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Romney and Lose-Lose Politics

Posted on Apr 5, 2012

By Richard Reeves

If Mitt Romney had walked by a room called The Forum at the University of Southern California last Wednesday, he would quit his presidential race right now.

The speakers were a retired but still partisan Democratic political consultant, Robert Shrum, and his wife, Marylouise Oates, who describes herself as "a recovering journalist." As you might expect, they ripped the Republican candidate-in-waiting up one side and down the other, Shrum talking about Romney’s strategy, such as it is, and Oates focused on the former Massachusetts governor’s attitudes toward half the electorate, the female half.

The program was part of a continuing series called "The Road to the White House 2012," sponsored by the Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy and several other campus organizations focusing on politics and public policy. Fair and balanced? Forget about that. The programs do, however, alternate between liberal speakers and conservative champions.

Shrum, who has worked dozens of Democratic campaigns at the highest levels, is now a professor at the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. (There are no short names in the academic fora.) He not only indexed Romney’s obvious shortcomings as a candidate, but argued that the Republican Party is in a lose-lose situation.

He started by pointing out that the more time Romney spends in a state, the lower his approval rating goes in that state. Example: In Ohio, perhaps the single most important fall battleground, a recent Quinnipiac University poll found that Romney was viewed more unfavorably after the March primary than favorably, a reversal of his former lead in that category over Sen. Rick Santorum. But, of course, running against a religious fanatic in a key state primary is different than running against a sitting president who has done a pretty good job of trying to right the economy and trying to get out of America’s insane wars in the Middle East and Asia—a president who can also match him dollar-for-dollar in campaign spending.


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Moderate Republicans, Shrum argued, would revolt if Santorum improbably wins the New York and Pennsylvania primaries and the nomination and fails to become president. Conservative Republicans will go berserk if Romney wins the nomination and then loses to Obama. One more time, as in 1960, the party’s right wing will argue that only a "real conservative" can win. Enter Barry Goldwater. They mean Reagan, of course, but he’s not running.

Romney, Shrum continued, is actually a prisoner of the right wing. He’s not one of them—they don’t use words like "marvelous" when talking about budgets or anything else. "He’s basically on constant probation with conservatives," said Shrum, so he has to give them anything they want in this campaign. Oates underlined that point, saying that Romney has had to live with the new conservative dogma that has moved (back) from anti-abortion to anti-contraception—at a time when more than 90 percent of Catholic women think contraception is no longer an issue. Santorum, a candidate Opus Dei would approve of, has lost the Catholic vote in most every state.

Shrum also added that the Republicans have lost their "Democrats are soft on defense" wedge issue, because Obama has not been soft on national security. The only thing they have left to say is that he should attack Iran. Unfortunately for them, the president is not nuts.

And then there’s "Obamacare." Shrum argued that if the "tea party Supreme Court," as he called it, overturns national health care, Obama will be helped, not hurt, because the liberal base will unite as never before.

Never say never in politics. But if Romney dispatches a weak field of his party colleagues, money can’t buy happiness but it is very helpful in politics. Cash on the barrelhead is winning the Republican nomination, but his real problems begin after he becomes the party’s candidate.

© 2012 Universal Uclick

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Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, April 7, 2012 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment

Please Surfboy, go catch some waves instead of trying to keep up with even your
own silly comments. It’s dead calm here, but there must be a good swell running
somewhere, fetch boy!

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Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, April 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

Lose-Lose Politics / More like “Heads I win, Tails you lose” Politics.  The
comparison is fitting if you consider the US to be one Big Casino. Hmm let’s see,
what’ll it be today Boy’s & Girls???  The Blackjack Table?, the One Arm Bandit’s?
How bout the Roulette Wheel with the big bonus sign that lights up when the
Jackpot’s hit???
Sadly non of you folker’s have the Balls for a good ole fashioned game of 5-Card
Stud to the Death, so your best chance of self-survival is to stuff everything
you’ve got into the One Arm Bandit’s and pray to some God you hit the Jackpot
before you run out of Quarter’s…  all you assless gambler’s would be far better off
with the Reverse Russian Roulette Table with one empty Chamber!  You’re kids
would love you for it! It would be far better for them if you taught them nothing at
all and just let them figure it all out for themselves!

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Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, April 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

“What should be her next move?”  Answer:  Considering the place was hers in the
first place, she should take it back and pitch his dead spent carcass out the door!

Got any other stupid scenarios you need an answer to? Maybe something relevant
to the TRUTH I wrote below???

Report this

By the worm, April 7, 2012 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

If Obamacare does go down to the Tea Party Supremes, the only way the “liberal
base will unite” is for single payer universal health care.

The ‘liberal base’ will not, did not and will never ‘unite’ for a private sector, for-
profit insurance industry subsidy program such as Obama signed and hopefully
the Tea Party Supremes will find unconstitutional.

It is ironic that we may get a ‘do over’, because of Scalia and Roberts.

