Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

‘Which Mitt’ Would Preside Over FEMA?

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

By Emily Theroux

Ssshh! A moment of silence, please.  Turn down that racket from incessant campaign ads and warring TV pundits (if you didn’t already lose your cable service to a gargantuan maple tree toppled by Hurricane Sandy, as I did Monday afternoon).

You wouldn’t want to miss the sound of one hand clapping, a paradox that developed when poor Mittens had no one to play partisan patty-cake with. His good buddy from New Jersey abandoned the Tea Party games that MittWit had talked him into playing. The frivolity got too preposterous and infantile for Mitt’s BFF to stomach, so he ran off to join the grown-ups who had finally reached across the aisle to begin solving the country’s problems.

In the eerie hush of an early Halloween twilight — without lights, heat, and background noise in the millions of households without power — you could almost hear Mitt Romney fuming, all the way from Ohio, over New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s treachery.

 

Obama & Christie emerge  as politics’ strangest ‘power couple’

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, left, praised President Obama for his bipartisan collaboration with the GOP leader on disaster relief, after Hurricane Sandy devastated Christie's state. (Photo: Associated Press)

The news teemed with post-disaster anecdotes about “Sandy’s political odd couple,” Christie and his unlikely ally President Barack Obama, who worked in tandem to coordinate the relief effort and flew together in Marine One to tour parts of New Jersey devastated when the hurricane made landfall there. And just look who’s green with “envy” now, absorbing the spectacle of political polar opposites patting each other on the back, a freaking mutual admiration society!

“Seeing him with Chris Christie is tearing me apart,” satirist Andy Borowitz imagined a steamed Mittster venting. (The nerve of Mitt’s own convention keynote speaker, defecting to the enemy camp just one week before Election Day to call a truce in electoral hostilities over a freaking windstorm!)

 

Storm of the century sidelines Mitt from headlines

“Frankenstorm” is over, leaving a grim tally of casualties and destruction in its wake: 94 reported dead thus far, millions without power, countless families homeless, 9 out of 23 subway lines still closed in New York City, and as much as $50 billion in property damage, extra living expenses, and lost business. The president admirably rose to the challenge to oversee disaster relief endeavors by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  Christie, doing likewise, even signed an executive order “rescheduling Halloween” because the streets in his state weren’t yet safe for trick-or-treaters.

Mitt Romney

Marooned in my silent living room sans Internet access, I could still easily discern from my cell phone connection that Mitt Romney didn’t have a lot to say about how he would handle disaster relief if he were in the president’s coveted shoes.

Granted, Mitt’s got several tough acts to follow. Even though Obama was bashed for reacting “prematurely” to the hurricane threat by stunningly inept Katrina-era FEMA head Michael Brown (of  “Heckuva Job, Brownie” fame), the president smoothly coordinated a truly bipartisan storm response with fellow executives like Christie, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

The GOP  contender, as New Yorker columnist John Cassidy opined, “has a FEMA problem and a Chris Christie problem.” The “unemployed” multimillionaire challenger finds himself cast in the unenviable position of odd man out in a venue tailor-made for incumbents. Obama shines by simply doing his job (and gleans a 77 percent approval rating among likely voters on his overall response to the storm). Romney, on the other hand, has no official tasks to perform and doesn’t feign empathy very well. He’s limited to phony photo ops that reveal him to be the cynical, calculating, and purely political android that he really is.

"Donations" to Mitt's fake storm relief event were actually purchases from Walmart. (Photo: BuzzFeed)

In the aftermath of the superstorm that flooded city streets, swamped the New York City subway system, and flattened homes, businesses, amusement parks, and boardwalks along the Jersey Shore, the sidelined Romney campaign staged a bogus “storm relief event” offering faux “donations” of granola bars, diapers, and canned goods purchased by staffers from an Ohio Walmart for $5,000. People who showed up for what was originally billed as a “victory rally” were encouraged to pick up Walmart merchandise and hand it to Romney in front of the cameras. When skeptical reporters began questioning him about whether he would ax FEMA, as he had suggested during a 2011 primary debate, Mitt clammed up and ignored them as if they were a bothersome swarm of gnats.

Sharron Angle, AP photo

Like Tea Party whack job Sharron Angle, who ran for Harry Reid’s Nevada Senate seat in 2010, Mitt traded his mirthless, chiseled mug for a Halloween mask just days before the 2012 election, dodging questions he didn’t want to answer by pretending the people asking them were as ephemeral as  “Invisible Obama.”

 

As Massachusetts governor, Mitt vetoed flood prevention bill

After watching Barack Obama “palling around” for days with Christie, Romney was finally goaded by his campaign staff to respond to the anti-FEMA rap that his own past positions had pinned on him. The craftily constructed switcheroo issued by the Romney campaign late Halloween night read as follows:

“I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters. As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need, because states and localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and communities affected by natural disasters.”

While insisting that Romney doesn’t intend to eliminate or defund FEMA outright, this “Mitticism” relegates the federal agency to “play(ing) a key role” in working with states and localities. Like every other vague policy proposal that the GOP’s Obfuscator-in-Chief has released to date, this statement is as flimsy and mutable as Mitt Romney’s word. He could change it tomorrow, next month, or next year.

If he wins next week’s election, what would Romney really do? His record as governor of of Massachusetts offers an ominous prologue. In 2004, after Peabody’s downtown had been repeatedly flooded by heavy spring rains, Romney vetoed a $5.7 million flood control bill. His longtime spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, claimed that Romney had asked Peabody officials for more information but “none was forthcoming” — a charge that local residents vehemently disputed.

Then-Gov. Mitt Romney vetoed a flood control bill passed after the downtown district of Peabody, Massachusetts, was repeatedly 'submerged' in 2004.

Two years later, the area flooded again. “Massachusetts is sitting on millions in unspent emergency funds from Hurricane Katrina and more than $1 billion in cash reserves, yet Romney has failed to even respond to the Lowell delegation’s requests to discuss additional aid for victims,” the “conservative-leaning” Lowell Sun commented.

“When you’re dealing with a candidate as sketchy and shifty as Romney, his brief record as an elected leader is perhaps the most telling guide you have,” wrote Paul Constant in Seattle’s Slog blog. “Romney has demonstrated an inability to prepare for the future, and then an inability to face the consequences of his actions when the future arrives.”

 

Privatized disaster relief would put profits before victims

The day after Hurricane Sandy decimated the East Coast, The New York Times published an editorial titled, “A Big Storm Requires Big Government.” Without FEMA’s “war room,” the National Response Coordination Center, the Times argued, relief efforts for a multistate emergency would be virtually impossible to coordinate. When Romney expressed his position du jour at the September 2011 New Hampshire GOP primary debate, he went beyond saying that disaster management should be “returned to the states. … If you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”

Jeb Bush

Romney the “vulture capitalist” has given us no reason to doubt that he really does believe privatization of many government functions would be optimal. Privatizing disaster relief, however, would be, well — “disastrous.” If Romney wins the election, private disaster response companies (including one headed by Dubya’s brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush) are waiting in the wings to profit from disaster victims’ misery. Stephen D. Foster Jr. of the blog Addicting Info calls this playbook “a recipe for fraud,” as for-profit response companies could hold both disaster areas and individual victims hostage until their asking price is met. Foster cites a frightening recent example:

“Remember the home in Tennessee a couple years ago that was allowed to burn down by the local for-profit firehouse because the residents failed to pay the fee? Well, you can bet that same scenario will play out across the country and on a more sickening scale.”

 

Christie says he doesn’t ‘give a damn’ about Election Day

Pundits have speculated about whether Christie is simply sucking up to Obama because he won’t be able to run for president as the GOP candidate in 2016 if Romney wins in 2012. Democrats, however, aren’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth, so most are taking Christie at his word.

That word, as usual, is devastatingly blunt when you’re on the receiving end of it, as Fox flunky Steve Doocy found out after wondering aloud when Romney “was going to get some of the same benefits from the hurricane with a photo op in disaster-stricken New Jersey towns,” in the words of the blog Raw Story’s David Edwards. “[W]e hear that perhaps Mr. Romney may do some storm-related events. Is there any possibility that Gov. Romney may go to New Jersey to tour some of the damage with you?”

Christie minced no words in his response:

“I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics and I could [sic] care less about any of that stuff. … I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power, I’ve got devastation on the shore, I’ve got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”

That nonpartisan approach could be just the ticket for an Election Day rejection of the mendacious, divisive politics embodied by the Mitt Romney wing of the Republican Party.

Romney’s Struggles (cont’d)

Monday, October 15th, 2012

By Jeffrey Page

There he goes again. Mitt Romney, who never allows the truth to stand in the way of what looks like a lethal blow against an opponent, told a whopper at the Tuesday night debate. But he was caught. And I am left wondering what it is about the protocols of presidential politics that seems to require a debater to say, “Governor, that’s not true” rather than “Governor, that’s a damned lie.”

This time, the issue was Romney’s shameless – and ultimately fact-less – politicization of the attack on the United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

Romney smelled blood in the water. He would nail President Obama for not responding quickly enough to the attack and specifically for failing to label the assault – in which four Americans including the ambassador to Libya were killed – an act of terrorism.

For weeks before the debate, he hinted that Obama somehow had dismissed the incident as the spontaneous actions of demonstrators enraged by the making of the 14-minute movie “The Innocence of Muslims,” which maligns the prophet Mohammed, rather than as a planned act of pure terror.

Now, the fact is that you know the truth about Obama’s behavior after the attack, I know the truth, the president certainly knows the truth, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knows the truth, and anybody who was paying attention on Sept. 12 knows the truth. Maybe even Romney knows the truth, or maybe he’ll say anything, do anything, suggest anything – anything at all – to get elected.

It took too long for Obama to conclude this was an act of terror?

As it turns out, President Obama and Secretary Clinton appeared in the White House Rose Garden the day after the attack on the Libyan mission to express their sorrow to the families of the dead, their anger at the killers, their concern for American-Libyan relations, and their resolve to bring the killers to justice.

And there it was. “No acts of terror,” Obama said, “will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” Poor Mitt.

