

According to the non-partisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network, Romney spent $2 million in an ad campaign lasting for about the past month, compared to McCain’s $744,000 over the last ten days, and Huckabee’s $484,000 in the past week,” writes Eric Kleefield in a TPM ElectionCentral.com post titled Analysis: Romney Outspent Michigan Competitors In A Big Way

Romney spends more on paid media in MI than either of his principal rivals combined. Yet Romney ekes out a narrow victory in a state that he calls his own. Yet more evidence of Romney’s risibly low ROI for his every campaign dollar.

But the real cost of Romney’s MI campaign is the check that he issued that can never be cashed. That check is Romney’s super-preposterous, atavistic promise to nationalize the US automobile industry. And it is a cost that Romney will never have to pay. That bill goes to the US taxpayer.

candidate endorsed by the National Review, Romney, suddenly veers hard left, argues that Washington must subsidize, become “partner” with, US automobile industry

After humiliating defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire, Romney in Michigan finally develops a winning formula. It is a formula consistent with Romney’s risibly low ROI as it allows the hapless candidate to offload his astronomical costs on others. It is simply this: political spoil in its most primitive form. It takes this shape: Promise key sectors of the economy unlimited subsidies from the public treasury.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

[…] In fact, even when Mike Huckabee began his ascendance in Iowa, one that culminated in his convincing victory in Thursday’s caucuses, New Hampshire was still viewed as a firewall for the Romney campaign,” writes CBSNews.com political reporter David Miller in an article titled Mitt Romney’s Rebound Plan; Stung By Iowa Loss, Republican Takes Up Banner Of Change While Going After McCain

Polls there showed him with a solid lead – but that collapsed in the two weeks preceding the caucuses, when John McCain, once beleagured, quickly caught up to Romney, and in some surveys, even passed him.

Winning in Iowa would have been the best way to reverse that situation – and since that did not come to pass, the Romney campaign is now shifting gears by borrowing a page from the book of an unlikely candidate: Barack Obama, whose message of change helped him win Iowa’s Democratic contest.

At an event in Manchester on Friday, Romney seemed to work the “c-word” in at every possible opportunity.

“If you really want to have change, you don’t just want to have a gadfly or somebody fighting for this or fighting for that,” Romney said. “You want to have somebody who will bring change, who will sell the company America has – it’s going to have to be somebody from outside Washington, not a Washington insider […]

We’re sorry, but what?—what does Romney mean by “sell the company America has?”

Romney has spent a year insisting he was Ronald Reagan. Now he wants to be Barack Obama. Has this man ever tried being Willard Milton Romney?

[…] But for all the talk of change, some aspects of Romney’s campaign haven’t. Take his advertising. In New Hampshire, the target is different – it’s McCain instead of Huckabee – but in terms of look and structure, his spots in the two states are identical. In both cases, there’s an initial nicety, describing Romney and, most recently, McCain as “two good men.”

After that comes harsh criticism of McCain’s views on immigration and tax cuts – a method McCain has said didn’t work in Iowa and wouldn’t work in New Hampshire.

But the Romney campaign believes the ads weren’t why Romney lost in Iowa, and the results there should not be seen as proof of their ineffectiveness.

“I don’t agree that we lost to Huckabee because we ran ads,” said Romney spokesman Kevin Madden. “I think Huckabee won because he identified with a lot of the core voters out there, such as evangelicals, on a lot of social conservative issues. He had a lot of voters he identified with, with what is a traditional, conservative part of that base out there. He did a good job doing that. We competed with Mike Huckabee on those votes, and we met our vote goals pretty much.” […]

We met our goals? Did we? We met our goals and lost Iowa decisively? Boy, we must be geniuses! Perhaps—and this is just a suggestion, Mr. Madden—we need to review our current goals and performance standards before we get our heads handed to us on a platter in New Hampshire too.

This is more evidence of Romney’s predict-and-control operational method.

About Romney’s ugly “contrast” ads and their effectiveness, opinions differ:

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

Opinions differed at the posh waterfront headquarters of a besieged Team Romney too.

[…] Internally, the Romney campaign began to debate and disagree, a sharp contrast to the campaign’s usual organized and by-the-books culture,” writes Monica Langley in an Online.wsj article titled owa Touches Off a Free-for-All; Romney’s Best-Laid Plans Mugged by Political Realities

Two speechwriters were let go. Although the master plan had anticipated that negative ads might be necessary, the campaign was hit with internal dissension about whether to continue the “branding” plan or “go negative” in campaign commercials and direct mail.

Campaign operatives fought over when and how to “draw contrasts” between Mr. Romney and his chief rivals. Mr. Castellanos, Mr. Romney’s chief media adviser, pushed to shift message as needed to focus on changing rivals and issues. Others argued the merits of keeping the focus on a single overarching message. […]

History has proven those two lowly speech writers right. Kevin Madden—the maddeningly inarticulate Kevin Madden, Romney’s least effective helper-monkey—should immediately telephone those two speechwriters, apologize profusely, and offer them their jobs back at twice what they were paid before.

