Sunday, September 30, 2012

Zingers? Really??

Mr. Romney’s team has concluded that debates are about creating moments and has equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practicing on aides since August. ~ NY Times
So Mitt Romney's hopes now rest on his ability to sling vicious one-liners at the President during the debates.

Roseanne for President. Or maybe Don Rickles. Romney can channel Paul Lynde and win the gay vote. If he does Phyllis Diller Mitt will lock in the women's vote. Work in a little Jimmy Kimmel and the election is his.

But these won't be spontaneous, ad-lib zingers like Reagan or Clinton could produce. Of course not. These will be pre-packaged, canned lines that Romney will spend the whole debate trying to awkwardly shoehorn into the conversation.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Romney Flips Again

Mitt Romney's campaign is flopping around like a dying fish on a boat deck trying to find a viable campaign position.

On Sunday on CBS's 60-Minutes, Romney took the position that the emergency room is the only basic care health that poor people require.

Just three days later, on NBC, Romney took the exact opposite position, proudly claiming RomneyCare in Massachusetts insured everybody and that, compassionately, the poor need not rely on emergency room care.

All this flip-flopping around makes for an unusual campaign strategy. His opponents can't pin him down to a single policy long enough to formulate a response. Besides, how can President Obama prepare for the debates if he doesn't know which Romney will show up on any particular day?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Clearing Out My Backlog

Some minor things I've been holding back.

Why the Polls May Be Wrong
The polls may be inaccurate not because any technical errors but from Republican efforts to rig voting.
  • Voter ID laws prevent Democrats from voting
  • Republican poll watchers challenging minority voters
  • Long lines in minority voting precincts coupled with bosses threatening to fire people who are late to work on election day
  • Republican voter intimidation
  • Aggressive state government directed vote suppression in Florida and Ohio.
In general, the success of the Great Disenfranchisement.

NFL, Gamblers, and Scab Refs
The big unnoticed scandal in the NFL is that the replacement refs may be fixing some of the games. The Seattle-Green Bay debacle swung the results of some $200 million in legal and illegal bets. These replacement refs have not been vetted, vocal fans of certain teams have been officiating their team's games. It is probable some of the short term refs have decided to cash in. In fact, if organized crime has not been bribing the scab officials I'd be very disappointed in the Mafia.

The Lady Vanishes
A corrupt Florida Republican congressman (is there any other kind), David Rivera, is being investigated for secretly funding a primary challenger to his Democratic opponent. The key witness, Ana Alliegro, was supposed to meet with the FBI on September 6. Instead she has disappeared. She may just be on the lam in Nicaragua or maybe she has been cut into little bits and fed to Everglades alligators.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


It may be hard for Mormons to convince skeptics that they are not a cult when they do things like this.

A Mormon named David Twede was threatened by LDS leaders in Florida with excommunication if he did not stop criticizing Mitt Romney in his blog. It has been a secret tenet of the faith that Romney ascending to the presidency was predicted by Prophet Joseph Smith in the White Horse Prophecy. Ann Romney has subtly alluded to this by saying that Mitt is destined to be the savior of America.

While the LDS Church cannot publicly discipline Harry Reid for apostasy without risking a firestorm they felt safer attacking a lone individual expressing his personal opinion.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Clearest Sign All Is Not Well in Romneyland

I don't trust polls. I've seen too many campaigns get over confident, try to run out the clock, and fail in the last week. I remember how George Bush Jr. looked tipsy in the first debate in 2004 and it not mattering. Besides, shit happens. I won't feel comfortable until the day after Election Day when Ann Romney accuses Satan of denying her husband the White House.

Still, the clearest sign that all is not well in Romneyland is the dearth of comments over at rightwing blogs. The "enthusiasm factor" that was supposed to make all the difference for Republicans this year seems to have dried up.

The only topic at Redstate that has generated any interest is a review of the new iPhone. Ann Althouse used to see hundreds of comments to each of her vapid posts; now she is only getting thirty or forty. MSNBC is getting higher ratings that Fox News. It appears even rank and file wingnuts are getting tired of calling President Obama a Communist.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Strange Case of the Missing $7 Million

Mitt Romney released his 2011 taxes. The story has been he had to artificially reduces his deductions to keep his effective tax rate from falling below 10%.

More interesting to me is that his reported income fell by one-third between January (when he filed his estimated return) and today. That's a big chunk of change. The linked article suspects Romney secreted the millions in trust accounts in an effort to make Mitt look less like disgusting fat cat.

