1st and 20 – Romney Drops Back, Goes Deep…

The classic “Hail Mary” pass is a desperation play in the last seconds of the game when the only chance of victory is to wind up and heave the ball into the endzone with the hope that one of your receivers will miraculously come down with the ball and the win.

That said, there are lots of Hail Marys that are thrown much earlier in the game, usually when one team starts to feel the pressure of the clock, is down by a touchdown or so and concludes its game plan isn’t working.

Make no mistake, the Romney campaign has just thrown the first Hail Mary of the 2012 presidential election.  The ball is still in the air, but I’m not seeing a lot of receivers in the endzone.

I’m referring, of course, to Governor Romney’s doubling down on his now-infamous “fuggedaboutit” to the 47 percent of the country who apparently are only voting for Obama out of a lazy, selfish unwillingness to stop feeding off the work of the decent people.  Rather than try to deny the comments (which would have been well-nigh impossible IMHO) or try to mealy-mouth them away, the campaign and the candidate has embraced them and is trying to make them a fulcrum for a debate about a vision for America.  In the revised version of reality, Governor Romney would have us believe he wasn’t pandering to a crowd of rich folks that some people are worth keeping and some aren’t, but was instead “inelegantly” trying to frame a debate about the future of America.  As noted in the New York Times article on this long bomb, one that actually breaks with some very long-held conservative views:

Mr. Romney stood by his statement in an interview with Neil Cavuto of Fox News on Tuesday. “I think a society based upon a government-centered nation where government plays a larger and larger role, redistributes money, that’s the wrong course for America,” he said, adding that he hoped to improve the economy enough that people would be able to get well-paying jobs and rejoin the tax rolls.

So far, I’m not seeing much evidence that the play will work.  Despite a little razzle-dazzle in the form of the release of a 14-year old audio tape in which State Senator Obama goes on the record in support of – horrors! – “redistribution” in pursuit of the apparently un-American goal of “to make sure that everybody’s got a shot” (the comments were made in the context of how do we help the working poor) that has been slavishly flogged by the campaign’s principals and surrogates, the spin doesn’t seem to be working, even among the faithful (here and here and here and here and here just to name a few).

It’s be a few more seconds before the ball lands (uncaught I think).  That’ll make it 2nd and long with the clock at 48 days…and counting.  What’s the next play, Coach?

– Austin

43 thoughts on “1st and 20 – Romney Drops Back, Goes Deep…

  1. PM says:



    Maybe Anne didn’t get the memo?

    Still, I think that doubling down on this and trying to turn it into a principled stand about the role of government is his best approach, and one that I am glad is (apparently) being taken.

    I say that because I don’t think it will resonate, and I am hoping that this meme can be tried, seen to fail, and we can get on (in the next election) to deciding how best to target government efforts to help people, rather than arguing if government should be helping people at all.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      I hope you are correct that this is politically harmful to Romney.

      At it’s core, Romney’s monolgue is a “welfare queen” appeal, and that has been probably the single most politically potent myth conservatives have wielded in campaigns over the years.

      When Romney speaks of “dependency” on this tape, I wonder whether more voters think a) he’s talking about me, and that offends me or b) he’s talking about The Others, and good for him for making them take responsibility.

      Democrats assume a), and I want it to be so, but I’m not sure.

      Anyway, I’m out on the ledge, nervously watching the polls.

    2. You know, I was about to post something about an media bias and use the photo that TPM chose to illustrate the article above; it’s a TERRIBLE screen grab from the interview with Mrs. Romney. It makes her looked hunched, tired and annoyed.

      Then I watched the actual interview: she looked that way throughout. If anybody who reads this blog has any ties to the Romney campaign, please pass the word to 1) get Mrs. Romney some rest and some better lighting and 2) give her a chair without arms for these satellite tours so she can’t rest her elbows on the arms and hunch forward.

      – Austin

  2. Jeremy Powers says:

    What Romney’s response might do is to fire up the faithful. Let’s face it, a filthy rich corporate raider who practices a religion many in his own party call a cult does not endear Romney to the rank and file Republican. He may be able to get more people out working on his campaign and even cause the faithful to believe he could represent them.

    Of course those faithful will have the same problem Mitt does – trying to get his message across to those lazy, do-nothing bastards who are on the public dole. But the average voter has the attention span of dog (“Squirrel!”) so by election time many people will have long forgotten this.

