A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Category: Mitt Romney

Romney Continues To Take Ball, Go Home

by evanmcmurry

Mitt Romney continues to push this weird “I never wanted to be president” line:

“Over the Christmas break of 2010, Mitt Romney and his family took an internal poll on whether he should run for president once more. Twelve family members cast ballots. Ten said no. One of the 10 was Mitt Romney himself.”

Aside from the “bullshit” factor here, how do all the people who combined to donate $1 billion to Romney’s campaign feel about this?

Gallup: Sorry About All Those “Romney’s Gonna Win” Polls, We Was Drunk Maybe?

by evanmcmurry

Hey, remember in fall of 2012 (#memories), when pollsters were telling anybody who would listen that landline-only polls were skewing toward Romney because younger and more liberal voters tended to favor cell-phones, and everybody thought they were cRaZee?


Gallup tilted to Romney by an average of 7.2 points in the final three weeks of the election, making it the least reliable poll of 2012.

Today Gallup is out with its official post-mortem of how it got things so wrong. It found that four areas most likely combined to result in the disparity between the polling firm’s final prediction of a 49-48 Romney popular vote win, and the actual result of a 51-47 Obama victory.

Those four areas were as follows: how they weighted likely voters, underrepresentation of the East and West coasts in geographical controls, underrepresentation of nonwhite voters based on how Gallup determined ethnic backgrounds of survey respondents, and issues in how it contacted landlines that resulted in an “older and more Republican” survey sample. [E.A.]

This is a prime example of ye olde “epistemic closure“: when you define everybody who disagrees with you as the liberal media and unworthy of listening to, the truth can be screamed at you and you still won’t hear it.

Takedown of the Day

by evanmcmurry

How it’s done:

How do you know your political career is over? They book you with Dennis Miller. How do you know your comedy career is over? You are Dennis Miller.

The One Sympathetic Aspect About Romney’s 47% Remarks

by evanmcmurry

The man who taped Mitt Romney’s 47% comments—and who should only have to pay for 47% of any drink he orders ever again—is coming forward, on the Ed Schultz show, which suggests his canny thinking may stop at hidden recordings. Anyhoo, here’s what HuffPo had to say about the genesis of the event:

The man, who tended bar for a company that catered to a high-end clientele, had previously worked at a fundraiser at a home where [Bill] Clinton spoke. After Clinton addressed guests, the man recalled, the former president came back to the kitchen and thanked the staff, the waiters, the bartenders, the busboys, and everyone else involved in putting the event together. He shook hands, took photos, signed autographs, and praised the meal—all characteristic of the former president.

When the bartender learned he would be working at Romney’s fundraiser, his first thought was to bring his camera, in case he had a chance to get a photo with the presidential candidate. Romney, of course, did not speak to any of the staff, bussers or waiters. He was late to the event, and rushed out. He told his dinner guests that the event was off the record, but never bothered to repeat the admonition to the people working there.

Ha ha, Mitt Romney doesn’t care about the help. Except Bill Clinton is an ex-President, Mitt Romney was running for president; those are two massively different paces of existence. We can mock Mitt Romney for a lot—and we do—but I don’t think Bartender McSecrettape would be gladhanding with staff if he had Romney’s campaign schedule.

None of this is to detract from the man’s accomplishment. Once again, 53% of his drinks are on us for the rest of his life.

Headline of the Day

by evanmcmurry

Get ’em, Newsmax:

Current TV Sale May Make Gore Richer Than Romney

Well played! Alas, many conservatives tried this already during the election, mostly by pointing out the similarities between Romney’s wealth and John Kerry’s, only to find out that the left cared far more about the dissimilarities of their politics, and in fact doesn’t actually mind rich people that much so long as they don’t try to use their wealth to gain political office solely to institutionalize their class advantage.

Still, I hope whoever first realized the above factoid got a round of single malt on the bosses.

Planned Parenthood Wiped The Floor With Karl Rove In Election Spending

by evanmcmurry

You look at chart now:

Should be read with this sound effect.

