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January 12, 2012 5:16 PM   Subscribe

When Mitt Romney Came to Town (subtitle: The King of Bain) a 30 minute attack documentary whose "overriding sensibility is not Swift Boat — it's Frontline, replete with a calming voice of God narration and meticulous sourcing to SEC filings, court documents, and the Boston Globe" (Rolling Stone) provides an interesting moment in the future of political messaging and funding.

Airing as part of a $3.4 million campaign in South Carolina by pro Newt Gingrich SuperPAC Winning Our Future an "Independent Expenditure Committee" run by former Newt Gingrich spokesman Rich Tyler, and a recent recipient of a $5 million donation from casino mogul and billionaire Sheldon Adelson.
posted by stratastar (195 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 


Imagine how much worse the video would be if Romney had cancer.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:24 PM on January 12, 2012 [18 favorites]


I watched the trailer for this the other day and I'm pleased that the whole movie is now available online. I like films that show the conflict between two villains, but don't really have any heroes.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:27 PM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jon Stewart had a very cogent observation in that the Not-Romneys are all super gung-ho about zero regulation and unfettered capitalism and "we are a classless society" dreck... until the product of that system (Romney) proves politically annoying to them, at which point they become BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTIONARIES.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:30 PM on January 12, 2012 [41 favorites]


PolitiFact: In the meantime, here's a helpful summary of what happens in the video, minute by minute
There are in fact several minutes missing from the summary, such as minutes 2, 4, 5, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 25. With only sixty seven per cent of minutes covered, we rate PolitiFact's statement as Mostly True.
posted by kithrater at 5:30 PM on January 12, 2012 [86 favorites]


Well put together. Some touches I particularly appreciated:

- They never mention that he's a Mormon (could be controversial) but... they do a slow pan over a Time cover that mentions it. Time is so middle of the road and boring that this couldn't possibly cause trouble and they manage to sneak it in.

- Clips of him speaking French (with an atrocious accent) as part of an Olympics promotional thing for the SLC event. Perfectly lines up with the image his enemies want to project.

- This one late middle aged woman they 'cast' (and that is what they did, the aggrieved ordinary people here were meticulously curated) hits this perfect note at some point when her voice almost but not quite cracks. Fantastic! I bet they did a fist pump in the editing bay when they saw that footage.

- The rest of the casting was great too. Instead of being artistically lazy and having someone talk about their military service, they had him wear a Vietnam baseball cap, somebody was paying attention when they were taught to show rather than to tell!
posted by atrazine at 5:31 PM on January 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


I would pay Metafilter $1 for the ability, once-per-week, to SuperFavorite a reply.

If I had said power, I would spend it on kithrater's comment. Well done.
posted by andreaazure at 5:32 PM on January 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


This isn’t about a politician making huge profits in the private sector, [I] think what Governor Perry is getting at is that Governor Romney claimed to have created 100,000 jobs at Bain and you know, people are wanting to know: Is there proof of that claim? And was it U.S. jobs created for United States [c]itizens? You know, the 100,000 jobs, and I believe that that’s what Governor Perry is getting at is, you know, own up to the claims that are being made I had and that’s fair. That’s not negative campaigning, that’s fair to get a candidate to be held accountable to what’s being claimed, especially when it comes to job creation because so many of us are so concerned about what’s going on on Main Street, as well as Wall Street.” -- Sarah Palin on Mittens' 100K job creation claim.
posted by birdherder at 5:33 PM on January 12, 2012


Oh man, and I almost forgot my favourite bit.

'He took seed money from Latin America' with a picture of him standing on the stairs of a private jet looking inside. Who was in there? PROBABLY DRUG DEALERS.
posted by atrazine at 5:34 PM on January 12, 2012 [20 favorites]


I'm really getting a big kick out of this republican primary. Freaking clowns...
posted by slapshot57 at 5:35 PM on January 12, 2012


Romney is the poster boy for the 1%. Already he is trying to deflect this as "an attack on free enterprise". If you believe that, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you. At a good price.

It's your own damn fault if you buy it.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:37 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


That this is the line of attack coming from Mitt's Republican challengers is telling either a) about where the state of the popular opinion is going or b) about just how much the Republican base hates Romney as the nominee.

Because really, Mitt is the Republican embodiment of deregulation, of "free market" capitalism, of the richest takes all mentality that they've pushed since at least 1980. He rode in on a wave of money, fired hated union workers and outsourced those jobs to China over and over and over. And he made a quarter bil in the process, thereby proving that he was the smartest guy in the room, right? By all rights he's the perfect Republican canidate. You literally could not craft a more perfect backstory for a Republican presidential run if you sat down and wrote out a wishlist in a 1000 page manifesto. How can they now turn around and play like any of them have one single policy position that would meaningfully curb anything that Romney did at Bain or is happening on Wall St as we speak?
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:37 PM on January 12, 2012 [28 favorites]


"That’s not negative campaigning, that’s fair to get a candidate to be held accountable to what’s being claimed..." -Sarah Palin

Oh, Sarah, you crack me up! Wait--you're not running for anything, right? No? Whew. Ok. But you're just so funny!
posted by zardoz at 5:38 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jon Stewart had a very cogent observation in that the Not-Romneys are all super gung-ho about zero regulation and unfettered capitalism and "we are a classless society" dreck... until the product of that system (Romney) proves politically annoying to them, at which point they become BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTIONARIES.

Sean Hannity is - it goes without saying - a desperately stupid man. But even he knows that Mitt Romney is going to be the nominee. So although Hannity is clearly disgusted with the shit sandwich his party is serving him, he's cautioning the other candidates to go after Romney about other stuff instead of Bain. The Democrats will use it against him in the general election, etc.
posted by Trurl at 5:44 PM on January 12, 2012


His firm didn't seek to create value. Instead, like a scavenger, Romney looked for businesses he could pick apart. Indeed, he represented the worst possible kind of predator, operating within the law but well outside the bounds of what most real capitalists consider ethical.

Fascinating. Where can I learn more about real capitalists' ethical bounds? Are they written down anywhere?
posted by finite at 5:47 PM on January 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


See I don't know which is more advantageous, to have shit come out in the primary and get addressed and presumably defused(or continue to fester), or for things to come out in the general election with a limited amount of time to be in front of the audience. Personally? I think having things come out int he primary only helps a candidate, it gives them time to adjust and find the right message... So yeah, I hope the Reps smother this for now and have it come back bigger than ever in the GE
posted by edgeways at 5:48 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


How did these transactions come about? Was this pure takeover by Bain or was there a request from the owners, a wish, that this money come in?
posted by josher71 at 5:49 PM on January 12, 2012


Kevin Drum: “If Newt Gingrich doesn’t get to be quarterback, he’ll take his ball and go home. And then he’ll return with a backhoe, tear up the field, and turn it into a toxic waste dump.”
posted by octothorpe at 5:50 PM on January 12, 2012 [7 favorites]




Sean Hannity is - it goes without saying - a desperately stupid man. But even he knows that Mitt Romney is going to be the nominee. So although Hannity is clearly disgusted with the shit sandwich his party is serving him, he's cautioning the other candidates to go after Romney about other stuff instead of Bain. The Democrats will use it against him in the general election, etc.

I love the part where the Republicans destroy their only viable candidate, their only candidate that would stand a chance against Obama and the Democrats DON'T HAVE TO DO A THING.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:54 PM on January 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yeah I wonder what Romney did to Newt for newt to go so far into the weeds in his attacks. Seems like every other republican outlet is trying to shut Newt down at this point but he just won't relent. He is even debating the point on fox and friends. Dunno if this is a desperate play for paleo-tea partiers and paulites or if he is just trying to make sure Romney never wins anything ever again.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:55 PM on January 12, 2012


I like this : "Romney was named after hotel magnate J. Willard Marriott, his father's best friend, and his father's cousin Milton "Mitt" Romney, 1925–1929 quarterback for the Chicago Bears." wikiP

Oh scions of our past and future!
posted by stratastar at 5:57 PM on January 12, 2012


Yeah I wonder what Romney did to Newt for newt to go so far into the weeds in his attacks. Seems like every other republican outlet is trying to shut Newt down at this point but he just won't relent.
Isn't the answer obvious: He's running in an election against him. This just Newt being the incredibly craven powermad douchebag he's always been.
posted by delmoi at 5:58 PM on January 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yeah I wonder what Romney did to Newt for newt to go so far into the weeds in his attacks.

Remember -- this was created by a SuperPAC, not the Gingrich campaign itself. In theory, SuperPACs aren't allowed to coordinate with candidates at all. Whether that wall is truly in place or not, we wiill probably never know. But this came from somewhere else, so it's not really Newt going so far into the weeds.
posted by hippybear at 5:58 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Democrats will use it against him in the general election, etc.