At the debate, Romney was flabbergasted when the question of what the president said and when he said it, was raised. “I think [it] interesting the president just said something, which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.”

Obama: “That’s what I said.”

Romney couldn’t believe it: “You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror, it was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you’re saying?”

A moment later, Romney, still confounded, said: “I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.”

Obama: “Get the transcript.”

In stepped Candy Crowley, the moderator: “He did call it an act of terror. It did as well take – it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea [of] there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.”

This wasn’t good enough for Romney, or else he didn’t care about the veracity of his criticism of Obama. Or maybe it was Romney’s secret message to the American people in which he revealed his personal pathetic inadequacy. It’s Mitt Romney who has sworn that on his first day in office as president he would label the Chinese as “currency manipulators.” First day leaves little time for discussion and reasonableness.

The first debate revealed a lot about Romney. Tuesday night’s meeting confirmed it. There’s his casual relationship with the facts and the truth. There’s his constant smirk. There’s his contempt for authority, such as his interrupting the moderator to try and set his own rules of engagement. There’s his dismissal of the rules of the game. There’s his continual attempt to get the last word even when the last word is not his to get.

Debate II Suffers ‘Mittitus Interrupt-us’

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Above, 'the picture of the night,' according to the website I Acknowledge Class Warfare Exists (www.classwarfareexists.com). 'I think this picture sums it up,' wrote blogger Icarus. 'Romney interrupting Obama in the debate again, with no respect or deference for the president. This picture is a perfect caricature of Romney during his entire campaign. 10k bet?'

By Emily Theroux

After watching the second Obama/Romney debate, a town-hall brawl staged at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island, I felt as if I’d disappeared down Alice in Wonderland‘s rabbit hole into the “sea of tears” and come up gasping for air in Orwell’s 1984.

Nothing the Republican standard-bearer said made sense.  Up was down. Black was white. Truth and lies were indistinct, mutable, virtually interchangeable, because that’s how Mitt likes it. Chaos and dissension permit him to dominate the conversation, manipulate the viewers’ perceptions of his rival, and falsely cast himself as upholder of righteousness, captain of industry, foreign policy virtuoso, and champion of the middle class — which bamboozles the unwary as long as the debate moderator buckles and Romney’s opponent remains loath to call a flip-flop a dirty, deliberate lie.

This time, however, no one — with the possible exception of the 82 absurdly indecisive and largely uninformed town-hall questioners — was taking Mitt the Impaler’s smug, derisive nonsense lying down.

The moderator, Candy Crowley of CNN, fought back valiantly against Mitt’s dizzying displays of entitlement, pique, condescension, disrespect, and refusal to observe the rules of the debate.

President Obama showed up this time firing on all cylinders: the actual 2008 campaigner, come back to life. While Willard “Myth” Romney kept coming at him — throwing hissy-fits of petulance when Crowley or Obama had the temerity to stand up to him; ominously stalking the stage while alternately seething and smirking; hurling contempt and flinging invective — it was clear that Mitt wasn’t quite sure what hit him.

Obama was present, engaged, wry, witty, assertive, even aggressive when necessary, without relying on Joe Biden’s fallback posture during last week’s vice-presidential debate with Paul “Lyin’ ” Ryan — laughing in his opponent’s face every time he lied. From the moment when Obama first said, “Candy, what Governor Romney said just isn’t true,” I knew it was only a matter of time before Mitt the Wazzock (a name which shall live in infamy Across the Pond) lost his loosely corralled marbles and launched into the primary-tested “Mitt the Twit” arrogant-bully persona taken viral by tweeting Londoners last summer.

The Mittster, by contrast, was defensive and offensive in turn, rattled, domineering, snappish, pouty, and a complete churl. My relatives in South Carolina have an expression for such boorish behavior: Mitt acted, as my mother used to say, “like something on a stick.”

 

Fox ‘questioned the questions’ undecided voters asked

Not that you could tell Obama trounced Romney from the wingnut drivel that inevitably followed the debate. The fools on Faux News were spinning Romney’s embarrassing performance so furiously that some actually concluded that the sorest of sore losers won the debate!

You could have set your alarm clock by Fox’s — and, I’m afraid, CNN’s — escalating paint-by-numbers idiocy.

  • Color #1: Brit Hume, the Fox “straight news guy,” observed, “I thought Mitt Romney was the same Mitt Romney we saw in Denver two weeks ago” (no mention of the cold, unalterable fact that Mittens was lying like a used-car salesman and insolently hectoring the sitting President of the United States — nor that he was devastated by the president’s comebacks to his preposterous lies, and Crowley’s “fact-checking” of Romney’s mischaracterizations of Obama’s reaction to the Sept. 11 attack on the American consulate in Libya). Hume did conclude, however, that Obama ” will probably be declared the winner of this, on most cards.”
  • Color #2: John King of CNN fell into the predictable mainstream trap of trying so hard to keep from being accused of “liberal media bias” that such journalists end up creating a “false equivalency” between the comparatively rational Democrats and the extremist “insurgent outlier party” that the GOP has devolved into. “I think Gov. Romney did a very good job prosecuting against the incumbent’s record,” King proclaimed. (That assessment becomes meaningless when you’ve delved into Romney’s symptomatic pattern of deceit long enough to realize that what appears to the uninitiated as “a very good job” is merely a very thorough pack of lies.)
  • Color #3: Sean Hannity raved about Romney’s debate “win,” calling Romney’s performance “the most-devastating indictment of the Obama economy that we’ve seen. CBS snap poll 65-34 Romney tonight.” (This was not what other journalists said about the CBS poll. The Washington Post said Obama won 37 percent to 30 percent, while 33 percent described it as a tie; they also reported that a “snap CNN/ORC poll” said Obama won, 47 percent to 39 percent. Other mainstream sources agreed.) Hannity also called Romney’s failure to make the case that Obama “didn’t call the attack in Libya an act of terrorism” (when he clearly did) the debate’s “best moment.”

 

Romney retaliates with imperious, hit-and-run debating style

“Romney came across as a kind of irritating know-it-all who doesn’t operate well when he’s challenged,” said Jonathan Alter to Chris Matthews, in what had to be the understatement of the evening.

At one point, Romney charged Obama with a 14 percent drop in oil production and a 9 percent reduction in gas production this year on federal land — because, he said, the president halved the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands and in federal waters. “This has not been Mr. Oil or Mr. Gas or Mr. Coal,” he snarked.

Then, after Obama called Mitt’s attack “not true,” the Republican started in on Obama with a manic, rapid-fire inquisition that astonished viewers with its sheer impertinence, as well as by Mitt’s absolute refusal to let Obama finish a response or get a word in edgewise.

“So how much did you cut ’em by?” (Obama, again: “It’s not true.”) “By how much did you cut ’em by, then? (Obama: “Governor, we’ve actually produced more oil on —”)

“No-no,” Mitt snapped, as if shushing an impudent child or dismissing an “illegal” Mexican gardener. “How much have you cut on licenses and permits on federal land and federal waters?” (Obama: “Governor Romney, here is what we did. There are were a bunch of oil companies —”) “No, I had a — I had a — I had a question —” (Obama: “No, you — no, you — you — you want —”) “— and the question was, how much did you cut them by?” (Obama: “— you want me to answer a question, I’m —”) “How much did you cut them by?” (Obama: “I’m happy to answer the question.”) “All right, and it is?”

OMG, MittWit! I fumed. Did you remember to take your meds today?!!?!

Obama actually managed to articulate a paragraph about refusing to let oil companies squat for 20 to 30 years without drilling on public lands. Then more crossfire ensued over whether oil production was up (Obama) or down (Romney) on federal land. Finally, Mitt bashed Obama with this doozy: “I don’t think anyone believes that you’re a person who’s going to be pushing for oil and gas and coal. You’ll get your chance in a moment,” the challenger informed the incumbent, “because I’m still speaking.”

(Obama: “Well, Governor, if — if you’re asking me a question, I’m going to answer it.”) “My — and the answer is I don’t believe people think that’s the case, because I — I’m — that wasn’t a question.” (Obama: “Okay. All right.”) “That was a statement.”

A white supremacist advertises his racist proclivities to like-minded voters attending a weekend rally for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who targeted white voters throughout his campaign with racial dog-whistle signals. Photo by Getty Images.

Un-freaking-believable! Mitt Romney was just as testy, disdainful, and disrespectful toward President Obama as he was to Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum — “swatting him away,” as Chris Matthews put it. Noblesse, in Romney’s case, does not oblige. (“Excuse me; I’m still speaking … I’m not finished … Anderson? Anderson? … Let me complete!”) The baby of George and Lenore Romney’s family, MittForBrains can be insufferably whiny and demanding when he doesn’t immediately get his way.

“Candy, I’m used to being interrupted,” joked Barack Obama, Leader of the Free World.

And dissed. A “white pride” voter was allowed to attend a Romney campaign event over the weekend wearing a navy-blue T-shirt emblazoned with the following legend: “Put the White Back in the White House.”

Sadly, ever since Obama’s first State of the Union address, when the execrable South Carolina congressman, Joe Wilson, shouted out, “You lie!” to the first black president of the United States, such staggering effrontery has precipitously eclipsed the audacity of hope.

 

Debate results indisputable: Mitt slept in doghouse last night

After the fireworks ended with Obama’s “47 percent” grand finale, Ann Romney’s subdued behavior was telling: No congratulatory kiss and hug for hubby.

By morning, fortunately, cooler heads than the talking ones on Fox News prevailed. Although they weren’t effusive in their praise, the usually insufferable Morning Joe team on MSNBC gave Barack Obama some credit for winning the debate — while ascribing to Mitt Romney a heap of blame for losing it.

Joe Scarborough, who called the debate “Romney’s missed opportunity,” made it clear that he didn’t like Mitt’s autocratic and dismissive debate posture (although Scarborough’s condescension toward Candy Crowley was almost as irksome as Romney’s poised-to-go-viral comment about the “binders full of women” that he falsely claimed resulted from his own efforts to recruit “qualified women candidates” to hold cabinet positions and agency posts in Massachusetts).

“You don’t run over a female moderator,” said Scarborough. “And you don’t run over the president of the United States.” The general consensus, he added, dictated “that you treat the president with deference.”

