Allow me to express my cynicism about "The Speech"

By Erick Posted in Comments (54) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

This post is not intended to hack you guys off, but I've rapidly moved toward cynicism on the whole Romney v. Huckabee end of the world death match. Today, Romney will be heading to College Station, Texas to the George H. W. Bush Library to give a speech that, while being covered, won't get the coverage it could have gotten by being some place within a reasonable driving distance of an airport we could all get to. I think it is more strategic than necessary or anything else.

Romney supporters are starting to cry wolf about anti-Mormon bigotry. Sadly, to a degree, I think they are right. But, let's keep this in perspective. In national polling, Romney is at 10.7% in the RCP Poll Average, which is about a four percent increase from February 6, 2007. So, it's not like this bigotry is having a massive effect on his polls -- unless it has been there all along, in which case it is probably too late to be giving this speech.

In Iowa, Huckabee has had a tremendous surge. But, again, according to the RCP Poll Average, Romney is at 25.4% , virtually a 1% increase from July 2, 2007. In fact, Romney's high point in Iowa came at the beginning of September when he hit 31%. Coincidentally, that corresponded to a spike in Huckabee's popularity too. And now Huckabee is only about 2% ahead of Romney, with most of his gains coming from others.

Read on . . .

Romney is a text book perfect candidate. He's right on the issues. He's right on the looks. He's right on the money. He's right on the executive experience. He's right on the organization. He's right on the family. He's right on the strategy. He's right on the pre-campaign book launch. He's right on who he got to support him in the conservative opinion community. It's like his campaign checked all the boxes before he started and expected things to just work. The problem of course, is that Romney did the same thing in 1994 and 2002 and on both occasions he checked all the boxes on the other side. You'll have to forgive voters, particularly evangelicals who've seen their hopes go up in flames before, from trusting the guy now. There is a manufactured, astroturf feel to all of this and it wouldn't matter whether he was Methodist or Mormon. Republicans have a track record of producing poor self funders who check all the boxes expecting campaign flowers to grow. Just ask Pete Coors.

As Jay Cost said the other day, the Romney inexperience is showing. He is poll tested, mom sanctioned, and kid approved. He's a manufactured candidate and it is starting to show. When he makes immigration a big issue and the Boston Globe outs his landscape team, he fired them. When Huckabee starts gaining ground with social conservatives, the group Romney tried to get, he says this campaign will not be on social issues, but flies to Texas to give a speech on faith. It's all too accumulated and transparent now.

And all the more cynical now, we have this Article VI movie coming out. It's about "the role of faith in politics" and it's put out by Romney supporters. So, he's going to go give a speech on faith in politics and have a movie funded by supporters coming out at about the same time. We've all said we can't underestimate his money and this is another example. The movie, by the way, will launch in ten key primary states. Coincidence? Of course not.

So let's get to the heart of this. Why is Romney doing it? Here is my cynical nutshell opinion: Huckabee talking about faith is working. Romney is incapable of doing it. We saw how he reacted to the Bible question in the YouTube debate. How odd it is that Huckabee is starting to be accused of mixing church and state in a Republican primary. A Republican primary. Good grief. Anyone ever hear of George W. Bush? I do believe he once said his favorite philosopher is one Jesus Christ. You might have heard of him. His birthday is coming up.

Unfortunately for Romney, George Bush's religion talk worked. And Huckabee's is too. Look again at the RCP Poll average for Iowa. Notice that precipitous fall in Romney's support corresponding to the rise in Huckabee's support? I can't see it either. Huckabee isn't taking votes from Romney totally. He's taking them from everybody and he's pulling in people who think the rest of them, well, not to repeat myself, but they all suck.

So, the super predictable strategy? Try now to take religion off the table. Romney failed to capture those voters, so now we're hearing hints of bigotry and suggestions that Huckabee is too much of a Jesus freak for American politics.

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Allow me to express my cynicism about "The Speech" 54 Comments (0 topical, 54 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

When national polling makes it look like this party is falling over itself getting ready to nominate Bill Clinton Jr., well, desperate times call for desperate measures.

