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Romney’s “Challenge,” Pawlenty’s Gaffe, Trump and Evangelicals?! – more

Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:34 am, April 14th 2011     —    2 Comments »

Romney Announcement Rollout

The coverage of the announcement continued in Bloomberg (“Mormon” mention), NPR blog (yawn), NECN (no “Mormon” mention) and CNN’s John King (no “Mormon” mention).  But it was in the analysis that followed the announcement that things got interesting.  Only Chris Cilizza was willing to take a reasonable look at how Romney might win this thing, acknowledging but not overplaying the Mormon issue.

Everybody was quick to point out the “problems” that a Romney candidacy would face – like any campaign is not essentially an exercise in problem solving.  Jonathon Martin and Alexander Burns say Romney faces five challenges.  I guess they have to write something.  Anyway, the most mentioned issue was, unsurprisingly, Massachusetts health care.  Erin McPike discussed it at RCP, as did Garance Franke-Rute at The Atlantic.  Romney struck back on this on the Kudlow Report, reported here by NRO and TPM.

Speaking of striking back – Conan O’Brien took a shot, and Romney hit him back.

Some chose to start to paint him as “the evil business guy” like this woman at WaPo and this guy in the UK.  Both pile this charge on top of religion and health care, trying to create an image of a loser.  Boy are they wrong about that.  The inherent contradiction of someone that successful being a loser is just hard to ignore.  It’s also just laughable given the Trump bubble.  Romney did spend a bit of time dealing with Trump here covered by a Fox blog and Hot Air.  Much as Trump deserves it, I think that is giving him more credit than he deserves.

Some say the problem is his videos or logo.  That’s just silly, such things do not matter at this juncture, they just don’t.  No one that those things matter to are paying any attention right now.

Things get interesting when we get to – what else? – religion.  I found it fascinating that Scott Conroy could write about Romney’s issues in South Carolina and not mention religion.  Religion played a significant role in Romney’s poor performance there last time (a performance accounted for in Romney’s strategy) and it will again.  But the real shot came in an article in The Christian Post that raised the old, and irrelevant, question, “Are Mormons Christian?“  Consider the source on this one and move on.  And of course, Fred Karger continues to use Romney’s faith as an issue vis-a-vis the homosexual agenda.   That is classic misdirection.

Only Michael Shear seems to get it really right when he says, “Attacks on Romney Confirm Front-Runner Status.”  That’s the real take-away from all this.

Tim Pawlenty – “OOPS”

Pawlenty made a great hire early this week, coverage by Roll Call, NRO and TPM.  It seems that Pawlenty as a health care issue too.  There’s a shocker.  Health care is one of the biggest issues facing the nation – governors like Pawlenty and Romney needed to act.  It’s a doggone hard problem.  Mistakes are going to be made – which is Romney’s point as linked above.  And when states do it, things can be fixed.  When the federal government does it, not only is it unconstitutional in its current form, it becomes this juggernaut the course of which simply cannot be altered.

But this great hire by Pawlenty was counter balanced by a major gaffe on CNN.  He admitted, while still in the exploratory phase, that he was actually “running for president.”  (You have to love Allahpundit’s sarcasm.)   He later walked that statement back, and it drew considerable coverage.  This is not a big legal deal, but it is a major issue in messaging and media management.  Many mistakes like that and he is not going to get very far.

Donald Trump – From Silly to Ludicrious

He lead a poll this week.  Geraghty asks, “A sign that name ID counts for everything at this point?”  Gee, ya think?!  Geraghty then goes on to wonder if campaigns really have become “reality” shows.  Lord, I hope not for reality shows are anything but real, and reality show stars enjoy the least substantive form celebrity imaginable.  Such people have no actual skill, not even performance.

But where things really jumped the shark is when he reached out to Evangelicals by appearing on CBN’s Brody File.  If ever there has been a case of a “candidate” pandering, this is it.  Does anyone really believe this?

Michael Medved pointed out on his show one day this week that Trump will never run because he could never undergo the financial disclosure.  I think that is right and I think it says everything you need to know about Trump’s game here.  He’s building media cred to make media money.

Haley Barbour Talks

Reports out of Mississippi say he has been taking diction lessons, though clandestinely some wonder if he is just drinking less.  Regardless, he continues to act like a candidate – despite some pressing issues.  Virtually all the news came out of an appearance he made in front on Congress on health care.  He used the opportunity to take a very snarky shot at Romney.  It saw coverage at The Hill, the NYTimes, Politico, and CNS News.  If this is how things are going to go, it’s going to be really ugly.

The Rest of the Field

Do you need more evidence that Politico has turned left?  Well, how about the fact that they carried a story that Salon picked up on, almost verbatim, about the lack of enthusiasm for POTUS candidates amongst Republicans in Congress.  That would matter if anyone was, you know, actually declared as a candidate.  But at the moment, all we got is Herman Cain, and they’re right about that – no one cares.

Meanwhile, Wednesday has come and gone.  Anybody heard from Santorum?  (Well, yeah, but you had to listen really hard.) Mitch Daniels quipped, and the agog media shivered.  (He’s not running without a divorce announcement.)  And most fascinating is that even Fred Karger has figured out Huckabee won’t run.  As much as Karger hates Romey, you’d think he’d want the Huckster in.

Religion Reading

We’re scary to the left.  So much so that they are now saying our religion prevents us from reading the news properly.  This is going to get interesting in Florida.

In the meantime, there is some very good news.

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