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Friday, November 9, 2012

Mitt Romney's Campaign Really Believed He Was Going to Win, Right Up Until He Lost

Posted by on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 6:36 AM

This CBS News report about the last day of the Romney campaign is full of interesting little bits. Here's a good part, from right after Romney learned he'd lost Ohio:

"He was shellshocked," one adviser said of Romney.

Romney and his campaign had gone into the evening confident they had a good path to victory, for emotional and intellectual reasons. The huge and enthusiastic crowds in swing state after swing state in recent weeks - not only for Romney but also for Paul Ryan - bolstered what they believed intellectually: that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.

They thought intensity and enthusiasm were on their side this time - poll after poll showed Republicans were more motivated to vote than Democrats - and that would translate into votes for Romney.

We're already getting a lot of information about what the inside of the Romney campaign looked like, and it's not pretty. The only thing this campaign seemed to do well was raise money—not shocking, considering Romney's pedigree—but they appeared to have no idea about what it takes to realistically win an election. And you can bet that angry former Romney insiders will start squealing to the press immediately, because the Romney campaign treated them pretty much the same way Bain Capital treated employees of companies they leveraged:

From the moment Mitt Romney stepped off stage Tuesday night, having just delivered a brief concession speech he wrote only that evening, the massive infrastructure surrounding his campaign quickly began to disassemble itself.

Aides taking cabs home late that night got rude awakenings when they found the credit cards linked to the campaign no longer worked.

"Fiscally conservative," sighed one aide the next day.

I have a feeling that the more we learn about this campaign, the more shocked we're going to be that Romney even came as close as he did.

 

Comments (49) RSS

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seatackled 49
I think the Onion predicted it.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/moments…
Posted by seatackled on November 9, 2012 at 6:38 PM · Report this
48
@41 is right. If you want to be the "leader of the free world" and you have a situation with two possible outcomes (only two!) and you aren't prepare at all for the second one, you are ill-equipped to handle the responsibilities of the job of POTUS. Something that simple eluded him. The greeks had a good idea about hubris causing epic downfalls. Add Romney's campaign to the long list of self-created tragedies.
Posted by lawgeek on November 9, 2012 at 4:23 PM · Report this
Vancouverite 47
@33 - Thank you for that. Closure, as it were.
Posted by Vancouverite on November 9, 2012 at 3:05 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 46
@ 44, If you're going to be ageist, that's your business. I prefer assessing people on a case by case basis.

I'm not sure what you mean by "counterexample" anyway. Do you mean any effective president was first elected in his 60s? How about Eisenhower? Or is 62 too close to being in his 50s?
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 9, 2012 at 2:44 PM · Report this
45
Another reason that I think Republicans were blind-sided by this election was that they knew many on the left had issues with Obama as well. There are many things that we wished he would have taken on immediately and his tendency to take his time about decisions (it's a good thing, but it annoys his aides to no end) could be very frustrating. The Daily Show had no problem in poking Obama when they felt the need to do so and many of us on FB and the like certainly let how we feel known. However, unlike Republicans, we can criticize our candidate, we can even disagree with his policy on things, but we can still vote for him with a clear conscience. The Republicans, on the other hand, have been hi-jacked by the Tea Party who accept nothing but absolute conformity to their way of thinking. NJ's Christie is a great example. He disagrees with President on almost everything under the sun, but was honestly appreciative of what the President did for his state after Sandy. Christie was eviscerated by right-wing pundits and gas-bags (Limbaugh.. *cough*) for daring to like something Obama had done. That is insanity of the highest degree, and when Republicans saw many of us on the left criticize Obama they assumed that a portion of us would not vote for him. I don't think they understand the concept of "constructive criticism" and instead throw the baby out with the bath water since it's either their way or the highway.
Posted by happy time on November 9, 2012 at 2:25 PM · Report this
Fnarf 44
@42, so you don't have any counterexamples, and agree with all of mine, and don't believe in history, but you still think I'm wrong. Gotcha.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 9, 2012 at 1:48 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 43
@ 37, I'm reminded of the Hubble telescope and how it was sent to space with a bad mirror. When corner-cutting, profit-maximizing people are in charge, testing the product ALWAYS gets the shaft.

@ 39, I doubt he called and did that. More likely someone, in a fit of "fiscal conservatism" that the quoted aide cited, instructed the bank to terminate the credit cards at 12:01am, November 7, without remembering that most people would still consider that time to be "Election Night," not the day after. This was probably done way back when the account was first set up years ago.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 9, 2012 at 1:09 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 42
@ 36, not everyone ages equally. Some 69 year olds have better stamina than others, especially in an era where we have better nutrition and exercise than ever. Citing history won't counter that.

Sorry you object to my paraphrasing of your observation, but I think it's fair. If you automatically say someone is too old for office, then being too old is something wrong. In my opinion, that's not an automatic.

I do agree about these specific candidates, though. Hilary Clinton looks exhausted all the time.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 9, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Dougsf 41
If anyone is still looking for an argument as to why Romney wouldn't have been a great President, it's this.
Posted by Dougsf on November 9, 2012 at 12:54 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 40
@31,

Nixon was a career politician. Romney's political expertise was a joke before the election, and that was before he went down in flames. He won't be coming back.
Posted by keshmeshi on November 9, 2012 at 12:53 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 39
Dave Letterman was right: Mitt Romney loves money and hates people.

Cancelling the credit cards (something he must have done immediate after or immediately before conceding) sounds so true to form. All those aides who - although misguided - worked tirelessly for him pouring their hearts and souls into his campaign. And he wouldn't pay for their ride home. It's not as if the coffers were empty either.

What a dick.
Posted by Bauhaus I on November 9, 2012 at 12:34 PM · Report this
Fnarf 38
Ah, here's more: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/1…

Commentary is extremely conservative, mind you.

This is going to be a huge story in coming weeks. Someone's going to get a terrific book out of it -- if the protagonists aren't all in Boston Harbor wearing cement overshoes by then.

Another name: Dan Centinello, Romney's Deputy Political Director. Commentary is saying ORCA was Centinello's baby, and in fact he was the sole point of contact, unable to delegate even simple user questions from around the country.

Conservatives mistrust government because they are incompetent and assume everyone else is too.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 9, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Fnarf 37
@2, I imagine everyone associated with ORCA is busy scrubbing their resumes and getting the paperwork together for their name change and impending move to various safe houses in Nebraska. I'd love to know more about who developed it. The only names I can find are Gail Gitcho, communications director, who details how ORCA is going to change everything in this PBS video (in which she bears an uncanny resemblance to the similarly marketing-babble-infected Siobhan Sharpe, "Head of Brand" on the Olympics-mocking UK program "Twenty Twelve"), and Zac Moffatt, digital director for the campaign. The online references I can find to him seem to be more about TV advertising.

But SOMEONE had to have managed that project, and created those videos, and written those forms that neglected to mention the need for a Poll-Watcher's Certificate. It was truly a fuck-up of historic proportions, and I'm expecting to see Republicans with pitchforks and torches in the streets looking for them, and not much caring if they get some bystanders too.

Reading about the poor guy who can't print out his last-minute 60-page PDF because his printer is out of magenta (even though the doc is black and white) is priceless. We've all been there, bub. This time it sucks to be you.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 9, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
Fnarf 36
@35, I didn't say there was "anything wrong" with being in yer 60s. I said it's too old to run for President. President is a tough, tough, job, and RUNNING for President is even tougher. "Medicine" doesn't have any answers for that. It's nothing to do with how long you're going to live, but how long you're going to be able to keep up the pace. This is just a simple fact. History backs me up. The only counterexample is Reagan, who slept through the whole process (and was obviously senile before he left office). Good presidential candidates are in their forties and fifties.

Fresh candidates point to the future; old candidates point to the past.

Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren are too old, too. Just watch. Hillary's going to be older than Reagan in '16. Biden's going to be 73. Democrats need to get real.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 9, 2012 at 12:07 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 35
@ 26, they haven't lately, because the GOP has been very loyal about addressing their issues. Once they jettison their opposition to marriage equality and stop with all the attempts to redefine rape and outlaw abortion, expect those people to start sitting out.

@ 32, while they are capable of that, they also have to be able to commit evil acts while in office. Frankly, I just don't think they can pull that off anymore. Issues that favor the Dems are at the forefront now. If nothing else, the GOP will learn that they can't try passing the kinds of laws that went through Congress and state houses in the most recent session. "Getting smart" means "getting realistic," which is the opposite of "hiding our evil ways and then springing them once we're elected."

@ 34, nothing wrong with people in their early to mid 60's, especially with the medicine we have today. Nobody voted against Romney because they thought he was too old. (But yes, he is going to be too old in 2016, never mind 2020 or 2024. Neither nominee in 2016 will have been born before 1952.)
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 9, 2012 at 11:45 AM · Report this
Fnarf 34
@31, Romney's way too old to run again. Hell, he was too old to run this time. One lesson the GOP could learn is "don't run guys in their 60s and 70s -- you're not Reagan, dipwad".
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 9, 2012 at 10:47 AM · Report this
sperifera 33
@23 - GDfR made a goodbye comment to a post on Wednesday morning, saying he was never to be heard from here again. He was actually pretty gracious, considering that his Rmoney credit card was cancelled on Tuesday night.
Posted by sperifera on November 9, 2012 at 10:43 AM · Report this
32
@16 Matt from Denver: But, see, my fear is that they will wake up and realize they need to be more reality-based, but they will not get any less evil. They'll just get sneakier.
Posted by Margaret L. on November 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 31
@30 Nixon came roaring back a decade later to win. We may still get the chance to find out.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 9, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Report this
Fnarf 30
Also: Romney's big claim to fame was his management skills. He's a "businessman"; he "knows how to run things". Yet his campaign lacked specifically that: not drive, not desire, not determination, but MANAGEMENT ABILITY.

Now imagine if he'd won, and was applying the techniques of Orca to running the country.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 9, 2012 at 10:18 AM · Report this
Fnarf 29
That Orca story is hilarious. I can imagine the chaos, especially since so many of Romney's people are elderly non-tech people. I can easily imagine my idiot uncle trying to figure out "https" and failing, or printing his 60-page PDF 48-up, or something ridiculous like that. I've also heard stories that all the coaching and instructional materials were hideously long rah-rah stuff about how important this is, blah blah blah, instead of "yeah, I know, WHAT'S THE FUCKING URL???"

It's kind of like the tech bubble recapitulated. I still encounter this exact same kind of thing all the time online, like when I'm trying to figure out how to enter a particular code on a Microsoft website, or find something at Dell Premier. NO, I DON'T WANT TO WATCH A VIDEO, just gimme a goddamn link.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 9, 2012 at 10:15 AM · Report this
merry 28
I am just so thankful for our country. I've been weepy since Tuesday night - the abject terror I was feeling that night prior to 8:20pm just flipped right over into wave after wave of weepy relief, and hasn't really stopped since...

That this Rmoney monster even made it as far as he did still leaves me just shaking my head at some of my fellow Americans... All those pictures of White People with the Sadz.. Jesus! People! The world has changed, America has changed - get with the program already!!!

As I was watching Obama make his victory speech Tuesday night, and watching the camera pan the diverse crowd, it occured to me: Obama's crowd is The World, this is what The World looks like, not Rmoney's crowd of Old Sad Whites. We are just beginning to see our country reflect ever more truly what The World actually looks like - America being the most diverse country in the world, we're actually The World in micro-cosm ... And the Old Sad Whites are just gonna have to hang up that rugged individualist "John Wayne fantasy" they've been obsessively clinging to since forever....
Posted by merry on November 9, 2012 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Grrr 27
To compare what @2 listed, here's what the Obama campaign did to execute their plan.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/7/361293…
Posted by Grrr on November 9, 2012 at 9:45 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 26
@25 The difference is the right wing NEVER sits out an election. Even when a cultist non-Christian gets the nomination.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 9, 2012 at 9:31 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 25
@ 20, the left is also prone to the same traits of denial as the right. I've seen a few people (including David Sirota) claim this election was a decisive defeat of conservatism. Um, no. Not by a LONG shot. That kind of thinking leads both to the kind of perfectionism you describe as well as easy discouragement when Republicans win. We can't afford to be drunk with victory.

@ 23, I always pegged* him as (and accused him directly of) being a paid Romney campaign shill. I encounter them every election cycle on the blogs, and they always disappear, never to return when the election is over. Trolls (who do it of their own volition) usually hide out when they've lost, but sometimes they come back. Shills are gone for good.

* not that kind of pegging, perverts.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 9, 2012 at 9:26 AM · Report this
24
hey, repugs being stupid and in denial? i'll take it! i'm relieved to say that they seemed to have learned NOTHING from the last presidential election.
Posted by ellarosa on November 9, 2012 at 9:15 AM · Report this
Vancouverite 23
Am I the only one who wants to see Gay Dude for Romney appear here to take his well-deserved licks? Perhaps he wasn't real anyway?
Posted by Vancouverite on November 9, 2012 at 9:09 AM · Report this
22
@4 -- I've been fascinated throughout the campaign (that is, for the last 3.99 years) by how many conservative candidates seem to have been told by "God" that "He" wanted them to run.
Posted by Calpete on November 9, 2012 at 9:07 AM · Report this
runswithnailclippers 21
as far as "the more shocked we will be"--it is already shocking enough that someone who said half the country is lazy and won't take responsibility for their lives (the half that doesn't pay income tax--a half that isn't necessarily democratic leaning) came as close as he did. I think in past years that would have destroyed any party's candidate completely. But too many people were invested in No-bama.

Our side seems to mostly portray the last 2 presidential elections as landslides--but as far as the popular vote the last one was close, and this was very close. Factor in they should have both been cake walks (2008-financial crisis, 2012-asshole opposition that hates half the country) this shows there is a lot of work to do.
Posted by runswithnailclippers on November 9, 2012 at 9:04 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 20
When the left has an effective leader who inspires and reaches out, they vote in huge numbers. Add to that the horrible mistakes of the Bush administration and the monumental efforts it took to correct them, it gave Obama an opportunity that he seized. But I've lived long enough to know that politics can turn on a dime. And the left is notorious for demanding perfection and then sitting out elections when they don't get it. Progress can all be undone.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 9, 2012 at 9:02 AM · Report this
monkey 19
Their biggest problem was they believed their own bullshit.
Posted by monkey on November 9, 2012 at 8:48 AM · Report this
spaceapple 18
I used to like the description of Republicans, that they are defined by a lack of empathy. But now I think their defining trait is denial. Gay people don't really exist, the greenhouse effect doesn't exist.. when you surround yourself with that much denial, it seems like it's only a short step to deny all evidence that your campaign is imploding.
Posted by spaceapple on November 9, 2012 at 8:46 AM · Report this
17
I'll admit it. I bought into the hype a little bit. Big rally crowds. Enthusiasm gap. All that stuff. The thing that gave me hope the most was the fact that Romney just couldn't get the battleground polls right. Just couldn't do it. And it seemed preposterous that he was going to jump three points, say, in PA or MI over the weekend. But all those Mittmentum articles in CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC had me going.

But my god, I have known for months how horrible Romney and his entire arrogant, entitled, narcissistic, supremacist family is. It drove me insane that seemingly so many people didn't. There weren't any articles about that. Guess the papers don't cover everything.
Posted by floater on November 9, 2012 at 8:44 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 16
@ 15, the GOP "playing it smarter" will mean jettisoning the tea baggers and old white guys, and with it the very worst they have to offer, including hardline opposition to taxes, bullshit "reforms" to Social Security and Medicare, attempts to disenfranchise minority voters, radical anti-abortion laws, and so forth.

I still won't vote Republican, but I can live under them when they aren't insane assholes trying to remake America in the image of the antebellum South.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 9, 2012 at 8:19 AM · Report this
15
I think Matt from Denver is right. There's two ways this could go for the future. One is that the hard-line right is a dying breed, and the party is going to have to go more moderate. But the other is that they are going to learn from this experience and play it smarter next time around. It's a terrifying prospect.
Posted by Margaret L. on November 9, 2012 at 8:10 AM · Report this
14
Fiscal Cliff Countdown.....52 days
Posted by Fiscal Cliff Countdown.....52 days on November 9, 2012 at 8:02 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 13
@ 11, I first heard it on Colbert's very first program. Whether it originated with him or not, I don't know.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 9, 2012 at 8:02 AM · Report this
12
The election was so close because Romney got over 65% of the White vote. Simple.
Posted by Patricia Kayden on November 9, 2012 at 7:58 AM · Report this
11
@4, pretty sure that's Krugman, not Colbert, but I'm happy to be proved wrong.
Posted by minderbender on November 9, 2012 at 7:56 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 10
@ 7, do you mean presidential elections? Because they won in 2010. It's a huge reason why we're still in this mess. It also allowed the GOP to gerrymander things so that they actually gained a few seats in the House.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 9, 2012 at 7:55 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 9
Romney and the GOP probably thought that Citizens United was all they would need to institute a 1,000 Year Reich of Republican rule. Unlimited, anonymous donations from the wealthiest 1%? What could go wrong?

Well, lots. First of all, only diehards vote against the other guy as opposed for their own. If you run an uninspiring candidate, just as the Dems did in 2004, swing voters won't buy it.

Second, as @ 1 points out, re-elections are referenda of the incumbent. Obama is far from perfect, but he's done enough things right.

Third, and this is important, Romney really did run a bad campaign. Don't dismiss this - I've seen a lot of people claim that 2012 was a referendum on conservatism, when it was anything but. Romney has long said whatever he thinks the electorate wants to hear, creating a nice record of contradictory statements. He was caught denigrating nearly half of the USA's citizens. He had trouble closing out the nomination against a successive line of nutty extremists. His only bright point came when Obama wasn't ready for the first debate, which was an unforced error on the president's part. Romney NEVER led in the polls at any time. I'd have to look it up, but I think the last time a challenger failed to lead, ever, was 1984.

Even with all that, Obama won by only about 2.5 points in the popular vote.

A better candidate with a better campaign would have made this much closer, perhaps taking the popular vote, and perhaps even the electoral vote. America dodged a bullet because the GOP kingmakers decided it was Mitt's turn, and because no other candidates even halfway acceptable to moderates ran for the Republican nomination.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 9, 2012 at 7:49 AM · Report this
8
I did get the feeling that the Romneys are used to seeing anyone who's not family as the help. Witness Ann Romney telling journalists "you people have enough information". That's fine when your job is to throw people out of work without compunction... not so great when you have to persuade people to take time out of their day, without pay, to hit a button or fill in a bubble for you.
Posted by Prettybetsy on November 9, 2012 at 7:45 AM · Report this
7
This is now 2 straight elections the Republicans have lost because they were believing their own propaganda.

This is why the constant refrain that MSNBC is the Fox of the left is so, so wrong. Liberals know MSNBC is junk food. Conservatives think Fox is a well rounded meal.
Posted by MRM on November 9, 2012 at 7:41 AM · Report this
rob! 6
One of the great dangers of the presidency is the attraction it holds for megalomaniacs. In the case of people born to privilege like Mitt, where wealth and power are already there in reality, it's only one more short step to feeling omnipotent.

And there's no doubt that his religion further stoked his brain with thoughts of being a chosen, fore-ordained leader. America dodged not a bullet, but a cannonball.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on November 9, 2012 at 7:38 AM · Report this
5
Fascinating, @2. Thanks for the link.
Posted by gloomy gus on November 9, 2012 at 7:37 AM · Report this
Zotz 4
Rmoney was convinced he was fulfillment of the "White Horse" prophecy. Basically, "God" told him he was going to win.

Just about everything (religion, economics, politics, etc.) with these cretins is "faith based".

As Colbert says: "Facts have a well known liberal bias."
Posted by Zotz on November 9, 2012 at 7:32 AM · Report this
3
@2: Interesting link.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on November 9, 2012 at 7:24 AM · Report this
2
I have a feeling that the more we learn about this campaign, the more shocked we're going to be that Romney even came as close as he did.

Here's another clue: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/…
Posted by midwaypete on November 9, 2012 at 7:01 AM · Report this
NotSean 1
If you want to understand how the R candidate came so close to winning, you need to focus on Obama. As someone else said, Mitt could've been a potato - the election was about Obama, not Mitt.
Posted by NotSean on November 9, 2012 at 6:55 AM · Report this

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