Can Mitt Romney Turn This Election Around?

It's still possible for Mitt Romney to win this election, but is it probable?

There’s no question that Mitt Romney has had a rough three weeks. His Convention was delayed for a day by a threatening hurricane that ended up dodging the Tampa area completely. His own speech on the final night of that convention was upstaged by a bizarre routine featuring Clint Eastwood and a chair, and the speech itself was ultimately criticized for failing to mention the war the nation happens to be fighting in Afghanistan. That was followed by a Democratic National Convention that certainly went a lot smoother and which, despite being followed by a disappointing jobs report, has given the President a bump in the polls at the national and state levels. Last week, his campaign’s message got derailed by a hasty press release from his campaign in the wake of the embassy protests in Egypt and Libya and, this week, it’s been derailed by a day in which the story was about infighting on his campaign and another where the story is about his ill-advised comments about half the American population.

It’s easy to look at all of this and start writing the Romney campaign postmortem, and certainly many Obama partisans are well on their way to doing that. I said myself this morning that the latest Romney distraction is a problem for the campaign because it throws them off message yet again. However, there are plenty of reasons for everyone to just sit back, take a deep breath, and realize that this race isn’t quite over yet. The President’s convention bounce seems to have tempered off just a little bit, with both the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls showing the race within the margin of error while other national polls are showing the President’s lead at somewhere in the range of 3-5%, which is certainly within grasp of a candidate that can put together a winning argument in the closing weeks. True, the President’s lead in the Electoral College is more apparent, but even there it hasn’t yet reached the insurmountable stage. So, it’s a bit too early to start writing Mitt Romney’s political obituary just yet.

The real question, though, is what Romney could do to turn the campaign around and pull off a win. Obviously, it’s absolutely crucial that he perform well in all three of the Presidential Debates, and that Paul Ryan do the same in his match-up against Joe Biden. Additionally, the campaign is going to need to engage in aggressive advertising and get out the vote and advertising campaigns, especially in the swing states. There’s going to have to be something, more though. Along those lines, The Atlantic’s, Ron Fournier points out five  reasons that Romney should not be completely written off just yet:

  1. Bad news on the economy. Americans are hurting, and the president owns this economy. Two more unemployment reports are due out before the election. “It’s not over for the simple fact that the economy means [Obama] has a national ceiling of about 51 [percent],” said Chris Lehane, a Democratic consultant who has witnessed the premature burial of many candidates. Still, like most Democrats, Lehane is grateful that Obama drew Romney as a rival. “The only reason it is not over is [because] there is time on the clock and the score is within reach because of the economy,” he said in an email. “But they don’t have a QB capable of mounting a winning drive.”
  2. A foreign-policy crisis. Had Romney not rushed to make the assault on U.S. embassies a political issue, the mess in the Middle East might be a bigger problem for Obama. Rather than filing stories about the Romney gaffe, journalists may have pointed their pens at Obama and asked, “Who lost the Arab street?” But the president is not off the hook: History shows that nothing makes a president look weak more quickly than a bungled foreign-policy crisis.
  3. A bad debate. During the contentious Democratic nomination fight in 2008, Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a debate that Obama is “very likable.” Obama responded with a curt, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” It was called a major gaffe, and more than one pundit used it as a proof point for their case against an Obama presidency. Anything can go wrong in a debate, and Obama is not a perfect debater.
  4. A gaffe. Obama is running a better-than-average campaign, but he’s not above a mistake. Indeed, Romney’s gaffe at a secretly recorded fundraiser has an eerie parallel to a time not that long ago when Obama dismissed a huge swath of the electorate: “You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” Obama said in 2008. “And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate, and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter; they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” A bone-headed, insensitive thing to say in the midst of a close election — and yet, Obama survived.
  5. A Romney turnaround. Romney is not a good politician, and his staff’s performance has been uneven at best. But these are not dumb people. Odds are they’ll figure out a way to pull out of this spiral and shift attention to a more positive narrative. A series of policy speeches might do it. And there is the important fact that Republicans are girded to outspend Democrats by a sizable amount this fall: A killer ad or an innovative get-out-the-vote operation could make a difference in a close election.

