Posts Tagged ‘townhall.com’

[…] “McCain isn’t a prohibitive favorite, but he’s a strong one,” writes William Kirstol in a weeklystandard blog burst titled Kristol: The Next 12 Hours

What could change the situation? It’s hard to believe paid advertising across 22 states (even if Romney’s willing to splurge) could fundamentally change the dynamic. There could always be some sort of scandal, revelation, or gaffe, or course – though that would be far more likely if there were a new, suddenly-emerged frontrunner, than with the most veteran and best-known candidate in the field. So the most likely game-changer, if there were to be one, would be tonight’s debate. It’s likely to be Romney’s last direct shot at McCain. If Romney were to land a really telling blow, it could shape the narrative for the rest of this week. If not, if this debate follows the course of almost all its predecessors and has no decisive moment, then all attention turns to Clinton-Obama, and McCain should have a pretty clear path.

The Romney camp has twelve hours to come up with a startling factoid, formulation, or revelation. The McCain camp has twelve hours to prepare for any such eventuality. If McCain does well tonight, he should be the GOP nominee […]

Sen. McCain can win. But Romney cannot be defeated, at least not decisively, and at least not yet. Romney’s vast personal fortune, Sen. McCain’s ceiling of 36% in the earlier primaries according to Kristol, alleged conservative disaffection—all these things suggest that Romney could stick it out. However:

“Two questions come to mind” for Matt Lewis in a townhall.com blog burst titled Romney after Tsunami Tuesday?

  1. Would this shrewd business man, who has already spent well-over 20 million dollars of his own money, continue spending money on what could be a losing cause? Smart businessmen don’t throw away money.
  2. Would Mitt Romney want to be blamed for a Republican loss in the General Election. Fair or not, if he prolongs the race too long, that’s what some people would say …

Ronald Reagan went all the way to the Convention in ’76, and was rewarded with the nomination in ’80. That could happen for Mitt, too. Or, he could be more like Ted Kennedy — who was blamed for costing Jimmy Carter the election that same year […]

Our comments and reflections: Romney’s shrewdness does not extend to the management of his political operations. Evidence: his appallingly low ROI for his every campaign dollar.

And whether or for what Romney gets blamed will affect Romney’s decision not in the least—recent history alone predicts this. Romney had it within his power to attempt to repair the damage that his negative advertising wrought in Iowa and New Hampshire; he has had the chance to reach out to Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain supporters. But he never has, and he probably never will. Conclusion: the man simply does not care what people think of him, he does not care how much his arrogant behavior costs him in polling numbers or at the ballot box, and he has no loyalty to either party or principle to moderate his behavior.

Our prediction: Romney will stick it out to the end. When the GOP collapses into a smoking wreck, Romney will turn and blame conservatives for failing to support him in sufficient strength, intensity, or depth.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“This weekend, CNN released results of general election trial heats, pitting each of the four leading Republican candidates for President against both of the leading Democrats,” writes Michael Medved in a Townhall blog burst titled PRESIDENTIAL TRIAL HEATS: WHO’S WEAKEST FOR G.O.P?

The unmistakable message from this national exercise (surveying 840 voters on January 9 and 10th) is that Mitt Romney unequivocally qualifies as the weakest candidate the G.O.P. could field.

In the head-to-head contest with Barack Obama he is utterly wiped out, losing by a margin of 22 points (59% to 37%). Against Hillary Clinton, Romney fares little better, falling 18 percentage points behind (58% to 40%).

The results for other candidates show that this is a Romney problem, not a Republican problem.

John McCain, for instance, virtually ties both Obama and Clinton – running 48%-49% against Obama and 48%-50% against Clinton. In other words, in a trial heat against Barack Obama, Senator McCain runs a startling 21 points closer than does Governor Romney.

Even Mike Huckabee (despite remaining virtually unknown to many Americans) draws slightly stronger support than Romney – running 3 points closer to Obama and 4 points closer to Clinton.

