Romney Plans Reset On Issues For General Election, Like Shaking an Etch A Sketch

It has become apparent with his constant lies while campaigning that Mitt Romney will say anything to get votes, telling more lies per minute than George Bush or even Richard Nixon. He thinks that he can spend huge amounts on advertising to spread whatever message he desires, constantly lying about his opponents (from both parties) while recreating his past whenever convenient. During the primary campaign, he has tried to claim he is to the right of Rick Santorum (which is quite difficult considering that there isn’t much room to the right of Santorum before you hit Nazis). His campaign believes that once they reach the general election they can push the cosmic reset button and start all over again, like shaking an Etch A Sketch. Romney Communications Director Eric Fehrnstrom had this to say on CNN (video above):

HOST: Is there a concern that Santorum and Gingrich might force the governor to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election?

FEHRNSTROM: Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.

Wil Wheaton correctly tweeted the Romney strategy last night: “The Romney Plan: 1. Pander 2. Lie 3. Lie 4. Flip 5. Flop 6. Pander 7. Lose election. 8. Repeat in 4 years.”

As for Rick Santorum, could anything be more Orwellian than to see Rick Santorum, who might be the member of a major party most devoted to squashing individual liberty in America, standing in front of a Freedom banner last night?

Update: Opponents Quickly Take Advantage Of Romney Campaign “Etch A Sketch” Admission Of Changing Positions

Quote of the Day

“Romney did so well in Illinois he did a posthumous baptism on Santorum.” –Albert Brooks

Mind-Numbing Stupid Santorum Quote of the Day

“The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is”– Rick Santorum. (Hat tip to Charles Johnson)

Update:  Video here.

Advertisers Avoiding Rush Limbaugh And Other Far Right Wing Extremists

We already knew that right wingers were out of touch with reality based upon their views, but who knew they were so out of touch with reality that they had no idea that antagonizing a group making up over 50 percent of the population could backfire. From Radio-Info.com via Think Progress:

When it comes to advertisers avoiding controversial shows, it’s not just Rush From today’s TRI Newsletter: Premiere Networks is circulating a list of 98 advertisers who want to avoid “environments likely to stir negative sentiments.” The list includes carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm) and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway). As you’ll see in the note below, those “environments” go beyond the Rush Limbaugh show

“To all Traffic Managers: The information below applies to your Premiere Radio Networks commercial inventory...They’ve specifically asked that you schedule their commercials in dayparts or programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity).’

This is an even dumber move than Rick Santorum losing Catholic votes by attacking John Kennedy and the First Amendment.

Think Progress notes the comparison to Glenn Beck:

The advertising flight is reminiscent of Glenn Beck’s Fox News program. After major companies refused to advertise on Beck’s show in light of racially insensitive comments, he was left with just fringe businesses like survival seed banks and gold sellers. Not long thereafter, he left Fox, reportedly under pressure.

John Avlon has more at The Daily Beast:

This is big. According to the radio-industry website Radio-Info.com, which first posted excerpts of the Premiere memo, among the 98 companies that have decided to no longer sponsor these programs are “carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm), and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway).” Together, these talk-radio advertising staples represent millions of dollars in revenue.

Valerie Geller, an industry insider and author of Beyond Powerful Radio, confirmed the trend. “I have talked with several reps who report that they’re having conversations with their clients, who are asking not to be associated with specifically polarizing controversial hosts, particularly if those hosts are ‘mean-spirited.’ While most products and services offered on these shows have strong competitors, and enjoy purchasing the exposure that many of these shows and hosts can offer, they do not wish to be ‘tarred’ with the brush of anger, or endure customer anger, or, worse, product boycotts.”

There are already tangible signs that the three dozen national and local advertisers that have pulled their ads from The Rush Limbaugh Show are having a financial impact.

While many major businesses want nothing to do with Limbaugh or other right wing extremists, there are still people out there who defend people like Limbaugh. Despite all the awful things Rush Limbaugh has said and done, at least he has done one thing of value. Thanks to Rush it is now possible to determine within seconds whether a person is a scumbag by seeing if they are defending Limbaugh on their Facebook page.