These all make sense, but there are a few caveats here. The economy is still the major issue in the election, and will remain so through Election Day, but I’m no longer sure that it’s as big an advantage for Romney as it used to be. We’ve already seen signs in some polls that Romney has lost his advantage on economic issues and voters seem to be giving more credit to Obama on the economy. Whether that will last in the face of what could be bad economic news on the jobs and economic growth fronts remains to be seen, however it’s worth noting that a whole summer of bad economic news didn’t really have that much of an impact on the polls. As for Romney benefiting from a foreign policy crisis, I suppose it’s possible but, based on the initial reaction of the public to what happened last week, I don’t see it as being very likely. The one area of vulnerability for the President here is in his Administration’s bizarre insistence on sticking to a narrative regarding the Benghazi attack that, based on the evidence, doesn’t seem to make sense. If events in that regard go against the President, it could provide Romney an opening. As for the rest of Fournier’s points, most of them require the President making a mistake and, so far at least, he hasn’t really done that.

The Week comes up with their own list of possible Romney strategies, including one that has been mentioned for a couple weeks now by pundits and conservatives outside the campaign:

1. Get more specific about his plans

Team Romney in fact announced a campaign retooling of its own on Monday, promising a “pivot to specificity,” says John Dickerson at Slate. Romney’s policy vagueness has been a frequent bone of contention with “conservative wise men,” and if this isn’t just a rhetorical “sop to pundits” — if Romney is really going to start detailing his governing plans and how they affect voters — that could help him recover. Yes, “to win, Romney must give voters a reason to vote for him — not just a reason to oppose Obama,” says Matt Lewis at The Guardian. We need to see his larger vision, but his old “notion that he can skate by without providing details — that he can run out the clock and hope we don’t check his homework — won’t fly.”

And Chris Cillizza makes a similar suggestion as part of his own list:

A big speech (with specifics!): On Monday morning, the Romney campaign held a conference call to make clear that they were planning to move into a new phase of the race where the candidate would begin offering specifics on exactly what he would do if he is elected president. While that re-booting got totally overrun by events, it’s still a sound strategic idea.  If Romney was to deliver a detailed-laden (or even detail-sprinkled) speech on what, specifically, he might do in his first 100 days to turn the economy around, it would be hard for the media not to cover it and pore through the proposals to see if they indeed could work. A debate over the specific differences in the policy directions that the two presidential candidates want to take the country — particularly at a time when polls show a majority of voters disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy —  is far more winnable than the current fight in which Romney is engaged.

I’ve talked about the “go specific” approach before, and it is a good idea. The caveat is that it was a good idea thirty days ago too, and it was a good idea at the convention when Romney had the attention of some 30 million television viewers. As we sit here now with just seven weeks left until Election Day, I’m not at all sure that there’s enough time for a real “give a big speech and get specific” strategy. In just two weeks, some people in states like Ohio are going to start voting and, once they vote, it won’t matter what the Romney campaign does. Perhaps such a campaign can succeed in influencing those people who wait until Election Day to vote, but in an election where every vote will count in states like Ohio, it seems unwise to write off those early voters. So, yea, Romney should get more specific. Honestly, he should’ve gotten more specific at least a month ago and in any case no later than the convention. Taking that route now when the narrative has changed so significantly from where it was back then may end up being a waste of time.

If I had to lock a prediction in today, I would say that Barack Obama is going to be reelected with a 2-3% margin in the national popular vote, and an Electoral College margin of 303-235. But, of course, the election isn’t being held today, it’s being held in 49 days. A lot of things can happen in that time frame, and there’s still time for a good campaign to turn this election around. The problem

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. James in LA says:

    Short answer, no. The electoral college picture has always favored Obama and I would not be shocked to see a few red states tied on election eve (MO, AZ, IN). Romney vilifies the giving spirit simply so Mitt Romney can become President to the sole edification of Mitt Romney and nothing else.

