Closing of the RNC 2012

With the close of the RNC Convention, we only have to endure one more party convention, and then the silly season is officially in full force. The silly season is where I try to pretend that Mitt wasn’t my second choice in 2008, when the other choice was McCain, who was not exactly my first choice when the field was still open. But I have to say, I’m at least starting to think that McCain was really the inferior candidate in the 2008 primary.

Perhaps because I did not start out with high expectations for Mitt Romney, he has managed to surprise me. He’s run his campaign well, whereas McCain’s campaign was a disaster . I’m not worried that Romney is going to go crazy before the election like Col. Tigh did when the financial crisis hit. I can still remember watching that sorry display and telling Bitter “Well, that’s it I think. He just lost the election.” While Sarah Palin is was a breath of fresh air compared to the top of the ticket in 2008, she does not have Paul Ryan’s depth on issues. The Romney Campaign has also hit Obama a lot harder even in this early stage of the campaign, than McCain’s people ever did. I believe that the debates this time will not be as painful to watch, and to be honest, I’d be worried if I were Obama heading into those debates. Good thing he stacked the deck with moderators.

And as for Mitt’s speech, I have to agree with Jim Geraghty on this one. From his Morning Jolt:

At times, he was scary good.

No, really, where has that Mitt Romney been all year? All campaign? Since 2007?

Every time he’s given a nice speech after a primary victory, I would usually joke on Twitter, “ah, looks like those new personality software upgrades are working out, he sounds much more natural now,” or something like that. (It’s a perennial; as Erick Erickson said last night, “Romney v.6.5 is pretty awesome.”)

But the Mitt Romney we saw tonight . . . it’s as if he had been saving up every bit of his inner emotional life, his soft, sentimental side, and let it all out. This was a speech that requires us to reexamine what we think we know about Romney.

Bitter and I are political junkies, who tend to follow this stuff like sports, only a sport where you kind of hate all the teams and most of the players. We listen to a lot of speeches, and most political speeches will bowl you over with a feather, assuming you aren’t sleeping through it. But even I have to admit, Romney’s speech last night was one of the best political speeches I’ve seen in a long time from the GOP.

After watching most of the convention, though sometimes not paying attention when the speech’s were boring or bad (which is honestly most of them), Mitt seems committed to running the party on a message of economic and fiscal conservatism, in other words, the things conservatives and libertarians tend to agree on. There have been about as many bones tossed to the Huckabee wing of the party as there have been to gun owners, which is to say, not many. I think Romney has made a conscious decision to downplay social issues, and if that continues during the campaign, it’ll certainly help me feel better about things, but it ups the stakes considerably. A loss on that message will be a signal to the GOP it needs to go back to the Rove strategy of ginning up the social conservative base, and talking about compassionate conservatism (i.e. big government conservatism) to the soft middle who are happy to let the government do things that make them feel good while it spends itself into bankruptcy. The fiscal problems of this country are not easy, and it’ll be difficult no matter who’s in the White House, but Romney is signaling he’s up to the job. Is he? The only thing I know for sure there is Obama definitely isn’t.

25 thoughts on “Closing of the RNC 2012”

  1. agreed on all points. This time last year I was adamant that romney could never win a general election. His speech last night was good and he’s setting a great tone. He’s letting obama get defensive and emotional, and mitt is just calmly sitting back and putting out a consistent message that has too much truth to it to be ignored. he looks like the grown up, someone who has dealth with problems before. the dems have been reduced to trying to get people on board with class warfare and the war on women. both are very divisive positions, and neither one impacts your average voter on a day to day basis nearly as much as the economy. I think attacking success is a losing message for dems. it’s almost getting entertaining watching the liberal media go on the attack, they’re getting very desperate. the convention made essentially no mention of social issues, and I don’t think it matters, they’re still in the platform, and like I’ve said, all you have to do is remain silent and you’re the lesser of two evils for people who really care about that stuff. Best line of the night “Is it any wonder that someone who attacks success has led the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression?” so true and easy for anyone to grasp, even if they do resent the rich a little bit.

  2. Just be glad you don’t live in Ohio like me. I fully expect to have my Home Phone melt from all the Political Robocalls this cycle.

      1. As of late Ohio has been much more of a swing state than Pennsylvania, right? So if you get as many or more campaign activities than Ohio that’ll at least tell you how the campaigns perceive their postures in each state. If Obama thinks he has to fight hard for PA … bad sign for him. If Romney, who seems to be competent at this level at least, thinks he might get PA, very interesting sign.

        1. I’ll tell you what. I have a lot of friends, I use that term loosely, who now admit that they voted for the wrong guy in 2008. Some polls are already showing PA being a state that’s in play – especially after what happened in the midterm elections. Next is our aging population of seniors who no fan of BHO. I think you’re going to see some interesting polls on PA in next 67 days. You’ll see a race that went from leans BHO to toss up, even maybe to leans Romney. In 67 days, we’ll have our answer.

  3. “Bitter and I are political junkies, who tend to follow this stuff like sports, only a sport where you kind of hate all the teams and most of the players. ”

    Day-amn, I wish I had written that!

  4. It seems that Romney has thankfully abandoned the McCain strategy of taking every opportunity to tell the world how brilliant he thinks Obama is.

    1. He’s done better at punching back. The problem with McCain was that he was being Mr. Congenial senator. I think he personally liked Obama and probably didn’t want to get viscous and personal. Also, his “Country First” campaign slogan was craptastic.

      1. At a certain point I got the strong impression he felt his place in history was to lose gracefully, so as to not get in the way of the election of the nation’s first black president.

  5. How our situation would be different if Romney was the nominee in 2008, instead of the war-loving, wall-street bailing out, despicable McAmnesty.

    Perhaps Romney needed to taste defeat to know how to win, much like Lincoln and maybe we needed to see how much anti-Americanism and anti-freedom is in the Democrat party.

    The choice right now is pretty clear and probably going to get clearer after the Dems convention.

    Our job is going to be to get Mitt elected AND make sure those go-along to get-along Republicans in the Senate vote and act as conservatives, not closet democrats.

    1. It takes money to get elected. Sure, Mitt is raising money, but, every donation counts. Just $10 or $10 to the Romney campaign is that much more towards firing BHO.

    2. I think Romney would have lost in 2008. As soon as the financial crisis hit, Obama would have pointed to Mitt and said “It’s Wall Street types like Mitt here that did this to you?” Obama didn’t own the economy yet. Now he does.

  6. Yes, Romney runs a great campaign that wins from rule breaking and cheating. Read “How the Republican Party Stole the Nomination from Ron Paul” for what led up to the convention, and then there are videos such as “RNC 2012 Sham” showcasing things like the Maine Ron Paul delegates getting replaced by the RNC and then they and the governor of Maine protesting it,

    the aye/nay votes that sure had a lot of nays but “the chair hears no objections,” the strangeness of “the ayes have it” appearing on the teleprompter, reports of buses of certain states being driven in circles so they wouldn’t make it to the convention in time to vote against the new rule changes,

    Ron Paul having six states going to nominate him from the floor but at the last minute the RNC changes the rules to require eight states, the RNC taking away all Ron Paul signs but allowing Romney signs, and then things like simple disrespect of Ron Paul for the roll call vote announcer to not repeat how many votes he got even if it was the majority for the state.

    Anyone who hasn’t seen the stuff I’m talking about, you better look into it. And no matter who your favorite candidate is, you should look at the rules changes the RNC jammed through. There is basically no reason for anyone to show up at the next convention since there is basically no room for dissent.

    I think anyone who looks up the two links I mentioned will be disgusted if they care at all about honest elections.

    1. The gaming of the system by the Ron Paul team is claimed to be an issue … and none of this is relevant to the actual nomination, since his support, real or gamed, was and is very small and to pretend otherwise is not going to convince anyone not already on his team.

      The real issue, which in one narrative the excesses of the the Ron Paul team enabled, is that these allowed a change to Rule 12 in the presidential nominating rules, and that’s what most of what you’re talking about is about (the “late” Virginia bus, the Hughes Amendment style counting of ayes and nays), is that the old system where the convention set the nomination rules for the next 4 years is over. Now the Republican National Committee can change the rules in mid-stream, and this has bad implications for those opposed to the party establishment. Or at least in the long term; I’m assuming Romney is going to win in November and it’s been a very long time since a seated president did not win renomination.

      Then again, the long, even medium term survival the Republican party under it’s current management is very much open to doubt, the Profiles in Courage of the Congressional leadership give few confidence they’re going to address the government’s fiscal crisis before the Great Default.

      1. I pretty much agree with Harold here, especially how “gaming the system” has definitely worked both ways in this. The Ronulans are being petulant children. The establishment is fixing the system to attempt to hold on to power? The devil you say!

