Mitt Throws A Bash

Mitt Romney threw a great political bash yesterday, in Stratham, New Hampshire, to "officially" launch his 2012 Presidential campaign. He and his team do this stuff right. They held it on a lovely farm owned by Republican donors, located conveniently for both local and DC media to get to, got two or three hundred people to show, served chili, and put Romney up in ready-for-video staging with a speech loaded with bite-sized remarks. I really enjoyed it.

Many have been saying that Sarah Palin upstaged Romney, with her attention-seeking tour that crossed the New Hampshire border almost exactly as Romney gave his speech. I disagree.

As I wrote in the Phoenix, I think Palin is unintentionally helping Romney. That's especially true if she actually gets into the race, but just having her bop around in the same news cycle, and even the same news story, as Romney makes him look good. I'll be interested to see what public opinion of her looks like after this bus tour -- particularly among Republicans -- but I doubt it will have changed much for the better. Even many of the people who like her don't think she's got the gravitas to be President; the guy giving the speech in Stratham yesterday clearly does.

As for Romney's speech, it was a frontrunner's speech, essentially trynig to demonstrate what an effecting campaigner he will be against the incumbent. I thought this early section of economic criticism was very effective:

A few years ago, Americans did something that was, actually, very much the sort of thing Americans like to do: We gave someone new a chance to lead; someone we hadn’t known for very long, who didn’t have much of a record but promised to lead us to a better place.

At the time, we didn’t know what sort of a President he would make. It was a moment of crisis for our economy, and when Barack Obama came to office, we wished him well and hoped for the best.

Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by.

Barack Obama has failed America.

When he took office, the economy was in recession. He made it worse. And he made it last longer.

Three years later, over 16 million Americans are out of work or have just quit looking. Millions more are underemployed.

Three years later, unemployment is still above 8%, a figure he said his stimulus would keep from happening.

Three years later, foreclosures are still at record levels.

Three years later the prices of homes continue to fall.

Three years later, our national debt has grown nearly as large as our entire economy.

Families are buried under higher prices for food and higher prices for gasoline.

It breaks my heart to see what’s happening in this country.

Unfortunately it was pretty much all downhill from there, in my opinion, as Romney started tossing out tired, unoriginal Tea Party tripe you'd see in a typical Regnery Press book. Obama "travelled around the globe to apologize for America," is "hesitant and uncertain" responding to the Arab Spring; is "clearly determined to undermine our longtime friend and ally" Israel; takes economic cues "not from the small towns and villages of New Hampshire but from the capitals of Europe"; "rams through a disastrous national health care plan"; I could go on and on.

The point isn't whether these things are accurate or fair, it's that they don't resonate at all with anyone outside of that core radicalized conservative base that reads books published by Regnery Press -- and to those folks, it's bland paste compared with what comes from people who either actually believe it or are much better at faking it than Romney is.

I mean seriously, does anybody think that Mitt Romney, global businessman extraordinaire, actually believes that the United States is "only inches away from ceasing to be a free economy?" (It was "free market economy" in the prepared remarks, but he said it as "free economy" -- either way, it's preposterous gibberish.)

When he talks like this -- or when he writes the ridiculous Tea Party cliched new introduction for the paperback edition of his latest book -- he blurs the distinction between himself as a serious candidate, and the non-serious candidates trolling for Sarah Palin voters.

Fortunately for him, the real Sarah Palin came to town to make that distinction for him. I think that was very helpful to his cause.

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