Is Romney Taking A Dive and Throwing the Election?

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As a clear picture of Paul Ryan comes into focus so has a question – at least in my mind. Is it possible that bright and early last Saturday morning Mitt Romney threw the 2012 presidential election?

That he may have lost his chance when he announced Paul Ryan as his running mate is rapidly becoming conventional wisdom among everyone except those who pushed the hardest for his selection. Pollsters and pundits are looking at Ryan’s potential impact on the vote of women, minorities, Catholics, and seniors and generally calling it from neutral to extremely negative. Women in particularly are unlikely to be wooed back to the party once it is known that Ryan’s views on sex, birth control, and women’s health are at least as prehistoric as Rick Santorum’s while seniors are not comfortable with his pronouncements on Medicare.

At the same time, it is hard to see what Ryan brings to the ticket beyond the possibility of winning Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes – a poor trade for the 29 in Florida he will probably cost it. Anybody-but-Obama already had the far right vote locked up and Ryan’s radical social conservatism does nothing to boost Romney’s appeal to moderate Republicans or independents.

So, did Romney appoint Ryan in order to lose? I know it sounds insane, especially as Mitt Romney, of all the people I have watched run for office, stands out for his willingness to do whatever it might take to get there. But that in a way makes my theory a little bit more credible. Love may have no fury like a woman scorned, but a close second goes to a shameless whore when the check bounces.

Suspend disbelief for a moment – after all Romney has been asking you to do so for months – and let me lay out the reasons I think Romney is, perhaps unconsciously, taking a dive. You might even like him a little better when I finish.

As we all know he has wanted to play in big boy politics for a long time; certainly since 1994 when he ran for Ted Kennedy’s seat, maybe even since 1968 when his father’s candidacy came to a quick end. He was raised a moderate Republican by moderate Republican parents – his mother even ran for office as an openly pro-choice candidate. Nothing in his history prior to 2004 when he attempted to sabotage gay marriage in Massachusetts, would herald the “severely conservative” candidate he has become.

Hypocrisy and lying are SOP for Republican politicians and Romney has practiced both with a rare ferocity that, aided by his own and his benefactors’ millions seemed to accelerate with each candidate he had to destroy. I wonder if a moral man behaving in such a manner could avoid being offended, embarrassed and even ashamed of his own behavior. I don’t doubt that Romney considers himself a moral man but I would also suggest he not call for a vote on that issue either.

Maybe he worries about what his church leadership thinks of his campaign. Maybe he wonders if Ann and the boys still look at him the same way they did in his big business days. It appears that his behavior was not much better then, but it was certainly not so public and probably a lot easier to justify in his own and their minds.

So what if he decided – and the timing indicates it might have been the debacle in Europe that did it – that he could not win the presidency? He had sold his soul and would get nothing in return. Might he not want a little revenge? He can’t blame Obama, but he can quite properly blame the far right wing of the party. In a traditional election it would indeed, as Ann Romney has said, been their turn. He had the pedigree, the money, the looks, and a prior run; all any Republican in recent memory has needed. And with the nomination in hand, it would probably have been easy for a wealthy Massachusetts moderate to depose an incumbent as vulnerable as Obama.

But the right wing was in charge and he had to fight through a succession of incredibly stupid and crazy candidates backed by millions of incredibly stupid and crazy voters. He never seemed stupid or crazy himself just mendacious and hollow as he pandered to the wing-nuts and allowed no other candidate to get to his right for long. Then when his last opponent had conceded he discovered that the crazy and stupid would not release him back to the real world he actually lived in; the one where elections were won. The right had bought a far-right candidate and they intended to enforce their warranty.

If they were to cost him the election, however, he could also make them pay. He could hand his opponent a mandate, ensure a rout down ticket and just maybe turn the Republican Party back into the one he had always expected to lead. He could so badly discredit the right that it would be generations before they controlled the party again. And Paul Ryan on the ticket could do it; the far-right poster boy with vacant eyes and a pledge to kill Medicare. Every Republican member of Congress would have to explain their vote on the Ryan budget; every Republican pursuing a seat would have to answer how they planned to vote while their potential constituents from both the right and the left parsed every word.

