Ron Brownstein (the one political reporter I truly respect) has an interesting piece on how the Republican primary forced Romney into taking positions that would hurt him in the general:
Romney’s biggest general-election problem is that he did not believe he could beat a GOP primary field with no competitor more formidable than Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich without tacking sharply right on key issues. Romney repeatedly took policy positions that minimized his risks during the spring but have multiplied his challenges in the fall. His fate isn’t sealed, but the choices he made in the primaries have left him with a path to victory so narrow that it might daunt Indiana Jones. “To secure the nomination, they made … decisions about immigration, tax cuts, and a whole host of other issues that had no strategic vision,” said John Weaver, a senior strategist for John McCain’s 2008 campaign. “So he’s now trapped demographically and doesn’t even seem to understand it.”
I am not 100% sure that it was the primary that forced Romney to take these positions. Maybe the base would have forced him to take them anyway. After all, he picked Ryan long after the primary.
What do you think? Would Romney be in better shape if the primary had ended earlier, and without him embracing lots of politically unpopular decisions? Or would he have been forced to embrace them later anyway, long primary or no primary? Also too — as long as we’re getting counterfactual here — would a long drawn-out Hillary-Obama type primary, lasting well into June, damaged Romney even more?
He had no choice. He saw life-long water carriers for the GOP getting shoved out because they weren’t big ENOUGH assholes, and he knew he’d have to step up. His propensity for winning the next billing cycle instead of the long term was a comfortable, but fatal, habit.
Considering he had to tack hard right anyway after the primaries to avoid losing the base, I’d say yes.
The question is moot because he wouldn’t have won if he had not picked whackjob positions.
It is certainly the case that they took those positions, during the primary, with the understanding that they would be able to walk them back during the general election. Eric Fehrnstrom, who is Romney’s Rove, said as much in the infamous “etch a sketch” statement. But if they thought that they were really, really, misinformed, to quote Rick in Casablanca. There was never any chance that “what happens in the GOP primary stays in the GOP primary.”
The question is moot because he wouldn’t have won if he had not picked whackjob positions.
he’d be in better shape if only because he could more plausibly sell himself as the former moderate governor of Massachusetts. Instead, he’s the severely conservative former governor of Massachusetts. But he’s painted himself into a corner, as Weaver said. The base knows that Romney will say whatever they want him to say because he’s scared of them. Had he stood up to them in the primary, or had it ended before he was forced into his current positions, he’d have more room to position himself for the wider electorate. but now there’s a full year of him saying shit that isn’t going to sell much outside the 27%…
The latter. The GOP base hates moderate Republicans at least as much as they hate Democrats.
The Teabaggers were destined to be driving the bus this year no matter what happened.
The really interesting question is, if Romney had tried to be a moderate during the primaries and lost, who would have gotten the nomination instead?
By all means, let us ponder the hypotheticals under which the dead horse would be either more or less dead.
Was Romney a wingnut pretending to be a moderate to become governor of MA or is he a moderate pretending to be a wingnut in order to become President? Either way points to a near fatal character flaw…
@ding dong: I think Romney thought the question would be mute, instead of moot, because he thought that with all his money he could buy new positions, silencing his old rightward drift.
It’s a natural consequence of 1.) letting the Tea Party control the primaries and 2.) living in an echo chamber where nothing other than extreme rightwing propaganda is listened to or tolerated.
Romney was trapped between the base and his donors. The base forced him right only in the sense that the only way he could win the GOP primaries was by money-bombing his rivals into the stone age, and for that he had to say and do exactly what his billionaire backers wanted him to. Which pretty much boiled down to just three things: “tax cuts for the filthy rich”, “war with Iran”, and “Obummer sux, herp, derp”. As a result, Romney ending up being nothing but a mouthpiece for the kind of rich old guys who like to sit in chairs stroking white Persian cats with diamond-studded collars and dreaming of the day they take over the world.
Sorry to go OT so quickly but have you guys seen this shit?
something I see from a lot of captains of industry….”long term” for them is the next quarterly report
he had to pander to the base to get the nomination, because they are the primary voters. What I’m still suprised about is the collapse of Bachman. I was sure she was going to win the nomination, as she’s wingnut spank bank material. but I overlooked the obvious that conservatives still can’t come to grips with a woman in power, when push comes to shove. Similar reason why Cain flamed out.
Pundits are grasping at straws trying to understand Romney’s failures. I don’t know that any instant analysis can really do the issue justice.
But, hey, pundits gotta pund.
Just no point in these kinds of hypotheticals. Who would Romney’s main opponent have been? Newt? Ron Paul?
Who the fuck is ‘they’ ? The hired help. It’s the fucking coreless mittbot’s decision to tack hard right and the effing etch-a-sketch bombed big time.
The only time I’ve seen Romney emote as though he meant what he was saying was on the infamous 47% video. He made that in May. Could have made it in February. Could have made it yesterday. Would have sounded and looked the same. It’s out there independent of when the primary season started and when it ended.
Everyone has a favorite part of that video, but mine is how it’s the only time he doesn’t seem like a poorly programmed robot. It’s the one time he seems to be connecting to his audience.
The 47% thing objectively looks and sounds like who he is, and a decent argument can be made that the crackpot brigade he ran against is a whole lot less important than that.
It wouldn’t matter. Romney is a bad candidate, his epic FAIL for the general campaign would have started earlier that’s all. Forget ideology, a candidate stupider than Dubya doesn’t deserve to be President. He is the Malin, male Palin, stupid and easy on the eyes.
Just recently he was wondering why we can’t open windows on an airplane.
Ron Brownstein and assorted Punditubbies stop making excuses for Romney, he sucks, he always has. Deal with it.
The drawn out primary hurt Romney. Period.
It’s like the opposite of the Obama-H.Clinton primary of 2008 that got voters fired up.
The whole MO for the GOP for the last 30 years is to be able to have plausible denial-ability for the really looney positions many on the far-right want politicians to take and the politicians would enact, if they could.
A short primary would have allowed Romney to not be on the record as siding with those policies. He could talk in general terms about immigration reforms, making college affordable, etc., without having to get specific about what he’d do.
The primaries forced him to commit to the far-right agenda the GOP really would love to implement.
Picking Ryan as his VP nominee sort of sealed the deal as Romney being all-in on those policies.
I suspect Romney thought he could take the age-old route of tacking right during the primary and then using his own personal platform to shift back to the centre during the campaign. Now he’s realizing that he’s forgotten to come up with a platform and he’s stuck with the garbage he parroted during the primary.
He tried co-opting Ryan’s platform but he didn’t do his due diligence or he would have realized it was all smoke and mirrors too.
His problem is that he bought the primary win.
Look at his spending to crush Newt — he didn’t win because the voters liked him, he won because he was willing to say what they wanted AND outspend his rivals by factors of 5 or 10 or whatever it took.
It wouldn’t have mattered how long it went on, as long as that was the dynamic, because it meant that unlike Obama in his long slog against Hilary, Romney did not learn anything about how to campaign.
