Is This Romney’s ‘Dukakis In A Tank’ Moment?

Not the content so much as the audio track:

I can already see how the late night shows will be playing this one. Never underestimate the power of ridicule in a political campaign.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, 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. anjin-san says:

    Ouch. Romney is discovering that he is in the big leagues now, and the opposing pitcher will sometimes bring 95mph heat high and tight.

    Responding with mealy mouthed attempts to have it both ways and complaining about how the kids on the other team are mean will probably not help him here.

  2. Krebs v Carnot says:

    “The failed policies of the past 42 months” will be a more than sufficient rejoinder

  3. Doriangrey says:

    This is who you have aligned yourself with, make no mistake about it, you have chosen evil.

    Saul Alinksy, Rules For Radicals

    Opening page – Dedication

    Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”

    5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”

  4. Michael Robinson says:

    The Romney campaign has already issued their response to this ad:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/23/news/la-pn-romney-iowa-20111123

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    Romney’s next big problem is going to be tax returns. Even if he doesn’t have anything to hide it’s going to look like he does.

  6. anjin-san says:

    “The failed policies of the past 42 months”

    Ah yes, I forgot. We are in a depression, the American auto industry is gone, Bin Laden is plotting his next attack, and people with pre-existing health conditions have no prospects of being able to get health insurance…

  7. superdestroyer says:

    What amazes me that Romney has been running for president for six year and still is a lousy public speaker and still shows zero interest in policy or issues.

    Romney has reached the pinnacle of bad candidates: a rich guy with zero charisma, zero interest in governance, and zero charm. And people still wonder why I keep claiming that the U.S. will be a one-party-state very soon.

  8. anjin-san says:

    Saul Alinksy

    Oh cool. A Glenn Beck sock puppet.

  9. Doriangrey says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Nope, Romney can just tell Obama and the Democrats that he will post all of his Tax Returns online right after they hand over all of the “Fast and Furious” documents. The second he does that Romney’s tax returns cease to be relevant to anything.

  10. Doriangrey says:

    @anjin-san:

    Wrong answer, thanks for playing… No everyone in America is an ignorant fool or a evil Democrat.

  11. anjin-san says:

    “Fast and Furious”

    But, but, but, but, but, Obama!

    That card has been played here many times. It’s was not impressive the first time we saw it – now it is simply laughable.

  12. mattb says:

    @Doriangrey: I appreciate the irony that a “good conservative” (or “good republican”) would adopt the handle “Dorian Grey.”

    It works on so many levels… Oscar Wilde would be proud.

  13. Doriangrey says:

    @anjin-san:
    Yea, I bet Erick Holder is laughing his ass off about it.

  14. anjin-san says:

    @ Doriangrey

    You need to aim a little higher to hit the black helicopters…

  15. Doriangrey says:

    @anjin-san:
    You do understand that that tin-foil you wrap around your head is an antenna, right? It increases the mind control rays ability to find your brain by a factor of 10.

  16. Herb says:

    @Doriangrey:

    “that tin-foil you wrap around your head”

    2012 and people still think the “tin foil hat” routine is funny……

    Sad.

  17. john personna says:

    I think it was kind of heartfelt, but lovable dork is probability not what he was shooting for.

  18. al-Ameda says:

    @Doriangrey:

    Opening page – Dedication
    “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”

    Except for the conservative talking point crowd, most people probably think that Saul Alinsky is the Executive Producer of “Jersey Shore,” or maybe one of the attorneys on OJ Simpson’s defense team.

  19. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I can already see how the late night shows will be playing this one. Never underestimate the power of ridicule in a political campaign.

    Ridicule? They are using a sound bite from Romney, just as Romney were using a certain Obama sound bite in an ad a couple of weeks ago.

    And late night shows and a lot of other shows will play it because it’s a very well made ad. I mean on Talking Points Memo there are sound editors discussing about the effects applied to the sound and how those change how people perceive the ad.

  20. Markey says:

    Saul Alinksy? That´s a character in Ayn Rand´s book “Atlas Shrugged” yes?

  21. anjin-san says:

    @ Markey

    I think Alinsky was Ragnar Danneskjöld’s third cousin…

  22. @Doriangrey: Wait, so George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and all the other conservatives that mocked Dukakis and John Kerry were using Alinsky tactics?

  23. mantis says:

    Alinsky

    Drink!

  24. @Timothy Watson:

    Alinsky himself used his tactics to mock Democrats–the funniest part of the whole Alinksy meme is that Alinksy was never a Democrat operative. He was left leaning, but he actually spent most of career opposing the Democrat party. The party that most latched onto his ideas was actually the Republicans. Nixon’s “silent majority” was Alinsky’s work, and from there it’s a short road through Falwell’s Moral Majority and then on to the modern day tea party.

  25. MM says:

    @Timothy Watson: As far as I can tell, “Alinsky Tactics” is shorthand for “a way to say I disagree while making you sound somehow sinister”.

  26. al-Ameda says:

    @Markey:

    Saul Alinksy? That´s a character in Ayn Rand´s book “Atlas Shrugged” yes?

    I’m pretty sure “Saul Alinsky” was John Galt’s alter ego.