    Because I support Obama and voted for him and pay taxes, being that Obama won with 52 percent of the vote, does that make me one of the “5 percent” of tax-paying liberals. Of course not, because I would bet that 60 percent of those 46.4 percent who don’t pay federal taxes are hard-core Republicans living in the South (statistically accurate) who still feel put-upon by the godamngummint.

  3. Mitt needs a good crisis communications guy! Wish I knew of one locally I could suggest…

    Seriously it boggles my mind how someone at this level can keep bungling and blundering like a bad SNL skit.

    It’s pretty unreal isn’t it?

    It’s the equivalent of a MLB player stepping into the batter’s box during the All-Star Game and dropping the bat (repeatedly) during the AB.

    Love the Flutie clip by the way!!!

  4. All I can say is that I’d like to see Romney go deep and attack Obama on his economic record. I had to laugh watching Mr. Obama on Letterman straining to remember what the national debt was when he took office so as to minimize the fact he has added about $5.5 trillion to it. Huh? A really smart guy like Obama not knowing what the national debt was?

    I’m sure he doesn’t remember how many people were on food stamps then vs. now, how much food prices have gone up, how much oil prices have gone up, how much college tuition has gone up, how much health insurance has gone up and the broken promises on unemployment.

    As Bill Kristol said, the Romney campaign should make a commerical with Obama saying he doesn’t remember what the debt was and that it’s no problem in the short term….obviously no problem in the next few months…so re-elect me and I’ll fix it. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

      1. He ought to know, having contributed his fair share to it supporting his boss. Obama is somewhat correct. Short term, it doesn’t matter, presuming we have growth that can overcome it. I haven’t heard any credible plan about why I should vote for him based on his growth record so far. But I’m waiting.

      2. I’m not voting for Obama because of his plan for growth; truthfully I don’t think the president can do much good or bad to affect the economy. I’m reminded of this by the pronouncement by Moody’s last week that it expects the economy to create 12,000,000 new jobs over the next four years regardless of who’s president.

        Instead, I’m voting for Obama for reasons that I doubt will sway any of our regulars on the right side of the political spectrum:

        1) He sees government as positive force in people’s lives in more ways than simply guarding the border and building roads; so do I. Not always, not perfectly, but more than not.
        2) He distrusts the excessive concentration of power in our society. I do too. It is possible for anything to get so big – a company, an industry, a union, a government, an interest group – that it’s interests conflict with our collective interest. This is a bit ironic because Obama has been every bit the activist, imperial president that nearly all of his predecessors were back to Roosevelt, but I think he at least recognizes the tension.
        3) He’s smart and rational. All things being equal, I like those qualities in all you mugs and I like them in my presidents too.
        4) I think he’s a progressive centrist. That’s a weird combination, but there you go. How can a president infuriate the left almost as much as the right unless he was somewhere in the middle (albeit left of center).
        5) He’s a black Muslim from Kenya; after 225 years of white guys from Protestant hamlets how cool is that?

        – Austin

  5. As it so often does, Jon Stewart’s opening monologue tonight really wrapped the whole issue into a wonderful 5-minute tour de force. The big difference was that unlike most nights when Mr. Stewart slips the blade in with a twinkle and arched eyebrow, tonight he was clearly pissed at what he thinks is the hypocrisy at work not just in the spin being done as damage control but in the whole maker/taker debate.

    The clip is not up on the web site yet, but it’s well worth tracking down tomorrow.

    – Austin

    1. PM says:

      It was fantastic. As usual, he was merciless to Fox. Hopefully, this will be front and center in his debate with O’Reilly.

  6. Newt says:

    Great news today. New data showing the number of food stamp recipients is at an all-time high. This is a metric that Dems can rally behind. Prima facia evidence that they care more.

  7. Interesting observations, Jon. I’m not voting against Obama because he lacks a plan for growth. I’m voting against him because I think he has a borderline messiah complex. I think he lacks a sense of humor in general and is incapable of admitting any mistakes or shortcomings. He strikes me as a man who is extremely thin skinned. I also don’t care for his sneering sarcasm and happen to think he has no capacity to laugh at himself.

    In short, I don’t see the same likeable guy some of you do, and I really question the “Obama is so smart” belief. Based on what? I may not have always agreed with Clinton, even when I voted for him, but I liked him and did view him as a centrist. I also personally believe he was smarter than Obama and Bush combined.

    Now for policies…..I don’t think they have helped the economy. Like it or not, he will be judged on the economy’s growth or demise. All presidents are. I don’t think his foreign policy has been a success, the drone killings and assassination of Bin Laden nonwithstanding. Our relationships with many countries are not better than they were four years ago.