The Democrats are going to be banging the drum about Mitt Romney's record at Bain from the day Mitt clinches the nomination to the day of the General no matter what Newt says or does. Not that it would be like Sean Hannity to miss a chance to be an odious little toady in any case, I suppose.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 5:58 PM on January 12, 2012


Is it Huntsman who's father runs a Superpac? (I think so, but if not one of the other 2nd tier candidates)
posted by edgeways at 5:59 PM on January 12, 2012


Remember -- this was created by a SuperPAC, not the Gingrich campaign itself. In theory, SuperPACs aren't allowed to coordinate with candidates at all. Whether that wall is truly in place or not, we wiill probably never know. But this came from somewhere else, so it's not really Newt going so far into the weeds.
I don't know how that 'wall' could practically exist when the funding came from a single person, who newt personally requested the money from.
posted by delmoi at 6:00 PM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ad Hominem, in Iowa Mitt's SuperPac ran ads highlighting Newt's own congressional ethics violations and payouts from Fannie Mae causing him major losses in polls (he was leading prior to those ads).

After that, I think Newt decided to go scorched earth. In the primaries the other candidates really did their best to NOT go after Mitt (perhaps hoping for a VP nom?); but as soon as the polls showed that voters were casting around for a non-Mitt, I think it created this open-season mentality.
posted by stratastar at 6:00 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder what Romney did to Newt for newt to go so far into the weeds in his attacks

At the beginning of Newt's campaign, he was regularly quoting the "Reagan Commandment:" don't speak ill of other Republicans. But he just couldn't compete with Romney's SuperPAC ads that way. He did ask Romney to disclaim or pull the negative ads, so I guess he felt he had nowhere else to go. It is hilarious to see the Republicans go all populist all of a sudden, though.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:02 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


How did these transactions come about? Was this pure takeover by Bain or was there a request from the owners, a wish, that this money come in?

These were privately owned companies, sold by their owners to Bain Capital. In most cases these owners are 3rd generation or later descendants of the founders who might not be that interested in running the business any more.
posted by atrazine at 6:05 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Instead of being artistically lazy and having someone talk about their military service, they had him wear a Vietnam baseball cap, somebody was paying attention when they were taught to show rather than to tell!

There's also a shot they used for one of the talking heads interviews that prominently features a "MAIN ST" sign in the background.
posted by burnmp3s at 6:05 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


At the beginning of Newt's campaign, he was regularly quoting the "Reagan Commandment:" don't speak ill of other Republicans.

This campaign is doing strange things to the Republican Party.
posted by drezdn at 6:07 PM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I for one am pleased to see the arrival of the newest member of the centrist left's not-anti-capitalism-just-anti-corporatism movement. With Newt Gingrich onboard, it has never seemed so meaningless.
posted by AlsoMike at 6:11 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


27:39 The final shot: Romney saying something in French.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:12 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure the wall is in place, at least as far as Newt is concerned. To my knowledge the first mention of this adumentary was from Newt Gingrich at one of the recent debates.
posted by polyhedron at 6:17 PM on January 12, 2012


I love the scene in which the "guy" wipes his eye with a tissue.

So, yea, it's propaganda, and I love it. This is kind of a strange piece though, in that it pretty much crushes Republican ideals of capitalism.

Also, I know what a "Godwin" is, what do you call it when it's the anti-christ?
posted by snsranch at 6:18 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I never thought be so happy to see the results of Citizens United. Hoist by petard indeed.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:22 PM on January 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


This kind of negative campaigning — you know, I think it's about envy. I think it's about class warfare.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:24 PM on January 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


The bitter politics of envy, really.
posted by stratastar at 6:29 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


TPM: The Great Right-Wing Freakout -- The GOP establishment was in full meltdown mode over [Newt Gingrich's] attacks on Mitt Romney’s time at the private equity firm, Bain Capital. They clearly fear it’s going to give the Democrats a bipartisan gloss on banging Bain come the general election and they have one priority: shut Newt down. Now.
posted by crunchland at 6:33 PM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


The soft bigotry of no regulations.
posted by brain_drain at 6:33 PM on January 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


I was hoping that this would be a Weird Al-style remake of the Police "King of Pain".
posted by Slothrup at 6:34 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Won't it be confusing if a politician were to falsely claim they once burned their trousers and PolitiFact has to fact-check it?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:37 PM on January 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


What a cliffhanger to end on. I hope in next week's episode, we get to find out where the big global party is, and if Mitt will really see me soon.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:43 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why would anyone suggest that taxation of wealth to pay for Bush's foreign wars and Reagan's borrowing is some sort of envy?
posted by Brian B. at 6:44 PM on January 12, 2012


I think the Republican strategy at this point is to make Obama die of a joy-induced heart attack.
posted by AdamCSnider at 6:52 PM on January 12, 2012 [24 favorites]


I saw this earlier today, and I gotta say this is a waaaaaay better Democratic ad than Democrats make.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:55 PM on January 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


Of course Mitt has a good line of defense here. He could attack the guy who's paying for it, Sheldon Adelson, a Casino magnate. Say something like "I think making money building business is a lot better then making running a casino and ripping off gamblers" Then throw in something about how Unlike Gingrich, he won't owe his presidency to any rich patrons who he'll have to serve. And then say like "Well, what kind of favors did newt have to promise him in order to get that money?"

Not that I really care either way, but Romney seems less of a corrupt scumbag, overall then Romney.
I think the Republican strategy at this point is to make Obama die of a joy-induced heart attack.
Republicans thought the same thing with the Obama/Hillary fight. Ultimately it just makes the candidate stronger if they go through a tough primary without too much of the dirt sticking.

Is Romney a good guy? No, but he seems like more of the self-righteous moral scold type then the corrupt sleazebag. He'll buy your company and lay you off, the whole while believing he's doing the 'moral' thing, but he'd never ditch his wife, or do the other sleazy shit Gingrich does.
posted by delmoi at 7:01 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


How did these transactions come about? Was this pure takeover by Bain or was there a request from the owners, a wish, that this money come in?
The basic idea of a leveraged buyout is to identify an established, cashflowing company that is underperforming (and doesn't have much debt). The sponsor (Bain Capital, in this case) arranges with the existing owners of the company for the company to borrow money (from banks or by issuing bonds to investors or both). The company uses the borrowed money to buy back much of its stock from its old owners, and the sponsor buys the rest (or a controlling interest, at least). The sponsor then installs new management and tries to fix whatever was causing the company to underperform in the first place.

This can involve layoffs, outsourcing, and other things that can be used to enrage the middle class around election time. It can also involve selling off the company's assets piece by piece, because it can sometimes happen that the pieces of a business are worth more than the business as a going concern.
posted by planet at 7:04 PM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


but Romney seems less of a corrupt scumbag, overall then Romney.

Never has a truer typo been typoed.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:04 PM on January 12, 2012 [46 favorites]


Not that I really care either way, but Romney seems less of a corrupt scumbag, overall then Romney.

The most apt typo of the election season.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:04 PM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Who was in there? PROBABLY DRUG DEALERS.

atrazine, please do a Mystery Science Theater voiceover narration of the entire video so that I can laugh really hard for 30 minutes.
posted by nanojath at 7:05 PM on January 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


Not that I really care either way, but Romney seems less of a corrupt scumbag, overall then Romney. --- You're just testing us to make sure we're reading down this far, aren't you?
posted by crunchland at 7:06 PM on January 12, 2012


How can they now turn around and play like any of them have one single policy position that would meaningfully curb anything that Romney did at Bain or is happening on Wall St as we speak?

Because... they're all amoral power hungry liars who will say absolutely anything they think will get them elected? Oh was that rhetorical.
posted by nanojath at 7:07 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're just testing us to make sure we're reading down this far, aren't you?

I often ask myself "Does anyone read the posts down here?"
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:20 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was hoping that this would be a Weird Al-style remake of the Police "King of Pain".

Al already did that.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:24 PM on January 12, 2012


Since the PolitiFact page is empty, here's a Bloomberg article critical of the ad.
posted by XMLicious at 7:27 PM on January 12, 2012


My favorite part of the video is a still photo of a man wearing a doorman's outfit, standing next to Mitt, shining his shoes... in front of a corporate jet. I literally did a doubletake. Who amongst us doesn't have a photo like this?
posted by zerobyproxy at 7:27 PM on January 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Oon grand fett Monday Al. Abby and toe!
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:29 PM on January 12, 2012


He could attack the guy who's paying for it, Sheldon Adelson, a Casino magnate. Say something like "I think making money building business is a lot better then making running a casino and ripping off gamblers" --- Gingrich-Backing Casino Mogul Separates Himself From Anti-Bain Rhetoric “The key to remember here is that he gave a donation to support Newt,” the source said. “What happens from the time when that contribution lands with that PAC to now, he’s not involved with. He’s not been involved in the strategies and the tactics.”
posted by crunchland at 7:29 PM on January 12, 2012


So do Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry seem to be backing down from this line of criticism at all?
posted by overglow at 7:30 PM on January 12, 2012


For me, the narration really hits that sweet spot half way between Michael Moore and Will Lyman.
posted by adamt at 7:35 PM on January 12, 2012


It seems like a brilliant piece of propaganda. I can't see it making a lick of difference to the primaries because Romney is already the candidate of last resort. But wow, in the general, the Obama campaign has really had this one handed to them on a plate. "Romney is blah blah bah... and it's not just us who says so."
posted by adamt at 7:36 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love the part where the Republicans destroy their only viable candidate....

Why should the republicans treat their party any better than they treat their country?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:46 PM on January 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


Remember -- this was created by a SuperPAC, not the Gingrich campaign itself. In theory, SuperPACs aren't allowed to coordinate with candidates at all. Whether that wall is truly in place or not, we wiill probably never know. But this came from somewhere else, so it's not really Newt going so far into the weeds.


That was sarcasm, right?
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 7:55 PM on January 12, 2012


“The key to remember here is that he gave a donation to support Newt,” the source said. “What happens from the time when that contribution lands with that PAC to now, he’s not involved with. He’s not been involved in the strategies and the tactics.”
Yeah, but come on. Why on earth would a SuperPAC not listen to it's biggest donors?

Also, the question was whether or not not Newt, personally has control. Obviously the answer is yes. But if you, for some reason, want to think about it theoretically and don't want to pre-suppose routine illegality, then who does influence the SuperPAC? The whole point of a PAC/SuperPAC is to advance causes and express 'free speech' because 'money is speech'.

Well, if money is speech, and then who's speech is the SuperPAC excersizing? Obviously, the donors.

And in a practical way, any kind of organization that accepts donations is going to bend over backwards to accommodate their biggest donors, whether or not it's logically consistent for them to do so.

So, in reality even if Gingrich didn't talk to anyone on the SuperPAC, Sheldon Adelson would obviously have a ton of sway (ass-covering public comments to keep other rich people happy notwithstanding). And Gingrich has a ton of sway over Adelson (enough to get $5 million dollars out of him) and there's no reason he can't talk to him

Either way you slice it, Adelson, and almost certainly Gingrich likely have lots of sway over what the super-pac does.
posted by delmoi at 8:01 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems like a brilliant piece of propaganda. I can't see it making a lick of difference to the primaries because Romney is already the candidate of last resort. But wow, in the general, the Obama campaign has really had this one handed to them on a plate. "Romney is blah blah bah... and it's not just us who says so."
Yeah, if Romney wins you can bet lots of liberals will be passing around links to this video (and they already are!)
posted by delmoi at 8:02 PM on January 12, 2012


I only watched the first five minutes or so.

It seems to me that Unimac might still be the #1 American manufacturer of industrial laundry equipment if the right of first refusal went to its union.

Unimac's demise was a foreign nation's gain. Given complete freedom, there are people who will sacrifice the interests of thousands of other fellow citizens to make a buck. They care more about the number that is associated with their name — 250 billionaire! — than about their fellow citizen.

For the security of the nation it would be better to limit the damage predatory investors cause in extracting their billions and trillions from our assets.
posted by davidpriest.ca at 8:03 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow, actually watching the video now. This is serious scorched earth stuff here.
posted by octothorpe at 8:06 PM on January 12, 2012


Laugh if you want but the last time I looked at Intrade they said Obama had a 51% chance to win (and a 49% chance to lose). It is way too early for any victory party.
posted by bukvich at 8:07 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


If no one else is going to say it, I will. I'm starting to miss the Cain train.
posted by drezdn at 8:10 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Romney is blah blah bah... and it's not just us who says so."

"Don't Just Take Our Word For It"
posted by maudlin at 8:11 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is way too early for any victory party.

I don't doubt at all that the Republicans could beat Obama. On the candidate front though, it seems like they're doing everything in their power to help him, though. (On the state front, the opposite is true)
posted by drezdn at 8:16 PM on January 12, 2012


Peripheral but related: if the many conservatives who demanded to see Obama's birth certificate if he is to be president, will they also demand to see
Romney tax returns? what he has done is legal, no doubt, but will show how the 1% leech off the system at the taxpayer's expense.
posted by Postroad at 8:23 PM on January 12, 2012


It is way too early for any victory party.

It's also way too early for the Mittens First Annual Coronation Festival. Of that there is no doubt.
posted by blucevalo at 8:37 PM on January 12, 2012


Unimac's demise was a foreign nation's gain. Given complete freedom, there are people who will sacrifice the interests of thousands of other fellow citizens to make a buck.

Even if this were true, your nationalistic fervor (implicitly assuming that someone from your own country is more deserving than some foreigner, and that the rest of us feel the same way) is more than a little disturbing.
posted by ripley_ at 8:42 PM on January 12, 2012


Romney isn't necessarily a viable candidate. A corporate raider vs. Obama with OWS protests in full swing? really? Do you imagine Romney can campaign on extending Obama care?

Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate with any chance for selling the country on a Republican branded reform platform. Republicans should grow some balls and run Ron Paul seriously. And pray disaffected Democrats make up for the pounding the defense contractors dish out.

If he lost, fine, tell the libertarians they aren't serious enough "but hey we tried". If he wins, build steam by ending the DEA and TSA during the first few weeks, making everyone in the country a libertarian briefly, and then do any damn thing you please.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:44 PM on January 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


So these guys are pretending to sell reformed Ebenezer Scrooge capitalism now. Words fail.
posted by juiceCake at 8:47 PM on January 12, 2012


if the many conservatives who demanded to see Obama's birth certificate if he is to be president, will they also demand to see Romney tax returns?

You know, a very weird thing is that Mitt Romney's dad, George Romney, ran for president of the U.S. even though he was born in Mexico, not the U.S. At the time, nobody gave a shit.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:49 PM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


So these guys are pretending to sell reformed Ebenezer Scrooge capitalism now.

Gingrich's words about inner city (read: black) children needing to learn the value of work by cleaning toilets at their schools does come pretty close to "are there no workhouses?".
posted by hippybear at 8:52 PM on January 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


You know, the only reason people think Mitt is the most "electable" is because the pundits keep saying so. And, in this election cycle, the pundits have been wrong more often than right.
posted by SPrintF at 8:55 PM on January 12, 2012


Laugh if you want but the last time I looked at Intrade they said Obama had a 51% chance to win (and a 49% chance to lose). It is way too early for any victory party.
Romney seems like the candidate most likely to be able to beat Obama. He may say some crazy stuff on the campaign, or he might not be. I have no idea because i don't pay much attention to it at all. It's only when someone says something really nuts, like Bachman's anti-vax stuff, Gingrich's "poor kids don't appreciate hard work so lets turn them into janitors" or "OWS people need to take a bath", or Rick Perry's "Oops" Romney doesn't make those kind of outlandish statements. (Can't think of anything off the top of my head for Santorum, other then his comments on SOPA, which is not a 'major' story in the MSM) His strategy is obviously just to try to fly under the radar and seem like the 'sensible' one, which is kind of similar to Obama in 2008, although he currently doesn't have a bête noire equivalent to Hillary yet.

On the other hand, there is the high-finance aspect. Who knows what will happen with that.

Ron Paul is kind of a wild card. I do hear a lot about him because of a the love affair in reddit's /r/politics section. But Ultimately he might scare off older voters worried about their medicare and social security and the general economy if Paul wins. He's popular with young people, but they don't always turn out.
Romney isn't necessarily a viable candidate. A corporate raider vs. Obama with OWS protests in full swing? really? Do you imagine Romney can campaign on extending Obama care?
It's hard to predict. Lots of people think Obama is too close to the banks, with Geithner and all the GS people working in his administration.
Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate with any chance for selling the country on a Republican branded reform platform. Republicans should grow some balls and run Ron Paul seriously.
Santorum's ideology is the opposite of Paul's. Yet, they are both republicans. I don't really know if the average republican really, for example, wants to legalize drugs.

Anyway the only thing I really know about what republican voters want is that I have no idea what republican voters want. It might be possible to predict what an individual will do, based on knowing them. But the behavior of masses of people, all with slightly different views, access to information, biases, and desired outcomes is going to do is probably not really possible - especially when they're interacting with eachother, changing eachothers views, and so on.

Other then looking at polling data, anything else is just a guess. So, based on polling data right now, I'd guess Romney will win. But what happens when the various candidates drop out? Who will their supporters move to? I don't think it's really possible to know.
posted by delmoi at 9:01 PM on January 12, 2012


Can't think of anything off the top of my head for Santorum

Other than his comments about birth control encouraging sex and therefore needing to be banned?
posted by hippybear at 9:04 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Yeah I wonder what Romney did to Newt for newt to go so far into the weeds in his attacks. Seems like every other republican outlet is trying to shut Newt down at this point but he just won't relent."