Many, including this blog, have made the case that Republicans self-imploded on cultural issues, sticking their legitimate feet in their mouths and losing gimme elections. While I still think that’s largely true, the above graph and accompanying article make a strong case that Planned Parenthood was instrumental in turning these isolated moments into a coherent electoral strategy. The key factor PP seems to have figured out was time: it wasn’t so much that they seized on individual comments at the moment, as they didn’t allow the electorate to forget about the candidates’ positions once the controversies died down and the conversation turned to other issues. With the exception of Richard Mourdock, who made his lovely rape comment right before the election, Mitt Romney (who?) and Todd Akin both sought to benefit from what they hoped was the electorate’s short memory span. Planned Parenthood funded constant reminders, and never let the men get away from their previous comments. Given the insane amount of undeserved criticism PP has taken recently, it’s about time we gave credit where credit’s due.

More at WaPo.

The Unintentional Rhetorical Side Effects of Mitt Romney’s Business Experience

by evanmcmurry

Noam Scheiber has a thorough breakdown of the polls that led the Romney camp to so believe they’d won that Romney didn’t even bother to write a concession speech—until, in Scheiber’s nice turn of phrase, “the crotchety assignment-desk known as ‘reality’ finally weighed in.” Most interesting, though, in contrast to Scheiber’s sarcasm, is Romney’s pollster’s language, which still shows the kind of spin that separates signifiers from signified:

Newhouse told me his numbers showed Romney stalling out around the time of Hurricane Sandy the week before the election, then recovering in the final few days of the race. “We thought we had in the last 72 hours of campaign … made up some ground from the challenging messaging period during the hurricane,” he said.

“Challenging messaging period” indeed. That’s one way to put a hurricane that underscored Obama’s central argument that collective action through government was kinda necessary to modern society, while Romney had to explain why he’d said FEMA should be dismantled.

Campaigns are famous for these glosses of language, but even more so is the business community, where layoffs become “eliminating redundancies” or “getting fit.” This is the world Romney comes from, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he were especially susceptible to this kind of language, suggesting that the internal delusions of his campaign were as much rhetorical as numerical.

Disappearing Romney

by evanmcmurry

The most interesting part of this is watching it occasionally tick up. Who picks November 12 to like Mitt Romney’s Facebook page, and why?

Charles Krauthammer: Romney Didn’t Lie Well Enough

by evanmcmurry

Charles Krauthammer may be the only person in America who thinks Mitt Romney wasn’t enough of a shapeshifter:

Romney ran a solid campaign, but he is by nature a Northeastern moderate. He sincerely adopted the new conservatism but still spoke it as a second language.

So……………………….he “sincerely” changed who he was “by nature,” but didn’t sell it well enough? How do you “sincerely adopt” a new persona?

For most conservatives, the problem with Romney was that he wasn’t conservative enough. Krauthammer doesn’t seemed too troubled by the actual content of Romney’s character, just wishes Romney had masked it better. This makes a crazy sort of sense from the Republican point of view: they spent so much time convincing themselves that Obama was an empty suit who had duped a credulous electorate—Krauthammer credited Obama’s victory to his mastery of “the darker arts of public persuasion”—that they went out and got an empty suit themselves. If people want a protean talkbox who will say whatever the audience wants to here, then that’s what we’ll run! Alas, Mitt Romney’s “nature” proved too stubborn.

This is the inevitable result of the epistemic closure most recently diagnosed by Conor Friedersdorf: if you listen to your own spin too much, you start to believe it. Conservatives like Krauthammer so convinced themselves that they lost in 2008 to a public relations illusion that they ended up doing it again last Tuesday.

Bloomberg v Murdoch: Unsolicited Media Mogul Advice Showdown!

by evanmcmurry

Following Mike Bloomberg’s totally reasonable and reality-based prescription that if Obama listens to bi-partisan moderates in his second term he’ll realize that “hope” he was talking about four years ago, comes this assist from Bloomberg-after-twenty-years-in-a-brine Rupert Murdoch: “Mixed opinions about electoral effect of Sandy. I think big help to Obama. Now Romney must get attention with big visionary speech plans.” These two should seriously host a talk show. I’d listen every day.