After spending more money than his major opponents combined, Romney appears more and more clearly unelectable, and a Saturday column by Gail Collins in the New York Times gives a clear explanation why. “Unfortunately, there’s something about Romney’s perfect grooming, his malleability and his gee-whiz aura that seems to really irritate both the other candidates and the voters,” she writes. “What bothers voters about Romney, as it turns out, is not his Mormonism but his inherent Mitt-ness” […]

Comment: That Romney will fail in the general election offers us no consolation. Here is why: He will bring the GOP and the conservative movement down with him. Elsewhere, rumors of doom swirl about the hapless candidate from Bain Capital:

[…] “Romney rivals and the few neutrals in the Republican Party say Mr. Romney must win Michigan — with the help of traditional conservatives, sportsmen, old-timers nostalgic for his father’s governorship — and at the very least must not let Mr. McCain of Arizona build momentum with a second victory heading into South Carolina, where evangelicals, as they did in Iowa, are expected to help Mr. Huckabee,” writes Ralph Z. Hallow of the Washington Times in an article titled Right eyes Romney rebound

Randy Brinson, whose Redeem the Vote was credited with getting young voters out in Iowa, says deals are being brokered that will make life all the more difficult for Mr. Romney.

“Already, surrogates of the Republican establishment are working behind the scenes to solidify support and favor among McCain and Huckabee, abandoning both Romney and [former Tennessee Sen. Fred] Thompson,” said Dr. Brinson, a Huckabee supporter. “Both Huckabee and McCain are considered the mavericks, and [they have] postures of wanting to bridge partisan divides on a number of issues” […]

Yeahright. Color us incredulous. Do these anonymous Republican establishment power-brokers have access to vast reserves of spare money in excess of what Romney commands? Probably not. The Republican establishment is bought and paid for. And whether Romney can win in the general or not is hardly a concern to the Republican “establishment.”

Here is where we make our case:

the editors at the National Review and the Iron Law of Institutions

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday attributed a big part of his Iowa loss to the fact his main competitor had an established base of evangelical support, which turned out in force,” writes Thomas Burr of the Salt Lake Tribune in an article titled Romney attributes Iowa loss to faith

Romney, who has worked to overcome fears about voters backing him as a Mormon, took only a fifth of evangelical voters who turned out to caucus in the first test of the presidential race. Republican rival Mike Huckabee, a Baptist-preacher-turned-politician, took nearly half of that category of voters, according to entrance polls.

The Romney campaign credited a large turnout by evangelical voters – many of whom see Mormons as heretical – for Huckabee’s victory.

“Mike had a terrific base as a minister – drew on that base, got a great deal of support, it was a wonderful strategy that he pursued effectively,” Romney told reporters Friday in New Hampshire where he was fighting for a victory in that state’s first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday.

Romney said he came into Iowa an unknown governor of Massachusetts, the “bluest of the blue states,” and campaigned hard to educate voters about what he stands for. But that, apparently, wasn’t enough as Huckabee trounced Romney 34 percent to 25 percent.

“Had I been a Baptist minister, I perhaps could have chosen a different path, but that wasn’t the path that’s available to me,” Romney said. “He took one that was available to him, worked it extremely well, turned out people extremely well and I congratulate him on a well-run campaign.” […]

This self-pitying, I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam Romney-rant is beneath comment. Well, almost. In another post we wrote

An emerging “fixed point” now conditioning and organizing the discussion is the notion that voters want “change.” (By “fixed point” we mean a point of convergence or common assumption emerging in the popular account.)

Another emerging fixed point is that Iowa decided for Gov. Huckabee because of anti-Mormon bias etc. This is as wrongheaded as it is condescending. Here would be the counterpoint:

Medved: “[Gov. Huckabee’s] powerful appeal to females, the young and the poor make him a different kind of Republican—[one] who connects with voting blocs the GOP needs to win back—[Gov Huckabee is] hardly the one-dimensional religious candidate of media caricature”

More counterpoint from Patrick Ruffini in a Townhall.com blog burst titled Iowa Shows Passion & Energy Matter:

[…] As I wrote on December 11:

[Huckabee’s] success is not about ideology, but identity. For his voters, he’s a Christian first, and a conservative second. Attacking him on conventional conservative issues won’t undermine his core support because it has nothing to do with being a conservative.

Ruffini’s point on its face supports Romney’s bitter complaint. But Ruffini continues:

Huckabee won women 40-26% (and men just 29-26%). He won voters under $30,000 by about 2 to 1. Cross those two, take away the Republican filter, and you’re talking about a general election constituency that is at least 2-to-1 Democratic. These are not people that conventional primary campaigns are designed to reach. These are the Republican voters the furthest away from National Review, other elite conservative media, and websites like this one. It’s easy to see just how the analysts missed the boat on this one […]

[…] Conventional organization may matter less in an era of high-stakes, high-turnout elections. Romney’s Iowa chair Doug Gross was quoted as saying that 80,000 was their “magic number” for overall turnout. It’s easy to see why. With 26,000 Romney votes, that would have been good for 32.5% and a win — about the same percentage they got at Ames (where turnout was historically low).

