The Wall Street Journal Confirms We Brought a Knife to a Gun Fight and Got Harpooned Too

I hope the lesson is clear. Expect to get hit hard always and often. Close is for horseshoes and dhimmitude. The big bet paid off and I don’t think our side even knew where the gaming table was. Perhaps that’s why Donald Trump endorsed Romney in Las Vegas. He doesn’t own any casinos there: Steve Wynn does:

The idea, explained to the president in a Po…

  1. Crow
    Pseudodionysius: Machiavelli, you magnificent retread:

    DoL I.18 has been on my mind altogether too much today.

    Pseudodionysius

    The idea, explained to the president in a PowerPoint presentation in the Roosevelt Room, was to shape voters’ impressions with a heavy expenditure before Mr. Romney had the money to do it for himself. The plan defied conventional wisdom, which said a campaign should start slowly with a positive message and save money for the stretch run. And it could leave the president exposed later.

    But our campaign finance laws don’t favor incumbents. No…

  2. Pseudodionysius

    To put that another way: Obama had a southern strategy. His name was Bill Clinton.

  3. James Of England
    Hoyacon: I have to confess that I don’t know what I’m supposed to have learned from this.  What’s the moral?  Someone enlighten me. · 2 minutes ago

    The campaign was won by the early spending. My belief is that the critical moment for this spending was in Jan/ Feb, when King of Bain transformed Bain from a powerful asset to a decisive problem.

  4. Pseudodionysius
    James Of England

    Hoyacon: I have to confess that I don’t know what I’m supposed to have learned from this.  What’s the moral?  Someone enlighten me. · 2 minutes ago

    The campaign was won by the early spending. My belief is that the critical moment for this spending was in Jan/ Feb, when King of Bain transformed Bain from a powerful asset to a decisive problem. · 0 minutes ago

    It will be parlor sport for years as to when Mitt should have swung back harder and just how close he came to winning. I also think Rob Long is right that the September lag when the Romney campaign ate punches without effective counterattack hurt him as well.

    Lesson learned: its always a street fight.

  5. Pseudodionysius
    James Of England

    Hoyacon: I have to confess that I don’t know what I’m supposed to have learned from this.  What’s the moral?  Someone enlighten me. · 2 minutes ago

    The campaign was won by the early spending. My belief is that the critical moment for this spending was in Jan/ Feb, when King of Bain transformed Bain from a powerful asset to a decisive problem. · 6 minutes ago

    It would also be the cruelest irony to find out how much Gingrich’s leftward shift on Romney contributed to the picture painted. I suppose the counterargument to that is: if you can’t counteract your portrayal by your opponents, then you know why you lost.

    Small comfort today, I admit.

  6. wmartin
    James Of England

    Hoyacon: I have to confess that I don’t know what I’m supposed to have learned from this.  What’s the moral?  Someone enlighten me. · 2 minutes ago

    The campaign was won by the early spending. My belief is that the critical moment for this spending was in Jan/ Feb, when King of Bain transformed Bain from a powerful asset to a decisive problem. · 15 minutes ago

    All through the primaries, I believed that the childishness of conservative primary voters was going to come back to haunt us. Mitt would have had the money to respond well enough had it not been for their foolish backing of the latest no-hoper (Gingrich, Santorum) when it was plainly obvious that it was damaging our cause in the general election.

  7. Pseudodionysius
    wmartin

    James Of England

    The campaign was won by the early spending. My belief is that the critical moment for this spending was in Jan/ Feb, when King of Bain transformed Bain from a powerful asset to a decisive problem. · 15 minutes ago

    All through the primaries, I believed that the childishness of conservative primary voters was going to come back to haunt us. Mitt would have had the money to respond well enough had it not been for their foolish backing of the latest no-hoper (Gingrich, Santorum) when it was plainly obvious that it was damaging our cause in the general election. · 0 minutes ago

    It took Mitt until the 2nd debate with Gingrich to start throwing punches and he stymied him effectively. The longer that took, the more it emboldened the base. Also, if you’ll remember, many pundits (cough, Coulter, cough) were screaming at the base that they should just shut up and back Romney. The two forces: Mitt’s unwillingness to engage or acknowledge the base’s concerns and the perception that they were being told to shut up and get in line created the hothouse effect you saw on display.

  8. wmartin
    Pseudodionysius

     

     

     

    It took Mitt until the 2nd debate with Gingrich to start throwing punches and he stymied him effectively. The longer that took, the more it emboldened the base. Also, if you’ll remember, many pundits (cough, Coulter, cough) were screaming at the base that they should just shut up and back Romney. The two forces: Mitt’s unwillingness to engage or acknowledge the base’s concerns and the perception that they were being told to shut up and get in line created the hothouse effect you saw on display. · 6 minutes ago

    Part of that stridency from the pundits was a sense of desperation; it was like screaming at someone who had put a loaded gun to his own head and seemed intent on pulling the trigger. I don’t have any sway over anybody, but I definitely became more angry and more insulting than I should have been. The frustration I felt watching it was just so immense…

  9. Mark Stewart

    I’m not an expert on it, but I’ve heard that Romney was prohibited from spending money in the general election until he was officially the party nominee at the convention.  Is that true?

