Thursday, April 12, 2012

Romney Bus Circles Biden Event

Jason Chaffetz call your office. The Romney campaign has more work for you.

Romney bus circles Exeter, NH hall where VP Biden made a campaign speech (photo: Joe McElveen)

Byron York reports that the Romney campaign tactic of "bracketing" or "sending staff, staging events, and making news at the campaign appearances of rival candidates" is alive and well.
"Biden traveled to Exeter, New Hampshire for a speech at the Town Hall denouncing Romney's economic plan and promoting the Buffett Rule. And what did Biden find outside Town Hall? The Romney campaign bus. 'The bus is doing some laps around the venue,' said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams in a call from Exeter. 'We're going to run an aggressive campaign that will highlight the failures of this administration in every city and state that we possibly can.'"
The photo itself, not to mention Romney spokesman Ryan Williams' phrasing "[t]he bus is doing some laps around the venue", makes the Romney campaign look silly. A lone Romney campaign bus circles his opponent's speaking venue Jericho-like. Only the walls didn't fall down.

York thinks the stunt succeeded because its purpose is to "attract press coverage and make sure that accounts that would ordinarily be solely about Biden's event also feature comment from the Romney campaign." And CNN's account of the Biden speech did include comments by Romney backer John Sununu and spokesman Ryan Williams who were present at Biden's speech. However, the quoted comments came from a conference call made before the speech not from comments made while they were present at the speech (or from the campaign bus).

Campaign buses and operatives going to opponents' speeches "'to speak with voters and members of the media.'" What could possibly go wrong with adopting that tactic? Imagine SEIU and Occupy "spokesmen" showing up at Romney events to "speak with voters and members of the media." That will work out well.

Who will overshadow who when it's not just a nearly empty campaign bus doing silly circles when Romney speaks? And what will be the grounds for complaining if occupy tactics are now used against Romney events? Romney started it.

There was hope that the Romney Florida "occupy" or "bracketing" strategy was a one-off. But, apparently this is what passes for smart political strategy nowadays.

Now that the Democrats know this Romney campaign trick, how long will it be before there is media coverage of security people or even police leading high Romney campaign staffers out of events by the ear? Even worse: "scuffles" between Obama supporters and Romney spokesmen?

Bracketing was not a fiasco in Florida only because the Gingrich campaign was run by gentlemen who only pushed back by one on one questioning. Wait until the pushing back is big time.


MAX Redline said...

It's an interesting perspective, though it should be noted that the name of the game is name recognition, which rolling a bus around will do more effectively than, say, purchasing ad-space in a dead-tree newspaper. And in truth, what could be more appropriate than sending an empty bus to an event orchestrated by an empty suit?

Were Biden a Republican, it's a safe bet that the media treatment of him would make Dan Quayle look positively Presidential. (Note: I can't recall ever raising the Quayle in any back-to-back posts before) ;-)

However, Hillary Rosen may have given Mittens the gift that keeps on giving: I noticed this morning that his campaign's newest bumper sticker reads "MOMS Drive the Economy". I suspect that Dems are going to wish they'd never tried to sell the meme of a Repub "War on Women".

T. D. said...

You may be right, Max.

To me the bus and Romney surrogates dogging opponents look ridiculous and are distasteful. I also think it's dangerous playing with fire considering who has the best disruptive/intimidation apparatus. Gingrich didn't because that's not part of his values. Obama and the Dems have Chicago-style politics. Long years of practice.

MAX Redline said...

Tell me about it, T.D. - having spent part of my growing-up time in Illinois during the Richard J. Daley machine years, I see profound similarities between the corrosive impact of Chicago upon the state and that of Portland on this state.

Neil Goldschmidt was the Portland Daley, and the odor lingers long.

Personally, I find the empty bus routine marginally amusing, but I concur completely with your assessment regarding the burn potential. Mittens thinks he knows what he's up against, but he really has no clue. To me, Mittens is McCain v. 1.5 - bestowed upon us by the media. The same folks who demonized Palin, Bachmann, Gingrich....

T. D. said...

You're right, Max, that Portland has no controls. A major turn did happen with Goldschmidt after Schrunk and seems to have accelerated after Ivancie. The only limit I see is lack of funds. And that hasn't seemed to be a problem for a good long time.

MAX Redline said...

I think that money train's about to run out, TD - if I recall correctly, Portland's bond limit was upward-adjusted about 4 years ago to something like $9 billion. At present, the City owes about $6.5 billion, meaning that each man, woman, child, and possibly dog in the City presently owes about $11,000 in civic debt. This, of course, excludes County, Metro, State, and Federal debt.

Yet, they go merrily on. Portland is now spending upwards of $1.5 billion to build a brand-new seven-mile line to suburban Milwaukie. That's just for construction; operating costs aren't included. One definition of insanity describes doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different result.

For the cost of this seven miles of light rail, we could buy 36 top-of-the-line double decker buses, with crushed velour reclining seats, headrest televisions, Wi-Fi. We could pay to hire staff to drive and maintain 16 of the buses at any given time, run them at 15-minute intervals, 24/7, make each ride absolutely free, and give each rider free coffee and donuts. We could do this for 150 years.

With enough money left over to provide each incoming high-school freshman in the Tri-County area a free iPad. For the next 150 years.

But, like crows, Portland politicians have eyes for the shiny stuff.

T. D. said...

$11,000 of debt for every person in Portland? Whoo-boy! I wonder which ex-mayor will become Portland's David Cicilline.

James Nicholas said...

I'm with you, Terrance. You better get ready to gear up, 'cause it's gonna be a full on tractor pull to drag this guy over the line. Though he cares nothing for us, we who hold out hope for the future of this nation are the only chance this clown has.

T. D. said...

Sigh. I think you're right, JN. (Longer sigh.)