    Just ask Mitt Romney.

  2. Rafer Janders says:

    Can Mitt Romney Turn This Election Around?

    No.

    It’s still possible for Mitt Romney to win this election, but is it probable?

    No.

  3. john personna says:

    Can journalists distinguish between a gaffe and a deal breaker?

    I think the assumption is that a politician can come back from anything. I think not. Certain events, and they will be different for each of us, are going to flip a breaker.

  4. JEBurke says:

    I’d say it’s 60-40 that Obama wins. Who turns out is increasingly decisive, as I believe both campaigns understand, so that while both will nod at remaining swing voters, they will double down on building enthusiasm in their respective bases.

  5. john personna says:

    (And seriously, I think the studies that show the Romney budget “impossible” are true, and no details can be released. See also Clinton’s “arithmetic.”)

  6. C. Clavin says:

    This goes back way before the convention…
    Todd Akin and legitimate rape.
    The Ryan pick that provided no bounce and changed the conversation from the economy to Medicare vouchers.
    Name the last week Romney won???
    Given that…How many do you expect him to win out of the next 5 or 6???
    Of course there is still voter suppression so don’t give up hope yet, Doug.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Romney is not a good politician, and his staff’s performance has been uneven at best. But these are not dumb people.

    No, they’re not. But they sure seem to be blindingly stupid at politics. I mean these guys are the Keystone Kops of politics. They could fwck-up a wet dream. I know it isn’t over. I know disaster can visit a campaign in a thousand and one ways. But if one did hit the Obama campaign would the Romney people know what to do with it? No.

    Could a decent enuf politician turn this thing around? Possibly. Problem is, Romney is not a decent enuf politician.

  8. john personna says:

    (It’s not like we got a lesson that Mitt understands math this week.)

  9. Fiona says:

    I wouldn’t count Romney out yet, but since most of his campaign, in both the primaries and the general, seems to consist of dumping huge amounts of money into ad campaigns and trying to avoid saying anything he might be called on later, I’m still thinking the election is more Obama’s to lose than it is Romney’s to win.

    I don’t think Romney will be offering much in the way of specifics either as whatever specifics he’s offered thus far make him look like the return of Bush II on steroids. And we all know how popular Bush is. Unless he can somehow differentiate himself Bush and show how he’d be better than Obama, he’s not going to win short of some Obama meltdown.

  10. Modulo Myself says:

    No. He just told everything thinking person America that somehow they must be moochers for being part of the Social Security/Medicare dependency racket. All he has left are the people don’t know these are government programs, clone libertarians, and rich guys who hire Russian escorts on a nightly basis.

    Not only that, if he really goes all in with this 47% crap, he’s going to leave die-hard conservatives completely screwed when it comes time to pretend that the reason he lost was his lack of conservatism.

    If ever there was a chance for the GOP to swing back moderate, the first weeks after he loses will be the time.

  11. Blue Shark says:

    More important question.

    Why would we want him to?

  12. David M says:

    Anything is possible, but his campaign is so astonishingly juvenile I’m not sure it’s likely.

  13. Jen says:

    The more important question is how many undecideds are there in the very few remaining swing states that could actually matter in the electoral college math who would: a) swing to Romney, and b) actually get out and vote for him?

    I have to think that it’s a very narrow percentage indeed, and articles like Fournier’s just seem to reinforce the narrative that it is those in the media/pundit class who want this to be a close, down-to-the-wire election. Is it possible that Mitt Romney could turn this around? I suppose never say never is appropriate here. But it certainly doesn’t appear to be likely.

  14. mattb says:

    Good analysis Doug.

    Generally speaking, it’s going to take one heck of a perfect storm to radically shift the race at this point. And by perfect storm I mean a completely unforced error by Team Obama and a pitch perfect response by Team Romney.

