Political Animal


September 10, 2012 4:40 PM The Vetting! The Vetting!

By Ed Kilgore

I noted earlier today some signs of panic from the GOP ranks based on multiple tracking-poll evidence that Obama had gained a net benefit from the Convention Fortnight.

Now there’s a fresh non-tracking poll out, from CNN/ORC, that shows Obama pulling out to a 52/46 lead among likely voters, the universe that normally provides a few extra points for GOP candidates.

You can stare at the numbers yourself, but there’s virtually no good news for Mittville in this survey, which shows Obama building a big advantage in personal favorability (57/42 versus 48/47), and Democrats expressing more enthusiasm about voting (and far more “positive” voting for their candidate) than Republicans.

Again, this is one poll eight weeks from the Big Day, and even though Nate Cohn of TNR argues that from a historical perspective this is an especially important moment in the cycle, there hasn’t been a lot of normalcy in recent political developments.

But in anticipating a possible intensification of the GOP panic attack, particularly if the CNN poll is echoed by others this week, I am beginning to wonder if the answer to my question about the origin of Republican jitters might just be a fear of a fresh resurgence of movement-conservative demands that Romney junk his cautious, economy-based approach (to the extent he has been allowed to pursue it) and get down and dirty with a culture-based “vetting” of Obama the Kenyan anti-colonialist Alinskyite baby-killing Christ-hater.

There is zero evidence “the vetting” would work, but if Team Mitt looks to be heading into a ditch, you’d best believe the wingnutosphere will begin raising a deafening cry for a big change of direction, particularly since said wingnutosphere still doesn’t trust Romney to be the kind of president they crave, and so seeks every excuse for forcing him to bend the knee.

So as you watch the polls roll out, recall that good news for Obama is bad news for Mitt not just because he’s trailing, but because he could soon lose control of his own campaign strategy and message.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • T2 on September 10, 2012 4:50 PM:

    @Ed Kilgore...."he could soon lose control of his own campaign strategy and message."

    I'm sorry, but try as I might, I can't think of any evidence of "strategy and message" in the Romney campaign.....unless lying repeatedly counts as strategy. There certainly is no coherent "message" - he changes his views several times a day regardless what the question is. Indeed, the reason Romney is losing is the LACK of "strategy and message".
    All they have left is the race card, so look for plenty dog whistles.

  • dalloway on September 10, 2012 5:00 PM:

    "...he could soon lose control of his own campaign strategy and message."

    Couldn't happen to a nicer vampire, er, guy.

  • thepoliticalcat on September 10, 2012 5:01 PM:

    I'd just like to point out here that the Birther Convention scheduled this month that was going to star Joe PinkPanties, has been canceled for lack of interest. If renewed "vettening" is howled for by the screechers among us, I suspect far from working, it will drive any remaining undecided voters straight into the arms of anyone NOT screeching. And the President has the most mellifluous tones.

  • Ronald on September 10, 2012 5:02 PM:

    Gonna jump on that last line as well-
    To say he would lose control of the strategy and message would assume he actually had a coherent strategy and/or message to lose.
    Romney's had more positions than the kama sutra for cryin' out loud.

  • MuddyLee on September 10, 2012 5:04 PM:

    Don't Americans already know that the President is black? And married to a black woman? And has 2 black children? Any of this birther/Kenyan/socialist/other nonsense should be countered by questions about Mitt's Mormon religion and his polygamist heritage - you know, those grandparents or was it great-grandparents who ran off to Mexico to avoid laws about marriage in the United States. Can we trust a guy who won't show us his tax returns and equates giving to his church with paying taxes? Let's have the offshore dad vs the offshore accounts debate. Let's have the what would Ayn Rand do debate. Let's have the dressage vs basketball debate.

  • Josef K on September 10, 2012 5:18 PM:

    It may be worse than any of us could hope. I think Robert Bork of all people are on the R/R campaign's 'judiciary advisory committee' or whatever its called; the same Judge Bork who is on record saying there's no constitutional right to privacy, something Romney hasn't been terribly explicit about yet.

    So, now that comrade Bork's presence in the campaign is public knowledge, how soon before some DNC ads emerge pressing Romney about his agreement with Bork's more public positions? The ones like: companies can fire women who don't submit for sterilization, the EPA wouldn't apply to women, no constitutional right to personal privacy.

    I'm not kidding about those positions, btw. They came up during his confirmation hearings. The man is such a retrograde mess I'm amazed he's allowed out in public anymore.

  • Leopold Von Ranke on September 10, 2012 5:19 PM:

    I regularly listen to a local radio call-in show called "Viewpoint." The host rarely interrupts callers,just agrees and "tut-tuts", with the exception of the guy who complains Obama put a "chip" in his brain. I've gotta admit, I listen just to hear crazy people rant, which, for better or worse, I find humerous. This AM:

    (1) Obama's grandmother was a bank president;

    (2) He got a Pell Grant, but did not deserve one, because of (1), supra.

    (3) His real father was not the "Kenyan," but an American socialist of dubious pedigree who trained Obama to destroy the United States;

    (4) The reason "we" can't see the college transcripts is that Obama never graduated from college;

    (5) Obama, his parents and grandparents, as well as Michelle, are "CIA."

    (6) Romney and Ryan won't bring (1),(2), (3), and (4), supra to the attention of the general public is that they are in on the deal;

    (7) The "myth" of his Kenyan ancestry is being promoted by the Obama campaign to deflect attention from (1), (2) (3) (4)and (5), supra,

    (7) A bunch of other Dali-esque nonsense.

    All funny and entertaining, but I like the guy with the "Obama Chip" in his brain the best. The point, insofar as there was one, is that Romney is a closet "Obamaite," who is trying to lose.

