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Apathy will be the legacy of Romney’s carpet bombing

Apathy will be the legacy of Romney’s carpet bombing

Mitt Romney had a strong win last night in Florida.  There’s no way to spin it otherwise, just as there was no way to spin Newt’s South Carolina win otherwise.

But at what cost?

Financially the cost was about $17 million for Romney and his SuperPAC, almost entirely on negative ads.  Of the $15 million in negative ads run by or for Romney, only one was positive,  a radio ad in Spanish run only 15 times.

Last night, Brit Hume described the win appropriately: “He beat Newt Gingrich by bombing him back into the stone age” with negative ads.

Despite Romney’s apparently straight-faced yet completely false assertions that he tried to run a positive campaign and only went negative because Newt outspent him in South Carolina, Romney showed himself to be devoid of the ability to inspire the conservative base.  Tellingly, turnout in Florida was down significantly from 2008; by contrast, in South Carolina turnout was up significantly.

As noted yesterday by William McGurn at The Wall Street Journal, Romney’s campaign toughness is not a toughness of message but of personal attacks:

“Those of us who believed that a primary fight would toughen Mr. Romney up have little to show for it. Far from sharpening his proposals to reach out to a GOP electorate hungry for a candidate with a bold conservative agenda, Mr. Romney has limited his new toughness to increasingly negative attacks on Mr. Gingrich’s character. It’s beginning to make what we all assumed was a weakness look much more like arrogance.”

Romney’s strategy of carpet bombing rather than inspiring may result in the nomination, but at a heavy financial price which will leave him weakened in a general election.  A strategy which depends on outspending rivals several times over in each state is a self-destructive path, as Alex Castellanos noted last night on Twitter:

Mitt Romney has about a week to turn FL into national momentum. or he’s trapped in tactical statebystate wars which will cost $100m.

Romney’s dependency on carpet bombing also is not a winning strategy in the general election where Obama will have more money.  As Mark Levin noted the other day:

… while Romney can swamp his Republican opponents by 3 to 1 or more in every state with his spending advantage, Barack Obama will be raising more and spending more to beat him in the general election, meaning Romney’s financial advantage will be non-existent.

There were other costs to Romney’s victory, including the credibility of the conservative media.  If ever a thumb were pressed hard on the scale, it was in the past two weeks as Drudge turned his banner over to the Romney campaign linking to an endless regurgitation of anti-Newt media pieces planted by the Romney campaign.

We expect the conservative media to be biased against Democrats just as we expect the mainstream media to be biased against Republicans.  What was unexpected and disheartening, at least to those of us who are relatively new to Republican politics, was to find the conservative media biased against conservatives.  There’s no going back.

The other loss was to our history and purpose.

You know we have gone astray as a party when even Michael Reagan had to come out and tell our presumptive nominee and his political and conservative media supporters to stop lying about the Reagan revolution and Newt’s role in it.

We have in Romney someone who was willing to carpet bomb the history of the Reagan revolution and the conservative insurgency of the 1990s, movements he stood against when he ran for office in 1994 and 2002.

Are we any closer to a nominee?  Probably, although anything still could happen.

Are we any closer to defeating Barack Obama?  I think we are farther away than ever, as many Republicans, particularly those who joined in politics in 2009-2010, just don’t care anymore.

Unless something changes soon, apathy will be the legacy of Romney’s carpet bombing.

Update:  Turnout is even worse for Romney when you dig down county by county as George Mason Univ. Prof. Michael McDonald did (h/t @ErickErickson):

In counties where Gingrich did better, Republican turnout was up over 2008. In counties where Romney dominated, turnout was lower.



[Note: The post title was changed shortly after publishing to better reflect the conclusion.]


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Mr. Fake is going to be in Minnesota today. I’ll avoid that part of the Twin Cities like the plague.
Mitt is so phony that he has to BUY his supporters. I knew that Timmeh Pawlenty would back Mittens.
Who else could pay off Timmeh’s debt?

So, maybe we’re just supposed to surrender now and accept Mittens’ inevitability. See what that gets us.

Almost two years after energy from the Tea Party swept Republicans back into congressional power, a politician who embodies the antithesis of that spirit stands on the verge of victory. This is regress, not progress, and the GOP will pay a severe price for the Faustian bargain of “electability” that it entails. A party that chooses power over principle will lose both.

    spartan in reply to spartan. | February 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

    And yes, this applies to those slobbering fools in the Conservative Media/Movement who back Romney and trash Gingrich.

      StrangernFiction in reply to spartan. | February 1, 2012 at 10:23 am

      Another very revealing statement by Mitt Romney. Hey, that safety net will catch them. No need to worry about them.