About Mitt Romney, Morning Joe sidekick Mike Barnicle opined, “He behaved as if he were a CEO and this was a hostile takeover.”

Let’s hope he doesn’t see dollar signs in American voters’ eyes and decide, once he wins the election, to ship all of our jobs to China.

Will the ‘Real’ Mitt Please Stand Up?

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Obama's debate implosion, by Andrew Harrar/Bloomberg via Getty Images

By Emily Theroux

One short week ago, President Barack Obama was on top of his game, running 2-7 points ahead in 11 battlefield state polls, thanks to the wave of so-called “waitress moms” (white, blue-collar women without college educations) who had swung the incumbent’s way after his rival’s May fundraiser videotape — which disparaged 47 percent of Americans as irredeemable moochers malingering on taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars —  came to light.

At the time, Obama enjoyed an eye-popping 18 percent margin among all likely women voters. That astonishing lead, however, evaporated after “Mendacious Mitt” Romney used the first presidential debate to flip-flop his way back into the good graces of working-class white women and win over undecided voters. Meanwhile, Obama largely stood by without calling Romney out on his lies.

The MittBot had been in virtual freefall for two weeks before the debate. Obama appeared poised to outshine his badly stumbling opponent by highlighting Romney’s “severely conservative” agenda. I expected the president to mount the stage in Denver and chip away at MittWit’s “47 percent” videotape debacle, then spotlight Mitt’s reluctance to present a detailed picture of what he actually intends to do in office. Obama would likely close by hammering home the question he has posed rhetorically to Romney throughout the race: “What are you hiding in all of those undisclosed tax returns?”

Willard "Etch A Sketch" Romney is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates. You never know which one you're going to get.

But the Republican candidate who showed up for the debate was a new, improved Mitt Romney, freshly cranked out of the Etch A Sketch for some 70 million TV viewers, many of whom hadn’t listened to a word from either candidate before that evening. Multiple Choice Mitt was free to be whoever he wanted to be — with or without the consent of Rush Limbaugh, Erick Erickson, or Ann Coulter.

The centrist GOP pol who turned up on that stage was no “severe conservative.” Obama looked as astonished as any well-informed voter at the modulated, almost-reasonable sound bites that emerged from Romney’s mouth. The problem was that the low-info crowd who usually ignore politics didn’t know the difference.

 

‘I think it’s fair to say I was just too polite,’ said Obama.

My take on the president’s lackluster performance? Obama took the stage armed with thoughtful retorts to the wingnut demagoguery his opponent had been parroting for the previous 18 months. When Romney reversed one after another of his extremist talking points, Obama was stunned into a perplexed ennui.* He may have been thrown off his game by the previous night’s “race speech” brouhaha, and perhaps he even submitted to a last-minute appeal from his Chicago team to stay cool and fly under the radar.

But whatever the reason for Obama’s apparent malaise, the approach failed miserably. “I think it’s fair to say I was just too polite,”  Obama mused a week later. “Because, you know, sometimes it’s hard to just keep on saying, ‘What you’re saying isn’t true.’ It gets repetitive.”

Massachusetts Mitt stood up there dishing out plausible-sounding positions as if he’d never carried water for Hannity and El Rushbo. His erstwhile “parasitic” 47 percenters — the low-wage workers who keep Uncle Sam at bay by claiming Reagan-era tax credits — slurped it up with a white plastic spork.

Plutocrat Mitt told a roomful of “have-mores” that these have-nots were professional “victims” whom he wasn’t even going to worry about during his elitist presidential run — yet Everyman Mitt smirked through his lying teeth, gushed about “our poor,” and might as well have called them “my base.”

Will the “real” Mitt Romney please stand up?

* A Daily Kos blogger, AmBushed, theorized that Romney used a debate technique known as “the Gish Gallop,” which, according to the Urban Dictionary, “involves spewing so much BS in such a short span that your opponent can’t address let alone counter all of it. To make matters worse, a Gish Gallop will often have one or more ‘talking points’ that has a tiny core of truth to it, making the person rebutting it spend even more time debunking it in order to explain that, yes, it’s not totally false, but the Galloper is distorting/misusing/misstating the actual situation.”

 

Underwhelmed by Massachusetts Mitt’s debating style

By the second time out of four that Romney repeated his favorite bald-faced anti-Obama lie — “Obama is going to steal $716 billion from your Medicare benefits” — without a sign of challenge or retort from the president, I knew Obama’s chances of winning the debate were in peril. The problem was that he didn’t know it. Obama was subdued, pensive, professorial, and working harder to corral his obvious scorn than he did to make forceful debate points.

Romney’s performance, however, was appalling. He was shifty-eyed, devious, oblique, and overbearing. He lied shamelessly and with few challenges from the moderator, made up his own rules for the debate, and contradicted every position he has ever claimed he espoused throughout the campaign. “OmniMitt the Apostate” argued the right, left, and center positions of every issue. He abandoned his own party’s platform, uttering heresy after heresy against conservative orthodoxy.

Does Mitt Romney even privately believe in any of the things he says, or does he simply practice situation ethics, selecting a “core belief” to match every occasion? He’s altered his “message” so many times in the past week that it’s giving me vertigo. The “severely conservative” primary candidate, with his hard-right bromides about tax cuts, regulations, and mandatory vaginal probes, changes his opinions on taxes and abortion nowadays more often than women change their tampons.

Yet Romney continues to deny his Etch A Sketch rap. “You want to know my position on issues?” he challenged a journalist. “Ask me, and I’ll tell you.”

And what would he tell you? It depends on his mood, his audience, his campaign’s current machinations, and the edicts of the far right. One day, he’s fiercely pro-life; the next, he doesn’t foresee acting on any kind of anti-abortion proposal. Yesterday, he railed against regulating business; today, he insists some type of regulation is essential. Throughout his campaign, he promised a 20 percent, across-the-board tax cut; during the debate, he flatly rejected its $5 trillion price tag. Mitt disputed his own positions on energy independence, cutting Medicare funding for current seniors, and firing teachers. He also assured debate viewers he would keep Obamacare’s popular “pre-existing conditions” provision (an assertion his campaign staff immediately  “walked back” offstage).

In the end, the only really consistent principle Romney has followed is that it doesn’t really matter what he says from one day to the next. If he works enough variation into the mix, he succeeds in confusing voters, confounding his critics, and backing his opponent into a corner. Obama now understands why his own straightforward, linear approach has worked against him thus far. As a general rule, Republicans believe the end justifies the means, while Democrats view that type of dissembling as a moral failing. If they’re not using the same playbook, how can the “right-versus-might” team get a jump on the “anything goes” crowd?

“Last week, Mitt Romney was the Lance Armstrong of politics, using performance-enhancing lies to win the debate,” MSNBC’s Martin Bashir observed.

How do you catch a dancing laser beam, or snag a really slippery fish while it’s furiously flipping in and out of the water?

“MittFlop” never promised to fight fair — or to hold still while Obama struggled to bait his hook.

Drudge Incites October ‘Obama Drama’

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Barack Obama, then a U.S. senator, spoke at a 2007 ministers' conference about the LA riots, Hurricane Katrina, and improving the lot of African-American communities all over the country. Some conservatives thought he sounded "too black" or "too angry."

Click here to view “Obama’s ‘Other’ Race Speech

By Emily Theroux

“Attacking Obama for Jeremiah Wright Is So 2008.”

That was the snappy headline posted last May on Keith Boykin’s blog, Fighting Words. A Republican super PAC planned to hire an “extremely literate” pitchman, Boykin said, “to argue that Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as a ‘metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln'” when he took a stand in support of same-sex marriage. The kicker? Attack ads linking the president with his controversial former pastor.

Word leaked out, however, and the PAC announced that the scandalous plan had been scrapped.

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Boykin was incensed that anyone would admit they found “literate” blacks unusual — or characterize Obama as “metrosexual.” The group  wanted to “do exactly what John McCain would not let us do” in 2008, Boykin noted. “That is, they plan to lead a campaign of good old-fashioned race-baiting.”

“When asked whether Wright is off-limits in the 2012 presidential campaign, Romney said he hadn’t ‘read the papers yet,’ according to Los Angeles Times reporter Maeve Reston. Perhaps that should come as no surprise since the presumptive GOP nominee has already tried to link Obama to Wright, as he did in a radio interview with talk show host Sean Hannity in February. And though the official Wright ad campaign will never see the light of day, the racist undertone will persist through November. This is part of a dog-whistle campaign to reach out to those crazy conservatives who think Obama is a radical socialist Muslim Kenyan with no birth certificate and no right to be president.”

Willard "Mitt" Romney

A fellow BET blogger quoted GOP candidate Mitt Romney‘s famous last words on the matter: “I repudiate that effort. I think it’s the wrong course for a PAC or a campaign. I hope that our campaigns can respectively be about the future and about issues and about a vision for America,” Romney told the press.

Now, Mythological Mitt has repudiated something he’d insisted five months ago was beneath his stellar standards. Before embarking on a new plan of attack designed to hit Obama hard with the GOP’s perennial backstop when the going gets rough — the race card — the Romney campaign issued a preemptive statement  denying any involvement with his henchmen’s “October surprise.”

Mitt may have delegated this new hit job to right-wing media mavens, but the scheme has Willard’s Mitts all over it. He must have been cracking all kinds of stupid, robotic jokes last night, when The Drudge Report, Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity teamed up to do his dirty work, by going flat-out, race-baiting “Goddamn America!” Jeremiah WRIGHT on his opponent’s unsuspecting a$$.

 

Drudge: ‘Curious tape’ will ‘ignite accusations of racism

Matt Drudge

Yesterday afternoon,  conservative newsbreaker Matt Drudge dribbled out Twitter-hints designed to foster a feeding frenzy on the right. “Curious tape dropping tonight. NOT from MOTHERJONES. Will cause controversy, ignite accusations of racism — in both directions!” read the first Drudge clue. “Internal debate at news network about airing tape tonight, on eve of debate… MORE” came out an hour or so later.

Andrew Kirell of Mediaite chipped away at the teased Drudge story, finding several edits of what he suspected to be the tape in question, as well as a 2007 blog post by Lynn Sweet of The Chicago Sun-Times that included a transcript of Obama’s speech. The video, recorded on June 5, 2007, at the Hampton University Annual Ministers’ Conference in Virginia, had been posted online for the past five years.

Then-Senator Obama spoke eloquently and without a teleprompter, using the metaphor of “a baby born with a bullet in its arm,” to a mother who had just been shot in the stomach in Compton, to discourse about despair in the African-American community — over the L.A. riots 15 years earlier, over second-rate schools, low-paying jobs, and substandard housing. He riffed about Hurricane Katrina, black prison inmates, and college students. He cited programs that would create jobs and improve transportation and health care; about investing in minority-owned businesses and ending the Iraq War.

Obama spoke with the relaxed “urban” drawl he’s been known to use when speaking to black audiences, but what of it? The longer version of the tape featured powerful, stirring oratory, not anger, and included Obama’s shout-out to the Rev. Wright, only months before the pastor’s infamous videos appeared online. Someone going for a “dangerous,” “edgy,” backbeat failed miserably by adding cheesy boom-box bass effects to the beginning and end of the tape.

 

Tucker Carlson c. ’07: ‘This isn’t a dog-whistle. It’s a dog siren.’

Tucker Carlson, ABC/Getty Images

This isn’t a dog-whistle,” intoned Tucker Carlson, who “broke” the tale of the recycled Obama tape yesterday on his website, The Daily Caller. “It’s a dog siren.”

“The racially charged and at times angry speech undermines Obama’s carefully crafted image as a leader eager to build bridges between ethnic groups. For nearly 40 minutes, using an accent he almost never adopts in public, Obama describes a racist, zero-sum society, in which the white majority profits by exploiting black America.

“The mostly black audience shouts in agreement. The effect is closer to an Al Sharpton rally than a conventional campaign event.”

This characterization is absurd. Calling a speech delivered by a black politician to a black audience “racially charged” seems like hyperbolic fear-mongering to me — unless, of course, Carlson is expressing that kind of aggrieved mindset prevalent in people who cry “racism” whenever a black man raises his voice.

 

“THE ACCENT. THE ANGER. THE ACCUSATIONS. THE SHOUT-OUT TO REV. WRIGHT, WHO IS IN THE AUDIENCE was emblazoned across the top of Drudge’s site when he posted “The ‘Other’ Obama Race Speech.”

Sean Hannity

“Tape of Obama pushing class warfare surfaces on debate eve,” read Hannity’s preposterous headline when he posted the video on the Fox News website last night. “STATE of the RACE,” the tape trumpeted in garish, 150-point crimson type. The mainstream media, Hannity noted, had been ignoring this Obama bombshell “for years,” yet Tucker was flogging it as an “exclusive.”  The truth was that both Fox and Tucker had debuted the tape when it first emerged in 2007.

 

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich’s take on Obama was already cranked up and ready to roll. (I’ve added italics to the code words pointed out by Rachel Maddow in this extraordinarily condescending, openly racist diatribe. This guy needs to retire from public life. His rhetoric is disgusting.)

“I’m assuming there’s some rhythm to Barack Obama that the rest of us don’t understand — whether he needs large amounts of rest, whether he needs to go play … basketball for awhile. I don’t watch ESPN; I mean, I don’t quite know what his rhythms are. But this is a guy who is a brilliant performer as an orator, who may well get reelected at the present date, and who, frankly, happens to be a partial, part-time, uh, president.  I mean, he really is like the substitute referees in the sense that he’s not a real president. He doesn’t do any of the things presidents do. He doesn’t worry about any of the things presidents do. But he has the White House; he has enormous power. He’ll go down in history as president —  and I suspect he’s pretty contemptuous of the rest of us.”

It was good old white-boy Newt who originated the term “Food Stamp President” and hatched the brilliant plot to falsely accuse Obama of removing the work requirement from welfare — the same “lazy parasite” canard suggested by the sleazy Romney slogan “Obama isn’t working.

What do Romney’s hate-mongering surrogates think the tape reveals about Barack Obama? Surprise! Back in 2007, he was “way more black than he seems to you now,” said Rachel Maddow. He went to black churches. He even talked black sometimes. Fancy that: He is more than a figment of Sean Hannity’s delusional imagination; he doesn’t always follow Insannity’s black-socialist-president script.

As it turned out, the October surprise flopped badly, even on the right. Noah Rothman of Mediaite pronounced it “The Obama Tape Dud” and said it only served to indict the 2008 press corps. “What do conservatives think they will accomplish in 2012 by consistently and incessantly submitting evidence which proves the press failed in their jobs in 2008? … Republicans would do well to focus on the issues of 2012, because the Democrats, the media and persuadable voters have moved on long ago.”

Quin Hillyer of The American Spectator’s Spectacle blog also offered his perspective: “(C)ertain allowances for edginess always have been (made) to black speakers before black audiences — a slight double standard, to be sure, but one that slavery and Jim Crow provide at least semi-reasonable excuses for, and one that is less damaging than actual policies (quotas, etc.) that enshrine discrimination into law.”

 

The MittWit’s life of unquiet desperation as the walls close in

Three months ago, Romney campaign spokesman Lenny Alcivar boasted that the Romney campaign would remain in what journalist Ben Smith dubbed “the Mittness Protection Program” by continuing to avoid vital questions about his policies or “core beliefs.” Instead, Mitt would filter his utterances through conservative conspiracy websites like Drudge and  Breitbart.com.

“When this election is over, one of the lessons that will be learned by the mainstream media is that they no longer have a toe-hold on how Americans receive their news. … We no longer allow the mainstream media to define the political realities in America. The rise of Breitbart, Drudge and others, combined with an aggressive Romney campaign, is a powerful tool in the arsenal of the conservative movement.”

So how’s that Drudgy/Techie thing goin’ for ya, Mitt? Whoops! It’s almost debate time. Download a few more of those pre-programmed zingers, and do try to hide your desperation. It’s going to be a long, tetchy hour-and-a-half.

Mittastrophe! Secret Videotape Reveals the Republicans’ Real Class Warfare

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Still photo and videotape* courtesy Mother Jones

*Videotape, Part 1 ………………………………………………. *Videotape, Part 2

By Emily Theroux

“Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. … Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

— Matthew 25: 41-45, The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

* * *

Malingerers, moochers, freeloaders … the ugly, racially charged words roll in with the wholesome manure-reek of Mitt Romney’s imagined heartland, where the bounteous harvest is in, “the 53 percent” pay their taxes, and true patriots don’t take nothin’ from nobody. Unemployed bottom-feeders who don’t want to work for a living — that’s how the “severe conservatives” Mitt emulates have characterized the “least of these,” the poor, sick, hungry, and downtrodden whom Christ taught his followers to care for.

Almost half the American populace “are dependent upon government,” Mitt tells an audience of fellow zillionaires. The objects of his derision are folks who, he asserts, “believe they are victims” or “believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing” and other perks of deliberate parasitism on the taxpayers’ dime.

If you voted for Barack Obama for president in the 2008 election, that’s how “Willard of Oz”, as Chris Matthews crowned him, perceives you.

During the months after May 17, when a videotape was surreptitiously recorded of Romney addressing a $150-a-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla., bits and pieces of it surfaced on YouTube without attracting much attention. Then James Carter IV, former President Jimmy Carter’s activist grandson, gave a copy to investigative reporter David Corn, who posted a salient snippet of it on the website of Mother Jones magazine.

Viewers were astonished to hear the GOP candidate speaking in a straightforward but glib and cynical tone of voice — a total departure from the practiced, artificial wheedle he employs on camera or the sanctimonious platitudes he dishes out at campaign rallies. You may notice that he sounds slicker (and, if possible, even more calculating and ruthless) than you previously imagined. After listening for a moment, you realize that this new, no-nonsense tone is something you’ve never heard before: the unaccustomed sound of Mitt Romney telling the truth — to people he doesn’t look down on, about people he does.

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what, all right? There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That it’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. … And they will vote for this president no matter what. These are people who pay no income tax. My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Mitt thinks his job, I repeat, is “not to worry about those people.” (Shades of Lady Ann, Rafalca the Austrian warmblood, and #YouPeople!) Willard Romney had written off 47 percent of the public — a stupendous number of people to hold in utter contempt — with the sole purpose of pandering to a handful of rich donors. The gobsmacking “tale of the tape” went viral within hours, ricocheting around cyberspace. Two days out, the one-minute video had been viewed 7.1 million times, the second-highest number of YouTube hits ever on a political story. (Katie Couric’s 2008 interview of Sarah Palin topped the list, with 24.4 million views.)

While far-right radio talkers didn’t wait for a cue to defend the standard-bearer they had once conditionally accepted, reviews of Romney’s “performance” by mainstream pols and pundits were withering:

  • “A sneering plutocrat” (Jonathan Chait, New York magazine)
  • “Thurston Howell Romney” (David Brooks, The New York Times)
  •  “Arrogant and stupid remarks” (Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard)
  • “Not big, not brave, not thoughtfully tackling the issues … An intervention is in order” (Peggy Noonan, WSJ)
  • “An increasing problem with him being able to connect with voters” (Mark McKinnon, GOP strategist)
  • “The worst presidential-candidate gaffe since Gerald Ford announced in 1976 that ‘there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe'” (David Frum, former George W. Bush speechwriter)
  • “You don’t win an election by disparaging just about half of the electorate” (Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, on Fox News)
  • “Inaccurate, insensitive, almost callous in (his) disregard for the American people ” (Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania)
  • “You trashed the very people who are your margin of success” (Chris Matthews, MSNBC)
  • “A magnetic moral compass that has no true north” (Alex Wagner, MSNBC)
  • “That’s not the way I view the world. … (B)eing on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in.” (Scott Brown, GOP senator from Massachusetts, who “grew up in tough circumstances”)
  • “(T)he vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be” (Linda McMahon, Connecticut Senate candidate)
  • “We’re losing” (Jim Dyke, veteran GOP strategist)
  • “This is what it looks like for the wheels to come off” (Rachel Maddow, MSNBC pundit, Rhodes scholar, national treasure)
  • “Mitt Romney is not the face of Mormonism” (Dr. Gregory Prince,** Mormon historian and author)
  • “I’d say Romney’s performance will help to determine most of the close Senate contests” (Larry Sabato, University of Virginia political scientist)
  • “My feeling is maybe you haven’t gotten around a lot” (Barack Obama, President, USA)

Lord Willard writes off people ‘who don’t pay taxes.’ Does he?
Un-freaking-believable! Lord Willard Romney’s blowing off half the nation because of the GOP’s misleading “new orthodoxy,” popular during the Republican primary season, which suggests that 47 percent of Americans “don’t pay any taxes” or don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes. The way Romney explained it to what Eddie Murphy once termed a “roomful of rich dummies,” I don’t think even Mitt knew what he meant.

The now-infamous 47 percent statistic (which Mitt mangled into his own inaccurate Obama vote percentage) actually refers to a taxpayer analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, showing that 46.4 percent of American households did not pay federal income tax in 2011. “The households in question consist primarily of the retired, the poor and low-income families with children,” two New York Times reporters explained. “Moreover, they do pay taxes, if not income taxes: Just 8 percent of households do not pay payroll or federal income taxes, discounting the elderly.”

“Many people don’t pay income taxes because they’re so poor they don’t make enough money to be able to pay income taxes,” former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien. “But they pay payroll taxes, they pay state taxes, they pay excise taxes. This man apparently feels that if you’re not a part of his social class or you don’t have his economic status, that somehow you’re a parasite.”

Another reason that a larger percentage of people pay less in taxes is that Republican fiscal policies have provided tax incentives to low-income workers — including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the child tax credit, which enable low earners to offset a portion of their income tax obligation with exemptions similar to the mortgage interest and property tax deductions that benefit middle-class workers.

Erick Erickson, above, of the right-wing blog RedState, angered by the Occupy Wall Street movement, started the "We Are the 53%" Tumblr to provide a site where conservatives could express their views.

Since Obama’s inauguration, however, GOP legislators have become so resentful that they’ve turned against their own policies, including the EITC, originally passed by Gerald Ford and later expanded by Ronald Reagan. This deduction was intended to help “lift people out of poverty” and provide them with an incentive to keep working at tough jobs that paid very little. But when President Obama’s stimulus bill and other tax legislation expanded EITC benefits and extended relief from the “marriage penalty,” Tea Partiers viewed it as providing lazy “moochers” with unfair advantages. (The right-wing “We Are the 53 Percent” movement was founded to express such sentiments, after the Occupy Wall Street movement caught on nationwide.

A final question, after slogging through the videotape: Isn’t Mitt himself one of the 47 percent he dismisses, by his own definition? He doesn’t have a job. (Translation from Republican: He’s a lazy POS.) He pays neither income tax nor payroll tax. (In other words, he’s the paragon of “victimology.”) And because he refuses to release his tax returns, 100 percent of Americans remain in the dark about whether he really pays the measly 15 percent capital gains tax on his investment “income” (already the biggest scam in the annals of tax avoidance — and yet the wannabe Veepster, Paul Ryan, wants to eliminate this loophole altogether!).

As it turns out, CNN Money published a story about this very subject after the “Mittastrophe” tape went viral. “The Tax Policy Center estimates that 4,000 households with incomes over $1 million ended up with zero federal income tax liability in 2011,” Jeanne Sahadi wrote. “Another 14,000 made between $500,000 and $1 million.” Mitt Romney admitted to his Boca Raton audience that he is one of them.

Release the tax returns!!!

Colbert: ‘He dropped the R bomb: redistribution. Which is just fancy talk for a black guy’s coming for your stuff’
The Romney campaign has apparently done some tape-sleuthing of its own, digging up another golden oldie: a grainy recording of then-Illinois State Senator Obama, speaking at a 1998 Loyola University conference on Chicago city government. Obama had the misfortune to have uttered the word “redistribution,” albeit in a completely different context from that of the current GOP “Romneyhood” feeding frenzy over the designs of the poor on rich people’s’ “rightful” lucre.

It didn’t matter that Obama was really talking about “fostering marketplace competition” and business innovation, not rampaging serfs pillaging the fortunes of their feudal lords. Mitt’s team pounced anyway, diced and spliced the tape, and excerpted the sliver they wanted from the part might have resonated with the great unwashed 47 percent. Bingo! You stay classy, Romney-O!)

Will the scum-suckers, leeches, and other assorted parasites that Lord Romney so viciously disdained, when surrounded by his “peerage,” buy the new, improved “Moderate Mitt” who came out last night as the candidate of “the 100 percent”? No, if you ask me. Will the wingnut blowhards breaketh wind? Too early to call.

I say let’s Occupy Romneyworld and throw him to the crocodiles circling the sorry carcass of his candidacy in the moat below the castle walls.

* * *

* Click the following links to view Part 1  and Part 2 of the videotape, which was recorded surreptitiously at a May 17 Romney campaign fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla. Videotape courtesy Mother Jones.

** “When the news of Mitt Romney’s Florida video broke on Monday evening, I was incensed — but not for its political implications,” wrote Dr. Gregory Prince, Mormon historian and author who knew the candidate personally. “His arrogant and out-of-hand dismissal of half the population of this country struck me at a visceral level, for it sullied the religion that he and I share — the religion for which five generations of my ancestry have lived and sacrificed, the religion whose official mantra is ‘to take care of the poor and needy throughout the world.’ My first impulse was to rent an airplane towing a banner: ‘Mitt Romney is Not the Face of Mormonism!'”

In a future column, I’ll discuss the people who actually do receive government checks – and ask why in hell Mitt Romney thinks he has any right to look down his nose at them.

Diplomacy D-Day: What Would Willard Do?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Mitt Romney defends his criticism of President Obama, after four diplomats were killed during protests in Benghazi, Libya. Photo by Charles Dharapak/AP.

By Emily Theroux
With only eight weeks to go before the 2012 election, tensions are ramping up in Rightwingistan. Mitt Romney, sadly, got no bounce from his disastrous convention, while President Obama soared with a 12-point spike in the polls among independents. And even more humiliating for Mitt, Fox News released the poll results.

By September 11th, conservatives were wringing their hands. Nothing they could think of seemed to be selling this bill of goods to any undecided working-class voters who weren’t dyed-in-the-wool racists. (One white Virginian, who voted for Bush twice and firmly believes Obama is a Muslim, told a reporter that she wouldn’t vote for Romney because he didn’t know “everyday people” like her and would only help the wealthy. Surprisingly, Obama will get her vote. “At least he wasn’t brought up filthy rich,” she observed.)

Pastor Terry Jones

Rush Limbaugh was desperately goading Mitt to “get tough” with Obama, and Mitt’s pal Bibi Netanyahu was saber-rattling about Iran, suspiciously close to the November election. A show of “force” was needed on the world stage to bring independent stragglers into the GOP fold. When Florida’s infamous, Koran-burning pastor, Terry Jones, proclaimed this year’s September 11 anniversary “International Judge Muhammad Day,” and talked up the YouTube debut of a crude, anti-Muslim video, Romney saw his chance.

When the video appeared in an Arabic translation, outraged Muslims tuned in to horrifying, “cartoonish” depictions of their beloved Prophet Muhammad as “a child of uncertain parentage, a buffoon, a womanizer, a homosexual, a child molester, and a greedy, bloodthirsty thug,” wrote David D. Kirkpatrick  in The New York Times.

Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens

News of the blasphemy spread quickly online.  Furious protestors ran riot in  Libya, attacking the American consulate and killing four American diplomats, including the widely respected U.S. ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens. It was the first time since 1979 that such a high-ranking diplomat had been murdered in the line of duty. In Egypt, protestors scaled the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and burned the American flag.

Mighty Mitt, hearing that a statement condemning “religious incitement” had been issued by the embassy in Cairo,  rushed in to seize the day. Before Stevens’ body had even been identified or his family notified, Mitt  issued an ill-advised proclamation of his own (despite the fact that he had vowed to refrain from politicking on the September 11 anniversary):

“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

Never mind that the embassy’s statement was issued six hours before the protests began. Obama apologized for America again! was Mitt’s take on it, and he was sticking to it. Obama loves Muslims. (Good line; reinforces the canard that Obama is a Muslim.) How dare “the Obama regime” target the “good-guy” American filmmakers instead of the evil Muslim protestors?

Then Mitt just sat back and waited for the fireworks to explode.

Faced with mounting criticism, Romney dug in
This morning, after the negative reviews of his rash reaction started flooding in, Mitt stepped to the microphone again and, instead of making amends, shocked the political establishment by doubling down:

“When our grounds are being attacked and being breached, the first response should be outrage Apology for America’s values will never be the right course. We express immediately when we feel that the president and his administration have done something which is inconsistent with the principles of America.”

“A terrible course for America is to stand in apology for American values,” Mitt later told a reporter. (What does that even mean? Whose values – his? The entire substance of his attack on Obama was based on a deliberate, compound falsehood. The embassy didn’t issue an apology; their statement was an attempt to stave off the violence they saw coming well before the attacks; and Obama had no direct involvement in what they said.)

Did Mitt Romney jump the gun in issuing statements “that were laced with politics,” asked NBC’s Peter Alexander?

“I don’t think we ever hesitate when we see something which is a violation of our principles,” replied a testy but self-righteous Mitt.

Romney clearly deplores “bad form” more than he appreciates good substance.

Mitt’s foreign-policy moves ‘craven,’ amateurish
The far right performed as expected. The following snarky Fox tweet was par for the course:

Somebody get some bandages and salve for Obama’s press corps — Romney just delivered a thumping.

— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) September 12, 2012

Michelle Malkin, Breitbart.com’s John Nolte, and Dan Calabrese, writing for CainTV, piled on.

But moderate and even conservative members of the mainstream press — and members of the GOP establishment — took a much dimmer view of the way the candidate handled this contretemps.

