Posts Tagged ‘waste’

[…] “So, what is Romney’s angle on the nomination?”—asks the estimable Jay Cost in a RealClearPolitics article titled Can Mitt Catch On?

He heads to Nevada and wins that state’s uncontested caucus. This keeps him viable until Florida, regardless of what happens in South Carolina. He then gives Florida everything he’s got.

Will it work? I don’t know. He has another potential problem.

Why is it that most primary candidates refuse to run sustained, intense negative campaigns? The answer is that everybody is basically on the same side. An attacking candidate has to be careful about his opponent’s core supporters. He runs the risk of alienating them – and they might ultimately refuse to support him after their guy drops out of the race. Romney might find himself in that situation. His attacks on McCain and Huckabee have been as sustained and intense as any this cycle. And there is evidence that this has damaged him with the Mac and Huck factions.

The Pew poll found that Romney’s net favorable rating among these voters is not very strong: just +7% among McCain voters, and a whopping -9% among Huckabee voters. Of course, the sample sizes informing these statistics are small – but they are large enough to validate this modest conclusion: Romney is relatively weak among Huckabee and McCain supporters. For comparative purposes: McCain is +30% among Huckabee supporters; Huckabee is +15% among McCain supporters; Giuliani is an eye-popping +69% among McCain supporters, and +33% among Huckabee supporters. [A problem Romney will confront if he wins the GOP nomination: he has a net -12% favorable rating among the general electorate. I’d wager this is also a consequence of the negative tenor of his campaign in recent months.]

This could create problems for Romney in Florida, depending on how things turn out in South Carolina. Following Pew, it does not seem that Romney is the second choice of a plurality of Huckabee voters or McCain voters. The situation in Florida might be different than what Pew finds on the national level, but I doubt it is significantly so. My sense is that if Floridians bolt Huckabee after he loses South Carolina – a plurality will go to McCain, not Romney. Similarly, if they bolt McCain – a plurality will go to Giuliani, not Romney. Generally, Pew and other pollsters have found Romney in third or fourth place when it comes to second choices. Pew also finds that 20% of Republicans will never vote for Romney, making him more “unacceptable” than McCain or Giuliani.

In light of this, I think that what Romney needs is a nominal Huckabee (or Thompson) victory in South Carolina. It would keep the field as open as possible. If the Florida electorate is split four or five ways, Romney might be able to pull out a victory based on his current coalition – thus giving him an opportunity to expand it in advance of Super Tuesday […]

We have harped on the finely-tuned string of Romney’s negativity and negative attacks for months. We had assumed—incorrectly, if Cost is correct—that the costs for Romney would be disastrous but short term in character.

Cost has persuaded us otherwise.

Cost’s conclusions assume that the GOP remains coherent and effective as an organization. We assume the opposite: the GOP base and institutions will collapse and what remains of the GOP will decide for Romney—this is our prediction. And: evidence suggests that Team Romney assumes the same outcome. Otherwise they would even now be reaching out to Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee constituencies—only they aren’t—precisely the opposite is the case—the Romneys and their flaks and flatterers are as hostile and condescending as they ever were toward their rivals and their followers. Instead, as Cost describes, the political primitives of the Romney tribe—still smarting from the beatings they took in Iowa and New Hampshire—now attempt to bypass the detached McCain-Huckabee constituencies altogether wherever they discover them in sufficient concentrations to merit concern, as in South Carolina. The Romney Tribe predict that the detached rebels will be powerless in a dispersed and disorganized GOP, which is probably true. This may also explain Romney’s sudden rhetorical turn toward a naive and intuitive “third way” bipartisanship—he now reaches out to moderates and independents and build his own coalition—see:

That didn’t take long!—Romney drops all pretense of any commitment to conservative values or principles—now argues that “it‘s time for Washington — Republican and Democrat — to have a leader who will fight to make sure we resolve the issues rather than continuously look for partisan opportunity for score-settling” etc.

