June 30, 2008

A bounce-Mitt-igation strategy.

Politico reports:
“Romney as favorite” is the hot buzz in Republican circles, and top party advisers said the case is compelling.

Campaign insiders say McCain plans to name his running mate very shortly after Barack Obama does, as part of what one campaign planner called a “bounce-mitigation strategy.”
Let's call that a bounce-Mitt-igation strategy.

Why doesn't Obama make McCain go first? He can't, because the Democratic convention comes first.
One of the chief reasons the Massachusetts governor is looking so attractive is his ability to raise huge amounts of money quickly through his former business partners and from fellow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormons.
Romney’s other advantages, according to people involved in McCain’s screening process:

— Squeaky-clean and fully vetted by the national media.

— Has presidential looks and bearing and immediately would be a strong campaigner who could be trusted to stay on message.

— Family’s Michigan roots would help in a swing state that went Democratic in 2004.
The main problem is supposedly a lack of personal good-feeling toward Romney.... and a concern about anti-Morman prejudice. Presumably, any voter moved by religious prejudice is currently gravitating toward McCain.

Is this how the McCain campaign is analyzing things: They want the Mormons' money, but they hate to sacrifice the bigot vote?

41 comments:

Maguro said...

They want the Mormons' money, but they hate to sacrifice the bigot vote?

Jeremiah Wright is leaning towards McCain?

matthew said...

A bigot's vote counts just as much as anyone else's vote (from the same state at least). Don't criticize either party for taking that into account.

LutherM said...

Ann;
This time you stuck your foot in it;"they hate to sacrifice the bigot vote."
You know that's a cheap shot.
It's something that you should retract - you're Althouse, not "MoveOn.org"

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Plus ca change, plus ce la meme chose as the French who have seen human perfectibility up close and personal have said. 'The more things change, the more they remain the same.' Congratulations for staying the same in your endorsement of the flavor of the year, the black candidate, while casting 'prejudiced' aspersions on someone else. A generation ago, it was cool to ignore the Mormonism of Romney's father. Now, did somebody mention the word 'change'?

Bissage said...

So now I should give up on Joe Lieberman?

ricpic said...

How about the secular humanist bigot vote? That's hugh.

vnjagvet said...

If the only downside to a Romney nomination is bad personal chemistry with the nominee, that is fully within McCain's control.

I suspect if he thinks Romney strengthens his election chances, he will bite the tongue and bullet and select him. There is a lot of distance between the Oval Office and the EOB, and between the White House and the Veep quarters on Massachusetts Ave.

Salamandyr said...

It really seems to me that a McCain/Romney ticket is a guaranteed loser, and not for Romney's Mormon connections.

Romney is handsome, charming, and had the support of the Conservative establishment. And he completely failed to excite anyone out here in voter-land more to more than mild interest. He feels like a safe, establishment pick that will do absolutely nothing to generate the kind of excitment McCain needs. It's got a kind of Dole/Kemp going through the motions vibe.

Cedarford said...

I'd add in three other huge pluses for Romney outside what Ann Althouse mentioned.

One downside.

1. By the fall, the energy crisis and economic meltdown of America will trump Iraq and Obama's self-described legendary good judgement, ability to slow oceans rising, and heal the planet.

Who has made an international name for himself for 25 years by fixing meltdowns and if not directly involved, credited with being a prime mover in selecting the best Teams to handle organizational crises?

Romney.

If the country will be in a huge domestic mess, and "distracted" as Obama puts it, from the rage and minor lethality of a few tens of millions of distant radical Muslims - it would behoove McCain to pick a hyper-smart guy with a track record for fixing things to have a go through the powerful VP office where he has the credibility and tenure a dismissable appointed cabinet member lacks.
Not be the energy czar, not be the health care czar, the globalization retrenching czar...but the guy that as much as Mccain lets him, selects czars and team members and only intervenes as executive manager.

2. Romney doesn't just help in a few northern industrial states tired of being dismissed by Sunbelt Republicans as peripheral because they have not taken Jesus into their heart and by Democrats as bitter losers whose jobs are gone because they lack the brains and creativity of Manhattanites and Frisco movers and shakers, though he is someone voters there think is right in saying you cannot write the Rustbelt off without writing America off in the long term.

