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So Much For The Myth Of The Efficient, Organized Romney Campaign

The post at Ace Of Spades by someone who had volunteered as a poll watcher for the Romney campaign is really quite revealing. Rather than quoting it at length, I’ll just recommend reading the whole thing.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. KariQ says:

    A friend of mine has worked on several campaigns over the years, and gave me the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten about watching an election: how the candidates run their campaign is how they will govern if they win. Romney’s campaign never seemed focused or efficient to me, but this is a bigger mess than I would have anticipated.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  2. Anon says:

    This post over at PowerLine is amusing in retrospect.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. Jr says:

    I have said from the primaries that they were running a crappy campaign. Romney was just lucky to be running against clowns like Perry, Newt, Cain etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. DC Loser says:

    Best military analogy – No plan survives first contact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. Doug Deal says:

    It’s not Romney, as he did not control the minutia of the campaign, but whoever ran it was overly paranoid and control. Unfortunately this is pandemic in Republican campaigns. I have never been an admirer of Republican political consultants/campaign managers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  6. Janis Gore says:

    Wow. That sounds like Sunoco.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. Fiona says:

    Wow. What a clusterf**k.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  8. Anderson says:

    What a stupid blog you linked to. Obama wickedly discouraged voting for Romney by saying bad things about him – and that’s somehow cynical and unethical?

    I keep trying to think Repubs aren’t just stupid, but the Internet makes that difficult. Very, very difficult.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  9. Geek, Esq. says:

    Per Allahpundit (the last sane Republican partisan?):

    Instead, news is breaking tonight that even though Nate Silver and Drew Linzer and Simon Jackman and various other statistical modelers all had a high degree of confidence in how the election would go by the end, Romney himself was reportedly genuinely shellshocked when he realized he’d lost. (An NYT story on his address to staffers notes that defeat seemed to “genuinely startle him.”) According to a senior advisor, “I don’t think there was one person who saw this coming.” With all the information they’d gathered from months of polling and voter outreach, no one inside the campaign had an inkling that Obama’s model of the election might be right? Even though Romney ended up trailing in the last national poll average before election day too? One Republican operative wondered to Politico whether the campaign’s cheery poll spin was a head fake, aimed at boosting GOP morale, or evidence that they just weren’t that smart. Now we know.

    Organizational incompetence and Dean Chambers as their internal pollster. How did Obama not beat him by 5+ points?

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  10. bookdragon says:

    Wow. If this is what a Romney organization is like, THANK GOD he wasn’t elected. The last thing we need in the White House is a Dilbertesque pointy-haired manager.

    Oh, and if Romney had ever worked as, say, a community organizer, he might have had a little insight into how this should be done and, maybe more importantly, what could go wrong and how to account for problems so that they wouldn’t crippled the whole effort.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  11. jukeboxgrad says:

    This post over at PowerLine is amusing in retrospect.

    It sure is, and it needs to be read together with this:

    Somebody said Orca is lying on the beach with a harpoon in it

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  12. Anon says:

    It’s ironic that the supposed genius CEO turns out to be a terrible manager. And these are the “job creators”? The emperor has no clothes.

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  13. An Interested Party says:

    It sure is, and it needs to be read together with this

    That read was quite a pip, especially this gem from Frank Luntz…

    “Barack Obama was able to define Mitt Romney before Mitt Romney defined Mitt Romney,” Luntz explained. “The people in places like Ohio had decided that Mitt Romney was not a decent guy before they realized that he actually was a decent guy. [The campaign] didn’t respond. These ads crushed them, and they were on week after week with no response from the Romney campaign.”

    Poor Mitt…he was Swiftboated!!!

    It’s ironic that the supposed genius CEO turns out to be a terrible manager.

    This is similar to how a political party does everything it can to paint government as a horrible, evil thing while that party’s members do everything they can to get elected to positions of power in government…and then turn out to be horrible at governing…

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  14. jukeboxgrad says:

    More priceless background. HuffPo, 11/1:

    Project ORCA: Mitt Romney Campaign Plans Massive, State-Of-The-Art Poll Monitoring Effort …

    …Romney’s … campaign has been quietly assembling a massive, technologically sophisticated poll monitoring program that staffers believe will be their secret weapon … “There’s nothing that the Obama data team, there’s nothing that the Obama campaign, there’s nothing that President Obama himself can do to even come close to what we are putting together here,” Romney Deputy Political Director Dan Centinello said…

    “The governor loves seeing data, he loves seeing numbers and he’s a very strategic person; he’s a very smart man,” Centinello said … “So he actually loves being inside these war rooms, seeing the data come in and seeing exactly what’s going on out there, so we can all put our heads together and say, ‘Okay, we need to move resources here. We need to shift resources from here.’ ”

    … the campaign sent volunteers a video from Romney, thanking them for their help. “With state-of-the-art technology and an extremely dedicated group of volunteers, our campaign will have an unprecedented advantage on Election Day,” said Romney.

    “Project ORCA will give us an enormous advantage on Election Day,” added Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul …. “By knowing the current results of a state, we can continue to adjust and micro target our get-out-the-vote efforts to ensure a Romney victory.” …

    Vincent Harris, the founder and CEO of the conservative digital advertising and marketing firm Harris Media, said he wouldn’t doubt that the Obama campaign has something similar set up, since it has consistently been on the cutting edge of digital politics. But he said that Project ORCA will nevertheless give the Romney team a “huge advantage. … They have so much data and it all is coming to a head on Election Day — six years of data-capture, six years of data-gathering, all culminating on Election Day … And this new tool is the key to using that data.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  15. jukeboxgrad says:

    There are over 500 comments on that Ace of Spades post. Of course personally I am above schadenfreude, so I wouldn’t read them all for that reason. However, I did read them all; it must have been for some other reason.

