It’s not enough to vote based on whether Obama has done a crappy job over the last four years (he has). Vote based on who you think will do a better job over the next four years, and on whether you think they’re a lesser enough evil to be worth supporting.
Apparently Paul Ryan’s plan for Social Security is awfully similar to Pinochet’s, which didn’t end up working out so well. That’s why it’s so important to re-elect Obama, because he’ll fight to keep Social Security intact. Or not.
The reason the RNC had to use one of their own staffers to pretend to be a disappointed Obama supporter isn’t that ex-Obama backers are hard to find, it’s that it’s hard to find any that have dumped him for reasons that are favorable to Romney. There are a whole bunch of us out there, but precious few of us have given up on Obama because he spends too much money and hangs out with celebrities. We’ve given up on him because he’s done nothing to roll back Bush’s authoritarian, pro-corporate, pro-wealth policies. If anything, he’s even expanded some of them.
But obviously those reasons wouldn’t really play well in an ad for Mitt Romney. They’d much rather have some phony insisting that they’re mad at Obama because they expected him to have destroyed Social Security and Medicare by now, and to have rolled back all corporate regulations and taxes.
I really should have posted these when they immediately came to mind, and a lot of this ground has been covered elsewhere, but here goes anyway. In roughly chronological order:
1) Hello GOP base, goodbye everyone else.
2) This is such a repellent combination that it will probably damage Republican candidates downticket.
3) It will put the giant magnifying glass of a presidential campaign squarely on the Ryan budget, which will further damage any downticket Republicans who supported it.
4) The scrutiny of his budget will also have a huge impact on Ryan himself, who will find his reputation changing from “bright young up-and-coming Republican star with Serious Ideas about the economy and stuff” to “the guy who wants to kill Medicare”. He will have a very similar arc to Sarah Palin’s from superstar to albatross, though not for the same reasons.
5) The downticket effects make it very hard for me to believe that this is some kind of diabolical strategy to throw the election so that Obama and the Democrats will take the fall for the effects of Republican obstruction. I think Mitt really is this delusional and/or afraid of his own base.
I wonder if this will be the first presidential election where a majority of voters cast their votes against a candidate they hate rather than for a candidate they like. Or maybe all elections are like that, in which case I still think 2012 will mark an all-time high.
I suppose Mitt’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate might induce more base Republicans to vote for him, but it’ll also induce almost everyone else to vote against him.
Although it would probably be an exaggeration to say that I’m rooting for Obama, I’m loving what Harry Reid has done to Romney with his accusation that Mitt is trying to hide the fact that he didn’t pay any taxes. At this point there is really no good outcome for Romney. I can only think of four possible scenarios, and all of them are bad:
1) Mitt finally releases his returns, and Harry Reid is proven right.
2) Mitt finally releases his returns, and it turns out he was hiding something even worse.
3) Mitt finally releases his returns, and there’s nothing really damaging, thus demonstrating that while he may not be a tax cheat, he’s also even more stupid and arrogant than we thought (which is a lot). Especially if this is some kind of deliberate rope-a-dope strategy to bait the Obama camp into making more and more outlandish claims that would make them look foolish when proven wrong, because I don’t really see it playing out that way.
4) Mitt never releases his returns, resulting in continuous speculation as to what he’s hiding, all the way up to Election Day.
#3 is definitely the least bad out of the four, but it would still leave everyone wondering what the hell is wrong with this guy.
[Meet The Press’s David] GREGORY: He was still financially linked to Bain. And of course, a lot his fortune is due to his time with Bain. Even when he was on leave, does he stand by the business decisions that were made by the firm he created?
[Romney campaign adviser Ed] GILLESPIE: He actually retired retroactively at that point. He ended up not going back to the firm after his time in Salt Lake City. So he was actually retired from Bain.
Roger Simon compares the Otherness of Barack Obama (Kenyan! Socialist!) to the Otherness of Mitt Romney (Swiss bank accounts! Outsourcing!) and wonders why it is that Mitt is so unlikable.
Personally, I think Mitt is Bizarro Kerry: They’re both stiff, awkward Massachusetts politicians with tons of money and a complete inability to connect with anyone outside their own tax bracket, running doomed campaigns against crappy presidents who would lose to a strong opponent. If they weren’t from different parties and different religions it’d be hard to tell them apart.
“I’m in this race because I care about Americans,” Romney told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien this morning after his resounding victory in Florida on Tuesday. “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.”
“I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling and I’ll continue to take that message across the nation.”