  • “They were just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit based on the embassy statement and now it’s just completely blown up,’ said a very senior Republican foreign policy hand, who called the statement an ‘utter disaster’ and a ‘Lehman moment’ — a parallel to the moment when John McCain, amid the 2008 financial crisis, failed to come across as a steady leader.” — Ben Smith, BuzzFeed Politics
  • “Likely to be seen as one of the most craven and ill-advised tactical moves in this entire campaign” — Mark Halperin, Time magazine
  • Romney hasn’t been “doing himself any favors. Sometimes, when really bad things happen, hot things happen — cool words, or no words is the way to go” — Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speechwriter
  • “Irresponsible”; “a bad mistake” — Chuck Todd, MSNBC
  • Romney’s attack “does not stand up to simple chronology” — Jake Tapper, ABC
  • Romney’s actions “ham-handed” and “inaccurate” — Ron Fournier, National Journal
  • “The Romney campaign’s politicization of the embassy attacks is even worse than I expected” — Blake Hounshell, Foreign Policy
  • “Who told Mr. Romney to issue a political broadside against the commander-in-chief the day after a U.S. ambassador was murdered?”  — Joe Scarborough, MSNBC
  • “Tolerance of a religion that represents 1/7th of the world’s population is a very wise policy” — former ambassador to NATO  R. Nicholas Burns

“I can’t remember in foreign policy, anything like this,” said Democratic strategist Bob Schrum, who served as a consultant to numerous Democratic campaigns. “This guy seems to have an instinct for saying the wrong thing, at the wrong time, in politics. He came across as craven and incompetent on national security. This is a disaster; this guy’s just not ready for prime time.”

As progressive radio host Joe Madison said, “This man is stuck on stupid.”

Is Mitt Romney even qualified to be Commander-in-Chief?
My question: Should someone with Romney’s personality flaws even be under consideration for the sensitive job of leading the most challenging foreign policy operation in the world? He lacks both experience and any respectable source of  advice. As far as I can tell, he doesn’t even have what my father, a Dallas native, used to call “kitty brains” — in this case, the instincts to choose a running mate who knows his way around the world. Romney has no habit of critical thinking, no facility for introspection, and no empathy for other people — and there’s not a diplomatic bone in his body. To my mind, he’s not at all “presidential.” All he’s got going for him is a boatload of money — and good hair.

Foreign policy involves a great deal more than braying chauvinistically about “American values,” shooting big guns, and deciding where and when to “put boots on the ground,” as the Bush/Cheney debacle should have taught the people who don’t understand how critical it is that they not vote for a redo of eight years of  sheer folly.

Someone said today that this was Mitt Romney’s three A.M. phone call. Thank God he didn’t have his finger on the nuclear trigger, or Benghazi might have been reduced to radioactive rubble last night.

‘Mittstorm’: Romney Plays Birther Card

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

By Emily Theroux

“Romney isn’t using birthers and bigotry against Obama. It just looks that way,” wrote Will Saletan of Slate in “Pin the Tale on the Honky,” his send-up of the Mittstorm-of-the-Week: the deplorable birther “joke” that Willard told last Friday during a Michigan campaign stop.

“No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised,”  Mitt snarked, just before Twitter went wild with writers furiously typing “#futureMittjokes.”

RNC propagandist-in-chief Reince Priebus has the unenviable job of following in Mitt’s footsteps to scrape up whatever fresh heap of elephant dung the candidate deposits on the campaign trail each time he rolls out a new crock of “strategery.”

“Have we really gotten to the point where we can’t have any levity at all in politics?” Reince wheedled, in defense of the indefensible, on CNN’s State of the Union.

His shaky premise didn’t hold up to minimal scrutiny. Mitt’s descent into the cesspool of birtherism was a calculated effort to turn the page on Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” imbroglio before it engulfed the GOP ticket. How better to put out a conflagration about women’s reproductive rights than to change the subject to race, the third rail of American politics?

Asked by Candy Crowley during the same program whether he thought Romney’s birther comment was “code” for “appealing to the white vote,” Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland replied, “Look at the number of Republicans that have signed bills that make it harder to vote. When you have a party that … makes totally false ads up saying the president is trying to undo welfare reform, I think you’re going to see a lot of … coded messages from the Romney-Ryan campaign that it (are) not in keeping with an America that is … becoming more diverse.”

Priebus tried again the next day on Morning Joe to shrug off Romney’s deliberate dog whistle to white Obama haters — targeted by an opportunistic pol who’s stooped to humoring bigots in order to reach a new strategic goal. In order to win in November, Romney must now capture at least 61 percent of the white vote — a figure that will not only be extremely difficult to attain, but which will only snag Mitt “a slim national majority” if Obama isn’t able to improve on his 80 percent share of the 2008 minority vote.

‘Tweety’ eats Reince’s Wheaties (on somebody else’s show)
When one of Joe Scarborough’s panel members, Chris “Tweety” Matthews, artlessly chomped Reince’s Wheaties over Romney’s shameless racial pander (camouflaged though it was as a lighthearted comedic “Mitt Moment”), nobody there was laughing. Joe, Mika, Tom Brokaw, and the gang were clearly anxious as hell over how Tweety’s outburst might look to viewers and critics. They kept trying to “shush” the garrulous Hardball host or, failing that, to succeed at talking louder than his rant.

Funny that the crowd in Michigan last Friday didn’t laugh, either, as Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC pointed out. “They cheered,” he observed, as if Mitt had made an important policy pronouncement. They applauded the new knowledge that Romney was willing to go there, to be on record as not merely the Republican who was running for president but the white man who was running to win back the White House for white voters.

Priebus muttered, “Garbage,” under his breath at the end of the cable segment — to which Matthews countered, “It’s your garbage.” A headline for the right-wing site Townhall.com’s story about the on-air tiff, however, read, “Chris Matthews Loses It, Calls Reince Priebus Garbage.” Neither combatant had characterized the other person as “garbage,” but only what he had said.

You can bet that the headline will go viral in the Nutbag-o-sphere, especially since blogger Katie Pavlich’s “story” consists of one paragraph referring indignantly to what she believed to be unwarranted criticism of “Mitt Romney’s joke about a birth certificate.”

How low will Mitt go to attain his 61 percent goal?
Unfortunately, Mitt will find no easy path to cobbling together a national majority, after burning almost every bridge once open to him among black, Latino, and women voters. That, of course, all went up in smoke when he talked trash to the NAACP, excoriated the DREAM Act, and paid lip service to everything from passing a “fetal personhood” bill to shutting down Planned Parenthood. Now, Mitt needs to woo and win three out of every five white voters, and he’s not polling anywhere near as well as Obama does (at nearly 60 percent) among the very “college-educated plus” white women who feel the most threatened by the Republican “war on women.”

What Romney needs, therefore, is the stereotypical Republican: the white, older, working-class male seething with racial resentment, whom Mitt believes he can rely on to vote against his own economic interests rather than reelect the hated “Obummer” —

  • despite the Romney/Ryan plan to raise his taxes so they can even further reduce the taxes of people so rich and greedy, they’ll croak before they’ve even touched their principal, even as he dies a virtual pauper;
  • despite their plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system that will start out costing him $6,300 more a year for health care than he pays now, and escalate in each successive year he’s still alive;
  • despite  their plan to turn Medicaid into a block-grant program , so that when his wife needs nursing home care and he can’t afford long-term care insurance, he has no way to pay for it.

Everybody knows that the “MittWit” has become so desperate to break away from President Obama in the polls that the only pathway to the presidency he can envision is appealing to the “basest, racist” instincts of the lowest common denominator. White male voters may not be wild about Mitt Romney, but they hate Barack Obama so much more than they love anything — even America — that they’re willing to vote for literally anybody else.

Hordes of  ‘zombie voters’ prepare to descend on polls
If the simple fact that Mitt Romney’s face is as white as a KKK bedsheet doesn’t win over his target voters, he can always fall back on the kooky pop psychology of the Great Voter Fraud Hoax of 2012. This theory is held by purveyors of the myth that hordes of unregistered impostors are prepared to show up at polling places and “impersonate” registered voters if Americans fail to take drastic measures to stop them. These imaginary “vote-scammers” — sketchily described as urban blacks signed up fraudulently during voter-registration drives conducted by federally funded agencies, or “illegal aliens” who purloin dead people’s Social Security numbers — are so widely feared by the far right because they “tend to vote for Democrats.”

The infamous ACORN case, which led to 22 convictions in seven states after temporary workers registered ineligible or fictitious voters, involved cases of registration fraud, not impersonation fraud. “Mickey Mouse has been registered hundreds of times but Mickey has never turned up on Election Day to vote,” said Richard Hasen, a professor of political science and election law expert.

Yet Republican alarmists insist that, as GOP presidential candidate John McCain said during a 2008 debate, fraudulent registrations collected by ACORN were “one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”  (The Congressional Research Service “found no instances” of anyone who was “allegedly registered to vote improperly “by ACORN actually “attempting to vote at the polls.”

Even though voters are less likely to be victimized by “voter fraud” than they are to report sighting a UFO, the GOP embarked in 2011 on a nationwide effort to “shut down” this virtually nonexistent phenomenon. (News21, a national investigative reporting project, revealed earlier this month that only 10 instances of voter-impersonation fraud have occurred nationwide since 2000 — a period when 146 million people were registered to vote. The infinitesimal amount of in-person voter fraud that actually occurred equaled one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.)

Nevertheless, 34 states since 2011 have proposed or passed laws requiring that voters show state-approved photo ID cards at the polls. In other states, early voting days and extended voting hours have been curtailed — including Ohio, where Republican Secretary of State John Husted attempted to prohibit early voting in Democratic-majority counties while encouraging it in Republican-majority counties. Progressive pundits soon shamed him into abandoning his shamelessly partisan plan. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott even tried to purge “non-residents” from the state’s voter rolls, until an analysis of a submitted list of 2,700 names revealed that 87 percent of the people on the list were minorities.

If Republicans can’t persuade more angry white men to turn out for their lackluster candidate, the Mittster still has one more ace up his sleeve. Anticipating a dearth of minority and female voters, Republicans recruited what they claim will be one million “True the Vote” poll-watchers. Should any straggling minority Dems make it through the gauntlet of GOP speed bumps and onto the threshold of the voting booth, this volunteer goon squad has promised to kick in, kick butt, and even Romney’s troubling odds.