    The gravamen is that the point made by the article above is well-taken. Romney will have to win with the nutcase vote. SOmetimes, I'm sorry the liberals emptied the asylums.

  • Zorro on September 10, 2012 5:22 PM:

    52/46 lead among likely voters, the universe that normally provides a few extra points for GOP candidates

    Ah, but I wonder how the poll among those who will actually be allowed to vote reads? I'd bet it looks rather different from this one.


  • c u n d gulag on September 10, 2012 5:31 PM:

    During all of this embarrassment of Republican stupidity and arrogance, I can't help but wonder what their rabid schmuck's down-ticket think about all of this?

    Maybe Allen West needs to spend some more time in his own district, rather than advise Mitt on 'the soul's of black folks,' since he sold his soul a long, long time ago.

  • Bokonon on September 10, 2012 5:39 PM:

    Meanwhile, a 90 minute movie has started playing at cinemas all over the nation, claiming that Obama is a stooge-dupe-Manchurian-candidate-who-has-internalized-the-Kenyan-anticolonialist-views-of-his-father-and-is-going-to-destroy-America. And turn the USA into a third world socialist hellhole. And sell us out to the Russians. Because anti-colonialists just DO that sort of thing.

    Seriously. You should see all the traffic on pages like Facebook (not to mention right wing sites), working themselves into a frenzy over the "new information" and "insights" presented by this film, and how "terrifying" this makes the prospect of Obama winning re-election.

    Honestly. If I didn't know better, I would swear that the right wing is waging scorched-earth warfare, with the goal of either winning total control over the federal government OR making the nation completely ungovernable (if they don't win).

  • SadOldVet on September 10, 2012 5:40 PM:

    @ Josef K...

    Charles Colson is an 'American Hero' among the reich wing.

    Oliver North is an 'American Hero' among the reich wing.

    Karl Rove is raking in the money being a front man for billionaires when he should be in jail.

    Dick Cheney is still allowed to breathe precious oxygen on this planet.

    Frank Luntz is still getting paid to appear on most of the talking head shows.

    All of the above have done great damage to our country. While Robert Bork may want to destroy America and turn it into ameriKKKa; he has never succeeded.

  • bkmn on September 10, 2012 5:54 PM:

    Mitt's numbers may be dropping as voters get a chance to see and hear Paul Ryan and his incessant lies. Perhaps Mitt should have vetted Ryan better.

  • c u n d gulag on September 10, 2012 5:56 PM:

    Zee Republican's are all vet!

  • Bo on September 10, 2012 6:01 PM:

    The MittWit COULD "lose control of his own campaign strategy and message"?
    Sorry, Ed. I think that train left the station a long time ago!
    BTW, if other posters here want to have fun, head over to DickMorris.com and find the comments sections for his video "fireside chats". That little red-meat artist has gathered a small but vitriolic gang of hate-mongering idiots. I post messages there under anyother name just to rattle their cages . . . it's like shooting fish in a barrel!

  • bigtuna on September 10, 2012 6:02 PM:

    Memo to the Republicans

    Re: your candidates

    As people learn more about them, their personalities, and their plans, the less they like them.

  • Diane Rodriguez on September 10, 2012 6:03 PM:

    Counter punch lies immediately, persistently and loudly.

    Talk, talk, talk about the fact that the Romney/Ryan policies will f-k over the poor and middle class.

    Keep asking about the Romney offshore accounts, his 100K IRA and vulture capitalism.

    Turn out the vote. Register as many youth and Hispanics and drive them to the polls.

    Never never act like it is in the bag.

  • jomo on September 10, 2012 6:58 PM:

    When Romney tries to fall back on his Massachusetts record for healthcare he gets bitchslapped by the base and has to recant this hours later. The GOP base is one hell of a vindictive mistress. I hope he goes this route - when McCain balked he was assailed by the base for being insufficiently strident. If he tries it and fails, at least the world can point to the failure,

  • Anonymous on September 10, 2012 7:24 PM:

    To really stir salt in the wound, the meme that Ryan is dragging down the ticket should be shoved in the face of every wingnut in the land.

  • Nick on September 10, 2012 7:35 PM:

    I must say: I am not hating recent developments.

    B-Rock the Islamic Shock is close to having this in the bag.

  • Just Dropping By on September 10, 2012 7:55 PM:

    A bunch of other Dali-esque nonsense.

    I think Salvador Dali would be offended by that comparison. Perhaps Dada-esque instead?

  • smartalek on September 11, 2012 12:04 AM:

    Yes, I know it means nothing-- less than nothing.
    Yes, I know it doesn't mean any more about the election than one hot winter day means about climate change.
    Yes, I know it'll all be different next week, let alone next month, let alone on election day.
    But daayyyuummm does it look cool to see the "prediction market" site Intrade setting the probability of Obama winning at 60.4%, and Mendacious Mitt Rmoney and Lyin' Ryan at 39.8%!
    Perhaps there really is a God -- and She's as fed up with Publicans defaming Her and distorting Her Word as we are.
    O happy day!

  • smartalek on September 11, 2012 12:28 AM:

    @Ms Diane Rodriguez

    Pls forgive, and I could be wrong, but I think there's a typo in yr comment.
    IIRC, Mitt's IRA has $100 MILLION, not $100 thousand, in it.
    $100k would not be an unreasonable balance for any upper-middle-class professional, or even for many lower-middle-class workers, if they were unionized and had been prudent savers, toward the end of a long career. (For those starting out now, of course, it may he a very different story.)
    A hundred million -- not so much.

  • ljh123 on September 11, 2012 2:04 PM:

    The best thing the repubs could have done is placate their right wing and nominated a tea party candidate. Then when they are destroyed in november they would be forced away from their right wing extremism and start to move to the center. Nominating moderates that appeal to independants while still beholding to their right wing is death by a thousand cuts for them