Mitt Romney’s circular circus of a stump speech

posted at 4:25 pm on January 23, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Contrary to popular perception, I am no more in the bag for Mitt Romney than I am for Newt Gingrich. In fact, I was concerned about Romney long before I learned to be concerned about Gingrich. I’ve also come to appreciate the strengths of both — and will support either should he become the GOP nominee. Until then, though, I’ll continue to write about weaknesses as I see them.

As Mark Steyn pointed out yesterday and other (liberal) analysts quickly picked up on, one of Romney’s most superficial flaws is his tendency to repeat his talking points verbatim from debate to debate and stump speech to stump speech. All the candidates do this to a certain extent, but the rest of them have mastered the art of at least seeming to be speaking off the cuff. The first time I heard Romney say Barack Obama wants to turn this nation into an entitlement nation while he wants to preserve it as an opportunity nation, I nodded approvingly. The 19th or so time I heard him say it, my eyes glazed over. Repetition is a vital part of messaging and not all viewers watch all the debates and read stump speech transcripts, but Romney could easily find new words for the same concepts if he cared to.

Similarly, when I first learned the slogan of his campaign was “Believe in America,” I liked it. But, when I read this quote plucked from a stump speech by Steyn, I shared Steyn’s frustration with Romney’s ineffectual emotional pandering backed by no real emotion.

“I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.”

I still halfway hope the quote isn’t an actual quote at all, but just a Steyn parody of a Romney quote. Surely?

As Buzzfeed wryly observes, this is the sort of thing Stephen Colbert would say in a Colbert Report monologue. Then again, Colbert wouldn’t be very funny if his viewers didn’t already know deep down that all politicians are just a step away from this degree of ridiculousness.

Update (Allahpundit): When I read that Romney “quote” last night in Steyn’s post, I thought it was satire, not an actual quotation. I still think so, but I admit that it’s ambiguous — enough so that, per a quick googling, a lot of people seem to have taken it at face value. (Unless I missed something in the search results, that sentence never appeared online before Steyn’s Corner item yesterday.) The fact that we’re even debating whether it’s genuine only proves his point, though. That “quote” sits right on the line between giggly Alice-in-Wonderland nonsense and the sort of vacuous poll-tested buzzwords about America that Romney uses to mask his ideological problems with the base. How can anyone doubt his conservatism when he clearly really, really, really loves America? If Gingrich upsets him in Florida, in a week or two Mitt will be wearing an American-flag lapel pin the size of his head. In its own way, it’s as cynical a pander as Newt throwing roundhouses at John King to make grassroots righties swoon and then complimenting him after the debate on what a great job he did as moderator. The difference is, Gingrich can at least speak with conviction about conservatism. Romney can only give you some of the window dressing and hope that’s enough.


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That does not sound like someone who is convinced that Obama Care is wrong, why mandates are wrong. You can sit here and say he had to do it, but no he did not have to sign anything. He may have suffered politically in Massachusetts, but would have won support nationwide.

What will Romney do if he has a liberal congress, god for bid, by 2016? Will he stand up and fight or will he roll over again?

William Eaton on January 23, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Yes that’s right, he should have been purist and seen the state adopt government paid medical care. Sure, it sucks, but he could make speeches bragging about what a fine conservative he was.

MJBrutus on January 23, 2012 at 6:30 PM

I see a major split in the GOP coming before 2016. There is no way we win this year with either Romney or Gingrich, so there is going to be no uniting behind a new President. That’s about the only thing that might give our party time to heal. I’ve never felt worse about the future of the GOP.

McDuck on January 23, 2012 at 5:56 PM

I did feel worse, Novemeber, 2008.

The conservative base won’t be ignored anymore, we’re sick of being told this is the guy, he’s not one of you, but trust us,… that worked in 08, sure as Hell ain’t selling now. The better choices never ran, of the rest who did, one by one, they were attacked and destroyed by a wholely hostile media clearing the field for Obama.

So we’re left with the establishment media choice,.. a guy who can’t attract conservatives, because we don’t buy the act. Newt may be a nearly perfect bastard, but tell me who else is left?

The base rejects Romney,..

the party establishment and it’s supporters, say, “so what”.. do as we tell you, isn’t any way to get conservatives to back him, why can’t some folks get that? Offer up another choice or two, because there is no motivation in supporting Romney..

mark81150 on January 23, 2012 at 6:33 PM

More conservative than Newt. As was Reagan, he was Govenor of a liberal state and had to manage it as required.
FlaMurph on January 23, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Talk about extremely poor education and no idea about historical facts. Back in the ’70s CA was still a Republican state. The downslide started with the same moron who is in charge now. Back in the ’70s CA state did not have to be “managed as required” since back then there were no government run unions, they only got a foothold in the state with that same moron who is in charge now. Last Republican governor was, in fact, elected back in early to mid ’90s, none since and don’t even kid yourself into arguing that Arnold is a Republican. Same as Romney he is a liberal hiding under a mask of Republican. I live here in this sh*thole, that is at least until Friday morning upon which time we are moving to another state and will leave “managing as required” to the communists who live and run this state.

Try reading sometimes, history is an interesting subject and Newt is one of the best historians around. Main reason I was laughing hard when Santorum a week ago tried to persuade people it was Santorum who was responsible for retaking the Congress, it was Santorum wo was responsible for balanced budgets and on and on and on. According to Santorum none of these were Newt’s work. All lies, of course. I guess enough of them bought his obvious BS, have no idea why Newt didn’t dress him down on the spot, but in light of the likes of you who have no idea what is being discussed he let it go. Santorum, same as Romney long time ago, lost me as supporter that night.

riddick on January 23, 2012 at 6:34 PM

I’m off to USF and tonight’s RINOplasty. Got a good seat, too.

Hasta la vista, Mittbots.

spiritof61 on January 23, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Fools on an errand. The objective is to make America a more prosperous, free and secure nation. Political power plays and games are for banana republics which, thanks to donkey and elephant obsessions, is just what we are becoming.

MJBrutus on January 23, 2012 at 6:16 PM

So, what you are saying is the stuff that makes us a more prosperous nation are those things the established Washington GOP push for. Like no child left behind. medicare part D. Failure to reign in the GSEs in the 2003 time frame when GWBush was already notified there was a problem. This list is about 300,000 GOP Established law pages long.

Is that really your argument?

astonerii on January 23, 2012 at 6:37 PM

In the state of MA, the people overwhelmingly decided that no person would be refused health care in their state. There is no getting around that fact. So, you tell me, what do you suppose is the best way to pay for health care under such a constraint?

MJBrutus on January 23, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Nobody had been refused health care. Ever. If you need medical help, you go the hospital, you get helped.

Paying for it, is another matter.

portlandon on January 23, 2012 at 6:38 PM

astonerii on January 23, 2012 at 6:37 PM

You have a real problem with rational thought. First off, you say you object to business as usual from Congress, yet you are in the tank for the ultimate DC insider! You rightly rail against the GSE’s yet your guy lobbied for them after he was through legislating on their behalf! You want to fight against Medicare part D by backing a guy who used his influence to get it passed!

Romney never spent a day working for the Feds as either a Congress critter or a lobbyist. He made his name by turning struggling private businesses around through superior management.

You want to solve the problem of millions of laws and regulations by getting behind one of the more influential authors of much of them. That’s your argument.

MJBrutus on January 23, 2012 at 6:43 PM

The fact that we’re even debating whether [Romney's quote is] genuine only proves his point, though.

I think the only thing it proves is we’re way too lazy to put a little elbow grease into our analysis. Like, finding out whether or not it’s an actual quotation or just simply repeating what a well known satirist says then talking about how Romney actually does say things like that.

Talking about repetition is one thing. I agree with that assessment: Romney is extremely repetitive. However, talking about someone’s incoherence in the next sentence and pretending it’s the same thing when there are no examples…well that’s lazy. While repetitive, Romney is not incoherent.

Nob on January 23, 2012 at 6:46 PM

tommyhawk on January 23, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Your ignorance is stunning. You obviously are clueless about what has happened there over the last 10 years.

BacaDog on January 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM

That does not sound like someone who is convinced that Obama Care is wrong, why mandates are wrong. You can sit here and say he had to do it, but no he did not have to sign anything. He may have suffered politically in Massachusetts, but would have won support nationwide.

What will Romney do if he has a liberal congress, god for bid, by 2016? Will he stand up and fight or will he roll over again?

William Eaton on January 23, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Yes that’s right, he should have been purist and seen the state adopt government paid medical care. Sure, it sucks, but he could make speeches bragging about what a fine conservative he was.

MJBrutus on January 23, 2012 at 6:30 PM

In the state of MA, the people overwhelmingly decided that no person would be refused health care in their state. There is no getting around that fact. So, you tell me, what do you suppose is the best way to pay for health care under such a constraint?

MJBrutus on January 23, 2012 at 5:52 PM

The impetus for the 2006 reform was not the threat of single- payer, but the fear that the Feds would shut off a particular money spigot, which had been flowing at the rate of $385 million/year in special payments to a couple of large providers. (These were not regular Medicaid “matching” funds, but additional dollars that the state had secured under a special arrangement with the Feds.) The Feds said that the state had to find a way to convert those payments to support uninsured individuals rather than continuing to reimburse providers directly. Doing so did not require an individual mandate, an employer mandate (albeit a weak one), or a new regulatory body. But we got all three.

Single-payer (or more ambiguous “universal coverage”) bills pop up every few years, and they generally poll pretty well. But they’ve never really gained any traction in the legislature…until now, thanks to the disappointing results of the 2006 reforms.

Just Sayin on January 23, 2012 at 7:03 PM

To clarify, if we pick Newt, it’ll be because if you have to paint conservative on his forehead to get anyone to think he might be…

You picked poorly.

He’s a lousey campaigner, can’t connect with people, and this is the best we could do? Really? We should have owned this year, Obama bungling has made him a running joke, especially in my Ohio. We’re near depresion era in joblessness,.. I’ve got two sis in laws and their kids under my wing because they can’t find work, or make it as single moms.

The best the party could do?

Mitt Romney?

gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………..

It’s hopeless to talk sense to the Romney crew.. they are determined to pick a gracious looser. Many will still try and say McCain was the right choice,.. they never ever learn that you can’t play by the media and establishments rules.

mark81150 on January 23, 2012 at 7:07 PM

bout a 4x4x4 stack. and sell it to some city slicker liberal as full cord.

t8stlikchkn on January 23, 2012 at 5:26 PM

That greedy capitalist woodchuck! :)

PatriotGal2257 on January 23, 2012 at 7:15 PM

O/T but interesting:

http://www.wnd.com/2012/01/soros-occupy-to-turn-violent/

Who would be better at dealing with this? A president Gingrich or a President Romney?

Cleombrotus on January 23, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Cleombrotus on January 23, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Soros funded groups rioting?.. that sounds like a threat,.. one I’m sure the skull faced bast^rd would love to carry out. I’d trust Newt on that one, Romney would be waaaaay to quick to play nice.. but like the man said,..

Mr. Rat, I have a writ here that says you are to stop eating Chen Lee’s cornmeal forthwith. Now, It’s a rat writ, writ for a rat, and this is lawful service of same! [to Mattie] See? He doesn’t pay any attention to me. [shoots the rat] You can’t serve papers on a rat, baby sister. You either kill him or let him be.

Occupy is a rat,..

To be dealt with accordingly..

mark81150 on January 23, 2012 at 7:35 PM

Tina,

One of the twelve steps in getting over your Romney bias is to admit that your posts have NOT at all been neutral, objective, and simply a presentation of the facts.

Hopefully we will see less and less of these cheesy, gushy “Romney is the most electable” posts.

Newt has proven your theory invalid!

Sparky5253 on January 23, 2012 at 7:42 PM

astonerii on January 23, 2012 at 6:37 PM

You have a real problem with rational thought. First off, you say you object to business as usual from Congress, yet you are in the tank for the ultimate DC insider!

You call him an insider, but he was to the RIGHT of Reagan according to Reagan’s Diary. Newt wanted to cap all spending, Reagan chose to allow the Democrats to increase all spending.

You rightly rail against the GSE’s yet your guy lobbied for them after he was through legislating on their behalf!

You are a LIAR and I will not stand for it. You are dispicable to bring up such lies that have been debunked forever. Feel free to proove he was a lobbyist, he was a paid consultant, and to argue against having highly qualified conservatives helping to consult on the GSEs certainly seems like you are arguing that they are not liberal enough?

You want to fight against Medicare part D by backing a guy who used his influence to get it passed!

Yes, I do. He was mistaken, and I think he sees that.

Romney never spent a day working for the Feds as either a Congress critter or a lobbyist.

Of course not, he just hired the feds to make the money for him by lobbying them with people he paid to lobby them, as lobbyists. He has quite a few lobbyist in his past that he used to get the government to make his business dealings more lucrative to his Bain capital while making it less lucrative for those he convinced to buy bonds.

He made his name by turning struggling private businesses around through superior management.

You mean mega leveraging and massive dividend extraction and ludicrous fees paid to his crony friends?

You want to solve the problem of millions of laws and regulations by getting behind one of the more influential authors of much of them. That’s your argument.

MJBrutus on January 23, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Maybe you can define to a percentage “much of them” Then we can have an ADULT conversation.

astonerii on January 23, 2012 at 7:43 PM

Besides there being NO difference between Romney and Obama, Romney is passionless, robotic, unimaginative, and does not speak from the heart.

When challenged, Romney stutters, crumbles, and lies. Romney is not mentally agile when attacked and ends up on defense.

Romney is totally unable to speak off the cuff and communicate assertively on the issues important to voters. He has no charisma and is unable to persuade voters to follow him.

What Romney has proven is that he might as well have a teleprompter, because he cannot deviate from his memorized message.

Sparky5253 on January 23, 2012 at 7:50 PM

That greedy capitalist woodchuck! :)

PatriotGal2257 on January 23, 2012 at 7:15 PM

vulture woodchuckism

t8stlikchkn on January 23, 2012 at 9:04 PM

vulture woodchuckism

t8stlikchkn on January 23, 2012 at 9:04 PM

ROFL!!

PatriotGal2257 on January 23, 2012 at 10:39 PM

“The difference is, Gingrich can at least speak with conviction about conservatism. Romney can only give you some of the window dressing and hope that’s enough.” – AP

Exactly. That’s just one reason for real conservatives to avoid Ken-Barbie.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on January 24, 2012 at 11:33 AM

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