He just spent as much more as it took — and that was a LOT — to defeat a bus full of clowns. The R primary was an auction, but that has not fully translated into a general election environmnent, thank FSM. It was my biggest fear, that all that R money would be determinative.
Still could, I guess, but it’s not looking likely.
Romney’s biggest general election problem is that he is a grade-A asshole who truly believes that the average American is a subhuman life form worthy of contempt and cruel treatment. The real Romney is every bit as retrograde as Rick Santorum and to pretend otherwise is just silly at this point.
We may as well be having a discussion about Sarah Palin and how she would have been a formidable candidate if she had been born with Hillary Clinton’s intellect.
Really, the best thing that could happen to Romney right now would be for him to be caught in a sex scandal; at least it would be evidence that he is a normal human with normal human passions.
In today’s GOP, Romney never would have won if he’d been moderate in the primaries. Not an option. And in the age of video of everything available, it’s impossible to run away from anything you’ve ever said. GOP primary voters are more likely than GE voters to be nutjobs, so no, Romney would not have won without the crazy.
He isn’t dumber than Bush, Jr.
One of the big reasons he’s having so much trouble is because of Bush, Jr.’s toxic legacy and the Republican brain trusts realization that the reason Bush, Jr. failed is he was too liberal.
The “compassionate” part of Bush, Jr.’s conservatism – like Medicare Part D and across the board tax cuts, where everyone got a taste but the rich got a disproportionately bigger taste – has been jettisoned in favor of cutting taxes for the rich, raising them on the middle and lower classes, and effectively gutting Medicare as we know it.
See how far the moderate Hunt got in the primaries…
Jon Huntsman was a rich Mormon who had relatively moderate positions on most issues…how’d he do in the primary, again?
@hueyplong: Agreed, we saw a passionate Romney in the 47%er tape. I also agree with David Corn about Romney here. The tape is lethal because it exposes the real Romney.
Romney was never going to be able to square the circle that is Republican politics these days. Nobody can. He’s a poor candidate, but even a good candidate would lose with the Tea Party baggage.
We already knew where Romney stood on a lot of these positions thanks to 2008. Whatever happened this past primary, he was still going to be a flip-flopper whose belief system was whatever he thought his audience wanted to hear, which means he’d still be distrusted all around the block for that.
So glad Money Boo Boo became a tag.
Borowitz: Romney in Final Push to Alienate Remaining Voters
And the video illustrates his problem. The general public sees that and is disgusted. The 27%ers see that, love it and want MORE. I don’t know any Republican who could navigate that.
Speaking of MO, the scandal with Todd Akin in Missouri really hurt the GOP in my neck of the woods, even though it was something that popped up in another state. From the conversational buzz, that was really the crucial tipping point which drove a lot of otherwise not very politically aware center-right folks in my area from “sure the Republicans may sound stupid sometimes, but they’re just playing politics, both sides do it, etc…”, to “OMG, what a bunch of fucking assholes”.
This. It is one of the most damning aspects of Romney’s campaign, the belief that he will say/do ANYTHING to win. That he has no core values at all.
And his spokesman’s “Etch-a-Sketch” comment made the move to center impossible.
Corner Store Operator
The base forced him to take these positions. He picked Ryan long after the primary. From day one the campaign has taken the position that there are less persuadables and that this is a base election.
Remember a couple months ago etch a sketch and tacking back to the middle? What happened to that? He never even tried, I don’t think they ever planned to.
I Look at the last two elections- a perceived moderate won the GOP primary. If anything, it probably helps to be a moderate in the primary, when votes from New York, California, and other big blue states that won’t matter at all in the general are actually in play. After securing the nomination, they need to track rightward in order to ensure that they have the support of the base.
I agree with Kay’s comment that we have no convincing evidence that Romney isn’t who he says he is. Suggesting he was forced to take the positions he is now taking lacks evidence. All the evidence I’ve seen has been to the contrary.
How many times does Romney have to show us what an entitled, self-important, oblivious asshole he is before we start to believe him?
@gene108: He isn’t? He completely lacks any emotional intelligence, Dubya could at least get people (reporters, for instance) to like him. The 47% comment, yes that is the height of intellectual achievement as was the response to the crisis in Benghazi. I don’t remember such obvious flubs from Bush.
Plus this is the latest nugget of brilliance from the Moron candidate.
This and the high frequency trading boo boos have pointed to the obvious need to regulate, but noooo, the Repubs won’t have that.
The article said he was drunk. He’ll end up a broker and still drink.
There should be no speculation in energy futures. Ah, who am I kidding, there’s money to be made.
Andy Sullivan has a serious sad.
Apologies for threadjacking, but this is one of the greatest rants I’ve ever seen on Kos, and it is related, about the mendacity of the villagers who are now turning on Mittens, but without whom he never would have been a contender: The Village Balls its Fists Frowning More in Sorrow Than In Anger
A long, drawn-out primary implies a stronger opponent, who would presumably have beaten Romney using the same strategy John McCain did. Romney is basically lucky that Jon Huntsman is a poor campaigner and was never able to make more of an impression than “the other Mormon guy”.
I think a lot of people are still under the impression that the G.O.P. is a coalition of sober financial elites and their rage-fueled lackeys. In fact, some of the financial elites are just as rage-fueled as the rank-and-file teabaggers if not more. Look at Adelson and his support of Gingrich and Foster Freiss and his remarks about Sandra Fluke.
Romney’s advantage over the other guys was that he had a lot of them in his pocket from the beginning, but that didn’t mean that his campaign was going to be any more sober than Gingrich’s.
“Excuse me, stewardess, I speak White.”
@Chris: That video showed us that Romney does not have a moderate, or even a decent bone in his body. If he had “unzipped” himself like this during the primaries his support would have been more enthusiastic from the beginning. It is the “moderate” Romney that is an fraudulent pander; the real Romney is 100% Galtian sociopath.
And the GOP base will never support someone like Jon Huntsman because even if the Republican party won elections with someone like him the base would lose and why would they ever want to do that.
The base may have showed up (I’m inclined to think if he had tacked right many would have stayed home) but Camp Romney clearly felt they had to.
I think if he had thought he could get away with running a campaign that was more in line with his tenure as governor, he would have. If he had run that type of campaign he may have gotten the nomination or he may not have.
I do think that he felt that once he secured the nomination – no matter what he had to say to actually get the nomination – he felt he had some leeway to hit the reset button and tack to the middle hence the etch-a-sketch comment.
He may have still won, but the intensity of his support would have been even more tepid than it is now. Also too, he suffered from having to be on the same stage with his opponents, televised during the winter months when people are watching alot of TV. Guilt by association, regardless of the positions he took.
Why did republican. Bigwigs think that americans were going to like Mitt when not one of them liked him? This should have occurred to them. You don’t have that enmity between the Dems o even in older repub races. Mccain seems to have gotten over the black child SC issue.
