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Anybody But Mitt?

It's been an interesting week here in New Hampshire, with two of our newspapers breaking new ground in presidential endorsements. Both the Concord Monitor and the Union Leader have published editorials saying, in essence, "anybody but Mitt Romney."

The Monitor's anti-endorsement is the easier of the two to dismiss. They are quite possibly the leading liberal voice in the state, and they've made it clear that they want a Democrat to win next November. Their condemnation carries about as much weight as would the Washington Times to publish an "anyone but Hillary" piece.

And that's a fairer comparison than I first thought. The Monitor speaks both as a major paper in the neighboring state, but as the capitol city paper in the state Romney has spent so much time -- but never been a resident. The Washington Times is based in Washington, DC, which is where Hillary Clinton's true home -- physical and ideological -- despite her legal residences (past and present) in Illinois, Arkansas, and New York.

But the Union Leader's piece... that's more troubling.

The Union Leader is unabashedly conservative, and it is the only state-wide newspaper. It wields much power.

But nowhere near the power it had in the past. In its heyday in the 1970's, it practically ruled the state. And that's not figurative -- the governor was Meldrim Thompson, a twang-speaking Southerner, a reverse carpetbagger, that the Union Leader's publisher, William Loeb, created out of whole cloth and placed in the governor's office. He almost never crossed the Union Leader, which praised him fulsomely when he did their bidding and scolded him on the rare occasions he dared cross them.

But time has taken its toll on the Union Leader. Thompson is dead. As is Loeb. Loeb's wife, who tried to maintain her husband's power, is also dead. Their hand-picked successors have retired.

And in the most profound blow, technology has stripped the paper of much of its power. While we still only have one statewide newspaper, we also now have a single statewide television station. (Discounting New Hampshire Public Television, of course.) WMUR, of of New Hampshire's only two television stations (and the only one that is a network affiliate -- ABC), is based in Manchester and holds a great deal of the former Union Leader's political power.

So, what does all that mean for the Union Leader's "anyone but Romney" screed? The paper built its power on conservatism -- but not through any sort of ideological purity. It did not want to be the champion of conservatism, but the definer. For years, "conservative" was the label it put on any position it held, and it relentlessly forced all others to play by their rules. Dissenters were labeled as "liberals," "tax and spenders," "RINOs" (for Republicans In Name Only), and worse. It was a very black and white scenario -- whatever it liked was conservative, and whatever it opposed was liberal. The same was true for people.

So, why are they going after Mitt Romney so vehemently? What do they hope to accomplish here?

This is just pure speculation, but it's from someone who literally grew up reading the Union Leader since the mid-1970's.

I don't think it's about Romney at all.

I think it's about John McCain -- and what he, in theory, could do for them.

The Union Leader backed Mccain in 2000, and they're backing him now. He was pretty much written off a while ago, but is resurging. They're hoping that their endorsement of him -- coupled iwith their attack on Romney -- will re-establish their position (at least in the minds of people, in particular New Hampshire residents and future would-be presidents) as kingmakers both on the statewide and the national level. They were also big backers of Ronald Reagan, as they will proudly tell you, and will gladly tell you just how essential they were to his winning the presidency. (The truth of that being eminently disputable, but they'll claim it.)

As far as the particulars of the pieces, the detailed histories of Romney's record... they're all well-established. Romney is a Massachusetts politician. Massachusetts is the bluest of the blue states. Half the Democrats in any other state would be outcasts in the Bay State, labeled "reactionary" and "right-wing nuts" and "DINOs." For a Republican to even survive in that state (currently the Democrats hold every state-wide office, the entire Congressional delegation, and over 85% of the legislature), let alone be as successful as Romney was, speaks volumes about their ability to get along, to draw support from both sides, to stand against overwhelming odds and get actual results.

I am not endorsing Romney. He's definitely in my top three, but right now he's not my favorite. (I'm not going to announce my endorsement -- something I'm sure you're all waiting for with bated breath -- for at least a few more days, possibly a week or so.) But you simply can not diminish the man's accomplishments. For all the "flip-flops" people cite, he has one unerring consistency: he gets things done.

I don't think I can name a single Democratic frontrunner who can claim the same.


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Comments (31)

Kids, this is a wonderful e... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Kids, this is a wonderful example of a distraction strategy: attacking the messenger.

No substance whatsoever on the actual points of both articles. Way to educate JT.

...built its power on co... (Below threshold)
Brian:

...built its power on conservatism -- but not through any sort of ideological purity. It did not want to be the champion of conservatism, but the definer. For years, "conservative" was the label it put on any position it held, and it relentlessly forced all others to play by their rules. Dissenters were labeled as "liberals," "tax and spenders," "RINOs" (for Republicans In Name Only), and worse. It was a very black and white scenario -- whatever it liked was conservative, and whatever it opposed was liberal. The same was true for people.

You just described today's Republican party as a whole.

jp2:Two suggestion... (Below threshold)

jp2:

Two suggestions, both for your chosen number and the number of your initials:

1) I linked to both pieces, so anyone (even you) can go and read them for yourself.

2) Re-read the third from last paragraph. Or, rather, read it -- it appears you didn't read it the first time.

Hope you had a merry Christmas. Too bad Santa didn't bring you a clue.

J.

Romney must be crapping in ... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Romney must be crapping in his sacred underwear.

...not that Barney's any ki... (Below threshold)

...not that Barney's any kind of a religious bigot or anything.

J.

JT:"2) Re-read the third fr... (Below threshold)
jp2:

JT:"2) Re-read the third from last paragraph. Or, rather, read it -- it appears you didn't read it the first time."

Me: Read, or re-read my comment. No substance on any single point by either article.

Your entire 2 page rant consists of only two counters: "he's from Massachusetts" and "Democrats are worse." It's a theme in everything you write though...

jp2 - "No substance wha... (Below threshold)
marc:

jp2 - "No substance whatsoever on the actual points of both articles. Way to educate JT."

And your substance as it relates to the topic at hand is what? And BTW, if JT had omitted both links to the articles in question I would agree with your snark ("Way to educate JT.")

As it is it just points to your pathetic attempt to, as you call it, use of a "distraction strategy."

Jay Tea: defender of religi... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Jay Tea: defender of religion

marc: defender of crappy writing

Be proud, you manly men.

1) I linked to both piec... (Below threshold)
Brian:

1) I linked to both pieces, so anyone (even you) can go and read them for yourself.

...
And BTW, if JT had omitted both links to the articles in question I would agree with your snark

Yes, but Jay did not quote the full content of the articles linked to. If you recall, it is no longer sufficient on Wizbang merely to link to original sources. One must now quote them in their entirety, or submit to being criticized for what was slyly left unquoted.

How much influence does a r... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

How much influence does a rag or some hairdo on TV actually have?

ex: (Honey look the Union Leader and CNN hate Mitt Romney, lets vote for someone else.)...

pffft pleeeze..If people vote for a candidate based on MSM bullsh*t, then we need an IQ qualifying standard to vote. lol

Now of course we know most MSM leans left,
but that doesn't mean we have to drink the kool-aid..

Feel free to show where I m... (Below threshold)

Feel free to show where I misquoted or selectively quoted either piece, Brian.

Oh, that's right. I didn't quote them AT ALL. I offered links, so people could see for themselves the source material, in its entirety.

I should have taken into account that some folks (like you) might be too dense to take that step, if they were so inclined.

J.

Brian - "Yes, but Jay d... (Below threshold)
marc:

Brian - "Yes, but Jay did not quote the full content of the articles linked to. If you recall, it is no longer sufficient on Wizbang merely to link to original sources."

And to do so would be called what Brian?

To cut & paste an entire article would be copyright infringement unless authorized by the author.

Isn't that correct Brian?

Or are you advocating content theft?

How could any reputable est... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

How could any reputable establishment endorse someone that has lied or flipped as often as Mitt? Here are a few off the top of my head. Against Reagan before he was for him. For abortion and gay rights before he was against them. lied about hunting, education funding and MLK.

Class act all the way.

jp2 - "marc: defender o... (Below threshold)
marc:

jp2 - "marc: defender of crappy writing"

Speaking of quoting things, can you offer a quote that indicates I defended "crappy writing?"

Baghdad barney - "How c... (Below threshold)
marc:

Baghdad barney - "How could any reputable establishment endorse someone that has lied or flipped as often as Mitt?"

Agreed, but the same can be said of every "reputable establishment" and every candidate.

So, your point is?

Feel free to show where ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Feel free to show where I misquoted or selectively quoted either piece, Brian.

Feel free to show where I suggested you did either, Jay.

I should have taken into account that some folks (like you) might be too dense to take that step, if they were so inclined.

Not me. I followed your links. It's your Wizbang colleagues that apparently can't handle that activity.

And to do so would be ca... (Below threshold)
Brian:

And to do so would be called what Brian?

It would likely be called "fair use".

Regardless, it's the suggestion of Wizbang authors, not me, that linked sources must be quoted in their entirety. Direct your barely-intelligible snark toward them.

Coupla' things, first thing... (Below threshold)
-S- Author Profile Page:

Coupla' things, first things first:

(1.) After not visiting WIZBANG! for a while now (busy with things elsewhere), I'm surprised to find the loitering Liberals/Democrats continuing to plague the place as to comments section, after all the efforts to suit their demands with their entirely dedicated WIZBANG BLUE site; they must be lonely over there, thus the magnetized pull of Jay Tea's column here and anything "GOP" referenced (you are here);

(2.) I valued reading Jay Tea's take on this New Hampshire "media attack" on Romney, mostly because Jay Tea's from N.H. and maintains residency there, and, because he's one of the more "moderate" among the political and blogger minds I know (and appreciate, even when I disagree with him on certain issues), so, thus, his comments even if vague (these in this column are not that) on this issue are appreciated by me: I value the "boots on the ground" perspective;

(3.) I suspected the NH media attack on Romney was due to McCain sway, and most of the commentors since these attacks in media have proven that to be so; I also think NH is far more Liberal on the political scale than they are able to admit -- their rendition of "tolerance" is actually intolerance for certain values and beliefs (can be good, but in my view in recent times, it's an indication of the creeping East Coast/West Coast Liberal acceptance of Socialism versus our Republic);

So, it is just no surprise to me that these two NH papers would go so dark on Romney and be quite so cruel in doing so (a mere critic would suffice to represent their lack of endorsement and support but the Union Leader took things into desperate-hate-screed that is utterly disrespectable); and, no suprise that they'd be supportive of McCain in the process;

(3.a) I support Romney and have done so recently because he's the best individual as to capabilities and abilities who is currently running, and my only other two acceptable candidates are Thompson and Hunter; McCain's politics continue to be the turncoat attack method that I find to be unrespectable, if only on "tone" and methods alone -- you can disagree but in McCain's case, he AND his untoward campaign deploy sucker-punch methods upon mostly Romney, which I've found to be just utterly rejectable by McCain and the politics he represents (combine that with his treachery on border and immigration enforcement -- I do not believe he's being lucid in the campaign cycle and he'll return if ever elected to his amnesty-appeasements as quickly as he can say "if I knew what was in the bill, I'd not have signed onto it"...point is, he knows, he signs, he later excuses himself and then does the same damage over and over again);

and,

(4.) Romney impresses me as a consistently capable and moral man; I can't see voting to elect a person who is not the most capable and the appeal of "Happy Fun Ball" times is now proven to be over for anyone who learns from reality and mistakes made -- our nation needs a highly capable Executive in the White House, not a talented, silver-tongued _______, and the if McCain/Huckabee are the GOP nominees for '08, for the first time in my adult, voting years that started at the age of 21, I will not be voting.

And, Merry Christmas, Jay T... (Below threshold)
-S- Author Profile Page:

And, Merry Christmas, Jay Tea, and WIZBANG!, too.

I appreciate your contentio... (Below threshold)
Alan Orfi:

I appreciate your contention that Romney was successful in drawing support from both sides, but I'm not sure this straddling strategy would be successful in November because Hillary already does this. The Republicans MUST nominate a candidate who can galvanize the conservative BASE and still tap into the common-sense moderates. Romney's reversals on abortion and marriage hurt him immensely in his efforts to rally true conservatives.

I strongly believe that Romney's eventual downfall in the primary process will be the simple result of Republicans' realization that he would be a very poor candidate in the general election.

Brian - "It would likel... (Below threshold)
marc:

Brian - "It would likely be called "fair use".

T^hat's your contention Brian, that to quote an entire piece would be Fair Use?

In that case you're as clueless about the policy as you are on many things. (musta took lessons from Paul Hooson)

Fair Use.

Regardless, it's the suggestion of Wizbang authors, not me, that linked sources must be quoted in their entirety.
Really? Can you quote the section? All I see are quotes taken in or out of context and the post inself didn't quote an entire article.

I saw myself marching with ... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

I saw myself marching with Reagan and Lincoln in terms that I did not actually march or endorse their views, but since I need your support now, I see myself marching with them now and until I win the election and then I will march to and with the latest poll results.

Jay Tea,I'm sorry ... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

Jay Tea,

I'm sorry to hear that Romney isn't your top pick. He wouldn't be my top pick either if there were a better candidate in the race. But Romney, with all his flaws, is the best there is.

Sure, he may turn out to be a liar as some people want us to believe. But I just don't see it. Looking back at his family life and history, has he ever turned out to be a liar?

This is an important point that I believe a lot of people miss about Romney. Whether or not he's changed his mind on something, the guy clearly does what he says he's going to do.

And right now he's saying he's going to do all the things I like in my candidate. I have no reason to believe otherwise.

So why vote for McCain or Rudy or even Huckabee, all of whom are saying they are going to do things I don't care for?

I'll happily take my chances with Romney. I hope you end up doing the same, Jay Tea.

Romney is evil. I'm thrill... (Below threshold)
Jay:

Romney is evil. I'm thrilled to see both papers down on him. I'm unthrilled to see his most evil policy embraced by other candidates.

It boggles me that he is actually taken seriously as a candidate.

Jay Tea, possible correctio... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

Jay Tea, possible correction for you.

You wrote that the Union Leader backed McCain in 2000. According to Daffydd ab Hewitt from Big Lizards:

"in 2000, the Union Leader endorsed the powerhouse candidate Steve Forbes"

He also writes:

"2000: Steve Forbes (while attacking John McCain as the most liberal Republican in the race); Bush was nominated.

1996: Pat Buchanan; Bob Dole was nominated.


1992: Pat Buchanan; George H.W. Bush was nominated.


1988: Pete DuPont; George H.W. Bush was nominated.


1984: Ronald Reagan -- but this doesn't really count, since he had no credible GOP opposition;


1980: Ronald Reagan -- who actually won the nomination, the only time in the last thirty years that the Union Leader "hit" in a contested GOP primary;


1976: Ronald Reagan; sitting president Gerald R. Ford was nominated."

It almost seems like you don't want the Union Leaders endorsement if you hope to win the Republican Primary.

Whew, welcome back -S-... (Below threshold)
epador:

Whew, welcome back -S-

I was beginning to think the thread was a lead up to another "lets be nice to each other" New Year's resolution in a few days (If I remember it lasted about 40 nano-seconds, and Brian was part of that "effort" as well).

I don't view Romney as evil... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

I don't view Romney as evil, however, I am not convinced of his leadership abilities when it comes to a whole country. Fred isn't really dead, but it took too long for his campaign to come to life.

-S- ~ The leftists won't go... (Below threshold)

-S- ~ The leftists won't go over to Blue, because from there they cannot disrupt and divert the discussion over here. Notice how they turn this thread into a pissing match over nonsense unrelated to the point of the post: Jay is attacked for not addressing the substance of the editorials - which has absolutely nothing to do with his theory about the political ramifications of the endorsements.

Note also the link in #9 does NOT refer to reproducing copyrighted material, but rather selective quoting from an email which distorted what the writer of the email was saying. Just another diversion . . .

They are tolerated under a broad "free speech" policy, which would make more sense if they offered substantive counter arguments in the spirit of discussion. Instead, they behave as you see above.

Hillary has 7 years of fede... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Hillary has 7 years of federal experience with nothing of note or leadership in legislative actions.
Edwards has 6 years of federal leadership before his quit, nothing of note.
Obama has 3 years of federal experience and nothing of note.
And the lefties are actually criticizing republican candidates? Wow! A new low. ww

JimIf the folks on t... (Below threshold)
maggie:

Jim
If the folks on the left refuse to use
Blue for their agendas and soap box,
there's the possibility the threads here
could apply Lyrist rules. On topic all the
time. Not much fun for anyone.
Here's an example:
http://reliableanswers.com/List/Rules.asp

He gets things done..... L... (Below threshold)
SFJC:

He gets things done..... Like what???

Honestly, I live in MA and I cannot think of one thing he got done in the three years he was in office. Note, I do not count campaigning for President for 200+ days of the fourth year he should have been in office.

The man has been on every side of every issue since 1993-4 when he ran against Kennedy. It really is difficult to determine what are his core beliefs.




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