Romney and the Florida Primary: Live Blogging Arrogance and Hubris

Romney’s disdain for the electorate is one of his more deeply rooted traits. During his father’s 1968 presidential campaign, Romney wrote, “how can the American public like such muttonheads?”
I find that contempt pretty well-founded, and it is a relief that Romney does not believe the nonsense he spouts during the campaign. But the persistent awkwardness of Romney’s campaign style reflects this basic tension. It’s easy to try to persuade somebody for whom you have basic respect. It’s persuading somebody whom you consider stupid — while you must conceal any trace of your disdain — that’s excruciatingly difficult. Romney’s awkward manner on the trail is the agony of suppressed contempt.

Jonathan Chait in  New York Magazine

Romney appears to have the momentum and the early voting lead in the Florida Primary.  Newt vows to go on.  What will their speeches tonight reveal to us about their character or lack thereof?

It’s primary day in the Sunshine State, but more than 600,000 people have already voted in Florida’s Republican presidential contest. And a new public opinion poll indicates that the ballots already cast may help former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney take the 50 delegates up for grabs in Florida’s winner take all primary.

Early voting began statewide ten days ago, and according to figures released Monday afternoon by the Florida Department of State, which runs the division of elections, 293,760 people had already cast ballots. And according to the state, more than 531,000 people requested and were sent absentee ballots, and 338,753 were returned and received by Florida officials.

Add it all together and more than 632,000 votes were already cast before primary day. To put it in perspective, that’s more than the 601,577 who voted in the South Carolina primary, and far outpaces the combined 360,000 that took part in the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses.

And according to an American Research Group survey released Tuesday morning, 36% of people questioned said they already voted, and among those, Romney led former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 51% to 29%, with former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 12% and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 10%.

Things have been getting uglier.  It’s hard to think that could be possible by the Romney campaign has been using its immense campaign chest to hammer at Newt.  Could that start to backfire? Of course, Zombie Reagan figures prominantly.

“For as long as I’ve been in politics, 14 years, journalists call me and ask if this is the most negative election ad atmosphere I’ve ever seen,” says Kenneth Goldstein, president of Kantar Media CMAG, which tracks content and targeting of political advertising. “And every year I say, ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’”

“But this year it’s true. This primary season is the most negative it’s ever been,” asserts Goldstein. “I have absolutely never seen television advertising so negative in a Republican presidential primary.”

This tsunami of sleaze is being propelled by unprecedented advertising buys. The Romney campaign and its associated super PAC, Restore Our Future, have spent $15.3 million in Florida over the past month alone, according to Maggie Haberman of Politico. To put this in perspective, John McCain spent $11 million on ads during his entire 2008 primary campaign. Back on this side of Citizens United, Newt Gingrich and his billionaire-backed super PAC have spent “only” an estimated $3 million—giving Romney a 5–1 spending advantage in the Sunshine State.

Turn on the TV or radio in Florida these past few days and you’ll soon be subjected to the avalanche of negative ads, most of them purchased courtesy of Romney Co. The attacks come in a bewildering variety—from accusations that Newt worked with Nancy Pelosi “to support China’s brutal one-child policy” to Spanish-language ads that say Newt called Spanish “the language of the ghetto.” Fannie and Freddie have become household names. Both candidates are accusing the other of being insufficiently conservative and secretly pro-abortion. There has been public wrestling for a photo op with Ronald Reagan’s ghost, trying to claim closer association. Even Romney’s Get Out the Vote mailers are anti-Newt.

Axlerove must be doing jigs.

Guess we’ll see what comes out of the wash tonight.

59 Comments on “Romney and the Florida Primary: Live Blogging Arrogance and Hubris”

  1. dakinikat says:

    10% of precincts reporting.
    Last updated less than a minute ago.

    Mitt Romney

    Newt Gingrich

    Rick Santorum

    Ron Paul

  2. dakinikat says:

    PaulBegala Paul Begala
    #CNNelections Exit poll: 39% of FL GOP unhappy with field; 53% of Gingrich

  3. dakinikat says:

    PaulBegala Paul Begala
    CNN’s Jim Acosta reports they’re playing Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me Baby?” at Gingrich HQ. What would U play? #CNNelections

    • northwestrain says:

      How stupid can the anti choice nitwits get?? They really do seem intend on going backward in time.

      Of course — cancer is Natural — so it must be a sin to kill living cancer cells. There was a blog in either Crooks and Liars or Firedoglake — about evangelical women not going for cancer treatment and dying — sort of a double standard.

    • Just saw it on Facebook. It sucks.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I’ve been writing my post for tomorrow morning on this Komen crap…disgusting.

  4. northwestrain says:

    So the GOP voters are unhappy with the field. Well who are they going to blame?? Lie down with dogs and get fleas (unless one uses Advantage).

    Really though — have the pollsters asked voters who they blame for such a despicable field of candidates? I’ve not seen that question asked.