    I will share some of my favorites. First here are a few that follow a similar theme, so I grouped them together.

    Maybe the ORCA admins were donk plants

    Someone really needs to look into who designed this thing… what company… And who THEY supported… a quick perusal of Campaign contributions may be enlightening.

    Surprise surprise… Team Obama did their dirty trick by infiltrating the opponents GOTV… probably wasn’t too tough with HQ in ultraliberal Boston

    we need to find out which company supposedly built this thing…. and do a little investigation.

    who the hell built this ORCA thing ? axelrod ??

    Sounds like sabotage man.

    Someone earlier up the thread asked if the people running ORCA may have been donk plants and that it was therefore designed to be a cluster. At this point I see no reason not to take this question seriously. By the way, a couple days before the election I tried to raise concerns about ORCA here but I got shouted down by a bunch of Morons who accused me of being a concern troll. The only upside of this is that I was vindicated. What an awful upside.

    This ORCA thing really bothers me. Who from the Romney campaign bought it? Did they buy it from Microsoft or was that just an assumption my friend made? I know they explained it to Priebus as some sort of great thing because he was very enthusiastic about the GOTV effort. Didn’t anyone ask for tests and demonstrations? Was the system compromised? Who was in charge of contacting volunteers? Who was in charge of getting those emails sent out? I myself volunteered and never heard a thing. Also, I have a friend who ordered stuff from the Romney store and it took over 2 months to arrive. She got her shirt about a week before the election. That is crappy. So who was in charge of that? I really want the story on this because if this was a case of hubris or incompetence, that’s one thing. If there were infiltrators and sabotage, that’s another.

    The system was infiltrated and simple little bugs were put in place. Who doesn’t run a test first using the people that’s going to use it?

    ORCA smells like “saboteur”

    it looks like moonbats infiltrated Orca.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  16. jukeboxgrad says:

    Here’s one comment I especially like:

    As one of the 800 or so volunteers at ORCA HQ, I can confirm what a staggering failure this was. From Start to Finish. We were originally asked to be there at 5:15am, then at the Monday night training Dan said he wanted us up an running at 5:15. I headed out and arrived home in Douglas, MA at 10 and went to bed, setting my alarm for 2:50. Out the door quickly and arrived in Boston at 4:15, to be greeted by a traffic jam of eager voluteers with Mitt and Scott Brown Stickers on their cars all waiting to be let in…THE GARAGE DOOR WAS CLOSED. We sat outside for about 45 minutes. No Joke.

    Inside, I was assigned to the North Carolina Pod. We got set up and nobody knew how to get online or what passwords were. Phones kept dying and the net went down a few times. Made some morning calls to our poll watchers in NC and reached maybe 1 out of every 15-20 live.

    Turns out many watcher got the info monday night and had been assigned to polls 2 hours away and were unwilling or unable to make the trip so they just passed. Many of those who did get out were greeted by Poll workers who booted them due to lack of credentials.

    As for the phone calls going unanswered, as soon as the phone rang in our pod we picked up right away, almost having to have your hand on the phone to get the call, otherwise someone beat you to it. As the day wore on and the NC dashboard remained empty, some of us got the impression things were not working, and this was confirmed by calls from people unable to log on to the web app.

    Our pod chief assured us that the system was working flawlessly for the majority of pollwatchers, and we were just getting calls from people having problems, but like I said, we sat the whole day and not a single status came up on the dashboard.

    About 1:30 they figured out the wrong passwords were sent out to the ENTIRE list of NC poll watchers, so we were each given a list to call with new passwords. I could hear the older gentleman next to me give incorrect instructions to at least 4-5 different people, despite my attempts to correct him (No, the new password is the precinct number, NOT the precinct number and last name!) …

    Communication to us minions was very poor throughout the day and many of us were given the impression that the system was working great for every state except ours.

    In the end most of us knew we hadn’t made a bit of difference but we stayed to watch the results after the phone calls stopped coming in. We saw the numbers slipping away and when Pennsylvania was called so quickly I knew it was the end, tho I stayed until Ohio was called on the jumbotron.

    Felt used. Burned. Project ORCA ended up with a harpoon in its side and washed up on shore, lifeless.

    We were told we were the tip of the spear. We felt like we were the butt of the joke.

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  17. jukeboxgrad says:

    Now here are a bunch of others, more or less in order of appearance. I know it looks like I’m pasting in the whole thread, but this is just the best 20%, and edited:

    Ah, Republicans. They were a funny species.

    You mean to tell me this was one gigantic FACEPALM? Or perhaps a DOUBLE FACEPALM?

    oh jesus christ, this brings tears to my eyes.

    Well in light of the clusterfark of their mission critical ORCA operation, I shouldn’t bitch about the fact that I never got my “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose” bracelets and “This Man Will Not Fail” bumper sticker.

    So apparently Romney was rubbing two sticks together while Obama had a Zippo. Good to know.

    But the most important question is— did you remember your chair? [note: you have to read the article to get the joke]

    We had the latest technology in abacuses.

    Not only did this fail epically, it prevented 30,000 of the most die hard volunteers from accomplishing anything on election day.

    Project ORCA is a massive undertaking–an all-too-predictable technocratic “results-oriented enterprise solution leveraging client-based data to positively impact voter buy-in and commitment.” Could only have come from a Romney campaign, or, if you will, “a nationally-scalable management consulting platform to fully realize and leverage full-resource realization of electoral enterprise exploitation. Fully.”

