Green Room

The full outbreak of Romney Derangement Syndrome

posted at 12:07 pm on July 14, 2012 by

This week in the presidential campaign was driven by several stories, primarily Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP convention; the likely bogus rumor that Romney was considering Condoleeza Rice as his vice-presidential pick; and the hysterical, bogus claim that Romney may be a felon based on decade-old SEC filings. Let’s look at the common thread running through them.

Partisans on both sides of the aisle questioned Romney’s decision to appear at the NAACP convention, given that African-Americans have been a solidly reliable Democratic voting bloc for decades. However, a Romney campaign adviser told BuzzFeed that Romney’s attendance at the convention wasn’t primarily intended to break off a portion of the black vote, but to make clear to moderates that he intends to be an inclusive president. (I would suggest this was also part of the motivation for the Condi VP leak, if it came from the campaign.) It is really polite code for saying Romney was going after the votes of white college graduates, particularly women.

Recall how the Emerging Democratic Majority theorists see this campaign:

[Ruy] Teixeira, writing with John Halpin, argues in “The Path to 270: Demographics versus Economics in the 2012 Presidential Election,” that in order to be re-elected, President Obama must keep his losses among white college graduates to the 4-point margin of 2008 (47-51). Why? Otherwise he will not be able to survive a repetition of 2010, when white working-class voters supported Republican House candidates by a record-setting margin of 63-33.

Obama’s alternative path to victory, according to Teixeira and Halpin, would be to keep his losses among all white voters at the same level John Kerry did in 2004, when he lost them by 17 points, 58-41. This would be a step backwards for Obama, who lost among all whites in 2008 by only 12 points (55-43). Obama can afford to drop to Kerry’s white margins because, between 2008 and 2012, the pro-Democratic minority share of the electorate is expected to grow by two percentage points and the white share to decline by the same amount, reflecting the changing composition of the national electorate.

Recent polling suggests Obama’s current support among non-college whites remains mired about where is was for Democrats in 2010. However, Obama has largely maintained his support with white college grads, still within the margin of error of that 47% he won in 2008. If he erodes much further in that demographic, it is also unlikely that he would be able to achieve the alternate target for the overall white vote.

Obama’s precarious position in this regard explains the increasingly negative, hysterical and defamatory campaign being waged by Team Obama, promoted by various establishment media outlets at different times over the past few weeks, culminating in the full flowering of Romney Derangement Syndrome at this week’s end. Team Obama must increasingly rely on the “otherization” of Romney (and his church) of the sort the very same people roundly condemned and marginalized when attempted against Obama in 2008. Indeed, Obama started painting himself into his current corner during the 2008 primaries. Obama ran — and has largely governed — against the Clintonian version of the Democratic Party, now extending to Obama’s weakening of welfare reform. It is thus not terribly surprising that Obama’s tenuous grip on white college grads has become the flashpoint of the 2012 campaign.

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However, a Romney campaign adviser told BuzzFeed that Romney’s attendance at the convention wasn’t primarily intended to break off a portion of the black vote, but to make clear to moderates that he intends to be an inclusive president.

It is really polite code for saying Romney was going after the votes of white college graduates, particularly women.

Showing up at the NAACP was saying he wants white female college grads? Wha?

MadisonConservative on July 14, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Showing up at the NAACP was saying he wants white female college grads? Wha?

MadisonConservative on July 14, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Well you see Maddy, Romney wasn’t pandering, and he’ll never get a significant percentage of the black vote anyway. There had to be some other reason for him to be there.

/Libtard

gryphon202 on July 14, 2012 at 1:40 PM

The instructive thing here is that you have a Republican nominee who was anything but the consensus choice of the conservative wing of the party, who was also savaged by many of them for what they saw as his inappropriate and/or unnecessary moves towards the political center or left. And we had almost a year of that refrain during the primary season, to the point that no one paying the least bit of attention could imagine Mitt Romney as some sort of radical right-wing Republican.

THIS is the candidate the Democrats are now falling all over themselves to paint as the world’s only neo-Klansman Mormon, and we’re not even to the convention season yet. It’s an incredibly lazy tactic that boils down simply crossing out George W. Bush’s name and inserting Mitt Romney’s, but only because Romney happened to win the nomination — we’d be talking about Jon Huntsman Derangement Syndrome right now if by some miracle he had become the GOP nominee, because there’s no substance to their derangement. It’s just gin up the anger and paranoia against whomever the candidate of the day is, because they can’t run on their personal beliefs or Obama’s record for the past 3 1/2 years.

jon1979 on July 14, 2012 at 2:06 PM

The instructive thing here is that you have a Republican nominee who was anything but the consensus choice of the conservative wing of the party, who was also savaged by many of them for what they saw as his inappropriate and/or unnecessary moves towards the political center or left. And we had almost a year of that refrain during the primary season, to the point that no one paying the least bit of attention could imagine Mitt Romney as some sort of radical right-wing Republican.

THIS is the candidate the Democrats are now falling all over themselves to paint as the world’s only neo-Klansman Mormon, and we’re not even to the convention season yet. It’s an incredibly lazy tactic that boils down simply crossing out George W. Bush’s name and inserting Mitt Romney’s, but only because Romney happened to win the nomination — we’d be talking about Jon Huntsman Derangement Syndrome right now if by some miracle he had become the GOP nominee, because there’s no substance to their derangement. It’s just gin up the anger and paranoia against whomever the candidate of the day is, because they can’t run on their personal beliefs or Obama’s record for the past 3 1/2 years.

jon1979 on July 14, 2012 at 2:06 PM

I think you give Romney too much credit. He is “the other.” He is a threat to Obama’s power no matter how (in)significant that threat might actually be. Make no mistake, because he is Republican he will be destroyed. He could be philosophically identical to Obama in every way and they would still destroy him cause of that pesky (R) behind his name.

gryphon202 on July 14, 2012 at 2:27 PM

For those who doubt what Romney’s strategy was, here’s the sort of coverage the NAACP appearance got from National Journal:

It was a fine performance, one that delivered a distinct message to observers of all political stripes. Democrats saw a candidate who embraced adversity and wasn’t afraid to mix it up. Republicans saw a candidate who was quick on his feet and took a punch without falling down. And independents saw a candidate who isn’t the “extremist” or “panderer” his opponents portray him to be. To the contrary, his message to the liberal organization was consistent with his everyday conservative stump speech, and the optics of Romney confidently courting an opposition audience should play well with skeptical suburbanites eager for someone willing to set aside differences and talk about solutions.

And that’s the narrative he basically wanted.

Karl on July 14, 2012 at 2:39 PM

I think you give Romney too much credit. He is “the other.” He is a threat to Obama’s power no matter how (in)significant that threat might actually be. Make no mistake, because he is Republican he will be destroyed. He could be philosophically identical to Obama in every way and they would still destroy him cause of that pesky (R) behind his name.

gryphon202 on July 14, 2012 at 2:27 PM

That’s my point with the “Huntsman Derangement Syndrome” hypothetical. Team Obama isn’t even trying to build an intellectual case (at least in some warped way) for justifying Democrats and swing voters freaking out over Mitt Rmeny’s candidacy. They’re trying to convince their base anything and everything Mitt Romney has done is reason enough for freaking out.

Huntsman — this year’s media fan-boy fave, replacing John McCain, would have been sandbagged just like McCain was in ’08 by the big media, and Obama’s people would have HDS up and running full throttle now, pretending there was no difference between Huntsman’s positions today and Michelle Bachmann’s nine months ago.

jon1979 on July 14, 2012 at 11:11 PM

However, a Romney campaign adviser told BuzzFeed that Romney’s attendance at the convention wasn’t primarily intended to break off a portion of the black vote, but to make clear to moderates that he intends to be an inclusive president.

It is really polite code for saying Romney was going after the votes of white college graduates, particularly women.

Showing up at the NAACP was saying he wants white female college grads? Wha?

MadisonConservative on July 14, 2012 at 12:20 PM

It makes perfect sense, brought to you by the same people that see gobal warming behind temp increases AND decreases. Heads I win, tails you lose…..any questions ?

CallousDisregard on July 15, 2012 at 12:24 AM