    • northwestrain says:

      Oh — I’d like to add that my informal survey of AZ tells me that only Ron Paul seems to be running here. I’ve only seen Ron Paul signs. Obots are now Paulbots.

      • dakinikat says:

        There’s a pretty big Mormon population there if my memory of when my parents lived in Mesa serves me well.

      • bostonboomer says:

        There are a lot of mormons in Nevada. That’s the next primary, I think.

      • northwestrain says:

        There is a large LDS temple in Mesa — and lots of smaller LDS churches all over the state.

        I’m surprised at the number of businesses in Northwestern AZ with Ron Paul for Prez signs.

  5. dakinikat says:

    DavidCornDC David Corn
    Newt doubles down–calls for sending ghetto kids to the moon to boost their work ethic. Kosher meals will be available.

  6. dakinikat says:

    chucktodd Chuck Todd
    One mild surprise so far, Santorum’s slight fade. And that vote not going all Newt. Because Newt+Santorum prob won’t = 50

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Mitt Romney is easily the biggest asshole in politics. I don’t know if I can stomach watching him campaign in the general. I’m just hoping that Obama’s arrogance will top Romney’s.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It’s hard to believe, but I almost feel sorry for Newt. I can’t understand how anyone could have voted for Romney after his slash and burn campaign down there.

      • northwestrain says:

        Newt probably can’t take the abuse — so he’s going to be meaner.

        Yep — hard to believe that kBB almost feels sorry for Newt. snicker snicker.


        Which state votes will count for half — is Florida one of the states? The GOP is out to punish the early primary states — just like the Dems in 2008.

      • joanelle says:

        BB, how can you feel sorry for Newt? The man is a horror – when he first started running I thought it was a joke. I don’t blame Romney for the slash and burn – Newt angered him – Romney had a bigger “club” ($$$) from the start What else could Newt expect?

      • bostonboomer says:

        I guess because I hate Romney even more. Romney is a lot more dangerous too.

    • dakinikat says:

      I really don’t want to listen to this speech.

  8. dakinikat says:

    djuranga djuranga
    Romney 48.1%, Gingrich 30.8%, Santorum 12.8% via AP at 7:50 p.m. ET. 35.3% in. @politico #flprimary

    • dakinikat says:

      nprpolitics NPR Politics
      All polling places have now closed in Florida and NPR projects that Mitt Romney will win the #flprimary.
      49 seconds ago
      CBS News
      CBSNews CBS News
      BREAKING: @CBSNews projects Mitt Romney will win the #FLPrimary primary taking its 50 delegates with a sizeable win

  9. peggysue22 says:

    Holy Smokes. We just finished dinner and the contest was called. With 56% of the vote in, Romney’s 17 points ahead.

    A wipeout. Not terribly surprising with the mail-in advantage. But still!

  10. ralphb says:

    What It’s Like When Google Comes to Your House for a Presidential Chat

    The White House last night held the first-ever presidential “hangout,” the latest in a line of administration experiments with social technologies, this time with Google’s newish multi-camera live streaming Google+ platform. There was, as it turns out, a breakout star: one Jennifer Wedel, a 29 year-old mother of two and State Farm employee from Fort Worth, Texas, selected to participate on the basis of a video question she submitted on H1B visas. What was so eye and ear catching about her exchange with President Obama was her willingness to inject a little bit of her own reality into the presidential bubble.

    OT but generally more interesting than the loony tune primary, 🙂

    • bostonboomer says:

      That was hilarious. How out of touch can anyone get?

      • ralphb says:

        He’s firmly in the bubble. Interesting to me that the “good Republican” lady is probably going to vote for him this time, though she didn’t in ’08.

        I’ve heard that same thing from a surprising number of moderate republicans locally, those that don’t think he’s a Kenyan marxist anyway. 😉

  11. bostonboomer says:

    That Jonathan Chait article is really damning. Romney thinks we’re all stupid, Jonathan–not just Republicans.

    • northwestrain says:

      Typical rich folk arrogance — but of the Gilded era. Lots of historians are comparing today to the Gilded era. Mitt is sort of like the 1% of the 1% and toss in his god given or god owes him attitude.

  12. propertius says:

    Romney’s disdain for the electorate is one of his more deeply rooted traits. During his father’s 1968 presidential campaign, Romney wrote, “how can the American public like such muttonheads?

    Even though Chait gives no context for that comment, it sounds to me rather more contemptuous of the Republican field in 1968 than it does of the electorate themselves. Based on my recollections of that year, I’d say that young Mitt was a pretty perceptive fellow. Let’s remember the field that year: Nixon, Reagan, Volpe, Rockefeller, Rhodes, Stassen (of course), and Mitt’s dad (who I assume had dropped out by the time this letter was written). Certainly if he was writing about Reagan (representing the branch of the party that savaged his father during the campaign over his opposition to Vietnam and his public support of Civil Rights legislation), I’d have to give him props.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Chait is saying that Romney disdains today’s Republican electorate. I’m saying he disdains anyone who isn’t as rich as he is. People need to start waking up to exactly what a horrible “person” Romney is.

