Mitt campaign seeks to avoid McCain blunders, runs risk of appearing lifeless instead

Reason to worry about Romney #9,361: if he thinks being not-McCain is enough to get elected, then doom will be his fate. From Politico, a lesson in what not to do:

Mitt Romney and his top aides are building a strategy, partly by design and partly because of circumstance, around what they consider John McCain’s disastrously run campaign in 2008.

The strategy: whatever McCain did, do the opposite?

Many of the current strategy discussions are centered on not falling into the traps McCain did: looking wobbly as a leader and weak on the economy in the final weeks of the campaign. The private discussions include ruling out any vice presidential possibilities who could be seen as even remotely risky or unprepared; wrapping the entire campaign around economic issues, knowing this topic alone will swing undecided voters in the final days; and, slowly but steadily, building up Romney as a safe and competent alternative to President Barack Obama.

Seriously? This is what we get. Avoid McCain’s mistakes. Granted, there were plenty. But that’s not what will inspire folks to vote for Romney. And make no mistake: the only reason some (myself included) were excited to vote was Sarah. It pains me to think Romney would choose a Portman over a Rubio to avoid looking risky when he desperately needs that injection of excitement.

And we’re left with this

Jonah Goldberg arguing that Romney can attack Obamacare because he … can. Audacity of hope, y’all [emphasis my own]:

Core Republican voters will vote against Obama, not for Romney. Polls show GOPers are more enthusiastic about voting in 2012 than Democrats. Meanwhile, the independents and moderates who dislike Obamacare, but who are not libertarians, will most likely see Romneycare as evidence that Romney is not one of the right-wing crazies the Today show keeps warning them about.

It’s one thing to admit we’re screwed. But it’s entirely another to pretend that Romney’s albatross will attract votes because it isn’t conservatives we’re worried about. It’s that ever-elusive moderate middle. The one McCain was supposed to win.

Whatev.

H/t: HA headlines

Why I still don’t believe anything that escapes ol’ Etch-a-Sketch’s lips

From yesterday’s USA Today, Mitt claims to have found the logic behind the full repeal of Obamacare [emphasis my own]:

Friday is the second anniversary of ObamaCare. It is past time to abolish the program, root and branch. The Supreme Court will soon have a crack at this; arguments about the program’s constitutionality open before it next week. But whatever the justices decide in what is certain to be a landmark decision, the case against ObamaCare extends far beyond questions about its constitutionality. President Obama’s program is an unfolding disaster for the American economy, a budget-busting entitlement, and a dramatic new federal intrusion into our lives.

It is precisely for those reasons that I’ve opposed a one-size-fits-all health care plan for the entire nation. What we need is a free market, federalist approach to making quality, affordable health insurance available to every American. Each state should be allowed to pursue its own solution in this regard, instead of being dictated to by Washington.

Even if that state pursues something decidedly against the free market as in your own Massachusetts plan?

Just askin’.

There’s a distinction between making quality, affordable insurance available to everyone, Mitt, and forcing everyone to purchase a state-approved plan. Ya know, like in Massachusetts.

Just sayin’.

And talk about spinning reality:

When I was governor of Massachusetts, we instituted a plan that got our citizens insured without raising taxes and without a government takeover. Other states will choose to go in different directions. It is the genius of federalism that it encourages experimentation, with each state pursuing what works best for them.

I’m sure it works best for Massachusetts residents who now pay the highest insurance premiums in the country. Smarter residents, much like those in blue-state heaven California, vote with their feet. Massachusetts loses a congressional seat this year. What are the odds that quality, affordable, state-mandated health coverage provided by a bustling free market has something to do with it?

Lather, rinse, repeat: Again, why would we nominate this pogue?

That would be Romney. The one who publicly encouraged Obama to pursue the individual mandate. Erick Erickson at Red State writes:

Had Michigan not been as close, the Democrats would have waited to spring this on us in the general election.  Luckily we have it now and I hope Ohio voters are paying attention.

