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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 05:46 PM ET, 10/13/2011

Romney inevitable: Politico treads carefully, too

Fourth in a series of at least two blog posts.

Several media organizations have decided they’ve seen enough. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is now the “inevitable” claimant of his party’s nomination. In this series of at least two blog posts, the Erik Wemple Blogger will evaluate various acts of journalism in service of Romney Inevitability.

Story: “Mitt Romney builds a case for inevitability.”

Outlet: Politico

Byline: Jonathan Martin


Hours after Chris Christie signaled he believes Mitt Romney is the Republican party’s inevitable nominee, Romney and the rest of the GOP field went about proving him right.
Romney again outclassed the opposition in Tuesday’s Bloomberg/Washington Post debate. Again, none of the other GOP contenders laid a glove on him. And in a telling move that seemed to acknowledge the limits of Rick Perry’s candidacy, the Texas governor effectively tried to survive the debate by not losing it.

Analysis: This Politico piece uses Tuesday night’s Bloomberg/The Washington Post debate as a framework for evaluating Mitt Romney vs. the rest of the field. Unwilling to take a full-on editorial plunge into the inevitability pool, the story is careful to use attribution, allowing the New Jersey governor to squat on this particular limb.

The measured story reads well, though it’s plagued by a writing tic that has long bedeviled the Erik Wemple Blogger. That is, sentences that start with “And”:

And in a telling move that seemed to acknowledge the limits of Rick Perry’s candidacy, the Texas governor effectively tried to survive the debate by not losing it. . . .
And, much like the previous five debates he’s participated in this year, Romney emerged largely unscathed from the fray here at Dartmouth College. . . .
And Romney was further helped with two other consequential developments: Perry’s decision not to contest the debate and the attention heaped on Cain and his ubiquitous 9-9-9 economic plan.

That’s just over the first 10 graphs or so. After that, Martin chills on the construction.

The analytical highlight of the piece comes when Politico notes that Romney doesn’t seem too scared by the latest challenger to ride the polls upward:

But Team Romney is just fine with Cain’s rise.
“Mitt has a lot of respect and admiration for Herman Cain,” noted Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, calling the businessman “a serious competitor.”

Another lasting contribution to the Romney-inevitability oeuvre is the headline. Here we have a more responsible variation on an spineless interrogatory approach employed by AP and ABC News. Saying that Romney “builds a case for inevitability” divorces Politico from a possibly reckless prediction while tapping into the central buzzword of Washington political conversation.

By  |  05:46 PM ET, 10/13/2011

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