    In the most GOP precinct in my city. Voted at 6AM. Got phone calls all day reminding me to vote. Got the last call at 6:59PM. The polls closed at 7PM. Clusterfvck. Oh yeah, my sister voted 2 weeks before the election. She was still getting calls on election day. Did I say clusterfvck?

    So we’re in the future now? Cool!

    It is hard not to feel lied to, given the hype.

    It really needed to be tested before. Why uneducated terrorists understand the idea of dry runs and these guys didn’t is beyond me.

    I live in WI and volunteered for ORCA in early Oct. Completed the training online. Participated in the conference calls. And never heard another word from them. I emailed every day and called several times. Nothing. I checked on 6 precincts within 30 minutes of my house by asking friends who voted in them to look. There were zero ORCA volunteers in any of them. Zero. In Wisconsin.

    I’m a senior person at a consultancy who does Enterprise-grade web development as his bread and butter. This completely blows my mind. Utterly inexcusable. Don’t know what to say. Thanks for the inside look. All the questions that we ask going into a project “How will we test?” “How many dry runs shall we do?” “How can we get this into the hands of power users ahead of time?” seem to have been completely ignored. Almost feels like a case of someone not knowing what they doing and utterly refusing to even acknowledge best practices as it would show everyone… that they didn’t know what they were doing.

    So it would be accurate to say that team Romney was: A STUTTERING CLUSTERFVCK OF A MISERABLE FAILURE!

    It’s called the stupid party for a reason.
    Don’t respond on key issues or respond inadequately? Check
    Don’t do your homework? Check
    Don’t adequately prepare staff and volunteers? Check
    Don’t actively combat fraud? Check
    Don’t aggressively undermine MSM-generated marketing? Check
    Don’t win? CHECK

    As the coblogger who put the link to this POS in our sidebar, I offer my sincere and heartfelt apologies to all of you morons who signed up.

    I was signed up as an OCRA volunteer and I got a sick feeling in the first phone call when I was told, “We definitely want only the best and most qualified volunteers for this” and suspected I would be asked to invest in a time share by the time the call was through.

    Andy, it’s not like Mitt Romney had, oh, six years to prepare.

    Breaking: Romney forgot to rub his lucky rabbit’s foot night before election.

    I sense a bit of black humor is about to appear on this thread.

    … they never told me what was going on … Just totally, completely, utterly disorganized. As much as Mitt put a polished face on the campaign, I think underneath it was all a bubbling mess.

    That Romney organization is headed by a real leader, a turnaround artist, who knows how to get things done. Don’t any of you dare say otherwise.

    So the Romney campaign was an even bigger clusterfvck than McCain campaign. Awesome.

    Private sector experience! Turn-around artist! Professional executive! Yaaayyyy!

    Please be sure to complete the user satisfaction survey that you will be receiving via email in the next few days.

    “So did you remember your chair?”
    This, perhaps, was the bitterest irony of all.
    Posted by: Clint Eastwood

    We lost by a total of 366k votes in four states. Yes, I’d say these failures were very very decisive.

    My husband and I voted Oct. 18th, the first day of early voting in NC, and we got phone calls every day including Election Day. One day we got 9 or 10 calls. Seems like resources were allocated poorly.

    So, there I was – laptop, internet hotspot … – all ready to participate in the great big R&R win. In what was probably a serious violation of countless state and Federal election laws, I was literally online for several hours trolling *inside* the polling place. … nobody ever said anything. I had zero desire to do anything illegal, but it was nice to see all those glowing reports of turnout numbers from Breitbart and others during the day…it really helped my buzz… I was reading the reports real-time from Fox and Breitbart, this sucker was *in* *the* *bag*…I *had* to get home in time to see Beckel’s head explode on The Five, you know. … The hardest part of the day – not using all of the glorious information delivered to me personally by the Internet in gloating to the OFA volunteer sitting next to me about how bad his guy was going to get killed. Man, I’m glad I kept my mouth shut.

    Well, so much for Romneys vaunted organizational prowess.

    I also signed up for ORCA. The first time I signed up I never heard back. So I signed up again. This time I got an email saying it would take a couple days to process me into their system. After that I was asked to particiapte in the above mentioned “training call” which wasn’t really training. Then I was told I’d get a packet. I never got it.

    We lost VA, OH, CO and FL by a combined total of 375,000 votes. An effective GOTV effort may have turned this election to Romney. So yes, it was consequential.

    I often could not contribute to the Romney campaign from 3 different computers with different OSs. Their Donation shopping cart page malfunctioned due to poor design and programming, informing me in database speak that several fields were empty when they were not. I wrote them and told them to fire the webmaster as he was derelict in his or her duty. This went on for 3 months. I wonder how much money they lost as a result. One guy called me from the Romney campaign in Boston and told me they were aware of the problem but that I could contribute by phone. Huh? Why not just get the problem fixed?

    holly cow ! that is mind blowing. zero had the google and facebook guys working on his tech stuff , and we had this ?!

    Whoever put Paul Bremer in charge of this effort?
    (ducks)

    The big difference for the Romney campaign this time is– with all the “technological improvements” they might have more effectively, and efficiently spread the “we don’t need you”, and “we are disorganized” message to a vastly greater number of people.

    ORCA: The proverbial whale-oiled machine.

    if the candidate can’t even run an organized campaign, then he sure as Hell doesn’t deserve the chance to run the country.

