The Delusion of Romney Apologists


So.. here we go. Romney/GOP supporters are heartened by the fact that Mitt is still breathing, and some national polls show he’s still very much in the race. Good for them, I guess. And it seems one of their main call to arms is the old “The Mainstream Media Hates us” bit. To wit, a new blog today from Washington Post Romney apologist Jennifer Rubin highlights all the ways in which the “media,” used liberally here, “has it all wrong,” and has, since the beginning. It lists in 15 points all the supposed declarations by the “media” (with no direct examples) of the death of the Romney campaign. But some of her reasoning is hardly compelling, and pretty self-defeating.

And away we go:

1. Romneycare would prevent Mitt Romney from getting the nomination.

This one will kick-off a recurring theme here for Ms. Rubin. This “misconception” being attributed to “the media” was very much a hope of a few conservative pundits and Romney’s Primary challengers, to no avail. The point of making this point is lost on me.

2. Romneycare would prevent Romney from making an argument against Obamacare.

Well, no.. he can make an argument for whatever he wants. But it does badly weaken his argument. In fact, it basically negates it as an argument at all. I’ve yet to see an intelligent argument to the contrary. Which, in case you haven’t noticed, despite being a strong rallying point for Republicans, the whole “repeal Obamacare” siren has been pushed to the back by the Romney campaign in favor of stuff about welfare, foreign policy, etc.

3. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was a sure thing.

A sure thing to what? Sound like a buffoon? This one I can chime in on with some knowledge. I live in Texas, so I know more about Governor Perry than your average politico. (and more than I wish I did) It was very much the right wing punditry that briefly anointed Perry as their savior, because they fucking hated (and still do hate) Romney. And the media followed suit, because they love new toys. Like Fred Thompson before him, he crashed and burned all on his own. No media intervention necessary.

4. The GOP would pick a tea party favorite as its nominee.

Again, Ms Rubin is projecting the hopes and dreams of Limbaugh, Ingraham, et al. on to the old know-nothing “media.” I will concede that a lot of good liberal bloggers and mouthpieces like myself certainly hoped a softball like Santorum or Bachman would somehow get the nomination, but since we’re not typically a delusional bunch, we pretty much had Romney, with the deepest pockets and the backing of the remnants of the GOP “establishment,” pegged as the guy.

5. Romney’s $10,000 “bet” in a primary debate was going to wreck his campaign.

I don’t recall anyone but his primary opponents declaring that. But either way it sure made him look like an out of touch asshole.

6. Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom’s “Etch-a-sketch” remark was going to kill Romney’s chances.

Kill? Maybe not. Damage? Yes. That hasn’t gone away.

7. Romney’s remark about owning two Cadillacs was going to doom him in Michigan.

No, that remark won’t doom him in Michigan. His preference to let Detroit and GM go bankrupt did. So, I guess that’s sort of a point for Ms. Rubin.

8. Romney’s comment that he was most concerned about the middle class and not the very poor who have a safety net, which may need fixing, was going to cripple him.

Again, I guess we’re using semantics to make a point, or something. The knee-jerk blogosphere, of which Ms Rubin is apparently obliviously part of, loves to hone in on a single gaffe or controversial statement and say “so and so just lost (or won) the election.” Of course real life isn’t that simple. But M.s Rubin is effectively re-stating a bunch of hand-picked bad Romney gaffes (and there are countless ones to cite) and saying “See, See, this one thing alone didn’t sink the campaign!” Ok, point taken. But what’s the larger point?

9. Romney’s Bain experience would kill his campaign.

Again, we’re defaulting to elements of the campaign that are clearly hindrances and announcing that each one in and of itself aren’t dooming the Romney campaign. And this is also where we’re getting into the realm of self-delusion and self-defeat. The Romney campaign wants anything to do with Bain OUT OF THE PUBLIC DISCOURSE. But Ms. Rubin and her ilk keep reviving it because they actually think it could help him. Ok then.

