Is it over for Romney?

Almost but not quite, argues John Parisella

(Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

A very difficult 10 days in the Romney campaign has brought forward criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Nothing to fret about on the former, but when the harsh words come from the latter, it hurts big time. The attacks came from respected Republican columnists like the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan, who called the campaign “a rolling calamity,” and the New York Times’ David Brooks, who referred to Mitt Romney as Thurston Howell Romney, the prototype of a rich snob.

Clearly, Romney’s recent reference to the 47 per cent of the electorate “who don’t pay taxes and would never vote for me,” along with his mediocre performance around the attacks tied to the film “Innocence of Muslims,” made both the candidate and his campaign look dangerously incompetent. The “week from hell” ended with Romney divulging his 2010 tax returns, which only raised more questions and drew additional criticism from the right about the timing of the release.

All of this has given late night humorists a field-day of stand-up material. And though national polls still show a tight race, local ones indicate there’s a growing lead by Obama over Romney in swing states. With less than six weeks to go in the campaign, what we are witnessing is GOP grumblings threatening to blow an election Romney should have been able to win.

So has the fat lady sung? Not yet, and the last thing the Obama campaign should be doing is “opening the champagne.” The game is not over by a long shot. Three debates will occur next month; two more job reports are due in early October and November; Republicans are poised to outspend Obama by a margin of three to one through their Super Pacs; and voter suppression remains a weapon at the disposal of the GOP despite some recent lower court rulings quashing such efforts. And we all have heard of the so-called “October surprise.”

In 2004, Democrat John Kerry was coming off a “no-bounce in the polls” convention and a vicious Swift Boat Veterans’ ad that targeted his major narrative of being a war hero. He dipped in the polls, and had to enlist Clinton operatives like Paul Begala and James Carville to help save the day. Yet, good debate performances in October and a stream of bad news from Iraq helped him climb back up. By the time the campaign ended, Kerry had lost by just one state—Ohio!

Romney has shown to be more gaffe prone than Kerry, but he has also demonstrated polished debating skills. And with economic indicators still coming in sluggish he can continue to make the case against Obama on the number one election issue—jobs and the economy. Obama may have superior oratorical skills, but he is not known to hit too many out of the park during debate performances.

That being said, the Romney campaign has shown some severe cracks—starting with a lacklustre primary season and continuing on with a badly executed foreign visit, a poor handling of the tax return issue, a major communication miscalculation on the Libyan issue, and now the 47 per cent video. The Obama campaign, while far less inspiring than the one in 2008, has been generally flawless in its execution. Still, overconfidence has been known to undermine election campaigns. So it’s still far too early to celebrate, Mr. Obama.




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Is it over for Romney?

  1. LOL yes.

    The only thing he ever had going for him was his colour…and these days that might not be enough to do it. It wasn’t for McCain and Palin.

    • Did you miss the tanning job so he’d appeal to hispanics? LOL, he can’t even do “white guy” right!

      • LOL true….tan face, white hands….that was hilarious.

      • Another gaffe debunked.

        Keep in mind, Jenn, when using Wonkette as a “source” for saying what’s a gaffe and what isn’t…this is the type of source you’re relying on.

        But one has to ask; just how did we get to a point where making fun of a small child for having a mental disability is acceptable simply because of his mother’s politics?

  2. Did you write this before the windows on the plane gaff? Because, to my mind, that sheer ignorant stupidity, which I can’t imagine anyone else living to adulthood in this day and age capable of, is the most damaging. People may not be able to tell good leadership from bad, but they do know who is stupider than they are.

    • I wasn’t sure if he was serious or if it was just a very poorly executed joke.

    • Come on Jenn. That was a joke. Even the reporters covering it admitted it.

      Consider the source that called it a gaffe. Wonkette???

      • I can buy that it was a joke, as I don’t really think that Romney is that stupid. That said, I’d also have thought that by now he’d have figured out that he SHOULDN’T TRY TO BE FUNNY. It was a TERRIBLY executed joke.

