Jennifer Rubin has endured no shortage of criticism for using her Washington Post blog to blatantly and counterfactually shill for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. And in the aftermath of Romney's electoral defeat, she's tacitly acknowledging as much. Today Rubin offers her post-mortem of the Romney campaign, casting it as ineffectual and unequal to the task of removing an incumbent from the White House -- an assessment that flatly contradicts her aggressively pro-Romney pre-election writing.
Here's Rubin's November 7 take on the Romney-Ryan campaign:
Until October it was the Perils of Pauline campaign. It moved in fits and starts on foreign policy. The message was rarely consistent from day to day. Gobs of ads were aired to no apparent effect. The convention speech was a huge missed opportunity. Romney made a lunge now and then in the direction of immigration reform and an alternative health-care plan without giving those topics the attention they deserved. The communications team was the worst of any presidential campaign I have ever seen -- slow and plodding, never able to capitalize on openings. It was hostile, indifferent and unhelpful to media, conservative and mainstream alike.
Matters did improve once Ed Gillespie moved forward to take charge of the message. A message at least became discernible. The ads certainly were simpler, more direct and more attuned to making a case for Romney's agenda. But if not for a stunning series of performances in the debates and unexpected eloquence on the stump in the last month, Romney almost surely would have done worse than he did. A presidential race needs more than a good month to be successful.
Let's take what she's written here, in the cold reality of a Romney loss, and compare it to what she wrote when the Romney campaign was still in full swing.
Rubin now: “The convention speech was a huge missed opportunity.”
Rubin then: “Mitt Romney accepted the nomination of his party for president with a speech that showed he can rise to an occasion, and let us see a side of him that was compelling and heartbreaking.” [Right Turn, 8/30]
Rubin now: “Romney made a lunge now and then in the direction of immigration reform and an alternative health-care plan without giving those topics the attention they deserved.”
Rubin then: “The media are doing their best to disguise the unpleasant fact that Mitt Romney has been more forthcoming on immigration than the president has in more than three years in office.” [Right Turn, 6/24] “This isn't that hard: Romney will repeal Obamacare. He has always favored protection for people with preexisting conditions who move from one employer-provided plan to another or from an individual-purchased to an employer-provided plan.” [Right Turn, 9/10]
Rubin now: “The communications team was the worst of any presidential campaign I have ever seen -- slow and plodding, never able to capitalize on openings.”
Rubin then: “The Romney team, to a greater degree than most campaigns, has been criticized and lampooned. Too timid. Too unfocused. Too slow. Too inept. But this week demonstrated that the campaign officials are more skilled than they have been depicted, and their errors and stumbles have in large part been obliterated in the lingering glow of the convention. There is some personal vindication for them as well.” [Right Turn, 8/31]
Rubin now: “But if not for a stunning series of performances in the debates and unexpected eloquence on the stump in the last month, Romney almost surely would have done worse than he did. A presidential race needs more than a good month to be successful.”
Rubin then: “We've made the case that not only the first presidential debate but the debates as a whole recast the race and vaulted Mitt Romney into a position to win the race. Pollster Charlie Cook is the latest election guru to agree.” [Right Turn, 10/31]