The best option for Romney would have been to embrace the fact that nobody likes him and have that be a strength — “You may not like what I have to say, but you need to hear it, so listen close.” Mitt the Boss, Mitt the Dad. Shape up, America, we’re very disappointed in you. That might have been amplified by a longer campaign against someone like Perry, who’s so goofy: then Mitt could make the case that he was a grown-up in a world full of petulant children. I think it would have put him in a much better position, purely on attitude. But he still wouldn’t have any good answers to the question of what he will do, or wants to do, to make things better. And that’s what’s killing him.
Kathy in St. Louis
People have to make choices every day. Mitt Romney chose to take these extreme positions, not, necessarily because he believes them, but because he doesn’t seem to believe much of anything. I do believe that he was sincere in his view of 47 percent of the country, but was willing to hold his nose and lead us all, if he won. The problem is that he has no courage, went with the easier path, because no one in the hellhole that the GOP has become really trusts him. So, now, in his effort to maintain their trust, he has alienated all the but the farthest right and the race voters. I have utterly no pity for this guy.
It’s hard to say. Brownstein focuses on immigration and Planned Parenthood – I guess it’s at least thereotically possible that if Romney hadn’t gone full winger on both of those, he might still have won the nomination and had a better chance in the general election. It would have been a tougher nomination fight to take a liberal position on at least one of those, but Romney really has no core convictions, and it must have seemed easier to try to outflank everyone to the right.
But whatever…he did what he did and is paying the price. There were no “Sister Souljah” moments where he told the base to shut up. He doesn’t do that…he just tacks right and then doubles down when questioned. This is who he is.
I think he genuinely believed that he could say one thing in the primary season and that it wouldn’t matter because election season was something (in his mind) that was completely different.
Why? Because he is a self-absorbed, pretentious, entitled asshole who had his life handed to him. He’s gotten away with everything he has done until now, so why would he think this was any different?
He wasn’t “forced” to the Right. He just saw it as the most convenient way to win. Which is why the “47%” tape was so jarring. THERE was the man showing his true colors, his core convictions. And they sucked.
Glancing over the article itself (to see if it in any way contradicted my initial impression from the excerpt cited), I get the feeling that Brownstein doesn’t quite grasp just how wacked out the GOP voting base has become. He seems to believe that Romney would have been able to win the nomination without making himself out to be as cracked as the other candidates, and I don’t believe this is true. That was the whole idea of the not-Romney flavor of the month that we were seeing throughout much of the primary season — for quite some time into the primaries, different candidates would win primaries and take the lead in the GOP polls, as the GOP voting base struggled with the perceived inevitability of a Romney nomination. If Romney had been more moderate from the start, it would have made it far easier for the GOP voters to dismiss him during the primaries, paving the way for a Perry or a Santorum — maybe in a close delegate vote, but I really believe it could have been done. I don’t think there’s any reason to believe, as Brownstein appears to do, that moderation of any kind would have carried the day in the primaries.
Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker
Hillary-Obama was the Clash of the Centrists, Village Wisdom notwithstanding. A more TeeVee friendly, low-info voter friendly candidate (God help me, George W Bush) could have pulled off the etch-a-sketch ‘pivot’ with platitudes and dopey grins and mewling references to faith in God and The American People, not Willard or any of the nutbags he was on stage with. Perry, Pawlenty, maybe Thune might’ve been able to do it. Thank god they didn’t try.
I despise the entire entitled, race-baiting, demagoguing Bush clan. Just want to make that clear before I say the Jebbie might’ve been too honest (I can’t quite bring myself to use the word decent) on immigration to win the nomination.
I wonder if things are changing so that political candidates will now need to have more of a moral center so that they don’t do what Romney did, which is to say one thing on the stump and another to donors. They need to be consistent in what they say to avoid getting caught by hidden video cameras.
I know Romney is a particularly awful candidate, but even so, candidates used to be able to say things in private settings that they wouldn’t say in public. There can’t be that assumption of privacy anymore.
@schrodinger’s cat: Romney is 65 & tired. He may not have been stupider than a screen door on a jet 10 years ago, but now?
Kinda like the Iraq war.
Why would anyone on this blog be concerned about the FOIBLES of Mitt Robme? If you are a Progressive, Liberal, Democrat, Pragmatic Obamabot, or a Progressive Independent we could care less why Willard took the positions he did. He lies and flip flops so much how can anyone tell who he really is or what he stands for. Lets just focus on Kickin he and the Fascist ASSES in Nov. so we can finally start to undo the damage that has been done the past 40 years. FOWARD!!
I think that if Romney was a competent politician he could have had a ground game in the primaries that brought out a more moderate group of voters. It would have been an actual strategy– the disadvantage is that it would have taken some work and some managerial ability. Instead, he took the easy way out, went along with the no-enemies-to-my-right dynamic that gave away all the advantages to the crazies, and just about squeaked through. His dumb choice was not so much going along along with the extremists, it was to take the lazy way, thinking that he could make up for it later.
He was just as locked into selecting a Ryan-like running mate as he was to fellating the Tea Party during the primaries. The nativists and crazy fundies never trusted Romney; he had to pick someone who hit the right notes on their pet issues (abortion, immigration, the ghey), or risk a battle royale at the convention (like the Dem establishment against McGovern in ’72, but even uglier), that would’ve been a three-ring media circus. He couldn’t risk that.
It was the same situation faced by McCain in ’08. He was never comfortable with Palin on the ticket, but had to throw a sop to the hardcore rightists to drum up some enthusiasm and shut up the grumblers. He won that battle, but got crushed in the war. And the Tea Party didn’t even exist then.
Hard to see how the GOP will scrabble their way out of this pit they’ve dug for themselves. They created a pig-ignorant base to do their electoral bidding, and the servants ended up rebelling and busting up the joint. Couldn’t happen to a grander bunch of assholes.
@schrodinger’s cat: this is, in essence, the answer. I truly gifted politician could have tacked rightward with a softer rhetoric, while beating up on the opponents for their other significant flaws. But Romney is not “that guy.” he is a hack of the highest order and so he is not capable of threading the needle. It may be that on one could have done it, but we know that Romney is not the guy to do it.
I totally agree. I think Mitt The Moderate would get hammered everywhere by Perry. (Santorum, don’t think so, because he’s no more personable or non-creepy than Romney is.)
And let’s not forget that Mitt already had re-branded himself as a big-time conservative in 2008, hoping to outflank McCain and Giuliani by moving right. He couldn’t move back to the center without getting pilloried for it within his own party.
Enhanced Mooching Techniques
@beltane: What Beltane said. If Romney had the empathy to be a good politician Romney would have seen how bad of a candidate someone with his career would be only four years after the 2007 crash and sat it out.
Kathy in St. Louis
@hueyplong: huey, you have it. Before I had heard it, had only read it, some commenter on here said that it really needs to be heard to get the devastating effect. I thought the words read pretty desperately, but when I actually heard them from his own lips, I saw what the commenter meant. It’s the only time I have ever heard him sound natural and relaxed. This is pretty much the only core belief that I think we’ve ever heard from this guy. Everything else is just a salesman trying to close a sale, one way or anthoer.