  10. James Of England
    Mark Stewart: I’m not an expert on it, but I’ve heard that Romney was prohibited from spending money in the general election until he was officially the party nominee at the convention.  Is that true? ·

    No. He was prohibited from spending RNC money until then. He was welcome to spend his own campaign funds. Crossposted: Over the whole cycle, he took in $388m, and he’d spent about ~$106m of that by June. Obama’s campaign had $637m. Add the primary’s negative campaign ads against Romney to Obama’s score and deduct Romney’s primary spending and Obama had more that twice the advertizing cash. Romney could choose to match Obama at some stages, but could not choose to match him through the Summer and Fall.

    For all the “turning on the spigots” talk, he spent less in the first half of October ($62.3m) than he did in September ($65m). It’s just that in September Obama was spending $115.6m. The added spending in October was initially hope (that they’d get more donations) and then spin. The latter half of October is unreleased, but Mitt had $52.7m on hand, Obama $93.7m.

  11. James Of England
    Pseudodionysius

    It would also be the cruelest irony to find out how much Gingrich’s leftward shift on Romney contributed to the picture painted. I suppose the counterargument to that is: if you can’t counteract your portrayal by your opponents, then you know why you lost.

    Small comfort today, I admit. · 2 hours ago

    Maybe it’s just my affection for board games and the like (1960 seems the best election board game to me), but I’m of the view that the election is a bundle of thousands of mini-contests and that some things aren’t worth the resources to win.

    If Mitt had responded to KoB by running positive ads about Bain, Newt would have remained the ABR and poured even more money into bare knuckle assaults, and the media instincts (financial professionals are shady, uncaring people/ discussions over something make it a scandal) meant he’d have been pushing on an open door. Instead, Mitt focused on shutting off Newt’s money spigot and handing the ABR reins to Santorum, who behaved honorably. He then had to focus on not losing to Santorum. From June, enormous amounts of effort went on rehumanizing Mitt. Too late.

  12. Pseudodionysius

    17 comments and we have yet to hit the Member Feed window. Is there an ABP Anybody But Pseudodionysius conspiracy at work?

  13. Mark Stewart

    This means that Hillary Clinton’s team geared up yesterday.

  14. Pseudodionysius
    Mark Stewart: This means that Hillary Clinton’s team geared up yesterday. · 0 minutes ago

    After reading both articles, its hard to come up with an interpretation that is too cynical.

  15. Pseudodionysius

    300px-Stay-puft-marshmallow-man.jpgThe other conclusion to reach is that Mitt’s stellar debate performance likely pushed him to a dead heat or slightly ahead with the first debate and the echo effect trailed off, and then started to regress gradually till the Hurricane and New Jersey’s Stay Puft Marshmallow Man put the icing on the cake.

  16. Hoyacon

    I have to confess that I don’t know what I’m supposed to have learned from this.  What’s the moral?  Someone enlighten me.

  17. Pseudodionysius
    Hoyacon: I have to confess that I don’t know what I’m supposed to have learned from this.  What’s the moral?  Someone enlighten me. · 2 minutes ago

    The Romney campaign got carpet bombed so early and often that, combined with the primary beating, they could never recover, particularly in Ohio. To add insult to injury, the high tech number crunching whiz bang machine rolled out by Team Romney was never really in the game and the whole thing fell apart before our eyes on national television.

    In a nutshell. We got poked in the eyes, groin kicked, hog tied and then the actual beatings began.

  18. Duane Oyen

    This was essentially meaningless by itself: The Obama team started gearing up for 2012, just days after his historic 2008 victory. A few dozen Obama aides, led by field director Jeremy Bird, went back to Chicago after the election and embarked on an exhaustive investigation of the first campaign. It included interviews with hundreds of volunteers and local field directors, as well as a survey of 700,000 people involved in the campaign. The resulting 538-page report became the training bible for this year’s bid.

    Any incumbent has the advantage from day one, and this after-action document was meaningless without the context of the next election.  It didn’t define strategy, and they already had the GOTV base installed.

    Forget all this nonsense.  Mitt was right- when 50% of the country chooses to ignore the math and chooses to believe that they can get all the goodies they want by increasing taxes on the rich, it make no difference what you say or what ads you buy. 

    Our electorate is what failed, not the candidate or the campaign.  Reagan would have lost this year.

  19. Duane Oyen

    Here is a solid discussion.

    This doesn’t get fixed with tax cuts or screaming about amnesty.  Here, Jonah says something similar.

  20. Pseudodionysius

    The fact that this crap works- because large groups of voters are mindless emoters- shows that this one would not be won. 

    As Victor Davis Hanson and Paul Begala agreed, the ads were allowed to run unopposed with no response at all from the Romney campaign. So, the final word goes to Begala. I underscore the irony of a war historian, a man who makes his living sifting the entrails of winning and losing campaigns givimg on the ground reporting that corroborates what Begala said

    My old friend, former Georgia governor and senator Zell Miller, taught me that “a hit dog barks,” but Romney remained silent. I am still amazed that Romney did not respond. He allowed our little, underfunded super PAC to define him as Gordon Gekko. Without his business record, Romney was left with nothing but his charm.

    The playbook has been: Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Lyndon Johnson. Its as if they’ve run the same campaign in the same guise for 100 years, and the Republicans haven’t studied the history of their losing campaigns. Which was the point of Charles Kesler’s book I Am The Change.

    Oh, well.

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