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Tuesday 31 July 2012

Mitt’s Latest Stanley Steamer

[Updates, three so far, at end of post]

Hardly had the Maily Telegraph’s resident apologist for Willard Mitt Romney, Tim Stanley – who you can tell as he’s a doctor – delivered a creative retelling of the GOP’s nominee for the Presidential Election and his foot-in-mouth visit to London, than the process went through another painful iteration as the gaffes continued and the Republican Party’s choice got compared unfavourably with Sarah Palin.

Capital? But I've never heard of Tel Aviv!

The mainstream media says Romney’s tour was a disaster and his campaign is doomed. They’re wrong” asserts Stanley hopefully. But, with Barack Obama ahead in ten of the twelve “swing states”, Romney’s track record at Bain Capital, all those policy flip-flops (especially on health care), and now criticism from his own side, it is increasingly hard for anyone to sound optimistic.

Apart, it seems, from Stanley, who claims everyone who disagrees with him is showing “naiveté” over Romney’s remarks about GDP in Israel and the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). That over 65% of Jewish voters in the USA vote Democrat, and that that vote is just 1.7% of the total, does not occur to him. Romney might attract a few more votes, but will alienate others.

On top of that has been his treatment of the press, who have not got to ask a question of the Republican challenger for three days now. Even Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) has been unhappy about this state of affairs: Greta van Susteren, who is accompanying the visit for the channel, got an interview with Romney during his 36 hours in Israel, but hasn’t has a word since.

I can’t help but feel a bit like the press is a modified petting zoo since we are trapped in a bus while Polish citizens take pictures of usshe observed yesterday. Romney’s campaign even tried to keep press out of a fundraising event in Israel. And matters did not improve when the circus moved to Poland, with the media resorting to shouting questions from a distance.

And that has led to yet another unfortunate moment, as Romney’s travelling press secretary Rick Gorka first fired back at reportersShow some respect” followed by “Kiss my ass. This is a holy site for the Polish people [Romney had just paid his respects at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw]. Show some respect” before telling the man from Politico to “shove it”.

Gorka later called the reporters concerned to apologise, but the damage, once more, had been done. “Mitt's a much stronger and smarter presidential candidate than the mainstream media would have you believe” says Stanley hopefully, but if the string of less than fortunate incidents in London, Israel and Poland is anything to go by, he isn’t, and the Obama team will not be at all worried.

But no doubt Doctor Stanley will have a nice warm feeling, so that’s all right, then.

[UPDATE1 1 August 1430 hours: the idea that the public Stateside might not have picked up on the negative mood of Romney's tour has been dispelled by press coverage, with a CBS News report typical, going through all the gaffes, including Mitt asserting that he hadn't said a range of things about the Palestinian Authority and its citizens, or even inferred them.

And another problem which Tim Stanley and the other cheerleaders might bear in mind is the latest Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll of likely voters, showing Barack Obama ahead in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, three "swing states" that Romney must win in November if he is to have any chance of taking the White House. Around 85 to 90 per cent of those voters had already made their minds up.

Moreover, Obama was at 50% or higher in all three states. The way that the Obama campaign has portrayed Romney, focusing on his time at Bain Capital, is also paying off]

[UPDATE2 3 August 1740 hours: Rick Gorka, who told reporters to "Kiss my ass" and "shove it", has been reported by ABC News to be "taking time off the campaign trail", which sounds kinder than "has been dismissed". Hopefully for Romney, his successor will prove less accident-prone.

Meanwhile, the deeply subversive Guardian has summed up the Romney association with gaffes by observing of his wife's horse Rafalca, which has been competing in the Olympic dressage event, "Ann Romney's horse fails to win dressage but avoids offending British". Quite]

[UPDATE3 7 August 1850 hours: Stanley is still clinging to the idea that the Romney campaign is not in trouble, and is neck and neck with the Democrats', but strangely says Mitt "should pick a Tea Party champ for vice President. It's time to get loud and mavericky". Sadly, as elections in the USA are decided, as in the UK, by those swing voters who inhabit the centre ground, that may not be a good idea.

He also chides the media for picking up on "silly details like tax releases", which is so minor and trivial that it could terminally up-end Romney. Already the thought has entered with many commentators that John McCain saw those tax returns and went with Sarah Palin, who of course Stanley was also lauding as a "Tea Party champ".

And Stanley stresses that the idea of a maverick isn't because Romney is desperate and behind in the polls. Give it time - just give it time]

1 comment:

Sigil said...

Tim, fun post as ever, but the point about the remarks made by WMR in Israel aren't for the Jewish vote, but rather for the Christian right for whom Israel has become a, uh, shibboleth.