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Mitt Romney and Tom Brokaw: The Final Offensive in Florida

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Over the weekend, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney called in the strike to take former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s Florida camp out once and for all. Coming in the form of a television advertisement, Romney’s ad decisively proved that less is more; in this case, much more. How? By using a clip from the NBC Nightly News broadcast of January 21, 1997, in which veteran anchor Tom Brokaw detailed Gingrich’s wide reaching ethics scandal, and the hypocrisy associated with it. Despite speaking for less than thirty seconds, Brokaw laid out every reason why, essentially, the resigned speaker is the resigned speaker.

Beginning with a note on how Gingrich “preach(ed) a higher standard in American politics” and used this to topple his predecessor, Tom Foley, Brokaw let the hammer fall hard and fast:

He has on his own record, the judgment of his peers, Democrat and Republican alike. By an overwhelming vote, they found him guilty of ethics violations, they charged him a very large financial penalty, they raised….serious questions about his future effectiveness. 

Though Brokaw could never have imagined that his monologue would be used so deftly in an ad, one cannot deny that it is a stunning diamond in the coal pile for any of Gingrich’s opponents. In this case, Romney used it to perfection, finding a generally well liked third party to deliver the message which he has been struggling to communicate throughout his campaign: Gingrich is not only unelectable, but a corrupt politician. The unsaid point of the latter playing his voters for fools is exactly that, but none too difficult to deduce.

If there are any of my fellow Republicans who still believe that Gingrich is what he has been billing himself as: an outsider, true conservative, or populist reformer, then I honestly do not know what to say. This race, not just in the Florida make-or-break primary on Tuesday, but has escalated across the country beyond the Romney/Gingrich battle. For an untold number, it is an all-out war against the center-right Dwight Eisenhower-Nelson Rockefeller faction of the Republican Party. Far-right activists, whether they be theoconservatives, hardcore bigots, or GOProletarians, are in a mad dash for electoral power, as they see the mainstream of American society moving away from them. Consequently, they are more reactionary than ever; exhibiting a collective rage that knows no bounds.

In the end, I believe that this ad will seal the deal for Romney in almost every swing state in which it is aired. While an onslaught of facts will never make a difference to the dreamers on the fringe, all Romney has to do to keep Gingrich at bay is to speak the objective truth. After a while, Gingrich will undoubtedly destroy himself in some fantastical manner and the wingnuts will crawl back into the woodwork.

Then, perhaps, President Barack Obama can be defeated and a new moderate majority built.

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About Joseph F. Cotto

  • jamminsue

    Joseph, Don’t you don’t think that the fact NBC is suing Romney for using this clip without permission will backfire on him? The claim of “fair use” doesn’t fly.

  • jamminsue

    I am not saying that Gingrich isn’t all you say he is, by any means.

  • Deano

    The nice thing about attack ads is that if they are extremely inflammatory or utilize questionable clips etc., you just need to get them out there once. The lawsuits and legal recriminations then get you in the news, often building the ad visibility and general awareness in spite of the ad no longer being legal to be shown.

    Now it’s “news” and can be broadcast as a part of the larger story….and posted on the Internet for all to see. So far this is the best political knifing I’ve seen so far in this campaign…

    Are we sure Romney’s a Morman and not a secret Borgia?

  • notfromtheIsland

    I don’t see the problem with Romney using the evening news on that day. It was true that this happened to Gingrich. NBC is just really upset that Romney used it before they could to help Obama once again.

  • Igor

    The article overlooks Romney’s utter callousness toward the problems of the middleclass when it states:

    “Then, perhaps, President Barack Obama can be defeated and a new moderate majority built.”

    Romney has evinced no interest whatsoever in the ordinary citizen. They can Go Fish as far as he is concerned.

    For example, his tax statements reveal that when he had an income of $40million (which did not even have to pay ordinary income tax, but instead escaped thru a contrivance of the Capital Class) he paid a 15% rate, and gave $4million (just barely his tithe) to the Mormon church (which can hardly be called a charity) and a measly $3million to charity (we don’t know which ones).

    This gives the lie to the oft-stated notion of self-styled conservatives that society should rely on private charity to relieve the privations of the poor. What hope is there for the poor if the Very Rich, such as Romney, are so cheap?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @58

    I agree, he may be rich but he’s no aristocrat like FDR. Only aristocrats are capable of largesse, not money-grabbing carpetbaggers like Romney.

    I really fail to see Cotto’s enchantment with Romney. The fact that the rest of the field is equally pathetic is no excuse.

  • Igor

    The fantasy notions of “enlightened self interest” and “compassionate conservatism” have to be discarded in the light of plentiful evidence that riches make a person greedier.

    Romney is just an example.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    These are just buzz words, Igor, meant to appeal to all those who are still in pursuit of the American Dream … the suckers.