Romney probably did not do this with any conscious thought, but as I watch it all come undone – and it has does so in a very big way in only three days with more than 80 to go, I am increasingly sure Romney, sometime in the last week had a Donald Duck moment. Remember the old cartoons where the volatile fowl had an angel on one shoulder urging him to be a better duck and a devil on the other prodding him to bring down the bastards that had ruined his reputation and his chances. Maybe Romney found a way to listen to them both.

Image: My Fantastic Escape

30 Replies to “Is Romney Taking A Dive and Throwing the Election?”

  1. From a comment that was made to me since the announcement, I suspect that what has happened here in Florida is that those who were going to support Romney now are undecided. They hate President Obama and believe the lies told about him, but they’ve “heard things” about Ryan and now have doubts.

    I don’t think the election is anywhere in the bag, and the bad thing about all of this is it detracts from the House and Senate elections… which are equally important.

    We need to win them all, if we even want to have a chance to stop the downward slide into theocratic oligarchy.

  2. I think you may have a point here. The snap-back within the Republican party will most likely create better potential for the next Presidential race, and hopefully, restore some sanity to the discourse, in the meantime.

  3. Very intriguing theory. If not true, you certainly gave some staffers a great plot for the inevitable book.

  4. Interesting. I have a similar theory but with a different intent on all sides. I believe that it is the Republican hierarchy that has orchestrated this, not Romney. I think they looked at their wide field of players and at the one left standing at the end. Hmmm, they muttered, “This one aint no star. We were duped”. The dirty secret is that from an electoral college perspective, the election is over. Obama can win today AND still lose ohio, Florida, and Virgina. If he DOES win one of those (and he is ahead in one, close in the other two)… landslide.
    So, someone in the Repub higher elite has got to be saying. “OK… we are going down. Romney is not going to cut it… so lets pair him with the guy we want to be our FUTURE star…even if that match up is too much the same, and Romeny goes down. We have 4 years with the annointed one, and we will take it all with the supreme ideological ticket in 2016. No goofballs will be allowed to challenge it will be all Ryan, all the time.”
    So I agree…. it looks like it has been thrown, but not by Romney trying to act inept…but because of Romney and the fact that he IS inept. My speculation anyway…

  5. This is a fascinating theory; but, I give more credence to the fact that the GOP are populated with extremist and idiotic ignorami…the fact that the eventual GOP nominee would lose became evident in the primaries, when many GOP moderates stayed home after watching the field of GOP clowns in their performances generously called the “debates”. Too many GOP moderates have left the party for the GOP to win much, if anything, this November. If Mittens realized this early this year, then the author’s theory makes complete sense. When did he know?!? LOL

  6. I said this to my conservative friends on Saturday morning; one is also a Mormon. My theory is based on the work ahead, and Romney does not want that as his legacy. With the Democrats holding the Senate, he would have 2 years with no legislative action, and would likely lose the House as a result. Sequestration will haunt the GOP for many years.

    His Freudian slip was showing when he introduced Ryan as the next President of the US. Next candidate, in 2016, if he doesn’t implode before that.

  7. @Robw77

    Romney is not deliberately or unconsciously throwing the election. His choice of Ryan as VP is ensure that the GOP base turns out to vote like robots, also to bring the Koch brothers’ money and GOTV infrastructure on board with Romney’s campaign.

    But I agree with your assessment that Romney’s choice of Ryan as VP is also to prep Ryan as the GOP’s 2016 Presidential candidate, which is probably also what the Koch brothers want.

    Romney, at this point, might very well regard the 2012 election as nearly unwinnable for the GOP, but he can’t afford to deliberately throw the election — too many donors have invested millions in his campaign.

  8. @Robw77 (and all readers)

    For a perceptive analysis of Romney’s strategy behind the choice of Ryan as VP, read Don Hazen’s article on entited “9 Reasons Why Romney’s Choice of Ryan as Veep is Smarter Than You Think,” dated 08/12/2012. Hazen doesn’t endorse the GOP ticket, but he explains the impact of the Koch brothers’ influence on the GOP.