        To my mind, Romney’s having enough trouble trying to sound like a right-wing conservative despite the fact that he isn’t, and I always feel like he comes off as being a bit disingenuous because he doesn’t really believe all of the things he’s saying (he did sound sincere the other day when he credited the President with not raising taxes in his first term, but you could see Paul Ryan almost fall out of his chair in the background when he heard that!). I get why Romney needs to act as though he’s more to the right than he is, but just managing THAT should be his focus. I don’t understand how a moderate trying to come off as a conservative partisan can still be trying to simultaneously come off as a funny guy, when he clearly isn’t.
        On The West Wing this would be the time that the “Let Romney be Romney” speech would happen, but in reality, if they let Romney be Romney it seems like half of his own party would abandon him.

        • Were you there? Have you seen video of it? And I mean video that MSNBC didn’t cut after he told the joke so that you don’t know if anybody laughed at it?

          Because according to someone that was there

          UPDATE (8:20 p.m.): William Everitt, vice president
          of Investment Real Estate Associates (IREA), told TheBlaze that he was
          at the Romney fundraiser in Beverly Hills on Saturday. He said Romney
          was absolutely joking when he said he doesn‘t know why airplane windows
          don’t open.

          “Basically he was retelling the story and when he said ‘I don’t know
          why they don’t have roll down windows on airplanes,’ he looked at the
          audience and everyone laughed,” Everitt told TheBlaze. “It was a clearly
          delivered joke…There were 1,000 people there that will tell you the
          same thing.”

          But here’s a fun exercise…take a look at all the media outlets at the bottom of that Blaze story that reported this joke as a gaffe…then go to their websites and count how many of them have pointed out even a single one of the roughly dozen lies the Administration has told (including several by Obama himself) about a terrorist attack against an American Embassy, the anal rape and murder of Ambassador Stevens, and what the Administration knew and when it knew it.

          Then remind me again how the media isn’t in the tank for Obama.

          • I saw the video (with the laughter) and I still maintain that it was a terribly delivered joke (the crowd at a campaign rally laughing at the candidate’s joke is not evidence of a well delivered joke). More to the point, the joke’s NOT FUNNY. I don’t think Chris Rock could have told that joke effectively. Even more to the point, MITT ROMNEY’s not funny. He should stop trying to be. All pretty minor points, admittedly, but for a candidate who’s trying to act like someone he’s not wrt policy, why would he ALSO try to act like someone he’s not on ANOTHER front?

            On the rape of Ambassador Stevens, do you have a link to a report of that actually happening from a legit source? I keep seeing people on the right decrying the cover up of the rape, but the only report I can find saying that he was raped is from a single Libyan news source citing a single AFP story. And when the AFP heard they were being thus cited, they immediately put out a press release pointing out “our story never said that happened”. Perhaps it happened, and of course it would be horrible if it did, but one Libyan news source who based their story on another news source who now confirm that their story never said any such thing is not conclusive proof that it happened imho.

          • OK, let’s just let that sink in…

            You saw the joke…with the laughter.

            So you then admit that what happened here is the media at the event, with full knowledge that this was a joke that people laughed at, turned “Mitt Romney tells an awkwardly-delivered joke that people politely laughed at” into a “Mitt Romney is so stupid he thinks plane windows should open” GAFFE???

            And you are OK with this????? You think Romney is the one who needs to adjust what he does here???? You are OK with MSNBC cutting the laughter from the video to attempt to obscure the fact that this was a joke?

            LKO, you seem like a reasonably thoughtful fellow…please tell me you are not so brainwashed that you think this is OK.

          • Yup. I think it’s OK. However,

            1) I’m not a journalist either
            2) I don’t like Mitt Romney
            3) The “Mitt Romney is an idiot” jokes are funnier than Romney’s joke was.

