Thursday, September 27, 2012

The 47% - Romney in his own words

I have a high regard for Jonathan Bernstein, John Sides, et al - political scientists and commentators whose work I follow on their blogs - A Plain Blog About Politics ((JB) and The Monkey Cage (Sides, et al.).  They have a respect for data which I appreciate for keeping narrative history types like me from getting too far off track.  But the general take they have is gaffes don't matter, they're just indistinguishable blips that don't move the partisans and are too small to identifiably move the undecided - who are, after all what swings elections.  But my quarrel is with identifiable.  You can overdo generalizing from past gaffes.  At some point you have to say that the beat of the heart matters.  It did for John Kerry and I think it will for Mitt Romney.  But Gov. Romney's damage will be worse for being self-inflicted.

I think that John Kerry had an uphill fight (don't switch horses in the middle of the stream - even when the stream was the horrors of the post-invasion Iraq civil war).  But I think that Swift Boating hurt.  So easy to say "oh, another self promoter" who got a Silver Star cause he is a rich guy, a politician.  Here are guys who were there (well, nearby).  And they say he was just a successful opportunist."  I think it had an effect - because the charges were irrebutable (you weren't there).  The Swift Boaters' accusations neutralized the theme Kerry put at the center of his personal message "I am John Kerry and I am reporting for duty".

The Obama campaign obviously thinks the heart matters too.  I agree - the power of the 47% meme is much greater than the Swift Boat meme - because it seems to be Mitt Romney himself speaking from the heart.  Below is the new Obama ad.  Mitt Romney audio, 47%'ers on the screen. - gwc

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