Saturday, December 17, 2011

MITT-MENTUM IS BACK! Can You Feel It?

Something fundamentally changed this week in the 2012 GOP Republican nomination race.

The weeks from mid-November have not been very good for Mitt Romney. After seeing the latest non-Romney candidate Herman Cain (remember him?) begin to implode and the media resurrect Newt Gingrich, Romney saw his front runner status once again challenged. As his standing in the polls began to look shaky to the skyrocketing Gingrich, he caught flak for a testy interview with Fox News' Brett Bair. Almost daily there were endless stories, theories and prognostications about the impending demise of the Romney campaign.

All the negativity seemed to reach its zenith during the Saturday December 12th debate in Iowa, when Romney challenged Gov. Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet over what Romney said or wrote about using his Massachusetts Health Care plan as a national model. Of course Perry flinched and declined the bet, but the damage to Romney was apparently already done.

DNC Operatives tweeted snarky political talking points insisting Romney was an out of touch elitist with no connection to the common man. How else could someone so carelessly toss around a number which represents about 20% of Iowa caucus goers annual income? The story was all over the news Sunday and Monday.

But then something happened....

Tuesday, Romney got up off the mat, brushed off his suit, combed his hair and got back into the fight. He called on Gingrich to return his $1.6 million payout from scandal plagued mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in an interview with Fox's Brian Kilmeade.

Gingrich's reckless response ended up handing Romney a political gift and an opening to contrast himself against the former Speaker. Newt castigated Romney over his years at Bain Capital in a way that would have made Saul Alinsky and couch companion Nancy Pelosi proud. Gingrich assaulted Romney (and Capitalism) by calling for Romney to return the millions he earned "bankrupting companies" and killing jobs.

Romney would later use the issue in the Thursday debate to provide a preview of how he would handle a similar attack by President Obama (whom Newt apparently called to get his talking points) and defended himself and Capitalism, quite adroitly in the process.

The Conservative Media, led by Brit Hume, Charles Krauthhammer and George Will let loose on Newt with both barrels and sent him reeling. Newt ultimately tried to back away, "apologizing" for the remarks on the Thursday night Sean Hannity show.

(With all the apologizing and retractions Gingrich issues, one has to think he might have to give TWO State of the Union addresses each year if elected President. One to report out to the nation and another the following night to retract and clarify his remarks.)

Polling numbers began to show disturbing trends for Gingrich. Not only would he fare poorly against President Obama, but his GOP national numbers began tanking as well. Gallup's daily tracking showed a 12 point decline over 8 days.

Iowa polls showed a tightening race, with Gingrich in a three way tie with Ron Paul and Romney or losing outright to Romney.

The National Review published a scathing anti-Newt non-endorsement.

During the first half of Fox News' Iowa debate Thursday night, everyone BUT Romney pummelled Gingrich over his conservative bona fides and his Fannie/Freddie connections.

Romney put in one of, if not, his best debate performances of the campaign, emerging unscathed and with renewed vigor and confidence.

Friday saw Romney received the enthusiastic endorsement of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, before they both set about campaigning in the important early voting primary state.

So what changed this week?

Perhaps the media overplayed their hand, which they often do, in painting things sooooo bleak for the Romney campaign

Perhaps Romney's performance in the Saturday Iowa debate was not perceived to be as bad as spun, by the people who watched it.

Perhaps most regular folks "got" the bet Romney was making, was to flush out a lying varmint.

Perhaps most people understand in business there are indeed winners and losers, but more often than not, in capable hands, there are more winners.

Perhaps people realize they don't want a "bomb thrower" leading them here, hither and yon, because of uncontrollable bombast.

Perhaps despite months of heavy shelling from both Talk Radio (Rush & Levin) and the DNC artillery, the Romney phalanx of 20-25% voter support is actually a sturdy floor and not a ceiling. After all, all challengers to Romney have fallen back to high single or low double digits after being vetted, while Romney has weathered his storms with his support virtually intact.


Whatever the reason, today, there seems to have been a shift not only in the tone but the momentum of the race. The Gingrich campaign seems a little more deflated and defensive and on the same course of other high flying non-Romney candidates. Talk Radio a little more desperate and peevish about the durability, tenacity and renewed inevitability of the Romney nomination. All while the Romney campaign ship seems to have righted its course and has a strong wind back in its sails.