    I don’t see Foreign Policy/Security being the source — unless it’s a bungle of staggering proportions that directly involves an Obama Policy. Missing direct involvement of Obama Policy, any Foreign Policy/Security debacle of that size is as likely to unite the country behind Obama (see Bush 9/11) as it is to team him down. Additionally, the Romney campaign would need to exercise the restraint *not* to turn it into an issue. They’ve yet to demonstrate that discipline.

    Generally speaking, we’re all now used to an economic malaise. Its not going to make much of a difference if things get slightly worse, or slightly better, between now and election day. A Lehman Brother’s style crash or an epic bubble burst would probably swing things, but that seems unlikely to happen in the US (and if it happens in Europe, it will probably have no real effect on the race, provided it doesn’t crash US markets).

    That leaves the debates. Yes Obama has made mistakes in the past in these. I still think it’s advantage Obama as all he has to do is stay cool. Romney, being the challenger and behind, needs to land the blows — and historically he’s been the most vulnerable when he’s throwing bombs.

    Like you said Doug, all of these are possible. But as far as likely?

  15. rodney dill says:

    I’m not sure he had anything to come back from. Since the primaries, I’ve believed it was a long shot for Romney or any of the Not-Romney’s to win. The election is Obama’s to lose, and it would take the perception of a pretty big blunder for that to occur.

  16. Jib says:

    The last candidate that trailed in the polls 2 weeks after the convention and came back to win was Truman. And he was an incumbent.

    Anything is possible but elections are almost always decided in the 4 weeks after the conventions. The rest is noise and fuss. The window is closing fast, Romney needs to turn this around and at least be in a statistical tie by Sept 30.

  17. ratufa says:

    People talk about Romney needing to “get specific”. But, can anyone tell me how Romney can get specific about any significant issue without either 1) Upsetting some interest group he needs votes from (e.g. seniors, defense hawks, people who want tax cuts, etc) or 2) Contradicting some previous position of his?

    I admit that bringing up that second point is unfair of me, because Romney can’t make any specific statement without contradicting a previous position. It may be best for him to just continuously hammer on the bad state of the economy ’til the next election and/or try to paint Obama as a bigger asshole than he is (a task that is getting more difficult by the day).

  18. OliviaC says:

    Yes and No.

    In order for him to explain himself, and I agree w/Lowry that he need not pare back on the problems that dependence on government can cause.

    Many years ago, my great uncle would often remark about how proud he was to have never taken any aid during the depression. He “went without the meat” but never, ever would “curse the bread.” That sentiment is still admirable to many people.

    Romney’s father wasn’t born into an affluent family so there has to be some part of that storied reservoir he can draw from. He can pivot from that to what I thought was one of the best parts of his speech, the true partnership between husband and wife and by extension, family.

    But he is constrained by a Base that he must turn out at all costs. A Base alienated from the daily lives of that 47% who keep hoping and working for better days. A Base that can’t bear a national conversation at odds with the premises it brings to it; a Base that, in my opinion, is the exhausted, self-exiling remnant of those stouthearted, stubborn, predestined Calvinists and their heretical brothers, the Jansenists.

  19. Moosebreath says:

    I think matt has it exactly right:

    “Generally speaking, it’s going to take one heck of a perfect storm to radically shift the race at this point. And by perfect storm I mean a completely unforced error by Team Obama and a pitch perfect response by Team Romney.”

    And I suspect that “No Drama Obama” is vanishingly unlikely to make an unforced error at this stage.

  20. Woody says:

    Some cogent analysis here, but I can’t say I buy into “go specific” as a positive strategy for Romney. This would be true even without the 47% video (a broadside hit into a listing ship if there ever was one).

    In the recent past, one of the GOP’s greatest assets was the ability to frame a position with a pithy turn of phrase. They’ve been unable to do this in the current election for a variety of reasons, but mostly because their message has been damaged by W Bush and just won’t sell as well.

