People watching politics are truly ADD, with stunningly short attention spans and even shorter memories. Here’s a brief sliver of a larger argument why the presidential race was over in March– and, ironically, Mitt Romney will have to blame the very conservative billionaires who are shoveling money down the rat hole of his losing campaign.
This particular sliver boils down to the corruption of the country’s politics. Start with this article in The Wall Street Journal:
Others credit the super PACs with an even larger impact. “If Romney didn’t have the help from the outside groups that he’s had, this race would be over,” said Gary Bauer, a former GOP presidential candidate who is launching his own ads attacking the president on social issues.
GOP campaign operatives say that one indisputable success came in the party’s primary in February, after Mr. Romney suffered a stinging defeat to Mr. Gingrich in South Carolina and needed to turn his campaign around in Florida. In just two weeks leading up to the Jan. 30 Florida primary, the pro-Romney group Restore Our Future ran nearly 7,000 TV spots in the state, compared with 210 by the Gingrich campaign and an outside group supporting him.
Which entirely misses the point of what happened back in the Republican primaries. IMHO, the “superPAC” money spent earlier this year in the Republican primaries set the stage for the defeat of Romney, an already deeply flawed candidate (more on that some other time). But for the checks written by Sheldon Adleson (for Gingrich) and Foster Friess (for Rick Santorum), both Gingrich and Santorum would never have survived as long as they did.
Staying in the race allowed Gingrich and Santorum to bombard Romney for weeks with negative ads. And, in that time period, Gingrich, who would not take second place to any member of Congress for his long service as a mouthpiece for vulture capitalism, accused Romney, among other things, of practicing “vulture capitalism” during his Bain years. Add on the multiple attacks on character and, presto…
Pity those poor independent, swing voters in states like Florida. They had to endure thousands of ads, even though they weren’t voting in the Republicans primaries. But, they did SEE those ads.
If you are an independent voter, or even a modestly Republican leaning voter, what are you to think about Romney when his own PARTY leaders are attacking him for being a “vulture capitalist”? To be sure, intellectually, they might say: “oh, I expect that, it’s just politics.”
But, people react emotionally in politics. And, IMHO, those attacks left a deep impression — an impression of a bottom-line businessman who would have no feeling for the plight of regular people, an impression ready to be reinforced by future attacks by the Obama campaign or the release of the infamous video or a whole myriad of attacks.