Political Animal


October 26, 2012 9:07 AM Big Mo Must Live!

By Ed Kilgore

Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s just the inevitable tone surrounding the end-game of a long, vicious, closely fought election cycle. But there seems to be a bit of hysteria in the latest protestations of conservatives against signs that perhaps the Romney Surge isn’t going to crest on November 6, leading to a huge landslide and wild celebrations throughout the Heartland.

Yes, John Sununu is often a loose cannon, but he’s still Chief Surrogate for Romney and Ryan, and it can’t be an accident he went on Piers Morgan’s show to attribute Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama’s re-election to racial solidarity. (He later walked the comment back, of course).

And Peggy Noonan’s latest column, directly from the heart of the Republican Establishment that’s recently been assessing its career options in a Conservative Ascendancy, represents an effort, over-the-top even for her, to mesmerize readers into thinking only of the first presidential debate as the central event of the cycle—yea, perhaps of recent American history!

We all say Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. But it’s all still Denver, Denver, and the mystery that maybe isn’t a mystery at all.
If Cincinnati and Lake County go for Mitt Romney on Nov. 6 it will be because of what happened in Denver on Oct. 3. If Barack Obama barely scrapes through, if there’s a bloody and prolonged recount, it too will be because of Denver.
Nothing echoes out like that debate. It was the moment that allowed Mr. Romney to break through, that allowed dismay with the incumbent to coalesce, that allowed voters to consider the alternative. What the debate did to the president is what the Yankees’ 0-4 series against the Tigers did at least momentarily, to the team’s relationship with their city. “Dear Yankees, We don’t date losers. Signed, New Yorkers” read the Post’s headline.
America doesn’t date losers either.

You can read, if you have a strong stomach, the rest of Noonan’s screed about Obama having exposed himself in Denver as an empty suit, helpless without his teleprompter and paralyzed by his hatred of good, simple Republicans who just want to get along. It is not permitted for the other two debates, or the behavior of Republicans over the last four years, to disturb this perfect picture of Americans, finally fed up, rising as one to expel The Other.

Another straw in this turbulent wind is Daily Caller Executive Editor David Martosko’s long, bizarre piece breaking down virtually every paragraph of recent editions of Mike Allen’s “Playbook” feature at Politico as reflecting a frantic last-minute effort to put Obama over the top.

It’s this sort of perspective—the search, eleven days before the actual election, to find reasons it should have been stopped like a boxing TKO the first moment Romney pulled into the lead in a single poll—that makes me pause and look again at Noonan’s reference to an Obama victory producing a “bloody and prolonged recount.” Romney’s Big Mo must live—even if he loses!

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.


  • Anonymous on October 26, 2012 9:23 AM:

    Republican HQ sent out a memo to its wurlitzer with the imperative to create an air of plausibility for when Mitt Romney's Bain buddies update their company's e-voter machines with the newest "program".

  • BillFromPA on October 26, 2012 9:25 AM:

    I think we all knew that the MSM would not let the 'close horse race' notion go away, too many ad buys and newspaper sales are at stake. Obama's tepid performance in debate 1 gave the Villagers the opening they wanted, but even if that didn't go down that way, selective polling and other sleight of hand would have been applied to support their narrative. It appears to my, hopefully, reality based eye that Obama is slowly trending higher everywhere that matters, look for even more convoluted 'logic' to be applied to this race.

  • jpeckjr on October 26, 2012 9:31 AM:

    Let's recognize "regrettable statement, then walkback" as a mesage strategy. The misstaters are not stupid people, and they are not impulsive. They just seem that way. They know they shouldn't say it before they say it.

    Once it's in the ether, the misstatement keeps getting repeated and embedded and the meme is formed. The walkback does not become the meme.

  • Karen on October 26, 2012 9:32 AM:

    Can the President pull this out?

  • stevio on October 26, 2012 9:33 AM:

    Sounds like the villagers are, like their leader, bull-shiters. All have reversed their mouths with the "other hole" where incoming exits...

    RoMONEY is scarier than Bush but only because he's willing to change his mind. Darth Cheney/Turdblossom would allow Bushit to do that. Norquist et. el. must be gritting their teeth right now.

