Archive for September, 2012

40 39 days out from the election and the knives are already out for Mitt Romney within his own party, even his own campaign. There are also people in the Republican party and base in full-blown CYA mode as to how Romney wound up being their nominee.

Politico:

“Lousy candidate; highly qualified to be president,” said a top Romney official. “The candidate suit fits him unnaturally. He is naturally an executive.”

“He’s a great leader, but he’s not a great politician,” said a top member of Romney’s organization. “As much as we complain about politicians, we like a good politician. He doesn’t have the hand-on-the-shoulder thing. He’s not quick-witted. He’s an analytical, data-driven businessperson.”

“You have to know the room, and he doesn’t know the room,” said a top Republican in D.C. who has donated to Romney and wants him to win. “He’s missing the normal-guy gene.”

Real Clear Politics:

Like it or not, the money and opinion elites on the center-right own Romney’s failure from the perspective of the base—they need him to win. And the reality is that if Romney loses, it will have little if anything to do with Paul Ryan’s big ideas, tactical choices, or elite misgivings—and far more to do with the simple fact that Romney is still disliked by most voters.

Red State:

The staggering irony is that those of us who did not want Romney are now the ones defending him to the hilt while the elitist jerks are distancing themselves from Romney as quickly as possible — both upset at what their media friends tell them is to come and upset that Mitt Romney might not actually listen to their sweet whispers as much as they originally presumed.

The American Conservative:

Activists would love to treat Romney’s candidacy as something that party elites foisted on them, but those elites were generally unenthusiastic about Romney this time as well. Romney prevailed this time in no small part because movement conservatives in 2008 helped make him a viable contender for the nomination. Many activists allowed themselves to be taken in four years ago, and now they’re stuck with the candidate they helped create. Romney’s candidacy this year is a monument to the conservative movement’s short-sightedness and lack of imagination, and naturally they want to deny their part in this.

“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.”
Julius Caesar; Act 3, Scene 1

From today’s New York Times (emphasis mine):

Through the halls of Congress and well beyond, a whisper campaign is bursting into the open: Rather than burden him with the usual constraints on a ticket’s No. 2 not to upstage or get ahead of the presidential nominee, let Ryan be Ryan and take a detailed, policy-heavy fight to President Obama and the Democrats.

Also see this writeup in the Washington Post; September 21, 2012 (again, emphasis mine):

“I was enthused when Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan because I thought that was a signal that this guy was getting serious, he was getting bold,” Walker said. “I just haven’t seen that kind of passion I know that Paul has transferred over to our nominee.” The governor suggested that “pushback from some of the folks in the national campaign” was restraining the Wisconsin congressman from making detailed policy arguments.

That rang a few bells… Sure enough, after doing some digging on Google, I found these (all emphasis in the block quotes mine):

CNN; September 29, 2008:

The New York Times conservative columnist Bill Kristol argued in his column on Monday that McCain must “liberate his running mate from the former Bush aides brought in to handle her — aides who seem to have succeeded in importing to the Palin campaign the trademark defensive crouch of the Bush White House.
“McCain picked Sarah Palin in part because she’s a talented politician and communicator. He needs to free her to use her political talents and to communicate in her own voice,” Kristol wrote.

Washington Times; September 30, 2008:

At critical moments before and during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, his admirers would urge that he be allowed to be himself – rather than the far less authentic and appealing facsimile served up by his handlers.

“Let Reagan be Reagan,” they would urge, confident the man would fare well if left to his own talents and judgment. Time and time again that proved to be the case as his common-man qualities, native intelligence and utter decency allowed him to connect with and secure the support of the American people.

This lesson is worth recalling now, on the eve of a possibly make-or-break vice presidential debate between Republican Sarah Palin and her Democratic rival, Sen. Joseph Biden. The outcome – and the fate of the Republican ticket – may turn on whether her handlers “Let Palin be Palin.”

Wall Street Journal; September 29, 2008:

“It’s time to let Palin be Palin — and let it all hang out,” said Scott Reed, a Republican strategist.

The Weekly Standard; September 8, 2008:

Let Palin Be Palin
Why the left is scared to death of McCain’s running mate.

Mitt Romney on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”; September 29, 2008:

“Holding Sarah Palin to just three interviews and microscopically focusing on each interview I think has been a mistake. I think they’d be a lot wiser to let Sarah Palin be Sarah Palin. Let her talk to the media, let her talk to people.”

To be fair, I did a similar search for news articles, columns, and pundits who were saying “Let Edwards be Edwards” during the 2004 campaign, and didn’t find any.

I’m not comparing Paul Ryan to Sarah Palin on a direct one-on-one basis. Rather, I’m pointing out that the underlying dynamics in both campaigns – a running mate who is more popular with the base than the nominee of a campaign that is not going well – are uncanny. If this continues, it will not be a good sign for the Romney campaign during the final six weeks before Election Day.

I forgot to link to my latest submission to Huffington Post the other day… Here it is.

Ann Romney addresses her husband’s Republican critics during an interview with Radio Iowa:

“Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring,” she said. “This is hard and, you know, it’s an important thing that we’re doing right now and it’s an important election and it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt’s qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country.”

Axl Rose, circa 1991: