The Fault, Dear Romney, Is Not in the Staff

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The tepid June jobs report could relegate the calls for a shake-up in Team Romney to the dumpster of stupid campaign controversies, along with the candidate’s ruminations on lemonade, that 13-year-old conservative who isn’t conservative anymore and the rest of last week’s flotsam and jetsam. But now that Rupert Murdoch, Jack Welch and the Wall Street Journal editorial page have all complained that Romney needs more seasoned advisers, the ritual-sacrifice speculation will probably keep percolating throughout the fall.  Which is just perverse. I think Team Romney is doing a terrific job selling an extremely flawed product.

Elections are usually decided by the facts on the ground, not by campaign strategists, and while tactics can help at the margins, top-line numbers tend to overwhelm all rational analysis. For example, John McCain lost, so the media concluded in retrospect that everything he did was dumb, but I actually think most of the risks he took made sense under the difficult circumstances. Now Romney is a few points behind a vulnerable incumbent in the polls, so it’s become fashionable to blame his staff for failing to “craft a clear message,” for bobbing and weaving about Romney’s plans and principles while trying to redirect attention to President Obama.

Well, here’s a clear message: There is no clear message that can get Mitt Romney to the White House, except for “Obama isn’t working,” which happens to be the Romney campaign’s clear message. It would be suicidal for Eric Fehrnstrom and his team to try to articulate Romney’s plans, because the details of the Republican policy agenda of tax cuts for the rich and spending cuts for everyone else is wildly unpopular. And it would be impossible for Team Romney to articulate the candidate’s principles, for reasons that should be obvious by now. If the Obamacare obfuscations out of Boston about taxes and penalties sound like word salad, that’s because word salad is the only path to victory for the father of Obamacare.

With unemployment still hovering above 8%, the President would be in deep trouble against a generic Republican like Tim Pawlenty or John Thune and would probably be unelectable against a Republican with genuine appeal to independents, like Jon Huntsman Jr. or, for that matter, John McCain circa 2008. It’s amazing that a Republican with Swiss bank accounts, a history of offshoring and a ludicrously chameleonic political persona made it out of the GOP primary. But doesn’t that suggest that maybe those “idiots” in Boston are smarter than Murdoch thinks?

Romney is in a tricky position. He can’t completely renounce all the right-wing red meat he pushed during the primary; conservatives would freak out if he flip-flopped again on repealing Obamacare or vetoing the Dream Act or advocating gay rights or Medicare cuts. But he wants independent voters to hold out hope that he’s really a reasonable guy who was just sucking up to the Tea Party for electoral purposes and would govern from the middle once he got to the White House. The Romney campaign has taken a lot of flak for its incoherent response to Obama’s support for gay marriage and for undocumented workers who came to America as kids, but there wasn’t a coherent response that would have won him any votes. His current mix of mumbo jumbo plus Obama bashing plus trying to change the subject back to the economy makes a lot of sense. Every day that the focus is on Obama and the economy is a good day for Romney.

This is not to say that Fehrnstrom and his team are political geniuses; I vaguely remember him from when we were both reporters in Boston, and nothing about his byline stood out as particularly original. Obviously, he shouldn’t have said that Etch A Sketch thing, since he’s representing an Etch A Sketch candidate. His real problem is that the candidate can’t be fired. For partisans who genuinely want Romney to win — and it’s not entirely clear if Murdoch is one of them, despite his dutiful tweet about how he wants Romney to “save us from socialism, etc.” — it’s easier to complain about the staff.

But hey, Mr. Murdoch, maybe you should worry a bit more about your own staff — or what’s left of it after the phone-hacking indictments.

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ChowT
ChowT

Who is Mitt Romney?

Michael M. T. Henderson
Michael M. T. Henderson

Mittens does his 180-degree flip-flops so often that he looks like a gymnast doing floor exercises. By apparently forgetting the existence of something called videotape, he's given his opponents hours of split-screen ads showing him saying one thing and then its complete opposite later. He's really competent at only one thing--destroying companies to enrich himself. And then he lies about it, saying that his connection with Bain Capital had ended years before it actually did. There was no reason for such a lie beyond his wanting to be elected to a position in which he could further enrich himself, i.e. the presidency, with his first priority to lower his own taxes and his second to undo Romneycare, on which Obamacare was based. Both of those are pretty base motives for running for the presidency. The trickle-down theory he espouses--cut your own taxes and spend the rebate hiring a couple of people before you ship their jobs overseas--has been thoroughly discredited over the last 44 years, since Hubert Humphrey first used it in the immortal phrase "trickle-down Dick" about his infamous opponent, Richard Milhouse Nixon.