  9. I don’t know much about Sununu, but why in the world would Romney use this man as a surrogate, his interview with Soledad O’Brien was priceless, I think he is a little bit demented.

  10. My perspective on the Church of Latter Day Saints is colored–favorably–by a science fiction/fantasy writer I favor, Orson Scott Card, and I do believe there actually is something to the notions put forth here (of course, remember I’m the jerk who counts Richard Nixon and not Jack Kennedy among my liberal heroes while lauding TR over FDR).

  11. the presidential campaign is the distraction.

    the most important thing we can do this election year is focus locally and on the senate and the house.

    the teaparty is still working on that level, without all of the noise they generated the last go ’round.

    those campaigns are less costly and not as well scrutinized and they’re breeding. please, none of us should think they just went away.

    unless we give the president a democratic controlled senate and a greater presence in the house, what will we ever be able to accomplish?

    my guess? not much.

  12. Card?? How so? Yes, he’s Mormon and has a very anti-gay stance but most of his work reflects a future based on some kind of political “balance” for all creatures of the universe…(I’m thinking the Ender series and all the off-shoots novels)

    Is this similar to saying you are “colored” by Wagner’s operas but aren’t bothered by the man…

  13. So very true…they are “breeding”. Many of these Evangelical and Mormon groups are in the open and in motion with full throttle propaganda machines.

    I read an simply awful fluff piece in the paper by some local “writer” about how we should all be more like the patriotic Mormons because they “all” vote and run lots of local candidates…it was sickening because the guy made it appear as if they were just a tiny little fraction of the local population when EVERYBODY knows they’ve been running city hall for years; nothing that the Church doesn’t want doesn’t happen around here…
    And, this guy hails from Russell Pierce’s district!

    The Evangelicals make no bones about cranking out little political machines at Patrick Henry, Bob Jones, Liberty U. etc. Where do you think crazy Michelle got her marching orders? They see it as their “patriotic duty” to win for their gawd-brand, not for democracy…

    One more…one of the local candidates who’s been a lobbyist for years is getting all his $$ from Rev Moon’s son; he’s reading off the cue card Rev Moon’s “family values” as his political philosophy! It’s crazy-making by the zealot zombies that just won’t quit.

  14. Talk about wishful thinking! I am staunchly opposed to the plutocratic policies of R & R. That said, this article is way off base.

    Ryan is handsome, telegenic, charismatic and authentic (authentically extreme, but authentic nonetheless). Those attributes are GOLD in electoral politics.

    Please do not underestimate Ryan, or at least his appeal. Doing so is nothing short of throwing the election ourselves!

  15. Boy do I ever concur about Sununu. He is unbelievably rude and arrogant and the world should constantly be reminded why George H.W. Bush fired him. He is particularly nasty to women and was stunningly so to Andrea Mitchell last week. My new policy is to immediately switch off any channel he appears on. Won’t hurt him, won’t hurt his candidate, but it sure helps my blood pressure.

  16. If I were Romney, it would only be a matter of time before I figured out my legacy will always be “the man Norquist hired to just hold a pen”. I wonder if his ego will allow that to happen.

  17. Romney is not trying to lose this election.

    Romney is having a very difficult time understanding GOP right.

    Romney sees conservative as a strict and stringent philosophy of austerity in government operations and unwillingness to expand them.

    The GOP right now has all sorts of crazies in it that advocate all sorts of wild ideas.

    Romney has purposefully been very quiet with his plans on the future in the effort not to offend the different GOP factions.

    We can expect the GOP to take 48 or 49 percent of the vote in a high turnout election, and much more if turn out is weak.

    Romney is looking to hold Obama’s electoral majority to the blue coasts, the midwest and those states dominated by a large urban core.

    Romney expects to assist the GOP in whittling down and perhaps eliminating the Dems’ Senate majority and in keeping the GOP House majority in the 30 seat range.

    Romney and his handlers are thinking ahead to consolidating the GOP 2010 gains in 2014 and in making a big push for the presidency in 2016.