  • Costello

    Roger, I know you act like the OWS representative around here, but don’t kid yourself. There’s no united block of voters yet. The movement shrinks every month and will be insigificant by November. Plus, some members will give in and vote Obama. And if you thinks he’s delivering socialism, you don’t fully grasp the concept, like many RW radio show listeners

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Costello –

    No, when the weather gets warmer, the OWS movement will get bigger – a lot bigger. Mark my words…it’s too widespread and (unlike the Tea Party) truly grassroots, and anyone who thinks otherwise is under the same cloud of self-deception as the former leaders of Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and – in the months to come – Syria.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @9

    You’re completely off today, rather unusual. I don’t presume to represent OWS — whatever gave you that idea, but you can bet your sweet bottom the support for the Democrats come 2012 is going to be nowhere near like it was 2008.

    And who did you say I say is “delivering socialism”? Obama?

    You must be out of your mind if you think I think that. So really, I don’t know to whom you were responding here, Costello, but it certainly wasn’t to me.

    You must be getting election jitters — that’s the best way I can account for your temporary slip-up.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Plus, why this sudden hostility towards OWS?

    I would assume you would view it as a positive development on American political scene, more positive than anything we’ve seen in years.

  • http://dustbowlpoetry.wordpress.com Shelley

    Newt Gingrich’s continual use of the phrase “food stamps” with such contempt is heartless.

  • Costello

    Glenn and Roger, you guys are kidding yourselves and haven’t been paying attention to recent history. The left was behind Obama and after his inaugration, they let him be and the machinery of DC took hold. Then there was support for the people of Iran but that turned out to be a fad. Rather than get more left-leaning folks in 2010, they let the Tea Party take over the election. Those folks lost their drive are finding the establishment tell them who the candidate will be. Why you think OWS will do anything come November is beyond me. They are an unorganized group without a message known for crapping on cop cars and committing other acts of vandalism. They were co-opted by violent anarchists and have lost the support of the people. When spring comes, we’ll see if the OWS folks show up.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I am an anarchist, and a communist too, Costello, in case you didn’t know, anarchism being the only reasonable political philosophy since this government is illegitimate. More and more people (and Glenn is not among them) are coming to this realization. As to the support of “the people,” it will come when it will come. But you’re surely beginning to show your stripes by being a pro- establishment kind of guy. I never would have guessed.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    If you’ll remember, I agreed with you and Cindy that anarchism such as that practiced by some of the indigenous society in Mexico can work, for I did the research myself and saw the results. But whether anarchism can function effectively in a competitive internationals setting, well, I still have strong doubts about that. When it comes to the function of people and money, perhaps I – liberal moonbat that I certainly am – am actually a little more cynical than you.

  • http://rwno.limewebs.com Warren Beatty

    Joseph, yes, you answered my question, and I thank you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A “liberal moonbat” you’re not, Glenn, not if you own up to what you have said. I envisage a spread of anarchistic thinking and practice on a piecemeal basis, community by community.

    As to the larger, geopolitical picture, I do hold some hope that in the near future the humankind will come to a realization that cooperation is a better way to go that all-out competition. Call it a belief, if you like, that we have not as yet reached our full evolutionary potential.

    Which is exactly why I expressed my reservation about Cannon’s project, which comes across to me as a form of escapism and more idealistic, in a sense, than the project I entertain. The way I figure, facing our future head on, here and now, is a more productive and hopefully more fruitful stance than thinking up all the sci-fi scenarios to enable us to escape the human condition. Of course the latter project is easier, for it absolves us from acting and thinking responsibly in the present by engaging in flights of fancy and vicarious living — which is why most everybody is so eager to join Cannon’s bandwagon.

  • troll

    re Costello’s #14 – internationally folks are talking about May 12 – 15 as something of a commemorative global kick off this spring for actions in Europe and the US…

    as for ‘anarchist’ violence – I expect that we’ll see an increase in black bloc tactics employed by the radically inclined in coming actions…a significant number of people are beyond vexed at the police violence that’s been ordered up against the occupations around the world

    …class war

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I would think a better day would be May Day – which would certainly raise the hackles of all red-hating red-meat conservatives….

  • Igor

    Cotto’s article is right: “it is an all-out war against the center-right Dwight Eisenhower-Nelson Rockefeller faction of the Republican Party. Far-right activists, whether they be theoconservatives, hardcore bigots, or GOProletarians, are in a mad dash for electoral power, as they see the mainstream of American society moving away from them.”

  • trol l

    re #20 – stateside there is growing commitment to a May Day general strike

    the May 15 choice reflects Spanish influence in the international ‘occupy the commons’ movement

  • Costello

    Roger, I am very curious how you currently live as a communist. What actions do you take? And I must confess, your thinking comes across a tad narrowminded the way you constantly label everyone as some form of shorthand to understand and dismiss them. Not having a great deal of faith in the people based on their past behavior doesn’t mean I have any faith of those in power.