    I don’t believe in his vision for government and think politicians are every bit as corrupt and money grubbing as any corporate ever was. Those of you who don’t trust centralized power and money seem to completely overlook the fact that a shit train of it exists in politics, but when it’s your guy or party you overlook it. Witness the beating Romney takes when he hangs out with rich people but Barack partying with Beyonce and Jay Z and other rich folks gets a pass. What a farce.

    Finally, the last reason I would vote for anyone is the color of his or her skin or religion or ethnic background. I couldn’t care less.

    1. Mike, we’ve shared arthropods or whatever squids are; you know #5 was a joke, right? I know if you have to explain it, it ain’t funny, but I’m trying to insert a little levity into the proceedings. Sometimes the comments section is as about as much fun as the Central Committee proceedings on a new five-year plan, but I being able to poke fun at ourselves falls under the category of “things that we share are much greater than the things that divide us.”

      I’m hoping anyway!


    2. PM says:

      Speaking of Mitt’s plan for economic recovery–here is what he had to say about it when speaking privately to his biggest supporters:

      “If it looks like I’m going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president’s going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends of course which markets you’re talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is that if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back and we’ll see — without actually doing anything — we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.”


      What is this, another faith based initiative?

  8. Erik says:

    Conor Friedorsdorf finding Obama sycophancy to be a bit much.


    “The whole liberal conceit that Obama is a good, enlightened man, while his opponent is a malign, hard-hearted cretin, depends on constructing a reality where the lives of non-Americans — along with the lives of some American Muslims and whistleblowers — just aren’t valued. Alternatively, the less savory parts of Obama’s tenure can just be repeatedly disappeared from the narrative of his first term, as so many left-leaning journalists, uncomfortable confronting the depths of the man’s transgressions, have done over and over again. “

    1. PM says:

      I like Conor Friedersdorf a lot, and I think that is a great article.

      To be honest, his differences and criticisms of Obama do not seem to align much with yours. Frankly, where he criticizes Obama, Romney is worse. His option is to vote Libertarian. I do not think that is an option for me.

      1. Erik says:

        It would be fair to point that out if I was disingenuously using a progressive apostate to flog a point of my own. We don’t talk much about the wars here though, now that Democrats, liberals, and progs are all peachy keen with the wars. That’s the sycophancy again.

        I think the wars ought to end. The President ought to listen to his inner dove and stop them. He could credibly declare victory. But he doesn’t, I suppose, because he doesn’t want to play to type. IE, that of a typical liberal pansy.

        As an adjunct to that, on the domestic side the Holder justice department is an abomination as a functioning organization and on civil liberties. This is pretty inarguable, even for sycophants. I expect a Romney justice would be much better.

      2. PM says:

        I also agree the wars ought to end. To the extent that there was anything to accomplish, we have done that. Further, the wars are turning into occupation, and that will definitely not end well.

        Regarding Justice, i do not have any confidence in a GOP run department, based on prior experience.

        Freidersdorf is a very smart conservative who has made trenchant criticisms of conservatism, as well as the current iteration of the GOP, which likes to claim that it is conservative. Friedersdorf would disagree–he generally sees the GOP as an organization devoted to the advancement of its members financial interests, using conservatism (extremely loosely defined) as a cloak to justify self enrichment.

        Frum and Sullivan make the same general case. I would put all three of them, as well as Yglesias and Ezra Klein and Jonathan Chait together as among the most intelligent current crop of social and political commentators.

      3. Erik says:

        It’s one thing to not be “confident” that a Romney justice department will say share your view on consumer protection or anti-trust, etc., broader ideology. But we’ve bottomed out here with the Obama / Holder justice department.

        Is there some redeeming feature you are aware of? Please share.

      4. Erik says:

        Meh. I just put together a post with links to stories about all the DOJ scandals. With all the links, its seems to have gone to spam moderation.

        I suppose you’re willfully ignorant of all of them anyway. Seems to be the preferred coping mechanism.

      5. PM says:


        bottom line is that, of course there are problems, and of course there are things that Obama (and his administration, which includes the Justice Department and Eric holder) have done that i do not agree with, BUT his administration is a huge improvement over the last bunch of GOPer’s, and there is nothing to suggest to me that Romney and his crowd would do a better job.

        In fact, based on what I have seen of Romney and his crowd, I think that they would do a worse job. He has run an inept campaign, suggesting that he vaunted management skills are really not very good. He has consistently shown poor judgement (comments on the Middle East), and he appears to be rich, out of touch, and dismissive of the citizens of this country.