53underscore3
53underscore3

Personally, I think Mitt sucks Mr. Murdoch's staff.

ChowT
ChowT

He loves it.

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

Shhhh Mike Grunwald

Didn't you get the Murdoch memo?  Didn't you hear?We need to get the GOP fired up about the campaign staff issue this week.

There will be a scapegoat or two from the campaign staff, just to make it look better. After all, you need to blame someone.

 This talk about changing the staff is good. It gets those donations pouring in. That is what we really want.

abby0802
abby0802

The problem is Romney and the problem is the GOP.

Romney changes his positions as often as most people change their socks...  Seriously, he has no moral/ethical compass -- he's a weather vane and goes whichever way the wind blows -- Right now the GOP is moving further and further to the right and becoming more extreme -- so there goes Romney going further and further right.

Well, GOP -- I have news for you - Right is not always right, and Left is not always wrong...

ChowT
ChowT

Who is the real Mitt Romney?

Gin Heedneeds
Gin Heedneeds

G-ESTEEM-PEOPLE WHO EDUCATED THEMSELVES amp; EVOLVED INTO THE MOST HAPPY AMERICANS USUALLY RED NECKS amp; PRO-BLACKS(STAY BOW-LEGGED amp; THICK).

 

"If god is with me than who can be against me? I can do anything.G-ESTEEM

 

Teach me it's more to being a man than feeling up your thigh.For Breast Cancer.G-ESTEEM (w/ pic of President Obama amp; Wife).

 

STAY BOW-LEGGED amp; THICK.G-ESTEEM(Presidential Election Nov 6, 2012) 44-Life

carolerae
carolerae

Yep, Mitt is telling people he'll give the private sector "freedom!" because it runs on freedom, etc. amp; it will spit out jobs for all.  I cringe when he starts spouting his nonsense.  

ChowT
ChowT

Freedom to cheat, lie and scam like wall street.

betterthingstodo24
betterthingstodo24

Unfortunately what I am hearing from my friends on the right is that they would rather vote for Mickey Mouse than have Obama in for 4 more years! Looks like they'll get their wish if Romney wins!

D_Bob
D_Bob

Am I the only person who remembers Pawlenty's lackluster performance while he was a candidate? It would have been a push to make him exciting enough to elect as mayor of Newberry. Things look shinier in the rearview mirror of our minds, I guess.

Kevin Groenhagen
Kevin Groenhagen

"This is not to say that Fehrnstrom and his team are political geniuses; I vaguely remember him from when we were both reporters in Boston, and nothing about his byline stood out as particularly original."

Pot calls kettle black. Nothing in this piece is original. It's the same claptrap repeated by every other liberal.

"But hey, Mr. Murdoch, maybe you should worry a bit more about your own staff — or what’s left of it after the phone-hacking indictments."If I were at Time, I'd be even more worried. Its left-wing extremism is losing readers by the thousands.

Holly Kick
Holly Kick

very well written article :) I fully agree .. Romney is a billionaire and usually billionaires love billionaires, what good has he done , most of his discussion is trying to be against obama. Romney needs a small thing, that is a brain and the point that the author made - The team romney is doing a terrific job selling a flawed product" certainly makes very much sense.

ChowT
ChowT

Mitt Romney, candidate of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.

Kevin Groenhagen
Kevin Groenhagen

Romney is not a billionaire. Of course, facts don't really matter to the moonbats.

jmt13
jmt13

He could be; he won't reveal all his income that is housed in other countries that he doesn't pay taxes on.

Guest
Guest

or to fox news.

Raymond Chuang
Raymond Chuang

I do think that Romney is getting ready to announce something that has TREMENDOUS public support: the biggest overhaul of our income tax system since the passage of the 16th Amendment almost exactly 100 years ago.

Anyone who's analyzed our current income tax system note there are TOO many disadvantages to the current system, especially with 30,000 tax lobbyists in Washington, DC fighting for every scrap of a tax loophole. The result is a tax code of 70,000-plus pages of code plus additional rulings so complex that even the IRS can't figure out a large fraction of the code! :-( And it's also why the Tax Foundation estimates the yearly compliance cost is somewhere north of US$375 BILLION per year and rising fast per year. And why it has discouraged savings and capital investment in the USA, explaining why American residents and businesses have exported millions of jobs, thousands of factories, hundreds of corporate headquarters and since they were founded in the early 1960's, something approaching US$15 TRILLION (!!) in American-owned liquid assets out of the USA for tax avoidance reasons. In short, complete economic insanity.

