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Tilting at Windmills

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January 18, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

THE PRESS vs. MITT ROMNEY....Is Mitt Romney getting the press treatment usually reserved for Democrats? Ezra Klein investigates.

For myself, I'm not so sure — though certainly the press corps seems to personally dislike Romney in a way that Republicans usually avoid. But the real issue here seems to be the size of the lies that Romney tells. Tell a small lie ("my campaign isn't run by lobbyists") and the press hounds you to the gates of hell. Tell a big lie ("my trillion dollar tax cut will pay for itself") and they yawn. So guess what most candidates do?

Kevin Drum 12:49 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (31)

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Is Mitt Romney getting the press treatment usually reserved for Democrats?

What, they're mostly rooting for him?

Posted by: Brian on January 18, 2008 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

What, they're mostly rooting for him?
Posted by: Brian

Stupid, even by Brian's standards.

Posted by: DJ on January 18, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not even sure if "not run by lobbyists" is a lie. Does having a few lobbyist as advisors mean your campaign is "run by" lobbyists?

And is the media interested in this issue out of concerns of lobbyist influence, or only because it's a 'gotcha' lie with accompanying video of a candidate getting snippy? There's a difference.

Posted by: Ronnie Pudding on January 18, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

I simply cannot stand Mitt Romney and any/all members of his Stepford family. Today the youngest son was on MSNBC with his blonde, bimbo-looking wife, and their baby, "Parker Mitt". I used to think I loathed and despised George Bush in the most visceral level possible, but I think I've moved that hatred to anything Romney.

If "I" feel that way, seeing Romney,et al, only on TV, I can't imagine the feelings of people who have to "cover" Romney full time, every day.

Posted by: phoebes on January 18, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Brian sez: "...mostly rooting for him?"

Hilarious, Brian. You're killing us with the "liberal media bias" schtick.

Amazing how the press was "mostly rooting for" Al Gore, what with the b.s. about him claiming to have invented the internet [he didn't ever make such a claim, of course.].

And the press was "mostly rooting for" John Kerry and ever-so-kind to his wife.

And before I forget, let's all remember how much the national media was "mostly rooting for" Bill Clinton during the impeachment feeding frenzy in the fall of 1998, when virtually all the talking heads called for Bill to do the right thing and resign.

Sigh. Give the Rush Limbaugh complaints of media bias a rest, Brian. Or get real and read through the fawning columns of somebody like David Broder through the Bush administration years.

Then give us a break, okay?

Posted by: shystr on January 18, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

"The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of the nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell a big one."--A. Hitler

Posted by: rea on January 18, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

It's supposed to be St John McCain, dammit. Why doesn't the public understand that. They're just wrong, and the Me-dia is gonna show 'em the error of their ways.

Posted by: DrBB on January 18, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Plus St John gives you this warm squoogie feeling whenever you look at him and you just want to hug him--in a manly way of course--and sit at his feet and be dazzled by his glamour. And the others are all so, I dunno, just ucky.

Posted by: DrBB on January 18, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

I rather wish they'd address the "stellar" job he did here in Massachusetts as a governor -- pushing for our hope-it-works health care mandate, then trying to veto the funding/penalties for non-compliant businesses. Or, "the property tax is a more stable source of revenue than the income tax" -- well, duh, especially since we (Mass.) have this weird capped property tax increase that defaults the REVENUE increment to 2.5% per year -- if appraisals rise higher, then the rate goes lower, if appraisals file, then the rate goes up (*). True for the stupidest of reasons, yet also wrong to push for a regressive tax (in particular, because the very town in which he lives has one of the worst mismatches between median income and property tax). One of the ways that he (and our nominally Democratic legislature) managed the budget during the last recession was to cut state aid to towns for education, shifting more costs to regressive property taxes. Tax the poor, even in his own town, that's Mitt.

And, good grief, can he make up his mind on legalized abortion, gay rights, etc, etc? He's Whitmanesque in his flexibility.

(*) there's fine print that limits the maximum rate, but it would require a 60% dive in the aggregate property (appraised) values. If we activate the fine print, property taxes are the least of our worries.