      No, this guy is not a statist. No, no, no. He’s a conservative I tell you. He worked in the private sector, and those folks are all conservatives.

    AmandaFitz in reply to spartan. | February 1, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I won’t give another dime to the RNC- only to individual candidates on a local whom I perceive to reflect my values. I am part of the T.E.A. Party and I sent money to Marco Rubio, Allen West, Bob McDonnell, Chris Christie, etc. Christie won’t see me supporting him again- nor Rubio and McDonnell.

    Romney may be able to buy this primary, but he’ll lose big time in the general election. The Republican old guard has made a monumental mistake.

      CalMark in reply to AmandaFitz. | February 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      I agree with your changed priorities.

      I don’t think the Republican Old Guard thinks they’ve made a mistake. If Romney gets nominated, it’s win-win for them:
      — If Romney wins, they get to be in charge, and it won’t be conservative. It would be Nixon II.
      — If Obama wins, they have beaten back the unwashed conservative rabble (i.e., us) and get to reach across the aisle to people with whom they disagree only in degree, not principle.

Agree…anything can and will happen. No amount of carpetbombing will force these words back into Romney’s mouth.

While I understand his motivation/thinking no smart politician, given the economic climate out there gives the opposition a perfect weapon. That old “electability” question rears it’s head again.

    terimwal in reply to jimzinsocal. | February 1, 2012 at 9:45 am

    That Romney statement in this environment was just plain stupid. He is completely tone-deaf politically. And this is supposed to be the most electable candidate?

      jimzinsocal in reply to terimwal. | February 1, 2012 at 9:47 am

      Yeah. How the public will read that Romney comment:

      First Collector: At this festive time of year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute.
      Ebenezer: Are there no prisons?
      First Collector: Plenty of prisons.
      Ebenezer: And the union workhouses – are they still in operation?
      First Collector: They are. I wish I could say they were not.
      Ebenezer: Oh, from what you said at first I was afraid that something had happened to stop them in their useful course. I’m very glad to hear it

      StrangernFiction in reply to terimwal. | February 1, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Yeah, those poor folks. They don’t want jobs, they all want to live on the dole. And that’s just what I want them to do.

    A couple of weeks ago, Rush played a clip of a radio interview between Laura Ingrahm and Mitt. He warned the radio audience ahead of time about this clip. In it, Mitt tells Laura that the economy is IMPROVING. Now, does anyone really believe this? Wasn’t his career in business?

    Why would he say this? Does he acutually believe this? I read a couple of financial blogs daily, and I can tell you that it is not improving. We now know that the CBO is saying that there will be GDP growth of 1.1% in 2013, and unemployment will likely be 9.2%. Shouldn’t Romney be telling people how bad our economy is, and Obama’s policies are making it worse? Does this guy really want to be elected?

    Further on in the linked article at BusinessInsider:

    Romney continues, “We will hear from the Democrat party, the plight of the poor … You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus… The middle income Americans, they’re the folks that are really struggling right now and they need someone that can help get this economy going for them.”

    So, he concedes that only the Democrats care about the very poor, a condition which lots of Americans fear they may be in very soon. Brilliant.

    Two points:
    1) WTF!
    2) WTF!!

I have been a registerd Republican all my voting life – back to the 1970s. Through all these years there have been candidates I liked more than others, but I always held my nose if I had to and voted for the R (with one exception).

Not any more. No longer will the Republican National Committee get my money. No longer will Republicans get my vote unless I am convinced that they are conservative. I truly hope this primary is a wakeup call and that people smarter than me can start a conservative movement away from the fatally compromised Republican party. I have had enough and I will not vote for a vicious, lying snake-oil salesman like Romney. Nor will I listen to or read the likes of Coulter, Drudge, and yes, Fox News. I am that angry.

    spartan in reply to terimwal. | February 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

    The problem is not the RNC as much as it is groups like Rove’s American Crossroads. They have far more power and money and do not operate under the same restraint as the RNC. The RNC has been a shell since they elected Steele as Chairman. They have not raise as much money as they could have and their spokespeople have not maintained a strong message.
    On the other hand, Rove gets to flaunt his reckless disregard as to facts as when he falsely promoted Romney as a defender of traditional marriage. Romney did not lead any fight to promote traditional marriage in MA and if nothing else was quite feckless in the matter. Rove was also one of the more vocal opponents to the Tea Party successes in 2010. He arguments would focus on losing NE and DE while ignoring the number of state legislative bodies that went from Dem to GOP. He would blame the Tea Party for not taking the Senate while ignoring the loses in WA, CA, CT, WV of GOP Establishment candidates.

    santee in reply to terimwal. | February 1, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I have been a registered Republican since the early 1980s.
    I am truly disgusted by the elites of this party shovelling another squishy moderate down our throats. I HATE that they will destroy our own for the sake of power and the right to the purse strings. I WILL NOT be contributing to the RNC or any candidate that does not embrace conservative principles. I will wait until after my primary, but I am leaving the party, sadly in protest.

