Sunday, September 16, 2012


The Romney campaign is struggling, and we already know that movement conservatives are planning to blame a Romney loss, if it happens, on Romney himself, for his alleged lack of conservative purism. Now we see, from a lengthy Politico story titled "Inside the Campaign: How Romney Stumbled," that Romney's team is going to blame chief campaign strategist Stuart Stevens, while the punditocracy is going to blame Romney-the-manager, not Romney-the-candidate:
Viewed warily by conservatives, known for his impulsiveness and described by a colleague as a "tortured artist," Stevens has become the leading staff scapegoat for a campaign that suddenly is behind in a race that had been expected to stay neck and neck through Nov. 6....

To pin recent stumbles on Stevens would be to overlook Romney’s role in all this. As the man atop the enterprise -- in effect, the CEO of a $1 billion start-up --Romney ultimately bears responsibility for the decisions he personally oversaw, such as the muffling of running mate Paul Ryan's strict budget message and his own convention performance....
When you read, at the outset of the story, that the speech commissioned for Romney to deliver at the Republican was scrapped, then another speech was scrapped, then a third was written, all in the eight days leading up to Romney's day in the convention limelight -- well, it's hard not to think the campaign is poorly run, and that the organizational skills of Stevens (and Romney) may be to blame. And when you go back to earlier coverage of Stevens -- for instance, this New York Times story from last September -- you get the feeling Stevens may be a bit of a flake:
"He is not a political consultant out of central casting," said Stephen Merrill, a former governor of New Hampshire. "When you sit down with him, you never know if the first sentence is going to be, 'I'm going to sail around the world,' or 'I'm going to write a book about moon exploration' or 'I'm going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.'"
The Politico story skirts the libel laws in hinting that Stevens may have a screw loose:
A mad-professor aura, combined with post-midnight calls to sleeping senior staffers, have led some colleagues to express increasing concern about what the campaign is doing to Stevens -- and what Stevens is doing to the campaign.
Romney isn't a particularly skilled politician, and his campaign is making a lot of mistakes. But in the event of a Romney loss, I fear we'll forget that he has a lousy message. He wants to cut taxes on the wealthy. He wants to gut programs like Medicare and Social Security. On social issues, he embraces the far right. On foreign policy, he wants to be another Bush. Pundits, please: don't forget that this is an important part of why he's losing. The Obama campaign has framed him as a heartless bastard and another George W. Bush because that's an accurate summation of his own stated stands on issues.

The country may be rejecting Romney personally, and it may be rejecting his campaign, but it's also rejecting Republicanism.

A failure to acknowledge that means the Beltway will be eager to give Republicans another do-over in 2014, just the way they got one in 2010 after Bush crashed and burned, and just the way they got one in 2000 after Newt Gingrich's fall from grace. We can't let that happen again.


Lit3Bolt said...

The media pushes for Republicans because they want narratives. They want Republicans to surge, to bounce back, to come from behind and to make the hail mary pass. Why? Because it's new, it's fresh, and Villagers want to meet new people and make more connections.

From a corporate media standpoint, the two party system is a god-send of endless sports narratives and national, partisan tribalism. What's this foolish of platforms, ideas, and policies when there's the much juicier stories of who isn't in the cool kids club vs. Obama is a dork or a nerd or maybe a stealth jock tee hee, I think he's got a crush on me.

Once you think of national political journalists as high school cheerleaders, it all makes sense.

bluespapa said...

The media narrative will be inside gossip, you know that. Then each journalist who got a couple of conversations with Romney insiders will have their own contributing detail.

The Republicans will decide that the so-called Republican Establishment foisted this RINO on them, when he won the delegates in the most open Republican primary and caucus season ever. They will be pissed, and they will demand conservative purity. Most House seats have been gerrymandered into safety, and Senate count will depend on whose terms are up.

The question is whether Republicans will face the responsibility of governing, or continue to try to sabotage the country to make a Democratic president look bad.

I'm not expecting miracles.

Frankly Curious said...

I think you're dead on about this. If the old Romney were running, he would be doing better.

I hate to read all this nastiness about Stevens. It sounds too much like what people say about me.

Victor said...

There's no denying that The Village is skewed towards Republicans.

And Republicans still remain brilliant at keeping it skewed that way.

Just look at the way they've whined away the last 3 weeks, bitching about the "Liberal Media."

Their ideas suck, they scare the living sh*t out of most people when they're factually explained, Mitt is a terrible candidate, and both he an Ryan are sociopaths - and it's ALL the fault of the MSM?

We have to hope that enough of our fellow citizens don't fall for them in the next few elections.

Somewhere in the next few elections, the demographics will force them to either start to try to appeal to women, brown people, and gays, or go down in flames with their old white male voters.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Victor, I note you did not cite working people, or so-called middle class people, or the ordinary folks of America on your list of those the GOP will have to try to appeal to.

So, you think they can keep their vicious neoliberalism but have to get rid of their socion side?

As if they could stand a chance as sheer libertarians with a neocon foreign policy and a "drugs and sex and rock 'n roll" plank in the platform?

Victor said...

The Republicans always have to hide what they want to do to workers and the middle class - see: "Compassionate Conservative" George W. Bush, who was plenty Conservative, but didn't have much, if any, compassion.

That, and they used wedge issues, like race, feminism, gay and immigrant rights.

They run on hate, fear, and queer - or, as candidate Obama said, "God, gays, and guns."

I few weeks ago, Romney and Ryans plan was explained to some voters, and they didn't believe it - no one could be that cruel and stupid, and hope to win an election.

What do you do if, when people find out what your plans really are?
You obfuscate, and point fingers..

And now that they're falling further and further behind, they will get increasingly more desperate.
I expect the next 7 weeks to be among the dirtiest in American political history.

Rugosa said...

Philo - women, brown people, and gays are also part of "working people, or so-called middle class people, or the ordinary folks of America." The Repubs are running on a platform of appealing to older white men - vote for us and things will be like they were in the 50s, with white men indisputably in charge! But we're not going back there.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Indeed, they are part of every class, as are white people.

But if you want to aim at the working class then you aim at the working class, not at a race, a gender, or a sexual orientation.

Victor said...

Democrats have a tough time aiming at the whole working class precisely because the Republicans have divided that class with race, gender, and sexual orientation - along with religion.

THAT is 'what's the matter with Kansas.'

Philo Vaihinger said...

Yes, and today is Monday.

Not worth yelling, though.

Victor said...

I wasn't yelling.

I can't "bold" here, so I chose to capitalize instead.

Steve M. said...

You can make something bold -- just put b in angle brackets at the start and /b in angle brackets at the end.

Victor said...