    I was involved with the Colorado legal hotline, and everything in this post about Project ORCA is spot on. It was a complete disaster. It also distracted our pollwatchers from actually paying attention to what was going on around them.

    “Hey Mr. Orca, are the packets on their way?”
    “No, sorry Boss. I’m still licking stamps!”

    I had a similar experience there in the war room in Boston. Over promised, underdelivered, to the volunteers and to the GOTV. When the software broke down, they told us to use our personal email and fostering things by hand over the phone. Which would be great but there weren’t enough phones. It was a nightmare.

    My house got a crap-load of calls too – 4-5 a day for weeks on end. I just assumed they were calling to encourage my sister to vote, since she is registered Republican and hasn’t voted here in the last couple elections (because she has been married and living in Kansas for eight years….).

    Team Mitt wanted you to have an extra chair in case Clint Eastwood showed up…he needed something to yell at.

    Colorado election law bans all electronic devices from polling sites, so basically people couldn’t enter data into ORCA without stepping 100 feet outside the polling side. What a goddamn failure.

    I’d get people killed if I delivered a product like that, so let me add my professional disapproval.

    It was a terrible insult to the people that volunteered their time. This was the first campaign that I volunteered for, but will never do so again. A complete and total failure.

    Because the Republican party is stupid. It’s a sad day in the world when Democrats are smarter and do things that much better than Republicans.

    It should have been Operation Tyrannosaur.

    I was an ORCA volunteer in Central PA. … My problem came when I attempted to log-in. Evidently all in PA were given 7-digit passwords when the “app” would only take 5 digits. They called with new password, but then the “app” didn’t work. Turns out the default browser on my Samsung Galaxy S III wouln’t work with their site. They didn’t have any suggestions when I called about it. …

    Who the hell came up with the name ORCA anyway? Should have been named TURD.

    Did anyone else participate in the MASSIVELY OVERHYPED Monday night call? I got multiple emails teasing an important call on election eve, featuring … two VERY special guests! Pretty cool, I thought! … Marco Rubio. Newt? Dick Morris? Anyone? Well no. There was no additional info, just the introduction of our two VERY special guests, pollster Neil Newhouse and Rich Beeson. … Newhouse gets on and tells us that Romney is up by one nationally in Rasmussen and Gallup. Which of course everyone on the call already knew … So thanks for telling us nothing. … He says that internals show 6 races in swing states within two points. So get out there and do good work, because these are margin of error races. Thanks. That was it. … which is really saying “we’re down in six swing states and can’t even say any that we are winning.” It was the most demoralizing call they could have had. They simply should not have even done it. I told my aunt about it (she was supposed to be on the call, but couldn’t get through). She was completely demoralized too. Of course, 24 hours later I understood. The internals were right. They trailed in every single freaking swing state. But why even have that call? And why tease it as getting to hear from a couple of special guests, when it is a couple of people nobody cares about? … This didn’t cause Romney to lose, but it was a telling, frustrating experience.

    The stupid party. Huh. If only we were as organized and ruthless as they say

    Well, it looks like all the assurances that Mitt Romney had the infrastructure and organization and competence since he’d been running for President for so long were a bit overblown.

    ORCA sux whale dick.

    We were totally outmatched … I could not believe the number of voters that were driven to the polls by Obama’s team. Parking was really tight … I could see the Obama drag and drop operation first hand. They had quite the operation going.

    JFC it just gets better and better

    [the buttons were just static images... nothing happens at all when you press them to signify your action was triggers.] That threw me for a while, too. No status, nothing. Then again, the relevant human interface standards only came about in 1984.

    Now that it’s all over, I’m going to say that I did find Romney pretty offputting. I completely believe that he’s an honorable, honest guy, but somehow he just gives off a “used car salesman” vibe. I got past it (and kept my mouth shut about it during the campaign), but I’m thinking that a lot of others didn’t. “Not one of us” is exactly the phrase.

    My outrage meter has blown an gasket and is leaking my brains all over the place. I need to take a break from this shit, I’m exhausted. A couple of weeks of video games, pron and booze should do the trick. See ya’s.

    Who were these IT morons, rejects from the Geek Squad? Even if you are dumb enough to put an untested system into production, you ALWAYS have a backup plan. “Would you consider that a design problem, or a launch problem?”

    Mitt’s major selling point was his awesome, clockwork campaign and organization. Which apparently was overhyped.

    My husband and I both signed up 2 weeks before the election. We both received initial emails saying we’d be contacted by someone soon, but we never were. I was never able to get in touch with someone, despite calling and emailing.

    There was a lot of “if you don’t know what ORCA is then you aren’t doing your part” faggotry being tossed about.

    This explains a lot. I think I’m going to go throw up now. Romney was supposed to be this uber-competent guy, but I guess they were too inexperienced in this sort of thing.

    Obviously Mitt was under the impression that it was all taken care of.

    ORCA would be the name of the guy who raped me before you forced me to have the baby right?
    Posted by: 25 year old female college grad with 75k in student debt

    I posted here on Sunday that things were FUBAR with ORCA, but later asked Ace to delete the post as I didn’t want to provide aid and comfort to the opposition. Here in Jefferson County, Colorado, I was told on Monday by a worker at the Victory (ha!) HQ that not only was my name not on “the list”, but that over 200 people had shown up looking for poll-watcher “credentials”(!). She sounded quite put-out about it too. She wanted to know how I had signed up … In other words, the local office acted as if ORCA was something they’d never heard of before Monday afternoon. When I asked for the contact given me by Dan Centinello (natl coordinator) she hung up on me. After hours of “training”, even more hours spent trying to get my materials from my local HQ, Tuesday morning I gave up.

