Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory: the GOP’s death by a thousand self-inflected cuts

Here’s a list of the unforced errors – in no particular order — made by the GOP, the candidates, the staff or their surrogates that I believe have undermined the Romney-Ryan campaign and assured the re-election of President Obama:

  • The fake Hurricane Sandy relief event. This was so transparent and so immature as to be cringe-worthy even among opponents. Not the least among its flaws was that it demonstrated that the Romney-Ryan camp doesn’t know the most basic things about disaster relief.
  • That’s exactly what I said—the headline you read—‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.’” 
  • Romney allowed Obama to define him as Bain’s greedy, cold-hearted job destroyer. Ted Kennedy did the same thing to Romney nearly two decades ago. If Mitt can’t come up with a decent reply in that amount of time, there probably isn’t one.
  • Self deportation.
  • The Jeep moves to China lie. This one, noted the GM spokesman, shows that the Romney-Ryan camp is ignorant of the “fundamentals” of the auto industry. It prompted a Chrysler executive to tell Donald Trump he was “full of shit.”
  • The welfare work requirements lie.
  • Deciding to wallpaper battle-ground states with last-month advertising instead of building a ground game.
  • The Medicare cuts lie.
  • Binders full of women. The story was bad enough, but the gaffe was confounded by both its hypocrisy and its dishonesty.
  • Three weeks (so far), at the end of the campaign, without an interview and four weeks without taking a question from the press pool.
  • Jumping the gun on Libya.
  • Romney’s repeated (was it really 14 times?) refusal to answer direct questions about his view of FEMA.
  • Ryan’s soup kitchen invasion.
  • Turning an ambassador’s death into a political attack tool.
  • The 47% fiasco.
  • Romney’s “acts of terror” error.
  • Insulting London at the Olympics.
  • The selection of Ryan as a running mate. Romney was so vague on policy that voters assumed the notorious Ryan budget represented Romney’s thinking. And little wonder: “I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. It’s a bold and exciting effort on his part and on the part of the Republicans and it’s very much consistent with what I put out earlier…I applaud it. It’s an excellent piece of work and very much needed”; “He is setting the right tone for finally getting spending and entitlements under control. …Anyone who has read my book knows that we are on the same page”; “I think it’d be marvelous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan’s budget and to adopt it and pass it along to the president”; “I spent a good deal of time with Congressman Ryan. When his plan came out, I applauded it, as an important step.… We’re going to have to make changes like the ones Paul Ryan proposed”; “Paul Ryan and I have been working together over some months to talk about our mutual plans and we’re on the same page.”
  • Ayn Rand.
  • Failure to withdraw endorsement of a candidate who said pregnancies the result from rape are a gift from god.
  • Pretending disinterest in Ann’s horse’s Olympic dressage competition.
  • Ryan’s “we haven’t run the numbers yet” and “it would take too long to explain” excuses for the lack of any specifics on the Romney-Ryan tax plan.
  • Romney’s failure to mention military personnel, Al Qaeda or Afghanistan in his convention speech.
  • The number of ships in the US Navy.
  • The cultural superiority explanation for the differences in wealth between Israelis and Palestinians.
  • The Eastwood insanity.
  • The stubborn refusal to back down from fact-checked fibs and equally stubborn refusal to provide any policy specifics.
  • Wanting to open an airplane window at 30,000 feet.
  • “I’m not concerned with the very poor.”
  • “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.”
  • In 10 years of running for president, Romney has never hired anyone would could teach him to fake compassion, humility or empathy – to even appear to be able to connect with others.
  • Russia is our #1 foe.
  • Obama was not doing enough to protect Czechoslovakia from “the Soviets.” (Neither country exists.)
  • We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”
  • Gunning for Big Bird.
  • “I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes,” adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said. “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.”
  • Romney told voters that he knows what it’s like to “worry whether you’re going to get fired,” adding that “there were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.” Rick Perry quipped that he has “no doubt that Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips — whether he was going to have enough of them to hand out” while heading up Bain, given “all the jobs that they killed.”
  • Romney recounted some “good advice” from his father, Michigan Gov. George Romney: “Mitt, never get involved in politics if you have to win an election to pay a mortgage.” Mitt then bragged that, in 1994, Ted Kennedy was forced to take out a mortgage on his house to defeat Romney, suggesting that only rich people should run for office.
  • Retroactive retirement.
  • Food stamp president.”
  • “Kiss my ass. This is a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect.”
  • In 10 years of running for president, Romney never figured out how to talk about his wealth. He’s never had good answers to entirely predictable questions about Bain Capital’s business practices, his own taxes and his investments. Romney responded to a question about his money-related gaffes — such as referring to his friends who own NFL teams — by angrily insisting, “Guess what? I’ve made a lot of money, I’ve been very successful, and I’m not going to apologize for that.” It wasn’t the first time Romney had faced this kind of question, but he still didn’t have a gracious answer ready. A senior member of the Romney team, asked what the campaign planned to address the class-based criticism of Romney, snapped, “Nobody cares about that crap.” Tone deaf. Stone cold tone deaf.
  • Tax returns as yet unreleased.
  • I like to fire people.” (Yes, taken out of context, but evidence of a fatal tone-deafness.)
  • Donald Trump.
  • The “you didn’t build it” lie. Romney doubled down on his characterization of Obama as a “foreigner” during an interview on CNBC, insisting that the president believes that the government is responsible for the success of entrepreneurs and small businesses.
  • Rejecting the convention speech written by a professional (Peter Wehner), a second set of pros from the Bush camp, and then scrambling to write a substitute speech in just a few days.
  • Wanting to “take a swing” at the president.
  • Sending Obama “back to Kenya.”
  • We’re going to have to hang the ‘Obama Misery Index’ around his neck…. We’re going to hang him with that, so to speak, metaphorically.”
  • Romney’s birth certificate “joke.”
  • The trees are “just the right height.”
  • Obama is incapable of understanding the special “Anglo-American” relationship.
  • The “free stuff” crack at the NAACP.
  • Romney’s sons helping his campaign is the equivalent of service in the military.
  • Cleaning a post-game football field equated with responding to the devastation of a hurricane of historic proportions.
  • Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs.”
  • I’m also unemployed.”
  • Corporations are people, my friend.” (Yes, taken out of context, but evidence of a fatal tone-deafness.)
  • The $10,000 bet offer to Perry.
  • The middle class is defined as $250,000 or less per year.
  • $374,000 is “not very much” money.
  • Ryan blaming Obama for the plant that closed under Bush.
  • Ryan’s made-up marathon time.
  • Ryan’s body fat claim.
  • Paul Ryan’s mountain climbing claim.
  • Ryan’s staged workout photo shoot.
  • Ryan claiming Obama has doubled the size of government.
  • Saying Obama was in New York City the same day as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but went on a TV show instead of meeting with him.
  • The non-existent “six studies.”
  • Claiming Biden endorses forced abortions.
  • Claiming electric cars were built in Finland with stimulus money.
  • I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”
  • I’ve got a lot of good friends, the owner Miami Dolphins, and the New York Jets —both owners are friends of mine.”
  • Revival of the death panels canard.
  • The Coca-Cola study that no one can find.
  • “We’ve lost 26 million jobs since (Obama’s) been president.”
  • The BLS cooked the jobless numbers.
  • Obama is lazy.
  • Obama wants to raise “the lowest (income) tax rate from 10 to 15 percent.”
  • Powell’s endorsement is motivated by race.
  • A GOP anti-immigration platform plank drafted by the author of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070.
  • A GOP platform plank against the non-existent threat of Sharia Law.
  • Obama needs to learn to be an American.
  • Transvaginal probes.
  • Legitimate rape.
  • Forcible rape.
  • A GOP platform plank that rejects the idea of any exceptions to laws banning abortion in cases of rape or incest.
  • We need fewer teachers, police and fire fighters.

