Skip to comments.Bob Shrum: R.I.P., Mitt Romney
Posted on 11/02/2012 9:28:35 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Mitt made multiple mistakes that will lead to his defeat on Tuesday. Some of them date all the way back to 2008.
The campaign has come down to a race between Mitts media and Mitts mistakesand the mistakes are winning.
We have now crossed the billion dollar mark in ad purchases. In Ohio alone, the two sides, Super PACs and all, are spending $30 million in the closing weekand in the battleground states overall, Romney forces are outspending Obama by $30 million.
But the contest is not as unbalanced as the numbers. The Obama money goes further because more of the total buy has been placed by the campaign itself, which by law pays less for television time than outside groups. Obamas strategists also got more for less than the Romney enterprise by buying well in advance, when the so-called lowest unit rate was lower. In any event, the airwaves in the swing states are saturated. The Thursday before the election, the noon news on the CBS station in Columbus, Ohio, featured 22 political spots one after another. A lot of it, perhaps most of it, is so much electoral wallpaper.
What matters more is what happened months or even years ago, when Mitt Romney inflicted serial damage on himself that cant be wiped away by a last-minute ad barrage or a barnstorming tour through the final hours.
Go all the way back to Nov. 18, 2008, when Romney wrote that op-ed in The New York Times headlined: Let Detroit Go Bankrupt. Few pieces have had as long or relevant a political life. Michigan, Mitts original home state, and Ohio, home to 850,000 auto industry-related jobs, have proved stubbornly resistant to a Republican nominee who seems so conspicuously hostile to their livelihoods. If the President carries both states, Romneys prospects next Tuesday look about as promising as the Edsels in the 1950s. For those too young to remember it, the car was a landmark flop. Wikipedia offers a commonly accepted explanation: it was a supreme example of the corporate cultures failure to understand American consumers.
Romneys op-ed was a supreme example of a corporate guys failure to understand American voters. He can quibble that he favored a managed bankruptcywithout the use of federal funds. The Obama campaignand most expertsrespond that in the depth of the financial crisis, there was no private capital available to keep the auto companies in business while they were reorganized. Thats true, but almost beside the point. Whats indelible, immediately apprehensible, persistently top-of-mind is the headline itself. Romney could have claimed he didnt write it; he didnt. He could have argued it wasnt what he meant. Instead, he doubled down, telling an interviewer: Thats exactly what I saidthe headline you readLet Detroit Go Bankrupt.
In a last-ditch attempt to crack Ohio and Michigan, Romney has now resorted to advertising an outright liethat Chryslers Jeep division will soon move its jobs from the United States to China. The media has debunked the fiction, which was borrowed from the fantasy precincts of the rightwing blogs. The Detroit press called it false in a news story not just on the editorial page. TV stations have scorned the Romney spotat times, pre-emptively refuting it just before it airs. When Bozo the Trump tweeted the lie, a Chrysler Vice President swiftly tweeted back: You are full of shit. The Obama response ad was easy to make, entirely believableand of course, showed a grimly grinning Romney letting Detroit go bankrupt. Maybe hes created a new watchword and a warning for Presidential politics: Would that mine opponent would write an op-ed.
Now fast forward nearly four years to last summer in a second, probably fateful Mitt mistake. It fits with the first oneand reinforces the narrative of an out-of-touch, plutocratic candidate who doesnt care about working families or the middle class. Romney let the Obama campaign pummel and define him as the profiteering-job destroyer from Bain. Eighteen years after this attack shattered his Senate bid against Ted Kennedy, you would think Mitt had an answer other than nostrums about free-enterprise. The fact that he didnt offer one suggests that there isnt a convincing one. When he was asked on CBS, he simply brushed the question aside: the President is grasping at any straw he can find.
After a summer of dithering, the Romney campaign fled to relatively contentless website www.sterlingbusinesscareer.com defending his tenure at Bain. This is an inexplicable case of lame and latter-day rather than rapid response. According to Politico, the site has attracted far fewer than the number of eyeballs on the Bain attacks on the airwaves. Ceding the ground here left Romneys favorable-unfavorable rates upside down with swing voters from Las Vegas to Toledo and left him with a steep hill to climb. Even as he made progress, which he finally did, he has been struggling to erase the deficit.
The struggle intensified when he selected Paul Ryan as his running mate instead of the safer, Ohio-friendly Senator Rob Portmanthe choice of most of Romneys advisers. Ryan, who has proposed to replace Medicare with Vouchercare, instantly threatened the nominees margin with seniors, who are essential to assembling a barely sufficient GOP coalition. Some Republicans rejoice that their vulnerability here has been blunted by chargingfalsely by the waythat Obamacare cut more than $700 billion from Medicare (the cuts were in excessive payments to entities like insurance companies.) But the GOP campaign has had to spend time and millions of dollars on thisand the hard evidence suggests that for them the battle is being lost. The latest Democracy Corps survey reports: [On] Medicare Obama [is] trusted by 14 points over Romney in the states where the issue has been contested in advertising from both sides.
If the Republicans lose Floridaand when Obama holds on to senior-rich Pennsylvania, Mitts last, least hopeput it down to the Ryan mistake. The choice didnt even achieve one effect its champions insistently predicted that it would energize the sanforized Romney. Instead of Romney being Ryanized, Ryan has been Romneyized. Hes become a bland non-presencewhich, given the sharp edge of his views, may be the better part of rightwing valour.
Then came other big mistakes, interrupted by one notable success.