    ORCA – a name that looks cool if it ends up working. Stupidly ridiculous if it doesn’t.

    Team Mitt wanted you to have an extra chair in case Clint Eastwood showed up…he needed something to yell at.

    naming the organization after a crappy 1970’s Jawsknock off probably didn’t help

    signed up to help never heard back…..signed up to make calls got internal error message that would be fixed….went back a couple of times same message

    I understand that most of us here are still in the denial stage, but eventually we have to own up to the fact that the GOP is a beacon of Fail and Romney was a blank shot from the beginning.

    I take it this master plan was implemented two weeks before the election.

    Jesus Christ on a pogo stick. And they ask me why I fucking drink.

    Glad it wasn’t just me that had trouble. I signed up to help with Project ORCA in August. Did the online certification, waited for my packet to come in the mail. Never received anything just e-mails about training calls at times I was never able to attend. … Tried to connect to the last conference call Monday night to listen to the 2 special guests – just kept getting system busy tone and never could connect. … Wonder how much money was spent on a system that didn’t work – guessing if you could follow the money you might be surprised who benefited the most.

    So how does one go about closing a community organizing gap that exists versus the country’s professional union and community organizers? A bracero program for community organizers?

    After the convention when Romney was still being outspent by Obama on commercials some of us asked why he wasn’t spending. I recall being told that GOTV was very expensive so he was saving resources for that. I would like to know who got the contract for ORCA and how much they got paid. I DEMAND to know that before I give to the GOP/RNC again.

    Any other dopes that did the RR Project Orca fiasco? The smartphone link never worked for users in PA and who know where else. Now I have to manually enter all votes by touch tone phone? What is this… 1984? The Dem poll watcher was laughing at me…what an embarrasment…. I did finally have someone from ORCA call me jokingly tell me thanks for the help buy we weren’t going to win PA…. I also heard from someone in the PA GOP that the ORCA voter information was never used. I think I’ll step away from politics for a while….

    I would hope the Daily Caller who was eager to do exposes of RNC spending way back when, do some digging and tell us who was in charge of this crap sandwich so we can make sure he (or she) never works again.

    By the way- this should amuse all- the Romney tshirts and bumper stickers I ordered a month and a half go were finally sent- on election day. They will arrive at the house soon.

    There was an ad from some leftist site (Slate maybe?) a few weeks ago about our operation on targeting. Quoted our guys with their great system w/ the Dems laughing, saying the technology was advanced…..5 years ago. Dismissed it due to the source, but there is probably something to it.

    Over the weekend I wanted to volunteer. I went to Mitt’s web site and clicked “Volunteer”. Totally useless, just generic bullshit about where to register to vote in my state … Oh and of course front and center there was the DONATE button, even though just a couple of days earlier I read the campaign had more money than it knew what to do with. So I finally stumbled on the call from home app. Damn thing crashed on me twice before it finally started working. I started making calls. The script was awful. … And here’s the best part…before doing all this, on Friday I sent an email to the campaign saying basically I live in this city, my state is solid blue but I want to help out in other ways. Here’s my phone number, here’s my email address. Get in touch with me. I still have yet to get a reply to that email. Absolutely pathetic GOTV operation all around. This is why IMO Obama won. He used Facebook, Twitter to perfection. He used data mining … What do we do? Not even answer an email from someone asking to volunteer. Pathetic. Just fvcking pathetic. And the even more pathetic thing is in 2016 it will be the same thing.

    I called and emailed the ORCA people several times. The ‘Command Center’ phone line said on Monday night: “Call back at 5 am when we open. Click”. Called at 7 am, couldn’t ‘log in’. Told to call back every 10 minutes. Really? Tried once per hour until 6 pm– FAIL. EPIC FAIL. … These ORCA folks were like Baghdad Bob : It’s all good! We have good information coming, call in 10 minutes, get to the polls at 6:45 am, here’s your packet at 9pm the evening before via email, print out 30 pages… nevermind you can’t use cell phones in the polling places. Just no clue about how things are done, no training, nothing. Epic fail and it didn’t just hurt Romney, it’s why we lost ground in the house and Senate as well. Notice it happened in Ohio too. Iowa, Ohio, Virginia… noticing a trend ANYONE? HELLO?

    My county GOP chairman emailed me the above information. On Monday. Because he had suddenly gotten word of some secret Project ORCA, didn’t know what the hell it was but wanted to inform those of us who intended to participate that we wouldn’t be permitted in the polling place. Strangely, it’s good to know that I wasn’t the only one who got caught up in this “great idea”.

    I worked in FL poll ORCA. … Nothing promised about project was provided.. My transmission was via cell call and inputting it manually. It was a NIGHTMARE!

    The ORCA helpline was never answered any time during the day … I never was able to access the Website at all–and until I read this article had no idea it was the “s” in https: that was causing my smartphone to fail to connect. … Unmitagated disaster is exactly what this lousy ORCA project was. The two other Romney pollwatchers and I gave up at about 3pm when nothing was working … I would not be a bit surprised if this software disaster cost Romney the election in Virginia. I wouldn’t pay the programmers a dime.

    You see, it wasn’t all about Romney. There were tight house and senate races and local state house races where ‘get out the vote’ efforts make a HUGE difference. The ORCA system washed out all of that in favor of ‘their way’. Most of us have been doing this for a decade or more. The Romney people led our people to ‘trust them’ and now not only is Mitt out, so our many of our people who could have made it. Where were the adults a week out who should have noticed is wasn’t ready for prime time, and told all the people in the field to rev-up and print out the voter lists and do it as we’ve known how these many years?

