Psychological Victory

Last week the Romney campaign put out the word that its adoption of Breitbartian tactics was a shrewd effort to give conservative activists the atmospherics of a right-wing campaign without conceding the substance–an extremely self-serving spin, to be sure, based on the false premise that Mitt’s “substance” is somehow “moderate.”

Now there are amusing signs that they are getting carried away with their own double- and triple-jointed games, per this report about Romney’s Boston HQ staff from the New York Times’ Michael Shear and Ashley Parker:

[A]s soon as they got wind that Mr. Axelrod was coming to their proverbial backyard, there was, in the words of one adviser, a “spontaneous combustion” to protest and heckle his visit — a spectacle the campaign said was a psychological victory that boosted morale and proved its willingness to battle the Obama campaign on any terms.

Well, hope they enjoyed it. Romney’s not carrying Massachusetts, and most voters there and elsewhere don’t know David Axelrod from Axel Rose. Ax and company got their talking points out there, for what they were worth, and the heckling was a footnote mainly observed in conservative media. If these bullyboy moments are the sort of benchmarks by which Team Mitt is now measuring its progress, then they’d probably be better advised to return to the soulless Death Star attitude of the primary season. It’s still a long way til November.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.