The Romney campaign was an efficient machine that knew who its voters were and turned them out. The problem is that Mike Huckabee’s momentum brought in new voters off the beaten path — more Evangelicals, more women, people lower on the income ladder. Think about this: In the 2000 Caucuses, only 37% described themselves as “religious right.” This year, 60% described themselves as “Evangelical Christians.” That’s an imperfect comparison, but the universe of Evangelical voters almost certainly expanded this year […]

Conclusion: the fixed point emerging in support of Iowa is the new GOP coalition, a coalition based on a renewed conservative movement that the elite conservative media failed to even register in their opinions and analyses.

Or where they did register it, they either dismissed it or ridiculed it.

Sadly, the new elite liberal media is the old elite conservative media.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S. Always remember: effective politicians NEVER, EVER BLAME THE VOTERS.

[…] “Predictably enough, most media commentators have totally misinterpreted the nature of Mike Huckabee’s big win in the Iowa GOP caucuses,” writes the estimable Michael Medved in a townhall.com blog burst titled Stop Lying About Huckabee and Evangelicals!

Conventional wisdom says that he swept to victory based on overwhelming support from Evangelicals, but conventional wisdom is flat-out wrong. According to the exit polls used by major news networks, a majority of voters who described themselves as “evangelical” or “born again” Christians actually voted against Huckabee –with 54% splitting their support among Romney, McCain, Thompson and Ron Paul. Yes, Huckabee’s 46% of Evangelicals was a strong showing, but it was directly comparable to his commanding 40% of women, or 40% of all voters under the age of 30, or 41% of those earning less than $30,000 a year. His powerful appeal to females, the young and the poor make him a different kind of Republican, who connects with voting blocs the GOP needs to win back. He’s hardly the one-dimensional religious candidate of media caricature.

It’s also idiotic and dishonest for observers to keep harping on anti-Mormon bigotry as the basis for Mitt Romney’s disappointing showing. Yeah, it’s true that 81% of Evangelicals voted against Romney— but 75% of ALL Iowa Republicans voted against him, so where is the big evidence of “anti-Mormon bigotry”? In other words, there’s only a 6% difference between his general rejection and his Evangelical rejection. There’s no evidence, in other words, that those who described themselves as “born again” or “evangelical” faced an especially tough time voting for a Mormon. Romney, after all, finished second among this group—as he finished second among the electorate in general. Among Evangelicals, Mormon Mitt beat John McCain, Fred Thompson and Ron Paul by a ratio of nearly two-to-one…a bigger, not smaller margin of victory over these other non-Mormon candidates than he managed to achieve in the electorate in general. The message ought to be obvious: the core issue was phoniness, not faith– and the religious and non-religious alike react badly to phoniness.

Meanwhile, 87% of non-Evangelicals voted against Huckabee…. compared to only 66% of all Iowa Republicans…. in other words a 21% gap! Think about this…. THERE’S MORE EVIDENCE IN THE EXIT POLLS OF ANTI-EVANGELICAL PREJUDICE than there is of anti-Mormon prejudice. Huckabee did well across the board with all groups in the exit polls except one: the 40% who said “no” to the question, “Are you a ‘born-again’ or ‘evangelical’ Christian?” He finished fourth among this group, behind Romney, Thompson and McCain.

The evidence is pretty clear, isn’t it? The preferences of Evangelicals mirrored those of Iowans in general.[…]

[…] Those who insist, over and over again, that the Iowa Caucuses reflected “Christian identity politics” or a “tidal wave of Evangelical support” are basing their analysis on feelings, not facts; on vapors, not voters. It’s dishonest to say that a guy who just won a crushing state-wide victory, without even winning the majority of his own religious group, displayed a one dimension appeal to Christian zealots only.