Posted by: dr2chase on January 18, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that the press has treated Romney horribly, while sucking on McCain's ass even as he says things even more ludicrous than the Mittster, but it must be hard for reporters to take Romney seriously. Even among a cadre not know for its openness and honesty, Mittster stands out as a pathological, duplicitous hack.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on January 18, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Clearly, he needs a staffer to come up with belittling nicknames for his press entourage. Nothing establishes the pecking order like doling out frat-house monikers.

Posted by: junebug on January 18, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

The press is centered in NY City. Romney is from Boston. If there is actually any poor treatment of Romney by the press, it probably has to do with regional rivalries.

Posted by: Brojo on January 18, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: mhr on January 18, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Reminds me of this season of The Wire: "The bigger the lie, the more they believe." Exactly.

Of course, it's not difficult to figure out why things are he way they are: by trying to trip up Romney on inconsistencies, they can still appear to be "objective", as if that term still has any meaning to them aside from as a catchphrase. By attacking a cornerstone of GOP policy, the media would look "biased" and "partisan", which are the last things the media wants to be associated with, regardless of whether or not one side or the other has a point. It doesn't matter who'se right, just that both sides get a fair shake, which means bashing on Democrats more in order to eliminate any suspicion of "liberal bias". Only there's not a thing in this world to dissuade the right from saying the media is biased - the facts don't line up quite neatly with their worldview, do they?

Posted by: Lev on January 18, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Did anyone see that incredible clip where the reporter for the Associated Press called Willard Romney on his preposterous claim that lobbyists don't run his campaign, and the Mittmeister got into an argument with him?

The most amazing part was that Romney then came back later to argue with the guy some more. And then Romney's handlers, rather than pull their candidate away from the confrontation, instead joined in and tried to intimidate the reporter.

Personally, I'm rooting for John McCain, if only to relish the prospect of seeing Joe Lieberman on the GOP ticket.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 18, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

mhr, one word of advice for you: Metamucil.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 18, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Even if one accepts Romney's claim that he doesn't have lobbyists "running" his campaign, he also said during the press conference that "I don't have lobbyists tied to my--" He presumably was going to finish with "campaign" before Glen Johnson interrupted him.

I guess the next question for Romney is what his definition of "tied" is. If it's anything like his definition of "saw" ("I saw my father march with Martin Luther King"), his explanation ought to be, at the least, entertaining.

Posted by: Dagmar on January 18, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

You are right that the tax cuts will pay for themselves is the kind of big lie that the media should be hammering politicians for. McCain pulls this stuff to, but does it by being technically correct, while still being dishonest. (Sorry, I forgot that he is a straight-shooter.) Notice that McCain says tax cuts raise revenues. That is true. What he doesn't say is that even Bush's economic estimates show that no tax cut ever pays for itself. That is, they do bring in revenue through increased economic activity, just not nearly enough to make up for what was lost in the tax cut. The best case scenario is that some kinds of tax cuts may make up half of the revenue lost, but most don't even come close to that.
Why reporters don't care about this kind of dishonesty is beyond me. These are lies and distortions about serious issues that affect the well being of our country and all of its citizens.

Posted by: BernieO on January 18, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

[Candidate trolling deleted]

Posted by: NFaye on January 18, 2008 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

I simply cannot stand Mitt Romney and any/all members of his Stepford family...I used to think I loathed and despised George Bush in the most visceral level possible, but I think I've moved that hatred to anything Romney.

I hear this sort of thing not infrequently, and it fascinates me, because I can't get worked up about this guy. He makes me yawn. He strikes me as a giant joke with Ken hair. I guess the joke will be on me if he gets the nomination and runs a campaign that actually has some get up and go in it.

Posted by: shortstop on January 18, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

I am not sure Mitt Romney is real. Every time I see him on TV I think of those commercials made with avatars instead of real people. He plain seems like a computer-generated image - his movements, his appearance, his robotic speaking style, etc etc.

Posted by: searp on January 18, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

I think it has more to do with the fact not a soul in the country thinks automakers jobs are going back to Michigan.

I think it has a lot do with telling a lie that a lot of people will believe, like tax cuts paying for themselves or Saddam behind 9/11,

Posted by: ScottW on January 18, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever happened to 'change'??

Posted by: GVC on January 18, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Mitt Romney's Campaign is NOT run by lobbyists, so why do you use this as an example of a lie he told?

When a salesman goes to a sales meeting, he may contribute and advise, but he does not RUN the sales department.