Romney Handling Santorum

Mitt Romney has finally figured out how to handle Rick Santorum.

Quote of the Day

“I think Rick Santorum learned something yesterday. He learned that electoral college is not for everyone. Not everyone needs to go the electoral college.” –Jay Leno

Santorum Falling

A few updates on the primary race since the recent post on the Michigan primary:

Michigan has awarded both of the at-large delegates to Mitt Romney contrary to earlier reports that both Santorum and Romney would receive the same number of delegates. There certainly seems to be a lot of reversals of decisions in the Republican primaries and caucuses this year. I guess we shouldn’t expect a consistent and fair system from the party which used their party’s Supreme Court appointees to steal the 2000 election.

You.gov has Santorum leading in three states on Super Tuesday: Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. A Quinnipiac poll has Santorum leading 35 percent to 31 percent in Ohio with the race too close to call. While he might remain in the race, and might even have an outside chance of winning, I find it unlikely that Santorum can stop Romney unless a has a major win such as in Ohio on Super Tuesday. He made a lot of serious mistakes in Michigan, where he once led, and this interview in Cincinnati doesn’t help matters for him.

Obama’s approval is improving in Ohio. A few more days of seeing the Republican candidates should send his approval even higher.

Quote of the Day

“As of today, Rick Santorum will be assigned Secret Service agents. This is the first time Santorum has agreed to use any kind of protection.” –Conan O’Brien

Romney Gets Ugly Win, Perhaps Enough To Make It To Championship Game But Not To Win It All

The primaries in Michigan and Arizona left the GOP nomination battle at pretty much the same place it has been in for the past few weeks. Mitt Romney still is the most likely nominee but questions about him remain. The victory was probably enough to silence talk of bringing in a new candidate, at least until we see the Super Tuesday results, but not enough to keep Romney from still looking weak. This football analogy from First Read is quite accurate:

If this were college football, last night’s Michigan contest was akin to the No.2-ranked team in the country winning on a last-second field goal (the score 41-38) against an unranked opponent at home, on Homecoming. That No. 2 team survives, gets to regroup, and keeps its championship hopes alive. But the way it won — UGLY — despite all of its advantages raises doubts among the sports writers and even fans about its chances against the No. 1 team. Then again, the goal is to make it to the BCS game and see what happens. And Romney essentially did that by winning in Michigan last night.

I think that it is also notable that if New Gingrich, who didn’t campaign in Michigan, wasn’t on the ballot, Santorum might have scored another touchdown and had the victory.

As with virtually every other Republican event this year, Barack Obama was again the winner. It is hard to see a Republican winning in Michigan after all the repetitions of their opposition to the auto bail out. No matter how Romney tries to spin his previous views and rewrite history, a majority of voters in Michigan realize that failing to bail out General Motors would have been devastating to the state’s economy. Joe Biden’s pitch that bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive will be effective in Michigan, and beyond.

Now its time for Mitt Romney to tie his dog to the roof of his car and move onto new states (or at least this might be the case if the dog hadn’t run away and had an exceptionally long life). He has the money and organization to probably win more delegates that Santorum, aided by problems for Santorum such as not being on every ballot, but he remains in danger if Santorum can regain his momentum next week. At present Santorum leads Romney by eleven points in Ohio. Santorum might be forgiven for losing a big lead in Michigan due to Romney’s advantages in the state. If Romney can repeat his Michigan come back in Ohio, and otherwise do well next week, he will probably be unbeatable. The way this race has been going, it is not hard to see Romney making another error to keep Santorum in the race.

Update: CNN projects that Romney and Santorum will split Michigan’s delegates equally. Santorum calls it a tie.

Michigan Votes For Republicans Today But Is Now Less Likely To Vote Republican In The Fall

The Republican primary battle is ending in Michigan and the candidates will be moving on to suck up to the voters of different states. Just watch. Tomorrow Mitt Romney will be telling the residents of other states that their trees are the ones which are the right height. At the moment it is not possible to predict the winner. Romney retook the lead in most polls but a Public Policy Polling survey did show momentum moving in Santorum’s direction at the last minute. Another last minute poll from Mitchell Research/Rosetta Stone shows Romney taking a slight lead in a race which could go either way.