The convention, which was supposed to introduce and humanize the Republican nominee on its last night, morphed into a Saturday Night Live skit. It was an elementary failure of event planning to let an unscripted Clint Eastwood conduct a farcical debate with an empty chair- and then to push real-people testimonials to Romneys character out of prime time so Florida Sen. Marco Rubio could talk more about himself than Mitt. There was no bounceand a marked decline for the Republican nominee after a bravura Democratic Convention a week later in Charlotte.
If the Obama of the second debate had showed up to the first, the election would have been over then and there. But he didnt; it was his mistake and Romneys singular moment. But the Republican seemed to have no coherent plan for his second and third encounters with the President other than insisting that the race was simply a referendum: If youre kind of dissatisfied with the economy, give me a try; after all, I am in the midst of a moderate makeover. This typifies the pervasive error of the Romney strategy. The Obama forces cast the election as a choice: whos on your sideon tax fairness, on fighting for the middle class, on equality for women and all Americans, on decency towards immigrants? The President vigorously prosecuted his case in the last two debates- and Romney ended up on the wrong side on choice after choice.
I had predicted that Mitt could win the first debateand he clearly did. But I argued that this would not change the structure of the race unless Obama stumbled againand he didnt. The Romney momentum, which was less than it was cracked up to be, has long since stopped for all but the delusional and disingenuous Dick Morris, the turncoat Clinton adviser who laughably foresees a Romney landslide. I guess this is what Rupert Murdoch pays him for; at least, Morris could have gotten the electoral votes right for the states he mentioned. Karl Rove, now also of Fox, has offered up more modulated happy-talk. But as Romney desperately reaches for Pennsylvania and Minnesota, virtually no one believes the spinapparently not even Newt Gingrich, whose blog slipped up and posted a prediction that Obama is going to win.
Romneys colossal mistake on Libya in the second debate also prepared the way for the real October surprise, the bromance between the President and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Mitt was slapped down for politicizing Libya in that debateand reproved by moderator Candy Crowley for being outright wrong on whether Obama had called the attack an act of terror. The GOP nominee refused to venture back into the controversy the next time the two candidates met. He had disabled himself; despite the fevered advice of the neocons, and the relentless conspiracy-mongering of the embittered John McCain, Romney was quiescent. And the real issue at stake wasnt just foreign policy, where Obama is far ahead, but ultimately the quality and character of his Presidential leadership. The response to Hurricane Sandy was the sequel and the Presidents most powerful and persistent validator was Romneys convention keynoter, Chris Christie. He showered praise on Obama as wonderfuland added: If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you dont know me.
I think I know whos going to win when I hear the bloviating Rush Limbaugh denounces Christie as a Greek column for Obamas reelection. And you can measure the desperation of the Romney Campaign not only in his sudden apparition in Pennsylvaniaif he cant make it in Ohio, he has to try somewhere elsebut in the race-baiting of the bumptious John Sununu, Romneys co-chair, who attributed Colin Powells endorsement of the President to the fact that theyre both African-Americans.
Whether this was intentional or a mistake, it was plainly shameful. And as I have argued before, it was a mistake for Mitts strategists to invest so much in the wallpaper of late advertising while neglecting field organizationwhere Obama has a deep-rooted and potentially decisive edge.
Finally, Romney made some unavoidable mistakes embedded in the DNA of todays GOP. He assumed, correctly, that in the primaries he had to pander on social issues to the religious right and on immigration to a party that has become the modern incarnation of nativism. He can plead in mitigation that he had no choiceand if that is so, look for another Republican defeat in 2016. On Nov. 7, Romney may be asking himself: What does it profit a Mitt to gain a nomination and lose his chance to make history in the White House?
Still, the fault is not just in his party but in himself. The Romney campaign has been a trail of misstepsand the Obama managers masterfully took advantage of this and took control of the race. So lets thank Mitt for making his own mistakes. As we may have noticed, hes very good at it. RomneyR.I.P.
Bob Shrum is high on himself.
The pressure is getting to the commie libs like Shrum. Many are ready for the happy house with the padded walls.
You’d think Shrum would say something intelligent enough to maybe get him hired in 2016, but maybe he’s had enough.
The tragic parts of this are that this psycho gets paid money to this kind of crap, and there are STILL people that are stupid enough to believe the picture these accomplices paint. Sadly, they are allowed also to vote.....
God be with us on Tuesday night. Please save our country.
LOL Poor lib..must suck to see those polls from PA showing Romney up FOUR..libs are going to be on suicide watch after this election..but don’t expect me to have any sympathy for them, they can all commit mass suicide for all I care
This election officially is in the bag now.
He wishes it were possible to smear Mitt with such chicken feed. The public has long ago said it does not care.
Whatevuh .....Butt Boy.
Not you of corpse...LOL
Hmmmmm ..?? Bob Schrum ..?? Isn’t this the same campaign manager WHO HAS NEVER WON AN ELECTION ..??
I rest my case!!
bob shrum, who never met a presidential campaign he didn’t LOSE.
Romney-Ryan, November 6th
Watched him on CNBC this evening - not credible! He is one of those liberal fellows that continues to spread lies regardless of the consequences (you know even if the MSM has discredited them - one of their own!). That does seem to be a problem with Liberals on TV these days - they keep spreading outright lies with no Liberal backup.
It is becoming so common that I automatically either change the channel or laugh at their statements. That means that I am watching some other channel other than one that will actually challenge them on what they are saying...heh.
That leaves out several channels... but you know who you are...
Wow. Reading this, it becomes clear very quickly why he loses every race he runs. His is not real familiar with reality, and lives in a leftist bubble.
You beat me by 12 seconds. Dang.
Oh, I knew his name was familiar. He’s Mr. Proud-of-my-Dukakis-campaign.
The Betamax of campaign advisors.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.