    Myself, I’ve heard the ‘trickle down’ bit since 1980 (even believed it then), but the subsequent facts do not support the effectiveness of never-ending tax cuts to the wealthy. Even low-information voters might have noticed this by now.

    The current GOP candidate’s positions are not noticeably different from the W positions – and providing more details won’t help (particularly as the national media has shown an actual willingness to appraise the economic claims)

  21. Ron Beasley says:

    I agree, he can’t go specific. Everybody wants to cut the government but when they asked what they want to cut they don’t want to cut anything.

  22. john personna says:

    I think the election is more over than any journalist who wants to talk about it again tomorrow is likely to admit.

  23. legion says:

    The problem for Mitt Romney is that he’s Mitt Romney. He is exactly who everyone, supporters and detractors, always thought he was, and the trajectory of his campaign has followed a very predictable path as more and more people, of all political leanings, learn more about him. In other words, he _could_ turn it around, but it would involve magically becoming an entirely different person.

  24. rudderpedals says:

    It’s been all bad news since the Obamacare ruling so that has to be turned around. ISTM do-able but perhaps not for this candidate. The best minds money can buy are working this problem right now.

    All bets are off if the voter suppression programs take root

  25. michael reynolds says:

    1) If they haven’t gone specific already it’s because the Romney campaign has focus-tested his positions and they don’t help.

    2) As$holes do not win debates. He’s now pretty well defined as an as$hole.

    3) Guys we like who make mistakes are generally forgiven. People like Obama.

  26. Tony W says:

    Speculating – If he released his taxes that would certainly change the narrative. Perhaps there’s nothing there and this was his plan all along- use the taxes as a way to divert attention from a train wreck?

  27. @michael reynolds:

    I largely agree, which is why I give the chances of such a turnaround a low probability.

  28. mantis says:

    All he needs to do is take Rush Limbaugh’s advice. Rush thinks he should double down and call the “47%” a bunch of losers, but explain that they are only losers because Obama made them that way, and Rmoney is going to help them become non-losers by raising their taxes. Also, Rmoney should be sure to emphasize that they are losers because they are stupid and gullible, but Rmoney is the guy to educate them.

    I think it’s great advice. Bulletproof. Do it, Mittens! Go full Rush on their asses!

  29. wr says:

    Hey, maybe they’ll finally release the whitey tape. This must be the moment they’ve been waiting for…

  30. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Funny… From where I stand, he has already turned this election around.

    I mean, he has taken all the most dickish plutocratic ideas of the far right, claimed them as his own, and brought them all forward to the light of day.

    He has done this country a great public service. Now, once the election is over, we may actually get on with reality-based rule of government.

    Running on that platform, he’ll never actually get elected. That, and he’s a petulant man-child, of course.

    Most of the loyal 28% (remember that from the Bush Era?) that I speak with stated that they will vote for Romney, but will do so with great distain.

    My guess is that if Romney keeps this up, likely he will even loose those folks.

    They’ll stay home and have a beer.

  31. john personna says:

    The Real Romney Captured on Tape Turns Out to Be a Sneering Plutocrat

    Presidential campaigns wallow so tediously in pseudo-events and manufactured outrage that our senses can be numbed to the appearance of something genuinely momentous. Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded comments at a fund-raiser are such an event — they reveal something vital about Romney, and they disqualify his claim to the presidency.

    That’s a deal breaker, ladies.

  32. Peacewood says:

    The problem

    Is that, like Doug Mataconis, Romney can’t finish.

    /ba-dum-tish

  33. David M says:

    @mantis:

    Everybody knows you never go full wingnut. (Not that I expect Romney to be competent enough to figure that out.)

  34. Curtis says:

    @legion:

    And the problem with magically becoming an entirely different person is that he has magically changed persons so many times in his career that this would not actually be a change. He is stuck in an Escher painting of political pandering.