Romney also puts Western States in play where it isn't just the Mormons, it is the whole section of the country west of Illinois and East of Cali that have many similar attitudes to Mormons and who regularly send Mormons to state and national offices (see Udalls, Reid, etc.)

3. Romneys appeal outside the South may help staunch the bloodletting of Republicans in Congress by reminding voters that Republicanism has a future beyond the Bible Belt.
Presidential elections are used by nominees to position Parties for the future, in winning or losing, by not just the famous Goldwaterite and McGovernite takeovers that went well and badly, respectively, but of strategies. The Southern Strategy. The gun owners strategy. Family values. Si se pueda!

Obama has already signalled he will expand government goodies to anchor his base and wants to move the West and Midwest into the Democrat camp.

McCain, not too-well liked by conservatives for his treacheries, can win the bulk of the Party not by surrendering to them and getting an antebellum Dixie type, but showing a way back to the industrial North and holding the Rocky Mountain States and Midwest with a broad-based national republican Party that stresses hard work, beating foreign competition by eliminating DC paralysis, and resurrection of places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, upstate NY.

Romney points to the future Republican outside the deep South that needs to rule as moderates, or technocrats, or as conservative by nature but willing to work with Democrats.

1. Downside: Romney is white and male, which is a big downside by media and elements of the intelligensia and movement partisans that are obsessed with identity politics and demanding that McCain put a less qualified woman or racial minority on the ticket to "counteract Obama's moving America forward" (by being part-black)

Which was always a bad idea. Go with talent and ability of the VP to help the Prez and take over if necessary, not play affirmative action bingo.
Especially notable when you shrug off an identity politics believer pushing someone like Condi Rice. "She screwed up a lot and nothing says 4 more years of Bush than bringing in his right hand gal who never held elected office, or even executive capacity until she got to State"
"But, but, she's black, she's female! She has biography! She might even be a lesbian!"

But even this "downside" as liberal media mutters about "too white" Republicans has an up side. However, "white" he is, though, Romney is part of a definite religious minority outside the Christian mainstream.

There have been only a few minorities on major Party's Presidential tickets. Coolidges's VP Charles Curtis was 5/8th Paw and Osage and first racial minority to be elected on a ticket, Barry Goldwater was an ethnic Ashkenazi Jew, Lieberman an ethnic and religious Ashkenazi, Obama, and Romney might be accurately said to be the 5th minority person.

P. Rich said...

lutherm said: You know that's a cheap shot.

Althouse has been doing that lately: "Look! Over there! Bad Republican! Bad! Bad! [Pay no attention to the real Obama behind the curtain.]"

On more serious matters, a game theory question: Who gains by announcing a VP candidate - the first, or the second to do so?

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Giuliani would be more fun. Maybe he and Bloomberg could get married; so they could use Bloomberg's money. Bloomberg could also go to state dinners.

Joe said...

The power of a vice-presidential candidate to pull in votes is way overestimated. I'd even say that on average most VP candidates have no effect and that the ones that cause more harm than good outnumber the opposite. With this in mind, McCain is best served by going with as rock solid conservative as he can, and that isn't Mitt Romney. My lead candidate is Michael Steele. (I haven't heard Palin speak, so I'm not sure how well she explains conservatism, but I like her credentials. Jindal is a bit too conservative, but not a bad choice either.)

michael farris said...

I thought the biggest drawback to Romeny was that he's kind of a .... whore.
He does have a short but impressive record of very convenient timing in changing his positions and lacked the skill to make it seem like anything but craven opportunism.

veni vidi vici said...

Palin and Jindal, who between the two of them have about 6 weeks' experience in their respective executive offices? (Yeah, I know, it's more than 6 weeks -- but less than a couple years each) P'shaw.

If that's all that the Republican electorate/commentariat can get excited about, then the guy that mentioned "Dole/Kemp going through the motions" is correct.

