CPAC Post-Mortem

Politico does its annual review of who won and who lost at CPAC:

They call Rand Paul the event’s superstar.  God help us!

Winners:  Marco Rubio, Chris Christie (not invited), Scott Walker, Ben Carson (who should stick to neurosurgery)

Losers:  Karl Rove, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal

For more, see “CPAC’s big winners and losers,” James Hohmann


Why Bo Sleeps With One Eye Open

Yesterday, Jim Treacher at The Daily Caller, the web site founded by Tucker Carlson, who has gone from wanting to be George Will (see old clips with bow tie and preppy glasses) to wanting to be Andrew Breitbart (see red meat on said web site), posted a story saying that we can’t be outraged about Mitt’s putting his Irish Setter Seamus on the roof of his station wagon for a 12-hour trip because President Obama admitted in his book Dreams From My Father that he actually ate dog while he was a child living in Indonesia.

And so that inevitably led to #ObamaDogRecipes, and Politico‘s pick of the top 11 tweets:

Beagles with cream cheese

Eggs rover easy

Great Danishes

Pugs in a Blanket

Pup Tarts

Obama’s Indonesian Cookbook:  Dreams of My Fido

Chicken Poodle Soup

Spaghetti and Mutt Balls

Santa’s little hamburger helper

When Obama asks for a DOGGY BAG he really means a bag with a dog in it

Garlic Mashed BOtatoes  MMMMM

To which I add Canned Spamiel and Cheese Labradoodles and encourage you to share yours.

Another Reason to Love Gawker!

Gawker announces its newest hire — The Fox Mole, “a long-standing, current employee of Fox News.”

From his (or her) first column:

“The video above is of Mitt Romney and Sean Hannity bantering before the taping of an interview for the “Hannity Vegas Forum” in February.  Of note:  Romney professes his and his wife Ann’s well-known love of horseriding, praising the qualities of the ‘Austrian Warmbloods’ that his wife rides — they are ‘dressage‘ horses, he notes — while maintaining his own preference for the ‘smoother gait’ of his own ‘Missouri foxtrotter.’

“Now there’s nothing wrong with Mitt and his wife loving horseback riding.  But remember this video next time Romney attacks Obama for golfing.  The inherent elitism and snootiness of golf is NOTHING compared to competitive horseback riding.  And I think Mitt loses points with the GOP base for his correct pronunciation of dressage.  To GOP-voter ears, it sounds not only gay, but even worse, French.”  Emphasis added.

Politico‘s Dylan Byers weighs in on The Fox Mole — “Should be fun, until they find out who it is.”

If you watched The Borgias on Sunday and saw the king’s torture chambers in Naples, I expect Fox News has something similar in their basement.  The Fox Mole is either very brave or very stupid or both.  I think it’s fair to say he will “never work in this town again” once Roger Ailes identifies his sorry ass.

I wish I could hear the back-and-forth between Mitt’s campaign and Fox about this leak.  The video also shows Mitt declining a pink tie in a fake gay voice.

All this story lacks is a loofah.

If you still had a show, Keith Olbermann, you could and would air this video tonight.

Newt Wanted To Be Transformational Figure, Ends Up Laughingstock

From “Newt puts political legacy at risk,” Jonathan Marin and Alexander Burns, Politico:

“‘A lot of us who were around him before and didn’t think this was a good idea from the beginning were worried this was the way it was going to end,’ said Rich Galen, a top Gingrich aide in the 1990s.  ‘He’s in danger I think of becoming a laughingstock.’

“It didn’t have to end this way.  Gingrich could have withdraw graciously after twice proving his resilience and relevance in a race where few gave him much of a chance at being a contender, let alone winning the nomination.  But those who know Newton LeRoy Gingrich will say that to think he’d retreat quietly to McLean as a lion in winter, is to fundamentally misunderstand the man.  The same forces that propelled him to attempt a comeback at this late moment in his career is [sic] what keeps him in a race he almost certainly can’t win.

“Now though, with $1.5 million in debt, no realistic hope for winning another state, a downsized press corps following him and no debates left to grab attention, his attempt to remain in the race until Tampa seems more delusional than determined to some of his old associates.

“Galen predicted there’s going to be an ever-growing cost — both financially and to the former speaker’s reputation — to pressing on in a ‘reality distortion field.’

“‘I don’t understand the concept of continuing to pretend you’re in a campaign when you can’t travel,’ Galen said.  ‘At some point, even Fox will stop having him on for interviews.  Every day that he continues this it’s going to cost him weeks or months of repair down the road.'”

Lion in winter?  More like jackass in winter.  I especially like that “even Fox” reference.

Still Fighting the 2008 Election

As McCain and Palin rail against the HBO movie Game Change and Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace and various campaign alum who say it’s accurate, but don’t have the guts to go on the record, lo and behold, memos from the fall of 2008 suddenly fall into Politico‘s lap like ripe fruit (“MCain Aide Memo:  Shield Schmidt,” by Maggie Haberman).