  35. Ron Beasley says:

    @Curtis:

    He is stuck in an Escher painting of political pandering.

    That’s great Curtis – can I borrow it.

  36. Jr says:

    He is close to being finished.

    Unless we get a massive Obama screw up/scandal, then this race is all but over. There aren’t enough undecided voters left to swing the race.

  37. Me Me Me says:

    Not even Mitt can buy a handbrake big enough for the required maneuver.

    Once again we see the toll that cognitive dissonance takes on the mental faculties.

    Republicans: sooner or later you are going to have to face up to your total failure when you were in charge 2001-2006. Or history, as the great Shirley Bassey nearly said, is just going to keep on repeating itself.

  38. mattb says:

    @mantis:
    It seems to me that we’re beginning to see the fracture of the current Republican/Social Conservative/Populist Conservative coalition. This is the second election in a row where the Conservative Elite is breaking from the Populists — and it’s happening far sooner in the cycle.

    A large amount of the elite are openly discussing the issues with the campaign of the past week. The populists are doubling down on crazy. And Romney is caught in the middle.

    If Romney loses the election, I fully expect to see a Tea Party resurgence that equals what we saw post 2008. The only question that remains is whether or not the Republicans decide to throw in with the Tea Party (populist conservatives) again or if this time they go Buckley on them.

  39. LC says:

    @OliviaC:

    true partnership between husband and wife

    Yep, a “true partnership”:

    we, uh, use Ann sparingly right now so that people don’t get tired of her.

    Nothing like throwing your wife under the bus for a second time (remember Rafalca – he couldn’t be bothered to know when the Olympic events were scheduled), at a private event for rich donors.

    She’s had breast cancer, has MS, has given the man 5 sons and he worries that Americans might get tired of her if they use her “too much”.

    Such disdain, if not contempt, for one’s wife is hard for me to excuse or explain.

  40. mantis says:

    @mattb:

    A large amount of the elite are openly discussing the issues with the campaign of the past week. The populists are doubling down on crazy. And Romney is caught in the middle.

    Hmm, reminds me of a Dylanesque, pop, bubble-gum favorite from April of 1974.

    And I’m wonderin’ what it is I should do,
    It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
    Losin’ control, yeah I’m all over the place.

  41. cd6 says:

    The only way Mittens wins now is aggressive disenfranchisement of democratic voters.

    This election is over

    When can we start talking about the hilarious situation the GOP will find itself in when Mitt runs again in 2016? Dude has a ton of money and an all encompassing desire to be president no matter what it takes. He’s going to run until he dies. How are we not talking about this yet?

  42. Ron Beasley says:
  43. Mr. Replica says:

    How can the Romney campaign turn things around when their whole premise for trying to defeat Obama, was sitting back and letting Obama dig his own grave, while Mitt offers zero specifics on why he would better?

    Romney’s ego allowed him to walk into this election with the feeling that just because who he is, that automatically he didn’t need to do anything other than offer neo-con platitudes.

    What makes anyone think that a person with this personality is willing accept that he, himself, is the problem? That the only way he will be able turn this campaign around, is to radically change what type of person he has shown this world he is. And EVEN IF he came out tomorrow as a person who has radically changed the way he thinks and acts, who in their right mind would believe he was being genuine?

  44. OliviaC says:

    @LC: Your quote is meaningless in the grand design of their marriage.

    It’s an election/political process statement that she’s sure to understand and even snicker at because the decades of love and devotion and communion they have shared can only be shattered by his death or hers. She doesn’t seem an insecure woman to me and is undoubtedly aware of her own defects as we all are.

    They actually do have as much to draw on as every other couple I know.

    A struggling couple without means is not sanctified by that lack of means.

    And Romney can’t really believe his pitch to fundraisers or he wouldn’t be proud of RomneyCare, and he is.

    He is in a bad place because his Party is in a bad place. But if he is elected, I’ve no doubt he’ll be as good and capable a President as President Obama has been.

