Unbelievable. They really did believe their own bullshit.

Filed in National by on November 8, 2012

At around 6:30 p.m., as I was driving down to the Queen in Wilmington to meet my fellow DL and Democratic compatriots to watch the results and hopefully celebrate our victory, I was listening to MSNBC on XM, and one of their reporters embedded with the Romney campaign said that Mr. Romney had only prepared one speech for the night, a victory speech, while President Obama had prepared both a victory and a concession speech. Now, when I heard that, I thought it was pure puffery on the part of the Romney campaign, yet another attempt to project strength and momentum in line with what they had done the entire campaign. Of course Mitt Romney, a prudent businessman, would prepare for any eventuality, and that meant that he and his family and his running mate and his running mate’s family, and of course his campaign… all of them… would be prepared for any eventuality. And that means preparing two speeches and being emotionally prepared for a result one way or the other.

But, as we learn from this stunning CBSNews article, that was not the case. They really believed their own bullshit.

Romney was stoic as he talked with the president, an aide said, but his wife Ann cried. Running mate Paul Ryan seemed genuinely shocked, the adviser said. Ryan’s wife Janna also was shaken and cried softly.

“There’s nothing worse than when you think you’re going to win, and you don’t,” said another adviser. “It was like a sucker punch.”

Their emotion was visible on their faces when they walked on stage after Romney finished his remarks, which Romney had hastily composed, knowing he had to say something.

Both wives looked stricken, and Ryan himself seemed grim. They all were thrust on that stage without understanding what had just happened.

“He was shellshocked,” one adviser said of Romney.

Why were they shellshocked? Aren’t these people professional politicians? I mean, my God, how could they have not been prepared to lose? All the national and state polls throughout the campaign showed they were going to lose. Indeed, on our own DL Polling Report, and on other poll tracking sites like the Huffington Post and TPM, Mitt Romney did not lead the Electoral College at any point during the campaign. So why were they so shocked? Because they all bought into the bullshit unskewed polls nonesense, and then they built their whole campaign turnout operation on the unskewed poll theory posited by an angry amateur conservative named Dean Chambers who just did not like reality, so he created a new reality to make him feel better.

And a major party nominee bought into it!!!

I thought all the bravado and the “Romneymentum” stories from the Romney campaign was pure poker face for the purposes of the campaign, to keep supporters energized and to keep their big money donors signing checks. But deep down I thought they all had to know the reality. They had to know.

“They thought intensity and enthusiasm were on their side this time — poll after poll showed Republicans were more motivated to vote than Democrats – and that would translate into votes for Romney. As a result, they believed the public/media polls were skewed — they thought those polls oversampled Democrats and didn’t reflect Republican enthusiasm. They based their own internal polls on turnout levels more favorable to Romney. That was a grave miscalculation, as they would see on election night.”

Well, some polls showed that Republicans were more enthusiastic than Dems, but those polls were taken back in January. Once the campaign began in earnest, most polls showed the enthusiasm gap to be shrinking or they showed it to be even and some polls showed the gap to favor the Democrats. You would think that a competent campaign would prepare for the worst, and the worst from the Romney’s campaign’s perspective would have been what the reality was: that Dems were enthusiastic to vote and that we all would turnout at 2008 levels. It would be one thing if Romney lost this election because his own base of Republicans and evangelicals did not turn out to vote. It is quite another to assume that your opponent’s base would stay home or that the electorate would somehow go back in time to 2004 and 2000.

It is just pure incompetence. Not only did they believe their own bullshit, but the meme that Mitt Romney was and is a competent businessman was also pure bullshit. He doesn’t know how to run things. Thank god he was not given the chance to run our country.

And in what I hope will be my final word on Mitt Romney and his campaign, there is this:

From the moment Mitt Romney stepped off stage Tuesday night, having just delivered a brief concession speech he wrote only that evening, the massive infrastructure surrounding his campaign quickly began to disassemble itself. Aides taking cabs home late that night got rude awakenings when they found the credit cards linked to the campaign no longer worked.

God, what a prick. The exact nanosecond his own staffers were of no use to him, he cut them off.

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  1. EllieMurasaki says:

    My money? Between Romney-supporting superPACs, strategies to suppress voters in demographics that break Democratic, and outright vote theft along the lines of what that one former NSA analyst found in a whole bunch of places, Romney thought he had not only a guaranteed victory but a strong one. And Obama’s support is just that overwhelming.

  2. pandora says:

    I wrote this on today’s open thread about this article, but since you actually took the time to write an awesome post I copied parts of them:

    Seriously? The businessman and the GOP’s Numbers Guy didn’t see this coming? At all? They didn’t look at or analyze the numbers? They didn’t question the obvious “yes men” surrounding them? Never asked to see all the data? Did no one play devil’s advocate? Did they ever change the channel to CNN, NBC or ABC or were they glued to FOX?

    This is gross incompetence on the Romney campaign.

    At some point he, and numbers guy, Ryan, willfully ignored the truth. Which tells me that Romney probably never ran anything because this sure as hell isn’t the behavior of a successful businessman, a “data” guy. This is the action of a puppet, a figurehead.

    RustyDils being deceived is one thing, and I feel badly for him. Mitt Romney has no such excuse.