Mitt Romney
Of course, it's possible the same grifters who are bleeding Romney's campaign funds go their hands on his personal income.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Romney's Staff Are the World's Greatest Grifters

Mover over Carlo Ponzi. Take a seat Bernie Madoff. The greatest grifters in the history of the Big Con have to be Mitt Romney's campaign staff.

Mitt Romney was supposed to have the largest political war chest ever seen in politics. He was proudly conserving his cash for a big push after the conventions. To date his spending has not been extraordinary, Obama has outspent him, yet Romney's campaign is running out of money.

Where has it gone? Tens of millions of dollars have simply disappeared. Where?? I'd love to see a Pricewaterhouse Cooper audit of Romney's campaign and Mitt should be demanding one.

Here we are just six weeks out from the election. President Obama is campaigning as full time as possible while also holding the job of leader of the free world. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is spending the majority of his time fund raising. Mitt's staff still has him pitching his campaign to wealthy donors like it was a dotcom IPO when he should be campaigning.

To top it off, Mitt's campaign staff wrote themselves big ass bonuses.

His staff has been playing Mitt as a mark and he has been a compliant sucker. What's even more impressive is that the people behind Romney's superPAC have been playing a parallel con on Mitt's billionaire buddies. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Romney the Pessimist

In the cold light of reflection about the Romney Tapes what is lingering for me is what a pessimist Mitt is.

Mitt doesn't talk about the difficult task he has convincing the 47% to vote for him. No, he just writes them off. He doesn't talk about how hard finding a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine is. No, he just declares it impossible and a task not worth pursuing.

What the tape shows most clearly is that Mitt Romney is a sneering misanthrope. While Barack Obama represents the three theological virtues (Faith, Hope, and Charity), Mitt Romney subscribes to their opposite:

Apostasy - He is a Mormon, after all.
Despair - Nothing can be done nor should we even try.
Indifference - The poor shall always be with us draining our profits.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who Are the 47%

Mitt Romney dismisses 47% of the country as mooches (Not his word but a word used by Republicans defending him.). These Americans are the people he doesn't care about. So, who are they?
  • Parents who send their children to public school. The right Americans, the Job Creators, send their children to private schools. Moochers use government funded public schools.
  • Retired people. People in their 70's and above don't take personal responsibility for their lives. Like greedy sponges they live off their "retirement" and Social Security.
  • Workers. Waiters, dishwashers, roofers, landscapers, street repair workers, garbage collectors, teachers, and everybody who sweats for a living. All these people are parasites who pay little or no Federal income tax. They don't have any "skin in the game."
  • Soldiers. They lazily sit back and expect the government to pay for their clothing, pup tents, food and water, even their bullets and guns.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Government of the Rich, By the Rich, and For the Rich

I'm not concerned about the very poor. ~ Mitt Romney, Feb 1, 2012
Romney's latest reveal, made to a room of very rich donors, is really just an expansion of his February comment.
My job is not to worry about "those people." ~ Mitt in private
According to Romney, nearly half of the American population are irresponsible parasites unwilling to care for themselves. He would view his job as President to not give a rat's ass about them.

Republicans have contented that the right to vote ought to be denied to people who don't earn enough to pay Federal taxes. Republicans have contented that the poor and middle class don't pay their fair share in taxes. And that the majority of Americans (58%) who believe the rich don't pay enough in taxes are stupid, jealous thieves.

Romney's Rats Shipboard Romance Fails

I've been involved in politics long enough to have held some pretty strong delusions. I remember believing, right up until the end, that Walter Mondale was going to beat Ronald Reagan in 1984.

There was a San Diego city council election a few years later where I was working 25-hour days for an incumbent who was also a friend. I was absolutely convinced we were going to win until the campaign consultant took me aside and  told me to stay away from the election night festivities. My candidate wasn't just toast, she was landslide toast.

In 2008, John McCain was leading in the polls following the Republican Convention. A fact absolutely no Democrat believed.

I mention these stories because campaigns need this kind of blind enthusiasm.  No one can put in the kind of effort campaigns require if you believe you are going to get your ass handed to you while you are being kicked in the nuts.

I mention all this because the aura of panic surrounding the Romney campaign has a very particular stench to it. 
A rats, sinking ship stench.

There was never, even when he was winning primaries, any enthusiasm for Mitt Romney. His was always a spinach and peas campaign (I know you hate it, but it's good for you.). Republican election enthusiasm has always been exclusively anti-Obama; it didn't matter to them if their candidate was Romney, Bachmann, Cain, or Ish Kabibble (or Donald Trump).