10. Romney’s foreign trip would kill his campaign.

Getting stale here. I guess Ms. Rubin is of the belief that if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. This works for insipid top 40 songs. Presidential campaigns, not so much. Also, which foreign trip? I assume she means the England debacle.

11. Romney would have to release more than two years of his tax returns.

Haha.. is this woman a pro-Obama mole?? She effectively keeps bringing up all the things the Romney campaign does NOT WANT DISCUSSED EVER and highlighting them as things that haven’t quite destroyed the campaign yet. Brilliant.

12. Romney’s remarks on the embassy attacks were the most important issue and would kill his campaign.

Well, he tried to make them an important issue, and failed badly. The funny thing is, this is an event that recent polls show has hurt, and could continue hurting Obama. Yet Mitt went over the top into Limbaugh talking-points land and put himself on the defensive rather than the president. This could have indeed been a turning point, but it could up being another self-inflicted wound. At least according to Ms. Rubin though, not a lethal one. Win?

13. The Democratic National Convention bounce for President Obama was meaningful.

I don’t know what the argument here is. A few polls have shown the bounce is wearing off and others show it hasn’t, yet. Also we’re going to have to figure in the past 3 days bad news cycles for Romney. Really need a week or 2 to dissect the polls.

14. Clint Eastwood was a disaster.

HAHA, I LOVE this!! This line of thinking goes to what I said earlier, about regurgitating things the Romney campaign wants to forget, and leads to another blog coming soon about how Romney’s “best friends” are really his worst enemies. I’ll be more blunt. If you are a non-delusional Romney supporter you want the Eastwood speech to be forgotten, pretend it never happened, and hope it just goes away and dies. But “friends” of the right like Ms Rubin keep dredging it up, trying to convince herself and others it was actually helpful to the campaign.

Here’s a crude analogy. A few weeks ago my hometown Miami Hurricanes got thrashed by Kansas State 52-13. Id like to forget about it, and certainly not bring it up. Per Ms. Rubin’s logic, I ought to keep talking about it and say that it wasn’t as bad as the score indicated, and in fact proved the Hurricanes are going to have a great team this year.

It reeks of desperation. Even if you personally loved the Eastwood speech, there aren’t words to describe how delusional you are if you think it struck a positive chord with the public and helped the campaign.

15. Picking Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as a VP was a mistake

This one is open to debate, but it’s been media of all stripes declaring this, left, right, and center. The odd thing about the Ryan pick is that he immediately went on a tear denouncing everything he had done and stood for that brought him into great favor with the GOP base. This has actually worked, because his favorability #s have actually mostly stayed above water. But the Ryan budget is politically toxic. And the polls show this is hurting Romney, despite a few weeks of confusion over the whole $713 billion to Obamacare stuff.

In closing:

Overall, Ms Rubin is merely sounding the decades-old alarm about “Liberal Media Bias.” The way she’s gone about it though is baffling. If I’m a Romney staffer, I’m cringing at a supposed pro-Romney blogger bringing up all the toxic points the campaign desperately wants to go away. Does anyone really think they can still turn the Libya comments and the Eastwood debacle into a positive?? Are they that desperate??

Moreover, the central point of the entire article is confusing, or just plain stupid. She’s racking up an impressive (but hardly comprehensive) list of bad Romney gaffes, and then announcing that each one, in and of itself, didn’t sink the campaign on its own. Maybe she doesn’t realize but one can deduce that taken in their entirety, they could very well explain why Mitt is behind, and time is running out.

I suppose the point is a testament to Mitt’s staying power, despite his propensity to continually shoot himself in the foot. And indeed there is some marvel that Romney isn’t losing by more, depending on which poll(s) you fancy. But the bottom line is if Romney supporters have been reduced to reviving cringe-inducing campaign moments and trying to spin them into winning arguments, it’s just going to get worse for them, and their candidate.

See the original Jennifer Rubin WaPo blog here: