I Hate To Defend Mitt Romney But…

Regular readers will know that Mitt Romney wasn’t necessarily my dream choice as GOP candidate. They may have inferred this from articles I have written with titles along the lines of Oh God, oh God, oh please God, no! Why Mitt? and The GOP is totally doomed! Der Krieg ist Verloren! Obama is here forever! and No, Really, Though – Anyone But Mitt!…

Nevertheless, I’d like to ask Ricochet readers: Is it just me – or is all this stuff I’m reading in the US press and even more so in the UK press about Romney being toast because of a few blunt words he spoke at a fundraiser not a little overdone?

I mean, I suppose it’s possible to conceive of things Mitt could have said or done which might have indeed resulted in Game Over. For example, he might have donned a white pointy hat and burned a cross; or maybe announced that from henceforward all workers on Wall Street are to be tax exempt because of the sterling work they do for the economy.

But is it really such a problem that we have a conservative presidential candidate who- admittedly behind closed doors – is prepared for once to tell it like it really is?

My Telegraph colleague Iain Martin says it’s not the kind of mistake Reagan would ever have made. This is true. And it goes almost without saying that Romney is no Reagan. But these are very different times.

Reagan did not have to inherit a multi-trillion-dollar debt mountain. Romney does.

Reagan lived in that golden era – golden era for the political class, at least – when it was still widely accepted by liberals and conservatives alike that one of government’s jobs was to make things better by spending money taken from the better-off through taxation. (The political argument was simply a question of degree).

That paradigm is over.

Quite how many people are aware the paradigm is over I do not know but one day, sooner or later, the markets and the economy are going to make this unavoidably clear.

One of the reasons I love America – and have so much more faith in its ability to recover from this mess than I do my own country’s – is that on the most basic level the average American gets this stuff. Thrift, hard work, limited government: it’s in your DNA.

Sure I agree with Peggy Noonan that there is much work to be done on the Romney campaign front. And again, I say he wasn’t my ideal candidate any more than he probably was yours.

But to me, this latest crisis smacks far more of the Mainstream Media’s persistent liberal bias than it does of the ground truth.

What say you, Ricochet?

  1. BrentB67

    I don’t believe the quote is harmful to him  and is just another faux crisis for the media to trumpet.

    I think telling the truth can and will be a net positive if Gov. Romney continues to do so in blunt, straightforward fashion.

    Those who were offended by the statement were not going to vote for him anyway. It is best to rally those that will support conservative truth.

  2. Kay Ludlow

    I agree. If anything, his statement shows that maybe he actually does  have a conservative bone in his body.

    What angers me most is that the media portrays this gaffe as an obvious deal breaker (Romney turns his back on Obama voters? The outrage!), while Obama can promise Russia greater flexibility after the election with barely a peep from the media.

  3. Albert Arthur

    Mr. Delingpole, I say you’ve been dumping on Romney for months on end so it’s a bit rich for you to suddenly be all, “boy this dumping on Romney from the media is a bit overblown.” Really? Mr. James “Romney is a soulless robot” Delingpole thinks that certain other reporters are being a bit unfair? Maybe if you and other people who write in the media were actually paying attention to what Romney has been saying for over a year, instead creating your own narratives (“I look into his eyes and I see nothing”), you would realize that what he said at this fundraiser is not out of the ordinary for him. Look in the mirror, Mr Delingpole. You are not guiltless in the overblown negative Romney coverage.

  4. James Delingpole

    @albertarthur. That’s a whole lot of anger there, buddy – which as an angry person myself I respect. Except what you’re doing there is shooting the messenger. It’s hardly my fault if Romney has nothing there behind the eyes, kind of like a shark, and that he’s dismal and lacklustre and worryingly corporate and nowhere near the kind of Tea Party guy one might have preferred. (Obviously I’m repeating this stuff to goad you…)

      But my position has shifted of late for two reasons. 1. The choice of Ryan as VP was intelligent – and a game changer. 2. The closer we get to suffering 4 more years of Obama, the more terrifying and to-be-averted-at-all-costs the prospect grows.

  5. Strategoist

    Hear, hear James!  Yeah, the press has been trawling for distractions from Obama’s failures at an increasing rate.  Guys like Mark Halperin, admit to it in the same breath as bashing Mitt-they are locked into a conformist herd of commie hysterics.

    Glad to read of your pragmatic support, that’s rather Yank of you. ;)

  6. Mitch Noyes

    Count me among those who find your attempts to defend Romney ring more than a bit hollow, after all the misinformed, thoughtless, flatly silly and cheap digs you’ve taken at his expense.

  7. Mel Foil

    A person may have good reasons for being in the wagon, not pulling the wagon, but if you’re a traditional American, you WANT to be pulling the wagon–not just riding along. If you’re comfortable with the free ride, then you’re already an Obama voter.

  8. Eeyore
    James Delingpole: 

    Thrift, hard work, limited government: it’s in your DNA.

    One of my constant drumbeats here at Ricochet (hoofbeats?) is that for three full school generations, the American public education system, K-16, has been using both scalpel and sledgehammer to both de- and/or re-construct the American DNA to care more about equality, diversity, fairness, non-agression (even pacifism), ignore thrift, denigrate hard work (“doing homework is too harrrrrrrd” [and that's the teachers]) and praise the Government’s role in American life. 

    I feel like the tradtional view is fighting an almost rear-guard action.

  9. At The Rubicon

    The MSM has one goal: Kill Romney at all costs. Every time Romney so much as scratches his nose the MSM claims it’s proof that he is toast. Therefore one should discount  everything they say. 

    Remember where Mitt comes from: The world of business.  Truth is a valuable commodity in the world of business.  Probably the most valuable.  Businesses that don’t face the truth and embrace it die.  

    Do you want the Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

    Truth: Probably greater than 90% of the electorate has already made up it’s mind. 

    Truth: Any money that Romney spends throwing red meat at guys like me is wasted. He’s already got my vote. Likewise, any money he spends on the hard-core Obamaphiles is wasted.

    Truth: Therefore the only logical place to spend campaign money is on the persuadable.  

    Truth: A campaign focused on persuading the persuadable will probably not appeal to you and I. You and I need to accept that.

  10. RightinChicago

    I think this will help Romney in the long run.  Now we hear from Brietbart that the “Romney Tapes” are incomplete.  There are 1 to 2 minutes missing.  I’ll just bet it includes Romney elaborating on the statement and making complete sense.

    It’s really an oppurtunity to highlight the dependency agenda of Obama and his minions.  And now we have the 1998 State Senator Obama on tape singing the praises of “redistribution”.   Couple this with Obama’s feckless foreign policy, and I smell blood in the water.

    Romney can really hit this one out of the park if he plays it right.  I think he will.

  11. Angmoh Gao

    The orgy of schadenfreude in the UK press on 47%gate is almost unbearable. Even amoung your normally sound co-commentators in the Telegraph (bar one column this morning pointing out that “normal” people don’t care about this stuff).

    Concentrate on the issues and focus in particular at the issue at the heart of this so called scandal is what I would suggest.

    Chosen a dog yet James?

  12. edwarddentzel.com

    Overdone? Absolutely. Even more than strippers dancing to “You Can Leave Your Hat On.” (Not that I would personally know.)

  13. RobininIthaca

    Well, since last week’s meme didn’t work out (Romney jumps the shark on Libyan embassy attacks), we’re on to a new campaign “failure” this week. 

    Fortunately, the Romney campaign had to endure the same load of manure during the primaries and has obviously learned some lessons.  I don’t see Romney waffling or backtracking.  He might be awkward in his explanations, but I’m going to give credit to the American people here and say that it seems like they understand what he is trying to say.  They don’t need the polish and the fine words delivered perfectly.  They want a guy who gets it.  Much to my surprise, Romney seems to get it.  After hearing more about his life, I can see why. 

    We don’t need another Reagan.  We need a guy who gets it and can say with confidence, “I can fix this.”  Romney just might be that guy – the right person at the right time. 

  14. Chris Deleon

    Romney has always gotten at best a great big MEH from me. But this really just shows the media narrative’s wishful thinking. It is a tempest in a teapot, and if Romney backs away from the statement he is a “consensus”-fearing fool.

  15. At The Rubicon

    I should point out Mr Delingpole that the title of your piece is “I hate to defend Romney”.  That tells us what camp you are really in. Almost everyone here is eager to defend Romney.

    Perhaps if you really ‘hate to defend Romney’ then you’ve picked the wrong venue.

  16. Richard VanderHoek

    “But to me, this latest crisis smacks far more of the Mainstream Media’s persistent liberal bias than it does of the ground truth.”

    Then explain the complete meltdown at NRO yesterday. 

  17. James Delingpole

    @atherubicon. Petulant? Toi?

  18. Hartmann von Aue

    I have thought the whole thing inane from the very start but found all the shrieking and yammering from conservatives to be the most contemptible part of it  (see comments posted on the member thread yesterday). 

  19. EJHill

    James – You’re a modern day Judy Garland in Broadway Melody of 2012!


  20. James Delingpole


    NRO, it strikes me, is either very very right or extremely wrong. I thought, for example, it was extremely wrong over the John Derbyshire “racism” issue.

Want to comment on stories like these? Become a member today!

You'll have access to:

  • All Ricochet articles, posts and podcasts.
  • The conversation amongst our members.
  • The opportunity share your Ricochet experiences.

Join Today!

Already a Member? Sign In