        The answer is continued engagement. I am not a huge fan of some of these new rules, but if you’re going to stage a revolution in this kind of civic organization, you better know the rules, know your limits, and be prepared for the establishment to defend what they think is theirs. You had also better have a plan for that, and if you don’t, a way around it.

        1. While of course there’s no surprise here, the problem is not with the “new rules” (its an entirely debatable point WRT to the establishment/lots of others vs. the “Ronulans”).

          The problem is that this allowed the establishment of a meta-rule, a massive transfer of formal power from the states to the RNC. If handled with equal maladroitness going forward—which is the way to bet—it may be an existential threat to the party’s future. The establishment hates the base, and probably the Tea Party even more (it’s a direct threat to their current game of tax, spend and elect). In 2008 it should have learned it can’t do without it’s base—and I’m not just talking about McCain, e.g. immigration “reform” also shattered the party and nuked its fundraising.

          I’d actually like to see “severe“, major changes to the current nominating process, which after all was established by the Democrats after their 1968 nightmare, one of the leaders of the process being one George McGovern … who somehow managed to win the following nomination….

          But this is a very dangerous way to go about doing it.

        2. Grrr to the lack of an editor, plus:

          The answer is continued engagement.

          Ummm, hello? Engagement where? With whom? The Republican National Committee? Ignoring the tradition in both parties of leaving the national committee to the current president if of the party, it would now appear that means influencing the 168 members of the RNC; how they’re selected I can’t fully discern with a quick check in Wikipedia.

          1. That doesn’t have to end up as continued engagement with the GOP. A loss this November will be a lesson for the Democrats too, and that could make them rethink a number of thing. My point was that if people who love freedom take their toys and go home, because they are frustrated out of the political process, that’s just what the establishment is meaning to accomplish. Hell, even a third party could be an option there, just not any of them are they are currently constituted. It can’t be a fringe movement.

            1. The Tea Party will never, ever make common cause with the Democrats (OK, never is along time; not in our lifetimes). It’s much more likely that when the free ice cream runs out, the latter will die from their failed promises, the Republican party will become completely the party of the state, and a new freedom etc. oriented party will replace the ecological niche they have held upon occasion.

              For now, the Tea Party is working within the system of the Republican party … which as you note is why they terrify the Republican establishment so much, for they are an implacable existential threat to it. As long as they can continue to work within the party (and the party doesn’t kill itself as the Great Default happens), I don’t think they’ll go home and they’ll certainly not drop out. But this is certainly a terrible sign about their future ability to work within the system.

              1. It’s not so much as make common cause, to lessen the consequences of a lost election, which gives more room for internecine warfare. Few are thinking of doing that now because the stakes are too high. Had it been some moderate Dem, like Bill Richardson, and had he displayed some reasonable competence at the job (let’s be honest, ideology aside, Obama is just a horrible .gov equivalent of a CEO), that would offer a much better chance to risk the outcome of an election to spend energy on internal party turmoil, or trying to establish a third party that overcomes one of the major parties.

                1. That’s so counter-factual I can’t envision it. Gore as I vaguely recall didn’t run too much to the left of Clinton, might have won if he was a better politician and we, at least, believe he would have won if he’d kept his damned mouth shut on gun-control (e.g. he proposed a new Federal photo id just for buying handguns) and just said the usual platitudes when asked to option on an atrocity during the election.

                  Gore signaled his lack of fitness for the office (not to mention less class than Nixon (1960)) by starting to contest the election before the polls closed (push polling in Florida), and “Selected, not Elected” poisoned the well WRT to George Bush.

                  With the exception of a one week pause after 9/11, Bush Derangement Syndrome almost totally polarized the Democratic party and the surviving Blue Dogs were sacrificed for Obamacare. An entirely acceptable tradeoff if it survives, for socialized medicine irreversibly changes the relationship between a government and its “citizens” (hard to call them anything but subjects after that) and permanently moves a country’s politics to the left (although who knows, American Exceptionalism might lead to be an exception, but weren’t the British once exceptional in their own pro-freedom ways???).

                  Going forward, assuming a Romney and Senate win for the Republicans, I don’t know what the hell the Democrats will do. For analogies I’ll have to think a bit and I think outside the American experience, the New Left’s capture of the party plus the return to good old time ’30s politics is a unique in our experience thing, right?