It should be mentioned that Romney's proxies went negative against Newt in Iowa, well before these attacks. That, and it's not just Gingrich jumping on Romney in SC.

Gingrich & his proxies are doing what he needs to do to win... and judging from the latest polls, it's working.

It should be mentioned that the PAC in question bought the documentary from a former message man for Romney, but really... it's nothing personal. It's just the way that GOP elections will work now, after Citizens United. Republicans eating their own... for $$$!!!
posted by markkraft at 9:04 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


For those who still think there's no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans...

Newt Gingrich has said that he would like to make John Bolton his Secretary of State.

For those who don't remember who Bolton is, here are some choice Bolton quotes:

"If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

"There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is only the international community, which can only be led by . . .the United States"

"It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so..."

"We estimate that once Iraq acquires fissile material . . . it could fabricate a nuclear weapon within one year."

"I would use military force against Iran's nuclear program."


But it's safe to say that Mitt Romney has also made a significant offering to John Bolton, because Bolton just endorsed him today.

So... what will it be? Secretary of State Bolton? Vice President Bolton? Secretary of Defense Bolton?! *shudder!*
posted by markkraft at 9:14 PM on January 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Isn't the Santorum surge being ricked up nicely? A Gingrich resurgence sounds more likely. Gingrich wins himself elections anyways.

Average Republicans accept what the party claims their platform is. It's called a "big tent" party for a reasons. Nixon going to China. Clinton passing NAFTA. etc.

Ron Paul isn't likely to end Medicare or Social Security, even if he wants to. He could buy the Republican party desperately needed credibility however.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:19 PM on January 12, 2012


Let's face it. Mitt Romney is not the kind of guy you'd want to sit down and have a beer with. Even if you wanted to sit down and have a beer with Mitt Romney, he wouldn't drink one with you.

He's not a red-blooded American.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:29 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Flip Romney [video | 04:00].
posted by ericb at 9:54 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Experts are predicting kind of a tough fight between Romney and his biggest ideological opponent: Mitt Romney from four years ago. Those guys don't agree on anything." *
posted by ericb at 10:04 PM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


L.A. Times: See Mitt Romney Flip-flop -- "His convenient and implausibly explained reversals on issues say all we need to know about his character. He will do or say anything to become president."
posted by ericb at 10:12 PM on January 12, 2012


Wow this is just fantastic. It really doesn't matter what anyone fact checks about this piece. I think the few leftish SuperPACs should pay to air this a little later this year.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:15 PM on January 12, 2012


Personally, I don't think Romney is going to sweep the South.

But I have to say, I *heart* his $50, state-funded abortions.
posted by markkraft at 10:17 PM on January 12, 2012


I'm still laughing about him having a kitty cat name and now there's this? It's not looking good for ole' Mittens!
posted by fuq at 10:19 PM on January 12, 2012


The Real Romney?
posted by ericb at 10:24 PM on January 12, 2012




I read somewhere that this video was produced independentally and then actually bid on by the different campaigns. Did anyone see that? And how can I make money selling attack ads made with my iphone?
posted by craniac at 10:45 PM on January 12, 2012


Yeah, I watched that tonight. It was a brilliant exposé about exactly what is involved with supervision of a Super PAC and exactly what the legal limits are between a candidate and those running such an organization.

"We're business partners. Is that an obstacle?"

"No, under the law that is not a problem." (paraphrase from memory)
posted by hippybear at 10:46 PM on January 12, 2012


I love the part where the Republicans destroy their only viable candidate, their only candidate that would stand a chance against Obama and the Democrats DON'T HAVE TO DO A THING.

Oh those silly Republicans! What is their national committee thinking?

I think those funding the SuperPacs are quite happy with Obama's performance so far.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 12:17 AM on January 13, 2012


Whoa! I'm from a foreign country whose Ontario Teachers Pension Fund acquired the Alliance Laundry Systems for $450M. [ www.comlaundry.com/news ] from Raytheon Laundry co.. The deal that gave Romney a 230% return, as pointed out in that video.

Recently, The Teachers (as that fund is referred by) sold their MLSE (maple leaf sports and entertainment),(owners of Toronto's NHL hockey team and junior hockey team,, NBA basketball team, soccer team) stake to the top two telco competitors (Rogers and Bell) !

Not being familiar with these transactions, The Teachers has outlined their standards on their website, which appear quite legitimate(?) , but I'm still scratching my head regarding that UniMac purchase years ago.
posted by alicesshoe at 1:24 AM on January 13, 2012


Welcome to the GOP circular firing squad -- do dee doop dee dee da.
posted by angrycat at 1:34 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Republicans should grow some balls and run Ron Paul seriously.

Pro-Biblical-law Libertarian Ron Paul? Yeah, sure.
posted by Skeptic at 2:30 AM on January 13, 2012


The best OWS video so far.
posted by telstar at 2:34 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


In other news: Stephen Colbert Passes His Super PAC To Jon Stewart, Announces Exploratory Committee for Possible Presidential Run

I'd vote for Colbert in a heartbeat.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:08 AM on January 13, 2012


You've got to like the typical Romney: Head wide, level between ears, with no horns nor dark hair on the poll. Eyes should be large, bright and prominent and the mouth sound. Face in ewes full, and in rams broad and masculine in appearance. Nose and hooves should be black. Neck well set in at the shoulders, strong and not too long. Shoulders well put in and level with the back. Chest wide and deep. Back straight and long, with a wide and deep loin. Rump wide, long and well-turned. Tail set almost even with the chine . Thighs well let down and developed. The face should be white, and the skin of a clean pink colour. Ribs should be well sprung. Legs well set, with good bone and sound feet.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:30 AM on January 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


this video was produced independentally and then actually bid on by the different campaigns. -- It's only a matter of time before they turn their lens towards the guy we actually support.
posted by crunchland at 4:11 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


this video was produced independentally and then actually bid on by the different campaigns. -- It's only a matter of time before they turn their lens towards the guy we actually support.
I'm pretty sure they've been doing that continuously since early 2008 or so.
posted by delmoi at 4:21 AM on January 13, 2012


It's only a matter of time before they turn their lens towards the guy we actually support.

That's just politics. Personally, I support the candidacy of Ru Paul. I think RuPaul is the ideal Republican candidate and I fully support him and/or her as president of these United States. I don't know why more people don't support RuPaul. I think it's some kind of conspiracy against the status quo, and against men in drag.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:22 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sir/Madam Paul has two left feet. Not that I have anything against lefties, or dancing... it's just not very right.
posted by panaceanot at 4:43 AM on January 13, 2012


But if you, for some reason, want to think about it theoretically and don't want to pre-suppose routine illegality

It is sad but true delmoi... who but chumps and rubes could possibly think that everything was being done cleanly? Fucking insane, it is.

If Romeny wins it will be an Obama landslide.

Christians will stay home.
Paulites will stay home.
Obama, despite his finance ties, can paint Romeny as the 1% anti-OWS guy.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:03 AM on January 13, 2012


Romney, sorry.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:05 AM on January 13, 2012


I love the part where the Republicans destroy their only viable candidate, their only candidate that would stand a chance against Obama and the Democrats DON'T HAVE TO DO A THING.

Because he's a heretic to the Tea Party. He mandated health care in MA, he's not Christian, he's from the northeast, blah blah blah, and the Tea Party knows what to do to Republicans who do not support them 100%. They will *gladly* hand this election to Obama to make sure the next nominee is 100% batshitinsane.

They've done it before boom boom and they'll do it again. Yeah, he's saying all the right things now, sort of, but they don't believe him -- and since this attack comes from the Blessed St. Gingrich, who was blessed by the Lord God Reagan himself, that makes it even more important to DESTROY THE INFIDEL WHO DARES WEAR OUR NAME! CUT TAXES! CUT REGULATIONS! BURN ROMNEY!

And, if I were the DNC, I'd be feeding intel about Romney over. But the Democrats always forget the rule about a drowning enemy.

Obama's best chance at reelection is to make sure the GOP candidate is as far to the right as possible - preferably born from deep in Lower Batshitinsanistan that the GOP fractures and runs two candidates*. Of course, I think it would have been easier for him to distance himself by, oh, I don't know, actually doing things his supports want, but that's not in the cards at this point -- not enough time, and those goddamn liberals** have memories that last longer than six months.

So, fundamentally, the plan is to either get the GOP to hate their candidate more than the Democrats hate theirs, or even better, get the GOP to fracture into candidates from Upper Ratherinsanistan and Lower Batshitinsanistan and cruise to reelection.

