In like a lamb... Out like a lion (or is it pig?) Mitt Romney's December of Discontent. - Granite Grok

In like a lamb… Out like a lion (or is it pig?) Mitt Romney’s December of Discontent.

..lion lamb.Mitt Romney.lion & lamb
.
mud..pig..muddy boots
.
At December’s outset, things were looking good for the chiseled candidate. Money. Momentum. Large, enthusiastic crowds. A campaign operating like the proverbial well-oiled machine. A speech that garnered the attention and interest of more people than anything offered up by his rivals. A spotlight that was his alone to capture, free of the rest of the pack, save for the debates– a rather unique opportunity in the present contest so short of indivual moments. Yes indeed. For the Mitt Romney campaign entering the month of December, it was truly morning in America…
.
I first saw it during the history-making New England Patriots football game Saturday night– After what seems to be several months of steady, non-stop TV commercials for and by the numerous presidential candidates– all touting their qualifications and promises for what they’ll do as president, Mitt Romney’s newest ad lashing out against John McCain stood in stark contrast. Now, I’m a big boy, and don’t have anything against this sort of tactic– it is politics, after all– but you do have to wonder what it all means when the focus goes away from "Elect me because…" and instead shifts over to "Don’t vote for HIM because…" Is this switch on the part of the Romney campaign indicative of their concern over what might be happening in Iowa and here in NH? Is team Romney worried about their chances for victory in both states? In Iowa, it’s Mike Huckabee giving them a sudden run for their money while here in the Granite State, it’s John McCain.
.
The day after Christmas, Jill Zuckman, writing for the Chicago Tribune made the observation:

New Hampshire was supposed to be the easy state.  
.
As he works to reclaim his dominance in Iowa, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is struggling to stop the slippage in his poll numbers here, a state where he is well-known, owns a vacation home and governed next door for four years.
.
Making matters worse, Romney is suddenly facing unusually personal criticism from two of the state’s leading newspapers, The New Hampshire Union Leader and The Concord Monitor, which in recent days have expressed skepticism about his authenticity and truthfulness.
Regular GraniteGrok readers know that we have been of this belief for more than just the recent few days. It is no surprise to us that Team Romney has taken to attacking his opponents with mere hours left till the real votes start getting cast. You know they are doing this in the hopes that it will keep the focus away from his own record and instead, on what the former MA Governor and his advisors view as the weak points of the other candidates threatening his long held and heavily paid for leads here in NH and over in Iowa.
.
Beyond the TV ads are the numerous emailed press releases distributed by the various campaigns. You could tell something was up by the change in tone and tenor of those too. As I noted above, at the beginning of December, all was still seemingy sailing along full speed ahead for the Romney juggernaut. The emails touted their superstar candidate: "Why I chose Romney" "Romney: Record and Vision" and this one touting the "Romney Agenda–Strategy for a Stronger America: A Conservative Blueprint for Strengthening the Economy" And then, suddenly it started- first as a trickle, and then a landslide– nay, a mudslide– of emails trashing the records of fellow Republicans in the race. First it was Huckabee: "Huckabee’s Playground Strategy" "Governor Huckabee: Laughing Off a Serious Assignment About Foreign Policy" and "No Laughing Matter: On Foregn Policy, His Views Are Wrong, and He’s Pretty Inexperienced, and It Shows", followed up at the end of the month with a string of attacks denouncing McCain for a variety of matters under the repeated moniker of "Straight Talk Detour" identifying the "wrong" of the moment.
.
Now, as I said, I’m not opposed to this stuff, per se– I think that politicians need to engage in the rough and tumble when the need arises– I’m just observing a change that took place, and note that it just happens to coincide with slippage in the polls for Mitt while some of his rivals are catching up with him. I’m not alone in this observation, by the way. Covering the US elections for readers in the UK, The Guardian notes a similar sentiment:
One of the frontrunners in the 2008 presidential race, Mitt Romney, opted for a risky strategy yesterday by running negative television adverts against his fast-rising Republican rival John McCain.
.
With less than a week to the first real test, the caucus in Iowa, polls suggest that Romney’s lead nationally is being eroded. Negative advertising is often effective but it can also turn off potential voters, especially in states such as Iowa.
.
Until now candidates in both the Democratic and Republican races for the nomination, though making personal attacks in speeches and at press conferences, have resisted negative advertising, apart from Romney. He has used similar negative campaigning against another rival, Mike Huckabee.
I can report that the anti-McCain ad runs about every three minutes now on the TV here in NH, and it is grating on me and a lot of people I talk to. The Boston Globe asked Senator McCain how he intended to respond. His answer is classic McCain– and spot-on:

"Never get into a wrestling match with a pig. You both get dirty — and the pig likes it."

Heh! Something tells me this particular strategy being deployed is going to blow up in Romney’s face. Poor Mitt. Things were lookin’ so good just 30 days ago…
 
.