            :-)

            OK, not REALLY. I get your point. However, yes, I think Romney would be better advised to change what HE’S been doing than to spend his time trying to get the vast left-wing media cabal that is aligned against him to stop what THEY’RE doing. To my mind, the “I’m only losing because the media’s against me” strategy tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

            Interestingly, (and ironically) I think what we’re headed for is a whole lot of conservatives waking up the day after the election every bit as shocked that Barack Obama (of ALL PEOPLE!) just got re-elected as liberals were in 2004 to wake up with George W. Bush still President. (Except, Bush won 286 electoral college votes in 2004, and every electoral college tracking map I’ve seen lately has Obama in the 300s).

            It’s not over for Mitt Romney by any stretch of the imagination mind you, it’s way too early for that, but I do increasingly think that Romney has to CLEARLY win the debates now. And for all of the talk of Romney being a good debater, I think people forget that he was debating most recently against Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. And those were the HEAVY WEIGHTS in those 5-7 person debates.

            Anyway, I think conservatives need to start taking the title of a Facebook group that a lot of my American friends are members of as well-meaning sincere advice for how to handle what may be coming. “We survived Bush. You will survive Obama.”

          • I’m not convinced the country will survive 4 more years of Obama. But anyways…

            The debates are going to be a tall order for Romney.

            A) He’s not a great speaker.
            B) I fully expect that Obama will have the questions leaked to him beforehand.

          • See, it’s exactly like 2004. People on the left thought Bush was going to destroy the country, but luckily (and this may give you some comfort) it turned out that a second 4 years wasn’t QUITE enough time to manage that (though it kinda feels like he was trying, lol).

            The other difference, to my mind (and I could be misremembering) is that in 2004 it seems to me that people thought Bush was destroying the country because he was too dim to realize the consequences of what he was doing, whereas in Obama’s case people seem to think that his whole Presidency is a deliberate and calculated plot to destroy the United States of America.

            All that said, as you too can see that Romney is likely to have trouble winning the debates, it’s good that you’ve started getting excuses lined up. ;-)

    • Hey, George Dubya was voted in twice, despite far worse than this…

  3. Standard commentator line: “There’s still a lot of time left in this game, Bill.”

    • True….but MItt-evil will need a Mormon miracle ….

    • ..

  4. I hope Mittens pulls his head out of his butt and the Koch brothers fork over billions to buy the presidency. Considering the Romney-Ryan economic plan is to simply jump off the upcoming fiscal cliff, they would create an unmitigated disaster and discredit their hard-right ideology for decades (like the free-market liquidationists did in the early 1930s.)

    The problem is the present economic quagmire is going to be around for a long time. (Japan has been stuck in a similar rut for 17 years and counting.) So this means if Obama wins, the fanatics will be able to foment a right-wing revolution in 2016 that could resemble something out of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

    Much better this disaster than that. With libertarian ideology put to rest, the West can move forward with pro-growth Keynesian economics, like it did in the post-war era, when it created modern living standards and paid down most of its government debt.

    • Basically hoping that radical amputation might save the patient, I guess, eh?

      • More like a good kick in the rump. It certainly worked in the 1930s. It put the robber barons and free-market ideologues on ice until the 1980s. The world could not only use a 50-year respite from the likes of them, the survival of civilization probably depends on it.

        • Anyone read Dune Messiah? Or the Foundation series?

  5. Mitt, my man .. what we wantcha to do is … go out there in front of
    those cameras, see, .. and look off into the middle distance, like, where
    nobody is, ok .. and think, yeah, you know, thoughts … about good stuff,
    like maybe … Bambi ! Can ya do that, ya think… Mitt ?

    • lmao!! I have a sore stomach BGLong – thanks so much for the laughter!

  6. Romney’s campaign is finished in much the same fashion as Reagan’s campaign against Carter was finished. Reagan actually trailed in most polling until just a few weeks before the election. How did that work out for you?

  7. “So has the fat lady sung?”
    “Three debates will occur next month”

    Why yes, I believe she has.

  8. American elections are never over before the day of the election, there are ups and downs for both nominees but they, more often than not, end up being very close races.
    I feel a bit bad for Romney, I think he’s a decent enough guy, like Obama, but unlike Obama, he has to pander to lunatics whereas Obama has to pander to idiots.