GOP Convention attendee gets ugly with CNN employee
Just as the 2012 Republican National Convention’s roster of evening speeches was getting under way, former MSNBC anchor David Shuster tweeted: “GOP attendee ejected for throwing nuts at African-American CNN camerawoman + saying ‘This is how we feed animals.’ ”

Needless to say, this atrocious racial slur is not terribly surprising, given the venue, the occasion, and the decidedly “hostile environment” in which this professional journalist was required to work. It is, however, horrifying, degrading, and barbarous. This person must have felt emboldened by some sort of group camouflage to publicly target another human being that way, surrounded by people he imagined would harbor as much racial animus as he did.*

At least they looked as if they did. Out of 4,411 GOP delegates and alternates attending the 2012 convention, only 46 of them (a paltry 2 percent) are black, according to two Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporters who collaborated on a story about the party’s struggle with diversity. By contrast, they noted, African-Americans comprise 26 percent of the 4,000-plus delegates slated to attend the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

I don’t care how many Nikki Haleys, Ted Cruzes, Artur Davises, and Mia Loves the GOP hustles onto that convention stage for the sake of appearances. All I could see on my TV screen was a vast, monolithic ocean of white privilege, flecked with clusters of jingoistic balloons.

 

* Update, 8-30-12: Yesterday, the racist peanut assault incident at the GOP convention was clarified by numerous new press accounts. Two “older than middle-aged white men” rather than one, of just the sort I described above,  collaborated on tormenting the CNN camerawoman. A number of pundits criticized CNN for apparently “hushing up” the incident because the channel has recently embarked on a campaign to appear the least biased of the three major cable news networks.

Just before the two white goons pelted Patricia Carroll with peanuts and called her a zoo animal, a Puerto Rican delegate included in the convention’s program, as part of the party’s effort to put on a false show of  “highlighting diversity,” was shouted down by the crowd, with chants of “USA! USA! USA!”, after beginning her remarks in Spanish.

Mitt’s V.P.: The Prince of Partisan Pop

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Union members demonstrated against Mitt Romney's vice-presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, in Las Vegas. (Photo: BuzzFeed)

By Emily Theroux

On Twitter, Rupert Murdoch called Mitt Romney’s V.P. pick an “almost perfect choice,” and a Fox News fanboy dubbed him “the rock star of American politics.”

So why does Witless Mitt appear to have a classic case of buyer’s remorse?

Wayward Willard apparently made the most important decision of his entire presidential campaign in full panic mode. His press secretary, Andrea Saul, had just committed the cardinal sin: forgetting to lie about “Romneycare.” During a Fox News broadcast, Saul was asked about a pro-Obama super-PAC ad in which a laid-off steelworker said that, after his former plant was shut down by Romney’s Bain Capital and he lost his company-sponsored health insurance plan, his uninsured wife later took ill and died. Observing that, if the family had lived in Massachusetts, they would have been covered by Romney’s universal health care law (a forbidden subject in MittWorld), Saul effectively implied that “Obamacare” was a pretty good deal for America.

Erick Erickson

A Full Fringe Freakout ensued. Erick Erickson of Redstate.com sent out The Tweet of Doom: “OMG. This might just be the moment Mitt Romney lost the election. Wow.” Laura Ingraham informed her TRN radio audience that, although she “might be the skunk at the picnic,” she had to say it: “Romney’s losing.” Rush Limbaugh mercilessly castigated Saul on Clear Channel. And Ann Coulter imploded on Hannity, demanding Saul’s head on a platter by the following morning. (As of press time, Saul still had her job.)

Mitt had already grown desperate to change the subject from relentless questions about his unreleased tax returns. Seeking immediate surcease, the Much-Maligned Mittster discovered all possible means of egress were marked “No Exit.” Terrified of spending all eternity with two or more raving partisans in Sartre’s cramped version of hell, Mitt jumped at his first chance to get back in the wingnuts’ good graces. Harry Reid, he could deal with, but being on the outs with El Rushbo & Co. was no freaking Pee-Wee boxing match.

The Mittbot clicked into autocorrect. Salvaging his doomed campaign became paramount; careful deliberation gave way to frenetic  forward motion. He had to do Something Big — and very distracting. Spurning the advice of seasoned pros with far better political instincts than his own, the one-term, faux-conservative governor flashed his only wild card, two weeks before the GOP convention was slated to begin in Tampa.

 

Whose budget plan — Ryan’s? Of course not — Romney’s!

Paul Ryan

The presumptive Republican vice-presidential nominee, Mitt announced, was Paul Ryan, 42,  the wonkish seven-term Wisconsin congressman of “Young Guns” renown (along with Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy). Ryan, an extreme social and fiscal conservative who serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee, has championed the obliteration of women’s reproductive rights and gay civil rights. He favors uncompromising, hard-right fiscal policy, devotes countless hours to manic P90X fitness workouts, and secretly worships at the bizarre altar of the fanatical ideologue Ayn Rand.

A post on Erickson’s blog gave Mitt props for picking Ryan — and also let him wriggle off the hook for Saul’s unforced error: “Contrary to some people’s opinions, Romney has run a stellar campaign. He can’t help it if Eric Fehrnstrom and Andrea Saul have had some brain-dead moments …well, maybe he could. There is no such thing as the perfect campaign.”

But almost immediately, mainstream reporters began clamoring to sort out how Ryan’s signal political achievement — his 2010 “Road Map for America’s Future,” a radical budget plan that would convert Medicare into a voucher system — would affect the campaign. That led to edgy, defensive bravado on Mitt’s part (Paul who? Who said anything about Ryan’s plan? Hey, I’m the candidate here. My plan’s not exactly chopped liver, ya know. )

Then why appoint Paul Ryan V.P.? they queried. This perfectly reasonable question visibly stunned Romney. His heretofore choreographed campaign began unraveling. His own budget plan remained vague and sketchy like the rest of his policies, but the Ryan plan was something the press — and unfortunately, the public — could sink their teeth into.

Mitt the Whiner

Once again, the Romney campaign backed away from focusing on the economy (his only imaginable path to victory) and started flailing away at Democrats on the stump with an ever-shifting drumbeat of lies and innuendos: Obama wants to keep soldiers from voting. Obama’s going to take the ‘work’ out of welfare reform. Biden is a racist. (Why? He said an unregulated Wall Street would put us “in chains.” Chains = slavery, no matter the context. He used the word “y’all,” so he must have been talking about race. Or something.) Resign, Biden! (Sez Sarah Palin.) Obama’s campaign is based on division and anger and hatred. (Dog-whistle translation: Obama is a scary, angry black man. Be afraid. Be very afraid.) Obama is being mean to me. Obama and Axelrod, go back to Chicago so ‘us decent Americans’ can take our country back!

(Romney himself once said, “There’s no whining in politics.” It’s available on videotape for anyone to see. So why is this man still whining, when it makes him look like such an insufferable ass?)

 

When the #MittHitsTheFan, GOP insiders remember to duck

Several days after Romney’s announcement, it emerged that, after publicly praising his veep pick, some three dozen GOP strategists and operatives  met individually with Politico reporters to express serious reservations about Ryan’s potential effect on Romney’s candidacy as well as Senate and House contests. “Away from the cameras, and with all the usual assurances that people aren’t being quoted by name, there is an unmistakable consensus among Republican operatives in Washington,” Politico’s resulting scoop revealed. “Romney has taken a risk with Ryan that has only a modest chance of going right — and a huge chance of going horribly wrong.”

Mark McKinnon

“(T)he most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election,” the Politico article, co-written by Alexander Burns, Maggie Haberman, and Jonathan Martin, stated. Some even think the Ryan pick is “a disaster for the GOP” and might cost Republicans the Senate if voters latch onto “MediScare” again. “Very not helpful down ballot — very,” a top Republican consultant told Politico.

Why on earth would Mitt choose a candidate who’s going to tar down-ticket Republicans with the same “class warfare” brush — the “Medicare menace” that enabled a Democrat to win an upstate New York district that had voted Republican since before the Civil War? The risk-averse Romney should have refrained from prodding the dry tinder of districts whose GOP representatives are backing as far away from Ryan as possible, before a spark of doubt among an aging populace bursts into a conflagration.

Meanwhile, wrote a Daily Kos blogger, “The Florida papers are destroying Paul Ryan” — in a state that Romney desperately needed to win. ” So much so that a distraught and panicked Village (a term used by progressive bloggers to denote the mainstream media) believes ‘Mitt Romney is in big, big trouble’ for selecting the man who wants to pull the plug on Grandma.”

The only GOP strategist brave enough to speak to Politico for attribution, former Bush senior adviser Mark McKinnon, called Mitt’s decision “a very bold choice”  that meant “Romney-Ryan can run on principles and provide some real direction and vision for the Republican Party.” Then McKinnon added his single caveat:  “And probably lose. Maybe big.”

 

Ryan’s list of negatives continues to mount:

  • “Willard’s Choice” has doubled the number of rich white men atop the GOP ticket. (Mitt could have picked Pawlenty or Portman — two boring white men — but that would scarcely have budged the Etch a Sketch.)
  • Because Ryan proposed eliminating the capital gains tax and Romney’s income is derived almost entirely from investments, Romney would pay virtually no taxes under Ryan’s plan. (Way to pick a winner, Mitt!)
  • In the 14 years since Ryan left Wisconsin for Washington, only two of his many proposed bills have ever been passed. One renamed a post office; nobody remembers the other one.
  • Romney’s ratings haven’t received the customary “bounce” from his veep announcement.
  • #MittTheTwit didn’t rack up any  points bad-mouthing Palestinians in Israel. Only six percent of American Jews answer “Israel” when asked what most influences their presidential vote, says Peter Beinart of The Daily Beast — who adds that Romney (the perennial outsider who never has a clue) probably lost the remaining Jewish vote by choosing Ryan. (The economy, health care, a positive view of government spending, and fear of the Christian right top the list. And get this, Mitt: “Almost 80 percent of American Jews think it’s fine for a woman to have an abortion for any reason.” Giving birth control to teens ranks right up there, too — and support for school prayer is a definite minus. Sorry, Willard — you’d be a lot more popular if you were still governor of Massachusetts!)
  • According to the Gallup poll and reason.com, “a clear majority, 58 percent, of Americans” have never heard of Paul Ryan. Snooki, Kim Kardashian, or Donald Trump would have been more readily recognized by the typical American voter. (And maybe Chris Christie, if he keeps insulting people on a regular basis. He might even get his own reality show.)

 

Union demonstrators protest Ryan’s Vegas star turn

Out on the campaign trail, hecklers interrupted Ryan’s debut campaign appearance at the Iowa State Fair, where the veep candidate showed his snarky side while dodging reporters’ questions. “We’ll play ‘Stump the Running Mate’ later,” he snapped at an NPR reporter. “I’m just going to enjoy this fair right now.”

The following night, the man of the hour attended a GOP fundraiser at billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson’s Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The event, however, attracted more than big bucks. Outside, several hundred union protesters filled the plaza, according to Alternet. Protestors carried signs reading  “Romney/Ryan Road to Ruin,” “Paul Ryan Hustling for the 1%,” and “This is What Democracy Looks Like!”

John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, had come to Vegas for his union’s annual convention, BuzzFeed reported. “Romney Hood, Ryan Hood, not in our neighborhood,” Gage chanted.

The GOP strategists may not see eye-to-eye with the 99 percenters, but they are definitely worried about the added angst of a Ryan candidacy. “Everybody loves Paul Ryan. Everybody supported the Ryan plan,” one party insider told Politico in D.C. “But nobody thinks Ryan should be the tip of the spear.”

Didn’t ‘You People’ Get the Retweet? We’re All ‘Anglo-Saxons’ Now

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Ann Romney/Photo illustration by Samuel Wynn Warde

By Emily Theroux

Across the digital divide that polarizes online political adversaries into two camps — “libtards” and “wingnuts” — the Leftie cyber-rabble prowled the #Interweb, brandishing “twitchforks” and calling for Marie “Ann”-toinette’s head. The #TwitterRumble went down shortly after Ann Romney called all those pinkos “you people” on national TV.

On Twitter, clashing hashtags trended ever higher — among them, #MittHatesThisHashtag (because, e.g., “he can’t make it stop asking for his tax returns”) and #YouDidn’tBuildThat, a gag line favored heavily by @Reince, @GOP, and @NRCC, the last of which tweeted this zinger: “We didn’t build this tweet. Somebody else made that happen.” (No one said conservatives couldn’t ever be clever — as long as you remember to count out #Wittless Mitt, whose brain has remained “severely scrambled” ever since Eric Fehrnstrom ran corrupted Al Green files from iTunes during Mitt’s last #Etch-a-Sketch erasure.)

I haven’t found a similar hashtag yet for Willard’s imperious wife — although #YouPeople think of everything, even #FreeStuff ! Here’s a good one — Dogs Against Romney @Grrr Romney: BREAKING: Dogs across America have volunteered to help Mitt Romney find his tax returns (photo). http://pic.twitter.com/jCKNeIMH #YouPeople aren’t #Anglo-Saxon.

Back to Lady Ann, who lost her patience in a very public forum over yet another request that #The Mittholder release more tax returns. At first, Ann played along when Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts grilled her about money (which is so tacky!). The couple’s’ philanthropic donations, she conceded, consist of  a modest 10 percent standard tithe to their church (chump change for the fabulously wealthy.) “Do you think that is the kind of person that is trying to hide things, or do things? No,” Ann asserted, as if someone who “gave back” so bounteously couldn’t possibly ponder a little #BarelyLegal tax avoidance, if not white-collar shenanigans, to make back his investment in the hereafter.

 

What Ann Romney said next dripped entitlement

Then Roberts pried just a tad too long, and Ann lost it.  “We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and … how we live our life,” she snapped.

The Cybertubes lit up like a Roman candle over what virtually everyone heard her say. Like Ross Perot 20 years earlier, Ann Romney had apparently had the execrable taste to utter the words “you people” (the subject of a longtime movie meme, “What do you mean, ‘You People’?) — and even worse, she said it to an African-American TV anchor. (Whether her intended target was “you media people” or “you class warmongers” became grist for the late-night irony mill.)

Mrs. Romney stumbled a little over the tactless taunt, almost choking back the “you” part, but I, for one — along with Joan Walsh of Salon.com, several bloggers, and countless anonymous comment posters — definitely heard the “ooh” sound after the “y–.”

Even with the “you” left out, her statement dripped entitlement. She sounded snarky, put-upon, rude, and arrogant when saying her husband had disclosed quite enough, and nobody was getting a single page more.  As of the latest count, at least 20 prominent conservatives and a National Review editorial begged to differ. All of them called for the very arrogant Romneys to release their tax returns for multiple years. “There’s no whining in politics,” said Republican strategist John Weaver. “Stop demanding an apology; release your tax returns.”

 

The cardinal rule of blog threads: ‘Never feed the trolls’

One extremely persistent “fib-flogger” spent the weekend haunting the Salon comments section, repeatedly posting  some variation on the following theme:  “Pardon me? This article is based on Joan Walsh’s claim that Ann Romney used the term ‘you people’ during an interview. ABC, the network that actually did the interview, reviewed the tape, and it’s (sic) verdict: ‘Our ruling after reviewing the original audio is that she did not include the you.’ And The New Yorker agrees. Joan Walsh was wrong. Joan Walsh should apologize. See how simple that is?”

I really did try to refrain from posting a reply, but it was a losing battle. I ended up storming the rhetorical Bastille with a rant that I’m hoping might have pleased my late father, a professor of symbolic logic and the philosophy of science:

I see how simple it is, and that’s the problem. Your argument is fallacious.

The flaw in your reasoning is that you continue to assert that ABC’s decree about what Ann Romney said was a matter of fact, not self-serving opinion, and that Joan Walsh was therefore wrong — even though ABC had neither the objectivity nor the omnipotence to make that stubborn little word, however badly it was enunciated, vanish into the ether.

Your implication that because the interview was hosted by ABC, their “verdict” must be correct, represents a “false attribution to a biased source.” Tacking on another media outlet’s opinion offers evidence that you are additionally making an “appeal to authority.” (If a big TV conglomerate and a glossy magazine say so, they must know better than we mere mortals do. That would make them the final arbiters of empirical truth — which is complete nonsense.) Opinions are like ***holes; everybody has one.

(FYI: Each time you repeat this post, you include, “And The New Yorker agrees.” It wasn’t The New Yorker; it was New York magazine. Please, before copying and pasting yet again, correct your template.)

 

No hiding Mama Romney’s ‘Leona Helmsley’ snobbery

Ann Romney’s attitude came across loud and clear, whether she said “you people” or, as New York magazine suggested, “(stumble) people” — which reminds me of Rick Santorum’s pathetic attempt to convince his critics that he really said “blah” people, not “black people,” the last time Republicans tried to backtrack when one of their anointed “misspoke.” (This Old English term has, since the Watergate era, been appropriated by politicians caught making demonstrably false statements they soon live to regret — not because they didn’t mean whatever weasel words they used, but because all those people who are now howling in indignation about such “untruths”  might actually have voted for these idiots, had they simply kept their lying mouths shut).

Mitt Romney is running for president, not Holy Roman Emperor; he has no “divine right” to unilaterally change the conventional rules about what information voters are entitled to see — at least not if he wants to win. If the Romneys have nothing to hide, then why have they remained so adamant about concealing their financial records from voters in every election since Mitt’s failed 1994 attempt to take down Teddy Kennedy?

Sorry to have to break it to you, Princess Ann, but if your husband wants to be president of all of the people, “how you live your life” is probably going to be more of an open book than a permanently sealed ledger of potentially dodgy financial dealings, stashed in the offshore bank vault where you both deposited what was left of your moral compass so many moons ago.

 

Crikey! Romney adviser makes racial ‘gaffe’ in London

This just in from across the pond: The Atlantic Wire, ThinkProgress, and Slate have reported that an unidentified Romney foreign policy adviser made an astonishing observation about his boss to Britain’s Daily Telegraph: “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that ‘the special relationship’ is special. The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.” So Mitt’s “special” — and frankly, #WeAreGobsmacked, as they say in the Old Dart.

The Telegraph warned readers that the adviser’s statement “may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity,” as this obvious diplomatic neophyte suggested that “Mr. Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr. Obama, whose father was from Africa.”

The Romney campaign’s reaction to The Telegraph’s story was categorical denial. “It’s not true,” declared Romney’s press secretary, Andrea Saul, in an email to CBSNews.com. “If anyone said that, they weren’t reflecting the views of Gov. Romney or anyone inside the campaign.”

As you might have expected, Saul “did not comment on what specifically was not true” — or whatever became of that hapless policy advisor, who must have come down with the equine epizootic from flying over in cargo with Ann Romney’s dancing horse. Hysterical at the thought of Rafalca having to tangle with Edward Gal, the gay dressage champion, the poor sucker didn’t know what he was saying. (Can’t say I’ve seen him around the Olympic stables lately, either.)

 

And the rest, comrades, is revisionist history!

One intolerant cretin who spoke his mind in the comments section of The Atlantic Wire story actually had the cojones to inquire:  “Does the writer have no clue?  Romney’s adviser was speaking of the long historic ties between the U.S. and the U.K. which Obama has downgraded. … What is racist is denying the fact that the U.S. was settled primarily by English followed by other Europeans who remain the overwhelming majority.” (I wouldn’t be so sure about that; 2040 and the demise of “majority-white ‘Amercia’ ” is just around the corner, if we can make it past 2012 without a second Civil War.)

Of course, Genius-Boy just couldn’t resist topping off his #ReverseRacist shout-out with: “The multiculturalists may want to change this fact by flooding these countries with Third World immigrants but that doesn’t change history.”

“You know what’s really clueless?” I asked him (rhetorically, of course, as I would hate to run into “his kind” some night in a dark alley). “Denying the fact that President Obama is also ‘part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage.’ The president is a 13th-generation direct descendant from genuine Mayflower Pilgrims, as Anglo-Saxon as someone with your prejudices might ever feel comfortable meeting — including his maternal ancestor, Deacon John Dunham of the Plymouth Bay Colony.

“Can Mitt Romney say that? Can you?”