  45. Me Me Me says:

    @OliviaC:

    the decades of love and devotion and communion they have shared can only be shattered by his death or hers

    Pretty sure if he lost all their money she’d drop him like a rock.

  46. black onion says:

    Let’s face it. Mitt Romney’s campaign is so dead I expect the Mormons to baptize it within the week.

  47. Me Me Me says:

    @black onion: Oh I wish I had said that. In fact, I’m going to a dinner party tonight, and there is a good chance I will.

  48. David M says:

    @OliviaC:

    He is in a bad place because his Party is in a bad place. But if he is elected, I’ve no doubt he’ll be as good and capable a President as President Obama has been.

    That assumes he will not be in a bad place after he’s elected, but there’s every reason to believe Romney will continue to pander to the crazies in the GOP. There’s just no comparable negative influence on Obama from the left.

    I don’t think Romneycare prevents him from believing the 47% nonsense he spouted at the fundraiser, as it wasn’t a government takeover of healthcare like Obamacare.

  49. Argon says:

    Who exactly are the remaining, undecided voters and what are they undecided about? Are they wondering whether to skip voting or go for a protest vote like Johnson?

  50. @Argon:

    Are the leads Obama is opening up only coming from the undecideds?

  51. Fiona says:

    And Romney can’t really believe his pitch to fundraisers or he wouldn’t be proud of RomneyCare, and he is.

    Yeah, he’s so proud of it that he runs away from it every chance he gets. The governorship of Massachusetts was just a springboard for Romney’s greater political ambitions, a check box to be marked off so that he’d be better qualified for the job he covets. He said and did what he needed there to get elected. If moderate Republicans were still a force in American politics, he’d be one. But given that he’s a cypher, he emptied all the moderation out and filled himself with the radical right views today’s Republican party espouses. There’s no there there.

  52. anjin-san says:

    How is the “reboot” working out?

  53. Me Me Me says:

    @anjin-san: Can’t tell – somebody has to extract it from Mitt’s mouth before we can have a look at it.

  54. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @OliviaC: “And the hits just keep on commin'”

    A struggling couple without means is not sanctified by that lack of means.

    Which means………….?

  55. An Interested Party says:

    …I agree w/Lowry that he need not pare back on the problems that dependence on government can cause.

    Oh absolutely! Tell people who have Social Security and Medicare that their “dependence” on government is causing problems…be sure to do that especially in Florida…

    Romney’s father wasn’t born into an affluent family so there has to be some part of that storied reservoir he can draw from.

    Umm, not really, considering Romney himself was born into an affluent family…

  56. Mr. Replica says:

    George Romney, Mitt’s own father, lived off welfare from the government…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPZPaysBTqk

  57. LC says:

    @OliviaC:

    It’s an election/political process statement that she’s sure to understand and even snicker at because the decades of love and devotion and communion they have shared can only be shattered by his death or hers

    I had no idea that you had such a deep and intimate friendship with the Romneys.

  58. David M says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say if the Romney campaign doesn’t stop releasing official videos titled “Mitt doesn’t disdain the poor” then they aren’t going to turn things around.

    I’m running out of ways to be surprised by the staggering incompetence show by this campaign. I’m a little worried the idea Romney is trying to lose will start to seem reasonable. On the upside, he certainly is giving the Onion, TDS and Colbert plenty of material, so we should be entertained for a few more weeks.

  59. superdestroyer says:

    Anyone who thought that Romney (or any Republican ) was going to win in 2012 was a fool. That the Republicans were going to have to spend resources in Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana signaled to everyone that the Republicans were not going to win.

    Of course, the weekly two minute hates against Romney keep wonks and pundits from focusing on real long-term questions such as:

    1. Can the Republicans ever win a presidential election again. Even though Romney did not state the truth very well, the fact still remains that almost 50% of the voters are automatic Democratic Party voters. What Romney skipped over is that those demographic groups are growing versus the demographic groups that would ever vote for a conservative candidate.