  9. The Obama campaign, while far less inspiring than the one in 2008, has been generally flawless in its execution.

    This is a joke right? Pretty easy to be flawless when your entire campaign consists of visiting Letterman, the View, Entertainment Tonight, and Beyonce.

    Go ahead John, continue ignoring stuff like this…and this…and this…as you tell us more about Mitt Romney’s disaster and Obama’s “flawless” campaign.

    Continue ignoring stuff like this while you remind us of how Romney aides clashed with reporters on his foreign visit, and continue to ignore the polling showing Obama’s plummeting approval ratings on foreign policy.

    Continue ignoring both national tracking polls showing Obama’s lead over Romney literally disappearing during Romney’s “horrible” weeks, as the administration’s colossal f*ck up of the Libya attack grows clearer every day to anyone that had the good sense to stop paying attention to you clowns.

    You are beyond parody. You literally cannot go out of business soon enough. I can’t believe that Parisella, Savage, and Teitel (for the love of God) are what passes as “coverage” of US politics at Macleans.

    Absolutely pathetic.

    • I think you’re leaning just about as much too far in one direction as Parisella arguably is in the other, but your points reminded me of a sketch from Jon Stewart’s show last night.

      He did a whole bit (including Obama apparently being the only President in 20 years to not meet with any world leaders while the UN was in session in N.Y., and the appearance on The View) in which he referenced the current state of the polls for an incumbent President during a bad economy, attacks at embassies, etc… and the relative successes and failures of the Obama and Romney campaigns before declaring President Obama to be the LUCKIEST MAN IN THE WORLD. Then, he wondered aloud about just how a guy who’s campaign seems to many to be incredibly incompetent managed to get the Republican nomination in the first place (cue clips of Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Herman Caine) before declaring Mitt Romney to be the SECOND LUCKIEST MAN IN THE WORLD.

      I thought it was funny anyway.

      ETA: One of the funnier moments was when the crowd applauded and cheered a bit at the mention of Obama’s leads in most of the “swing states”, and Stewart said “Really? You really want to win it that way? Because the other guy tore his ACL?”

      • Well, the difference is

        1) I’m not a journalist

        2) I’m not suspending reality, closing my eyes, putting my fingers in my ears, and screaming “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA” at the top of my lungs in order to pretend Romney’s campaign is generally flawless in execution.

        • You mean Obama above, not Romney.

          I CERTAINLY agree that the notion that Obama’s campaign has been generally good (let alone flawless) is laughable. For Pete’s sake, JON STEWART is mocking it. Of course, Jon Stewart would also probably point out that the only campaign that the Obama campaign could possibly be winning against at this point is the Romney campaign.

    • I do think that ignoring the national polls could be seen as somewhat legitimate. In the States, the national polls don’t really matter much.

      There’s a bunch of states that Obama can’t lose. There’s a bunch of states that Romney can’t lose. It’s all going to come down to something like 9 states (in reality, more like THREE states) and last I checked, Obama’s lead had widened in all of the battleground states, though I haven’t really looked at many polls this week (Did a fast Google search just now and found this recent set of polls showing Obama up 53-44 in Florida, 53-43 in Ohio and 54-42 in Pennsylvania).

      To me, some of the “Why is the media ignoring the national tracking polls” commentary out there sounds like “Why is the media ignoring that Obama’s lead is shrinking a little in the poll that doesn’t matter, and concentrating all of their coverage on his widening lead in the polls that do?” I just don’t see how Romney wins the election without Ohio, and Obama’s lead there isn’t in the 3-5 range anymore, it’s in the 8-10 range.

      That said, if I were part of a media cabal intent on getting Obama elected, I’d shut the hell up about the battleground state polls. I don’t see how all of the coverage of Obama’s widening lead does anything other than potentially drive down Democratic turnout.

  10. It’s been over for Romney all along.

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