Here is the problem for Romney: he is not a coalition builder. Coalitions organize themselves around movement politicians. If Iowa, New Hampshire, and even Michigan have taught us anything at all it is that Romney is not a movement politician.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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“In recent months Mitt Romney, whose personal fortune is estimated to be as much as a quarter of a billion dollars, blanketed the airwaves of Iowa and New Hampshire with dozens of campaign advertisements,” write the editors of the Washington Times in an article titled Romney and his money

[Romney] clearly has spent tens of millions of dollars of his own money in Iowa and New Hampshire, but he steadfastly declines to say how much. The Romney campaign suffers from a glaring transparency deficiency, which it should address at once.

Mr. Romney has every right to bankroll his presidential campaign with his own money. No argument here. But why has he refused to tell voters how much of his personal fortune he has funneled to his campaign since the end of the third quarter?

On Jan. 4, the day after Mike Huckabee defeated Mr. Romney in Iowa, this newspaper asked the Romney campaign to say how much Mr. Romney had personally contributed since Sept. 30. During the first nine months of last year, Mr. Romney had given his campaign $17.4 million, about 90 percent more than the $9.2 million in the campaign’s cash-on-hand on Sept. 30 […]

Yet the Romneys refuse to release their fourth quarter numbers until the filing deadline of Jan. 31. This date falls after the primary contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, and Florida.

Also from the article, Romney’s fund raising “declined from US$20.8 million in the first quarter to US$13.9 million in the second, to less than US$10 million in the third.”

Romney increased his own contributions to compensate.

Conclusion: The Romney campaign is a Potemkin village.

yours &c.
dr. d.g.

“Republican primary voters in New Hampshire were asked which Republican candidate practiced dirty politics the most during the campaign, with 39 percent naming Mitt Romney, according to a FOX News Election Day poll,” writes anonymous in a foxnews.com release titled FOX News Poll: New Hampshire Republican Primary Voters Say Romney Played Dirty Politics Most

The poll found that no other Republican candidate was named by 10 percent or more (32 percent did not name anyone).

Of those voters who said that Romney practiced dirty politics the most, over half (56 percent) voted for John McCain.

The poll consisted of 800 telephone interviews with Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, conducted the evening of January 7 and throughout election-day on January 8 […]

You don’t say.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Now, here is where those pesky things we call ‘facts’ come into play,” writes John Cronin for electromneyin2008.com in a post titled I’ll Thank You Not To Cloud This Debate With Facts

John is true to his word. He never tries to “cloud [the] debate with facts.” Here is what he is responding to:

forget the winter olympics that no one remembers anyway: “[Romney] presided over the opening of the most corrupt and most expensive public works project in U.S. history”

Here is John’s limp rejoinder:

… The project was first conceived in the early ’70’s. Fact: Mitt Romney was in France in the early seventies, working as a Mormon missionary. Fact: Mitt Romney had nothing to do with the planning of the project. Fact: The project was considered too expensive by President Reagan and he vetoed the bill, which Congress promptly over rode. The initial work on the project began in 1983, a time when Mitt Romney was in the private sector and would not begin his public service for more than a decade. Fact: By the time MR became the Governor of Massachusetts, the “Big Dig” and been a work in progress for 20 years …

Correction: These are not facts, John. These are alibis—e.g. : Officer, my client was proselytizing among the French when this project was conceived. And my client was in the private sector when Reagan tried to kill the project and when the project began etc., etc.

Here is the problem, John. Your alibis contradict the Romney-as-leader, Romney-as-problem-solver topos that the Romney campaign retails, because it is also a “fact”—as you yourself concede—that Romney was governor of MA when the Big Dig began to return its grim dividends of death and disaster. Yet Romney did nothing. Where, John, was your (in)famous “turn-around manager” Romney then?! That’s the question, John, not who conceived of, or initiated, the Big Dig.

So Gregg Jackson answers in advance your counter-argument in his initial argument when he writes:

… Mitt went on TV and said he would get to the bottom of this dangerous, deadly project. But he didn’t. Here was a public safety issue a conservative could have made a presidential-run-reputation on, exposing the Democrat corruption and fixing the problems. But he ignored it, preserving the public health menace for future victims. Instead, he took campaign contributions from international Big Dig contractors … etc., etc.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

You can find it here and here, attached as responsa to our August 30, 2007 post titled evidence of Romney corruption and incompetence continues to build; GOP needs to start thinking post-Romney.

Thank you, Laserhaas.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.