Romney, Still Supremely Confident

 

In the Washington Examiner, Byron York has a fascinating after-action report:

They won’t say it publicly — they don’t want to appear churlish or disrespectful on a night they took a serious beating — but it’s no exaggeration to say that even after losing the South Carolina primary to Newt Gingrich, members of Mitt Romney’s circle find it absurd — almost crazy — that the former House speaker has even a ghost of a chance of becoming the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

newt.jpgRomney’s circle has a point.  With the Florida primary just days away, Newt Gingrich still lacks the big campaign organization and overflowing coffers he’ll need to compete effectively in the fourth most populous state in the nation.  Perhaps even more to point, the Romney campaign has been urging Florida’s Republicans to vote early, and by some estimates as much as 30 percent of primary voters have already done so, casting their ballots when Romney remained dominant. 

On the other hand, to quote Byron York once again, there’s this:

Gingrich’s campaign was also faster and more nimble than the Romney battleship. “There is a very strong contrast between the two campaign organizations,” said Gingrich adviser (and former George W. Bush administration official) Kevin Kellems.  “In military terms, it’s speed versus mass.  Newt Gingrich’s operation, and Newt Gingrich as a man, has a great deal of speed — intellectual speed, decisiveness.  The Romney campaign is much more about money and size, having hired half of Washington D.C.  And sometimes, speed beats mass.”

It certainly did this time.  In the next few days, there will be plenty of analysis attributing Gingrich’s victory to other factors: his commanding performances in debate, his next-door advantage in South Carolina, and Romney’s now-traditional difficulties in the state.  But after all the talk of ground game and debate war, there’s a simpler reason Gingrich won: On the stump, in town hall after town hall, across South Carolina, Gingrich has been a markedly better campaigner than Romney.

Next stop, Florida–and we shall see.

In the meantime, read Byron’s article in full right here.

There are 58 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CrowsNest

    I heard a totally groundless media rumor that after the SC primary, Gingrich and Romney and staffers met backstage. The transcript of the conversation:

    Romney: The, uh, plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies room.

    Gingrich: No, no, no, boys, there’s 2 “O’s” in N00t.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @dogsbody
    Stuart Creque

    I cited it to reinforce your point. · 2 minutes ago

    Ah, I see! Thanks. Slow on the uptake, I am. Talk like Yoda I do, also.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MrDart

    Turnout in Iowa was up 3% from 2008. In New Hampshire it was up 4%. Turnout in South Carolina was up 35% over 2008 Republican Primary totals. Now some of that was because we were voting on a Saturday instead of a Tuesday this time, but we also were having heavy thunderstorms and tornado warnings mid-day in the Upstate and Midlands.

    Over 600,000 voters when most estimates were for 450-475,000.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque
    James Of England

    Would you say that this was true in Iowa and New Hampshire? Why did Newt’s connecting and superior campaign skills result in his coming, respectively, 4th place and 5th place?

    Could it have had something to do with Romney’s SuperPAC bombarding the Iowa airwaves with negative ads about Newt? At a time when Newt was sticking to his pledge to run a positive campaign?

    It seems it took a few weeks for the voters to process those attacks and dismiss them as so much garbage. In that time, Romney made taunting statements that Newt needed to have broad shoulders and get used to getting attacked in light of what Obama would do in the general election.

    When Newt’s SuperPAC threw a scow-load of garbage back at Romney, Mitt’s taunts came back to plague him. Suddenly the idea of SuperPAC negative advertising was somehow distasteful to him. And yet, in light of his admonition to Newt to be ready for the Obama attacks, Mitt was strangely weak in refuting Newt’s SuperPAC.

    I’d say that Newt is now running a far superior campaign. We’ll see if Florida bears that out.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NoesisNoeseos

    From York’s article:

    The Romney campaign is much more about money and size, having hired half of Washington D.C. [emphasis mine]

    Newt will find a way to turn this revelation to his advantage, no?

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Palaeologus

    …but it’s no exaggeration to say that even after losing the South Carolina primary to Newt Gingrich, members of Mitt Romney’s circle find it absurd — almost crazy — that the former House speaker has even a ghost of a chance of becoming the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

    Fine, go ahead and feel that way… today. After that there’s no more time to waste on incredulity.

    Newt wants this. Do you Mitt?

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Leveret

    I noted this in the York piece:

    In their view, Gingrich has barely run a campaign. As they see it, Team Gingrich doesn’t have the money, professionalism, brains, or organization of the Romney campaign. They see the former Speaker as somewhat unstable and vulnerable to continued attack on issues of ethics and morals. And most of all, they see Gingrich as a candidate who owes his very existence to the never-ending series of Republican debates — and not much more.

    I think back to Patton blunting Rommel’s attack in North Africa and yelling at the Panzers, “Rommel, you magnificent bastard! I read your book!”

    Time for Mitt Rommel — sorry, Mitt Romney — to read Newt “Patton” Gingrich’s book, if he wants to figure out how to counter his campaign. Or he could just continue to dismiss Newt’s campaign as non-existent and watch as it marches over him. · 28 minutes ago

    Whereas Romney’s channelling Monty, about it was said:

    I thought he (Montgomery) was very cautious, considering his immensely superior strength … In modern mobile warfare the tactics are not the main thing. The decisive factor is the organization of one’s resources to maintain the momentum.

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Leveret

    Except Monty was never bested in the campaign (at least not after El Alamein) – unlike Romney, rightly described as the ‘weak juggernaut’ by Jonah Goldberg.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @jetstream
    Percival: This has been bothering me for a while.

    … the Elite departed controlled flight …

    I still don’t have a dog in this fight —

    That’s what happens when they put in too much angle of attack and then start moving the ailerons … oops … some have used that tactic when they were the dog in the fight … although, not really in the repertoire pterodactyls :-) mostly a phantom phlyer thing

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Pseudodionysius

    “I can’t believe I’m losing to this idiot”

    John Kerry, 2004

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque
    Leveret: Except Monty was never bested in the campaign (at least not after El Alamein) – unlike Romney, rightly described as the ‘weak juggernaut’ by Jonah Goldberg. · 4 minutes ago

    Note that Montgomery tried to get credit for being audacious with Operation Market-Garden. I can see Mitt’s team coming up with something similar, and similar reaching a bridge too far.

    By the way, the juggernaut is the giant cart used in the Ratha Yatra festival procession in Hindu worship. Carrying an image of Krishna in his incarnation Jagganath as well as two other idols, the cart is so huge that numerous worshippers fall (or throw themselves) under its wheels and are utterly crushed.

    “Weak juggernaut” is a delicious oxymoron. The image of the vehicle intended to crush everything in its path instead rolling harmlessly over those before it is reminiscent of Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisitors: “Prepare — the COMFY CHAIR!”

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Member
    @PaulFB

    If Mr. Romney refuses to learn how to win the nomination and the election, then he should just pack up and go home. Mr. Gingrich will slide in, and, Obama can continue with 4 more years of the un-ending demise of the United States as Our country, which was founded on the prinicples of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the very thoughtful Federalist Papers of our founding Fathers. Euro-America will then be complete…..what a very, very sad State of Affairs!

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Leveret
    Stuart Creque

    Leveret: Except Monty was never bested in the campaign (at least not after El Alamein) – unlike Romney, rightly described as the ‘weak juggernaut’ by Jonah Goldberg. · 4 minutes ago

    Note that Montgomery tried to get credit for being audacious with Operation Market-Garden. I can see Mitt’s team coming up with something similar, and similar reaching a bridge too far.

    Meant the North Africa campaign, but very good point.

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque
    anonymous

    James Of England

    Would you say that this was true in Iowa and New Hampshire? Why did Newt’s connecting and superior campaign skills result in his coming, respectively, 4th place and 5th place?

    Newt is almost certainly the current beneficiary of the “not Romney” sentiment, But that vote is formidable; here is a tabulation of “not Romney” in the contests so far:
    • Iowa 75%
    • New Hampshire 60%
    • South Carolina 72%
    Newt’s numbers reflect the distaste of the primary electorate with the next guy in line more than his merits. And yet, despite his flaws, I believe he does connect with a base which is sick and tired of apologetic moderates kowtowing to enemy media rather than engaging them in the battle which must be won if individual liberty is to be preserved.

    Here is not-Romney-not-Paul:

    • Iowa: 54%
    • New Hampshire: 38%
    • South Carolina: 59%

    In New Hampshire, Romney actually beat the not-Romney-not-Paul option.

    We will see what happens in Florida. The latest Real Clear Politics average shows Romney at 40.5% versus 50% for not-Romney-not-Paul, but none of the polls going into that average reflect SC’s effect.

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Inactive
    @ConservativeEpiscopalian

    What’s with the two photographs there Peter? Romney looks like he just crawled out of the bar at first light and is looking for a cigarette. Gingrich looks attentive and smart, like he is getting ready to answer a question on Lean Six Sigma for Federal workers. Is a photo worth a thousand comments on yesterday’s primary?

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Inactive
    @WhiskeySam
    Embittered Redleg

    tabula rasa:

    2-7 Colo. (caucus); Minn. (caucus); Missouri (non-binding primary) (anyone have a feel for these?)

    · 20 minutes ago

    Newt missed the filing deadline for Missouri, so that’s out.

    I don’t think anyone has a natural advantage in Colorado or Minnesota, so those will be interesting to watch. · 1 hour ago

    How many states is Gingrich not even going to be on the ballot? He’s not on VA either. If this stays tight, forfeiting any chance of those two states could be the difference.

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MarkE
    Whiskey Sam

    Embittered Redleg

    tabula rasa:

    2-7 Colo. (caucus); Minn. (caucus); Missouri (non-binding primary) (anyone have a feel for these?)

    · 20 minutes ago

    Newt missed the filing deadline for Missouri, so that’s out.

    I don’t think anyone has a natural advantage in Colorado or Minnesota, so those will be interesting to watch. · 1 hour ago

    How many states is Gingrich not even going to be on the ballot? He’s not on VA either. If this stays tight, forfeiting any chance of those two states could be the difference. · 21 minutes ago

    He doesn’t have a full slate for Tennessee, a Super Tuesday state.

    But as bad as Newt’s organizational problems are, Santorum’s are worse.

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Member
    @Sisyphus
    Stuart Creque

    Leveret: Montgomery v Patton?

    I noted this in the York piece:

    In their view, Gingrich has barely run a campaign. As they see it, Team Gingrich doesn’t have the money, professionalism, brains, or organization of the Romney campaign. They see the former Speaker as somewhat unstable and vulnerable to continued attack on issues of ethics and morals. And most of all, they see Gingrich as a candidate who owes his very existence to the never-ending series of Republican debates — and not much more.

    I think back to Patton blunting Rommel’s attack in North Africa and yelling at the Panzers, “Rommel, you magnificent bastard! I read your book!”

    Time for Mitt Rommel — sorry, Mitt Romney — to read Newt “Patton” Gingrich’s book, if he wants to figure out how to counter his campaign. Or he could just continue to dismiss Newt’s campaign as non-existent and watch as it marches over him.

    Disparaging the candidate and campaign that is thrashing you is a poor substitute for competence. No further explanation required for that whole second place thing.

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque
    Conservative Episcopalian: What’s with the two photographs there Peter? Romney looks like he just crawled out of the bar at first light and is looking for a cigarette. Gingrich looks attentive and smart, like he is getting ready to answer a question on Lean Six Sigma for Federal workers. Is a photo worth a thousand comments on yesterday’s primary? · 49 minutes ago

    Romney’s photo is more reminiscent of Rodney Dangerfield.

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Moderator
    @JamesOfEngland
    anonymous

    James Of England

    Newt is almost certainly the current beneficiary of the “not Romney” sentiment, But that vote is formidable; here is a tabulation of “not Romney” in the contests so far:

    • Iowa 75%
    • New Hampshire 60%
    • South Carolina 72%
    Newt’s numbers reflect the distaste of the primary electorate with the next guy in line more than his merits. And yet, despite his flaws, I believe he does connect with a base which is sick and tired of apologetic moderates kowtowing to enemy media rather than engaging them in the battle which must be won if individual liberty is to be preserved. ·

    You might get a clearer picture if you did not include Ron Paul’s votes and Huntsman’s as ABRs. Some of Huntsman’s peeps will go to Gingrich, but it’s definitely not a solid ABR vote (nor is Santorum’s, for that matter).

    Add Santorum + Newt + Perry and you get Iowa: 48%, New Hampshire: 19%, South Carolina: 57%. It’s still formidable, but assuming you don’t believe that all Santorum voters prefer Newt to Mitt, perfectly manageable.

    Not Newt vote (Mitt + Santorum): Iowa: 50%, New Hampshire: 48%, South Carolina: 45%.

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @Percival
    jetstream

    Percival: This has been bothering me for a while.

    … the Elite departed controlled flight …

    I still don’t have a dog in this fight —

    That’s what happens when they put in too much angle of attack and then start moving the ailerons … oops … some have used that tactic when they were the dog in the fight … although, not really in the repertoire pterodactyls :-) mostly a phantom phlyer thing · 2 hours ago

    A pterodactyl callback! I wish I could find my old logo. It was a picture thatlooked like this:

    3524.jpg

    with the caption “Phantom R4 — Yeah, What’re You Lookin’ At?

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KTCat

    What if organization doesn’t mean as much as everyone says it does?

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe
    K T Cat: What if organization doesn’t mean as much as everyone says it does? · 2 minutes ago

    An excellent question! And in the days of the great debates, the game may have changed a lot.

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Pseudodionysius

    The punditocracy can wax indignant all they want about Newt. Right now, today, I’ll pocket my Angelo Codevilla and Thomas Sowell trading cards and take the Newt debate home runs. Regardless of how it turns out, Newt was left for dead by the news media twice in this cycle and got up both times and blew it right out of the park.

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Inactive
    @user_83937

    It is complete nonsense that @ 30% of FL has already voted; FL shortened early voting and, for most areas, it’s just beginning. Only a very few areas that are subject to DOJ approval for voting rules changes (e.g., heavily liberal Tampa, Kathy Caster’s District) already started voting last week. Who cares how Tampa votes, in a GOP primary?

    Also remember, that although FL is big (will probably surpass NY this year, with a net 1,000/day moving in), only half of FL are being seated at the convention, due to moving the primary up. FL is important, but no longer anything but an average state, as delegates to the convention.

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Inactive
    @dogsbody
    jetstream

    Percival: This has been bothering me for a while.

    … the Elite departed controlled flight …

    I still don’t have a dog in this fight —

    That’s what happens when they put in too much angle of attack and then start moving the ailerons … oops … some have used that tactic when they were the dog in the fight … although, not really in the repertoire pterodactyls :-) mostly a phantom phlyer thing · 4 hours ago

    Even the very humble Cessna 150 will do interesting things if one starts moving the ailerons in a stall… did that on my second solo and lost about 500 feet of altitude…

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KenSweeney
    Percival:

    I still don’t have a dog in this fight — I’m just watching the fight and hoping the winner of the preliminary goes on to win the final. · 5 hours ago

    The real problem is that there is no “fight in this dog” that is Romney’s anemic campaign. Brombides and no red meat for conservatives. SC reacted to Newt’s fire and passion.

    Mark Styen over at the Corner has it exactly right.

    And where, among all the dough he’s handing out, is the rapid-response team? Newt’s “spontaneous” indignation at John King was carefully crafted by Gingrich himself. By contrast, Mitt has a ton of consultants, and not one of them thought he needed a credible answer on Bain or taxes? For a guy running as a chief exec applying proven private-sector solutions, his campaign looks awfully like an unreformable government bureaucracy: big, bloated, overstaffed, burning money, slow to react, and all but impossible to change…Mitt needs to get good real fast: A real speech, real plan, real responses, and real fire in the belly. Does he have it in him?

    • #27
  28. Profile Photo Member
    @Guruforhire

    Remember on the Ricochet Podcast a few weeks (Or months) ago, Rob Long was talking about the problems with trying to write an edgy sitcom and have it sponsored by Sony(?). Their rigorous focus testing and all that is great for a consumer product, but doesnt for media for a few reasons.

    I think it is one of the better metaphors for this primary.

    That and his more recent Martini Shot.

    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Inactive
    @jetstream
    dogsbody

    jetstream

    Percival:

    Even the very humble Cessna 150 will do interesting things if one starts moving the ailerons in a stall… did that on my second solo and lost about 500 feet of altitude… · 2 hours ago

    dogs … departing normal flight in a phantom is somewhat different than a stall … regardless of airspeed, say 400 knots, once the angle of attack reaches 22 units on the “hard wing” D model (higher for the E with leading edge slats) using the aileron causes the phantom to tumble, the wings take on the characteristics of rudders and using aileron causes adverse yaw and a wild out of control ride … at high angles of attack the ailerons have to be neutral …

    … a Navy pilot, with a MiG in tow, used this characteristic, with a somewhat different entry technique, to tumble his phantom and cause the MiG to overshoot and then sent the MiG an AIM care package

    • #29
  30. Profile Photo Inactive
    @jetstream
    Percival

    jetstream

    Percival:

    That’s what happens when they put in too much angle of attack and then start moving the ailerons … oops … some have used that tactic when they were the dog in the fight … although, not really in the repertoire pterodactyls :-) mostly a phantom phlyer thing · 2 hours ago
    A pterodactyl callback! I wish I could find my old logo. It was a picture thatlooked like this:

    with the caption “Phantom R4 — Yeah, What’re You Lookin’ At? · 5 hours ago

    Pterodactyl Sidewinderus with adaptive sparrow markings, numerous sightings 40 years ago in Southeast Asia … known to be aggressive around the fishbed-c

    refuel.jpg

    • #30
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