Posts Tagged ‘Shushannah Walshe’

“Mitt Romney backpedaled Tuesday after saying former Sen. Bob Dole is ‘probably the last person I would have wanted to have write a letter for me,'” write Carl Cameron, Shushannah Walshe, and the Associated Press in a http://www.foxnews.com release titled Romney Backpedals Over Bob Dole Comments

Romney made the remark in response to a letter Dole wrote to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in defense of Romney rival John McCain.

Romney even tried to call Dole, with no luck, from the plane as he and other candidates criss-crossed the country to campaign while voters in the 24 Super Tuesday states cast their ballots for both parties.

“Let me make it very clear. Senator Dole is an American hero, a war hero, a fine man and a great leader for our party,” Romney said in Charleston, W.Va., where GOP voters were a holding a state convention Tuesday […]

[…] In Charleston, Romney said his comment on Dole was only meant to point out that “the selection of our nominee based on someone having served in the Senate a long time … did not do well for us in that election.”

He said he was referring to “that aspect,” not Dole specifically, when he made his comments.

Romney and McCain have been tireless in accusing each other of being soft on key GOP issues, and with McCain leading in most of the Super Tuesday states Romney has been fighting to stay competitive. The former Massachusetts governor was logging more than 5,000 miles as he undertook a 37-hour coast-to-coast tour in the 21 states holding GOP contests Tuesday […]

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“With the days dwindling until the leadoff primaries and caucuses in New Hampshire and Iowa, Mitt Romney found himself fending off flip-flopping charges Saturday on both political fronts,” writes Shushannah Walshe in a FoxNews You Decide 08! report titled Rough Day for Romney — Flip-Flopper Charges Come From All Sides

The Concord Monitor in New Hampshire, which doesn’t formally endorse candidates until after Christmas, posted an editorial Saturday on its Web site urging voters to reject Romney, saying he’s like a “Republican presidential candidate from a kit,” and “surely must be stopped.”

Meanwhile, American Right to Life Action — a political committee known as a 527 – launched a TV ad in Iowa ridiculing the former Massachusetts governor for changing his position on abortion.

In response to the editorial, Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said in a statement Saturday that “The Concord Monitor has a very liberal editorial board. (Republican New Hampshire Sen.) Judd Gregg speaks for a lot of conservative Republicans in New Hampshire, and he thinks Mitt Romney is the best person to cut taxes, control spending and strengthen the American economy.”

Click here to read the Concord Monitor editorial.

The editorial attempted to paint a portrait of two Romneys: Romney, the governor, and Romney, the presidential candidate.

“If you followed only his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, you might imagine Romney as a pragmatic moderate with liberal positions on numerous social issues and an ability to work well with Democrats,” the article said. “If you followed only his campaign for president, you’d swear he was a red-meat conservative, pandering to the religious right, whatever the cost. Pay attention to both, and you’re left to wonder if there’s anything at all at his core.”

The 527 ad latched on to similar themes, saying he “magically became pro-life” after previously pledging to protect a woman’s right to choose.

Click here to see the American Right to Life Action ad.

Asked at a stop in New Hampshire about the ad, Romney said he didn’t know much about the group behind it.

“My record in being pro-life is very clear as the governor of Massachusetts, and my guess is that there is some group that is pulling for another candidate and is trying to find someway to go after me, and that is just the nature of politics,” he said … etc., etc.

Here is the problem for Romney: The attacks against him are developing from different directions, on different issues, and they address different constituencies. AND YET these separate attacks play upon one and only one theme: Romney’s centerlessness, his ideological cross-dressing; hence: the attacks are consistent, coherent, and, most damaging for Romney, cumulative—in the study of strategy this is what is called a swarm—conclusion: Romney is getting swarmed. The drowning out of Romney’s already garbled message and the campaign’s complete inability to formulate an effective—or even coherent—counter narrative testify to the effectiveness of these particular swarming tactics.

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dr. g.d.

P.S. Here is an update on the pro-life, anti-Romney advertisement.

“GREENVILLE, S.C. — Mitt Romney stumped Tuesday on the importance of adoption, traditional marriage and faith, aiming to coax South Carolina Republican voters to his side in a state where the support of Christian values voters once seemed out of reach for the only Mormon presidential candidate,” report FOX News’ Carl Cameron and Shushannah Walshe in an uncritical puff-piece titled Romney Stresses Family Values in Bid to Win Over South Carolina

Similarly:

“Republican Mitt Romney today announced he’s been endorsed by Paul Weyrich, a leading social conservative who co-founded the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the Free Congress Foundation. At least one blogger sees this as a turning point for Romney,” write Mark Memmott and Jill Lawrence in USAToday OnPolitics post titled Are social conservatives about to fall in line behind Romney?

“It’s Official: Romney is the Social Conservative Alternative,” Matt Lewis writes at Townhall.com. He says the endorsement signals social conservatives have given up looking for the perfect candidate and predicts more major figures will line up behind Romney. He also notes Fred Thompson’s refusal to support a federal abortion ban.

Some religious conservatives have been wary of Romney because he is Mormon and has opposed abortion rights only since 2004. Lewis is among several conservative bloggers who view the Weyrich move as a big deal, including Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, who broke the story … etc., etc.

So now we understand the timing of the Paul Weyrich endorsement. Various responsa follow, rendered in the terms and concepts of narrative:

1. Note that the Romney strategy of pursing elite social conservative leaders and as opposed to developing a larger narrative, has not changed. See:

Hart: Romney campaign unmatched in its ability to execute

This leaves Romney vulnerable to discomfiture from below:

eyeon08.com: “[Huckabee’s] authenticity and Romney’s phoniness seems to have stopped Romney’s forward momentum”

2. Note also that Romney has yet to pass his qualifying test. In Greimas’ account of narrative a subject typically faces 3 tests, a qualifying test (e.g. demonstrates better character than stepsisters), a decisive test (plays at being princess, gets exposed), and a glorifying test (recovers glass slipper, becomes princess). Romney has to even prove that he qualifies. Ken Silverstein, in a Harper’s release titled Mitt Romney: How to Fabricate a Conservative, describes the problem this way:

… The problems holding him back were all identified in the campaign’s PowerPoint presentation: the Massachusetts background, the image of slickness, the fears about his religion, and, above all, mistrust of his ideological transformation. Romney and his handlers portray him as having undergone a political conversion, but they can’t point to any convincing catalyst. There was no religious epiphany (as, for example, with George W. Bush) or political awakening (as with Ronald Reagan, a New Deal Democrat who joined the Republican Party in 1962 and backed Barry Goldwater for president two years later, which at the time was hardly a politically savvy move). With Romney, there’s merely been the recent espousal of positions diametrically opposed to his earlier ones, feeding the suspicion that his political shifts are more reflective of his ambition than of his convictions … etc.

3. Translation: the facts of the Romney story do not objectively correlate with what Romney claims is now his stance, his line, his attitude, his attachments. If there was a conversion, then there must have been a crisis to precipitate it—otherwise, the narrative doesn’t make sense—otherwise, one is perceived to have surrendered his or her first position too cheaply or with motives ulterior. Listen to the so-called testimonies of Evangelicals or 12-steppers—or the stories of any converts, e.g. Saul of Tarsus, Augustine of Hippo—and what you will discover is crisis passing into critical reflection, what Silverstein refers to as a “catalyst”.

This is what Romney cannot provide and remain consistent with his own line—his own self-portrayal—of the bloodless, gutless, emotion-free problem solver.

Besides, Romney’s life has been strangely crisis-free.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.