And, to be completely honest, the plan looks like it is working well.



*How do you think Clinton was elected? Twice?

**Yo! Do we dirty fucking hippies get membership cards? Mine's apparently lost in the mail.
posted by eriko at 5:41 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was hoping that this would be a Weird Al-style remake of the Police "King of Pain"

Don't know if any of the talented folks at MeFi Music take requests, but when Romney moves on to the general election - and make no mistake, unless there's a turn of political events so unbelievable that it hasnt been seen in my lifetime outside of The West Wing, he will -I'd create a PAC to fund this parody.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:49 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Call me crazy but I think Mitt will overcome BO to become POTUS.
posted by RedShrek at 5:54 AM on January 13, 2012


I never do this in political threads, but I also predict Romney wins after picking Marco Rubio for VP.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:29 AM on January 13, 2012


Wins what? Stick with the no-predictions thing, I think.
posted by carsonb at 6:53 AM on January 13, 2012


That's just politics. Personally, I support the candidacy of Ru Paul. I think RuPaul is the ideal Republican candidate and I fully support him and/or her as president of these United States.
RuPaul will lose to a Tom Hardy write-in campaign.
posted by fullerine at 7:05 AM on January 13, 2012


There was a great article on Rubio in I think last week's New Yorker. Dude was stupid enough to pick a fight with Univision.
posted by angrycat at 7:09 AM on January 13, 2012


I think Romney has a lot of the same negatives that John Kerry did: they're charismatically-challenged rich fuckers from Massachusetts with a reputation for changing their positions willy-nilly (although Kerry's probably less of an actual flip-flopper than Romney). Romney's even got his own I-was-before-it-before-I-was-against-it quotes. The only strength he has over Kerry is that he's better looking.

I canvassed for Kerry in the 2004 election, but it was more out of passion against Bush than passion for Kerry. He just wasn't very exciting, and we've seen during the primaries that Romney doesn't inspire a lot of enthusiasm.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:18 AM on January 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I simply cannot imagine a worse narrative for a candidate in this climate; or a politician whose skills are singularly incapable of responding to the story in any persuasive way. This ad is powerful. Romney has already seen a drop in South Carolina. I suspect he'll drop some more. And I suspect once the potency of this line of attack is absorbed by the GOP establishment, there will be some full, if concealed, panic." - Andrew Sullivan
posted by newdaddy at 7:31 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]




Those laughing now will find it a lot less funny when Obama brings any of this crap up in September and it's laughed off by the media as "old news."
posted by one_bean at 8:30 AM on January 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


He protested to support the Vietnam war, but when his turn came up he moved to Paris to be a missionary and rode bicycles. Your company crashes, well that's just the creative destruction of capitalism. Romney's company crashes and we should bail him out. After all the man could lose one of his 15 homes.
posted by humanfont at 8:58 AM on January 13, 2012


Remember Dubya's walking away from his military commitment? That became old news, too. If the media have looked at it before, they don't want to look again, no matter how superficial they were the first time.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:00 AM on January 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


kirkaracha : That is part of what makes me think we are going to have a pretty low turn out this election cycle. Romney fails to inspire and some % of Democrats who will stay home (despite the lessons of 2010) out of disaffection. My prediction? Romney win the primary, but not in a pretty or inspiring fashion(perhaps even ugly), Obama wins the general election, but turnout is sub-50%. 35% chance we see a right-wing 3rd party candidate. I still think there is an outside chance Palin might pull something like that. She has a history with 3rd parties, got burned by the GOP leaders, hates debating a lot, like the whole faux 'Maverick' thing, and from time to time coyly says things like "It's not to late for someone to jump in". If she did, think mid September at the earliest. (I think the odds are pretty low mind you, but definitely not zero)
posted by edgeways at 9:30 AM on January 13, 2012


Romney is the poster boy for the 1%

Not really; that would be Barack Obama, whose primary bundler in 2008 was Goldman Sachs. Note that no plundering banker has been jailed.

This is not to praise Romney; not at all, but people really need to get some perspective on shallow thinking.
posted by Vibrissae at 9:38 AM on January 13, 2012


Romney was born into privilege, and—big shock here—has maintained that privilege for his entire life. Obama wasn't.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:54 AM on January 13, 2012


Unless I am mistaken the "1%" referrers mainly to personal income? Not necessarily to money raised (in whatever fashion) and used for political campaigning, or to simply holding a political office.

Yeah, Obama now comfortably resides in the 1% because of his income level, but all other things aside, that is a relatively recent thing for him. Whereas Romney was born into it. You could make the cognizant argument that Obama (like Clinton as well) are real live Horatio Alger stories, they started out pretty low on the totem pole and achieved one of the highest levels of power in the world. Romney and Bush Jr. (and to some extent Bush Sr, but at least he had the decency his son/s lack) where high born and have stayed that way, they are 1% from birth unto death. These are the folks who would be Earls and Princes of long ago.
posted by edgeways at 9:55 AM on January 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Apparently Newt's latest attack angle is that Mitt Romney speaks French. Quelle horreur!
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:01 AM on January 13, 2012


> I was hoping that this would be a Weird Al-style remake of the Police "King of Pain"

Don't know if any of the talented folks at MeFi Music take requests


I spent a little while trying to come up with something that I thought was funny and apt but not like retchworthy in terms of rhetorical posturing and I just couldn't make it click. It's a gimme of a title/hook pun but I'm not sure I can actually write a parody I'd be happy with.
posted by cortex at 10:15 AM on January 13, 2012


Apparently Newt's latest attack angle is that Mitt Romney speaks French. Quelle horreur!

Mitt Romney as seen by Newt.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:33 AM on January 13, 2012


From deleted post:

Newt Gingrich has a new ad specifically attacking Romney for speaking French, "just like John Kerry". Gingrich has a doctorate in European History focusing on the Belgian Congo, and is believed to speak French himself.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:34 AM on January 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Romney was born into privilege, and—big shock here—has maintained that privilege for his entire life. Obama wasn't.

So? Again, go to Obama's actions. It's very shallow to be holding the inheritance of wealth against someone. Is Romney a bad person because he's wealthy? Is Obama? Is George Soros? Is Bill Gates? Was Steve Jobs? Honestly, this 1% crap is so full of shallow thinking it isn't even funny. It's nothing more than demagogic meme that has found a convenient home in rough times.

Stop blaming the 1%. Yes, they are part of the problem, but we have been that "problem's" willing participants.

Also, I find it curious that the fact that Goldman Sachs was his primary 2008 bundler seems to escape the apologists (here, and elsewhere) for Obama's sheer failure to live up to a significant fraction of the BS that he churned out during the last campaign.

Again, Romney is also heavily financed - financed by many of the same people that are bankrolling Obama. The is the clue train that many Obama supporters have missed.

It's a sad thing that Obama is not being challenged in a primary; the "1%", is quite happy with Obama, as indicated by the amount of cash that the 1% is raising for his re-election campaign.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:35 AM on January 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was hoping that this would be a Weird Al-style remake of the Police "King of Pain"

I guess "King of Suede" was too long ago...
posted by Melismata at 10:35 AM on January 13, 2012


This is from the deleted thread, but I'm still interested to know:

Are there any registered GOP voters here who can tell me what the hell is going on?

While I disagree with pretty much the whole GOP platform, the platform itself seems more and more chaotically incoherent. I can (retroactively) understand the concepts behind arguments Reagan had against unions and socialism, but every GOP candidate now seems to have abandoned the need to have a set of rational arguments. How does not speaking French make you a better president?
posted by deanklear at 10:36 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not really; that would be Barack Obama, whose primary bundler in 2008 was Goldman Sachs. Note that no plundering banker has been jailed.

Your statement is utterly incorrect in fact Chip Skowron recently received a 5 year jail accompanying an article in the New York Times is this tidbit:

Mr. Skowron is one of dozens of money managers, consultants, corporate lawyers and company executives who have been ensnared by the government’s vast crackdown on insider trading on Wall Street and in corporate America.

Let's you think that Goldman is somehow immune in October of last year Rajat Gupta, a former director was indicted.

The SEC has increased enforcement actions by over 20% since Obama took office and nearly tripled the amount of money collected in fines, an increase of 1.8 billion dollars.

Thus we can demonstrate with substantial evidence that your statement is utterly wrong. The biggest problem of course is that many of the financial products that did the most harm were not illegal, just unregulated. Here again we see that Obama acted with the Dodd Frank reforms. Implementation of many of these reforms are being blocked by Mr. Romney's Republican friends in the senate who have blocked nominees and funding.
posted by humanfont at 10:36 AM on January 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


Just noticed there was already a thread on this. This documentary is fantastically well done. And the Bain Capital stuff has legs I think. If there's another 3 way tie in South Carolina, I think the nomination is up for grabs.
posted by empath at 10:38 AM on January 13, 2012


Newt Gingrich has a new ad specifically attacking Romney for speaking French, "just like John Kerry". Gingrich has a doctorate in European History focusing on the Belgian Congo, and is believed to speak French himself.