I watch McCain and think, "this guy doesn't want the job". At the same time, I'm hoping/thinking that he's just biding his time and keeping the powder dry until after the convention, when (a) people are paying attention; and (b) Obama's liturgy of gafferei and hackwork will provide the rich vein McCain can mine with gusto until November. Before throwing up my hands in despair at how ridiculous the GOP implosion appears to be, I have to remind myself that "the guys that had this thing wired for the past 15 years cannot have lost it so completely - there's gotta be a strategy here somewhere".

On the other hand, I'm reminded to never assume a conspiracy where events can be explained by incompetence.

kengoodsmith said...

"Presumably, any voter moved by religious prejudice is currently gravitating toward McCain." How did you come up with that? A concern that prejudice against a V.P. candidate's religion is not an indication that "any" prejudiced voter is already in your camp. Indeed, in this instance I'll bet the majority of anti-Mormon prejudice lurks in the Obama camp--my liberal friends have made it clear to me that they consider it hip to be anti-Mormon.

Cedarford said...

Joe - With this in mind, McCain is best served by going with as rock solid conservative as he can, and that isn't Mitt Romney. My lead candidate is Michael Steele.

Hmmm, isn't he the guy with all the finacial issues who was briefly a lieutenant governor of a state...his only elected office...for a couple of years? Oh, and the fact that the only reason you take him seriously is he is black so you think he would be Even Better Than Condi!! in identity politics and affirmative action BINGO.

Why not Dr. Coburn, Senator of Oklahoma. He is so conservative he wants to execute abortionists, but alas to Republicans newly infatuated with "outsmarting the Dems at identity politics" he comes crippled with a penis and the stain of white skin...as well as putting another nail in the coffin of Reublicans as a Party only for the rich, the neocons, and the Jesus Freaks..

Sloanasaurus said...

A concern that prejudice against a V.P. candidate's religion is not an indication that "any" prejudiced voter is already in your camp. Indeed, in this instance I'll bet the majority of anti-Mormon prejudice lurks in the Obama camp

It would be a great debate to compare Romney's mormanism with Obama's liberation theology. Afterall, if you bring up Romney's religion, it's only fair to bring up Obama's religion.

It's also true that Obama's grandfather was a polygamist. The same is not true of Romney, even though the media likes to saddle Romney with polygamy.

Kirby Olson said...

Romney's so stiff. He'd look good on a billboard, but he can't debate. He comes off as cardboard.

The Republicans should get someone who can win a debate: funny, human, insightful, and solid.

Like McCain.

Verso said...

They want the Mormons' money, but they hate to sacrifice the bigot vote?

That's a big ten-four, Ann. The bigot vote is the core of the Republican Party, as you are surely aware, not only because you are familiar with the 2nd half of the 20th century, but you listen to Rush Limbaugh every day.

The Republican Party was handed the bigot vote from 1964-68, with the passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1966, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the latter of which included open housing legislation that, perhaps more than any other piece of civil rights law, fueled a backlash by racist whites against the Democratic Party. (I recognize that (a) this history offends many conservatives, and (b) many Republicans/conservatives are not racist.)

Republicans were smart, if immoral, to seize the bigot vote, and rode it to victory after victory, in 1968, 72, 80, 84, 88, and culminating with complete control of government in 1994. They continue to absolutely DEPEND on the bigot vote to this day.

How can anyone who simply tunes in a news program not recognize the anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-black, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim prejudice which defines today's Republican Party?

The fact is if you vote Republican you endorse bigotry and signal your hatred for millions of your fellow Americans.

Why this observation should even be controversial is something I cannot fathom.

Verso said...

^ That should say, "Voting Rights Act of 1965."

Verso said...

This time you stuck your foot in it;"they hate to sacrifice the bigot vote." You know that's a cheap shot. It's something that you should retract.

What is it with Republicans always demanding retractions? Your rules of political correctness, plus your super-delicate emotional sensibilities, are amazing.

Also: How can you possibly dispute what Ann said? If McCain and his advisers reject Romney for fear of anti-Mormon bigotry, how is that NOT an indication they are afraid of losing the bigot vote?

