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?

There are 49 comments.

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  1. Inactive

    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.

    • #1
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:04 am
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  2. Member

    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.

    • #2
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:13 am
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  3. Thatcher

    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.

    • #3
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:14 am
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  4. Contributor
    James Delingpole Post author

    @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.

    • #4
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:24 am
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  5. Member

    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. ;)

    • #5
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:27 am
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  6. Inactive

    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.

    • #6
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:31 am
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  7. Inactive

    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.

    • #7
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:37 am
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  8. Member
    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.

    • #8
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:39 am
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  9. Inactive

    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.

    • #9
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:39 am
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  10. Member

    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.

    • #10
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:41 am
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  11. Inactive

    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?

    • #11
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:45 am
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  12. Inactive

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

    • #12
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:45 am
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  13. Inactive

    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.

    • #13
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:50 am
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  14. Member

    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.

    • #14
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:51 am
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  15. Inactive

    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.

    • #15
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:51 am
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  16. Member

    “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. 

    • #16
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:51 am
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  17. Contributor
    James Delingpole Post author

    @atherubicon. Petulant? Toi?

    • #17
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:53 am
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  18. Member

    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). 

    • #18
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:53 am
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  19. Contributor

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


    • #19
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:55 am
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  20. Contributor
    James Delingpole Post author


    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.

    • #20
    • September 19, 2012 at 6:58 am
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  21. Member


    As you recall, I was right there with you on we need radical (in my Case Ron Paul) in order to reverse the course of this county. However, I defend Mitt’s comments wholeheartedly.

    For the first time in a long time (the last time being in 2008) I have (*ashamed*) engaged in Facebook Wars. It is almost as if no one on the left, and media knew that there is an entitlements issue in this country.

    Yes, yes, he could have had more finesse, yada, yada, yada… I don’t care.

    He said what he said because, like me, he is not happy about the growth of entitlement mentality. So he has some [Expletive]s. Check.

    He’s got the media talking about the numbers etc. related to entitlements. Check!

    He is standing by his statements. Check!

    He has balanced budgets in the past. Check!

    What is not to defend? Plus – I am not religious nor a “bot” – I am perfectly capable of defending a person’s stance on one matter and disagreeing with him on other matters. 

    Big Tent. Check!

    • #21
    • September 19, 2012 at 7:00 am
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  22. Member

    AUSon, who is diligently studying and teaching recitations in grad school, doesn’t have much time to see the news right now. Since his primary source is Politico (I know, I know) he called yesterday to see what happened. He was only slightly mollified to hear the whole story.

    The problem will be those who are not really engaged — for whatever reason — will think the whole race is over. 

    • #22
    • September 19, 2012 at 7:01 am
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  23. Member

     James Delingpole:

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

    This is a rhetorical question, right?

    • #23
    • September 19, 2012 at 7:02 am
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  24. Inactive
    James Delingpole: 

    NRO, it strikes me, is either very very right or extremely wrong.

    Ironic how well this describes yourself.

    • #24
    • September 19, 2012 at 7:02 am
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  25. Inactive
    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. · 5 minutes ago

    Edited 4 minutes ago

    They have melted down about everything! Good grief – I can’t spend any time there anymore. For some reason, everyone seems convinced that we need a perfect candidate. I don’t know about you all, but I don’t know anyone who is perfect, and those who profess to be pretty darn close are delusional.

    I admire Romney for sticking to his guns both this week and last week in the face of all this weeping and gnashing of teeth and getting on with it. I am furious that the national media is not giving us a better sense of what the campaigns are doing on any given day. Romney and Ryan have been all but ignored when things are going well – lots of people showing up for rallies and responding positively to the message. Obama having trouble filling venues. NRO could be doing a much better job of campaign coverage than what we’re getting.

    • #25
    • September 19, 2012 at 7:03 am
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  26. Inactive

    During the recent Middle-East fiasco, many Leftist propaganda agents were worried that their man was sunk. This was just a rebound opportunity for them, and to take attention away from how bad Obama really is when it comes to … anything.

    • #26
    • September 19, 2012 at 7:15 am
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  27. Thatcher
    James Delingpole: @albertarthur.

    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. · 45 minutes ago

    I would respectfully point out that 1) “the choice” of Ryan was not passively made (by the universe?). Romney made that choice. Romney, the man you’ve consistently been so dismissive towards. Romney did something you like. You can’t even say it without being prompted. And 2) maybe you feel the urgency only now, but I live in this country and I’ve felt the urgency for 4 years. And your carping on Romney has not been helpful.

    • #27
    • September 19, 2012 at 7:16 am
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  28. Member

    I’m always hearing Reagan lovers claim “Reagan would never do that.” That’s not how I remember it. He was supposedly very gaffe prone when he was running and during his presidency, a pervasive media critique despite its lack of substance. What was it, trees cause more pollution than automobiles? Ketchup is a vegetable? These criticisms are just as absurd as those over the Romney tape. So I guess I need to ask Peggy Noonan: if you can never ever ever ever speak honestly—and what he did was speak honestly, not dismissively, like his political rival—what good is speaking? Also, we don’t know what elicited his answer. He may well have been asked a horse race question. Noonan is often very sharp, but sometimes she’s way too dreamy. The trick will be how Romney handles it. I listened to him give a speech the other day and was just “Oh my my my. Terrible!” But he’s quite good at answering questions. He should stop giving speeches and instead hold town hall type meetings and explain to folks that not thinking government is the answer is not the same as not wanting to find one.

    • #28
    • September 19, 2012 at 7:43 am
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  29. Inactive

    Jim Geraghty in his Morning Jolt explains it better than I can (which probably explains why he gets paid to write and I don’t… yet).

    Clearly, it was the worst disaster since Romney’s comments on the attacks on our embassy . . . which, judging from the tracking polls, didn’t affect the race much at all. Heck, it might have helped him, or at least the response to the embassy attacks was more damaging to the president’s poll numbers, or perhaps neither had much of an impact, and what we’re seeing is the natural poll decline of a convention bump fading.

    Or it was the worst disaster since the bizarre, meandering Clint Eastwood prime time speech . . . which didn’t affect the race much at all. Or the worst disaster since the British press’s apoplectic reaction to Romney’s even-toned, modest comments about problems in the security preparations for the Olympics . . . which didn’t affect the race much at all.

    I think this is just another leftymedia-created Scandal of the Week that won’t really affect things.

    • #29
    • September 19, 2012 at 7:45 am
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  30. Inactive

    Right on James! I suspect the MSM is scared that the issue could become a key point of discussion in a debate and that would be troubling for the liberal cause!

    • #30
    • September 19, 2012 at 8:14 am
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