And the Tea Party Supreme’s ‘do over’ could bring to us -  instead of take from us
like the Florida decision -  an election win.

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By christian96, April 7, 2012 at 12:02 am Link to this comment

I can’t recall hearing any candidate for President
discussing the federal gov’t STILL subsidizing tobacco
farmers and what they would do about it if elected.
Have I just been reading the wrong articles and listening to the wrong media? I would like the media
to publish what the American Medical Association
thinks about our government subsidizing tobacco

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Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, April 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

I dunno? Be there??  grin/` Maybe in the land of roll your own?

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By norman harman, April 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m supposed to be happy about Obama’s “bonafides” on “National Security?”
The fact that he’s extended the war in Afghanistan; started a couple of new
ones in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and soon Syria is supposed to make me
more confident about him?

What crap! There’s no one in the running whose worth a goddamned shit. No
one!  Hell, Obama’s nothing more than Clinton-lite; Romney’s just Obama-lite;
the rest of the Republicans are a bad, unfunny joke; Ron Paul’s a slightly funnier
bad joke - he talks a good foreign policy game but his economic policies (such
as they are) are nothing short of insane. Paul believes in “market solutions.”
What, has he been asleep for the last 35 years?

Paul’s a free market idiot. The other two are warmongering, corporatist lunatics. 

The mainstream American political system is a fucking corporate sewer.

I’m voting for Rocky Raccoon.

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Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, April 6, 2012 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

Cont’d from directly below…Surfboy,
“If the repatriated dollars are going to be used to prop up stock values then the
temporary illusion of wealth will be enhanced, and perhaps this is a valuable
Maybe you’re too young to remember the last time this ruse was used to
repatriate US dollars from abroad? The Tax rate on those Dollars is set at 35%.
The last time around Lobbyists negotiated a lower rate of 5%, which was
supposedly tied to Corporations using the reduction in Tax to invest in Plant &
Infrastructure and the creation of new Job’s that would put the American Worker
back to work in gutted Manufacturing job’s outsourced to third world
“developing” country’s so as to exploit the local work forces and increase US
Corporatist profit’s. This was going on simultaneously with Union Busting.
Labor Unions at the time were too strong to bust by the Corporates. The US had
far too strong a Manufacturing Industry and far too many Union Members to
fight. These job’s and the Manufacturing Industry itself had to be offshored
before Corporate profits and power could gain the upper hand in calling the
shots and killing off the Middle Class that had grown up after WWII that were
starting to reap more of the Elite’s profits than they were willing to part with. So
back to the Landlord / Serf days of the 15th Century America has gone backward once again to a much kinder and Gentler place with thousands of points of light to light the NWO way!.
Once the last agreement was made (through a few winks and nods) for the repatriated money to be taxed at 5% - supposedly to allow Corporations to create job’s and futureize their Plants and Infrastructures, the Economy’s future was in the
hands of the Elite’s who decided to renege on the deal, but needed a big excuse for doing it - Stage left, entered 911 - the New Pearl Harbor event that PNAC needed to go forth into the 21st Century and prosper, trim the fat ( further eliminate those
pesky Union’s and Middle-Classer’s to a final dissolve), and boost the financial markets (Wall Street)  with all that repatriated money they had just filled their tanks up with! 
of Tanks, well, we needed to replace all those profits earned for them by the former Manufacturing job’s worker’s who were now collecting unemployment,  so making Cluster Bombs and Armaments to feed a war machine so PNAC could advance in the NWO plan became a way to make big bucks and boost the markets to the highest highs in History!
10 years on, the big boy’s aree suddenly running out of bucks again because they blew their own feet off by destroying the middle class consumers for their Chinese cheap trinkets and over-grabbed for false profits in the housing market that backfired on them and went bust because those same pesky
middle-classer’s went bust and couldn’t afford the Mortgage on their unemployment checks anymore. Oooopsie! Oh well, the middle class tax payer (people who actually paid any taxes) can pay for it right???

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Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, April 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

Well now it’s time to fill the cash-pile’s up again and the Lobbyist’s are once
again back to work on the next chapter of promises for new job’s. This is all an
endless loop Surfie! Time for another new “Pearl Harbor / 911 moment once
they pull off another heist and renege on their promises of a new tomorrow!
Now the enemy is going to be the burgeoning budget deficit from taking care
of all those folks who were crushed the last time around, so all these Welfare
Program COSTS (Social Security and Medicare, Education Head Starts, Housing
and Urban Development ect…have to be eliminated so the Elite’s can again pick
up profits by turning their Gucci backs on the American Worker who built their
Ivory Towers!  At least Assad is killing people to their faces!
Will new job’s appear if they get to do the same thing all over again? Nope, it’s
not about saving the economy mate, it’s about eliminating the deadwood
through Global population control - just “let em die” economics! That way
there’s more Gold to go around for the 1%.
Presidential Elections are merely a means of putting lip-stick on pig’s! The Big
Boy’s are gonna win, but it’s important us little folks feel included in the game
of killing us all off and making it look like and economic “Accident”!
One question I have, considering it’s Holy week? Why do they call it Good
Time to go out and overdose on MacDonald’s burger’s to put an end to those poor “Mickey D’s” stock-holder’s suffering once and fore all! TTFN!

