Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why Romney won't repudiate

According to Byron York, the Romney campaign thinks that repudiating Donald Trump would just be the first of many repudiations that the media would demand of Mitt.

Team Romney views it as a silly and one-sided game designed to distract voters from the central issue of the race, which they remain convinced will be President Obama's handling of the economy.

Then there's the notion that Romney suffers from a double-standard. For example, the media isn't calling on Obama to repudiate one of his supporters, Bill Maher (btw, the situations aren't analogous. Obama hasn't raised money, standing next to Maher, and I think that'd be a pretty big story if he did).

Third, the Romney campaign apparently thinks it's a loser thing to do. McCain was unfailingly gracious in 2008 and look where that got him.

Finally, York writes:

So the bottom line is, Romney is determined to stay away from anything that distracts him from the main issue of the campaign. In the end, the thinking goes, the heart of the campaign will always be the economy and Barack Obama's stewardship of it. Repudiating, or not repudiating, Donald Trump won't change that.

I disagree.

Trump is the thing distracting Romney's message right now, and letting him continue to serve as something of a surrogate ensures it will continue.

If Trump is this distracting five months before the election, what do you think he'll be five weeks before it?

That's exactly the point that GOP strategist, Liz Mair, made to TPM today.

“My bigger concern is not positive reinforcement for the birthers, but rather positive reinforcement for a guy who loves the spotlight and probably will come out and crap all over Romney just to get attention for himself in a couple months."