This endlessly repeated story line is not only tired, it’s a lie […]

Thank you, Mr. Medved. The emphases are ours, all ours.
Our question: is Romney listening? Probably not.

the political genius of Romney: what Romney says he learned from his costly US$10 million dollar rout in Iowa anyone else could have learned by simply listening to Iowans

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

[ …] “[Romney]’s got a big checkbook so he can survive any kind of showing and stay in the game,” writes Dick Morris in a dickmorris.com post titled EYES ON IOWA: WHAT THEY NEED

But a defeat in Iowa might make him vulnerable to McCain in New Hampshire. A loss in the first two states would cost him Michigan, and he would limp into Super Tuesday with only a checkbook to protect him. Only. […]

Hence: Romney needs nothing; Romney needs no one. Campaigns organized on a more rational basis—campaigns more tightly coupled to far broader bases of funding, support, and the pursuit of mutual goals—are constrained in what they can say or do. Their complicated relationship to their own emerging coalitions demands constant learning, experiment, evaluation, and review. Romney, on the other hand, is a solitary and apolitical apparition that rises or falls of its own resources: Romney is beholden to none, Romney is responsible to none.

So what price does Romney pay for relentlessly sliming his rivals?

“DES MOINES, IOWA–Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he would ‘absolutely’ continue running negative advertisements against his adversaries as the election continues,” writes Amanda C-C-C-C-Carpenter (it’s cold in Iowa) in a Townhall.com blog burst titled Romney Promises More Negative Ads

Romney said this at a campaign rally at Principle Financial building in downtown Des Moines when a questioner asked if he planned to keep going negative on opponents … etc.

Credit for this find goes to Adam of The Palmetto Scoop, who issues this conclusion:

[…] This means that, unless Romney is out of the race after the New Hampshire or Michigan primaries, we can expect to see millions of dollars worth of negative campaigning in South Carolina. And the worse Romney does tonight and next week, the dirtier it will be.

Oh joy […]

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“So, Mitt is going to give that Mormon speech,” writes Jay Cost in a realclearpolitics election 2008 article titled Mitt’s Ham-Handed Campaign

Is this a surprise? Of course not. His position in the Iowa polls explains the decision entirely. He’s trailing Huckabee in Iowa. A few weeks ago he was up by 14% – and he wasn’t going to give the speech. Now that he’s down, the speech is back on.”

This is par for the course for the Romney campaign, in my estimation. His candidacy has been the most transparently strategic this cycle. McCain is up? Go after McCain. McCain is down? Leave McCain alone. Thompson enters the race and seems a threat? Take a cheap shot about Law and Order. Thompson fades? Ignore him. Rudy is up? Go after Rudy. Huckabee is up? Go after Huck. You need to win a Republican primary? Make yourself the most socially conservative candidate in the race. And on and on and on.

If somebody asked me which candidate on the Republican side has won just a single election (in a year that his party did very well nationwide) — I would answer Mitt Romney, even knowing nothing about anybody’s biography. This kind of transparency is, to me, a sign of political inexperience. He’s only won one election, and it shows … etc.

We heartily concur. Only the most naive of ingenues could make a mistake of this magnitude:

Says Romney himself as quoted by David Frum in a David Frum Diary post titled That Dog Won’t Hunt“There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church’s beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These are not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance.”

Frum: To be blunt, Romney is saying:

It is legitimate to ask a candidate, “Is Jesus the son of God?”

But it is illegitimate to ask a candidate, “Is Jesus the brother of Lucifer?”

It is hard for me to see a principled difference between these two questions, and I think on reflection that the audiences to whom Romney is trying to appeal will also fail to see such a difference. Once Romney answered any question about the content of his religious faith, he opened the door to every question about the content of his religious faith. This speech for all its eloquence will not stanch the flow of such questions.

Bad move – and one with very unfair results to a candidate who all must acknowledge is a man who has proven that his mind actually operates in a highly empirical, data-driven, and uncredulous way.

Had he focused instead on simply arguing that presidents need only prove themselves loyal to American values, he would have been on safe ground. Instead, he over-reached, super-adding to his civic appeal an additional appeal to voters who demand faith in Jesus as a requirement in a president. That is an argument that will not work – and a game Mitt Romney cannot win.

We have harped on this same string for weeks. See:

how Romney botched the Mormon-Kennedy-speech issue by setting up impossible expectations, by consistently failing to identify opportunity and seize the initiative, and by allowing others to frame the debate

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S. Evidence of Romney playing “the game he cannot win” because of the line of inquiry his own speech opened up:

“I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith,” says Romney, as quoted by Kevin McCullough in a townhall.com blog post titled WORST Romney line of THE SPEECH!

