Friday, September 28, 2012

The Romney Campaign

Have you been keeping up with the awesomeness that is the Romney campaign? Peggy Noonan, a conservative, called it a "rolling calamity." The incompetence is breathtaking.

I mean, he put on self-tanner to go talk to a Latino audience. And check out this video, where Joe Scarborough facepalms and can only say, "sweet Jesus," after watching some footage of Romney and Ryan acting like fools at an Ohio campaign event:

Rachel Maddow has pointed out that for weeks after the Republican convention, every time Romney did an interview his campaign had to walk back at least one statement he made, and so they started hiding their candidate. In the home stretch! No, wait, not hiding him. He was "doing debate prep." Yeah. Maddow also pointed out that he has spent a lot of time still fundraising rather than campaigning in the swing states. His campaign already has more money than God. He doesn't need more money. He needs to be out campaigning.

And then there was the great airplane window thing. Romney doesn't understand why the windows on passenger jets don't roll down. It's because the goddamned plane is pressurized, dumbass, and if you roll the windows down everyone will suffocate. There's not enough oxygen up there to breathe. (You won't actually get sucked out the window, BTW. They tested that on "Mythbusters.")

A few months ago, it looked like this was an election, given the state of the economy and the President's approval rating that this was an election the Republicans should win. But now Romney, rather than being the tide that raises all boats, is the dam break that beaches them, is pulling down Republicans running in statewide races such that it is not only likely the Democrats will remain the majority in the Senate (I refuse to say "control the Senate" since any party with fewer than 60 votes there does not "control" it in any meaningful way), but they may actually retake the House. Mid-term elections are almost always disasters for the President's party. But Romney is sooooo bad a candidate that he is managing to trump all the these factors in order to lose.

I can't prove this, 'cause I didn't make a post, but I told my girlfriend that the Democratic Convention would give Obama a 5-point bump. The pundits were saying 1 or 2 points, if any. Well, guess what? The bump was 5 points. So now, mark my words: the first debate will pretty much be the end of the Romney campaign. He is going to get clobbered, and he won't be able to recover. No way.

Oh, and did you see that Romney is down by 12 points in Wisconsin??? Paul Ryan's home state, and the state that put Scott "fuck the unions" Walker back in the governor's mansion? And Romney is losing there? Jesus, his campaign is just fucking awful.


At 7:14 AM, Blogger R. Paul Wiegand said...

It's surreal. I'm used to dems sabotaging their own campaigns, so I can't get my head around a poorly executed campaign on the part of a major republican.

But I didn't think the election was particularly close even a couple of months ago before Romney started heading for the cliff. National polls are meaningless, it's the state-by-state count that matters ... and Romney has to sweep OH, VA, and FL to win -- which was never very likely. The trouble is that, once you lock in the states that will definitely go Obama or Romney, even if you ignore poll results entirely for the remaining states, the majority of configurations favor Obama. Polls have improved for Obama since then, but even back then they did not correct for the combinatorial problem that Romney had.

Currently, TPM has Obama over 270 even if you ignore the "leaning" states. I'm having to handicap Obama just to turn it back into a horse race for me. I'm going to wait until after tonight's debate before I decide what the handicap, but right now it's looking pretty likely Obama will take over 326 of the EC votes. Subject to radical change in circumstances, of course.

Romney has bungled this campaign right from the beginning. Candidates are always vague (there's little incentive for them to be specific); however, until very recently Romney has made typical campaign vagueness look like technical schematics. It was mind-boggling how completely uncommitted he could be to any position at all. Running as the not-Obama guy with a pulse is important for him, but running PURELY on that basis is bad campaigning.

Moreover, though many have disagreed with me, I still believe Ryan was a terrible, terrible choice for VP. I understand the motivation: Primarily to make sure the base comes to the polls; however, the right-wing base is pretty motivated by deep antipathy for Obama already, and generals are won in the middle (Bush's campaign against Gore notwithstanding). Moreover, Romney then had to immediately square up the inconsistencies between his post positions and Ryan's. He leaves the gate in the general race playing fix-up, which is a bad start.

Then there's Romney's propensity to speak, which is turning out to be a problem for him. Then there's the weirdest RNCC I've ever seen in my life ... and not even a post-convention bump. Romney's facing a president with low approval ratings, in a sluggish economy, has an angry base on his side, and has colossal amounts of money on hand ... yet he's losing! Obama just has to sit back and watch.

And, as you point out, the fallout of his foundering campaign is pretty severe. A month ago, it looked challenging at best for the dems to keep a Senate majority, and now it looks like they may even pick up a seat. The price graph from IEM prediction market for whether the dems hold a majority in the Senate shows precisely how damaging his 47% gaff was. InTrade predicts has dems keeping a majority at nearly 70% likely at this point.

My own political positions aside, I'm frustrated with the Romney campaign for making this election season less entertaining. A very close race is fun to watch, and a complete shellacking is fun to watch when your candidate is the winner, but a solid win from a candidate resulting from opponent-implosion is less interesting to me. A 60%-70% victory in the EC is not terribly noteworthy. Of the last twelve presidential elections, four were won with less than 60% of the EC and four were won by over 90% of the EC. Even though 332 seems high, it's really a middle-of-the-course win.

At 4:14 AM, Blogger R. Paul Wiegand said...

Okay, well the debate changes things. I need some time to process this ... the race dynamic is changed now.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger mooglar said...

Yeah, the debate does change things. See my new post above.

But to address something still relevant in your comment, yeah, Paul Ryan was a godawful choice. I'm surprised anyone is disagreeing with you on that. Rachel Maddow has been doing a bunch of segments on how perplexing a choice it was.


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