      Before Reagan, I was a conservative Democrat, but I made the switch during the Reagan Revolution as the Republicans became the party of ideas and the Democrats became the party of grievance groups.

      Romney represents the total repudiation of the Reagan Revolution. Why would I support that?

      Some may point to the importance of the Supreme Court. I agree. That’s a critical thing to consider. But what is there to make me believe that Romney would nominate anyone more conservative than David Souter? There’s nothing.

      Romney was pro Cap & Trade, pro “Assault Weapons” ban, and still is pro Individual Mandate. Are we supposed to believe that he would appoint another Scalia? Hey, I was born at night, but it wasn’t LAST night. Romney’s track record as governor was to appoint Democrats to the judiciary. Why would he change if elected president?

      janitor in reply to santee. | February 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      I’m not so sure that he’s a squishy moderate. I’m becoming more and more convinced that Romney simply doesn’t have any positions, and will just say or be whatever will get him elected. I suspect that in office, he then will say or do whatever is expedient for Romney.

Article is right on target. Romney’s conduct leaves me extremely demotivated to vote for him. Yet again, we are left with voting for a rhino because we are told no one else can win. West in 2016…

So, Newt seems to be vulnerable to negative ads. It’s a good thing Obama wouldn’t go negative against him. Otherwise he might not be a better choice for our nominee.

Chances are we’ll either win or lose no matter who we pick. I wouldn’t put too much stock in one of them winning where the other would lose.

    PaterNovem in reply to mikehinton. | February 1, 2012 at 9:48 am

    It isn’t do much the negative ads that bother me. It’s that mittens is incapable of describing a conservative view of America and therefore demonstrate a difference with obama. Mittens will move to the left in the general because he feels he needs to in order to get the independents. There is a good chance he’ll put his foot in his mouth and flip flop then.

      ldwaddell in reply to PaterNovem. | February 1, 2012 at 10:01 am

      flipper flips depending on what audience he is talking to. He can hold two different positions in the same day. If you don’t believe me just wander on over to and check out all his flips. He complains that Newt tailors his message for the state he campaigns in, well Mitt tailors his message depending on what county he is in.

      Also, why is politics the only profession where destroying another human being with lies, personal attacks and innuendo is a prerequisite of the job? I guess we, as a nation,, will get what we deserve this Nov. since we seem to have embraced the lowest common denominator when it comes to public service. I hate what we are becoming.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to mikehinton. | February 1, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Romney was able to maximize the effect of his money advantage much more so than Obama could against Newt in the general election. Romney effectively prevented Newt from gaining a monetary and operational capacity which would have developed but for the Iowa negative dump. By the time of the general, and long before that, Newt would have had the money, party financial backing, and other logistical support to respond to negative attacks. Life isn’t fair, and neither are campaigns, but I think it is mistaken to view the impact of Romney’s very early attacks as reflective of the damage from general election attacks.

      Ron Paul ran a very aggressive negative campaign in Iowa as well.

      I’m assuming you do not believe that carpet-bombing factor should be included in your assessment.

      Romney is pursuing a short-sighted plan to win the primary. And his plan is large a “scorched earth” plan. I only speak for myself but there are indications that Romney may succeed in scorching the earth he desperately needs in the general election.

      I have already made up my mind that I won’t vote for Romney but will go 3rd party if he is the GOP nominee. Of course, I made up my mind about Romney in 2007.

      But I suspect there are more people like me, thinking like me. We are tired of the GOP lying to us, lying about us, and destroying our liberties and then turning around to ask for our votes claiming, “we may be bad but the democrats are worse.” I am not buying the LoTE from the GOP any longer…

        StrangernFiction in reply to WarEagle82. | February 1, 2012 at 11:18 am

        “The GOP will not reform itself so long as it can ridicule and abuse genuine conservatives and count on their votes.” — Dan Riehl

        One of the reforms would be that they stop abusing us, but the basic point stands and it is spot on.

      Prof, I love your site, but I don’t like your negativity.

      Buck up, already! There’s still a long way to go!

    It’s unlikely that Obama would attack Gingrich from the right. I find it hard to believe that Obama would make the case that he, Obama, was more critical to the Reagan Revolution than Gingrich.

    Of course, it’s worked so far for Romney, and he’s not much to the right of Obama (per George Soros, Goldman Sachs, and all the bailed out Wall Street that are supporting Romney).

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | February 1, 2012 at 9:42 am

The second the polls closed and it was confirmed Willard won in a landslide, I switched the channel over and watched Inside the Actor’s Studio. Did you know George Clooney’s favorite cuss word is dipshit?