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who don't understand what the 11th actually is (hint, it has nothing to do with a primary).

Two thirds of the world is covered by water,
the other third is covered by Champ Bailey.

"Romney supporters are starting to cry wolf about anti-Mormon bigotry. Sadly, to a degree, I think they are right."

There are people who will not vote for Romney because he is a Mormon, just like there are people who won't vote for Hillary because she is a woman, or Obama because he is black. But my experience shows that these numbers are very small.

Mostly we don't vote for Hillary, Obama, and even Romney, because there are other, larger issues that we don't like, issues for Romney that you have listed.

The anti-Mormon bigotry issues appears to have been cooked up by Romney supporters and not by the population at large. (See Hugh Hewitt.) The MSM got in on it, but really, they don't reflect core Republican values, so their attack is simply more poo to be flung around at Republicans.

Huckabee support has swelled, and it may be the result of his faith, but it may also be the result of Republicans looking for "The" candidate. I suspect the bloom will be off the rose soon, and Huck will be forced to run in the primaries on his political history and not his sermons. GWB doesn' equate to Huck all that well. He brought a tad bit less liberal baggage with him in 2000. His faith was an asset, but not the reason for his election. IMHO.

The anti-Mormon bigotry issues appears to have been cooked up by Romney supporters and not by the population at large.

54 percent of Republicans in the Gallup poll would vote for a qualified Mormon without a second thought; 42 percent would either not vote for a Mormon or would do so with some level of doubt.

The polling on this issue shows it is a problem. On what basis do you (and many others) claim this is a made up issue? It is in no way comparable to "I won't vote for a candidate who is black." They've done polls on that as well and the numbers are tiny compared to the the anti-Mormon responses.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

Only in this country can we get ourselves all worked up over a perceived 'religious issue' that has no basis in fact. Only in this country can we have a candidate who is an ordained minister casting religious stones at another candidate that's a Mormon. Why do we care whether there is a Protestant, Catholic, Jew, Mormon, Budhist, or Muslim in the White House? Do we honestly believe that someone's faith, regardless of what it may be, should be the 'determining factor' regarding his candidacy? I'm not a Romney fan (will not vote for him) simply because he left his job in Massachusetts and didn't lift a finger to help his Lt. Governor get elected. Having said that, not once during his administration, as governor, did his religion cause anyone to raise an eyebrow. Yet here we are, breathlessly awaiting his spoken words of assurance on the matter. What a waste of freaking time; and what a way to divert attention away from the critical issues we should be challenging him to explain his position on - immigration, health care, terrorism, Iraq, Iran, Social Security, etc. etc. etc.

The Debates have asked more questions on Religion than Education, Health Care and Tax Cuts combined!

What the media wants, the media gets... Controversy

"Romney is incapable of doing it."

I'm not sure I understand this. My perception of Mitt's approach to this has always been about faith (not a specific religion) and he did very well with it. It is clear that there has always been a move to get in to Mitt's religion. This is bigotry. If people really wanted to know what Mitt believes, they could go to the LDS church's website and find out just about everything, except for the temple rites. What they want to do, as is manifest by the bigotry we read on blogs, is to make a political judgment about Mitt over what his religion teaches. This is an absurd, misguided approach to vetting the best candidate for the office.

As noted, the support going to Huck isn't completely from Romney, but rather from all the candidates and mostly from Fred. About the second week in November there was a huge drop in Thompson support, a small rise in Romney support and a huge spike in Huck's support while McCain and Rudy were static. So I think it's fair to assume that most of Huck's original support came from the Thompson campaign. After that Huck's support is coming from everyone, but mostly from Mitt.

The inevitable ads against Huck will soon start and then well see if people flocked to Huck because he was convincing, or because they were bigoted. If Mitt gets his support back, then people were just fooled by Huck's affability.

Quite cynical yes, but I do think you make a few valid points.