Why do you think Romney lost the nomination, anyway? Are you not aware of what is going on in the Republican Party? This isn't MoveOn observing that the Republican base has a problem with Mormons; it's the Republican Party itself. Many Republicans have been completely honest about Romney's "Mormon problem."

Verso said...

Congratulations for staying the same in your endorsement of the flavor of the year, the black candidate, while casting 'prejudiced' aspersions on someone else.
I'll bet you $5 Ann endorses McCain. She's already said, in fact, that "we must" vote for McCain. She's expressed a clear preference for the conservative judges McCain would appoint. And it's evident in most of her other posts that she likes McCain and doesn't really like Obama. That feeling will only grow by election day, as Ann immerses herself in the further right wingnuttery she can find, starting with a daily dose of Rush Limbaugh and followed up with conservative blogs -- topped off by her own wingnut dominated comments sections. I know she's trying hard to remain nuetral, and she's doing a pretty good job, but Ann is a conservative Republican (though she may not know it), and will vote for McCain in November. Mark my words.


A generation ago, it was cool to ignore the Mormonism of Romney's father.
A conclusion you draw from Romney's stunning success in his own presidential bid in 1968, no doubt.

By the way, back then Romney (the father) caused a big controversy with a comment about how he had been "brainwashed by the US military" into supporting the Vietnam war. Can you imagine the bashing and smashing of Romney you and your party would undertake if anyone dared to say such a thing today? You'd run him right out of the party.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Verso, makes kind of a good point. Reagan wsn't really a crooner but he did start his campaign near that Talahatchee Bridge. I think what he was about though was saying that Southerners shouldn't be permanentlly stained with an ethnic 'original sin.' As Ann's remark may suggest, and the history of leftist movements makes clearer, class or other, oh dear, denigrated groups are essential in our march toward liberte'.

Quayle said...
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Quayle said...
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Quayle said...

Mitt splits the Evangelical base in two. Perhaps up to 1/2 would vote for him, and 1/2 will NEVER vote for him.

So, if you are FOR reducing the influence and power of the Evangelical base, a Mitt VP candidate should be a welcome event.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Mormons are not in any way aligned with the Evangelical base of the Republicans. Here are some reasons why:

1. Evangelicals continue to slur Mormons, to lie about what Mormons believe. Evangelicals are arrogant enough to insist that only Evangelicals are able to define and describe Mormons, and that Mormons only lie when Mormons describe themselves.

2. Mormons don't go for all the hate and heated rhetoric of a lot of the right, including many Evangelicals. You can view for yourself the Mormon approach to talking about religion, personal problem solving, and social policy (as contrasted to what you see on TV from the Evangelicals) here: http://lds.org/conference/sessions/display/0,5239,23-1-851,00.html

3. Something a lot of people don’t know is that Mormons, at their theological roots, are communitarian and socialist, which makes them closer to the left than a lot of the right. Mormons do not believe that capitalism is the highest form of society. Rather, Mormons believe that the highest form of a society is when there is no poor among us. But, Mormon have strong aversion to government programs, believing that only personal sacrifice, not forced help through taxes and government programs, will ever ultimately and lastingly help the poor. That's why Mormons do it themselves for their own and as many others as they can.

4. Mormons agree with the right on most moral issues. But Mormon theology and teachings are expressly clear that hating other people is not of God, regardless of what others choose to do. To the extend that the radical Evangelical right gets hateful, Mormons stop being in agreement with them.

So, that’s one person’s take on why Mitt would be good, and why he’d encounter resistance.

Verso said...

Evangelicals are a funny lot.

I work on a team of 8 web developers. Two of our team members are Mormons. One is an evangelical and fundamentalist (Pentecostal).

One day (around Christmastime last year), I was talking to the Pentecostal and one other (Christian) team member, and the subject of Mormonism came up (because we'd heard that the two Mormons would not be taking any time off for Christmas. Mormons don't celebrate Christmas).