  27. An Interested Party says:

    The irony is so thick that even Tsar Nicholas couldn’t cut it…for decades the Democrats have nominated awkward stiffs as their presidential candidates…Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry…now Republicans want to return the favor…some people can scream “Fast and Furious!!!” and “Alinsky Rules!!!” all they want, but none of that changes the fact that Mitt Romney is exactly what he appears to be, and that is bad news for the GOP…

  28. bk says:

    @MM: @MM:

    As far as I can tell, “Alinsky Tactics” is shorthand for “a way to say I disagree while making you sound somehow sinister”.

    Exactly! Along with its cousin, “Obama’s Chicago-style (fill in the blank)”. Which I still don’t understand, by the way. Deep dish? Hot dogs with celery salt?

  29. anjin-san says:

    Obama’s Chicago-style (fill in the blank)

    I am going with “Obama’s Chicogo-style pizza.” What a thug…

  30. jd says:

    @Doriangrey:

    the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom

    I thought for a second there we were talking about Jesus.

  31. Gustopher says:

    Sometimes, Team Obama puts it together in a devastating punch. This one is going to hurt. It’s not quite the Trump Trashing, but it is also only 30 seconds — and feels like 15 seconds.

  32. swearyanthony says:

    @Doriangrey: yelling “Alinsky” over and over doesn’t seem like an election winning strategy to me. But feel free to give it a go.

  33. DRS says:

    What would really be low-down and dirty pool would be if the Obama campaign used a video where Romney told a joke. That would be damn near lethal for the Romney campaign.

  34. Jr says:

    Mitt isn’t playing with the amateurs of the GOP primaries, he is not playing with the big boys.

    Things can change on the fly, but right now the Romney team simply looks outclassed by the Obama team.

  35. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Good ad. That’s the sort of ruthlessness any presidential campaign needs to have. The only problem with it is the timing. Actually, the timing speaks volumes. You don’t run ads like that in mid-July. In mid-July the people who’ll decide the general election are off camping, or on vacation, or dealing with summer stuff. They’re at Disneyland with their kids. They’re at Six Flags parks. They’re up in the mountains. They’re quaffing beers at barbecues. If that ad were run late in October it would be one thing. That it’s being run during the dead air period of silly season leads to an inescapable conclusion: Obama’s internal polling not only is very bad it must be disastrous.

    As for the Dukakis analogy, it doesn’t really fly. The picture there itself spoke more than a thousand words. Patently it was absurd. In the Romney case the off-key singing of the anthem is not the story. You can’t really ridicule someone for singing the anthem, even when they can’t sing. (Granted, that sort of thing could work for the young and addled audiences of the likes of Jon Stewart, but it won’t work for the married with kids and grandkids set on Main Street.) It’s the commentary regarding offshore outsourcing that makes the point. That the commentary is false or misleading is irrelevant: it’s still a biting set of juxtapositions. So in the end it’s not a Dukakis tank moment as much as it is a Willie Horton-style moment, but with the major caveat — as alluded to above — that virtually nobody of real consequence at present is paying close attention.

  36. PJ says:

    @PJ:

    And late night shows and a lot of other shows will play it because it’s a very well made ad. I mean on Talking Points Memo there are sound editors discussing about the effects applied to the sound and how those change how people perceive the ad.

    And now there are directors discussing the ad’s production values.

    The ad is a lot more than the “ridicule” some see.

  37. C. Clavin says:

    Jusging by the avatar…DorianGrey is overcompensating for something.

  38. C. Clavin says:

    “…That it’s being run during the dead air period of silly season leads to an inescapable conclusion: Obama’s internal polling not only is very bad it must be disastrous….”

    Or Obama is going to hammer him mercilously for the next…oh…say, 3-1/2 months.
    Face it Romney fans…your candidate is going to the Convention (in the heat and the steam of August in Tampa) battered and bruised by his own record as a job killer and outsourcer and dead fetus disposer. And then he is going to pick Bush43 Budget Director Rob Portman as VP…and it’s only going to get worse.
    Romney…magic underwear and ballet horses. You can’t make it up.

  39. ratufa says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    You don’t run ads like that in mid-July.

    I disagree. Now is exactly when you run ads to define your opponent — when most people don’t know much about him. First impressions matter, and while people are spending more time outdoors and doing summer things, they aren’t totally cut off from the media.

  40. C. Clavin says:

    “…You don’t run ads like that in mid-July…”

    And so Romney going on five networks on the same night in response to this line of attack is an indicator of…what exactly??? Your logic is astounding.
    Romney ’12 – Magic underwear in every closet, and a ballet dancing horse in every backyard, to boot.
    (With Apologies to the 1928 Republican Party)

  41. Jr says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Romney/GOP supporters can try to spin it all they want, the ad is devastating and this is the prefect time to use it, they are defining Romney at the moment and he may go into the convention with his biggest strength becoming a liability.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    that virtually nobody of real consequence at present is paying close attention.

    I don’t know about you Tsar, but I feel pretty consequential.

    😉

  43. sam says:

    @MM:

    As far as I can tell, “Alinsky Tactics” is shorthand for “a way to say I disagree while making you sound somehow sinister”.

    Nah, it’s shorthand for “Jesus Christ, stop it. That shit is killing us.”

  44. @Doriangrey:

    5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”

    The thing I find amusing about these Alinsky refs (well, one of the things, for there are several). Is that this approach is exactly what people like Rush “illustrating absurdity by being absurd” Limbaugh does daily. Does it make him an evil leftist?

    Also what Timothy Watson and MM said.

    Beyond that: is this ad actually an example of ridicule? The isn’t making fun of Romney, as much as it is calling him out.