@eric: He cannot read people, remember his smirking and grinning press conference after the Libyan incident.
Completely disagree. The 21st century gop is whack. Its wasnt the primaries. Its gop policies. Period.
Romney’s most damaging tack right, on immigration, came last October, so the length of the primary was irrelevant on that issue. I think the need to overcompensate for past apostasies was a bigger problem than the length of the primary. Regardless, the current Republican base would’ve given any nominee a very narrow route to general election victory. Romney than contributed his out-of-touch, wealthy capitalist bad guy persona to the already toxic Republican mix and here we are.
@Dave: Thank you. Romney doesn’t pretend to be a pampered. ignorant, intellectually incurious asswipe with an unspeakable wife and a weird family, that’s who he really is. Given the foul, slimy nature of the Republican base, any candidate they belch up is going to be noxious to decent people.
For the love of Christ, please tell me this is a made-up quote from the Onion.
But the 47% tape was extremely consistent with rightwing Galtian nihilism. I mean, the man apparently believes that he inherited nothing and that his job is to be the tough guy who beats you lazy slackers into pulling yourselves up by your bootstraps just like he was forced to do back in his prep school days.
Sorry, but the current GOP base and Mr. Rmoney look a lot like a love match to me. Their only major barrier to entry is most likely Mitt’s magic underwear.
@schrodinger’s cat: i would say it this way: he has never had to, nor cared to, read people. there is nothing self-depricating about him either. to the extent that people “warmed up” to W when he ran, i think it was the notion that W did not think he was der Ubermensch; whereas Romney exudes it.
The base didn’t force Romney to do anything other than come out of the closet and publicly embrace his inner asshole. Romney is the base.
I think Romney believes in his right to rule us lesser beings – that much, he’s sincere about.
Now, what he’d actually DO if he were in a position to rule the lesser beings – that, he couldn’t care less about.
@schrodinger’s cat: Holy crap, did he really say that? Good fucking grief. Now, I wouldn’t wish an experience like that upon anyone, and I’m genuinely sorry Ann had to go through that, and hope it never happens again. But not understanding something as basic as atmosphere inside and outside a plane? Yes, this really does make him appear dumber than Dubya.
Oregon, where I have lived since 1960, had been long a moderate Republican state. But no longer. Ever since the take over of the state GOP by the Oregon Citizens Alliance, their kin, and the likes of Bill Sizemore. Oregon can be viewed as a proxy for the national GOP, taken over by a side of the party that Barry Goldwater would have disavowed as being extreme, self anointed seers who deem themselves qualified to decide who is indeed a “true Republican” the Republican party is quickly delving into the depths of irrelevancy. I so state at the risk of being as wrong about this as my opinion of the NFL.
I guess if he hadn’t taken those positions… he would’ve been Jon Huntsman.
They tried that–in fact they are still trying that–but they counted on the economy and maybe another “crisis” to make “take your medicine like a good boy” go down well. Since people aren’t hurting as much as they were at the end of Bush’s term, and Obama seems to be riding a wave of calm competence, Ryan and Romney both (since they are both doing this stern father thing) just come across as petulant would be tyrants with a urge to hurt people.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
No, this is wrong. The question is moot because Jesse Jackson says so.
I find it rather interesting that we’re doing a post mortem on Romney’s campaign in September. And it’s not just soshulists on Balloon-Juice. It’s the media. Romney better have a kick ass first debate if he hopes to have a prayer to win this thing. I don’t think he can do it even so, but it is his only chance.
Kathy in St. Louis
@schrodinger’s cat: From your comment I can see that you have discovered the only bright point of this campaign so far. He is, actually, rehabilitating the memory of W. I actually said, when I read the 47% comment, that even W, who wasn’t very bright, would have had more people sense than that. I actually paid W the first semi-compliment of my entire life.
So, actually, the GOP should be glad that Romney’s been good for something.
Even if he’d stayed moderate on the issues, he’d still have the same problem of lying every time he opens his mouth. He still would have said the same things in that hidden tape to millionaire contributors. He’d still have the issue of offshore money and tax evasion. He’d still be a completely unelectable dick.
What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us?
I @schrodinger’s cat: I don’t buy that his positions are the problem – he was really close in the polls until after the conventions and the post convention gaffes. I think a lot of voters saw the fail parade of the Republican convention followed by an immaculately run Democratic convention and that jogged everyone’s memory of what happened last time we put them in charge. Then to re-enforce that narrative you have the last Democratic President give a speech that reminds everyone how well run things were then and now. At this point I think the repubs have a competence deficit problem. People don’t trust them to be halfway competent so any little screwup like that convention gets magnified. Mitt is under the shadow of W and has shown himself to be just as incompetent. The memory is fresh enough that people won’t yet make that mistake again. And he keeps reinforcing the perception with further screw ups.
Say what you will about repubs in the past but people at least expected them to be competent even if they weren’t wild about their policies. No longer. And I think you may be right that Romney is as stupid as Bush. The only reason he had more private sector success is he was willing to work hard. Dim but hard working trumps dim and lazy when it comes to making money.
1) The only position Romney “embraced” during the primary that I suspect he otherwise did not hold was on immigration, and that has hurt him severely in the general election. Immigration is the dividing line between country club and hardhat Republicans, and its always been clear what side of the fence Romney has been on.
2) It’s doubtful that he had to embrace them. Republicans would have always hated Obama more than they loved their own candidate. Romney might have been better served by a more contentious primary that he probably would have won anyway but wouldn’t have resulted in a massive gaps with Latinos and women. But Romney and a lot of Republican leaders wanted a coronation, and getting a coronation during a primary makes it less likely, I think, to get one during the general.
3) Obama could only gain from a drawn-out primary due to the circumstances of 2008; no incumbent President and Republican disaffection allowed the Democratic discussion to shape the general election more than usual, and there really wasn’t that much daylight between Obama and Clinton to begin with. The 2012 Republican primary was Romney vs. a slew of not-Romneys and, though this may owe mostly to hindsight, I seriously doubt anyone else could have won besides Romney, drawn-out primary or not.
@aimai: Also, that sort of thing works much better on a local or state level. It’s not so effective in a presidential race.
Romney was a lying sack-of-shit asshole back when he ran for Governor back in MA and I knew he was going to be a shitty candidate for national office as well. He won the Governor’s mansion because Shannon O’Brien wasn’t the best candidate, he had a ton of money, and Massachusetts, for the longest time, had some weird notion that there needed to be some balance between State house being overwhelmingly Democratic, so the governorship should be GOP.
I remember watching one of the debates with my roommate, and wanted to scream at the TV because he was lying about something, and I just knew it. Yet my roommate was all, “I can see his point and I believe him.” I couldn’t understand why people believed him.