                  Clinton’s solution to the problem, as I’ve mentioned before (and this is not a thesis I came up with), requires terrified Democrats (not sure about that at the national level; with all the Blue Dogs gone soon enough, the ones in gerrymandered safe seats don’t have to change their policies—and there’s no way to make an unsafe seat in San Francisco :-) in addition to a politician with talents I don’t see at the moment (then again Clinton essentially came out of nowhere onto the national stage).

                  I think I’d rather put off starting to think hard about this until perhaps the middle of next year, and I suspect it’ll take longer for the Democrats to come to a new accommodation assuming they do, assuming a Romney and Republican Senate win.

                  And of course in the case of a Republican sweep the real action will be inside the reigning party, and then there’s the “outside” events which could be game changers, like the Iranians using nukes (on whomever), the start of the Great Default, etc.

                  Circling back to the Tea Party, I believe their biggest issues are out of control spending and Obamacare, with the “You didn’t built that!” War on Main Street recently joining those in the foreground, but I think in terms of publicly pushing it that’s a fringe position and likely to recede if we let Obama go. Something I’d expect the party to rhetorically drop if they suffer a wipe out in November.

                  I fully expect the Democrats to fight tooth and nail for a while against reversals on both issues, which wouldn’t allow them to make common cause with the Tea Party. After that it’s a “we’ll have to see”; will the party change and if so, how? Will the Republicans shut out the existential Tea Party threat once they’re back in power and feeling their oats?

                  Heck, what happens if they don’t regain the Senate? (Not that I expect that, but the Republicans are well practiced at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory…). On the other hand, this won’t be 2010, the RNC will I’m sure revive their famous Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort, that probably cost us at least 2 Senators in 2010 (Washington and Colorado, since it devolved to the resource limited Republican Governor’s Association and they didn’t try in those states).

              2. In that scenario, the party team players would still try to convince you that Richardson was the worst and most god awful President ever, and surely you need to join with in replacing him. But the grassroots activists don’t necessarily have to take the bait.

                The problem with this President is, the team players have a point in what they are trying to convince everyone of. I’ve generally been of the opinion that party leaders don’t learn anything from staying home, and I still generally believe that. But they do learn from grassroots insurgencies that are persistent.

                And what they learn is either they can appease the insurgency by absorbing it politically, which requires conceding on enough of its values to keep the establishment viable, or it goes to the gallows, having been completely overcome. The last major crisis where the gallows were the political end was before the Civil War, with the American Whigs.

                I’m not convinced this country won’t ever again be as divided as they once were over slavery, but the fact that the two party system has continued since tells me the purpose of third parties is mostly to get one of the other parties to, sort of speaking, buy you out.

                1. Well, the party leaders should have learned something from McCain’s debacle: if the base had turned out for him like they did for Bush in 2004 we’d be complaining about a bi-partisan McCaincare we’d never be rid of prior to the Great Default.

                  And what [party team players] learn is either they can appease the insurgency by absorbing it politically, which requires conceding on enough of its values to keep the establishment viable, or it goes to the gallows, having been completely overcome.

                  And that’s where I seriously wonder about the Tea Party and the Republican establishment. The latter would have to fundamentally change their ways, the very system that gives them power (tax, spend, and elect, especially all the juice that’s squeezed out of the “change the tax system every few years” game). I don’t see how to get from A to B, and I don’t think the Tea Party does either, except by simply replacing the old bulls (Lugar the latest big figure to have to spend more time with is family) … but maybe some are co-optable. Like perhaps Ryan, not that he’s necessarily going to have a wit of influence in a Romney administration.

                  My current bottom line and challenge for the next few years, assuming Romney wins and the Republicans take back the Senate:

                  Are any of us willing to bet that prior to a major economic recovery causing a big rise in tax revenues (and a favorable change in the Federal spending to GDP ratio), will we see the annual Federal fiscal deficit drop below 1 trillion dollars?

                  That would require cuts, lots of real ones, not just the Reagan era “cuts” from an automatically rising baseline, since the deficit is estimated to be over $1,325 trillion for FY2012 ending this month (and note that little can be done about FY2013 due to the timing of everything, e.g. it’ll be a third over before Romney even gets into the Oval Office). Do you feel lucky, punk, if Mitch McConnell joins John Boehner in running the Congress this January?

                  This of course assumes their hands aren’t forced by a financial crisis, e.g. the Fed’s monetizing of > 1/2?? the debt becomes unsustainable, those in the real world buying the rest of it aren’t willing to lend at essentially zero percent interest rates (e.g. they demand a risk premium, since right now they’re mostly parking their money in the least worst place).

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