Can Romney Overcome Romney?

© Karen Roach |

It’s been a discouraging couple of weeks for the Obama campaign. Now that the Right has more or less reconciled itself to having Mittens for a candidate, and is more or less solidified behind him, Romney has gotten far kinder coverage in the news than he had before. I’m expecting the media narrative of the 2012 campaign to shape up as well-meaning softie Obama versus tough centrist businessman Romney.

Except Romney is a sock, and Obama can be tough when he needs to be.

And here’s a surprise — in Nate Silver’s forecast model, Obama’s chances of winning the general election went up slightly last week, and Romney’s went down. My sense of things is that Romney had a better week in media than Obama did, so that’s not what I would have expected.

My suspicions are that the more the American people see of Romney, the less they will like him. His own worst enemy may prove to be himself. However, “the narrative” can go a long way toward putting lipstick on the pig, as they say.

The President’s new policy on immigration drew a typical Romney response.

For hours, Romney tried to ignore the news. Finally, after a rally here with a ragtime band playing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” in a town-square gazebo, Romney made a statement that struck a radically different tone from the hard-line approach he took on illegal immigration during the Republican primaries.

“I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered and should be solved on a long-term basis so they know what their future would be in this country,” he told reporters outside of his campaign bus.

“I think the action that the president took today makes it more difficult to reach that long-term solution, because an executive order is of course just a short-term matter. It could be reversed by subsequent presidents. I’d like to see legislation that deals with this issue.”

But he made no commitment to supporting any particular option.

The less-crazy elements of the GOP understand that they can’t keep pissing off Latinos and expect to win elections. But to endorse the policy would stir up the wrath of the rabidly xenophobic base. So Romney had to find a way to say the policy is fine but the President was still wrong to implement it. One wonders how many hours it took the Romney team to craft the message the candidate finally delivered.

And, of course, the biggest reason the President went ahead with the policy change is that there was no hope there would be “legislation that deals with this issue” in the foreseeable future.

Today Romney is accusing Obama of playing politics to get the Latino vote, but he refuses to say that he would repeal the executive order if elected.

A big chunk of the electorate won’t focus much on the elections until the conventions. My prediction is that as people get a closer look at Romney, the more uncomfortable they will be with him. The only question is whether the Right’s propaganda machine can make up for their candidates’ obvious shortcomings.

Update: See also Romney: Being Vague About My Plans Helps Me Get Elected and Romney Dodges Immigration Questions.

19 thoughts on “Can Romney Overcome Romney?

  1. Mitt, trying to look relaxed, was SOOO stiff today on Mace the Nation, with Boob Sheeeeeeshfer.
    That Mitt boy’s got a permanent stick up his ass!

    And yeah, on first look, he seems like the kind of guy you might want your daughter to date.
    But upon further reflection, he looks a lot like how Gertrude Stein described her home town of Oakland, CA: “There’s no there, there.”

    I would make a series of ads:
    First, with Mitt as a puppet from “Fireball XL5,” talking about the economy, and everything else, like immigration – with the strings evident for everyone to see.

    Then, as a clean white-board in a corporate conference room, ready to have anything written on it that anyone wants to place there. Or, as a Glenn Beck chalkboard, to remind everyone of his extremist ties.

    And finally, as a “Manchurian Candidate,” willing to do the bidding of whatever nations paid for his Super PAC ads.

    Mitt is stiff and robotic, and I can hardly wait until the debates – where I’m sure that Mitt will stick his Dolce & Gabbana clad foot in his lying feckin’ mouth, and come-up with an epic failure of a line – at least one for each of his houses.

  2. I too eagerly await the debates.
    When Romney throws out some BS line, the President needs to say “show me the evidence, and be specific”.
    The thing that sticks in my craw is it is quite obvious that the Republican party drove the car into the ditch, and there are so many willing to give them back the keys.
    Obama has been trying to get the car out of the ditch, while his opposition sits on the sidelines hurling insults and obscenities.
    Apparently the Republicans have a sure fire fix for all that ailes us, but the plan is secret until they get the power back.
    Gawd, if people only knew this is all the fault of unions and colored folks. ( or maybe that’s onions and collard folks…..)

  3. Obama has the advantage of spending the next few months being seen actually doing stuff to make things better, while Romney’s really hit the point where just saying “I’m gonna do all sorts of good stuff” is meeting the electorate’s “Yeah? Like what, exactly?” response.

    Even if you don’t necessarily agree with exactly what he’s doing, Obama seems to be actually doing something, and Romney seems to be clumsily putting out a bunch of hot air.

  4. Righties are behind this candidate huh? Well then they are far more bat shit insane than I thought. Just think about this for a few minutes. They want to hand over the country, complete with launch codes. They want to TRUST this man with the future of their country, their lives, the futures of their kids. Just stop for a second and consider the vast responsibility they want to entrust this man with. And who have they concluded is up to such an awesome task? A MAN WHO BELIEVES IN MAGIC UNDERPANTS! Do you hear what I said? The man actually believes that his undergarments protect him from harm. THIS is the grgeat white hope? This country is so far gone down the shitter we are gonna say “What the hell , lets take those magic panties for a spin and IF we believe hard enough maybe they will save us too”. I have heard of riding someones coat tails- even apron strings but now we are putting all of our money on riding the magic panties?
    I am all for religion, what ever yours is. But magic panties is FAR beyond where I draw my line. What next a candidate who believes in the tooth fairy? I am sorry but this is bat shit crazy and everytime I meet a “romney” voter I am calling them out on their own sanity. Sorry but anyone who would vote for a candidate who believes in magic undergarments is more nutty then the candidate himself.
    Yep the great mitt in his magic panties will be protected , and the rest of us? Well we will just have to hope some of that magic trickles down from his panties and falls on the rest of us. After all if we would all just convert to mormons then we would be rich protected millionaires in magic panties also. Welcome to “romneys america”

  5. “Apparently the Republicans have a sure fire fix for all that ailes us, but the plan is secret until they get the power back.” It’s easy: slash taxes on the 1% and FOR SURE this time those job-creator rascals will give EVERYBODY a pony.