It’s kinda hard to believe that he has any intention of fixing the poor’s safety net if he’s not concerned about them. Not to mention the fact that he is, well, a Republican, and cutting up the safety net is kind of what they do.
Also apparently the very poor are not the heart of America, and are not struggling. (True, he says the very rich aren’t the heart of America either, but unlike the poor they have our entire political system at their beck and call, so I think they’ll be okay.)
From a HuffPo story about how the peculiar Mormon practice of retroactively “baptizing” dead people (often Jews) as Mormons might affect the Florida GOP primary:
Any Mormon may baptize any person posthumously. Church members have performed the ritual on Buddha, Catholic popes, 9/11 hijackers, William Shakespeare, Joan of Arc, Elvis Presley, President Obama’s mother and even reportedly Jesus Christ.
So… That means that it was Mormons who attacked the United States on 9/11. I can only assume Dubya didn’t know about this, otherwise he might have tried to invade Catholicism.
1 commentJanuary 26th, 2012 at 07:19amPosted by Eli
Mitt Romney’s response to a guy who went bust on real estate investments and is considering leaving the country so he can afford his retirement:
Yeah. It’s just tragic, isn’t it? Just tragic, just tragic. We’re just so overleveraged, so much debt in our society, and some of the institutions that hold it aren’t willing to write it off and say they made a mistake, they loaned too much, we’re overextended, write those down and start over. They keep on trying to harangue and pretend what they have on their books is still what it’s worth.
The banks are scared to death, of course, because they think they’re going to go out of business. They’re afraid that if they write all these loans off, they’re going to go broke. And so they’re feeling the same thing you’re feeling. They just want to pretend all of this is going to get paid someday so they don’t have to write it off and potentially go out of business themselves.
It’s probably not a great idea to pivot your expression of sympathy to those poor terrified banks. Not if you actually want to get elected. I’m just sayin’.
To hear Mitt Romney tell it, his two and a half years as a Mormon missionary in France in the late 1960s were tough times. The places he was staying often had no working toilet, and certainly no baths or showers, he said just this past Sunday (in an effort to divert attention from the $10,000 bet he made Rick Perry). He lived, he said, just like lower-middle income Frenchmen lived.
Turns out he was living in basically a palace, with servants, a chef, and multiple showers and bathrooms. But I guess maybe it was poor compared to his accustomed standard of living.
I think Brad DeLong is mostly right that President Obama hasn’t really been all that different from Hypothetical President Romney, although I’m skeptical that Romney would have bothered with sweeping (but crappy) healthcare reform. The more interesting part of his thesis is that Republicans and the media would be praising the exact same policies as Pragmatic Bipartisan Compromise instead of Liberofascist Socialist Overreach. Which is probably mostly true, especially for the media, but I think DeLong underestimates the right’s loyalty to Romney and willingness to mindlessly carry water for him.
Still, the broader points are worth remembering:
1) Party affiliation is more important than actual policy. Most Republicans will defend any other mainstream or conservative Republican’s policy and attack any mainstream or progressive Democrat’s, while most Democrats will (very timidly) do the same for mainstream and conservative Democrats and against Republicans. Which is why Democrats would fight to the death to defend Social Security from a Republican president, but will roll over and play dead when Obama goes after it in the name of deficit reduction and fiscal “seriousness”, and why Republicans suddenly care about the Constitution and deficits after 8 years of looking the other way for Dubya.
2) The media is far more likely to approve of Republican actions and disapprove of Democratic actions than vice versa. Because America is a center-right nation that doesn’t approve of any Democratic or progressive policies at all. And Republicans are oh so serious and responsible, and so much stronger than Democrats on family values and economics and security and foreign policy.
Reform of our health care system can be accomplished by strengthening the private insurance system, as we did in Massachusetts when I was Governor. Strip away burdensome regulations to get the cost of insurance policies down.
Because if there’s one thing wrong with the insurance industry, it’s that it’s too heavily regulated.
In his remarks, Romney dismissed those who counsel diplomacy in the region — specifically the Baker-Hamilton Commission — as naively thinking “everything would be fine in the Middle East” if “we could just settle things between the Palestinians and the Israelis”:
“The consequences of that accommodation of his [Hitler’s] press releases was devastating to the entire world, and most devastating to millions of Jews,” Romney said to about 200 people at a Republican Jewish Coalition of Florida function. “Today we have individuals who believe that the cause of the challenges in the Middle East is the conflict in Israel with the Palestinians, and that if somehow we could just have the Baker-Hamilton Commission imposed and we could just settle things between the Palestinians and the Israelis, why everything would be fine in the Middle East.”