That’s how excited I am with Willard being the nominee.

Mittens’ win in Florida was a mere plurality , he failed to gain a majority of voters. There is still plenty of room to maneuver if Newt wants to fight. I don’t thin Santorum has got much more momentum if he doesn’t pick up a win soon. Paul always does his own thing.

So Newt, regroup, get a message of a re-invigorated America with actual goals out there. Make us want to be a part of it. Reagan and JFK both captured America by making us a part of their efforts in their speeches. They talked ‘with’ us rather than ‘to’ us.

Newt, your lecture hall experience may be a slight disadvantage; you keep saying ‘I’… change it to ‘us’ and I think you and the rest of us will have a winner.

All the best

    creeper in reply to Steve. | February 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I’m not a Santorum supporter but I believe he got the shaft from Iowa Republican Party chairman Michael Strawn. From miscounting votes to simply wiping out 8 precincts to refusing to declare Santorum the winner, Strawn did everything in his power to promote Romney. It took him two weeks to acknowledge the reality of the results. How much momentum did that cost Santorum?

    Strawn’s attempt to skew the results will probably cost us our first-in-the-nation status, but after his perfidy maybe we deserve it.

With a cost per vote raising to an astonishing $22 per vote (!) how romney thinks he has enough money to win the primaries let alone the general election is beyond me. If he has to run 5 to 1 to beat Obama like Newt and Obama has $1 Billion, that means Romney only has to raise $5 Billion more.

This may be the largest leveraged buy out of the american presidency to DATE! I can only imagine what kind of return he would have to get on that, but I imagine we could build one hell of a moon base with it

I haven’t heard anyone say why they will vote for Romney. An ABO vote is not a vote for Romney; it’s a vote against Obama, just like in 2008.

There have been a lot of conclusions thrown around about what this means to the Tea Party movement. Full disclosure, I’m a 42 year old American-Cuban Reagan Republican who has never been to a Tea Party rally but agrees 100% with the Tea Party agenda. I don’t think this primary cycle is truly reflective of the strength (or weakness) of the Tea Party agenda. We’ve always known that Tea Partiers are a minority within the ideological spectrum of the country. Most people aren’t even connected to politics (I’m listening to two uninformed yentas in my office talking about last night’s primary as I write this).

I think a grassroots movement like the Tea Party is simply better prepared to influence congressional races and the like. For example in a low turnout Florida primary for Senate the Tea Party was instrumental in defeating Charlie Crist. In a big national race (which is what this year’s Florida presidential primary became) the Tea Party vote and activism is going to be diluted.

Besides that, despite the fact that lot of Tea Party sympathizers (like me) supported Newt there really was no definitive Tea Party candidate on the ballot.

In short, I think rumors of the death of the Tea Party are grossly exaggerated.

Apathy indeed, I’m disillusioned with the whole Republican constituency… to think they voted this man into a 14pt win? How stupid!

I have to tip my hat to the Democrats and progressives, they don’t care about skeletons in closets or the occasional break with orthodoxy/orthopraxy – they vote the most effective proponent of their cause… Republicans / conservatives don’t seem to understand this – at all.

This is a tough pill to swallow. Does the Tea Party mean anything at all if the Republican nominee is Romney?

Professor, if one lesson from Florida is that Romney does not inspire conservatives, what does it say about Gingrich vis-a-vis those same conservatives?

    William A. Jacobson in reply to Ryan. | February 1, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Actually, that Newt still received 32% of the votes despite the onslaught says a lot good about Newt’s ability to inspire people.

      In other words, you want to have it both ways.

        CalMark in reply to Ryan. | February 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm

        Considering Gingrich was swamped by a hate campaign of unprecedented scope and dishonesty, getting 1/3 of the vote shows that he resonates with the voters.

        YOU are the one who wants to have it both ways.

          janitor in reply to CalMark. | February 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

          Not to mention many somewhat more casual ABO early voters (many who get their political news from the WSJ and TV) sent in absentee ballots for Romney, especially in the south Florida retirement communities.

          I’ve talked with a few of them whose position was neutral about Romney, and who had not get the message the Gingrich had no ethics violations.

    JonB in reply to Ryan. | February 1, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Fox Exit Poll – 2012 Florida Primary

    Very Conservative:

    Gingrich 43%
    Rommey 29
    Santorum 22

    Strongly Support Tea Party:

    Gingrich 46%
    Rommey 33
    Santorum 16

    White Evangelical:

    Gingrich 39%
    Rommey 36
    Santorum 19

    NEWT won the core of the Republican base. Also, if you look at where Newt won, he won in the Panhandle and Northern Florida. Mitt won large margins in the snowbird (Northeastern transplants) counties.