      • propertius says:

        Sorry, I don’t get that from the quote – which was written in a letter to his father 44 years ago (probably right after he dropped out of the race, although I haven’t been able to verify that). I think it’s a letter from a young man angry that his father was driven from the field by an insulting, negative campaign. That’s all. As for him being a “horrible” person: compared to whom? Santorum? Paul? Gingrich? “Sweetie” Obama?

        I’m sure that if someone dredged up selected out-of-context quotes from some of my correspondence from 1968, I’d sound pretty horrible, too.

        I think it’s a (pro-Obama) hit piece – and not a very well done one, at that.

        The problem we face this year is that they’re *all* “mutton-heads”.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m sorry. I wasn’t talking about the quote. I was talking about the whole piece, not necessarily disagreeing with your evaluation of the 1968 candidates. Although IMO, Richard Nixon was a lot more ethical than Mitt Romney is.

        My evaluation of Romney as a “horrible person” has nothing to do with the old quote. It’s based on his time as governor of MA, and my extensive reading about his life, work, and religion.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        BB, your opinion on Romney means a lot to me…thank you for keeping your focus on just how dangerous the man is.

      • dm says:

        Yikes…Nixon was more ethical than Romney??? That’s quite a statement. The real question that needs an answer is who is more ethical – Obama or Romney? Do you really think Romney is worse than Obama?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Romney is a million times worse than Obama. Romney is the most arrogant, entitled, vicious, hateful man I have ever observed in my life. HE’s also a pathological liar. I’ve never in my life seen someone who can lie with a straight face like that.

      • dm says:

        Boston Boomer – If I didn’t know better, I would think you just described Obama…

      • bostonboomer says:


        You know I don’t like Obama, but I’m telling you, Romney is a whole ‘nother level of evil.

  13. Pilgrim says:

    I notice Chris Matthews likes to carp that Mitt Romney makes use of teleprompter for important speeches.

    But as to Obama’s use of the device….crickets…..

    It’s very clear that Matthews really doesn’t like Romney.

    He seems to like whomever is in power. He used to talk about George W. Bush’s “sunny nobility.” Now he has nothing good to say of him. Now he’s an Obama-lover.

  14. ralphb says:

    Enthusiasm may be flagging for the Republicans in Florida. In the 2008 Republican primary nearly 1.95 million votes were cast. But in tonight’s primary, turnout was about 1.65 million. A 15% drop.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I think Obama will carry Florida after this horror show.

      • ralphb says:

        He carried Florida by 1 point in 2008. I see no reason to think he can’t do it again. It’s not like he’ll be running against a good candidate or anything.

  15. bostonboomer says:

    Romney has been informed that he’s getting Secret Service protection.

    That will swell his head some more….

  16. ralphb says:

    Alan Grayson: GOP Race Will Do ‘Lasting Damage’ To Party

    “I think there has been lasting damage,” he said. “I think that when Newt Gingrich parades around the country saying Mitt Romney is a liar and Mitt Romney parades around country saying Newt Gingrich is a liar, the conclusion most people draw is they’re both liars.”
    “Newt’s negatives are astronomical — they’re approaching his name recognition at this point — and Romney’s are also very high. I doubt we’ll see them go down,” he said. “Mitt romney has been exposed, like a character out of Orphan Annie, Daddy Warbucks, as an enormously wealthy person out of touch with ordinary Americans who simply wants to be president, as far as we can tell, because he wants to be President.”

    Not exactly a disinterested bystander but this sounds like it could be true.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Mitt is the great Mormon hope. He has been groomed to run for president ever since he was a kid.

  17. ralphb says:

    Suzanne Bonamici, the Democrat, has been declared the winner of the Oregon 1 US House special election.

  18. Pat Johnson says:

    You can hear Sarah Palin screeching from here!

    Thinking she could turn herself into a “KIngmaker” by backing Newtie, she bet on the wrong horse.

    Not that Mittens is any prize but Newt Gingrich? Come on!

  19. Sorry I missed the party. I fell asleep on the couch just after 9 – but woke up at one point to here Newter’s speech. I covered my head and went back to sleep – what a nightmare. Thought ya’ll would find this interesting: It’s a county by county count. Newter took those counties that are more “old” Florida, with fewer snowbirds and ex-pats from other states. I think it was John Mica, a Republican Congressman from FL, who said last night that Florida is like a microcosm of America. Although I rarely agree with his pov, I do this time. Our population, for the most part, is a mixture of folks from across the country. I think Newter will take the southern states in upcoming primaries, but Romney will take the rest. Is it November yet?

  20. foxyladi14 says:

    soon. 🙂