    That is not the strategy of a dive.

    If Dems get complacent, or too strident, this election could be lost.

    Dems must concentrate on the contrast between Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan.

    The medicare issue offers a classic example of this contrast.

    The Dems will control medicare costs by holding down provider reimbursements.

    The GOP will control medicare costs by pushing more out of pocket payments unto seniors.

    In addition to being clear and calm in our message, which is true, Dems must continue to work and contribute. The small contributions are the most valuable because they represent a personal committment.

    To all, live and be well.

  18. Brigita, I am not sure what you mean by snap back, but what I have heard since last Saturday does not indicate that sanity is coming into this silly season.

    Ryan signals to all that the GOP is going to decertify all public sector unions.

    Ryan signals to all that the at will laws that give employers free reign to fire any employee for any reason will be enforced, in spades.

    Ryan signals that medicare is going to be shrunken and that the money saved is going to be used to offset lost revenue from more millionaire tax cuts.

    Brigita if that is returning sanity to the election……

  19. Thank Rob for the thrilling tale of intrigue.

    While you may well be right in your analysis, my take on the Ryan pick is much simpler.

    Romney likes Paul Ryan. Ryan is the sort of man Romney hired to work for him at Bain.

    Romney feels like Ryan is great, but that he still could use a few pointers from ol’ Mitt.

    In the aftermath of Romney’s debacle abroad and the boost Obama got from the Olympics, Romney seemed pretty dead.

    The VP pick seems to have reinvigorated the GOP campaign.

    We are still waiting for the mezzo-soprano’s aria.

    That 1903 billion sho helped rich get ultra rich

  21. O S Card is a moralist, and if his failure to march in lockstep to your tune makes him offensive in your eyes then of course it’s little wonder you adore me so.

  22. I couldn’t agree more: no one to blame but themselves.

    But I tell ya, I threw out this exact same possibility yesterday (some comment section, some article, don’t remember where) that I really wondered if he wasn’t purposely setting up the failure here.

    My gut tells ME it isn’t for personal revenge, but there are two possibilities here. One is the idea of revenge by the republican party as a whole. They know they’re losing and they’re going to lay the responsibility at the feet of the radical tea party so they can reform the party into it’s more moderate historical form.

    My other idea was that Romney is looking for a way to save face. Think about it: How humiliating would it be for him to be booted from the ticket at the convention? Extremely. Picking Ryan assured him of “getting to” to the convention at least, and after that, if he loses….well, it’s the tea party’s fault after all. How outraged and angry are all these million dollar donors going to be if he got booted at the convention, throwing the election into a complete chaotic mess? Pretty darn pissed is my guess. The guy needs a semi-graceful way OUT of this mess. I hear he’s cancelled some appearances due to “exhaustion”; his wife clearly is angry and showing stress in her interview.

    Frankly, it could be a combination of the two ideas, both at work behind the scenes. All I know is that his campaign, for all it’s billion dollar financing, is a shambles and a joke. I’ve been watching politics for 40 years and I’ve never seen a campaign so poorly run, with a candidate so in danger of tripping over his own tongue that they have to rein him in at every chance.

    And the lies. I cannot stomach the lies. So blatant, so in-your-face, soooo “I don’t care if you know I’m lying, I’m going to lie anyways”.

  23. @Robw77: interesting theory, and certainly has some merits. To add to my post of a few minutes ago about my own theories, the only flaw I personally see with your theory is this: Remember in the primary season, we all KNEW they’d pick Romney, because that was what we knew dang well the republican mainstream party wanted. They did everything possible to be sure they did NOT get one of those radical tea party candidates.

    So to me, it makes no sense now to throw this election to build the career of Paul Ryan. Rather, I wonder if they didn’t pick Ryan as the sacrificial lamb, ruining the career of this extremely radical tea party guy in all future races. This jibes with all the career-building we see of more moderate candidates like Christie, Jeb, etc. Anyways! Those are just my thoughts on it. I just think the more moderate wing of the R party is desperately seeking a way to rid itself of the tea party, which has been their downfall for the last two years.

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