McCullough continues: Here is the mega-million problem with the inclusion of this line within the text of the speech… Romney runs the risk of sounding nanny-ish in chiding the voter into what the “should” or “should not” do. Americans vote in this nation for many, many reasons.

Here Romney is attempting to goad evangelicals into feeling guilty for choosing Huckabee because they perhaps feel more comfortable with his decision making process knowing it utilizes a faith system that mirrors their own… There is nothing inherently negative in that rationale.

What Romney should have emphasized instead was that since the core values product of his belief system mirrors the same RESULTS as an evangelical then evangelicals having nothing to fear in choosing to support him.

I would have to also guess that this is one heck of a disengenious line that overreached on a significant level for the Governor (and keep in mind my admiration for Mitt). But would not it be enough to disqualify a person for the office of President – if per se their religion of choice was Wicken, or Satanism? … etc.

Romney as cited by John Podhoretz in a http://www.commentarymagazine.com post titled Romney’s Boilerplate Mistake: There are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers — I will be true to them and to my beliefs.

Podhorez comments: That’s entirely fine. But there’s something oddly pointless about this protestation. Who is the audience for this speech, aside from people like me who make their living in part watching them and reading their texts and writing about them? No one thought Romney would say that Mormon elders would play a leading role in his White House counseling him on policy. Anyone inclined to believe such a thing won’t be convinced by Romney’s protestations in any case.

Romney has always had an uphill battle in this election, although you’re not supposed to say it, as it will occasion someone else delivering you a long speech about religious tolerance. As far as minority religions go, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is one of the minority-est. There are, by at least one count, three times as many Jews in the United States. The number of Americans who openly profess to be Christian is around 74 percent; the number of those raised Christian is 84 percent. Americans are without a doubt the most tolerant people on earth, but religion is very important to them, and someone whose fellow believers number 1/55th of the population of the United States is someone who is going to have trouble closing the deal with voters.

For those who don’t know Romney is a Mormon, well, they sure will now … etc.

“Romney is right in that the winner of this nomination will need the full support of the diverse conservative base,” writes GOP84 in a redstate.com post titled Objectives for the Romney Campaign

He will need evangelicals, fiscal conservatives, moderates, and everyone else that the Republican party appeals to in order to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2008. Personally, I think Romney has just as good a shot as Giuliani if he will follow these objectives …

… So, what does Mitt Romney need to do to solidify his support and win the nomination? Here’s some ideas that I have:

1. Settle the religion issue once and for all …
2. Keep picking up evangelical endorsements …
3. Keep picking up political endorsements …
4. Campaign in the Southeast …
5. Tout the business experience …
6. Tout the political experience …
7. Increase publicity …
8. Appeal to fiscal conservatives … etc., etc.

GOP84’s “objectives” endorse Team Romney’s current goals almost point for point. In Team Romney’s typically confused, desultory, disorganized, halting, and half-stepping way, they are already pursuing objectives 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8. As for Objective 4 Romney has visited SC many times. As for Objective 1 the Romneys have debated among themselves for months now how, or whether, to address the issue of Romney’s faith tradition. Expect no decision any time soon. This is one instance where Romney’s confusion, indecision, inaction, and mis-estimations of the primary field may work in his favor.

(Aside: So what does it mean when commentators—e.g. GOP84, Ruffini—issue you objectives that you are already aggressively pursuing?—say that everyone keeps telling you that you need to do (x), yet you’re already doing (x); in fact, (x) is all you’re doing. What would this indicate about your performance at (x)?—answer: you would have strong but defeasible grounds on which to conclude that you really, really suck at (x).)

GOP84’s objectives assume that Romney has yet to make his case to the conservative base. Yet Romney himself assumes otherwise. Hence, the so-called “2-man race” theme, where Romney posits that the race, as it stands, and despite all evidence to the contrary, is really a choice between a conservative Romney and a moderate Giuliani. In response to Romney’s 2-man race theme we had this to say:

1. Romney never completed the task of consolidating his right flank—despite surging ever further to the right, Romney could never make the case that he (a) deserves the votes of conservatives, or (b) that he is a conservative at all. Conservatives, whether Evangelicals, security firsters, fair-trade nativists, fiscal conservatives etc., etc. remain divided and dispersed among the candidates. See:

2. The other candidates—principally Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee—stubbornly refuse to allow to Romney to position himself as the only alternative to former Mayor Giuliani. They persist; they continue to pursue their own agendas. And Gov. Huckabee has driven Romney to last place in the national polls.