Can you feel it?

21 comments:

Right Wingnut said...

Not really.

Doug NYC GOP said...

That's ok. You've been paralyzed since Palin decided not to run.

We'll wheel you onto the Romney train.

Right Wingnut said...

Doug,

Have you ordered your Romney 2012 underwear yet?

Doug NYC GOP said...

I have 3 pairs of the thongs.

I wear 'em to the beach because I hate tan lines.

Right Wingnut said...

LOL!

Anonymous said...

Romney's fighting style is not in-your-face. It's more methodical. He lured Newt in wirh the Fannie and Freddie line about giving back the lobby money.

marK said...

Anon,

That's a big part of the problem. The Rush-Levin wing of the party wants an "in-your-face" fighter. Mitt ain't it.

Anonymous said...

I can feel Mitt-mentum and the demise of Newt, politically.

Evelio said...

Doug, great article! I also felt the momentum shift starting on Tuesday. It was so obvious when the ABC analysts nit-picked the $10,000.00 bet to death that their main goal was to crush the Romney candidacy. They were anointing and pushing the "anyone but Romney" front-runner Newt Gingrich, who in their eyes would stand a better chance to lose to President Obama......

Doug NYC GOP said...

Thanks Evilio

amit said...

Great article. I felt the change on Dec 12 when I saw a gleeful ABC news piece about how Gingrich used Kennedy's attack to hit Romney about Bain Cap causing lost jobs. It just felt oh so wrong for Newt and I tweeted this:

@CArepub
Ha! ABCNews in their rush to pump-up Newt tied him to Ted Kennedy: "same devastating attack on Romney". Wrong audience. Bye, Bye Newt. #tcot

BOSMAN said...

I'm feeling it Doug.....the tingle is moving right up my leg!

BTW, we miss you around here. I hope we have a chance to read more from you.

Anonymous said...

Doug, great summation!

I still think Romney goaded Newt into the bankrupt remark. It was pretty easy, and it didn't take long. Ha ha.

In the transcript Pablo linked to the other day, I read that Rush said his friends who were mad at him for merely saying Romney did well in the debate on Thurs. That's what it has come to for the crazy rightwing nutjob talk radio elitists. Yes, they are most definitely elitists, as they believe they know better than the rest of us, and need to tell us how to vote.

But, we're rebelling, aren't we! And they are steadily going to down the black hole of irrelevance.

-Martha

Massachusetts Conservative said...

Awesome post, Doug. You nailed it.

Terrye said...

Great article...yeah I feel it.

Talk radio can kiss my butt.

Here is a link to all of these morons talking about what a helluva guy Romney was 3 and a half years ago..I guess that makes them flip floppers..yeah, they like in your face fighting..so long as it is someone else's face.

aboutmittromney.com/talk_show_hosts.htm#most_pop

{I think Levin's are the most delicious..he says The only one left standing, the only , after all these weeks of voting, who can honestly be said to shore most, most of our conservative principles is Romney......

Anonymous said...

When I saw the title, I was hoping it was Uncle RW that posted this:(

Anonymous said...

Cain drops in polls, numbers go to other man, both (shall I say three) of them experienced the same
thing in the nineties . No more please, we can do it.An ex adulterer in the oval office and a first lady who had an affair with a married man. These type of persons will be making history that will be read by our children and granchildren a century later .Is this the kind of role model that we want our children see? Hypocracy is the buzz word here.
Protect our children. They are not political ( pandering, expediency, etc), and they need a God fearing leader in the white house as their role model.

hamaca said...

Doug,

Absolutely! For a couple of weeks there, I was thinking the nominee might be Newt.

Now things are looking up for all the reasons you stated. I even think O'Donnell's endorsement has had an effect, perhaps not in convincing anyone, but in getting the discussion out there that yet another conservative knows it's ok to support Romney.

Loved your write-up--thanks!

GetReal said...

Thanks Doug! This was a great feel-good post for Romney supporters.

Anonymous said...

I highly doubt cain will endorse newt, like most thought that he will.

Ohio JOE said...

"That's a big part of the problem. The Rush-Levin wing of the party wants an "in-your-face" fighter. Mitt ain't it." If he cannot fight to promote our values in the primary, what makes you think he will do it after the primaries?