Thursday, March 01, 2012

2012 Update - Romney Campaign Goes Divisive – Attacks Santorum for Attempting to Attract Democrats? – Media molds Santorum as “Social Candidate"

Romney, Santorum and Paul, two court Non-Republicans: Santorum to win the General, Pual to win the Delegates - Of note: Ron Paul has yet to criticize Mitt Romney - are they so similar in plans? image

It began with a Press Release from the Romney Campaign on the morning after Romney’s narrow win in Michigan – the title: “Republicans Call On Rick Santorum To Stop Teaming Up With Democrats”
The Body:

Boston, MA – Today, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, Delegate Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, Idaho Superintendent of Public Schools Tom Luna, and Former United States Treasurer Bay Buchanan will hold a press conference call to call on Rick Santorum to stop teaming up with Democrats in future Republican contests. Details are as follows:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012:

Event: Republicans Call On Rick Santorum To Stop Teaming Up With Democrats

When: 3:30 PM EST

Call-In Number: (866) 578-1005

Call Name: No More Dirty Tricks

This was followed by a second release introducing a new Romney Campaign Video available on his website which shows clips from Fox News interviews with approximately eight Democrats, one of which is a liberal talk show host that parodied Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos, in getting the vote out for Santorum, and a Democrat political activist attempting to do the same – one of the interviewees suggests a “liberal blog” will be responsible for getting the vote out for Santorum to upset the GOP – the end message from the liberal talk show host suggests Santorum is the weaker candidate, as reasoning for voting for Santorum.

However, of the thousands of votes cast for Santorum, and the exit polls taken, the percentage of Democrats who voted in the Michigan primary was split, some did go to Romney while others went to Santorum, in numbers which suggest more of a temporary switch in party affiliation rather than an attempt to “support the weaker candidate”.

The back to back releases suggest that Romney is fighting hard at this point, going into Super Tuesday where the following states will hold open primaries: Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. However, the list of states, courtesy of The Daily Paul, 2012 Open Primary States The Key To Ron Paul’s Republican Nomination. suggests that the tactic might be employed by other candidates than Santorum, candidates who are interested in a)winning and b)attracting members of opposing parties, who will be necessarily for any GOP candidate, including Romney to court in order to win in the General Election.

In Romney’s attempt to suggest that only liberal Democrats who feel a need to protect Obama by voting for the weaker candidate is, to say the least ludicrous – it also sets the tone for an US versus them scenario, rather than a scenario where those of other party affiliations are invited to cross party lines. It is the theme that Washington Is Broken because of this type of divisive narrative, that has the Congress at the lowest possible approval ratings. In a matter of fact, it depends on the State and the makeup of the electorate, and if that state has any Manufacturing concerns.

The case of Massachusetts is a good case in point. Romney, who as Governor, must have worked with Democrats at some point, however, there are Democrats and Republicans and Unenrolleds, who have long lost the manufacturing jobs that have left the state, during the Romney administration and forward – those who long to have the plants up and running are more invested in Santorum, not as some sort of nefarious plot to undo Romney, rather as a choice, and a difficult choice, in voting, many for the first time, as a Republican in the hopes that Santorum’s 0% tax on Manufactures, Economic plan will work to their advantage. Although Romney may lead among Republican’s in Massachusetts polling (one poll taken by Suffolk University) they only represent 11% of the States electorate, hardly enough to propel a candidate to a win, even in the Republican primary. It is a tactical move on the part of the Romney Campaign to attack Santorum as they head into primaries on Super Tuesday, many of which show Santorum leading Romney by a handy margin, however, the question remains is it a wise tactic to use the policy of divisive politics in order to hopefully attract those hard-core Republican’s to swing to Romney, while alienating potential Democrats and Independent voters? That‘s a tough call and a real risk. The consistent negative advertising, and infighting, although of some entertainment value, leaves little time for the candidate that is not producing positive advertising, to get out his message. Perhaps that’s another Romney Strategy, who has the best attack ads win, but it may be a losing strategy.

Should Santorum do compare and contrast ads, while Romney is outspending him (and begging for donations to keep doing so), with attack ads three to one, sooner than later, appealing to the Republican base is going to come back at Romney and bite him in the proverbial (fill in the blank).

Of particular interest is the Virginia Primary where only Romney and Dr. Ron Paul are on the ballot, in 2008, Paul trounced Romney in Virginal, which, is one of those darned open primary states – it could happen again – giving Paul a much needed win.
Romney’s campaign has attacked any rival that appears to be besting him, until that candidate is so far back in the polls, or out of the race and it has worked just as it did in 2008 – but that was up to Super Tuesday. After that date, and those primaries, Romney fell flat and was out of the race by February.

In concert with Romney for some unknown reason, is the Media, who is attacking Santorum left and right – painting him as the candidate that is “social issues” driven, while completely ignoring his economic policy (which appeals to Democrats, Independents and yes, Republicans), and his foreign and domestic policies. This brings up an interesting point – since the media is known to be, in general, supportive of the Obama reelection campaign – why would they attempt to get “rid” of Santorum so soon? In polls, especially one taken recently by USA Today suggests Santorum would Best Obama in a matchup, while Romney ties the President. These polls, one must note, do change on a daily basis, however, the notion that Santorum, complete with three weeks wroth of “social issues” coverage by the media, can continue to lead Obama, speaks volumes.

Not only is Romney’s position that Senator Santorum is somehow out of line for attempting to attract Democrats to the Republican fold, but his claims as being the only one of the GOP candidates to best Obama in an election are also a stretch (given the nature of the polls and the fact that Santorum does quite well, so does Ron Paul for that matter).
In a recent interview on Fox News, Senator Santorum shot back against the media for not covering the his vital economic plan and focusing on the some of the statements he had made on the campaign trail. He also, and rightly so, stood up for his position, while noting he might have said it differently – is Santorum the only candidate to make what amounts to “gaffes”? Hardly, Romney “I’ll bet you $10,000”, and his recent comment in Michigan regarding his wife riding two Cadillac’s are perhaps not gaffes, but should be as they underscore the lack of connect to those voters earning under 100,000 per year (or more for that matter). In 2008, the campaign between Hillary Clinton and then Senator Barack Obama was filled with gems that were bandied about on Conservative News outlets. (The question should be: “Why is the media attacking the weaker candidate?”

That question will be answered within the next week, as Santorum and Romney will face off in states both north and south - should the media ratchet up the rhetoric on Santorum, one would hazard to make an educated guess that Romney is Obama’s preferred candidate – as his campaign has suggested in the past. Santorum represents a threat precisely due to his ability to connect with Union members and independents, voters who Obama desperately needs in the upcoming election and voters who, Mitt Romney cannot win without. Santorum shows his political acumen while delivering a message he truly believes in – restoring the manufacturing might of America, while Romney fights to prove he is the most conservative of the four remaining candidates. It is a question of which message will resonate with voters, especially in the Massachusetts Open Primary – states that may be more of an embarrassment that Michigan should Romney not win handily.

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