    I voted in Virginia around 9:30 in the morning and asked the folks handing out sample ballots about ORCA. Same story – the woman with the cell phone couldn’t access the site and had been calling the help “hotline” for hours without being able to reach anybody.

    And THIS is the monumental fuck-up you wanted to put in charge of the nation? Tell me again who really screwed up here, the campaign or the fools that bought their message.

    I signed up and someone called me to schedule. We set it up and when she was getting ready to hang up, I asked if I needed credentials. That was when she told me that I needed to go the the Victory Office. If I would not have asked, I would have been in the same boat as you. The night before I got an email with the packet but it said that I was not needed.

    well, one of the chairs had to be empty of course.

    Well then, guess it’s a good thing they didn’t win. Can you imagine running the whole country with that level of incompetence?

    I never received my packet. I also signed up for Lawyers for Romney and never heard back. We need to better organized if we plan on taking this country back.

    I’m still so amazed that a week out the adults in the Republican establishment couldn’t see this disaster in the making, rightly assess the tragedy it would impose on local candidates as well as state and congressional, and downsize it. Who was drinking all this technology koolaid?

    None of the help numbers ever answered. I finally contacted local GOP who told me the that the project had crashed. This was the first tickle in my throat that sickness was upon us. My life experiences have taught me that when a huge event or project goes wrong and or makes no sense from the level of effort involved, look to what it is a cover for.

    I was on the other end, on the Boston Celtics home court. I got up at 4 am and got home little before midnight. I got to sit for 16 hours on a folding metal chair. I went to “training” at the Garden Monday night. Another 6 hours including driving. I was one of the 900 people trying to assist you folks in the field. … The system was down more than it was up. … Thank God I thought to bring a cushion for the chair. It was fun and frustrating. They told us they didn’t start setting up the project until May. Software was designed from scratch. All new concept: all the faults we encountered were inevitable, I guess. Most of my advice when folks were stymied was to go to the Victory Center and make phone calls.

    I received two precinct assignments 2 days prior and tried to straighten it out. Local victory office knew nothing. … Login worked but list had a lot of gaps and never got over about 30% capture. What a giant waste of time and effort.

    There’s been no small amount of print (or zeroes and ones) dedicated to the question of how a community organizer from Chicago could rise to become President of the United States. I guess this post just illustrates the advantage that a community organizer has over a CEO that doesn’t think about the things that somebody who doesn’t have access to corporate support needs to get out the vote.

    OMG. The more I read the more ill to my stomach I become.

    Surprise! The party that rejects math, science, and statistics can’t run a website! When you seek to attract the least educated, least informed voters, you should not be surprised when you get volunteers who can’t type “https”.

    You know what? Out of all these conversations, out of all this frantic keying in voter’s names, not one bit has been said about what was done with that data. Was it really all entered into some computer server somewhere–and then NOTHING was done with it?! I’ve read the Ds took their punch lists of voters and actually got them to the polls, but with our vaunted ORCA program and its failures, did anyone actually use this data to find voters who did not make it to the polls and actually take them there to cast their ballot? That’s the question no one is answering.

    [Note: when you see "fvck," it's like that because I changed it. The other site allows the proper spelling, but this site doesn't.]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. ernieyeball says:

    I could hear the older gentleman next to me give incorrect instructions to at least 4-5 different people, despite my attempts to correct him (No, the new password is the precinct number, NOT the precinct number and last name!) …

    Clearly this guy was an Obama operative…I’ll bet he jammed the garage door too!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  19. jukeboxgrad says:

    Clearly this guy was an Obama operative

    A lot of the commenters seriously suspect sabotage, and you can see why: because it was so intensely, colossally bad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  20. swbarnes2 says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Instead, news is breaking tonight that even though Nate Silver and Drew Linzer and Simon Jackman and various other statistical modelers all had a high degree of confidence in how the election would go by the end, Romney himself was reportedly genuinely shellshocked when he realized he’d lost. (An NYT story on his address to staffers notes that defeat seemed to “genuinely startle him.”) According to a senior advisor, “I don’t think there was one person who saw this coming.”

    That quote needs to be at the top of the OTB front page for the next year. Romney didn’t know he was going to lose. He was so feckless, so unused to hearing hard, true things, and so determined never to hear them, that he surrounded himself with yes-men, and was completely misled. He was woefully, woefully wrong, and all it would have taken was 5 minutes on the internet to learn the truth, and he literally could not do that.

    And this is the man James wanted to run our country for 4 years.

    Those of you wanting some kind of Republican reform…if James votes for Republicans who are so horrendously stupid and ignorant, where is this groundswell of reasonable Republicans going to come from? Because if James won’t support it, who will?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  21. Mr. Replica says:

    That was a good read, Doug, thanks. I would like to add this contribution as well.

    Mitt Romney’s Campaign Cancels Staffers Credit Cards In The Middle Of The Night

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  22. MM says:

    A lot of the commenters seriously suspect sabotage, and you can see why: because it was so intensely, colossally bad.

    I think that beyond the efficiency of ORCA, The fact that the right wing’s immediate response is still to blame liberals is the real issue.

    If you can’t even begin to admit that you have screwed up, you will never perform better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  23. jukeboxgrad says:

    The fact that the right wing’s immediate response is still to blame liberals is the real issue.