    2. What happens to politics when the general election for president is moot since the Democratic Party candidate is guaranteed to win. Will people pay more attention to the Democratic Party primaries when those become the real election for president?

    3. What kind of people will go into politics when the Republicans have no chance of win the presidency and no chance of winning in most states. How many Ivy Leaguers will be interested in a career in politics when politics will be about being the tax collector for the entitlement state?

    4. How does the collapse of the Republicans at the national level affect the economy, American culture, and society in general. How will issues and policy be discussed when the range of acceptable ideas and proposals is so limited?

  60. Rick Almeida says:

    @Jib:

    Anything is possible but elections are almost always decided in the 4 weeks after the conventions.

    Respectfully, this is untrue.

  61. Rick DeMent says:

    @superdestroyer:

    sure there is a way for republicans to be relevant once again, they need to embrace old school progressiveisum ah la Teddy Roosevelt, or at least revitalize that wing of the party. The problem is this unyielding fealty to a very peculiar brand of conservatism, which borders on Bircherisum, that even William F. Buckley would not support.

  62. Rob in CT says:

    @David M:

    Heh. I said that months ago. Never go full wingnut. The GOP has. Including its Presidential candidate.

  63. Curtis says:

    @Ron Beasley: Of course you can borrow it.

  64. Rob in CT says:

    Clint Eastwood was his usual candid self when speaking with Extra TV about his now-infamous “empty chair” speech at the Republican National Convention.

    “If somebody’s dumb enough to ask me to go to a political convention and say something, they’re gonna have to take what they get,” the veteran actor told an Extra correspondent during a one-on-one interview about his upcoming film Trouble with the Curve (skip to 2:15 in the video below).

    Asked if Mitt Romney was that “somebody,” Eastwood initially said “yeah,” before adding, “actually, he had some of his people ask.”

    In another interview on today’s episode of Ellen, Eastwood poked some more fun at his rambling diatribe, saying “the Democrats who were watching thought I was going senile, and the Republicans knew I was.”

    This must be great news for John McCain Mitt Romney. Somehow. 😉

  65. @cd6:

    Nah, quite a few people who control significant internal party resources will stay away from the stench of a loser. A campaign consultant’s big chance for big bucks is to hook themselves into a winner (see Rove, see Axelrod, see Carville), especially if they can get onboard before it is apparant that the candidate in question is a winner. A twice losing candidate with very high personal and political negatives and only a large campaign account will only get people who really, really, really need the paycheck and don’t have many better options.

    Romney’s entire schtick to the Republican apparatus was that he was a) Not crazy b) Compliant as all get out to the Conservative Crazy of the week and most importantly C) The best chance to beat Obama in 2012.

    If he can not achieve C in what Republican partisans consider “gimme” fundamentals, then his entire schtick is useless, unless he reinvents himself AGAIN.

    Plus his sons and grandkids will look at him and say “Dad/Grandpa, what about our inheritances….”

  66. Clanton says:

    here are interesting and different comments about the campaign:
    http://www.steynonline.com/

  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So much fun this thread has been. Laugh out loud funny.

  68. JohnMcC says:

    One of my favorite quotes (from Damon Runyan) — “The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong. But that’s the way to bet.”

    And Intrade has Mr Obama’s chances @ 67% and Mr Romney’s @ 33%.

    But, as much as I — an old college radical and left-winger from the ’60s — would love to start celebrating today, in this historical moment Mr Romney is absolutely assured of at least 45% of the popular vote. Hell, John McCain and Sarah Palin got 60 million votes during the biggest crash since 1929!

    Anything can happen. And usually does. Never underestimate Mr Murphy’s law.

  69. DRS says:

    Black Onion:

    Let’s face it. Mitt Romney’s campaign is so dead I expect the Mormons to baptize it within the week.

    This not only wins the thread, but the entire site for the day as well. Most excellent!!