Needless to say, there was a lot of “I told you so” in that apartment in the next year.
Another thing that people forget: he was supposed to be the great Republican Hope in MA, but the number of GOP members in the state house actually DROPPED in the next state-wide election.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
In retrospect, I think a Santorum-Christie ticket would have given Obama a real run for the money. Santorum would have secured the base with no defections and Christie would secure the David Brooks’ of the world.
I thought he was a joke going in, but Santorum, paired with Christie, would have been very difficult.
J. Michael Neal
@Maude: If there’s no speculation in energy futures, then there’s no hedging with energy futures, either. Hedgers need a counterparty, and hedgers with the opposite profile rarely match up very well. Like it or not, speculators are a fundamental and necessary part of the markets.
That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be more regulations. However, this particular instance isn’t a very good example of that. It’s a perfect example of why individual *firms* need to be more careful and have better controls in place, but its effects on the rest of us were trivial, if even that.
One problem with the piece is that it talks breathlessly about how his trades drove the price of crude up to a local high and then leaves it at that. From reading it, you’d think he drive up the price and then the money just mysteriously vanished. Poof. Bullshit. The reason the firm lost $10 million is that, when regular trading reopened, the price of crude sank right back to where it had been, and they had to take a bath unloading all of the contracts the broker bought at the higher prices. It isn’t just that the long term effect on prices was zero; the *short* term effect on prices was also zero. It only lasted through the very thin overnight trading period and prices generated during off hours are basically meaningless.
@What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us?: I never said that the positions were a problem, unfortunately a lot of people do subscribe to the GOP ideology, and don’t keep up with all the shenanigans the GOP statehouses and Congress has been up to since 2010. I could see a gifted politician being able to sell the lemon, that is the GOP platform, but Mitt isn’t him. Although I do admit, he was the best of the GOP primary field.
Not that it matters to the larger craziness of the story, but it should be noted that this episode apparently happened on June 30, 2009 (the article was written on June 30, 2010 and refers to “June 30 last year”).
@Sly: i disagree to the extent that you can say things in ways that the Right understands, while not pissing off the rest of the electorate. Romney just does not have this skill, in part because he has no idea what motivates other people so he cannot massage his message to hit two opposing constituencies. He is not a good politician; he is, by contrast, a great patrician.
Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker
@Violet: I’ve been off-and-on nervous about the debates, because Willard is at least competent on stage, enough so for the lo-infos and the Beltway, but I think between 1) the pressure that’s on him, which he resents and 2) his blinkered contempt for Obama, I think he’s gonna come across as a huge dick, so mush so that even the two aforementioned groups won’t be able to miss it.
And what [email protected]hueyplong: said way up top. Two weeks ago I thought Willard didn’t believe in anything, and that in his heart of hearts he may not be as childishly tax-o-phobic as Cantor and Ryan, but that 47% video is the real deal. Willard is the resentful Master Of The Universe, he hates the proles and the poors. He always would’ve been a right wing ideologue as president, because second term and The Coming Of The Tagg, but now we know he would’ve meant it.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker:
Bush, Jr. got to run on a platform of Compassionate Conservatism in 2000 in both the primaries and general election.
Bush, Jr. got to be able to say we can use the mighty powers of Conservatism to help poor people by expanding Medicare, funneling money to churches for Faith Based Initiatives and other more centrist positions Romney cannot embrace in 2012 in the primaries or in the general election, because of how far to the right the GOP has gone.
I’m sorry, but as flawed a candidate as Romney is, the bigger problem is the GOP.
Bush, Jr. and Karl Rove had the good sense to wine and dine the press, because Bush, Jr. made some equally stupid comments during his political career.
That’s probably the biggest difference between Romney and Bush, Jr.
The press went to bat for Bush, Jr. by ignoring anyone’s questions on his failed business dealings, possible insider trading, etc., while all the stuff Romney’s done isn’t get the same sort of cover from the MSM.
Again, Romney is not a good candidate, but he’s in this position because of what the GOP has become, as much or more so than any personal failings he may have.
He said it.
I’ve been say all along, Romney is stupid. people just don’t believe me. I am going to go and have a good cry now.
Schroedinger’s Horse, I presume.
There’s a wonderful optical illusion graphic floating around the intertoobz that has the word ALIVE if you look at it one way and DEAD if you look at it the other. (I could email it to anyone interested but have no way to link to it.)
Holy Bovine, there’s a poll that puts Obama ahead in NC:
What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us?
@schrodinger’s cat: yeah I know you didn’t make that claim but that was theme of the original post so I thought I’d give my 2 cent on it.
There was no way to get the nomination without parroting a bunch of batshit crazy.
As my mother used to say when I made ugly faces as a child “stop that. Do you want to be stuck that way?”
Who the hell knew that actually works?
His positions aren’t what are killing him. Plenty of people still consider him a moderate. The fact that he’s running against a popular incumbent and is totally unlikeable is what’s killing him. He never had a chance, no matter what people, including some who should know better, say about the economy determining the election outcome.
Romney is the distilled essence of the upper echelon of the GOP; arrogant, incurious, contemptuous. He, and they, are so convinced of the perfection of whatever notion comes into their heads that none of them ever stops to question themselves or to examine their ideas.
Romney ran against his own governorship and instead chose to run on his business acumen. That business acumen, on closer examination, turns out to be largely a series of simple bust outs. The formula for the latter could be written on a Post It and leave room for a grocery list.
Every one of his campaign blunders stem not so much from error as from the fact that it never once occurred to him that, like Bush going into Iraq, he would need to do anything more than show up to win.
@What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us?: OK no problem!
@MattF: That poll is not an outlier. There have been a couple others with similar numbers released over the past few days.
Yes, because A. his primary competetion would have failed at some point due to all being fucking insane and 2. any states he carries in the general due to his new and shiny “severe conservative” demeanor would have voted against the radical Kenyan uppity dude, anyway.
Willard is that weird combination of preening superiority and paranoia.
Why does this idea persist that these aren’t the positions that Romney wanted to take the entire time?
@What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us?:
I think this gets to the heart of Obama’s ideologically low-key approach to growing the Democratic coalition, and a large part of why the firebaggers don’t like him. Which is that as a result of LBJ’s lies about Vietnam and Nixon’s lies about pretty much everything, followed by the economic gloom of the 1970s, a lot of Americans have learned through harsh experience not to trust the government. Specifically, not to trust that the govenment is either (A) telling the truth about important issues, or (B) is competent to solve difficult problems. That is the reason why the GOP has been so successful since the late 1960s, because they are the party of “you can’t trust the govt”. Nevermind that electing Republicans to run the governement is like hiring militant Vegans to run a steakhouse: the inevitable result is burnt meat, hungry customers, and money missing from the cash register.
Before Dems can pitch a more liberal agenda to a majority of Americans, they have to rebuild that sense of trusting the government to be both honest and competent. It took decades to destroy that trust and it will take a similarly long time to completely rebuild it. And the only way to do that is to get stuff done, with or without Republican help. I think the GOPers at some level understand this equation too, which is why they’ve gone all-on with obstruction, sabotage and sedition.