There's no "I'm Newt Gingrich and I approve this message" though?

How does not speaking French make you a better president?

Really? REALLY? You don't remember?

Also, speaking French makes you educated and anti-intellectualism is always in vogue in US politics. Every politician has to make themselves look as stupid as fucking possible to appeal to John Q. Everyman down in Middle America™.
posted by Talez at 10:42 AM on January 13, 2012


anti-intellectualism is always in vogue in US politics

It's true; Americans want a president they could have a beer with, and it's a well-known fact that intellectuals don't drink alcohol.
posted by Hoopo at 10:46 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


My mom's opponent made a habit of referring to her, derisively, as Professor Newman throughout the campaign. He won.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:01 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The deleted ROMNEY SPEAKS FRENCH ad made me wonder what foreign language President Obama speaks (being liberal elite Muslim, Kenyan he must speak at least 5 right?). Nope, and he was criticized in 2008 when he said kids should learn a second language by conservative groups.
posted by birdherder at 11:02 AM on January 13, 2012


vibrissae: Not really; that would be Barack Obama, whose primary bundler in 2008 was Goldman Sachs. Note that no plundering banker has been jailed.

humanfont: Your statement is utterly incorrect in fact Chip Skowron recently received a 5 year jail accompanying an article in the New York Times is this tidbit:

Mr. Skowron is one of dozens of money managers, consultants, corporate lawyers and company executives who have been ensnared by the government’s vast crackdown on insider trading on Wall Street and in corporate America.


"Utterly incorrect"? More Obama apologia: I said bankers, and I should have said the big bankers. You are pointing to hedge fund managers; this is small potatoes. Keep researching.

Look at who Obama brought in as economic advisors. Look at the subtext of what has been happening to the financial sector under Obama's reign. Have you followed what happened re: the failure of banks to open credit gates during Obama's tenure? It doesn't appear that you have.

Obama may be a good bet for re-election, but his performance has helped many of the institutions he decries to thrive, and continue to abuse the so-called 99%.

Again, this is not a pro-Romney post, but it looks like we're beginning to see more of the same delusion about Obama that we saw in 2008. Confirmation bias is alive and well.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:02 AM on January 13, 2012


How does not speaking French make you a better president?

Can't you hear the dog whistle? It's calling "No real American would learn French. It's a language for cowards, and homosexuals, and the people who learn it aren't one of us."

It's absurd that Gingrich is bringing this up.

But it's a real shame that Obama can't just buy rights to that documentary and run it as his own. It's a far better attack ad than any Democrat can ever manage on their own.
posted by tyllwin at 11:07 AM on January 13, 2012


I just watched the video, but I still don't understand the FPP title. Is that supposed to be an imitation of one of the people in the interviews? Or is that Gingrich? It's like lolcat speak crossed with Homestar Runner, but I think I'm not getting the joke.
posted by albrecht at 11:07 AM on January 13, 2012


In regard to the "Romney speaks French!" ad, here's my comment from the deleted thread:

I don't quite understand why the ability to speak French is a negative. This is probably the most bizarre example of anti-intellectualism I've seen in a while.

It's especially weird coming from Canada, where someone hoping to be Prime Minister would be criticized for not speaking French. I realize it's a very different political culture, but it makes for an interesting juxtaposition.

On top of everything, it seems to be just sort of tacked on at the end. Like: Romney is not really a conservative, here's why. Oh, and by the way, did you know he speaks French? (I know the aim is to connect him with John Kerry, another "elitist liberal," but in terms of the construction of the ad, it really comes off as a strange sort of afterthought.)
posted by asnider at 11:09 AM on January 13, 2012


Vibrissae, you are starting to come across as wanting to pick a fight. While being somewhat sympathetic to your larger points your argument seems scatter-shot at best and starting to board on being directly insulting to other metafiler members.
posted by edgeways at 11:11 AM on January 13, 2012


I just watched the video, but I still don't understand the FPP title. Is that supposed to be an imitation of one of the people in the interviews? Or is that Gingrich? It's like lolcat speak crossed with Homestar Runner, but I think I'm not getting the joke.

DEY TU UR JERBS

posted by birdherder at 11:12 AM on January 13, 2012


Albrecht, it's from South Park.
posted by Pendragon at 11:13 AM on January 13, 2012


DEY TU UR JERBS

Ok, thanks... So what's the connection? I guess poor people with Southern accents complaining about losing their jobs is just generally hilarious.
posted by albrecht at 11:18 AM on January 13, 2012


you are starting to come across as wanting to pick a fight. While being somewhat sympathetic to your larger points your argument seems scatter-shot at best and starting to board on being directly insulting to other metafiler members

It's unfortunate that you see pointing out fact as akin to insult. Go look at the references. There are thousands more like the ones I pointed out. I am pointing to facts, as well as the tendency of some here to go overboard in supporting someone who has broken so many promises to the electorate - never mind his total reversal on key promises, that it boggles.

About Romney: it is VERY tiring to see someone denigrated for having wealth by another, as a sole means to the latter's derision.

In fact, it's insulting to the truth to see so many pile on Mitt Romney about things that the President they voted for is also guilty of. That's hypocritical.

The FACT is that Obama, like Romney, are BOTH bought and sold by certain members of the 1%. That's the truth. It's also the truth that we are going to get more of the same until we stop letting money influence politics.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:36 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]




Ok, thanks... So what's the connection? I guess poor people with Southern accents complaining about losing their jobs is just generally hilarious.

I'm not sure how to explain a joke to you.
posted by josher71 at 12:06 PM on January 13, 2012


I've learned to buy a bigger box of popcorn to watch the comedy that is the South Carolina primary. I mean, come on, this is the state that brought us:
The 2000 McCain black love child
The 2008 fake Romney christmas card
The phoneyfred.org website
The Nikki Haley affair
The gloves come off in SC, and it's always fun for the rest of us.
posted by Runes at 12:11 PM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess poor people with Southern accents complaining about losing their jobs is just generally hilarious.

The South Park episode is actually a satire of immigrants (from the future in this case) and capitalism. The men in question lost their jobs to workers (from the future) who were willing to work for much, much less.

Really, its not analogous to the Romney video much at all.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:21 PM on January 13, 2012


"Utterly incorrect"? More Obama apologia: I said bankers, and I should have said the big bankers. You are pointing to hedge fund managers; this is small potatoes

Big bankers, like Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who had to hire high powered criminal defense lawyer Reid Weingarten last year as Federal Prosecutors close in. The ongoing investigations of JPMorgan, Bank of America and others? Perhaps the prosecutions could move faster if the Republicans would fund the government for more than 2 months at a time. Is your plan that our prosecutors got to court prematurely without gathering the necessary evidence to secure a conviction?

About Romney: it is VERY tiring to see someone denigrated for having wealth by another, as a sole means to the latter's derision.

Yet you base your entire argument against Obama on sources which cite as their proof of Obama's duplicity the fact that banks have been able to return to profitability. Perhaps bankers have given to Mr. Obama's campaign because they believe that their industry has been taken over by a handful of psychopaths who are wrecking their ability to be successful.

Furthermore I didn't criticize Romney for being wealthy. I criticized him for his double standards and hypocrisy. I criticized him for his vocal support of the Vietnam war as a young man, while personally dodging the draft to live in a palace in Paris. I think it is ridiculous that he tells tells people who have had their livelihoods destroyed by market forces that it is just "capitalism" but when the market destroyed him, he got a multi-million dollar government bailout. His surrogates demand birth certificates and report cards from Obama, but Romney has yet to release his tax returns.

In fact, it's insulting to the truth to see so many pile on Mitt Romney about things that the President they voted for is also guilty of. That's hypocritical.

Mr Obama supported Dodd-Frank and has worked to implement it. Mr. Romney has supported republican efforts to block implementation and would like to repeal it. Mr. Obama has advocated for a tax on millionaires, and an increase in capital gains tax under the so called "Buffet Rule". Mr Romney is opposed. Mr Obama has released his income tax records and shown that the majority of his wealth comes from his best selling books. Mr Romney refuses to release his tax returns or provide many details about his personal finances. I will close by humming the old Sesame Street Standard, "One of these things isn't like the other" while you reconsider your allegations in light of actual evidence.
posted by humanfont at 1:12 PM on January 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


...the tendency of some here to go overboard in supporting someone who has broken so many promises to the electorate ...

Yeah, it's not like Obama has accomplished much in his first term.

What the fuck has Obama done so far?
posted by ericb at 2:26 PM on January 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


ericB: What the fuck has Obama done so far?