In July 2009, Mitt Romney wrote an op-ed in USA Today urging Barack Obama to usean individual mandate at the national level to control healthcare costs.

On the campaign trail now, Mitt Romney says the individual mandate is appropriate for Massachusetts, but not the nation.  Repeatedly in debates, Romney has said he opposes a national individual mandate.

But back in 2009, as Barack Obama was formulating his healthcare vision for the country, Mitt Romney encouraged him publicly to use an individual mandate.  In his op-ed, Governor Romney suggested that the federal government learn from Massachusetts how to make healthcare available for all.  One of those things was “Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages “free riders” to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others.”

Friends, if Mitt Romney is the nominee, we will be unable to fight Obama on an issue that 60% of Americans agree with us on.

There’s nothing to add. Nominating Romney takes Obamacare off the table. There’s nothing to debate, y’all, because Romney was the one who paved the way. Romney already lied–yes, that’s right, flat-out lied–about forcing Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception in Massachusetts.  But hey, he’s most electable. Somehow.

On another note, why has this op-ed remained buried? Allahpundit explains all:

A not-so-oldie but goodie recovered from the Internet memory hole by Andrew Kaczynski. Why are you just (re-)learning of this now instead of having been reminded of it by Gingrich and Santorum daily for the past six months? Well, (a) the original op-ed has oddly disappeared from the archives at USA Today (the link above goes to a Romney fan site), (b) Gingrich and Santorum run barebones campaigns which can’t afford robust oppo teams, and (c) I think most people are so thoroughly confused by Romney’s position on federal and state health care that they’re not sure what’s a gotcha anymore and what isn’t.

Unreal, y’all.

Desperation: Mitt announces Murkowski endorsement

Pardon my guffaws.

Via Politico, the endorsement announcement of the campaign:

I am proud to announce the support of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski,” said Mitt Romney. “I look forward to working with her to expand Alaska’s energy production, bring jobs back to the state, and help get our country on the right track again.
If a RINO boldly proclaims support for another RINO in the dense Alaskan wilderness and no one’s around to hear it, did it ever really happen? Romney would’ve been better off keepin’ his trap shut on this one.
 
H/t: Hot Air headlines
 
 
 
 

Romney to NARAL in 2002: GOP “not doing themselves a favor by being so vehemently anti-choice”

What a surprise, right? The Washington Post endears Romney to the so-called liberal Republicans:

Mitt Romney was firm and direct with the abortion rights advocates sitting in his office nine years ago, assuring the group that if elected Massachusetts governor, he would protect the state’s abortion laws.

Then, as the meeting drew to a close, the businessman offered an intriguing suggestion — that he would rise to national prominence in the Republican Party as a victor in a liberal state and could use his influence to soften the GOP’s hard-line opposition to abortion…

“You need someone like me in Washington,” several participants recalled Romney saying that day in September 2002, an apparent reference to his future ambitions…

Melissa Kogut, the NARAL group’s executive director in 2002, recalled Wednesday that as she and other participants in the meeting began to pack their belongings to leave after the 45-minute session, Romney became “emphatic that the Republican Party was not doing themselves a service by being so vehemently anti-choice.”

The abortion rights supporters came away from the meeting pleasantly surprised. Romney declined to label himself “pro-choice” but said he eschewed all labels, including “pro-life.” He told the group that he would “protect and preserve a woman’s right to choose under Massachusetts law” and that he thought any move to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision would be a “serious mistake for our country.”

With friends like NARAL, Romney doesn’t need enemies. How enlightening that would be in a debate with Obama, no? They could parrot each other. Keep it, um, safe, legal, and … yeah. Kill more babies! How depressing that a Republican nominee could be as dangerous to life as the Democrat. Look how far we’ve come! More from the WaPo:

Now, as they [his liberal BFFs] watch Romney’s ascent from his old stomping grounds in Boston, many of the liberals he encountered wonder whether his transformation has been sincere or a matter of sheer politics. Not only did he espouse more liberal views at the time, but Romney presented himself as a change agent who could soften the GOP’s rough ideological edges.