These memos, from just before the election, are focused on preventing Schmidt, McCain’s senior strategist, from taking the hit for the loss and lay out a media strategy to get DC insiders to defend him and his reputation.  The memos were from a McCain senior adviser, Brian Jones, who worked at Mercury Public Affairs (MPA) to two MPA executives.  Schmidt also worked for MPA.

“A week out from the election, named and unnamed sources of the political punditry are beginning to pin some of the blame for McCain’s likely defeat on Steve Schmidt.  … [A] well organized and coordinated effort is needed to defend Steve’s good reputation.  … It is critical this defense be smart and soft….  We cannot be seen coordinating a pre-election defense effort.  That being said, I believe we should in the course of natural conversations with friendly reporters begin to provide positive messaging — off the record.”

There is more about getting out a not-Schmidt’s-fault spin from friends with “our message points” and about booking Schmidt himself for interviews.

Schmidt told Politico he was unaware of these memos or efforts, but clearly the intent of the leak is to make him seem self-serving and focused on saving his own tush even before the ballots were cast.

I believe that Game Change places too much blame for Palin on Schmidt and not enough on campaign manager Rick Davis.  Then there were the GOP Great Mentioners who had been pushing Palin for over a year — folks like Dick Morris, Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes, older guys seduced by her looks and flirtatiousness when they met her in Alaska.

But in defense of the McCain campaign, I think it’s reasonable to assume that any one of our fifty governors has a certain level of very basic knowledge — what the Federal Reserve is; why there is a North Korea and a South Korea; that the Prime Minister runs Great Britain, not the Queen.  While the meetings with Palin before she was announced were obviously not inquisitive enough, I don’t think they could have imagined her staggering level of ignorance.

Why Mitt Has It Easy

While Maggie Haberman is telling Mitt how to make things better, her colleague at Politic0, Alexander Burns, is emphasizing that things could be much worse for the following reasons*:

1.  The A-list opponents never showed up.

2.  Rick Perry never mastered nouns, verbs and other fundamentals.

3.  That split decision in Iowa.

4.  Newt fails to take a hint.

5.  Santorum and Gingrich flunk ballot access.

6.  Nobody else bothers to do research.

*  “For Romney, it could be worse”

Free Advice for Mitt

From Politico‘s Maggie Haberman this morning, “How Mitt can make over his campaign,” some free advice for Mitt to “try better,” as Alex the Parrot would say:

“Despite calls from pundits and supporters alike to ‘let Mitt be Mitt,’ it’s become clear that…Mitt already is being Mitt.  And that’s part of the problem.”

Haberman offers five fixes:

1.  ” Stop talking delegate math.  ‘Rather than talk about math, [Mitt] should talk about earning the nomination,’ said one Romney backer….”

2.  “Stop campaigning without a message.  It also means having a vision, and a positive one.  It means giving some big speeches, and looking presidential.  It means not flinging mud at Newt Gingrich or talking about Rick Santorum’s ‘desperate end’….”

3.  “Stop predicting he’ll win states.

4.  “Stop acting like he’s not a rich guy.  Where the former head of Bain Capital gets into trouble is when he tries too hard to relate to average folks. … He has to recognize that, while people appreciate success, they don’t necessarily want to hear the details of how much better his life is….”

5.  “Stop making the campaign about himself.  He is making the race about him, instead of about the voters.  When Romney tried to be funny about being a stranger in a strange land in the Deep South…it was at the expense of the voters he was courting. … Romney could return to telling stories he heard from voters about their own lives. … Most important for Romney is to convey that he realizes the campaign is about a bigger purpose — the voters– than his own electoral fate.

All good ideas, and the full article is worth a read, but I really doubt anyone can tell Mitt anything, which is one of the reasons I don’t think he should be president.  We think of Newt as the big ego in this race, but in some ways the truly arrogant, know-it-all one is Mitt.

Mitt Has Splaining To Do, Dumping Dollars Into Illinois

Jonathan Martin has a thoughtful analysis (“Mitt Romney muddles on”) over at Politico of where things stand:

“Romney will face renewed questions about his difficulty appealing to the core of the GOP and will be on the spot to score a win in Illinois next week.

“Even more important, the establishment favorite needs to explain why…he can’t seem to put away underfunded rivals who are viewed by many in the party as general election disasters.

“And as the GOP clash enters spring, it increasingly appears to be taking place on parallel tracks that haven’t quite merged.

“‘There’s the delegate reality, which favors Mitt,’ said GOP strategist Mike Murphy. ‘And then there’s the narrative reality, which tonight is that Mitt just lost two more.’

“‘Mitt’s got to win Illinois — that’s the bottom line,’ said Murphy….

“Romney is already pouring cash into the Land of Lincoln, putting down nearly $1 million dollars for a TV buy there while his super PAC drops $2.4 million on ads in the state.

“A Chicago Tribune/WGN poll showed Romney up narrowly in the state, but that was before Santorum’s Deep South triumph and Gingrich’s fade.”