Here's what Obama has done, and I don't like it one bit. He's done *exactly* the opposite that he promised on MAJOR issues. He has, in many ways, *reinforced* the Bush legacy

"Big bankers, like Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who had to hire high powered criminal defense lawyer Reid Weingarten last year as Federal Prosecutors close in"

Obama has, without hardly a peep, let the large financial institutions gain even MORE leverage than they had in 2007. Why aren't there any bankers in jail? And don't tell me that "funding the government" has anything to do with a FAR more aggressive stance by Obama's justice department than has been carried out, thus far.

Perhaps bankers have given to Mr. Obama's campaign because they believe that their industry has been taken over by a handful of psychopaths who are wrecking their ability to be successful.

A perfect example of confirmation bias. You can't be serious. Look who has been running Obama's Treasury and Economic Advisor Corp, for god's sake! They're all a part of the revolving Washington DC door.

Furthermore I didn't criticize Romney for being wealthy. I criticized him for his double standards and hypocrisy.

Ohm and Obama (take a look at my last link, above) hasn't been duplicitous, and hypocritical? Think again.

Stated prior, Obama is going to be infused with hagiography by some who have chosen to think that he's anything other than the moderate-right politician he has always been. He's a POLITICIAN, goddammit! - supported by the same certain group among the infamous 1% that Romney is, even more so. Obama is a safe bet for the financial services and other rapacious sectors for the next 4 years; he is already raking in the $$$, just as Romney will once he gets the nod.

As for evidence: there is evidence on both sides to support whichever stance one takes on Obama, and THAT is damning, because Obama and his supporters touted his Presidency as one of Hope and Change, and Obama's campaign accomplished that in the most cynical way.

Bottom line: the Progressive Left, Obama's largest supporting block, got screwed.

Now, we're left with the crumbs of change that were promised - i.e. late to the game promises that have been kept with a certain timing that serves political ends, only.

Obama HAS done some good things, just as the two Bush's and Clinton before him did some good things, but every stinking one of the POTUS since Reagan has been nothing more than a front man for Big Money - to a degree that far exceeds what went before - with every stinking one of them further helping to decimate the Middle Class of this country, along with doing their very best to make the Democratic process less transparent and more opaque.

Christ, even Hillary Clinton is far more popular than Obama these days; I wonder why. Too bad she doesn't have the energy for another run.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:52 PM on January 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's not like Obama has accomplished much in his first term.

I just finished this list; it's spurious, and mostly fluff on its face. A LOT of it that every President tries to do, like reclaim past taxes. Just to set the record straight, so that the hagiographers and historical revisionists don't get too carried away.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:57 PM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Moi, j'aime bien Mitt Romney. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 5:59 PM on January 13, 2012


Christ, even Hillary Clinton is far more popular than Obama these days;

Because she doesn't have to make unpopular decisions. If she was president, you'd be complaining about her betrayals.
posted by empath at 6:26 PM on January 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


In fact, it's insulting to the truth to see so many pile on Mitt Romney about things that the President they voted for is also guilty of. That's hypocritical.

Obama personally profited by laying off workers and bankrupting companies while hiding the money off shore and paying lower interest rates than a minimum wage part time mcdonalds employee?
posted by empath at 6:43 PM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama? Jeez, what a failure. Every single day of his time in office was an opportunity to publicly spread some idealism. To get every U.S. citizen to work towards familiar goals. To unite us. To illustrate our flaws and to provide ideas and means to correct them. To begin to eliminate our two party structure. (Socialist, nationalist? Who cares just as long as we can repair and heal from the shit resulting from 9/11 and Reaganomics?!)

I can't think of any time in human history when any one man or woman had such an opportunity to create unity, commonality and strength for a nation and it's been squandered.

To get back on topic; Romney is the anti-christ and I wouldn't trust him to do anything that requires any kind of humanity, ethics, morality or empathy.
posted by snsranch at 6:43 PM on January 13, 2012


That Romney is the likely GOP pres candidate tells me only that the Grand Old Party is having a grand old party with Obama in the whitehouse and they don't want or need the party to end any sooner than it has to.
posted by Fupped Duck at 7:02 PM on January 13, 2012


I just finished this list; it's spurious, and mostly fluff on its face.

In rebuttal you provide your own list from Politifact of broken promises which includes such spurious and fluffy things as the failure to appoint a national coordinator for Autism research, 3 separate anti-cancer initiatives.

Look who has been running Obama's Treasury and Economic Advisor Corp

The Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors is Alan B. Krueger. Prior to his current post as Chairman he was the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy. He was preceded by Austan Goolsbee. How exactly you did you come to the conclusion that Dr. Krueger the nations foremost advocates for living wages is a creature of Wall Street bankers?

He's done *exactly* the opposite that he promised on MAJOR issues. He has, in many ways, *reinforced* the Bush legacy

That is actually completely the opposite of reality. Executive orders on banning torture, closing secret prisons, providing Red Cross/ Red Crescent access to detainees, an order to close GITMO, pressing congress to allow KSM to be tried in US Court. Secret negotiations with the Taliban for an exit to Afghanistan. An end to the mission in Iraq. Al Qaeda made the central target for the war on terror and actually doing something about Bin Laden. A budget deal that required 50% of the cuts to come from the defense department. He signed Dodd-Frank and AHCA which will dramatically reshape the financial and health care industries over the next decade. He fought a tough battle to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell.
posted by humanfont at 7:19 PM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


finite: "Fascinating. Where can I learn more about real capitalists' ethical bounds? Are they written down anywhere?"

Yes. The ethical bounds for real capitalists are clearly described in The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:40 PM on January 13, 2012


A reminder of where the goalposts were originally set up:

"If we do not change our politics -- if we do not fundamentally change the way Washington works -- then the problems we've been talking about for the last generation will be the same ones that haunt us for generations to come."

"But let me be clear -- this isn't just about ending the failed policies of the Bush years; it's about ending the failed system in Washington that produces those policies. For far too long, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, Washington has allowed Wall Street to use lobbyists and campaign contributions to rig the system and get its way, no matter what it costs ordinary Americans."

"We are up against the belief that it's all right for lobbyists to dominate our government--that they are just part of the system in Washington. But we know that the undue influence of lobbyists is part of the problem, and this election is our chance to say that we're not going to let them stand in our way anymore. Unless we're willing to challenge the broken system in Washington, and stop letting lobbyists use their clout to get their way, nothing else is going to change."

"If we're not willing to take up that fight, then real change--change that will make a lasting difference in the lives of ordinary Americans--will keep getting blocked by the defenders of the status quo."

posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:48 PM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


the Progressive Left, Obama's biggest supporting block

Sorry, that's just wrong. All I have is a phone right now so I can't pull up data. But I would bet a kidney that if you told me some set of attitudes that made someone a progressive, that they would be a small minoroty of Obama supporters.

The base of the Democratic party isn't progressives. Proanly closer to being blacks and union members, with msny of the latter being govt employees rather tham industrial workers.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:41 PM on January 13, 2012


Yeah, progressive voters are a small minority, this is why it's okay for them to vote third party if they want. It won't really make a difference if they do.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:46 PM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


humanfont: "That is actually completely the opposite of reality"

Read it and weep. Here's an excerpt: ""Several former Goldman executives hold senior positions in the Obama administration, including Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Mark Patterson, a former Goldman lobbyist who is chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; and Robert Hormats, the undersecretary of state for economic, energy and agricultural affairs.""

I said Obama had done some good things, but he blew his mandate. He is *still* learning on the job, and we're more screwed now than when he took office, because this center-right politician, completely in the pocket of Big Money, is still distributing free Kool-Aid.


snsranch: Romney is the anti-christ and I wouldn't trust him to do anything that requires any kind of humanity, ethics, morality or empathy.

Look at his record in MA. Romney is a chameleon, just like Obama. I can't cite, but I've seen two recent pieces comparing Romney and Obama re: approach to policy; they're similar, in terms of tactics and strategy, with Romney more center-right than Obama (who is also center-right). I won't be voting for Romney, either, but "anti-Christ". Seriously, dude. You have just bought into all those nice ads that Goldman Sachs is helping Obama to pay for. Think about it!
posted by Vibrissae at 11:34 PM on January 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


On Abortion Rights

As Governor, Mitt Romney would protect the current pro-choice status quo in Massachusetts. No law would change. The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not the government’s.