One of the liberal fans–a Democrat for Romney, if you will–believes it’s a matter of saying whatever needs to be said to win the nomination. What a surprise, eh? Via Smitty at The Other McCain, here’s damning praise if I’ve ever seen it:

One of Mitt Romney’s oldest Democratic supporters says the Republican presidential contender is a “warm” and “decent” person who is only masquerading as a die-hard conservative to win the Republican nomination.
“Obviously the positions that Mitt’s taking now are different than the positions he did when he ran for and served as Governor of Massachusetts,” Rocky Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, told HuffPost. “His handlers got to him and said, ‘This is what you need to do.’ And that’s what he’s doing to get elected.”

Smitty argues:

BHO has pretty well destroyed any need for consistency from politicians, so maybe being on all sides of every major issue is a boon to Mitt.

No. Maybe liberals could care less if Obama has no–or successfully hid his–core convictions. But for those of us who think conviction matters (how antiquated), voting for Mitt is as much of an impossibility as voting for Obama.

H/t: Hot Air headlines

Word to the wise: “Make sure voters can distinguish your policies from Obama’s”

So quips Pundette in response to the CNN poll announcing 59% believed Obama’s policies would fail.

For Mitt fans out there, take note: when David Axelrod can speak truth and eviscerate your golden boy, there’s a problem. Byron York [emphasis mine]:

In the past week, Barack Obama has run a more effective campaign against Mitt Romney than any of Romney’s opponents for the Republican presidential nomination. Top Obama strategist David Axelrod hit the former Massachusetts governor hard with charges of flip-flopping on abortion, health care, the environment and other issues. “We’re having this call because Gov. Romney has been so brazen in his switches of position,” Axelrod said in a conference call with reporters last week. “You get the feeling that there is no principle too large for him to throw over in pursuit of political office,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Dude. I’m used to Democrats having to make crap up to fling. In this case, there’s no need! The general election would be more painful than watching McLame’s weak-kneed attempt to win last go-round.

UPDATE, from the NYT

On the Republican campaign trail, the health care debate has focused on the mandatory coverage that Mitt Romney signed into law as governor in 2006. But back in Massachusetts the conversation has moved on, and lawmakers are now confronting the problem that Mr. Romney left unaddressed: the state’s spiraling health care costs.

Whoopsie! Sure he’s gonna repeal Obamacare. Right. More:

Predictably, the plan did little to slow the growth of health costs that already were among the highest in the nation. A state report last year found that per capita health spending in Massachusetts was 15 percent above the national average. And from 2007 to 2009, private health insurance premiums rose between 5 and 10 percent annually, according to another state study.

I bet when the architect of Romneycare designed it, the citizens of the state were told it would reduce health care costs. Just like the false bill of goods Obama pitched.

H/t: Hot Air headlines.

If we can’t accept the truth, then it really is over

One of the reasons I’m attracted to Rick Perry as a candidate is because he’s willing to call a spade a broke-Ponzi-scheme spade on Social Security. I find it intriguing that Romney’s minions have already declared Perry KIA over this tonight, let alone that Mitt spent precious debate time defending the Social Security status quo. We need to be the party to protect it? WTH?

Hey, Mitt: no one is proposing taking food out of old folks’ mouths, you jackass. (Apologies, I’ve officially lost my patience with his retread-running for President, RINO, Social Security is the bestest thing EVER pansying).

Watch. What do you think? Are we willing to have the grown-up conversations on entitlements, including the “third-rail” of politics?

WE MUST.

Allahpundit comments:

this clip is less an argument about entitlements than a proxy for the eternal “electability vs. principle” conundrum. Perry’s shooting straight to polish his fiscal conservative bona fides and Romney’s angling towards the center so that he can make the “only I can attract independents” case to undecided primary voters when the time comes.

Perry is Obama’s worst nightmare.