    Say_What in reply to JRD. | February 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    And the loudest protests and screams will come from FL -retirement capital of the world – when Obama/Romneycare takes full effect. They must think Palin was kidding about Death Panels … but she wasn’t.

      CalMark in reply to Say_What. | February 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      Good point! Something I hadn’t thought of.

      This kind of cognitive dissonance doesn’t surprise me. Man-in-the-street libs and squishes despise the consequences of Democrat policies, but lemming-like vote for Democrats.

      The most stridently vicious libs I know all have serious health problems. Obamacare will sweep away the costly care and medication they take for granted in our “evil” system. One of them even has a thriving career in–wait for it–the pharmaceutical industry.

      If they complain to me, I’ll just say, “Well, you voted for the people who passed these laws.” Of course, they’ll find a way to blame Republicans and George W. Bush, even though thanks to GOP Romneycide ’12 and Obama Amnesty January ’13 the GOP will be about as viable as it was in 1932.

Anybody who thinks Romney is going to inspire centrists or Liberals has another think coming. I knew I didn’t like him in the run-up to 2008, but I didn’t know how many people continue to hate McCain and Huckabee because of his negative campaigning. Now that I know, my initial determination to vote ABO is being re-evaluated.

In my research with respect to this campaign, I’ve discovered a muddied jewel in Newt Gingrich. With Romney, all I’ve found is mud, and it was by his choice. He has no core values, no restraint, nothing that he wants to say or do, other than harm other people’s reputations.

If the Republicans run MudMan, his history will come out, and other centrists are going to find him as unacceptable as I do.

    janitor in reply to Valerie. | February 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    In my research with respect to this campaign, I’ve discovered a muddied jewel in Newt Gingrich. With Romney, all I’ve found is mud


You’ve also got to wonder who are all these primary voters preferring Romney vicious character assasination over an actual postive policy message

Fer instance… Newt’s ’46 states left’ concession speech last night

In Romney we seem to have a candidate who inspires only cynicism, based on his evident willingness to destroy primary opponents rather compete positively by offering a more compelling vision for America. That he offers no compelling vision suggests that he has none.

Read well, Romney staffer trolling through blog comment sections, and let this sink in. (Yes, I am talking to you. Don’t smirk or feign surprise.) Slick PR campaigns and clean cut looks are not what distinguish us from those who would see America fall. Rather, it is willingness to adhere to veracity. Politicos in three piece suits willing to lie, backstab, and carpet bomb their own to achieve short-term gains are little more than barbarians with a nearly-transparent veneer of civilization.

    AmandaFitz in reply to TheReader. | February 1, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I was just told of a twenty-something I’ve known since the day he was born who is working on the Romney campaign. He may be one of those Romney workers who is trolling sites trying to rebut that his candidate is smarmy. The funny thing is, this young man is just as smarmy and unethical- it doesn’t surprise me he’d work for Romney- he’s the kind who’d stick a knife in your back and feign surprise that you’d backed up into his knife.

    Romney cannot beat Obama- there’s not a particle of difference between the principles or the character of the two of them.

Romney has shown his rough by his carpet bombing Newt with negative ads. Will Romney if, indeed, he wins the Rep nomination be a rough on Obama? McCain did not attack Obama during the ’08 election. Don’t believe McCain really wanted the victory. Will Romney want victory bad enough to expose the fraud that is this current regime??

    StrangernFiction in reply to Olenole65. | February 1, 2012 at 11:32 am

    With the GOP establishment behind him Romney doesn’t fear us patriots. The ‘rats are a whole different matter altogether.

Hume was saying Romney outspent Newt in SC and FL, so it was mainly the debates that mattered.

But he outspent him 2:1 in SC, and 5:1 in FL. And a big difference was how hard Drudge and others came down on Gingrich. Adding in all that free propaganda might make the numbers more like 10:1.

And the big Mitt strategy was to destroy Newt’s genuine connection to the era that put conservatives into a leadership role. So that somehow leaves us with mitt, that was actually against that movement. makes this point:

Republicans seem to keep nominating the man the Cocktail Party establishment thinks has “the next turn” to be the nominee. Usually this person is the guy who came in second in the last presidential race — so, he’s really the guy who lost to the guy who lost to the Democrat that year.

Bob Dole in 1996 and John McCain in 2008 establish this pattern — and many of us believe that Romney’s nomination will repeat this same very stupid mistake in 2012.

They also point out that Santorum is playing the Edwards role from 2008, where Edwards stayed in to take from Hillary, splitting the not-Obama vote.

“Carpet bombing” is the right term, but I don’t think conservative philosophy is stone age. The founders’ ideas are still new, but the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Individual responsibility versus nanny state oppression an uphill battle.

