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May 31, 2012

Sarah Palin Was Right: Tough "Vetting" In Primary Has Produced Tougher Candidate

I actually didn't disagree with her at the time, though I did worry that too much "vetting" could result -- possibly -- in a fractured party and a badly damaged candidate. As I supported vetting the hell out of Romney when I was on Team Perry, I couldn't really disagree that her assumed favorite, Newt Gingrich, should get his own "vetting" in.

But that reservation turns out to have been unnecessary. Romney does seem to be a stronger candidate for the "vetting."

Dick Morris observed last night, on O'Reilly, that Obama has already moved off its Bain attack to start going after Romney's record as governor.

Nothing wrong with the latter -- it's the former that's the problem. If Obama's moving off Bain, it means the issue has no traction.

Want to see what happens when an issue has traction? Check out Indian Princess Elizabeth Warren.

Why didn't the Bain attacks go anywhere? I think it's pretty simple: Because Newt Gingrich raised the issue, vigorously (assist to Rick Perry), and the facts about Bain have already all come out. The limited "bad" (not really bad, but you could cast it that way) as well as the much more extensive good.

Stupid attack lines work best in a vacuum of ignorance. Could Lynching Fever have taken hold in the George Zimmerman case if all information about the incident were known from the start?

No. It took off because interested racial partisans and members of the Frankfurt School Left put out some very limited, selectively-chosen, and outright false information to the public. Given the vacuum of ignorance, "White man guns down black toddler holding Skittles and Iced tea" is enough to get the News Panic going.

"Hispanic man on neighborhood watch in area with lots of burglaries suspects unknown person may be on drugs or casing places, and is then beaten bloody by suspected burglar, and then shoots 6'+ man assaulting him" is a fuller presentation of the situation, and one that doesn't gain much News Panic traction.

Ignorance is the ally of deceit.

Now, we did have something of a News Panic with respect to Bain (one which I must confessed I joined in on). Ignorance was the ally of deceit, and deceits were spread, and I joined in in propagating them.

But Bain is no longer a blank slate upon which we can project our fears, as Barack Obama might say. The slate is full of information, most of it quite positive.

Romney was damaged some by the Bain attack, but he really can't be re-damaged from it. Whose minds would change upon hearing the full history of Bain, when the initial News Panic presented a much more ignorant and scary view?

Anyone susceptible to this already doesn't like Romney. There won't be any new converts, now that the attack is far weaker.

In fact, ignorance will tend to be dispelled along the way, and Romney can expect some amount of reversing of opinion on Big Bad Bain.

It gets better for Romney; it can not, it seems, get better for Obama.

For the Love of Vampire Capitalism, we have not just Cory Booker telling people Bain is a company with a good reputation, but now Obama Prototype/Dry-Run Devall Patrick praising the company. (He also confesses Massachusetts' unemployment number was "in the fours" under Romney -- he guesses 4.3%, which is very low. I think the figure is 4.7%, which is also quite low-- full employment.)

But Team Obama thought, Dick Morris believes, that Romney had a big target called "Bain" on his back, and all they needed to do was utter the word and it would be a story.

But it's not. They miscalculated. They seem to have forgotten a story can only be a Great Big Story when there are still mysteries and unanswered questions and obvious lies. Again, see Professor Pappoose about that.

When the story has already been substantially fleshed out, mostly in the target's favor, it's really not a big story anymore.

One area where Romney needs improvement is debating-- specifically, keeping his cool when attacked and jibed. Some of his worst moments came when he was challenged -- be became peevish (to use a kind word) and sort of just looked like a dick.

That's going to happen more, and Obama is of course plotting things he can say to provoke this reaction.

And while Romney is good, generally, in debate, he's not great. Smooth, competent-sounding, factual, reasonable-sounding, but not really engaged in the moment and able to quickly react to an opponent's statement and turn it on him (like Gingrich can).

Now, that's a skill Romney is simply not going to pick up -- there is a limit to the extent skills you don't have can be gained -- but he absolutely must get used to dickheads challenging him and saying dickhead things to him in public fora. I cannot stress enough this is going to happen, and it's a real weakness.

Further, it's a weakness he never really got too much practice in covering in the debates, because he did get a lot of free passes in those -- the "Romney Rivals" were always far more intent on challenging the other Romney Rivals than Romney himself.

If I were him, I'd contact three men-- Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry -- and have the three of them gang-up on him and be the douchiest douches they can manage, to get Romney prepared for Obama.

And of course the three members of Obama's Palace Guard that will serve as immoderators.

As these three guys managed to raise Romney's hackles in the past, he should recruit them to de-hackle himself.

I know they often use campaign staffers as sparring partners, but this is a mistake. An employee can only challenge his boss so much, even if he's supposed to be challenging him. There's a natural reluctance there. (Rick Perry practiced with staffers and look how that turned out.)

Romney should reach out to his most vigorous harassers and ask them to perform that duty a few more times, until he doesn't have to fake being amused by Bain and Illegal Immigrant Gardner attacks any longer, but actually is amused by them, and doesn't have to fake the Reagan There You Go Again eye roll, but actually feels it.

I'd divide it like this:

Santorum: economic stuff/wealth stuff/blue-collar stuff/hypocrisy and flip flops on social issues

Gingrich: Bain/subtance-based social issue attacks from the left (Gingrich can argue anything so he's best for this)/hypocrisy/cheap debate tactics

Perry: Hypocrisy and cheap attacks like Seamus, "Horse Ballet," Illegal immigrant hypocrisy, racism against Hispanics, and an unclear view of foreign policy, general unreadiness to lead the armed forces

Something tells me that Santorum, Perry, and Gingrich might even enjoy providing this service. I think they might be rather good at telling Romney what kind of an asshole they think he is.


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posted by Ace at 05:43 PM

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