Comparing attempts to broker peace between Israel and Palestine to the appeasement of Hitler is simply ridiculous. But so is believing that such a peace would somehow magically fix the rest of the Middle East. I think it’s the right thing to do for its own sake, and for the good of both the Palestinians and the Israelis, but I don’t think it would change anything else – it certainly wouldn’t have the slightest bit of impact on Iraq, Iran, or al Qaeda.
1 commentJanuary 23rd, 2008 at 07:52amPosted by Eli
J. COFER BLACK is GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s chief weapon against Islamo-fascism. The former CIA official chairs Romney’s Counterterrorism Policy Advisory Group. Also, the 9/11 Commission, the Congressional Joint Inquiry on 9/11 and the CIA’s inspector general all condemn him for dropping the ball before Sept. 11, 2001. Black’s spot in Romney’s brain trust raises grave doubts about the former Massachusetts governor’s national-security judgment.
At CNN/YouTube’s Nov. 28 debate, Romney said that when pondering terrorist interrogation, “I get that advice from Cofer Black, who is a person who was responsible for counterterrorism in the CIA for some 35 years.” Actually, this is false. Black served the CIA for 28 years and directed its Counterterrorist Center (CTC) for less than three — from June 1999 to May 2002.
In January 2000, Black’s CTC briefed top CIA, FBI and White House officials on a 9/11 planning summit in Kuala Lumpur. Hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar attended. Alas, these two left Malaysia, then vanished in Bangkok.
But in early March 2000, the CIA learned that Hazmi had flown to Los Angeles that Jan. 15, as did Mihdhar.
“No one outside of the Counterterrorist Center was told any of this,” the 9/11 Commission Report states (page 181). “The CIA did not try to register Mihdhar or Hazmi with the State Department’s TIPOFF watchlist…”
In January 2001, the CIA tied Mihdhar to “Khallad,” an al-Qaida agent who bombed the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000. “Yet we found no effort by the CIA to renew the long-abandoned search for Mihdhar or his travel companions,” the 9/11 Commission concluded (page 266). It added that then-CIA Director George “Tenet and Cofer Black testified before Congress’s Joint Inquiry into 9/11 that the FBI had access to this identification from the beginning. But drawing on an extensive record … we conclude this was not the case.”
Were Mihdhar “watchlisted,” he could have been arrested when he returned from Mecca on July 4, 2001. Instead, he resumed his mass-murder plans.
These botched opportunities also prevented the FBI from activating a California source who knew Hazmi and Mihdhar. “The informant’s contacts with the hijackers, had they been capitalized upon, would have given the San Diego FBI field office perhaps the Intelligence Community’s best chance to unravel the Sept. 11 plot,” the Congressional Joint Inquiry’s declassified December 2002 report heartbreakingly observes. “Given the CIA’s failure to disseminate, in a timely manner, intelligence information on the significance and location of al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi, that chance, unfortunately, never materialized.”
On Aug. 25, 2005, the Associated Press’ Katherine Shrader revealed that CIA Inspector General John Helgerson’s then-classified report “recommended disciplinary reviews” for Black, Tenet and former clandestine-service head Jim Pavett. “The former officials are likely candidates for proceedings before an accountability board,” Shrader wrote. Tenet’s successor, Porter Goss, took no disciplinary action.
Romney elevated Black to run his counterterrorism advisory board. Despite deep, declassified dismay with Black’s pre-Sept. 11 tenure, it’s been onward and upward for Black on Team Romney.
Few heads rolled after 9/11, despite the incompetence that allowed al-Qaida to massacre 2,978 human beings. Cofer Black kept his head, and now uses it to advise someone who promoted him in September, and praised him on CNN in late November.
This news should keep Republican primary voters wide awake at night.
Sure looks like Mitt is pulling out all the stops to live up to Dubya’s legacy of incompetence and failure.
Okay, so…� Remember that negative anti-Romney ad Huckabee made a big show of not airing?� The one that his campaign had in Total Security Lockdown so that copies of it wouldn’t leak out?