However, I think the speech has a lot of potential to either screw Romney up big time or give him some serious momentum. It's up to him and how he delivers this thing.

The Romney campaign has mostly told us what not to expect, so it's hard to gauge what this speech will actually be like. But knowing Romney, it will be well thought-out and delivered. We'll just have to see.

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
-Winston Churchill

Supposedly this thing has been in the works for a long time. Erick, have you ever written anything positive about Mitt Romney?

“.....women and minorities hardest hit”

...just a comment :)

“.....women and minorities hardest hit”

Romney is doing this because Christian evangelists leaders have asked him too. They want to support his run for the presidency but don't want to be seen supporting his religion. He is doing it now, because its almost Christmas, and he wants to get it over before the Holidays.

The election is about to come to a grinding halt with the Christmas season.
Give me juicy, Red meat

That's right. The American Left. They are the folks who will never support a Mormon for president. Too much "morality" in that religion.

Because they have a problem with it, the impugn their thoughts to conservative Christians. Nice try.

Nothing Romney will say will placate them.

...right here:

It looks pretty good to me.

“.....women and minorities hardest hit”

Sleeping with a dirty wet blanket out in the cold... that might be worse than a Mormon Flipster who goes on TV in an attempt to gain some traction from a surging Huckabee.

Today is the big day for Mitt Romney. The question all the pundits are asking is: What is a bigger liability for Romney, his religion or his flip-flops?

However, I think the bigger question is... Will this country remain a Christian nation or will t turn into a polygamist nation? I don't think we should take the risk. We can't trust him on the issues and we can't trust him to govern as LDSer -- All Romney will do is just give this country a cold blanket!

ConservativeState (TWalsh)

I am not interested in electing a 'pastor in chief', nor am I committed to installing a national religion test in presidential elections. I thought this crap went away back in the 50's.

IMHO GOP labeled folks seem determined to get a marxist in the White House by rejecting any possible GOP candidate for each and every imagined sin, wart or change in their philosophy.

Much is made of flippers, yet many folks here were for candidate A before they were against candidate A and are now touting candidate B.

I want a candidate that can:
1. Win and have a GOP working base in congress.
2. Will work to defend our borders, deal with the invader problem that is killing us and sapping our culture.
3. Will effectively deal with the ongoing Iraq issue and deal with Iran in a practical matter.
4. Will stack the Supreme court with real judges who understand and believe in the United States Constitution.
5. Will reduce spending, kill pork, and shrink the federal government - also getting and keeping the feds out of my face and life.

All things after that really are functions of our Congress - currently a bunch of misfit hooligans who have forgotten who they work for - they are the ones who we should be scared of.

I don't think Huckabee's "surge" is from him talking up his faith, he's been doing that all along.

I think the moving and shaking now is from people getting serious. We're getting close, the hypothetical situations are gone. Pro-lifers started abandoning Fred for Huck which started his rise, this gave Huck the numbers to look competitive. This has drawn more people who though he was just an "also ran" and now he has a logical path to the nomination.

My cynical view of "The Speech" is that he is looking at bringing in those who would support him but need a philosophical out.

Expectations on the Huck are that he should be a close second or even beat Romney. The thing is, Huckabee is not a conservative. He is not conservative on taxes, illegal aliens, spending, crime, etc. Yes, he is right on the moral issues, but that's all. Of course his surge is because of him talking up his faith. However, has he surged too early? We'll see.

You would have to be a fool to think that this speech wasn't in the works since the day Romney decided to run. His religion is a big issue for many - especially evangelicals. He can try to get around his flips on issues and people will either buy it or they won't, but first he has to get past being a mormon.

I do think that there are many more people in the GOP primary process who would not support Gov. Romney because of his religion. I actually think the numbers are quite large.

I take it you are a big fan of Fox News.