Mitt Romney may have won the lottery but he never won the hearts of his own supporters. Now that polls are showing a few faint signs of Obama leading Romney supporters are falling over each other assigning blame while scrambling for the lifeboats. There is no sign of the blind faith that a candidate ought to inspire.

That doesn't mean Romney can't still win. Dicky Nixon was elected President and even his supporters loathed him.  But the dearth of people willing to walk through fire for Mitt Romney is a good sign for the rest of us.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Romney's Foreign Policy Acumen

Who has he pissed off, let me count the countries.
  • Great Britain before the start of the Olympics by accusing them of being fuck ups.
  • Israel when he attacked their Kibbutz movement.
  • Palestine, and Arabs in general, by saying they were poor because of their inferior "culture makes all the difference." Like the British, this one he did to their faces. Also,
  • Israel, again, in the same speech by dredging up an old Jewish stereotype.
  • Poland when an aide cursed out reporters at a Polish war memorial.
  • Russia by calling them "Enemy Number One."
  • China when he called them "cheaters," even though Romney made a fortune outsourcing American jobs to China.
  • Japan by claiming the country is insignificant and has been "in decline for a century."
  • Egypt and Libya by implying their governments were behind the riots that attacked American embassies.
I'm sure I've missed several countries. Romney's insults come faster than one can keep track.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Romney the Ghoul

Ghoul (n) - a person who revels in what is revolting. From an Arabic name for a demon that feeds on corpses.
An appropriate description of Mitt Romney after his ham-fisted attempt at exploiting for political gain the riots and deaths in Egypt, Libya, and now Yemen.  Romney clearly saw only opportunity in the destruction and dead Americans. That Romney also enjoyed feeding off the violence is clear from his amused expression on his face during his Wednesday exploitation press conference.
Maybe this will bury the old story that Mitt Romney is a robot. A robot would not be so happy. Romney may be heartless and inhuman, but he is not a robot. Demonic, perhaps, but not a machine.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Polking Romney

Mitt Romney has looked at George Washington, Abe Lincoln, hell even Ronald Reagan, and he has found the presidential hero he most wants to emulate. James Knox Polk. Here's a look at why.
  • Polk was the penultimate slaveholding president (Zachary Taylor was the last). He used his increased income from being President to buy more slaves.
  • Polk aggressively pursued Manifest Destiny.
  • He started a war with Mexico with the intention of taking California, and the territory to the east, from Mexico.
  • He tried to buy Cuba from Spain but failed.
  • He threatened war with Britain (Fifty-four Forty or Fight) and demanded half of what is now Canada but settled for Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
But the real and only reason Mitt Romney loves James Polk is that Polk was instrumental in the Mormon migration to Utah.

The Mormon Battalion
Polk had defended Mormons against religious persecution and even donated money ($10, I didn't say Polk wasn't a cheapskate) to the church. In 1846, Polk recruited the only religiously based unit in United States military history.  As a military outfit, the Mormon Battalion marched a lot (from Iowa to San Diego) but was otherwise useless. They did fight one battle against a herd of wild cattle (the victory is commemorated with a monument).

Polk made a secret deal with Brigham Young to turn over to Mormons the newly acquired land around the Great Salt Lake in exchange for their allegiance to the United States government. The salaries paid to the Mormon Battalion amounting to a bribe for that loyalty.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Saga of Mitt Romney

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile
Romney retracts his  Meet the Press interview.
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse
Crooked man (l) with crooked cat (c) and crooked mouse (r)
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.
The California mansion that needs a car elevator.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Will Romney's Money Matter?

Money is the mother's milk of politics. ~ Jesse Unruh
Romney has started dumping a shit ton of money on swing state advertising. One thing I absolutely know about political consultants is that they never share the fact that there is a point of diminishing returns in political spending. Meg Whitman spent $177 million trying to buy the California governor's office. She outspent Jerry Brown by 5 to 1. Brown won in a landslide, by 13%.

The consultants will tell a candidate that you have to catch voters attention at least three times for a message to stick. What the consultants don't say (because they only get paid for spending campaign money) is if you hit the voters too often they'll start hating the message. I've seen it happen.

On one campaign I worked on we had so many volunteers we could man large phone banks every night. We call our supporters so frequently we started getting threats, "If you call one more time I'm going to vote for the other guy." In 2010, Whitman sent out a thick, full color booklet to voters. The only message voters got from the booklet is that Whitman is a spendthrift.