  3. Delaware Dem says:

    I am sure that is also part of it, Ellie. But that just reveals more about their incompetence. Mitt Romney was running a 1980’s campaign if he believed that an avalanche of TV ads without any grass roots retail ground game was going to win it. They said it themselves: they believed all the ads would produce a groundswell across the nation that would propel them to victory. What they did not know is that many of us Americans know watch our TV on demand, via DVRs, and we fast forward through commercials, and if we don’t do that, we often ignore them. Indeed, during Hurricane Sandy, when I watched Ch. 6 all day long on that Monday and Tuesday, every ad, and I mean every commercial space, was a paid political ad. After the first few commercials, two things happen: 1) you become numb and you ignore them, and 2) they ads were actual repeats. Not repetitive, but actual repeats of ads you saw during the last commercial break. So that when you see the ad again, you actually get angry.

  4. Delaware Dem says:

    Whoops, sorry Pandora. I must have missed your comment on this article.

  5. cassandra_m says:

    I’ve been thinking about this and I’m not sure what this means. No major party Presidential campaign just springs up from the grassroots. It is built on some of the bones of what came before — lessons learned, cream of the crop staff, as well as the capabilities of all of the local party offices.

    If this Romney story is true, this means that the Dems really have built a much better mousetrap — probably starting with 2004 and Howard Dean’s campaign. Between organizing, talent and candidate the Dems have spent their money on long term infrastructure. And with any luck, banished Mark Penn and Bob Shrum to the dustbin.

    Because if the Romney story is true — they got little to no campaign management from prior campaigns. Certainly they got none of the lessons learned from those campaigns and that is either a lack of expertise or willfully ignoring what it there.

  6. Jason330 says:

    Cassandra, When you add to that the fact that Party ID is baked in once you vote in your first two elections, Democrats seem to be offsetting the Republicans large donor advantage.

    In addition to banishing Mark Penn and Bob Shrum, maybe we can get rid of Bill Clinton’s philosophy that Dems need Wall Street to win?

  7. pandora says:

    No problem, DD! This deserved a post of its own.

    Cassandra, since every politician to cross Romney’s path couldn’t stand the guy they probably didn’t offer much advice. Also, Romney has always believed he knew it all, so if advice was offered my bet is that it was not only ignored, but scoffed at.

  8. cassandra_m says:

    Given that Obama lost his Wall Street support to Romney (at least moneywise) this round AND had the Chamber of Commerce running their own SuperPAC against him, I’d say that philosophy is already dead.

  9. cassandra_m says:

    @P, I read a couple of places that Romney was very hands on in the management of his campaign. Here is one piece. It is certainly possible that he was really running the show in a way most candidates do not. Or at least not seen to be.

  10. Liberal Elite says:

    @p “Also, Romney has always believed he knew it all, so if advice was offered my bet is that it was not only ignored, but scoffed at.”

    Reminds me of the old joke: “You can always tell a Harvard man, but you can’t tell him much.”

  11. pandora says:

    Josh Barro Tweets:

    “If Romney was stunned that he lost, it conflicts with the idea that he’s a superior numbers guy who gets into the data weeds on his deals.”


  12. Liberal Elite says:

    @p “Funny, LE!”

    Don’t laugh too hard It applies to Obama too.

    (disclaimer: I also spent 5 years at H)

  13. Jason330 says:

    Like the Winklevoss twins, he just expects good things to happen to him. It is the way the universe is supposed to work.

  14. Liberal Elite says:

    Here’s an election story that shows the true brilliance of the Florida election system.


    “…an election supervisor at the polling place ultimately realized that MIT stands for “Massachusetts Institute of Technology” — a school where students tend to know how to spell — and was not a campaign shirt for the Republican candidate, who spells his name MITT.”

  15. Dave says:

    I do think it is simpler than how they ran the campaign. Despite their reliance on polls that told them what they wanted to hear, they had a candidate problem. Romney did not have the ability to connect with the people. He could not even pretend to walk in their shoes. I think the elevator for his cars is the defining symbol (the Ds did not make very effective use of it). Or maybe even Ann’s horse. While we do not expect our Presidents to come from modest means most of them have run out of milk and had to run to the store for some. I never got the sense that Romney ever had to run to the store himself. The inability to connect with Romney and to get a sense that he empathized with our wants and needs played a bigger role than I think most people realized.

  16. John Young says:

    LE, dead on on the Harvard thing. It is my personal experience with Harvard grads and does apply to both our D and R candidates for prez this year.

  17. cassandra_m says:

    Their lack of data might also explain the FOX Noise, Karl Rove, George Will, et al confidence in a landslide Tuesday evening. Romneyworld assured them it was in the bag.

  18. heragain says:

    But there’s a couple of technical issues as well. (In addition to DD’s good point about the ads)

    The R’s and R pollsters underestimate and undercount cell or mobile device only phones. So they never asked many young or poor voters, whose cell ID travels with them.

    And reflect on that amateurish photoshopping of Romney’s crowd. My middle-schoolers do better than that, but they (and many of their voters) thought it was impressive. So their views of the crowds for Obama (and Clinton, and Joe, and…) must have deducted 30%, right off the top. As the old saying goes, The thief sees only pockets.

    Also, from a KOCH brothers point of view, it must just be WRONG to put all that much of your OWN money into something, with so little result. I’d like to think it was paradigm challenging. 😀