When the two parties violently disagree with each other on whether or not we should use the government as a tool for improving the lives of ordinary people, competence itself becomes an ideological issue.
Chait finds a nutball (Politico, heh) suggesting “Time for Romney to defend Bush.”
@J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: No way. Perry stomps Santorum on everything Santorum ever had as strengths. Perry has to be the only rival who Team Romney ever lost any sleep over. Romney’s biggest success in the primaries was nuking Perry into oblivion.
@Mike Lamb: Oh I don’t know, it wouldn’t have anything to do with his history would it?
I tried to post about this in the previous thread, and even though I hit “Submit Comment” the comment just disappeared. I tried again and got the “duplicate comment” notice, but my comment has never appeared. FYWP.
Anyway, the subject of my comment was about the Democrats taking the mantle of Patriotism from the Republicans. The Dems mentioned veterans and the military in the convention, where the Republicans didn’t. The Dems pushed the idea of citizenship and What It Means To Be An American (We helps those less fortunate than ourselves and are grateful to those who serve us).
If the Dems take Patriotism from the Republicans, then the GOP is just left with jingoism. That works to some extent, but not in the long run.
@gene108: The press wants to fluff Romney, they know which side of their bread is buttered. Unfortunately Romney hasn’t given them the opportunity. If they fluff him they will end up looking like a joke, e.g. Jennifer Rubin. I think GOP has taken a turn for the worse after the Bush years and Romney is worse than Bush as a Presidential candidate. Mitt is the standard bearer of the party now, so he owns the crazy lock stock and barrel.
@J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:
Santorum at the top of the ticket would have doubled the gender gap, and picking a VP who has all the personality of a 1950s Las Vegas pit boss would not have helped that one bit. Christie’s approval numbers in NJ have been sustained entirely by white men.
I don’t think Romney lacks this skill to a greater degree than Bush. Bush simply faced a different political and demographic climate (an easier one for Republicans) and could stoke the anti-intellectualism that dominates a significant portion of the middle-class and poor. I find the same thing in terms of dogwhistle resentment politics; Romney hasn’t been engaging in it any less or with less coyness than his predecessors, it just isn’t enough to win elections anymore.
@Mike Lamb: People are operating under the delusion that boring and robotic=moderate, that’s why.
The real Romney is on that 47% tape. If the country was made up of a majority of the audience in the tape, he would be running away with it. Correction: If the majority was a unintelligent as he is in wanting to open a window in a jet.
At the doctor’s visit tomorrow, I am going to ask if I can add alcohol to my diet. It’s becoming more and more tempting lately.
I was thoroughly entertained by the comments section of the site to which Matt F posted a link (regarding a recent NC poll). The GOPers were angry, accusing of liberal bias an entity whose masthead reads “NORTH CAROLINA’S CONSERVATIVE VOICE.”
As a NC resident who rarely gets to interact with anyone voting for Obama, I take the position that if the president wins NC, I don’t need to see the returns from any other state.
Every time Republicans fuck something up, two things happen; the least insane people left in the party jump ship in disgust, and the remainder of the party lurches right in the never-ending search for True Conservatism.
@J. Michael Neal:
The speculation on energy is way out of control. Oil is not worth $91 a barrel, that’s NYMEX Crude, never mind the price for Brent.
It is a game and it is causing serious problems for people in this country.
It raises the price of food etc.
There is a lot of profit made off of energy futures.
There needs to be a law. One was in Congress on Apr. 18, 2012. It a law gets passed, the CFTC can regulate.
Also, too, High Frequency trading cheats other brokerage firms on a daily basis.
The Mercantile is making money at our expense and also at the expense of people around the world.
Perry’s bigass funding base had me nervous right up to first the time he opened his yap, and because it’s only money that impresses Willard, I suspect he was likewise worried about his impact. Particularly due to the drumbeat leading up to his actually entering the campaign.
A metric buttload of projection at work, as everybody forgot Texas can craft monumentally stupid governors.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
Maybe you’re right, but I think Santorum would handle Perry easily. Perry is all hat and no cattle. Santorum has an edge and grievance (whatever it may be). Perry just seems like someone happy to be along for the ride.
The fallacy in Brownstein’s thinking is that Romney was allegedly “forced” into extreme positions. The real issue here is the extreme nature of Republicans in general, and that Romney is one of those extreme Republicans.
What really brings this out is the contrast with the Obama-Hillary primary fight. That strengthened the candidates because their underlying policy positions as articulated by the primary process are positions that appeal to the majority. The primary fight Romney was in articulated policy positions that are poison to the majority. Romney was not forced to do that – it is who he is, and what his party is.
What does Brownstein think? That Republicans can get nominated by being Democratic-lite, or that Romney would prefer to be that type of candidate? Romney’s problem is the extreme ideology that he and his party embrace, which was highlighted by the primary process. That is what primaries are supposed to do.
See, I think Romney blew it when he took the easy way out in his choice of running mate.
You know who would have been a REALLY courageous choice for his VP?
Look at it this way: who else could have made Romney appear less sleazy than he actually is? Plus, it would have shown the various independent/low-information/braindead voters that he really did have a backbone, that he was willing to buck the TeaBaggers, and that he was willing to tack to the left (or should that be “port”?) to be a Preznit for 100 percent (or less) of America.
If only I had sent this to Mittens early on, Fehrnstrom would be trashpicking right now. And I sure as hell wouldn’t have made any idiotic “Etch-A-Sketch” comments. Hire ME, Mitt! I’d fix your campaign like it’s never been fixed!
[Disclaimer: I used to be a relatively strong Edwards supporter, way back when, but his scumbag behavior(s) changed that.]
ETA: Of course, he’d still have to get head from J-Rubes. I may be sleazy, but even I have standards.
To which positions are you referring? The position where Romney is pro-choice or the position where he’s a forced-birther? The position where he supports Ryan’s plan or the position where he doesn’t? Etc.
Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker
@ThatLeftTurnInABQ: as Rick Perlstein (I think) said, Nixon made Reagan (the government is your enemy) possible.
@Mike Lamb: I don’t think Willard gives a shit about anything–foreign policy, abortion, education, the environment, health care–anything except himself and his kind. He is being FLEECED at 13%. Thomas Franks’ new book is titled “PIty the Billionaire” or something like that. I don’t exactly what his hook is, but there is a very sincere sense of butthurt among the people who drove the country in to a ditch five years ago. They are genuinely appalled that people refuse to acknowledge that they are, in Jamie Dimon’s words, “the creators of everything”. That (plus the daddy issues/White Horse/Mormon Kennedy delusions) explains Willard.
beginning to suspect that these guys are the children of Nixon, well versed in dirty tricks, pulling words out of context, scaring voters but not really smart, just playing and gaming the system that they know so well. Still bound by the thinking that he who has the most money wins. They’re not about ideas, they’re about who is in control and making decisions and most of all, consolidating power.