AM UPDATE: Pundette feels the same way and points to this column by John Podhoretz:

The real controversy arose from his decision not to run from the attack he launched on Social Security in his 2010 book “Fed Up,” but rather to say that politicians need to be honest about the Ponzi-scheme nature of the old-age pension system.

Romney immediately responded: “You can’t say that” about a system on which so many people depend. Perry answered that it is a Ponzi scheme and we have to stop lying to people in their 20s that all the money they are paying into the system will be there when they retire.

He’s right — it is a Ponzi scheme. The challenge for Romney now will be making the case to primary voters that it will be fatal for the GOP’s shot at denying Barack Obama a second term to have a candidate who calls it a Ponzi scheme. He’ll have a strong case to make.

But there is something striking in the contrast between the two men. Romney looks like a casting director’s idea of a president, and after running for the office for four years solid now, he has an enviable fluency and command of the stage.

Alas for him, there’s a reason he was unable to solidify his own status as a front-runner: He just doesn’t seem to have “it” — that elusive quality populist politicians who find a connection with ordinary voters seem to possess.

Whatever his failings, and they may well be vast, Perry does have “it.” In terms of sheer presence, he diminished Romney and everybody else on stage last night — and he left Michele Bachmann, his only real rival for the Tea Party vote, in the dust.

This means war, y’all. If–even in the face of crushing debt–Mitt Romney can’t own up to the truth of entitlement spending, then that’s it. I didn’t like him before. I loathe him now. We are poised on the cusp of financial disaster for generations to come, and if the finance wiz kid on stage can’t be persuaded to fight for the real deal, then no one ever will. Lucky for us Rick Perry was up there, too.

 

Ideologically slippery? Oh, please David Brooks, go find a pants crease to admire

David Brooks laments Perry’s rise and that he’s obviously not “a summer fad.” He wants Romney to fight, but his brilliant line of attack has drawbacks for people who live in glass houses:

First, Romney could accuse Perry of being the latest iteration of Tom DeLay Republicanism. On the one hand, he is ideologically slippery. The man who sounds so right wing today was the Texas chairman of the Al Gore for President campaign in 1988.

Ideologically slippery, eh? Given Reagan’s former life as a Democrat, I can’t believe this has any traction as Perry realized during the course of the late 80s that the Democratic Party left him behind. He wasn’t a liberal. I have much more faith in a conversion like that–of the re-evaluation of core beliefs–than I do of former pro-choice Governor Romney suddenly seeing the light before running for President. Ideologically slippery, indeed. Once a RINO, always a RINO.

So please, Mittens, bring on a fight like this one. It will be fun to watch.

“That sound you hear is of spreading panic among Democrats”

So explains Peter Wehner of Obama’s new limbo rock: how low can you go?

According to Gallup, 39 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance while 54 percent disapprove. Both data points are the worst numbers of his presidency. Philip Klein points out that no president since Harry Truman​ as been re-elected with approval ratings this low, this late into his first term. And no president since Franklin Roosevelt​ has been re-elected with unemployment this high.

Music to my ears, regardless. Take the following headline the Monday following Michele Bachmann’s win at the Ames straw poll as more evidence of mass liberal panic: Tea Party’s heyday may be coming to a end, say political experts.

Heh. That’s right. The Tea Party heyday must be coming to an end since the only two RINOs Romney and Huntsman cleaned the floor… oh. Wait. Gears spinning wildly over at the Hill.

Update: Jazz Shaw at Hot Air:

It seems like I’ve been hearing about the pending implosion and disappearance of the Tea Party ever since… well, roughly ten minutes after I’d heard of the Tea Party. And yet for progressive activists, the movement continues to stubbornly hang around like that zit you don’t want to pop two days before the prom because you’re just sure it’s going to go away on its own. (And inevitably you wind up with the worst yearbook photo ever.)

Fortunately for Democrats, our balanced, dual nature society has produced an equally effective and opposite counter-movement in the form of the Coffee Party. Right guys?

HEH.

A “Featured Blog” at P&P. Thanks!

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