Jim Tomasik

didn't hit the right button again... sorry. ;o)

Jim Tomasik

The sky is really blue, buddy - even if Fox News says it.

that Americans are 20 percent less likely to vote for a Mormon for president than a black or female candidate, I think Romney and his supporters have justifiable reason to be concerned about religious bigotry. This speech is a response to that. Whether it is the smartest and most effective response is yet to be seen.

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Thanks by bs

I was hoping this was part of a larger "voter profile," but it appears it was limited to that particular topic. Polls such as this are of great interest to me - thanks for the info.

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The results are pretty ugly, I would say.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

With all the poor teaching and wrong information thrown about these days, this is just one more irrational attitude that leads people to vote for the candidates who will hurt people of faith more than the "cult members" they find so intolerable. Same for anyone who would let Hillary win over Rudy over "principle," when Hillary threatens that very principle more.

There's that famous saying about nobody ever going broke by underestimating the American public. It's often true in politics, too.

First of all it should be noted that most consider Mormonism to be a cult. (I'm guessing that but I would bet if a national poll were run it would find most believe it to be a cult. Ask evangelicals the same question and I'm sure the percentage would go up. Ask the Directors of this site and I'm sure you'd get a majority saying it was a cult.) If most consider it to be a cult than doesn't that answer the question about why he is lagging in the polls despite all the money and everything else being perfect? Do people want someone who is the member of a cult in the White House?

I would not have a problem with a Mormon in the White House. I worked for a Mormon running for Congress. They are great people and they have great traditional American values. I think the problem with Romney is the combination of his flip-flops on the issues with his faith. If you have ever debated theology with a Mormon you know what I mean. His convenient flip-flops on significant issues just reminds evangelicals of his faith. Look at the history of the Mormon church and you'll know what I mean. Look at the Utah statehood process and you'll know what I mean.

So maybe the problem isn't Mormonism, it is this particular Mormon?

with his religion though. Heck ,I do to some extent. Would I still vote for him in the general, well let's just say I will note and it wouldn't ever be for a D. But come on, the history behind Mormonism sounds a lot more like scientology than Christianity and that will turn people off (especially all the secretive stuff). Finally, do you think South Park will rerun their accurate and hilarious send up of Mormonism during the general election campaign should Mitt win the nomination?

there is one thing worse than having a presidential nominee who is a mormon. That's having a presidential nominee who is a Clinton. The problem will be less in the general for conservatives.

Expect lots of them, followed by indignant Scientologists defending their misunderstood religion.

South Park should host a debate between Donny Osmond and Tom Cruise.

But silliness aside, Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani et al are asking us to trust in them based in large part on their 'guiding principles', some of which come from their religious backgrounds and some of which have come from life experience. We are wise to look at what each believes and how that belief will effect their decisions for our country.

I think almost no one here would vote for a committed Scientologist. Reaching their theology (if it is a theology for more than tax purposes) is unnecessary. The organization was involved in proven conspiracies against the government in recent history. As an organization, it is frequently under investigation, criminal and otherwise, in various countries. Trying to compare Romney to that is slimy.

was allegedly "one of us" evangelicals. 'nuff said on voting based on religion. We learned that lesson the hard way with the worst president of the 20th Century (apologies to Harding fans).

The problem with Romney is that he is frequently too smooth and comes across some times as a timeshare salesman. It doesn't speak to his substance, but like Al Gore's stiffness, it creates a distraction. On the substance, Romney sounds good but fails to convince due to some recently new positions which (conveniently?) test well with the latest target audience, the Republican primary voters. Maybe he really holds these new positions but the general slickness make it hard to accept even if his newfound convictions are genuine.

but Bill Clinton never lost. Combined with the hope that his conversion on moral issues is genuine (there is no reason to believe it isn't), I think he is the best person to put up against Hillary Clinton.

I know, I know - Rombot Alert!

The speech HAD to happen on way or another.

Better for it to happen now in the primaries so we can gauge its effects and go another direction if the fall out is bad then to have it saved for the general when the only other direction available is to Hillary.

Erick, I know you're not much for simple explanations when it comes to Romney, his campaign, and his motivations.