    Troll, I am very curious to learn about the May event. I understand the aggravation and desire for action against the police, but for every Oakland or Berkley(the pepper spraying of students?), there seems to be more negative stories about the camps. Of course, I expect the media to protect those in power, but OWS has to overcompensate to win the PR battle. Major societal changes come from peaceful protest or all-out war. Anything in between betrays the cause.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Costello, you never engaged me in a dialogue before, so why bother now? Kinda late, I’d say to be asking me leading questions, especially since you’re beginning to show your snotty side. Besides, since you’ve already made up my mind about my narrowmindedness and so forth, why do you think I’d want to converse with such as you?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    *sits back with popcorn and soda and waits for the show*

  • Costello

    Roger, we’ve interacted before at BC, so to suggest we haven’t is false. And how is the question leading? You said you are a communist and I asked what you do in your life to distinguish yourself as such. I have never encountered a communist so my question is sincere, but to be honest, your changing of the subject makes me wonder if the sum total of your commitment is having read Das Kapital while wearing a Che shirt while in college. When my son was little he used to say he was an astronaut. Didn’t mean he was one. Either cite examples of what you do to identify as a communist or stop pretending to be one online

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No, we haven’t to the extent you imagine. How many comments have you posted in the space allocated to the body of my writings, two or three at most. Never had any real exchange of meanings or ideas that I’d regard it as memorable. And now you’re pumping me about my personal life just because “you’re very curious,” and that on top of however slight trace of hostility. Get real!

    You’re just being a natural jerk, and that takes no pretense at all. And if you don’t know that, you’re dumber than I think.

  • Costello

    I didn’t realize you had a quota in terms of the number of comments and where they had to occur. But the continual dodging of the question reveals you aren’t really a communist. You just like to play one online.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No quota, Costello, just don’t recall any meaningful exchanges between us on any topic whatever, which makes the present occasion stand up like a sore thumb.

    So you can’t take your sudden curiosity about what I think or who I am and shove it. Speak to me like a man and we can deal with it. Behave like a jerk, and I’m going to treat you like one.

  • Costello

    So we can’t have a conversation because we haven’t had a conversation? Nice Catch-22. We could have had a meaningful conversation about being a communist in modern day America, but it turns out you are a phony.

  • tr oll

    Costello – I am very curious to learn about the May event.

    you could keep up to date on plans by following #15may and such on twitter I’d bet

    I understand the aggravation and desire for action against the police, but…

    targeted damage to corporate property in the communities is likely…if history serves

    for every Oakland or Berkley(the pepper spraying of students?), there seems to be more negative stories about the camps.

    some are probably true and some false…but I see no reason to think that ‘contact zones’ are going to be easy places

    I expect the media to protect those in power, but OWS has to overcompensate to win the PR battle.

    some battles will not be won…probably not worth spending a lot of time worrying about the inevitable MSM spin – the overcompensation will have to be in developing alternatives like the live indy news broadcasters

    Major societal changes come from peaceful protest or all-out war. Anything in between betrays the cause.

    Says who? I gotta go with the OWS consensus which acknowledges that a multiplicity tactics and strategies may be required…who am I to dictate how anyone should express her or his rage?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @30

    Essentially, yes. Conversations are tokens of a relationship. You haven’t shown any interest in my thought prior to now, and your sudden show of interest (look at the circumstances which spurted your initial comment), not to mention the form of your addresses, is to say the very least suspect. And your refusal to own up to this shows you’re the one who’s phony.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    [doesn’t like popcorn, but buys some Milk Duds and asks Glenn if the seat next to him is taken]

  • zingzing

    [has a folding chair and a little bit of whiskey]

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Shoot, I gotta wait till Friday to get me some.

  • Zingzing

    My friend makes his own. He’s getting pretty good at it. Wants to start his own distillery, so I’m his hooch guinea pig. I take my role seriously.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s a nice job you got there, the official taster. Bootlegging in NYC?

  • Zingzing

    most of the process (the dangerous part where you might blow your entire building up) takes place outside of town on a farm his parents inherited, but couldn’t give a shit about. He’s been doing it for about 6 years now, so some of the properly aged stuff is coming in. He was doing bourbon, but I got him to do some ryes about 4 years ago and other than one totally wasted cask, he’s got some good stuff coming out. He also makes some straight-up moonshine, and that’ll do in a pinch, but I can’t stomach that, really.

  • Clavos

    [Leans back in his chair in the projection booth, reel of porn in hand, ready to liven things up]

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The show is over, Clav, but if you try some of that zing’s stuff, I’m certain it will liven things a bit. But I forgot, you don’t touch even a drop.

  • Costello

    Thanks for the info, troll. I don’t use twitter but I may have to change my stance on that.

    Roger, I am glad that Wonderland logic works for you, but to say we can’t have a conversation because we haven’t had a conversation means we won’t ever be able to have one. I didn’t realize my asking a simple question would shatter the illusion you project around herelike the young boy who revealed the Emperor wasn’t wearing clothes