In the weeks following the close of the Republican Convention in Tampa this summer, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Don’t say you haven’t heard my non-stop Jeremiad for the past year. Don’t let me hear any of you smacking your forehead, groaning “Gee…how did THAT happen?” because I’ve been telling you all along and will take this opportunity to go into some detail.
In the recent Florida GOP primary, Mitt Romney spent a little over $15 million to carpet bomb Newt Gingrich with a hailstorm of 13,000 television and radio ads – of which over 90% were vicious attack ads characterized largely by lies, half-truths and innuendo.
In his campaign appearances, Romney didn’t hesitate to attack Gingrich with all manner of personal insults and deprecation. The Drive-Bys piled on to assist Romney by joining the anti-Gingrich feeding frenzy while only occasionally launching a half-hearted swipe at Der Mittmeister.
Yesterday, however, Howard Fineman let the cat out of the bag over at the Huffington Post in an article with the most perfectly descriptive title I’ve ever seen: “Democrats Planning On Doing To Mitt Romney What He Did To Newt Gingrich.” In a nutshell he spelled out and summed up the grand strategy of the Obama campaign.
Independent voters, watching the proceedings here, don’t like what they are learning about Romney, said Brad Woodhouse of the Democratic National Committee. The advertising and rhetoric in Florida was all negative; none of it touted Romney’s agenda, accomplishments or beliefs.
“If you look at polls in the battleground states, you see that people are getting a negative view of him,” Woodhouse said. “Independent voters don’t like a candidate who is all-negative, and that is the way he campaigned in Florida. More than that, they don’t like a candidate who seems willing to say anything. They don’t trust him.”
These are not surprising comments by a Democratic spokesman, but they nevertheless are revealing. They presage a personal, name-calling campaign on behalf of President Barack Obama, who himself is suffering from at-best tepid job-approval ratings.
Democrats are planning to portray Romney’s say-anything-do-anything advertising and rhetorical tactics as windows into his character, credibility and candor.
In the case of the general election this November, Team Obama will have close to $1 BILLION to spend on every form of communication, including broadcast, cable and satellite television, AM, FM and satellite radio, the entertainment industry, the internet blogosphere, newspapers and magazines – in addition to campaign appearances populated with legions of useful idiots and union thugs. The entire Drive-By media will have Obama’s back, making sure to suppress and black out any news and information that reflects negatively on the President while directing a non-stop barrage of vitriol at Romney that will exceed what he directed at Gingrich by several orders of magnitude.
And it doesn’t help Der Mittmeister’s cause that he’s the GOP Establishment’s answer to Barack Obama: a vacuous, blow-dried, Ken-Doll, suit dummy who can be all things to all people and whose every public utterance is a carefully parsed chain of platitudes. Thus Mark Steyn:
Why is the stump speech so awful? “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.” Mitt paid some guy to write this insipid pap. And he paid others to approve it. Not only is it bland and generic, it’s lethal to him in a way that it wouldn’t be to Gingrich or Perry or Bachmann or Paul because it plays to his caricature — as a synthetic, stage-managed hollow man of no fixed beliefs. And, when Ron Paul’s going on about “fiat money” and Newt’s brimming with specifics on everything (he was great on the pipeline last night), Mitt’s generalities are awfully condescending: The finely calibrated inoffensiveness is kind of offensive.
Nor does it help our cause that the putative front runner has proven himself to be quite the gaffe machine in his own right:
“I’m not concerned about the very poor,” he said. “We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair , I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich…. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
Here’s the problem for Romney: he ultimately comes across as passionless and robotic – as if speaking from a memorized script and not from the heart. If confronted and challenged, he stammers and ultimately falls into a defensive stance. If you listen to him long enough you will see that he really can’t handle an impromptu campaign conversation. When all is said and done, he’d do exceptionally well if he relied on a Teleprompter, reminding me of an old rhyme:
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
But he with a smile replied
That maybe it couldn’t but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he tried.
So he buckled right in with a bit of a grin;
He sat down and got right to it.
He tried that thing that couldn’t be done…
And he couldn’t do it.
Somewhere in Chicago, a political freight train consisting of a dozen locomotives and a thousand cargo cars groans to a labored start and begins a slow but steady acceleration, acquiring speed and momentum. Sometime in late summer that train – call it the Obama Second Term Express if you wish – will bear down on the Little Romney Engine That Almost Could.
The rest of the story won’t be a pretty one.