Everyone else should go to the wall, starting with Madden.

Back to Miller:

[…]“You’ve only got one guy running for president who’s signed the front of an employment check,” Romney said Friday.

Compare that with a line delivered by Huckabee only hours earlier: “One of the reasons I did well in Iowa, and I’ll do well here, is that people realized that they want a president who reminds them of the guy they worked with, not the guy who laid them off.”

The disparate messages may be emblematic of a growing divide in the Republican Party, which is seeing the coalition built by Ronald Reagan – between blue-collar workers, the business community and Christian conservatives – put under severe distress, said GOP consultant Mike Collins.

“I think it’s more of a universal problem than a Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee or Fred Thompson solution. We’re battling for the soul of the Republican Party,” he said. “You have very discrete elements of this party that are coming apart at the seams.”

Yet Romney’s campaign maintains that they, alone among the GOP field, have support that is deep and broad enough to keep Republicans unified – an essential for winning in November. […]

Here is the problem: Romney insists that he has “support broad and deep enough to keep Republicans unified.” But he has yet to demonstrate that support in any way or form. Precisely the opposite is the case: Romney has thus far unified no one constituency behind him; he has only managed to unify the other candidates against him. In fact, Team Romney has failed at every task it has set for itself, Iowa was only the latest. Besides: Who is Romney’s base? Who is his natural constituency? Who has he even convinced that he is a conservative?—oh, wait, now he wants to be the agent of change candidate.

How can this primped, powdered, and pampered non-entity pretend to unify our party when he has yet to unify himself?

[…] “A lot of the other candidates seem to be working on a slingshot effect – do well in one state and hope it builds momentum for other states,” Madden said. “We have a greater ability to motivate our organization as well as deploy the resources across several states in order to compete.”

But ironically, Romney may now be reliant on the same slingshot effect, even as they maintain they could survive a second-place finish – one that most observers agree would be a devastating loss, given the high expectations driven by campaign’s large organization and vast financial resources […]

Madden is projecting. To “slingshot” early victories into performance gains in other states was always the organizing principle of Romney’s now inoperative early-states von Schlieffen plan. Now Romney has now been beaten back to a regional stronghold strategy. Only Romney keeps withdrawing from his strongholds. Team Romney’s stronghold used to New Hampshire until Sen. McCain deprived them of their lead there. Now they say it’s Michigan.

We predict that their last redoubt will be the floor of a brokered convention. This would be where targeted donations may actually produce an effective return. To try to buy off an angry and fragmented coalition—undoable. To try to buy off the elites of a corrupt party organzation—easily achievable; in fact, the groundwork is already laid in.

To simply stay in the game now becomes the object of the Romney Tribe.

yours &c.
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:

“A WEEK AND A HALF after its publication, the new book from Governor Mitt Romney — Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games (Regnery) — hasn’t exactly taken America by storm. As of Tuesday, it was stuck at 37,864 on Amazon’s sales list. By way of comparison, Leadership, the post–September 11 effort by former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, sits at 5789 nearly two years after it was published. Moreover, the initial critical response to Turnaround — which details Romney’s rescue of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City — has been tepid. ‘The same traits that make Romney, now the governor of Massachusetts, an unobtrusive leader don’t always serve the book,’ Publishers Weekly observed delicately. The Deseret Morning News, the Salt Lake City daily owned by the Mormon Church, was more blunt, calling Turnaround ‘disappointing, politically self-serving, and remarkably dull for the most part,'” writes the estimable Adam Reilly in a reading of Romeny’s book for the Boston Phoenix titled Turnaround: A reader’s guide; Governor Mitt Romney bares his soul and sets the record straight between the lines of his critically defamed book

But Romney’s determined to do his darnedest to support his book, which he wrote with Timothy Robinson. The governor recently traveled to Utah to drum up publicity; today, from 12:30 to 2 p.m., he’ll sign copies of the 396-page tome at the Borders in Downtown Crossing, and talk it up on FOX News’ Hannity & Colmes program more

Please read the article. Here is but a sample.

And besides, the Romney clan suffers from noblesse oblige. “[S]omewhere deep inside, I hoped to commit myself to things greater than making a living or building a fortune. It was the spirit of service in one form or another — a family poltergeist that has haunted my ancestors for generations.” (7) …

Romney’s run against Ted Kennedy was purely symbolic. When he challenged Ted Kennedy for a US Senate seat in 1994, Romney knew he wouldn’t win. “We recognized that there was no way I was going to beat him. A Republican, white, male, Mormon millionaire in Massachusetts had no credible chance.” (14)

That said, Kennedy was a dirty trickster. “[Kennedy’s] ads reinforced people’s misperceptions about me as a money-grubbing businessman. He injected my Mormonism into the campaign in a highly visible way…. Ideas I brought forward were dissected and distorted to their illogical extreme.” (15)
more [Emphases in the original]

About the poltergeist claim, we are fully prepared to believe it on its face. Question: is Romney’s disastrous run the presidency now also “symbolic?”—and, if so, just what it is it a symbol of, may we ask?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S. We found this article only by virtue of eyeon08.com.