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By oakland steve, April 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

The credibility of this essay ended when up popped the absurd comment that “...running against a sitting president who has done a pretty good job of trying to right the economy and trying to get out of America’s insane wars in the Middle East and Asia—a president who can also match him dollar-for-dollar in campaign spending.”

Just how poor of a job would Obama have to do for Richard Reeves and Robert Scheer to decide that he would be too evil to qualify for a vote as “the lesser of…”?

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, April 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

With Romney it will be war and empire as usual, corporate religion will flourish.

Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate worth a shit for you and me to engage Obama in national debate for the presidency.

Report this

By MARGARET CURREY, April 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So Paul Ryan is creating a banana republic soon all the rich will have to live behind gates and have private security guards to protect home and property.

Is this why stand your ground was made into law so the rich can shoot the poor, and why should the rich pay less taxes than the people who work.

Another question why should Romney become president when he has probably met another middle classs taxpayer unless it was when he was giving out free sandwhiches which was a bribe, but guess what the area was where most republicians lived.  Why would the local government push this bribe when he was in a safe republician district.  Kind of like someone finding extra votes five days later on a private computer, such rules for “US” and only “us”.

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D.R. Zing's avatar

By D.R. Zing, April 6, 2012 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

“...90 percent of Catholic women think contraception
is no longer an issue,” is a pretty big factual

I suspect a more accurate quote would be:

“...90 percent of Catholic women in America
think contraception is no longer an issue.”

This is at once an understandable and repugnant
editing mistake. 

It’s understandable because many Catholics practice
their faith in America without realizing what a
destructive religion it is for developing countries
where women do not have a voice in birth control or
healthcare, where overpopulation is rampant, where
poverty is epidemic.

It’s repugnant for the very same reasons. 
Catholicism has been and continues to be a
destructive religion in much of the world.  Its views
on women, women’s health, overpopulation, birth
control—while tempered in the United States—are
still reprehensible anachronisms. 

Don’t kid yourself, my fellow American Catholics: The
religion in which we were raised is a malevolent,
malignant force responsible for much pain, suffering
and overpopulation. You just happen to live in a
country protecting you from some of Catholicism’s worst

Peace be with you.

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By Jeff N., April 6, 2012 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

Great comments by Entropy and prisnersdilema.. Would also point out that TD has failed to cover or mention the JOBS act -signed into law yesterday by Obama- and the potentially ruinous consequences this unnecessary measures could have on the transparency and legitimacy of “business” in the US.

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By jkhall, April 6, 2012 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Bob Shrum, a pure political animal, is a horse-race guy who worked to move Dems rightward, always rightward in order to “win”. (Few of them did, and not one presidential candidate he managed.) I doubt the world’s best surgeon could find a genuine public policy bone in his body. Horse race, always horse race. Unfortunately, such a fixation by political managers, candidates, the media (including Reeves) and the public means the horse only races downward. Not interested in that anymore. A vote must be a moniker of trust, an acknowledgment of commitments fulfilled. Certainly Mitt is worthy of nothing. Neither can I condone Obama with mine.

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entropy2's avatar

By entropy2, April 6, 2012 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

My, my…TD has certainly leapt with both feet into the Dem veal pen. With most of TD already in the pen already, and now that Sheer, in his column, is fully voicing (with appropriate hand wringing) the panicked urgency to vote against Romney, looks like we’ll all just be dancin’ the Romney stomp ‘til November. Oh, there’ll certainly be some periodic pro forma finger wagging at BHO and the Dems, but nothing that would challenge the very validity of this joke we call democracy. Nope, now it’s just all horserace all the time.

Personally, I’m not voting. IMHO, anyone who votes, Dem, Rep, Green, Libertarian, whatever, has demonstrated their approval of an illegitimate system and has no right to complain about the inevitable havoc and destruction their corporate-state wreaks (no matter whether their candidate won or lost).

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By akdar, April 6, 2012 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

“who has done a pretty good job of trying to right the
economy and trying to get out of America’s insane wars
in the Middle East and Asia” - speaking of Obama. I’m
sorry, have I missed something??

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, April 6, 2012 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

Another ridiculist of faux differences, between Mr. Obama, and Mr. Romney. I am sure
there will be many attempts, at this in the coming months.

However, now that Mr. Obama has a record, it will be much more trying.

No the liberal base won’t unite for Obama if health care is over turned, partly because
health care reform is practically a carbon copy of what Mr. R. did in MA.

Health care reform was just another of Obama’s betrayals…..Most have long given up
home that Mr. Obama would change, hope that he would have more to offer than lies,
misdirection, and a staged magic act, of trying to turn bullshit into facts….

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