  6. I continue to think it’s time for some commercials about Romney’s inability/unwillingness to take a stand on so many current issues. People grok that you don’t have the luxury of ducking these things when you’re President, and Romney has ducked a whole bunch of issues in recent months.

  7. Re:Biggerbox

    ‘Obama has the advantage of spending the next few months being seen actually doing stuff to make things better, while Romney’s really hit the point where just saying “I’m gonna do all sorts of good stuff” is meeting the electorate’s “Yeah? Like what, exactly?” response.’
    Like “Whatever is the opposite of Obama”. Let’s run that line again and see how it plays. Romney promises to actually do stuff to make things ….. You get the idea. Let’s hope 51% of voters do!

  8. Gulag, I LOVED the Troy Library video, and forwarded it on to everybody on my list. Great Stuff!!

    I hate to be the dissenting voice, but… I can see this country getting suckered by Romney’s Gordon Gecko optimism and charm (such that it is), in exactly the same way that the media is warming to him. The particular way he handled this immigration issue, demonstrates a growing sophistication from his team in dealing with the issues of the day and making him more presentable to the public. I can also see Obama getting desperate, foundering, and sounding like last year’s man, as the economic problems grow worse with no relief in sight. He is extremely lucky that Greece voted (on Sunday) essentially to stay in the European monetary union, saving the Euro, at least until the next crisis. The world economy, with massive stimulus from the US a couple years ago, is barely hanging together with baling wire, duct tape, bubble gum and snot. Obama must be praying every night that it holds together until November.

  9. I want a pony AND magical underpants.( actually, I rather have a year’s supply of bailing wire and duct tape, that stuff is incredible!).
    Would you rather be stranded on an island with McGuyver or Jim Bakker?

  10. justme,
    Maybe it’s just me 🙂 but I don’t find magic underpants to be any stranger than the Catholic, and my own Orthodox, Church’s belief in transubstantiation.
    Magic underpants protecting you isn’t any different than accepting the host (wafer, in Catholicism, unleavened bread in Orthoxy) and a sip of wine as the body and blood of Christ – and, in fact, it seems a tad less gruesome, to me.

    It’s all belief in feckin’ magic.

    I don’t get the whole faith thing.
    Sometimes I wish I had some. It would be nice to thank or blame someone else for what ones life has become, and everything that happens in it – to think you followed the rules if you’re successful, or must have broken some if you’re not, and wonder what you did wrong, and why, and how you can get back in God’s good graces?

    I’ve tried, but if there is/was a God, I don’t see Him/Her/It affecting people’s daily lives.
    ”Thanking’ God, for something bad not happening makes as much sense as thanking tomato’s.
    And “miracles” occur when someone beats the odds. My Mother waited for a miracle while my Father was dying, because, in her mind, and mine, he deserved one, because he was a fine a person as anyone would ever want to meet. But he didn’t beat the odds. As everyone here knows, there was no “miracle,” and my Father passed-away 2 months ago. Almost to the day that the Doctors said he would when he was first diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.
    I wish I had the simple faith that my Mother has, and that other “good” religious people have. It would make her happier. But I can’t. And I can’t, and won’t, fake it. I drive her to and from Church, and respect her, and the rest of my families, belief in God and Jesus. I choose to go back home and read, or watch the news, until it’s time to pick her up, and not be a hypocrite, and go to church with her.

    So, sorry, I don’t see God’s hand everywhere I look – except maybe nature, and I know that that’s a result of billions of years of random selection, and survival of the fittest.
    All I see, is some people who use their faith in God for good, while a whole bunch more use God to reaffirm their own prejudices, fears, and hatreds.

  11. The FOXification of MSNBC has started:

    “On Sunday, Politico said that MSNBC will elevate some of its regular contributors to hosting gigs, including Salon writer Steve Kornacki and conservative commentator S.E. Cupp.

    The move would follow MSNBC’s by-now-standard formula of grooming its contributors for hosting duties (it’s how Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Alex Wagner, Lawrence O’Donnell and Melissa Harris-Perry, to name just a few, got their current jobs). The choice of Cupp, who also works for Glenn Beck’s online GBTV network, would inject a shot of conservatism into the lineup.

    Moreover, MSNBC could be taking a page out of Fox News’ book. That network replaced Beck’s show with “The Five,” which features a rotating ensemble of hosts, to much success.”

    S.E. Cupp is an execrable person.
    And hardly an original thinker.
    She’s attractive, in her own way I guess, so that too, is following in the FOX game-plan.

    How long before MSNBC announces that Bill Kristol and Glenn Beck will have their own shows in the evening, replacing Rachel and Ed?

  12. c u n d ,

    I like to share a cup/glass/bottle of our favorite beverages with you. I am amazed, fascinated and agog over what you write.

  13. It’s nutz that Obama is going to probably win Virginia and lose Ohio, but that’s what is looks like 4+ months out. Say goodbye to Claire McCaskill and Jon Tester. It just doesn’t seem likely that either one has a path to victory in this reactionary environment.

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