Posted by: Bill Mitchell on January 18, 2008 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Romney is from Boston.

Like hell he is.

Posted by: thersites on January 19, 2008 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

i can't believe i wrote it, but just the other day i did piece concerning how the media is denying romney "front runner status" when he clearly has more than triple the pledged and unpledged delegates than his closest competitor, huckabee, w/st. mccain in a distant third.

i hate romney, but i'd like to see reporting w/o storylines being adhered to.

Posted by: skippy on January 19, 2008 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

It's funny or rather strange how many of us saw the Mitt vs. Johnson's incident and yet have different views. One thing I know for sure: Mitt Romney said it loud and clear that lobbyists don't run his campaign. He was referring to McCain whose campaign is being run by a lobbyist. To run a campaign is more than just working for it. I don't know how more clear is that unless we are looking for all wrong reasons.

Posted by: Savea7 on January 19, 2008 at 3:47 AM | PERMALINK

Dead thread by now but still... Thing about Romney is, he's a Suit. The very essence, icon, prototype and epitome of the thing. If the term has any meaning whatsoever, it means Mitt. His picture in the dictionary for that one. Huckabee absolutely spiked him with that quip about people wanting the guy who seems like the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off. You may not like theocracy, but you gotta respect Huck's mouth. Nailed it in one.

Mitt's doing great in the GOP delegate-wise because the GOP in its soul is the party of, by and for Suits. They've lipsticked that pig with fake Texas accents and showplace ranches and brush clearing and fried pigskin-eating, but it's really what everyone knows about them. If Mitt is the candidate, the Suit--so to speak--will be out of the closet. It's what they've resisted having happen for ages, but it's starting to look like maybe they just can't help themselves. Their inner Suit is coming out.

And nobody outside the GOP, the press included, likes a Suit.

Posted by: DrBB on January 19, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

What's he look like in a truck with a cowboy hat and a fake ranch?

Come on Mitt, get with the program!

Posted by: Joey Giraud on January 19, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Romney maybe a Morman, but he is not "moral." Im from Massachusetts and learned the hard way that you can't believe a word he says. He will flip-flop (lie) about ANYTHING, and that's hardly moral.

During his campaign for Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney promised judicial reform for Massachusetts. The reality is he left the system more broken than it was before his term in office. Judge Tuttman is not an isolated incident. Governor Romney also nominated and pushed for the confirmation of Judge Mitchel J. Sikora to the Massachusetts Court of Appeals. When Romney did this, he was made personally aware by me that Judge Sikora had a track record of "outrageous" leniency toward violent criminals. By way of example only, prior to the judicial confirmation hearing, members of the public made Governor Romney personally aware that Judge Sikora had:

 Acquitted the man who killed Jacqueline O' Donald finding that, giving her the date-rape drug GBL was not "reckless or wanton" enough to sustain the charge of manslaughter because Dolan "did not know the drug was dangerous to the point of grave bodily harm." (See Boston Globe article dated December 31, 2003, "Plymouth Man, 34 Cleared in Death")

 Released a rapist from the Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater, over the strenuous objections of the Department of Corrections. Governor Cellucci called Sikora's decision "outrageous." Shortly after Judge Sikora released him, the rapist/pedophile was arrested for stalking girls with a rope, rock, and knife in his car, - his weapons of choice. (See Boston Herald article dated March 12, 1999, "Freed Mass. Rapist Arrested in UConn Stalking Incidents")

 Conducted Monty-Python type trials complete with jurors dressed in Halloween costumes. (See Boston Herald article dated October 31, 2004, "Judges Trick No Treat for Litigants")

The above are merely a few examples of the abhorrent behavior of Judge Mitchel Sikora. The public record documents that Judge Sikora was untruthful during his confirmation hearing. In spite of his personal knowledge of that kind of record (and I have the documents that prove it), Governor Romney elevated Judge Sikora to a higher court. If Romney becomes president of America, we will see a callous disregard for the quality and integrity of the federal judicial appointments and the protection of the public.

Stefano Picciotto
(978) 741-0218

Posted by: Stefano Picciotto on January 20, 2008 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

I'm a Republican, probably more conservative than most, but Mitt Romney's suits look more expensive than most people's cars.

Some things I cannot abide.

Posted by: JPGanMor on January 24, 2008 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK
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