  • sjw on October 26, 2012 9:34 AM:

    For more amusement, check out John Dickerson's "Mittmentum is Real" article today at Slate.com. Dickerson is a master at catchy headlines and faux equivalency, but he goes above and beyond his usual hackitude here. It's an awesome performance worthy of, yes, Peggy Noonan.

  • kevo on October 26, 2012 9:34 AM:

    Earlier this year I thought I was the only one noticing, but lately more and more evidence is mounting (and others are witnessing it) as to the curmudgeon attitudes calcifying our conservative brethren into a grand sorrily lot who seemingly think little of their fellow Americans!

    A post-election tantrum may be on the way! -Kevo

  • c u n d gulag on October 26, 2012 9:39 AM:

    The Conservatives need this election to be close, for a few reasons.

    First, it sets up the recount's in swing states. von Spakovsky has already said his group's ready.

    Second, if Romney loses, the Conservatives can lose their sh*t over how __________________ (fill-in the new ACORN) stole the election for Obama by cheating, and demand von Spakovsky's recount.

    Third, in a close race, all it will take is flipping a few of Tagg Romney's, and other Romney bundler's, owned Electronic Voting Machines, in key districts in Ohio and other swing states - and voila! - President Romney.

    And finally, if Obama wins in the Electoral College, but loses the popular vote, for FSM's sake, DON'T tell Conservatives to "Get over it!"
    At least not without notifying your next of kin, first, and making sure that your will is in order.

  • Ronald on October 26, 2012 9:40 AM:

    but...but...but...this was supposed to be the Republicans year!
    After 2010, this election cycle was 'inevitable' for Republicans (in their minds). Nothing could keep them from their Manifest Destiny over the entire range of the Government.
    This was their time! Time to retake the Supreme Court and set it on a conservative bender for the next 20 years. Time to retake the Senate and House and dismantle all that 'progressive' evil (such as Social Security, Medicare, etc) and take things back to where they used to be- when the rich could get richer without worrying about paying for 'society'. Back when women and 'neeg-er-os' knew their place. Back when 'gay' was a euphemism for 'happy' and actual homosexuals were shunned from 'normal' society as sick and perverted. America could take its rightful place, once again, at the 'top of the food chain', this time with no Soviet Union to stop American hegemony from covering the globe with our 'excellence'...

    And that's all been tossed aside because of a soft-spoke black guy from Chicago.

    Yeah, it is not a surprise to see their heads spin. There's going to be quite a mess to clean up with all them explodin' heads after election day when all these pundits and the like have to make new plans to replace the glorious victory marches they've been dreaming about since the Supreme Court handed 'W' the win in 2000.

    But we still got to get out and VOTE, bring others of like mind with us to VOTE, get those of like mind to register, then VOTE.

    Because without a decent margin of victory, there will be court challenges, cries of 'stolen elections', and perhaps even some violence as people are forced to accept reality- Romney losing.

  • Napoleon on October 26, 2012 9:42 AM:

    Anyone who thinks Mike Allen is anything but a foot soldier for the GOP in the MSM is delusional. He would not assist any Dem with anything.

  • SYSPROG on October 26, 2012 9:55 AM:

    Yes...Race over Rape...don't talk about the ISSUES let's talk about HOW HORRIFYING OBAMA IS...

  • FlipYrWhig on October 26, 2012 10:09 AM:

    I know that they're a bunch of delusional liars, but, still, it's a bit rich that they're still banging away at Romney's "momentum" when the polls have ceased to show it for days upon days. It's like the character on The Simpsons, Disco Stu, talking about how sales of disco records were up an incredible percentage for the year ending 1977, and if these trends continue...

  • stormskies on October 26, 2012 10:10 AM:

    BillFromPA nailed it in a nutshell. The vast amount of the corporate media, and their agenda, is being exposed yet again.

    I bet the Sunday propaganda shows will really be something to see this coming Sunday. Leading the way of course will be David "I am not a used corporate condom" Gregory pimping for the corporate agenda while all the corporate cum oozes from his eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • John B. on October 26, 2012 10:25 AM:

    One sure way to tank Romney is to uncover and publish his 2009 tax returns, where he seeks amnesty for having cheated for years by not declaring his overseas income in once-secret bank accounts. It seems no one in the media is talking about it and no investigative reporter has tried to get the returns. Are we about to elect for the first time a self-confessed tax cheat as president? If so, we have the supine, history-ignorant, horse-race fans of political journalism to thank.