In what might be a sign that Romney’s internal polls are not going well,  Romney is talking about the possibility of a Santorum victory:

Battling for his critical home state of Michigan on Tuesday, Mitt Romney accused Republican rival Rick Santorum of trying to “kidnap our primary process” by getting Democrats to tip the very tight race in favor of Pennsylvania’s former senator.

Flanked by volunteers at his campaign headquarters, Romney conceded that — as recent polls suggest — Santorum might win, and he pointed to his rival’s robo-calls encouraging Democratic crossover voters to turn out in the open primary.

“I think the hardest thing about predicting what’s going to happen today is whether Senator Santorum’s effort to call Democrat households and tell them to come out and vote against Mitt Romney is going to be successful or not. I think Republicans have to recognize there’s a real effort to kidnap our primary process. And if we want Republicans to nominate the Republican who takes on Barack Obama, I need Republicans to get out and vote and say ‘no’ to the dirty tricks of a desperate campaign,” the former Massachusetts governor said.

This is yet another flip-flop for Romney who has admitted to crossing over to vote in a past Democratic primary for strategic reasons:

ABC News’ Jonathan Greenberger Reports: Republican presidential candididate Mitt Romney offered a new explanation today for why he supported a Democrat in 1992.

That year, Romney, then a registered independent, voted for former Sen. Paul Tsongas in the 1992 Democratic presidential primary.  He told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, in an interview that will air Sunday on “This Week,” that his vote was meant as a tactical maneuver aimed at finding the weakest opponent for incumbent President George H.W. Bush.

“In Massachusetts, if you register as an independent, you can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary,” said Romney, who until he made an unsuccessful run for Senate in 1994 had spent his adult life as a registered independent. “When there was no real contest in the Republican primary, I’d vote in the Democrat primary, vote for the person who I thought would be the weakest opponent for the Republican.”

It would be devastating for the Republicans should Romney lose. Matthew Dowd raised the possibility of Republicans looking for another candidate:

“If Rick Santorum wins tonight it’s the equivalent of a 9.0 on a Richter scale. I mean it is going to shake Washington, it’s going to shake Republican establishment it’s just going to shake things to their very core,” Dowd told me. “And I think what you’re going to see are the conversations that have been going on behind quiet doors saying we need another candidate in this race.”

It is possible that GOP leaders could fudge the rules, which are vague as to the commitment of delegates to a candidate, to enable another candidate to win. Should they do this, I wonder how many unhappy supporters of the current candidates will feel betrayed by the party and stay home or vote Democratic. Keep in mind how angry many of the PUMA’s were about the defeat of Hillary Clinton, which was done fairly under party rules. Resentment could be even greater if party leaders alter rules to help a new candidate. Even should Romney win, the fact that Santorum has posed such a challenge to Romney has highlighted his weaknesses. Should Romney win narrowly, it might be important as to whether the media presents this as a win for Romney or a close win where Romney looked weak and failed to meet earlier expectations.

I doubt that Michigan would have voted Republican in the general election, but the state had been listed as a battle ground state. Dowd says this is no longer the case:

Ten days ago, Michigan was a major battleground state for the general election, Mitt Romney was looking to reconnect with the middle class in his home state, and Rick Santorum was gaining momentum after three big wins and looking at maybe becoming the first Catholic nominated by the Republican party. The Obama campaign was so concerned about Michigan being in play for the fall that it brought President Obama there to give a major speech and made plans to spend valuable ad dollars in the state.

But that was then.

Now, after the Romney and Santorum campaigns, Michigan is likely off the fall map of battleground states.  It looks again reliably Democratic – not because of anything the Obama team has done, but because of the nature of the contest between Romney and Santorum, which has alienated many independent voters and created a tremendous divide.  This isn’t a good sign as the Republican nomination contest moves into other battleground states like Ohio next week.