@Face: Sorry. He seems to have said it.
@J. Michael Neal:
As a related aside, it is kinda interesting how a little segment of business news is focusing on a big drop in palm oil prices.
This is one of those stories that always make me wonder about the wider implications of this economic blip, on the US and on world markets.
Bush, Jr. never had to own the crazies. He was able to distance himself from them.
The Tea Party take over of the House in 2010 changed that and put the crazies in charge of driving the train.
I just don’t see anyone being able to sell what the GOP has become on a nationwide stage. I don’t see anyone being able to be likeable, with a platform of IGMFY.
Romney’s failing as a candidate are due to the modern Republican Party.
If Bush, Jr. ran on a platform of IGMFY in 2000, as opposed to Compassionate Conservatism, he’d not have kept it close enough to have the SCOTUS be a factor.
That’s actually a very good point. If there’s one thing these people have been consistent in, it’s their demonstrated capacity for devolution. Maybe once you go hack you really do never go back.
Come to think of it…Hopefully, DougJ will learn from the GOP’s mistake before it’s too late for him.
That was the real point of Clinton’s speech. He basically said, “These guys are pulling the wool over your eyes, here’s how, watch out for it.”
And, it appears, people are doing so.
Romney’s problem is that his actual substance (if we can locate any) is just purely toxic to about 73% of the electorate.
Next up: Willard laments the fact that submarines don’t have screen doors.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker:
If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk.
Giving rich people massive tax cuts and deregulation out the wazoo for the last thirty or forty years hasn’t made them happy (not the kind of rich people who vote Republican, at least). It’s simply made them greedier. At this point they’re like addicts waiting for their next fix of tax cuts, deregulation and union-busting, even though they already have more money and power than they could ever spend in ten lifetimes.
I don’t understand that kind of greed, but then I don’t understand any of the reasons that drive people to be Republican.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker:
Yup. But it was LBJ + Nixon that made it “the government is your enemy” rather than just “the GOP in power is your enemy”. That is why I find the firebagger LBJ worship so ironic and infuriating, because in the modern era Americans widespread and deep mistrust of the govt really started with LBJ. And yet LBJs mishandling of Vietnam and complusive lying about what we were doing over there really originated from his need to protect his political right flank while getting the Civil Rights Act, Medicare and the other Great Society legislation passed thru Congress and enacted into law. It is two sides of the same coin. And much of what Obama is struggling with today in trying to pass progressive legislation is rolling back that toxic legacy.
Are you saying that the state moved from moderate Republican to batshit crazy or to moderate Democrat? Or are you saying that the Oregon GOP was moderate and moved to batshit crazy?
@gene108: I am not willing to give Willard M. the pass and only blame the party. He is as much of a problem as the GOP is. The 47% tape and the last few weeks showed what he really believes and his intellectual prowess or the lack thereof and also spectacular lack of judgment. For example, Clint Eastwood and the Chair.
Rmoney’s a gutless weasel with no principles who folds like a Murphy Bed when under political pressure. Given the angry rabid GOP base, he was easily steered to the neanderthal hard-right.
And he can’t pull off the stupid-everyman-just-like-me image the Gooper drooler-base adores, the way GW Bush could. He’s a rich, bossy asshole who looks down on anyone not in his income bracket, and he can’t hide it.
I would say none of the above. Romney believes he is entitled to high political office, and is willing to adopt whatever positions are convenient to that end.
His only core belief is in his own greatness.
Indeed the Teabaggers were destined to drive the bus this year, and not only this year but in times to come. My thought during the Republican primaries was that the Marquis was the only Republican candidate who had a chance of winning in the general election, precisely because he wasn’t so completely marinated in teh crazy. None of the other candidates, popular though they might have been with wingnutteria, had a chance of achieving 270 electoral votes, being a collection of religious fanatics, serial philanderers and outright certifiable crazies. (Indeed, at least a couple of candidates fell into two categories.)
I was majorly wrong on two particulars; one being that Romney would be able to walk back the positions he took to win at least some wingnut votes. The other was that I saw Romney as being relatively moderate, at least for a Republican and certainly by comparison with the other Republican candidates.
Mittens was and is unable to walk back the positions he took to win wingnut votes. He can’t – he was not widely liked among the Republican base because they thought he wasn’t conservative enough, because of the Mormon factor and because he’s a rich Wall Street jerk who is not, to put it mildly, possessed of a warm and winning personality. If he attempted to moderate positions he took during the primaries, a lot of wingnuts would stay home on election day no matter how much they hate the black man in the White House. They’d rather see the Republican Party go down in ideologically pure flames than to win with a RINO, which they view as no better (and in some ways worse) than a Democrat.
Which defines the short term problem for Romney and the long term problem for the Republican Party. After decades of fueling what Driftglass refers to as the Pretty Hate Machine with resentment and yes, hate, stoked by Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Savage, et al, they have reached the point where any candidate acceptable to the hard core 27% is
unableunlikely to win in a general election. So-called moderate Republicans don’t have a prayer of winning a Republican primary. It’s why Mitch Daniels didn’t run, it’s why Jon Huntman’s candidacy was no more than a token gesture. It’s why Chris Christie won’t win a Republican in 2016; he appointed a Muslim to the state supreme court and they won’t have him. It’s why enablers and apologists like David Brooks, Andrew Sullivan and David Frum are all bemoaning the fact that the inmates have taken over the asylum – never mind that they aided, abetted and cheered the process while it was ongoing.
The Republicans have reached the point of ever diminishing returns from the strategy that won them five out of eight presidential elections beginning in 1980, and they have nothing with which to replace it. It doesn’t work any more because the electorate has changed, which is what the vote suppression effort is all about.
The subset of the Republican base that votes in primary elections don’t want a candidate who speaks in code, they want a candidate who explicitly takes their positions – positions which are highly unpopular with a growing majority of American voters. If/when Romney loses, they will double down on the craziness because to them the loss will be due to Romney’s not being conservative enough.
They want a candidate who plays to and expresses the resentment they have had poured into their ears and heads for forty years. Such a candidate, however, will not produce optimism and will not make people feel good about themselves, which is still how you win presidential elections (if you don’t steal them, that is).
Romney could still win; I never underestimate Republican shit-flinging/ratfucking abilities nor their ability to raise and spend money. The Romney campaign may be short on funds, but advocacy groups like American Crossroads surely are not. Nonetheless, I am beginning to think that the Republican Party in its current form is at long last coming to the end of the road. If they want to have a chance to win elections, sooner or later those who pass for Republican moderates (aka RINOs) are going to have to answer the shouts of “you’re a RINO!” with answering shouts of “you’re an idiot!” – at which point the party will split, which it appears to be in the process of so doing.
Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God
@Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker:
McCain had decent debate skills, and both (1) and (2) are pretty much what happened to him by the time the debates happened (“That One.”).
And the press actually likes McCain.