    Yes, there are a bunch of comments claiming the system failed because it was sabotaged, and also a bunch of comments claiming Mitt lost because of voter fraud. Also a bunch of comments blaming voters, like this one from hotair:

    It shouldn’t have taken ORCA to get our people to the polls. Everyone knew there was an election and who was on the ballot. If people can’t get off their butt to vote against the worst president in history, we are doomed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. superdestroyer says:

    Romney had been running for president for six years and still did not have a full gasp of the issues, how the government works, or policy. Does anyone really believe that someone who was so disinterested in politics or governance was really going to run an efficient or well run campaign.

    Does anyone really believe that a political party that has alienated the Ivy Leaguers and is run by college drop outs like Karl Rove was going to run an effective campaign?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  25. grumpy realist says:

    And the great “CEO” in charge of this is the person roughly half of the US want to put in charge of the country?

    Community organizer 1, CEO 0

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  26. @jukeboxgrad: God, Vincent Harris? Now everyone in national politics knows what it used to be like for us poor bastards in Virginia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  27. jukeboxgrad says:

    Community organizer 1, CEO 0

    Yes, exactly. As bookdragon said:

    if Romney had ever worked as, say, a community organizer, he might have had a little insight into how this should be done

    And as a couple of Ace’s commenters said:

    So how does one go about closing a community organizing gap that exists versus the country’s professional union and community organizers? A bracero program for community organizers?

    There’s been no small amount of print (or zeroes and ones) dedicated to the question of how a community organizer from Chicago could rise to become President of the United States. I guess this post just illustrates the advantage that a community organizer has over a CEO that doesn’t think about the things that somebody who doesn’t have access to corporate support needs to get out the vote.

    Nobody says ‘power to the people’ anymore, but that’s what this story is about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  28. superdestroyer says:

    test

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  29. Jen says:

    This is well and truly astonishing. Boatloads of cash, and six years of running bought them this? Compare this to the Time/Swampland piece about Obama’s data-driven campaign.

    For contrast: I’m a registered undeclared in NH. I voted in the Republican primary–this is public record. We were contacted a few months ago via a polling call, and when it was determined the household was leaning to Obama, we were contacted by phone, by someone locally (caller ID). She touched base with us periodically throughout the campaign, not overly aggressive, just checking in. As the election drew near, we received more frequent calls, more often than not by the same young lady. We had OFA people knock on the door on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday. The last call I received from Sarah, the same campaign worker, was just after I got home from voting.

    It was, from a GOTV perspective, pitch-perfect. Pleasantly persistent, and data-driven.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  30. jukeboxgrad says:

    John Hinderaker on George Bush (link):

    It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.

    John Hinderaker on Mitt Romney (link):

    The Romney campaign is not only well-funded, but is run by one of the best organizers and managers of his generation, the candidate himself. Whom would you count on to organize anything, Mitt Romney or David Axelrod?

    Priceless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  31. anjin-san says:

    Romney didn’t know he was going to lose. He was so feckless, so unused to hearing hard, true things, and so determined never to hear them, that he surrounded himself with yes-men, and was completely misled. He was woefully, woefully wrong, and all it would have taken was 5 minutes on the internet to learn the truth, and he literally could not do that.

    It’s pretty sobering to realize that a bunch of Democrats who hang out on OTB had a much clearer idea of how the election was shaping up than GOP nominee Mitt Romney, or any of the people he surrounded himself with.

    When McCain was putting out his “Pennsylvania is in play” BS in 2008, they knew it was BS, but they also figure idiots like bithead would fall for it, which they did. Romney and his crew actually believed in the fictional world the right has created. And this guy might have become the President. F***ing scary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  32. Tillman says:

    Truly, the problem isn’t that elites are using lies in the media to control us like pawns. It’s that the elites are buying their own lies.

    That’s seriously not good. That’s “eve of the French Revolution”-level detachment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  33. jukeboxgrad says:

    the problem isn’t that elites are using lies in the media to control us like pawns. It’s that the elites are buying their own lies.

    Yes. The former isn’t surprising, but I find the latter quite surprising. I’m shocked to learn that Mitt was shocked by his loss.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. jukeboxgrad says:

    Speaking of lying and denial, one of the most interesting things about Orca is the lying that went on (link):

    Even as campaign workers in Boston and throughout the states fumed over the lack of information coming in via ORCA, senior Romney campaign advisers kept projecting an air of self-assurance to supporters across the country. Reporters asking about myriad reports of outages were told that the system, which would periodically function but not long enough to be of much help, was up and running just fine …

    Sounds just like Baghdad Bob. So were those “senior Romney campaign advisers” just lying to the reporters when they said Orca “was up and running just fine?” Or were they also lying to themselves? At this moment, I think mostly the former, and just partially the latter.

    Aside from lying to reporters, they were also lying to their own volunteers. Above I cited this statement from an Orca volunteer:

    Communication to us minions was very poor throughout the day and many of us were given the impression that the system was working great for every state except ours.

    I have read all 616 comments at Ace’s place, and many other volunteers made similar statements. Here’s another example that I already cited:

    Our pod chief assured us that the system was working flawlessly for the majority of pollwatchers

    The detachment from reality is mind-boggling. But it’s the exact same attitude that Mitt displayed when he tried to convince us that his impossible tax numbers were going to work. It’s also the same attitude that Cheney displayed when he said “my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.”

    The GOP has become a party of lunatics. I used to think the core problem was dishonesty, but now it’s dawning on me that a bigger problem might be insanity.

    It’s not unheard of for a large group of people to go nuts together. It’s called mass hysteria.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. jukeboxgrad says:

    Something else that stuns me is the number of people who fail to understand what Orca tells us, which was perfectly summarized by bookdragon, near the top of this thread:

    If this is what a Romney organization is like, THANK GOD he wasn’t elected.

