By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

What do I know, anyway?

I watched the Fox News Republican debate earlier this evening, and was surprised to see that Frank Luntz’s focus group thought Mitt Romney was the big winner. I thought Romney came off as petulant and twerpy for the first hour-plus, though he did warm up a bit toward the end.

Update: This might explain the Luntz crowd’s reaction. Or maybe they’re just professional undecideds. (Via Mickey Kaus.)

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James Pindell is moving on


Heading south in the North Country


  1. O-FISH-L

    Scary, but we agree again Dan. I thought the focus group was hard to take seriously. Especially, — if I saw this correctly — when most of them said that at the start of the debate they weren’t committed to a candidate but, after the debate a vast majority are now with Romney. Even if he did win by a slight margin, the performance wasn’t that persuasive. Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R-MD), now appearing as a guest on Fox, also takes issue with the Luntz focus group, so we’re not alone.

  2. Michael Pahre

    The best part of Luntz’s segment was watching the Ron Paul supporters walking along the window behind the focus group holding “Ron Paul for President” and “Fox News is Unfair” signs. Well-done.IMHO, there was plenty of room on that stage for Ron Paul.

  3. Rick in Duxbury

    As soon as Romney was accused of being “the guy who laid you off” he was cooked. Remarkable thing to me is the “Lord of the Flies” campaign being waged by Democrats. Plaintiff’s attorney Edwards is accusing Hillary of being “without a conscience”, (yikes, remember how this guy got rich), while Hillary, too cute by half, accuses Obama of not having “done the spade work” to get elected. Interesting choice of words.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Rick: As you probably know, I am not an Edwards fan. But why is he automatically suspect for being a plaintiffs’ lawyer? He took some good and difficult cases and won. Nothing wrong with that.

  5. Peter Porcupine

    As the doctors who I walked a picket line against Edwards in Maine 4 years ago told me – he and his brethern doubled malpractice rates, and drove some doctors out of practice for a bonanza for a lucky few. THAT is wrong with what he did.

  6. Rick in Duxbury

    Dan,All I can tell you is that I must have met the sociopath members of the Bar Association in my travels. Their stock in trade is the suspension of disbelief, like an actor, author or magician, none of whom are getting 33-40% of the gross. When I saw him with the parents of the recently-deceased CA child, I wanted to vomit. Right to counsel can be used as a great catch-all excuse for value-neutral behavior. To each his own, I guess.(I also know some lawyers that I would be proud to have as godparents to my kids.)

  7. Dan Kennedy

    PP: Any evidence, as opposed to anecdote? I think the biggest factor in medical malpractice insurance rates going up is, uh, medical malpractice. What do you think?

  8. Tony

    Read Edwards’ book, “Four Trials,” and you’ll get an understanding of the folks he fought for as a litigator. Admit it: when anyone needs legal help, you won’t the best prepared, nastiest fighter you can get. That’s what Edwards was and I believe he will be a president who will stand up and fight for the rest of us. Even if he is elected and doesn’t do that, he will be a heck of a lot more representative than the last four presidents. Hey Dan, did you see the ABC debate? How about Romney getting hammered over and over again and then looking into the camera like a deer in the headlights. That had to have hurt.

  9. Peter Porcupine

    DK – I think some specialties, like obstetrics and neurology, are losing doctors who are not being replaced.Case in point – public, not personal, knowledge – this post on the $243 million verdict to a widow whose elderly husband had taken Vioxx and then died…. a judgement defies reason, but is replicated over and over. Worse, even when there IS no malpractice the insurance companies choose to settle rather than risk trial. Over and Over. Passing along the judgements to doctors in premiums. As an insurance agent, I saw that pattern ten years ago, and it hasn’t gotten better with time.

  10. Rick in Duxbury

    Tony,The premise that you need “the nastiest fighter you can get” is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I was the plaintiff in a suit a few years ago. My lawyer and the Fortune 500 company that screwed me agreed to an attempt at non-judicial arbitration. Worked great, (the arbitrator was a blind lawyer who brought his guide dog!) I was denied the chance to rant and rave in public but the courts were less clogged, everyone saved legal fees and I got a fair settlement. Every time I’m home sick, I’m reminded of the experience by the daytime TV ads for ambulance chasers. I like to think that I’m not their target demo, but those who are have a vote in the election just like mine.

  11. Don, American

    To give you an idea where this election is going, I just received my sample Republican ballot, and John H. Cox is one of the hopefuls. Who the hell is John H. Cox?

  12. MeTheSheeple

    I haven’t seen this particular claim for Edwards’ effect on malpractice insurance, which doesn’t include a timeline.There is, however, some evidence that insurance companies themselves caused the insurance rate increases. Where and when rates rose might have been determined by other factors other than the cost of providing insurance.If we get a more specific claim as to when and how Edwards affected the rates, we can investigate further.Disclaimer: I’ve got a couple relatives working in the health industry.

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