  • Karen on October 26, 2012 10:27 AM:

    TPM shows Romney leading by less than a point today. Please, someone, give me facts to refute this.

  • T2 on October 26, 2012 10:35 AM:

    wheels for the Recount machine are being turned. The Conservatives and their Citizens United billions will not stand for defeat.

  • Ronald on October 26, 2012 10:57 AM:

    @karen: the 'horse race' numbers for the 'popular vote' are just that- horse race nubmers.


    Nate Silver does a very good job of breaking down all the polling into something that makes predicting the election results a little easier to understand rather than staring at blank poll numbers.

    He currently has President Obama with a 76% chance of being re-elected.

  • JustBeingPedantic on October 26, 2012 10:58 AM:

    Oh please, Nooner's latest column comes straight from the bottom of a bottle of Tanqueray, just like all the rest of them.

  • Steve P on October 26, 2012 11:00 AM:

    Anyone with more of a stomach for the Fever Swamp than I ever find an explanation for the on-his-feet in-your-face style O displayed at the town hall? He even turned around to show he hadn't a box on his back. Some secret implant? Any scarring around the ears? Hypnosis?

    And BTW, anyone ever seen a piece by Nooner not fueled by G&T? Her TV appearances all reek of half a glass away from giving a hummer.

  • Josef K on October 26, 2012 11:01 AM:

    I think we can take it as a given the GOP and its base aren't going to accept the incumbent's re-election no matter how wide the margin involved. Gods forbid they actually do as they demanded the country did back in January 2001 and accept W as the "winner" of the recount.

    That said, suppose the President gets in via a clear majority in the Electoral College rather than the national vote. What then? Some thoughts:

    1. The GOP tries to impeach him for "stealing" the election.

    2. The Tea Party rally around a Constitutional amendment to dismantle the EC.

    3. The GOP end up ginning up the crazies so much we see actual assassination attempts on President Obama, the Elephants quickly disavowing responsibility for the violence.

    I'm really hoping #3 doesn't come up, but I can't escape the fear it will.

  • RollaMO on October 26, 2012 11:05 AM:

    Tanqueray?! Nothing but Bombay Sapphire for Ms. Noonan.

  • Peter C on October 26, 2012 11:09 AM:

    The FIRST thing we must do if/when we have legislative control is to reform our election systems. It makes me ill that I'm voting on a paperless DRE machine that I can't trust because its operating code is 'proprietary technology' and thus is, and may remain, secret. I HATE that we have super-partisan hacks (like Jon Husted in Ohio) in charge of counting the vote. If I felt that I could trust the results, I wouldn't feel so anxious.

  • jim filyaw on October 26, 2012 12:02 PM:

    madam noonan, like many other republicans, will go to her grave with echo's of 'jimmy carter, jimmy carter, jimmy carter' reverberating in her hollow skull. its the conservative's answer to the erstwhile hippie's memories of the sixties.

  • TCinLA on October 26, 2012 1:13 PM:

    Does Republican flop sweat smell different than normal flop sweat? To me, it has the fine odor of letting the cat box go so long that the cat comes over and pees on your shoes in protest.

  • Jose Hipants on October 26, 2012 1:51 PM:

    Mr. Gulag is correct here. They've managed to get within stealing distance, and now any election result can be presented as equally plausible. The Ground Game gets out the votes, but the Underground Game counts the votes.

  • Marko on October 26, 2012 2:45 PM:

    "One sure way to tank Romney is to uncover and publish his 2009 tax returns, where he seeks amnesty for having cheated for years by not declaring his overseas income in once-secret bank accounts. It seems no one in the media is talking about it and no investigative reporter has tried to get the returns. Are we about to elect for the first time a self-confessed tax cheat as president? If so, we have the supine, history-ignorant, horse-race fans of political journalism to thank." - John B.

    It would also set a terrible precedent, where future candidates will no longer disclose their tax returns. Then it will be a race to the bottom with all the tax cheats as candidates for all sorts of races. But hey! As long as it's a good horse race, the MSM will reap loads of campaign money.