Well, we didn’t run the ad, Sean. What we did–we pulled it. I knew that if we said we had made one and didn’t reveal that it existed there would have been the cynicism of the reporters that had said “Oh, you really didn’t have one”, but we did. And I don’t know how you obtained that copy because we didn’t give it to anybody. We had a box of CD’s of em, we gave then to no one. We showed it in that room, for those reporters and the only way they could have gotten it would be to tape it—I guess off a camera from the screen…
The ad Huckabee said he decided not to run has now appeared at least three times in Iowa anyway. It accuses Romney of being “dishonest” but shades the facts in the process.
According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group of TNS Media intelligence, the ad appeared Dec. 31 on WHBF-TV and KLJB-TV in Davenport and on KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids. The ad ran once on each station. We will update this count as data for later dates becomes available. When we contacted the Huckabee campaign for an explanation, a representative expressed surprise to hear the ad had been on the air. We’ll update this with any explanation we receive from the campaign.
Well, since the Huckabee campaign has kept those CDs Under Total Security Lockdown and hasn’t given them out to anybody, there’s only one possible explanation: Those TV stations must have obtained bootleg copies from cameramen who filmed the ad when it was screened at Huckabee’s press conference, and then they went ahead and aired the bootlegs on their own initiative and at their own expense.
Incidentally, during the speech he lauded Bush for getting us off oil, and then lamented that oil hit $100 a barrel today and that we buy 60% of our energy and that energy independence is a major challenge. But his cadence made it all seem fine, so it was! Or maybe straightshooter Joe Klein will call it a gaffe, as he was there.
Brilliant! He was for Dubya’s energy policy before he was against it.
Mike Huckabee went on Hannity & Colmes to try and beat down the alleged controversy he caused by showing a group of reporters an attack ad on Romney that he had made but then decided not to run because he’s so pure—though he played it for them anyway—so he could say he didn’t—
“If a man’s this dishonest to obtain a job—then he’ll be dishonest on the job,” Mike Huckabee from the ad that never ran.
Huckabee: Well, we didn’t run the ad, Sean. What we did–we pulled it. I knew that if we said we had made one and didn’t reveal that it existed there would have been the cynicism of the reporters that had said “Oh, you really didn’t have one”, but we did. And I don’t know how you obtained that copy because we didn’t give it to anybody. We had a box of CD’s of em, we gave then to no one. We showed it in that room, for those reporters and the only way they could have gotten it would be to tape it—I guess off a camera from the screen…
Colmes: I want to know if you stand by the words of that ad? Do you stand by the words in the ad?
Huckabee: I never retracted the words, but I pulled the ad because I felt like that it is the tone and the spirit of the ad that we need…. I made it very clear that when you say things about an opponent’s record that aren’t true or say things about your own record which aren’t true, I don’t know how else you call that…dishonest…
Back to you, Mitt. Huckabee just called you a liar and unfit for office to your face. The copy on H&C just fell from the sky….He actually has the nerve to say that if he didn’t show the attack ad then he would have been attacked for hiding it. I mean, how many Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s should he be required to say as penance for this nonsense?
And it’s a nasty ad for sure. Listen, you only get criticized for your actions—not something you produced but then didn’t run. If his conscience was bothering him so much then all he had to do was shelve it in silence. If any reporter got wind of it, just admit it existed and be done with it. The Preacher is probably trying to get as much publicity on the ad as possible because then he doesn’t have to shell out the Romney bucks to air it.
Wow, I was not aware that dishonesty was now a disqualifier for a Republican presidential candidate; hell, I thought it was a prerequisite.
You have to love how Huck wants to have it both ways, propagating a hit piece on Romney as a way of showing off how not-negative he is. This is just the kind of unapologetic, in-your-face up-is-downism that the GOP just loves.
Maybe Mitt’s problem isn’t that he’s dishonest, but rather that he’s just not as slick at it as Huckabee. (“I have no idea how every media outlet in the country obtained a copy of this ad that was so terrible that I didn’t want anyone to see it – I’ll get my security team on that right away, and I promise to fire whoever is responsible. And by “fire,” of course I mean “promote.”)
I apologize, I just realized that the tone of this post is awfully negative, so please just forget you ever read it. And be sure to tell your friends about all the mean things I said, so that they’ll know to avoid it.
Dallas: Why, to this date in the 21st century, do elected officials feel the need to place their voice into other people’s private lives and say that we the people can’t live that way or be that way?
Tagg Romney: Interesting question. I think a lot of us are frustrated by those who are attempting to expand the role and size of government. Did you see Hillary Clinton’s latest ad? She was wrapping Christmas gifts for the American people–universal pre-K, universal health care, etc. She was right when she said she had a million ideas, America just can’t afford them all. My Dad believes that the greatness of the America comes from the American people–not the government.