So, I asked my Pentecostal co-worker, an extremely mild mannered professional type, if he knew that Mormons believe they become gods after they die. He did, and started telling me about his past encounters with Mormons. Within about 3 minutes, he had worked himself into a frenzy, aggressively slapping his hands together for emphasis as he made his points about what a perverted faith Mormonism is. "How can you claim to believe what is written in this Book (the Bible)," he asked, smacking his right hand into his left as though he were holding the Bible, "and at the same time believe in some other book? (the book of Mormon)?" His face was bright red and he was almost shouting by this point. I slowly disengaged and walked away.

This same guy had an interesting reaction after 9/11. As I said, he's a very even tempered fellow and I've hardly ever seen him show any emotion about anything. Even the 9/11 attacks raised no discernible response. (I'm sure he FELT a lot of emotion, but he just doesn't show it.)

Two or three days following the attacks, I mentioned to him that some of the hijackers had spent the night of Sept. 10 in a strip bar drinking and getting lap dances.

And that was it: All of a sudden my Pentecostal co-worker was in a rage. He was absolutely incensed because they were violating their own religious principles. The hypocrisy seemed to upset him far more than the attacks did.

My last story about my Pentecostal co-worker: We were talking about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. He repeated the well known Christian belief that the entire West Bank and Gaza belong to the Israelis, because the Bible says God gave all that land to the (legitimate) descendants of Abraham. I asked him, "So, what do you do with the millions of Palestinians living on the land, just kill them?"

Without batting an eye, he said, "Whatever it takes. When God gives you something, you're entitled to take it. And it's not always pretty." He reminded me that the Bible if filled to overflowing with stories of mass slaughter and genocide, and that I shouldn't be so touchy about a little blood. After all, those people don't even have souls, so what does it matter if we murder them?

You know how you can tell the media is liberal? Because it doesn't openly acknowledge the Biblical truth that Palestinians have no souls and can be murdered without remorse. Instead, it spreads the lie that they are people with rights equal to Jews and Christians.

ricpic said...

I can't believe anyone could stand three minutes in Verso's presence.

Revenant said...

Picking Romney would help McCain in at least one swing state (Michigan) and possibly a few of the southwestern swing states with significant Mormon populations. He shouldn't hurt McCain in any of the other swing states. He's also got good economic credentials, which McCain certainly does not.

It is true that he isn't exciting, but Presidential candidates never pick VPs who can upstage them, and McCain himself isn't an interesting person.

Scott said...

Mormons don't celebrate Christmas

Wow, I guess I missed that day at church, or maybe they glazed over it during all of those Christmas programs. Or maybe we missed it because we were all out of town celebrating Christmas the day that was taught.

Seriously, what? Don't celebrate Christmas? I guess I've been doing it wrong for decades, then.

john said...

Verso,

Me and the evangelicals like to watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas program. Just like when we were kids watching the Donny and Marie special (or the one with all the Osmond kids on Andy Williams; so inspirational).

And I really do believe your story. Especially the part about the Palestinians having no souls and so deserving of genocide. All Christians of course believe that. And that 9/11 story rings so true. I hear it all the time from my Baptist friends: drinking and sex before murder just don't mix.

On the other hand, McCain does keep reminding me of Dole. Can't someone give him a gold watch?

Verso said...

Scott,
No offense, but I don't know much of anything about Mormons, or Mormonism. Last December was the first I'd heard (to my surprise) that Mormons don't celebrate Christmas. If this is not true, please accept my apologies. It's just that on my team of 8 at work, everyone was comparing schedules the week of Christmas, and the two Mormons on our team said that they would be at work all week and would be able to pick up whatever work the rest of the team was not in the office to handle. And both of them were at their desks on Christmas morning, and stayed at work all day.

Now, maybe it's not technically true that "Mormon's don't celebrate Christmas." Those are my own words and may not be accurate. But that's the impression I got last December. Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe you could explain to me why my two Mormon teammates don't take time off for Christmas and are at work on December 25.

Again, my apologies if I was wrong or if I've offended you. It was not my intent.

Cheers.

Verso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
veni vidi vici said...

I'd like to hear what Verso's co-workers would've thought about the Verne Troyer sex tape.

Joe said...