    Hope Change in reply to Midwest Rhino. | February 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Oh, well said, Midwest Rhino, well said: “the founders’ ideas are still new.”

    For me, that’s what this is all about and I am going to support Newt all the more.

    Newt is the man with a plan to restore our country, that we love.

    Romney is a cuckoo in the nest. (The cuckoo lays its eggs in other birds’ nests. Their eggs hatch earlier and the cuckoo eats all the food the parents bring and their own chicks go hungry while the cuckoo thrives and grows so big that the other chicks have no room. Meanwhile, the cuckoo parent does not do any work.)

    I believe the American people can discern that Newt is the real deal.

    “The founders’ ideas are still new.” Beautiful.

The Romney model is independents first, take the base for granted. Big mistake.

Re: Romney’s gaffe to Soledad O’Brien about no concern about the poor due existing safety net and his intent to fix holes if any…. The problem with this is not the easily edited, “I’m not concerned about the poor…”, as bad as that gift to the DNC is. The problem is that Romney’s full statement declared he wasn’t concerned with the rich or poor -they are covered – he’s only concerned with helping the middle class. It is Politics 101 to voice intent to help all people, to lift all boats, and to never ever single out any sizable bloc of the electorate and say you are against them, or that you are unconcerned with them. It is one of the ultimate rookie mistakes, made by a guy who’s been running for office somewhere since 1994. It will serve Obama’s class warfare schtick in that Obama and surrogates will spin it ad nauseum that Romney is only interested in the middle class, that if you’re poor – or even very rich – you are on your own with Romney.

With this major gaffe, Romney has optically narrowed his electoral target to just middle class moderate independents, taking the base for granted, giving up already on the poor, and taking the rich for granted. Undoubtedly, that is not his team’s plan, but it is what emerges if, you know, to listen to his words. And the country will. Over and over. In DNC/Obama/MSM poundings.

    StrangernFiction in reply to Henry Hawkins. | February 1, 2012 at 11:36 am

    It is Politics 101 to voice intent to help all people, to lift all boats, and to never ever single out any sizable bloc of the electorate and say you are against them, or that you are unconcerned with them.

    In addition to being a slimy POS, Romney is a horrid politician.

    Only Republicans voted in Florida. That is the “base.” The base just voted for Romney.

A good perspective Professor. However, I’m not sure about the apathy part overall. Romney’s strategy is becoming clearer each week. He seems to be running his nominee campaign just enough to the left of true conservatism to get enough of the pragmatic conservative vote, knowing that as long as he is to the right of Obama in the general all conservatives will rally behind him.

Obama’s truly radically left agenda has shift the goal post and will allow for a moderate RINO to defeat him in a landslide election this November, insignificant apathy notwithstanding.

I don’t like it at all, but this country is moving left decade by decade. But please keep up the good fight.

    CalMark in reply to garfman. | February 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    This country is moving left? Really?

    So the Tea Party revolution of 2010 never happened. Or is that a hidden sign of moving left?

I wonder if the numbers were down in Florida due to people having left the Republican party. It was a closed primary there whereas in South Carolina, where the numbers were up, it wasn’t a closed primary.

California’s Republican Party has been declining for years now. Many have left the California Republican Party and have registered as “Decline to State” or “Independent.” (There was an article about this a few years ago. I’ll see if I can find it.) Why have they left? Probably because the GOP has become less conservative and does not reflect many younger voters’ values.

So a closed primary reflects the inclinations of those remaining members who likely lean more moderate (at least in Florida and California) and they then elect a moderate nominee. It’s a vicious cycle: Remaining party members of a declining Republican party nominate a moderate/liberal; conservatives leave Republican party; party becomes even more liberal/moderate leading to more conservatives to leave the party.

On the upside: The Democratic Party membership has also been declining. Both parties have been losing membership for the last few years.

DINORightMarie | February 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

It is encouraging to know that these negative ads had a negative impact on some – resulting in the low turnout numbers; his firebombing of Newt was not truly successful if it resulted in decreased turnout.

However, the Romney team will still be encouraged to double down on the negative onslaught. Spending this money now is a guarantee he won’t have the resources needed against the Obama meat grinder machine.

It’s a David vs. Goliath situation, whoever the Republican nominee is. Also, given Romney’s unforced error this morning, he won’t be able to handle the Obama machine. He just isn’t smart enough to see – or his ego is too big to realize – he is taking down the entire team, not the real opponent with this strategy.

What’s all this talk of a ‘concession speech’ when it is not yet a two-man race, officially? Why should Newt call Romney? The news coverage this morning is astounding.