        Not someone i want running this country. And, given the choice of whom to vote for, I’ll probably be voting for Obama, despite his failings and shortcomings. He appears to me to be the best choice, by a very significant margin.

      6. Erik says:

        The Holder justice department is not a huge improvement. Fast and Furious can be tied to the deaths of several American law enforcement agents and several hundred Mexican civilians. This is something that can’t be overshadowed by a petty little gripe you might have about Rachel Paulose, etc.

        You’re either woefully mal informed or engaging in gross sycophancy. It’s the sycophancy that’s Friedersdorf’s most important point.

  9. Jeremy Powers says:

    Conor Friedersdorf is openly gay. You would think that to say, in essence, Obama has done nothing for him or people like him is possibly one of the biggest efforts of self-denial I have ever heard. The Republicans, frankly, would like nothing more than to deport anyone who is gay and get them out of their little modern cracker-box suburbs so they don’t have to explain to their secluded white children why little Bobby has two moms.

    Conor Friedersdorf enjoys a certain amount of respectability ONLY because of progressives like the man he denounces.Two years into an all-Republican government and he would be on his knees apologizing to himself.

    1. Erik says:

      What are you trying to say? That he’s an Uncle Thom?


      Dude, this thing where you constantly turn the conversation so you can excrete your hostility to bourgeois white suburbanites and now their kids… That’s some pretty virulent douchebag liberal misanthropy. You got friends? or is this a pretty lonely existence?

    2. PM says:

      Well, Jeremy, what Friedersdorf (and Sullivan, also openly gay) would like to do is to change the GOP to a real conservative party–not the troglodyte social conservatism of a Bachmann or Limbaugh.

      And i think that you are misrepresenting what he says– he isn’t going to vote for Obama, because he thinks that the negative outweigh the positives. He is not saying that there are no positives.

      And progressives are for gay rights because it is the right thing to do, not because they want all gays to get down on their knees and thank them. Friedersdorf enjoys respectability because he is someone worthy of respect, not because he is (in)sufficiently thankful

      1. Jeremy Powers says:

        All I took away from the piece by Conor Friedorsdorf was, as an admitted conservative, he was just looking for a way to complain about Obama in liberal terms with the intent of trying to get liberals to question their support and maybe not vote or waste their vote on a minor party candidate, It’s worthy of Karl Rove, and nobody else.If you “like” him fine, but to me he’s just a propagandist.

        I find it insulting to my intelligence that he lists a whole bunch of war stuff and the Bush Administration did a hundred times worse. Where was Friedorsdorf then? Probably explaining why he was going to vote for John “Bomb Iran” McCain. His whole argument is two administrations out of date.

        A pure Republican Party. I don’t think one EVER existed. And I don’t think it ever will. Any more than there is pure Democrat Party, which he himself is trying to explain away.

        Aren’t we old enough to realize that Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was a fairy tale based a universal altruistic human desire, kind of like the cowboy with the white hat or a superhero.

      2. PM says:

        I think that you are doing him a disservice. One of the reasons that i like him is that he is a conservative who is willing to be critical of the GOP. For example, see:


        I don’t think that Friedersdorf is looking for a pure GOP–just one that is good enough that he can vote for. I’d like that, too. I do not like being a dependable democratic vote–but I will be until the GOP develops some sanity. I have voted GOP in the past, and I’d love to be able to do so again in the future, I just don’t see that happening again anytime soon. Sadly.

  10. Jeremy Powers says:


    Quite a leap, there. Took a little tiny bit of information and turned me into a lonely misanthrope. (I’m assuming douchebag was just a handy, if irrelevant, insult. But, then again, you may know more about douchebags than I do.)

    My only child is a lesbian. I could tell you stories about how my daughter was treated at a suburban school that would even piss you off. Not by the school, but by the students and their parents.

    What I would tolerate for myself, I am unwilling to tolerate for my only child.

    I can say, luckily, I don’t count you as a friend. And almost certainly never will.

    1. Erik says:

      It’s not a leap at all. You’re constantly expressing your antipathy for bourgeois white suburbanites. It’s off putting and insufferable. Thus I figured you were a douchebag liberal misanthrope. Is it not a valid archetype? Is that not something douchebag liberal misanthropes do?

  11. Jeremy Powers says:

    Oh, so you’re stereotyping me. That explains it. Doesn’t make it one bit more sensible, but explains which gate community you’re coming from.

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