August 24, 2012
Mitt Romney today unveiled his running mate...or at least, he might have. The national media entirely ignored Romney's hastily-called event, and reports of who the lucky man or woman might be are still sketchy.
It's not that no one cares who will be chosen; speculation still runs high. It's just that no one in the entire press corps is willing to believe that this time, the rumors are finally true and it's not yet another attempt to distract the media.
How did we get here?
It began in June, with hints from Team Romney that an early announcement might be coming. But that accelerated in mid-July. First, a Drudge-reported "It's Condi!" fiasco that caused a brief media frenzy, at least on twitter. When that faded, it was followed rapidly by a "could be this week...." and "Friday! I hear it's Friday!" mid-July tease, to diminishing returns.
Next, just before Romney left for a foreign trip, was an elaborate charade of chartered planes flying ostentatiously from Louisiana, Ohio, and Minnesota to Romney's Ohio location. You'll recall the impressive choreography: first, the leaks of the flight plans; then, the leaks of the "real" locations of Jindal, Portman, and Pawlenty which "proved" they couldn't be on their way to being anointed; then the reporting that none of them were actually in those locations; and finally the perfectly ordinary campaign rally in which no announcement was made.
It was brilliant...but also a kind of turning point. The following week, when Paul Ryan suddenly turned up at the Romney suite during the Olympics and NRO floated a rumor of a London announcement ("reminiscent of Churchill and Thatcher, something that will fully demonstrate how Obama still hasn't learned to be an American"), the enthusiasm had noticeably faded.
That worsened when Romney returned to the US and the ill-fated Sununu rumor showed up on Drudge, especially when it immediately splintered into a muddled report that the Massachusetts Governor had settled on not the 73 year old former White House Chief of Staff, but his son, the former Senator, which was followed by reporting that, no, it was all some sort of garbled dictation about "getting a copy of that Beatles song Here Comes the Sun, you know." At least that was an accident; the mid-August decision to have 15 different staffers leak 15 different names just seemed sad, even if it did lead to a pretty funny moment when Fred Barnes rushed to Fox News to talk about how terrific Ben Quayle was without managing to say anything negative about his father. It seemed just cruel, however, to assign Jennifer Rubin the task of showing what a brilliant strategy it was to select Scooter Libby as Veep, although she certainly was up to the task.
And while it's hard to blame Boston for the dual "scoops" earlier this week -- Dick Morris's claim that Hillary Clinton was about to resign in order to take the second spot on the GOP ticket, and Bill Kristol's inevitable discovery that Sarah Palin would be named -- it all added up for the national press corps.
Which all gets us to today's campaign failed announcement. Now if we can only find out who it was...he did finally name somebody, didn't he?