It’s far worse than apathy IMO. It a failure to consolidate the base and an effort to secure votes that can never be gotten. It’s a violation of the golden rule of politics, “Never sacrifice a vote you can have for a vote you can never get.” Romney threw away the conservative base and many of them will not support him in the general because they are angry at his scorn for them. His people are counting on the anti-Obama vote, but counting on a vote against, as opposed to a vote for, is very risky when people cannot clearly see the difference between the two candidates.

OK, a couple of things were accomplished in Florida. First, the Paul appeal was repudiated in a large state. Of course media buying was everything, and it seems that Florida votes are a lot easier to manipulate with media than say, Iowa votes. Second, Newt’s shoe-string campaign is competitive with Romney’s saturation bombing — and one wonders if Romney can keep paying for enormous media buys to slander Gingrich and if slanders will remain an effective tactic. If it were just Newt vs. Mitt all the way to the convention (like Reagan vs. Ford 1976), then the game is still on. But if I’m Romney (or maybe even Obama), I will make sure the Santorum campaign has funds and incentives to also stay in and drain support way from Gingrich. Ambassador Santorum, I presume?

I am probably asking a very stupid question but here goes, What would happen if Newt started putting out ads taking on obama right now ? Let Romney keep doing his negative campaigning.But if Newt attacks obama conservatives will get a chance to see how Newt would campaign against obama.HIT THE ISSUES. It might be the only chance we get to see how Newt would stand up against obama.If he goes outside of the box and goes around Romney(Romney does not want to address the issues he wants to run a campaign full of lies half truths and misstatements) Would this work or am I cluching at straws ?

    Henry Hawkins in reply to pamiam. | February 1, 2012 at 11:52 am

    It could be argued that any of the four candidates would do better to ignore each other and go after Obama.

      but that’s kind of what I’m after . If Newt puts out ads saying obama did this,with Newt countering with what he would do ,or wouldn’t do.If doing this makes the other three do the same thing Is that really a down side .I want to see how they’ll do against obama.I want a real chance at defeating obama and the only way for that to happen is for the 4 of them to run against him now.If you don’t do it now you won’t have the chance at all. and we will once again have a default vote ,who will not win in Nov.

        CalMark in reply to pamiam. | February 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

        Romney can’t and won’t do that. Which is not to say Newt shouldn’t. Newt should. That’s his best hope.

        Romney is a man with no core philosophy. He can’t run positive ads, because he has no ideas or agenda, other than “business as usual in D.C.,” albeit less radical than Obama’s, which he dare not reveal. He is cluelessly destroying his own power base because to him, it’s the path to the nomination:

        Newt Gingrich is running for President of the United States. Mitt Romney (like Dole and McCain) is running to be the GOP nominee.

The more I read what you write, Professor, the more I like you. You wear well.

Not that anyone here tracks this stuff, but intellectual honesty requires it:
I was wrong about the polls. I thought they were rigged, but Romney’s victory pretty much followed their predictions. That said, I’m still mystified how Newt could go from +12 to -14 (a 26-point swing!) in barely a week, with only a few mediocre debates and lots of negative advertising, even though he had some inspiring things to say. Not sure WHAT to make of it.

More points.

1. The “Apathy” post accurately summarizes Romney’s character: schoolyard bully, good at terrorizing smaller kids, no match for anybody else. If nominated, he’s toast.
2. RINOs like Romney are always panting for independents, moderates, and Democrats. The Tea Party is chock-full of such folks, but Romney and the Establishment want nothing to do with Tea Parties.
3. The New Media, alleged “principled conservatives,” from National Review to Rush Limbaugh, are in the tank for Romney. Heavy hitters like Limbaugh and Levin are passive-aggressive about it, praising Santorum but not Newt’s good ideas and visions; even when they defend him, it’s usually backhanded. Fallout: the conservative power infrastructure is gone.
4. Enough is enough. Tea Parties should force Romney to listen to us; otherwise, we go 3rd Party right after the election, and the GOP is done. Then lean HARD on Tea Party people in House and Senate to vote against everything Romney-progressive.

    Hope Change in reply to CalMark. | February 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    CalMark – thank you for your analysis of the heavy-hitters.

    I have the same reaction but wasn’t able to put it into those words. Passive-aggressive. I don’t listen to Mark Levin often, but I’ve heard a little recently from clips posted on websites. I used to listen to Rush almost every day, so I heard enough of it from Rush to know that’s what he’s doing.

    The thing that amazes me is that neither Mark nor Rush seems to have a real understanding of what Newt is proposing. Isn’t it their job to be informed?

    That’s part of the reason I’m always saying, listen to Newt’s speeches.

    It is incomprehensible to me that Mark Levin could understand what Newt has in mind and still prefer Rick Santorum. Incomprehensible.