I expect Romney to do what Scott Brown did last week in his debate against Elizabeth Warren: Go negative, and get personal about it. Because there’s really nothing else for him to debate on at this point.
Romney is the guy who lost to the guy who lost to Bush in the primaries. The odds that he would be worse than Bush are roughly the odds you can now get on Obama winning the election.
I don’t think its failure is due to a growing sophistication in the electorate, but more because this type of resentment politics is geared toward appealing to a certain demographic that is shrinking in relative terms. Arguing, no matter how surreptitiously, that “the Latinos, blacks, and women are taking your shit” is going to see decreasing levels of success in an electorate where Latinos, blacks, and women are more and more becoming the decisive votes.
Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker
@Allen: My introduction to Rick Santorum was when Little Rikki challenged the courage and patriotism of Mark Hatfield, veteran of Iwo Jima, when Hatfield voted against a cosmetic piece of nonsense called the Balanced Budget Amendment.
This is the uncovered story of the campaign.
Romney is not a bad campaigner, nor a dumb politician. Unfortunately that has become the story.
In order to boost base turnout, and satisfy heavy hitter conservatives, Romney has to pander to the base, not just during the primary.
The Republican party and conservative policies simply are not popular in the broad electorate when spoken loud and clearly–ex. Todd Akin.
Romney really is the best they could have run.
Does anyone doubt that Santorum or Perry would be losing by an even wider margin to Obama? I daresay only a fool would believe a “true conservative” would be more competitive.
@Calouste: Good point!
ETA: Plus remember he was passed over as the VP candidate in favor of La Palin.
@cokane: Romney was the best of all the candidate running for the Republican nomination this year but he is definitely a worse candidate than Bush, and perhaps to some extent McCain, were.
Disagree on both counts.
Romney has been running for office since 1994 and has been elected to one office during that time, and that with less than 50% of the vote.
Grumpy Code Monkey
Hindsight being 20/20, I think it’s possible (in the sense that’s it’s possible to win the Powerball) than Romney could have won the primaries and the nomination without having gone full wingnut.
Fact – at least three GOP primary candidates were genuine clowns who were exposed as such the minute they opened their pie holes in public: Rick “Oops” Perry, Michele “AYIYIYIYIYI!” Bachman, and Herman “NEIN NEIN NEIN” Cain (no, the imagery doesn’t work, but I’m using it anyway).
Fact – Newtron was obviously not in it to win it; he was milking the publicity but had no intention of going all the way (otherwise
hehis staff would have made goddamned sure he was on the ballot in VA).
Fact – Huntsman’s name recognition was zero. No support network and no money was what did him in, not his (relatively) sane rhetoric.
Fact – Ron Paul’s base are stoners who hate paying taxes. They’re a loyal, but small and annoying, following.
I think Mitt could have held a more centrist line and still have come out on top just through simple attrition, although that would have been uncomfortable for everyone involved.
Not that we’ll ever know. And I’m not a wingnut, so my analysis could be completely off the mark. But, you know, it’s irresponsible not to speculate, so…
@Downpuppy: I was curious, and found this:
Romney takes statin…
More people should know that statins can cause memory problems. The brain is like 60% cholesterol. This is, excuse me, a no-brainer.
By all accounts, Romney was once considered pretty sharp. But maybe it’s not old age.
Romney IS the base. Of course he’s pandering, but folks, Romney IS the GOP base. He played a moderate in MA for a few years, but Romney is a economic conservative (likely an economic radical, but that’s debatable), a social conservative (his current policy aligns him with his church much more closely that Romney 1.0) and a foreign policy conservative. He hits on all three of the main GOP priorities. He’s the conservative real deal.
I want to say “he doesn’t care enough one way or another about too many of these issues to be the base,” but let’s be honest, neither do the GOP faithful. They look for a certain tone directed against certain demographics, and Romney has that in spades.
@FlipYrWhig: Agreed. We have to remember that at one point, Perry seemed like quite a formidable contender. I strongly suspect Mitt tacked far right in order to prevent Perry from staking out that space to himself.
I think if Mitt had gone more moderate and Perry had managed not to come off like an utterly incompetent boob, Perry wins the nomination. And nobody knew how badly Perry would blow it back when Mitt started his official campaign.
That said, the base is awfully radicalized and Mitt surely had to etch-a-sketch his abortion views, if nothing else. It’s just hard for me to imagine anyone other than Perry actually winning the nomination.
Well, I guess one possibility is that if Mitt had left an opportunity on his right flank, perhaps somebody else would have entered the race. Huckabee, maybe?
@J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: I agree that Santorum would have been the candidate that reflected Republican ideology more effectively and honestly than Romney. But Rick would never have chosen Christie as a running mate — he would have gone with someone like Jindal of Louisiana or Mike Huckabee or something. It would have been pure, distilled wingnut. But the moment in the debate where Santorum sincerely stated his desire to make witchcraft once again punishable by burning, as stated in the Old Testament, would have been clarifying and edifying for the nation.
@schrodinger’s cat: because Romney was perceived as too moderate at the time (a label he evidently swore never to be stuck with again). McCain needed a “game changer” — someone who could convince skeptical evangelicals and conservatives that McCain was really “one of them,” despite the fact that in earlier years, he had sometimes acted like he was in touch with reality and gave a shit about integrity.
romney didn’t go hard right to beat his primary opponents. romney went hard right during the primary because romney tells his audience whatever he thinks they want to hear and his audiences during the primary were almost all extremist wingnuts.
My own take? The Super PACs destroyed Romney.
Think about it.
The Super PACs let Newt Gingrich hang in there blasting away with those devastating movies and campaign ads that depicted Romney as a job cremator. Pundits have claimed that Obama cast Romney as a job destroyer early on, but they’re wrong — it was Romney’s Republican primary opponents, chiefly Newt Gingrich who early on brutally revealed the truth about Bain Capital and blasted away at Romney’s record of closing businesses and offshoring all the employees long before Obama even got started with his campaign ads. By the time the Republican primary was over, Romney’s public image was set in stone. He was the Job Destroyer, the Gordon Gecko of 2012, the man who got rich by shipping American jobs overseas.
That was possible only because the Super PACs allowed ultra-wealthy cranks to finance fringe candidates like Newt Gingrich with expensive attack ads long beyond the point in the Republican primary when Gingrich had lost.
So my take on this election is that Romney had lost the general election courtesy of Sheldon Adelson back in July. Gingrich destroyed Romney’s chances months before Obama even began to run ads. “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” is the attack ad that cast Romney as a Gordon Gecko villain, and it was financed by Adelson and created by Newt Gingrich’s campaign team.
All of the above is true.
I don’t think he had much of a choice. But I don’t see him as a person who particularly cares about his fellow man. He seems entirely without empathy to me. So I don’t think it was hard for him to take batshit wingnut positions.For Romney it’s whatever works to get you where you want to be. Once there, he’d be hosing us just like he hosed poor Seamus.