It's time to create a national tax code that _encourages_ American residents and businesses to keep as much of their savings and capital investment in the country as possible. There are a number of proposals to do this, but all strive to make taxation as financially as painless as possible because all the proposals will be far less complex than the current tax code. Sure, the gigantic industry helping people comply with the current tax code would suffer, but wouldn't the talents of tax lawyers and accountants be put to better use elsewhere? More importantly, with a simpler tax code, we actually improve government in Washington, DC, since Congress and the President can't use the tax code for "social engineering" or favor/punish political constituencies and the IRS no longer needs to know intimate details of your personal or business finances, which also improves privacy issues.

So what are we waiting for?

3xfire3
3xfire3

As Liberals like to say “Voter Fraud" is not a problem in the USA

 

Rangel race gets messier

POLITICO

The disputed primary election between Rep. Charlie Rangel and second-place finisher state Sen. Adriano Espaillat is getting even messier.

According to a New York Daily News report, the deputy chief clerk for Manhattan’s Board of Elections held a meeting in Harlem with key Rangel campaign operatives and local leaders supporting Rangel three days before the June 26 primary.

But there were clear signs of foul play in this race before the first vote was cast.

The News has learned that on Saturday morning, June 23, Timothy Gay, the deputy chief clerk for Manhattan’s Board of Elections — and the person currently supervising the count of the votes in the Manhattan part of the 13th Congressional District — held a meeting in Harlem with key Rangel campaign operatives, and with district leaders supporting Rangel.

Asked about the meeting, Gay said he attended at the request of state Assemblyman Keith Wright, the Manhattan Democratic chairman, to provide “district leaders with lists of their Democratic inspectors assigned to their specific districts” and to “discuss election matters in general.”

So why did candidate Rangel’s campaign staffers attend, while no Democratic district leaders who supported Espaillat were invited?

Gay said he was “fairly certain” that only Democratic district leaders were in the room, and he hastened to add that he attended “on my own free time.”

Traditionally, district leaders are the ones who get to name the poll workers that the board will hire for their districts on Election Day.

Yet a half-dozen district leaders who supported Espaillat told me this week that the Board of Elections rejected virtually all the people they recommended as poll workers.

The 13th District contest was already hurtling toward a contentious outcome. But this latest revelation will only heighten suspicion among Rangel’s opponents that the fix was in, further muddying what’s likely to be the last race of the veteran New York congressman’s storied career.

 

 

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

3xfire3,

Interesting article, but what does this have to do with "voter fraud".  After all "voter fraud" deals with people who voting, but who are not allowed to vote.  This article deals with someone allegedly trying to "fix" an election before the vote was even taken.  The issues involved in this case have nothing to do with Republican efforts to keep people for voting and none of the law passed would even address the issues involved in the article.  It would appear this is about who is counting the votes, rather than improper people voting.  Improper people voting is "voter fraud".  This article is about fixing an election, a totally different issue.

ranger99
ranger99

So the GOP tactic of the last 30 years continues.  Scare the stupid people senseless and hope that the intelligent people aren't paying close attention to what your intentions are.

How else could people be consistently persuaded to vote against their own best interest?  I'd wager that 90%+ of Republican voters will actually see the quality of their lives drop dramatically under a GOP administration but they just aren't smart enough to understand it.

Kevin Groenhagen
Kevin Groenhagen

If that a GOP tactic, why are all the stupid people voting for Democrats?

Hey, look at that! Little Skippy here is quoted from a book he never read. Moron.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

It seems Mitt "Your Wish is my Command" Romney has made a change in his campaign staff.

 

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes...

 

Also heard EJ Dionne on All Things Considered mention WSJ fussing about Romney and quote JFK when WSJ criticized Nixon -- That's like Osservatore Romano criticizing the Pope.

Valjean1
Valjean1

Where is Al Capp's  Washington stage when we need it?

f_galton
f_galton

"and would probably be unelectable against a Republican with genuine appeal to independents, like Jon Huntsman Jr."

I enjoy reading your expert analysis.