Verso, how about instead of listening to rumor and innuendo about Mormons you, I don't know, actually TALK TO THEM.

(Some people prefer working holidays in exchange for other days. They get more done and/or are able to better organize family gatherings.)

cathorus said...

Verso,
Why is it you see so clearly the motes in conservatives' eyes, but don't notice the log in your own?

You slide right by with your own prejudice and hatred, declaring guilt-by-anecdote. I'd rather spend five minutes with your Pentecostal colleague than the good Rev. Wright. I suspect I could persuade your colleague to open his mind a bit. The Reverend, on the other hand, doesn't have a mind to open.

Furthermore, since the Obama camp moved the women in Muslim dress out of the pictures with Obama, does that mean they are afraid of losing the bigot vote? Seems like everyone is concerned about those pesky bigots.

You come across as a caricature.

For more racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe comments, go to http://www.whenwearequeen.squarespace.com

michael farris said...

verso,

You're getting things bassackwards.

Jehovah's witnesses don't celebrate Christmas. Mormons do.

Hindus do not wear turbans, Sikhs do (a rather separate religion).

Ted said...

It appears that it’s all down to Alaska Gov Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney, and team Romney fears Palin now has the best shot, so Romney camp is mounting a blogosphere-wide assault via Politico.

The tip-off that Politico is just a “promote Romney” piece is that it mentions EVERY NAME in the next two tiers of Veep prospects EXCEPT SARAH PALIN!!! — even names far more unlikely than Palin (since Romney camp knows Palin is the ONLY ONE who tops — I’ll say tops by far — Romney as McCain’s best pick).

Bottom line, Romney and Politico fear Palin most — as do the Dems and the MSM. (By the way, the Dems and MSM do not fear Romney the most — which says a lot.)

AOL, a main on-line pro-Obama/pro-Dem player, is now carrying the Politico piece promoting Romney buzz.

Clearly AOL wants McCain and the GOP to lose the general elction — hence they gladly promote Romney (no mention of Palin).

Also, CNN had Romney — kind of out of the blue — attacking Obama. Again, CNN, wanting McCain and the GOP to lose, gladly promotes Romney (to attempt to avert the Palin threat).

All the media frenzy which will surround the remarkable Palin “story” — essentially free to McCain — will be worth millions and millions of dollars of coverage and PR (more money than Romney would provide anyway).

Ted said...

It appears that it’s all down to Alaska Gov Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney, and team Romney fears Palin now has the best shot, so Romney camp is mounting a blogosphere-wide assault via Politico.

The tip-off that Politico is just a “promote Romney” piece is that it mentions EVERY NAME in the next two tiers of Veep prospects EXCEPT SARAH PALIN!!! — even names far more unlikely than Palin (since Romney camp knows Palin is the ONLY ONE who tops — I’ll say tops by far — Romney as McCain’s best pick).

Bottom line, Romney and Politico fear Palin most — as do the Dems and the MSM. (By the way, the Dems and MSM do not fear Romney the most — which says a lot.)

AOL, a main on-line pro-Obama/pro-Dem player, is now carrying the Politico piece promoting Romney buzz.

Clearly AOL wants McCain and the GOP to lose the general elction — hence they gladly promote Romney (no mention of Palin).

Also, CNN had Romney — kind of out of the blue — attacking Obama. Again, CNN, wanting McCain and the GOP to lose, gladly promotes Romney (to attempt to avert the Palin threat).

All the media frenzy which will surround the remarkable Palin “story” — essentially free to McCain — will be worth millions and millions of dollars of coverage and PR (more money than Romney would provide anyway).

Revenant said...

since Romney camp knows Palin is the ONLY ONE who tops — I’ll say tops by far — Romney as McCain’s best pick

I don't see how. Alaska is a solidly Republican state, and Palin doesn't have enough name recognition to help McCain much with national voters.

veni vidi vici said...

"Palin doesn't have enough name recognition to help McCain much with national voters."

Well, while we're on the subject of the "bigot vote", think of the campaign slogan:

"McCain: 'Palin' by comparison to Obama!"