    A commenter at Ace’s place also put it nicely:

    Well, imagine the mess that would have ensued if Romney had been given responsibility for running a bigger operation, like the USA. I guess we can consider ORCA as the beta version of that experiment, which I guess will never go into production now.

    But many, many people don’t see it that way. In those comments, a much more common attitude is this:

    I worked the war room at headquarters in Boston and ORCA was an epic fail. … The “technical” people that were there to help the OCRA volunteers and solve problems had absolutely NO idea what they were doing and couldn’t answer a single question. Most of them were wet behind the ears know nothing college students that could not answer a single question of any kind any time. ….. this was the most colossally stupid waste of time and money in the history of presidential politics and if these “kids” that were involved in this thought they were going to work in Washington and save the country, God help us all. If Romney actually knew everything about this entire plan and had seen what we saw, EVERY SINGLE IDIOT that was involved in this project from a development and execution standpoint would have been fired !!!!! I hope all of them have to stand in the unemployment line and eat crow because not one of them deserve a job.

    Notice the attitude that’s being expressed: ‘Mitt was an innocent, naive, helpless victim, and he had no idea that his organization had been infiltrated by a bunch of incompetent boobs who cleverly managed to hide their incompetence from him.’ In this and many similar comments there is a complete lack of awareness that the most important “IDIOT that was involved in this project” is Mitt, and he is the one that does not “deserve a job.”

    That same staggering lack of awareness is reflected in a follow-up post at Ace’s place (by Ace or “Andy”):

    … we’re going to get to the bottom of this. And by the time we’re done the responsible parties, specifically Rich Beeson, Dan Centinello and Zac Moffatt, will join the Steve Schmidts and John Weavers of the world on the DO NOT SUPPORT ANYONE WHO WOULD HIRE THIS PERSON! roster of GOP campaign consultants.

    The lack of awareness is staggering. He says “DO NOT SUPPORT ANYONE WHO WOULD HIRE THIS PERSON.” He is oblivious to the fact that “HIRE THIS PERSON” is precisely what Mitt did. So if we follow the suggested rule (“DO NOT SUPPORT ANYONE WHO WOULD HIRE THIS PERSON”), the first and most obvious step is this: “DO NOT SUPPORT” Mitt.

    The same lack of awareness is even reflected in a follow-up post by JohnE, the person who broke this story open in the first place:

    this was a systematic and organizational failure that brought the entire GOTV effort of a United States Presidential campaign to a screeching halt … Please, if anyone at the RNC is listening, do not let these guys near a major political campaign ever again.

    Who are “these guys?” He means the people working for Mitt, but not Mitt himself. Which makes no sense.

    This is supposedly the party of personal responsibility, but there is no awareness that Mitt was responsible for hiring a bunch of clowns, which means that Mitt is a clown. And there is also no awareness by Andy and JohnE and all the other clowns that supported Mitt that supporting a clown who hires clowns makes them all clowns.

    Ace’s commenters find a zillion ways to blame someone other than Mitt. Here are some examples (I’m paraphrasing): ‘it’s obama’s fault, because he sabotaged the software; it’s the voters’ fault, because they should be self-motivated and not require GOTV; it’s the RNC’s fault [even though Orca was a Romney project, not an RNC project].’ What is virtually impossible to find is someone saying this: ‘I thought Mitt was a great manager, but obviously that’s not true, so my supporting him was a mistake.’

    And notice the astounding hypocrisy that is evident when the shoe is on the other foot. With something like Fast and Furious or Benghazi, Obama is held responsible for every allegedly bad decision that takes place at any level of his organization, even though there are numerous layers of management separating Obama from the person who made the decision. Why? Because ‘the buck stops here.’

    But when it comes to something like Orca, these clowns don’t see it that way. Amazing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  36. ernieyeball says:
  37. jukeboxgrad says:

    This is a good moment to recall how often we were told about Mitt’s allegedly stellar management skills. NR, 5/22/12:

    he’s a businessman who wants to apply his well-honed management skills to the public sector

    Fox, 7/26/12:

    Romney’s international trip could be a defining moment … Romney’s overseas trip has the potential to be the defining moment of the 2012 presidential campaign. … Romney’s trip to Britain has the potential to show the real difference between both presidential candidates and how they view America’s greatest ally. Secondly, with the start of the 2012 Olympics in London, the Great Britain trip has the potential to remind people of Romney’s management skills and the successful role he played in turning around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. … This is Romney’s moment to show he will be a strong leader who stands by America’s allies and that he possesses the management skills and the understanding of economics and free market principles needed at home and abroad.

    Haley Barbour on Fox, 11/1/11:

    … Romney … he’s got proven management skills

    WaPo, 2/12/12:

    Romney accepted the challenge of running [the Olympics,] earning Romney a reputation as a turnaround artist with extraordinary management skills.

    David Brooks, 3/22/12:

    a woman who worked with Romney when he was governor raved to me about his management skills

    Of course there’s a lot more like that, but those are just some of my favorites. So it’s not just “So Much For The Myth Of The Efficient, Organized Romney Campaign.” It’s so much for the myth of Romney himself being a good manager. It turns out that Mitt’s “extraordinary management skills” are a sham, a fraud, just like so many other things about the man and his party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  38. jukeboxgrad says:

    And one more, from election day (NR):

    Romney’s years at Bain Capital and his business acumen suggest that the Oval Office will be populated by a competent manager and hands-on leader.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0