The bigots who would not vote for Romney based on his faith are few. We all know that. However, they pop up just often enough to stir the pot and create confusion. For every bigot, there are a thousand voters that wonder whether conservatives can rally around Romney, or if his faith will get in the way.

Romney is making this speech as a reference point for all of those people. If it goes as planned, in the future people who would support Romney, but are unsure if his faith will be a stumbling block, will think of this speech, rather than the bile and slime that the few are trying to spread.

It's that simple.

(Incidentally, I think you're right that Huckabee is taking little Romney support. He's drawing mostly on disappointed Thompson supporters and undecideds)

Come on this is just a stunt to help Romney in his slipping poll numbers. His biggest problem is his flip flopping on issues and that you can't trust him. See this video:

and this one:

McCain is the only candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton. The campaign surge continues. Also watch this video as to why Democrats are worried about McCain

and not Romney. Romney can't beat Clinton as a Mormon, Christian, or disguised as Bill Clinton.


the above post is too bot-like. This thread is about Mitt

Beginning part was not bot-like but I do like copying the same videos to remind people of what a flip flopper he is. I don't see why that is a problem. He flip flops on issues and we need to remind people of that!


What ever the causes that prompted him to make the speech, he covered some precious ground with it. I found it to be patriotically inspirational. Amen to his prayer. And I finally felt I got a glimpse into the man's heart. He has been gaining ground on my ratings list anyway, but this clinched his move to the top spot.

I agree by bk

One of the main criticisms of Romney has been his "slickness". He looked very emotional today and, like you said, he really seemed to be opening a window to his heart. Hard to believe anyone with an open mind wouldn't have felt at least a teensy bit moved.

" These are not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance. Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree."

Who are the intolerant that Romney is speaking of

. . . speaking of those who are religious (usually practicing protestant Christians) who will not vote for Mitt just because he is Mormon. I have a close, very conservative Christian friend who will not vote for Mitt solely because of his Mormon beliefs. While I personally do not agree with Mitt's religious beliefs, being a quasi-Baptist myself, I truly feel that if large groups of Christians would not vote for Mitt based on his religion, it is only a matter of time before such actions are turned against Christian nominees.

R. Michael Woodard

Mitt's slickness. That is an interesting point. He was not slick today. I wonder if those who have claimed they are against him because of his slickness, will now get on board with him?

"Slick" is just a drive-by label for Romney like "lazy" is for Thompson. If you see someone leaning too heavily on that kind of label, it's a sign that they've already committed to another candidate.

There is a manufactured, astroturf feel to all of this

This is what we Commie pinkos from Massachusetts have been trying to tell you guys. There's no wizard behind that curtain.

MA, despite being overwhelmingly Democratic, has elected Republican governors for, what, a decade or so? Romney wasn't unpopular (just) because he was a Republican. He was unpopular because he wasn't a governor.

When I moved to MA in 2000, our state government was in a permanent state of transition. Weld and Celucci left to (try to) become ambassadors. Swift was so unpopular she abandoned the primary for Romney. Meanwhile, we were seeing once-in-a-generation power handoffs at the State House, and near-annual new management at the Turnpike Authority and the Big Dig (which, given its size, was a huge power position at the time).

Yet all of these short-timers were repeatedly in the news. Sometimes they were making popular decisions, sometimes they were horribly unpopular, but always they were doing something.

Romney just... didn't... do anything. It wasn't an executive/legislative gridlock problem; he just wasn't even here. Practically from day one, he was working on the next campaign, and by 2006 he was spending nearly two-thirds of his time out of state.

There's no there there.

I think that was a pretty major accomplishment. Whether you like what he did or not, you definitely can't accuse Romney of having done nothing.

I didn't mentally associate Romney with the health care plan, but looking back, he was definitely a (if not THE) key driver.

Dammit, my memory must be biased too - now who'm I supposed to believe?

Do you actually believe the verbal diarrhea that you spew forth here? Really, your writing is very difficult and often painful to read.

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