December 4, 2007

Romney to Roll Out ‘The Speech,’ As He Questions His Own Timing

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:30 am

So Mitt Romney is giving his “I am (insert name of his religion here), hear me roar” speech on Thursday.

Hmmm.

In a meeting with the editors of Human Events, the results of which were published on November 21, there was this answer to a question about the timing of such a speech (bolds are mine):

I listen to people’s perceptions, and I will weigh that in my own analysis and my own decision-making. But I have not made a decision at this point about whether and when to give such a speech.

….. You know, in the case of Senator Kennedy — and later President Kennedy — as you point out, he made the speech, I think it was in September prior to the November election. And so, if I were to do so now, I would be nine or ten months before he did.

It’s just something which, you know, I have to take a look at. I do get the chance, of course, to take a look at a number of people’s articles about this. There’s a whole book written about it. By Hugh Hewitt, saying, “Don’t dare give such a speech. You can’t possibly satisfy the critics.” And of course no one could compare with the landmark address that was given by Senator Kennedy, so, it’s not something that I’m ready to announce any change on.

Seven or so business days later, questioning his own previously stated timing, he’s apparently rarin’ to go with it.

My, that was a briskly done switch.

Why?

And get a load of what Hugh “Don’t dare give such a speech” Hewitt is saying now:

The Romney plan continues to roll out. Even the Huckabee pop has helped by lowering Romney’s expectations in Iowa, even as Rudy has to fight off bad headlines and a McCain Campaign buoyed by the Manchester Union Leader’s endorsement.

….. When he set out to run for president, he knew the anti-Mormon fanatics would be there every step of the way, and that religious bigotry on the left and right would be a handicap. We won’t know until after the campaign is over, but I suspect in the headquarters of Team Romney there is a timeline drafted long ago that has on it an entry –”a week before the first absentees are cast, give speech on religious liberty.” I will be surprised if the speech Romney gives on Thursday will have much to do with theology, but I expect it will have a great do to do with political theory.

The ability to anticipate events and especially difficulties is among the greatest attributes of leadership. Romney has it.

In your dreams, Hugh.

If there’s a more obvious example of ROTFLMBO (Rolling On The Floor, Laughing My Butt Off) self-parody deteriorating into monumental absurdity in America today than Hewitt’s head-first, principle-abandoning plunge into the tank for Mitt Romney, I’d like to know what it is.

As to Romney, it seems to me that he probably had “such a speech” planned for the GOP convention upon accepting the nomination, or perhaps shortly thereafter. But I suspect that, like a heavily-favored football team caught looking ahead to next week’s game against a hated rival, but down in the fourth quarter to Podunk U, he’s having to pull the speech — his “big play” — out from under the wraps much earlier than he anticipated. It may be that the campaign’s internal polling shows the SS Romney taking on water much more quickly and forcefully than in the info we get to see.

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann would appear to agree:

This is not a good time to be Mitt Romney. After almost a year of having the Iowa and New Hampshire airwaves to himself, he is now facing a challenge on the right from Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson and on the left from Rudy Giuliani.

Pressed from both sides, he is leaking votes. Where once a sweep of the table of the early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and South Carolina) appeared in the cards, he is now looking at a possible defeat in Iowa, derailing his plans.

….. If Huckabee beats Romnney in Iowa, it may imperil the rest of the four-state sweep which Romney is anticipating.

….. But, if one-third of the primary voters are backing Romney in New Hampshire, what about the other two-thirds? Universally known because of his Massachusetts governorship, Romney may have hit his ceiling at a third of the vote. And, should he lose Iowa, he may drop into the high 20s.

….. If Mitt doesn’t win either Iowa or New Hampshire, he is finished.

Giuliani, on the other hand, could lose both early states and live to fight again down the road. With a national lead and a 50-state presence, Rudy, like Hillary, cannot be knocked out in the early going.

Just wondering — The Romney regression couldn’t have anything to do with THIS, could it?

_______________________________________

UPDATE: Testy Hugh Hewitt (see his Update 2) is saying that he isn’t backtracking from his “don’t give such a speech” stand, because Romney’s speech will be about “religious liberty” and not “theology.”

Zheesh, Hugh — Kennedy’s “such a speech” in 1960 wasn’t about “theology,” it was about “religious liberty,” religious tolerance, and ultimately national loyalty.

Romney’s “such a speech” was NEVER going to be about “theology.” Who do you think you’re fooling, Hugh? Thursday’s speech will be the speech you didn’t want to see given. All that’s remains is to see if your original fears are justified.

UPDATE 2, Dec. 5: Jonah Goldberg must not have gotten Hewitt’s “religious liberty” memo –

Washington is atwitter. Mitt Romney will give a “JFK speech” Thursday accounting for his Mormonism the way then-Sen. John F. Kennedy dealt with his Catholicism in 1960.

….. Such are the dangers of political nostalgia, which often drives candidates to repeat history as farce.

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5 Comments

  1. [...] BizzyBlog If there’s a more obvious example of ROTFLMBO (Rolling On The Floor, Laughing My Butt Off) self-parody deteriorating into monumental absurdity in America today than Hewitt’s head-first, principle-abandoning plunge into the tank for Mitt Romney, I’d like to know what it is.As to Romney, it seems to me that he probably had “such a speech” planned for the GOP convention upon accepting the nomination, or perhaps shortly thereafter. But I suspect that, like a heavily-favored football team caught looking ahead to next week’s game against a hated rival, but down in the fourth quarter to Podunk U, he’s having to pull the speech — his “big play” — out from under the wraps much earlier than he anticipated. It may be that the campaign’s internal polling shows the SS Romney taking on water much more quickly and forcefully than in the info we get to see. [...]

    Pingback by NixGuy.com » Hewitt and Romney, sitting in a tree — December 5, 2007 @ 8:54 am

  2. Hugh’s original analysis was more right than wrong. Romney can’t help himself with such a speech, only draw attention to something that he’d rather not. The only reason to do so would be to stop the bleeding.

    The big picture here is that Romney can’t lose Iowa, not after all the money he’s spent, or he’s done. And that goes double for losing to Huckabee, who earlier was running his campaign on a shoestring, to great effect.

    Comment by dave — December 5, 2007 @ 9:47 am

  3. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/12/05/more_immigrant_woes_for_romney_1196840293/

    The above story from the Globe tends to contradict Hewitt’s assertion that, “[Romney has] the ability to anticipate events and especially difficulties [which] is among the greatest attributes of leadership.”

    Does it really make sense to continue employing illegal aliens for a year after you’re caught doing it the first time? Is that a potential difficulty that should be anticipated? I would think so.

    NED

    Comment by NewEnglandDevil — December 5, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

  4. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/12/05/more_immigrant_woes_for_romney_1196840293/

    The above article suggests that Hewitt’s closing statement is inaccurate.

    “The ability to anticipate events and especially difficulties is among the greatest attributes of leadership. Romney has it.”

    Romney should have anticipated that it would be checked again as to whether or not he was employing illegals at his home. Particularly after it came up in the debate.

    NED

    Comment by NewEnglandDevil — December 5, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

  5. #3 and #4, excellent points, but I think there was a clean break between the two situations when they weren’t illegals maintaining his place.

    A relative tempest in a teapot, but another thing to hold over him by the Dems in the general.

    Comment by TBlumer — December 5, 2007 @ 9:31 pm

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