Turmoil in Libya Causes Turmoil at Romney HQ

From “Romney advisers at odds over Libya,” Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, Politico:

“Advisers to Mitt Romney are split over how broadly and aggressively to attack President Barack Obama for his handling of foreign policy following the death of the U. S. ambassador to Libya….

“Some aides are arguing that the campaign has been given a huge gift:  a new opening to argue White House failure and incompetence.

“But the campaign is sticking with its day-to-day message on the economy — a view promoted internally by Stuart Stevens, the chief strategist….

“The truth is Romney now finds himself besieged with conflicting advice, internally and externally:  Attack Obama harder.  Offer a detailed agenda.  Pivot to foreign policy.  Pivot back to the economy.

“Romney’s response:  Ignore it and stick to the game plan, which does not include any serious, sustained detour into foreign policy.

“This is basically the Stuart Stevens doctrine.  And regardless of the passionate arguments of some other aides, including several outside foreign-policy advisers, the boss is going with Stevens on this until further notice.”

Because Stevens has been doing such a bang-up job so far!  It’s hard to imagine a more unhappy place to be than the Romney campaign right now.

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It’s the Time Constraints, Not the Phony Numbers

Asked about charges that the Romney/Ryan tax plan doesn’t add up, Paul Ryan told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday today, “It would take me too long to go through all of the math.”

That’s because when your math is wrong, forever isn’t enough time to explain it.

Ryan and Romney are such a pair of slippery eels.  They really deserve each other, but we don’t deserve them.

Lunch with Todd Akin for $2500

Four GOP senators — Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, James Inhofe, and Lindsey “Butters” Graham are hosting a fundraising lunch in D. C. for Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin next Wednesday.  For $2500, you can meet Mr. Akin and learn how lady parts magically distinguish rapists’ sperm from consensual sperm.  Every time!

Seems all is forgiven by the GOP.

But not forgotten by the voters of Missouri.

The “Lock Your Candidate in a Closet” Strategy

The GOP think they can win the Missouri Senate race if they lock Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin in a closet between now and November 6:*

“You know, if you’re that close with Claire McCaskill, then there are some ways to win this without ever having to be in public — or being public in controlled ways,” another Republican strategist who has worked on several Missouri campaigns said. “You wage a campaign without him physically being there, [with] television ads that are very tightly scripted, through mail pieces.”

He’s an idiot, and everybody knows it,” the source continued. “But, he’s our idiot and he could be helpful to us but only if they get him under control.”  Emphasis added.

Akin’s latest?  He called McCaskill a “wildcat out of the cage.”

* “‘He’s Our Idiot’:  Why Republicans Still Might Back Akin If He Can Just Keep His Mouth Shut,” Pema Levy, Talking Points Memo

Losing By Saying Anything to Win

From “In the end, it’s Mitt,” Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin and Jim VandeHei, Politico:

It isn’t the chair or the ho-hum convention.  Or the leaked video.  Or Stuart Stevens.  Or the improving economy.  Or media bias.  Or distorted polls.  Or the message.  Or Mormonism.

It’s Mitt.

With Republicans everywhere wondering what has happened to the Mitt Romney campaign, people who know the candidate personally and professionally offer a simple explanation:  it’s the candidate himself.

Slowly and reluctantly, Republicans who love and work for Romney are concluding that for all his gifts as a leader, businessman and role model, he’s just not a good political candidate in this era.

It kills his admirers to say it because they know to be a far more generous and approachable man than people realize — far from the caricature of him being awkward or distant — and they feel certain he would be a very good president.

Campaign officials, in the end, think likability is the least of his issues.  The much bigger one is this sense that Romney is not comfortable in his skin, at least the conservative, no-compromise skin he had to put on to win the nomination.

His past willingness to change or shade his views for apparent political advantage resulted, over time, in one of his biggest political vulnerabilities.  One close confidant said Romney sees the process like buying a company from a reluctant seller:  Just do and say what you need to do to get the deal done, and then when it’s done, do what you know actually needs to be done to make the company a success.   Emphasis added.

And there, I think, is the bottom line why Mitt is losing.  The political consensus in this country supports programs like Social Security and Medicare.  Yes, we know they have to be fixed, but we don’t want their problems to be used as an excuse to get rid of them.  So you have a guy who’s perceived as willing to say anything to get elected, combined with a sense that he and his Ayn Rand-worshipping running mate are more radical than the vast majority of Americans, a ticket that wants to dismantle both the New Deal and the Great Society.  

Mitt’s being told to be more specific, but if you don’t trust someone to begin with, what does it matter how specific he is?  You think he’s going to do what he wants after he’s elected, and that what he wants will heavily favor the already rich.  We are reluctant sellers who are not going to turn our company over to Mitt.