I'm not saying Romney can't buy the White House like it's just another one of his mansions. I am suggesting that drowning a handful of swing states in anti-Obama commercials may cause voters to start hating Romney's sledgehammer.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Clinton Effect

It wasn't but a week ago that Republicans were predicting that Bill Clinton hates President Obama and he would use his convention speech to praise himself (a la Chris Christie) while subtly digging Obama's grave as only Bubba can. Boy, were they wrong.

Clinton eviscerated Republicans without appearing mean, as only Bubba can. Republican pundits were reduced to blubbering pathetically that their side is toast, complaining that Bill talked too long and ad-libbed too much (as if suddenly teleprompters are a good thing), and whining that Bill didn't reference Dwight Eisenhower enough.

It is still too easy to overstate the effect of conventions but if Bill Clinton was Babe Ruth that would mean Paul Ryan is Mario Mendoza and Clint Eastwood is Max Patkin.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Images from Conventions Past

When I was a kid we used to watch the political conventions on television every night. Not, as you might imagine, because my parents were particularly political but because it was a time before cable and there was literally nothing else on television.

1964 - Republicans
It was a different time. Republicans held the convention in San Francisco (nowadays the mere mention of that city will cause a Republican to turn around three times and spit) in a place with the embarrassing name of the Cow Palace. Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (R-NY) was booed when he spoke. The nominee, Barry Goldwater, was so radical he wanted to end the Vietnam War by using nuclear weapons.
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. ~ Goldwater, 1964
1968 - Democrats
So many memories. CBS's Dan Rather was punched and dragged off the convention floor by police on live TV. In a separate incident, CBS's Mike Wallace was also forcibly removed from the convention floor by police. And then there was the Chicago police riot. Determined to remove anti-war protesters the police attacked unarmed civilians with brutal force. They used so much tear gas it could be smelled inside the convention. Nobody remembers what nominee Hubert Humphrey said.
Fuck you, you Jew son of a bitch. ~ Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago to Sen. Abraham Ribicoff (R-CT)

1972 - Republicans
Planned for San Diego until it was discovered that International Telephone & Telegraph had paid a $400,000 bribe to pay for the convention in exchange for Nixon's Justice Department dropping an antitrust case against them. Really it was to avoid the protests planned for San Diego. The convention itself was scripted up the wazoo and utterly boring.
Nixon's the one
Nixon's the one
Nixon's the only one
We believe in Nixon
Nixon's the only one.
~ 1972 campaign song

2008 - Democrats
Still a stirring sight.

Monday, September 03, 2012

"Are You Better Off Today?"

Depends on the rest of the question. If the question is...

Are you better off now than twelve years ago when Bill Clinton was President? The answer here is clearly no. Many more people are unemployed now than then. Middle class wealth, measured by the value of their homes, is significantly less. But if the question is...

Are you better off now than four years ago when George Bush was President? The answer here is just a clearly yes. Four years ago the economy was teetering on the cliff of a depression. The banking industry had shut down. Bank foreclosures on middle class homeowners was sky rocketing. Jobs were being shed at a staggering rate. And we were still stuck in a no-win war in Iraq.

There is a lot of room for improvement but we are in fact better off than the last time a Republican lived in the White House.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Republican Convention Postmortem

It's difficult to do an autopsy without ever seeing the body. Difficult, but not impossible. I didn't watch the RNC (I won't watch the Democrats either, so that's fair). I did read the coverage, including rightwing coverage. Also, to mix metaphors, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and in that regard the poll results are the only review that matters. Still,

1) Clint Eastwood was the wrong man on the wrong day. The best evidence is that all the professionals on Romney's staff were falling over each other to insist that they weren't responsible. I can't imagine how anyone would think an "angry old white man ranting insanely at an empty chair" would be a good optic at any time. But to use it as the lead in to Romney's "most important speech of his life" guaranteed a power surge as TVs switched over to Honey Boo Boo.

2) Not to mention that all everybody was talking about on Friday was Eastwood and not Romney. Romney's acceptance speech was ignored.

3) Paul Ryan's lying was so egregious even Fox News had to cry foul. Hell, even Ryan's brother called him out for lying about running a marathon.

4) Where's the momentum? After conventions there is always a whirlwind of activity. I didn't see that.

5) Every convention has one iconic image. In 2008 it was an attractive and energetic Sarah Palin for the Republicans and for Democrats it was Barack Obama. This is the iconic image for Republicans in 2012:
Let's see if the Dems can do better.