Ooo, nice. Tagg gets a question that sounds like it’s about social conservatives trying to legislate morality, and he turns it into a spiel about tax-and-spend big-government liberals like Hillary. Well played, Tagg old bean. Well played. Let’s see how he handles something a little tougher:
Dunn Loring, Va.: Let’s see if you’ll answer this one: If the “war against Islamofacism” is the greatest struggle of our time, as your party puts it, why won’t you or one of your four healthy brothers volunteer to serve in either the military or the reserve military? Particularly as the military has problems recruiting top-notch people and has relaxed the admission standards?
Tagg Romney: Happy to answer it, thanks for the question. At the time I would have joined the military, we weren’t fighting a war and the military was being downsized by Bill Clinton (I think he referred to it as a peace dividend). I decided to go into business and have been actively pursuing that career ever since. I have extraordinary respect for those who voluntarily decide to serve in the military, they are true heroes and deserve to be treated as such.
“At the time I would have joined the military…” Interesting. So, apparently – and I was not aware of this – there’s a very specific and narrow time window during which you can enlist. And if your services are not required at that time, well, that’s it for you, your chance to enlist is gone forever. Frankly, I’m a little surprised that none of the other young Republicans who didn’t serve have ever brought this fact up.
Really, it’s a damn shame (and a remarkable coincidence) that not only Tagg, but all four of his brothers had unfortunately timed enlistment windows, and thus forever missed their chances to defend their country against Scary Islamofascism. That must eat away at them every day. “If only I had known,” they cry. “If only I had known.”
Dammit, now I’m too broken up by this terrible family tragedy to continue. But I think you get the general idea.
1 commentDecember 20th, 2007 at 09:18pmPosted by Eli
He made a similar statement Sunday during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He said, “You can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at our lives. My dad marched with Martin Luther King. My mom was a tireless crusader for civil rights.”
Right. Got it — dad marched with MLK. Even David Broder says so, and supplies some corroborative detail intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative….
As Mitt Romney recalled in his address, his father was able to remind people that he had marched with Martin Luther King Jr. (through upscale Grosse Pointe, Mich., in support of open-housing legislation).
Problem is, it’s not true. None of it. As the Phoenix’s David Bernstein reveals (see also update here) in some superb digging, George Romney never marched “with” — i.e., in the presence of, at the same place at the same time — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Here’s Bernstein, who in addition to calling out Romney, calls out Broder:
[W]hile the late George W. Romney, a four-term governor of Michigan, can lay claim to a strong record on civil rights, the Phoenix can find no evidence that the senior Romney actually marched with King, nor anything in the public record suggesting that he ever claimed to do so. Nor did Mitt Romney ever previously claim that this took place, until long after his father passed away in 1995 – not even when defending accusations of the Mormon church’s discriminatory past during his 1994 Senate campaign.Asked about the specifics of George Romney’s march with MLK, Mitt Romney’s campaign told the Phoenix that it took place in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. That jibes with the description proffered by David S. Broder in a Washington Post column written days after Mitt’s College Station speech.
But that account is incorrect. King never marched in Grosse Pointe, according to the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, and had not appeared in the town at all at the time the Broder book was published. “I’m quite certain of that,” says Suzy Berschback, curator of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society….
Faced with the unfortunate reality that Mitt was making things up, his campaign has retreated into a hilarious Humpty-Dumptyism about what it means to “march with” someone. You see, it doesn’t mean that you were actually there. It means that, well, you participated in a march about a related topic on a different day, and maybe you thought about the guy while you were doing it.
I am not making this up. Apparently, it’s all about what the meaning of “with” is. Can you believe that, after Bill Clinton’s debacle over the meaning of the word “is,” another political figure would try something like that?
Ah, but it gets even worse, if you can imagine that:
Romney: “My own eyes? You know, I speak in the sense of I saw my dad become president of American Motors. I wasn’t actually there when he became president of American Motors, but I saw him in the figurative sense of he marched with Martin Luther King. My brother also remembers him marching with Martin Luther King and so in that sense I saw him march with Martin Luther King.”
He added, “You know, I’m an English literature major as well. When we say, I saw the Patriots win the World Series, it doesn’t necessarily mean you were there – excuse me, the Super Bowl. I saw my dad become president of American Motors. Did that mean you were there for the ceremony? No, it’s a figure of speech.”
I weep for the state of English literature. And New English sports fandom.