    Have you read Levin’s books? The books are excellent. Mark Levin really gets FREEDOM and AMERICA.

    But Levin goes for Santorum? What is Santorum going to do in the White House? What possible thing has Rick Santorum done that makes anyone think he could undo what Obama and 80 years of Leftists have done? What on earth makes Mark Levin think Rick Santorum could win the general election? Honestly.

    Newt has a plan that he estimates will undo about 40% of what Obama has done ON THE FIRST DAY NEWT IS IN OFFICE. And then we really go to work restoring the rule of law, returning power to local home town communities and the states, redesigning the tax code for simplicity, lower tax rates, higher tax revenues… And the whole thing is the product of the energy and intelligence of the American people.

    Maybe part of the dealio with being the Conservative Doctor of Democracy is, no one can be allowed to be seen to be better than you, El Rushbo, at analyzing the situation in America. Therefore, Rush can’t afford to understand Newt’s analysis, because Newt is a genuine visionary. Newt’s vision and solutions are greater than Rush’s and Rush can’t afford to know that? Otherwise, I don’t get it, because to me, Rush sounds — I’m sorry — Rush sounds uninformed and confused.

    I don’t know enough about Mark Levin to speculate as to what his deal is.

    Part of what makes this process so difficult is to not have the support of people you thought would be enthusiastic supporters.

    I would LOVE for the American people to have the chance to restore our Republic to its Constitutional basis. And if Newt is the nominee, we will have that chance.

    For the convenience of anyone who wants to understand more about Newt’s plans, here are links to 17 of Newt’s speeches. It’s a fabulous way to get up to speed if you’re interested.

      CalMark in reply to Hope Change. | February 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      Actually, it’s very simple.

      It’s my understanding that Bain owns ClearStation, which owns the heavy hitters — Levin, Hannity, and yes, El Rushbo. Additionally, Rush has some kind of ego-hate thing going about Newt; he’s sneered at him for years. Limbaugh chortles whenever “the long knives are out for Newt,” but never once praised Gingrich for running an ideas-based campaign, like Rush advocated for months. Levin is a better pitch-man, so he’s smoother about it.

      In short, “our” main guys have sold us out for their own careers. Limbaugh is out of my life completely, Hannity for the most part (he’s always annoyed me anyway) and Levin is getting there. Sellouts, all.

“Actually, that Newt still received 32% of the votes despite the onslaught says a lot good about Newt’s ability to inspire people.”

I am loathe to disagree with you Professor but in this instance I must.

Many years ago there was a Canadian boxer named George Chuvalo, a man who was never knocked down in ninety-three professional fights. He is considered to have had the greatest chin in the history of boxing. He fought nearly all the top heavyweights. He fought Ali twice and went the distance both times. “He’s the toughest guy I ever fought”, said Ali. “My ribs hurt for weeks after fighting him.” Even Frazier and Foreman were unable to knock him down.

Chuvalo had a very, very messy personal life and, under normal circumstances, would deserve and receive substantial approbrium. It was a curious thing, though, that people held Chuvalo close to their hearts. Why? Who knows? But armchair psychologists speculated that the beatings that Chuvalo endured were seen by the fans as a kind of penance which allowed them to forgive his sins. George may have been a lovable survivor but he was never a winner let alone an inspiration.

I will pick Newt over Romney and, especially, Obama any day and, although I have a lot of affection for him, a vote for Newt is done with a heavy heart. I am hoping that we end up with a brokered convention and that some inspiring figure will step forward. And we all know who I mean.

In the meantime, Newt’s enemies are my enemies.

Why is it that the Romneybots can not see
the weakness of Romney’s record, the deficiency of his message, and his glaring lack of character in permitting character assassination of opponents. It is these things which will cause many Conservative voters, who although they may hold their noses and vote for him, won’t actively work for or support him. I smell defeat against an opponent we would otherwise easily overwhelm.

Looks like Romney’s support is plunging among Independents.

So it’s not just apathy but probably disgust that is driving people away.

[…] 2, Feb. 1: Bill Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection had the stomach to look at the details, and they are not comforting. Bottom line: “In […]

[…] GOP Suicide Wish Posted on February 1, 2012 11:30 am by Bill Quick » Apathy will be the legacy of Romney’s carpet bombing – Le·gal In·s… Despite Romney’s apparently straight-faced yet completely false assertions that he […]

huskers-for-palin | February 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Homework assignment.

Ask a typical Romney supporter on the street what’s Romney’s conservative message. Not platitudes, but specifics. See if they can name at least three.

Ask them if they hate Obamacare and ask for specifics why. Then compare Obamacare to Romneycare (plus Romney’s commnets on “keeping the good and leaving the bad”) and watch their reactions. It’s pretty eye opening.