What interests us is GOP84’s exercise itself, i.e. to enumerate the objectives necessary to consolidate the conservative base of the GOP. It is redolent of another list getting some degree of play, a list that is the opposite-compliment of GOP84’s list. Where GOP84 lists objectives for the Romney’s to gather and consolidate the conservative base, this other list’s author enumerates the values and describes the character of the conservative base so that the candidate who wants to reach it can understand it.

“… First and foremost, he needs to understand that, by the tens of millions, true conservatives do exist in our country,” writes former White House and Pentagon Official and author of the novel, America’s Last Days, Douglas MacKinnon, in a townhall.com post titled Ten Things the Republican Nominee Must Understand to Earn the True Conservative Vote

Here is our problem: To understand a thing commits you to no course of action. You can understand that e.g. “tens of millions of true conservatives exist in our country” and still work against their interests. What we need, however, is data. Tens of millions?—how did you arrive at that figure? Who are these people? Where are these people? What is their demographic profile? How does their True Conservatism manifest itself in social or political behaviors? What are their goals, norms, values etc.? Here is our point: evidence commits people; data motivates people; argument persuades people. Lists, however, bore people. Or at least they bore us.

MacKinnon continues:

  1. He needs to understand that they have a deep and abiding belief in God …
  2. He needs to understand that true conservatives believe we live in a sovereign nation with clearly defined borders that must be protected … etc., etc.

The details are unimportant. What interests us is the repeated clause starter, he needs to understand … What MacKinnon wants, apparently, is to be understood.

MacKinnon wants an emotional bond, a sense of empathy articulated in terms of identity, i.e. MacKinnon’s identity as a conservative, a conservatism that he wants others to understand. This is the plea of one who wants to be led, of one who wants to identify with a master, only he wants safety and security in that identification. In other words, MacKinnon wants not so much a president as he wants a father, which is the absolute worst caricature of the conservative stance, the same caricature Lakoff proposes in his Don’t think of an Elephant; know your values and frame the debate, a thoroughly wretched little book. Lakoff is a passable scholar—e.g. we like his Metaphors We Live By, although his whole method reduces to taking metaphors too literally—but his political speculations are risible bordering on irrational. So it pains us when people who call themselves conservatives—e.g. MacKinnon, GOP84, or Romney himself—play into the misconceptions of a clown like Lakoff and do it with a straight face.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Like a kid who always does his homework and always raises his hand in class, Mitt Romney’s ambition and organization have both an upside and a downside,” writes the estimable Matt Lewis in a townhall.com post titled Is Romney Losing the Iowa Expectations Game?

At least that’s what I gleaned from my conversation today with Ed Failor, a top Iowa Republican activist.

Failor believes that when the post-Iowa stories are written, reporters and pundits will take into consideration the massive amount of money Romney has spent in building an organization that — for the first time ever — goes all the way down to the county level.

“If he is the Republican nominee, I support Mitt Romney.  But I just think he is the guy most at risk to take the biggest hit on Prom night, because he has spent so much more money than everyone else,” says Failor.

Failor believes people could be surprised by Mike Huckabee — or possibly even Rudy Giuliani.

But even if one of these men comes in second to Mitt Romney, the expectations are now set that Romney has spent so much time and energy in Iowa that the second-place finisher should still be far behind Romney.  In short, it’s not enough for Romney to win; he has to devastate his opponents.  That’s setting the bar pretty high.

By working so hard in Iowa, Romney may have inadvertently created a situation in which there is little upside to winning, and where finishing second would be devastating.

Conversely, let’s suppose Mike Huckabee spends a fraction of what Mitt Romney does in Iowa, yet finishes close behind Romney, in second place.  Huckabee’s team might then spin the results and argue they actually won Iowa.  Of course, if this were effective, it might also diminish the bump Romney gets coming out of the state … etc., etc.

Willard Milton Romney has set himself up to fail!?—we’re shocked, we tell you. Shocked. Seriously, dear readers, for months and months we’ve snarfed and guffawed derisively as Romney worked assiduously to sabotage his own campaign. Here’s a blast from the past to prove our point:

Ruffini:“Romney’s leads remind me of Howard Dean’s hard-earned leads in those states in 2004″

yours &c.
dr. g.d.