Note that this list doesn’t even touch on Romney’s standing as the preeminent flip-flopper of our time and only hints at his record-setting mendacity (now over 900 lies chronicled).

Economist and policy professor Robert Reich notes that the campaign’s biggest gaffe was in miscalculating what most Americans want. As he put it: “The Republican primaries, and then the Republican convention, have shown America a party far removed from the ‘compassionate conservatism’ the GOP tried to sell in 2000. Instead, we have a party that’s been taken over by Tea Partiers, nativists, social Darwinists, homophobes, right-wing evangelicals, and a few rich people whose only interest is to become even wealthier…. (Romney’s) giving this GOP exactly what it wants in a candidate. And that’s exactly the problem for Romney — as it is for every other Republican candidate — because what the GOP wants is not at all what the rest of America wants.”

When you examine where most Americans are on Medicare, Social Security, taxes, education, immigration, abortion, Planned Parenthood, contraception, FEMA, gay and lesbian equal rights, equal pay for women, the uninsured, the poor, the unemployed, pre-existing conditions, education and even Big Bird, it becomes clear that Reich is correct. Romney will lose because his campaign was amateurish, and its greatest gaffe was in selling a product most of us do not wish to buy.

 

 

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One Response to Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory: the GOP’s death by a thousand self-inflected cuts

  1. Kay Dennison says:

    Holy Mother of God!!!! You have really nailed it!!!!!! I’m going to link this on my blog and tell everyone to read it!!!! 0ver 900 lies? Bet he’ll hit 1,000 by Tuesday!!!! As always, you have done an awesome job!!!! Been busy working to re-elect Obama these days and can’t wait to get back to just being my normal boring life. I’ve missed wandering the net visiting my pals like you!!!!

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