The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Romney’s ‘Etch-a-Sketch’ Platform: Santorum’s ‘Act of God’ Moment?

Posted on | March 21, 2012 | 60 Comments

En route to Louisiana, I stopped here to meet Ali Akbar for lunch, then gassed up the car and was about to get back on the road when I decided I needed to get online and check my American Spectator column today (found four typos, now corrected). I got back home from Gettysburg at 3 a.m. after long off-the-record conversations with “sources close to the campaign.” The beers? Also off-the-record.

But I got up this morning and hit the road without ever getting online, so I needed to check in and see what was happening. And here at McDonald’s, I encountered this shocking story:

Top Romney Adviser Says Romney Can
Change His Positions After The Primaries:
‘It’s Almost Like An Etch A Sketch’

. . . Appearing on CNN this morning, Romney Communications Director Eric Fehrnstrom was asked if he’s concerned that Romney may alienate general election voters with some of the hard-right positions he’s taken during the primary to appeal to conservatives. Fehrnstrom brushed this concern off:
Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again. “

Dude. How much is that quote worth to Rick Santorum? At least a million dollars in the next 48 hours, I’d say, and maybe an extra 10 percent of the vote in upcoming primaries, if the Santorum campaign can turn that quote into a 30-second ad PDQ.

During my wee-hours discussions over off-the-record beers, I made note of the Neutral Objective Fact that all Santorum needed was for Romney to stumble, then pounce on it as hard as they can and it might shift the whole direction of the campaign. Well, if this isn’t a “stumble,” what is?

Team Romney said it would take “an act of God” to keep Mitt from winning the nomination. Or maybe a quote from Eric Ferhnstrom.

UPDATE: Press release from the Santorum campaign:

Hogan Gidley, National Communications Director, said: “We all knew Mitt Romney didn’t have any core convictions, but we appreciate his staff going on national television to affirm that point for anyone who had any doubts. With the two year anniversary of the signing of ObamaCare upon us, can voters really believe that the man who urged the President to use his healthcare plan in Massachusetts as a model would really repeal ObamaCare? Or is that promise just something they would ‘shake up and restart’ with when Romney hits the general election.
Voters can trust that Rick Santorum will say what he believes, and do what he says. They may not always agree with Rick Santorum, but they can trust him because they know he is a man of principle. Clearly, the same cannot be said of Governor Romney.”

Here’s the video:

If I were Rick Santorum, I’d use this quote to beat Mitt Romney like a rented mule — and that’s a Neutral Objective Fact.

UPDATE II: It is also a Neutral Objective Fact that you can click here to contribute to the Rick Santorum campaign.

UPDATE III: Thanks to the commenter who pointed out that this quote has already been turned into an online ad:

UPDATE IV: In the nick of time, Erick Erickson endorses Romney. I guess Erick loves him some Etch-a-Sketch.

UPDATE V: During lunch today with Ali Akbar — get your “Remember Breitbart” T-shirt now! — we were discussing the primary campaign and the alleged “inevitability” of Romney, and I emphasized something I’ve learned about politics: Events happen.

You can’t predict what’s going to happen tomorrow or next week, and every once in a while an event happens — like a top adviser admitting that his “inevitable” candidate has absolutely no core principles — that invalidates your previous calculations.