Both of them will definitely alter core human rights positions for the sake of gaining votes. For Romney it is abortion, for Obama it is his regression on gay marriage.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:51 PM on January 13, 2012


I hope Romney does become the nominee because hanging out Bain Capital's dirty laundry will be eye-opening and show how capitalism works for those that can afford to have tax law written to favor them and have the armies of lobbyists, lawyers and tax accountants to make sure it stays that way. Real capitalists can have their compensation structured to pay as little tax as possible. See this important addendum to the Bain story from TaxVox, blog of the Tax Policy Center:
The carry allows general partners in investment deals to receive compensation in the form of tax-advantaged capital gains, which are taxed at 15 percent, rather than as salary, which would be taxed as ordinary income with a top rate of 35 percent. This happens because the managers are paid with a fee (up to 2 percent) plus 20 percent or more of their investor’s profits. Those profits are taxed as capital gains even though the general partners may have little or no money of their own at risk in the deal.
The tax code is where you see the fine work of legislators being in the pocket of those that pay. And why I have avoided doing lucrative tax work. It's sickening.
posted by readery at 7:37 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even if this were true, your nationalistic fervor (implicitly assuming that someone from your own country is more deserving than some foreigner, and that the rest of us feel the same way) is more than a little disturbing.

I find it far more disturbing to see my fellow neighbours unemployed and homeless. The stark reality is my neighbour's welfare is much more important to me than the welfare of someone in another country. Putting the hurt on them hurts me, if indirectly.
posted by davidpriest.ca at 8:43 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, progressive voters are a small minority, this is why it's okay for them to vote third party if they want. It won't really make a difference if they do.

Progressives are a small minority, but if we vote third-party, Obama won't get elected and everyone will die. It's a big responsibility, being a small minority.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:50 AM on January 14, 2012


When one examines self described progressives and surveys their opinions one discovers that they are strongly supportive of President Obama. I don't think you guys are actually as progressive as you claim. Your worldview seems more libertarian-anarchist.
posted by humanfont at 10:23 AM on January 14, 2012


When one examines self described progressives and surveys their opinions one discovers that they are strongly supportive of President Obama.

I've said that here like a billion times.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:25 AM on January 14, 2012


Oh look, a mefi thread about American politics that has very little to do directly with Obama, but has yet has turned into yet another iteration of 'Why I'm disappointed in Obama - I've already flogged my dead horse to death thrice can I borrow yours?"

Seriously guys we get it, he's not the messiah just a very naughty boy. Now let's try talking about the topic at hand. That's why some of us are here.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 10:33 AM on January 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Your worldview seems more libertarian-anarchist.

Your worldview seems more notruescotsmanist. But regardless of where we both stand, the logical inconsistency remains: progressive votes are really important, except that progressive voters are also an inconvenience that should be done away with.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:46 AM on January 14, 2012


You guys plainly don't speak for 'progressives', since the vast majority of them support Obama.
posted by empath at 10:49 AM on January 14, 2012


Is there any specific attempt to speak for progressives ITT you have concerns about?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:53 AM on January 14, 2012


To address the no-true-Scots' ad hominem, I have never claimed to speak for progressives, but I do speak as one, on my own behalf. Thanks for piling on yet more disdain, though!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 AM on January 14, 2012


Let me see if I understand this. You can state that Obama isn't a progressive based on his positions, but if I do the same for you based on your positions then I'm guilty of a "no true scottsman" fallacy?
posted by humanfont at 1:46 PM on January 14, 2012


Which of BP's comments ITT are you referring to?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:03 PM on January 14, 2012


Which of BP's comments ITT are you referring to?

None of them, as usual.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:57 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


offs, again?
posted by edgeways at 5:30 PM on January 14, 2012


New Colbert SuperPac ad: Mitt the Ripper.

"If corporations are people, doesn't that make Mitt Romney a serial killer?"
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:48 PM on January 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


People who complain about "progressives" sound like goddamn Stalinists.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:08 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Two Face Romney. (Not safe for sanity)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:28 AM on January 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Andrew Sullivan: How Obama's Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics -- "The right calls him a socialist, the left says he sucks up to Wall Street, and independents think he's a wimp. Andrew Sullivan on how the president may just end up outsmarting them all."
posted by ericb at 3:03 PM on January 16, 2012


The job collapse bottomed out at the beginning of 2010, as the stimulus took effect. Since then, the U.S. has added 2.4 million jobs. That’s not enough, but it’s far better than what Romney would have you believe, and more than the net jobs created under the entire Bush administration. In 2011 alone, 1.9 million private-sector jobs were created, while a net 280,000 government jobs were lost. Overall government employment has declined 2.6 percent over the past 3 years. (That compares with a drop of 2.2 percent during the early years of the Reagan administration.) To listen to current Republican rhetoric about Obama’s big-government socialist ways, you would imagine that the reverse was true. It isn’t.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:58 PM on January 16, 2012




The New Yorker's Steve Coll: The Truth in "King of Bain".
The criticisms are grounded in the belief that political advertising should be factually accurate and presented in a balanced context. That would surely be desirable, and it is useful for journalists to try to hold politicians accountable for their lies. Yet to dismiss “King of Bain” because it selects facts, distorts history, and tugs unrelentingly on the viewer’s emotions would be to overlook other interesting aspects of the film. “King of Bain” is to the Super PAC era of political distortion what “Apocalypse Now” was to Hollywood’s era of the auteur director: an apotheosis of inspired excess, and a marker of the times we inhabit.

... the film’s power, like that of Michael Moore’s documentaries, resides mainly in the voices of ordinary Americans speaking about their travails. Most of the film features seemingly straightforward interviews with people who lost their jobs, lost their health insurance, lost their home, skipped meals to feed their children, or moved involuntarily in search of new work. It borrows in tone from “Up in the Air,” a film about a corporate-layoff specialist, played by George Clooney, that cast non-actors who had actually been fired as Clooney’s victims.

According to the filmmakers, some of the interview subjects in “King of Bain” were paid with gift cards worth about one hundred dollars each to participate, and some of them have been quoted in the Post as saying that they did not understand the film’s purpose and that their stories were taken out of context. Still, whether or not Bain or Romney can be held responsible for their suffering, there is no question about the underlying authenticity of their narratives, and that is what comes through on the screen. To watch the film is to be carried briefly into marriages and families where people who thought they understood the rules of the economy were disabused, traumatically, of their beliefs.
What exactly did Romney do at Bain Capital? Paul Krugman posted a 1988 paper by Andrei Schleifer and Lawrence Summers on the economics of leveraged buyouts a few days ago.
Summers and Shleifer argued back in 1988 that buyouts are often aimed at “value redistribution” rather than “value creation”; specifically, a lot of the gains to the buyout specialists come from breaking implicit contracts with “workers, suppliers, and other corporate stakeholders.”

They make one especially keen point: if it were really about adding efficiency, why do the same people lead takeovers in many industries, instead of people with specific expertise in each industry doing the job? Their answer is that these specialists are specialists in deal-breaking, not value creation.
A recent post by Jim Surowiecki: How Private Equity Firms Like Bain Capital Earn Profits.

Matthew Yglesias has a more sympathetic view. Yahoo as a buyout candidate.
posted by russilwvong at 12:12 PM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]








NYT: Facing Second Loss to Gingrich, Romney Went on Warpath
In a call last Sunday morning, just hours after Mr. Romney’s double-digit loss to Mr. Gingrich in the South Carolina primary, the Romney team outlined the new approach to the candidate. Put aside the more acute focus on President Obama and narrow in on Mr. Gingrich.

Find lines of attack that could goad Mr. Gingrich into angry responses and rally mainstream Republicans. Swarm Gingrich campaign events to rattle him. Have Mr. Romney drop his above-the-fray persona and carry the fight directly to his opponent, especially in two critical debates scheduled for the week.

The results of that strategy, carried out by a veteran squad of strategists and operatives assembled by Mr. Romney to deal with just this kind of moment, have been on striking display here.

By this weekend, Mr. Romney’s aides were on the offensive and increasingly confident, with some combination of their strategy and Mr. Gingrich’s own performance swinging polls in Mr. Romney’s direction. Even as it acknowledged the damage inflicted on Mr. Romney by the past several weeks, his team suggested that it had learned a lesson about never letting up on rivals, especially if Mr. Romney wins the nomination and confronts Mr. Obama in the general election.
Politico has an interesting article describing the difference between Romney's supporters and Gingrich's supporters. Florida primary pits tea party against cocktail party.
posted by russilwvong at 6:21 PM on January 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Profile of Mitt Romney by Michael Tomasky.
What is striking in [R. B.] Scott’s account is not merely the fact of Romney’s numerous flip-flops on political issues familiar and less so (a less familiar one: the Massachusetts Romney refused to sign Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge in 2002, while the national Romney, in January 2007, became the first Republican presidential candidate to sign it). It’s his clumsy way of trying to assert that he has not in fact changed positions. On abortion rights, he took to saying in about 2007 that he had “always been personally pro-life” but had respected Roe v. Wade as law. But if he was always pro-life, why did he and Ann make donations for years to Planned Parenthood? And why, when asked about this, did he, in Scott’s words, “gracelessly roll his own wife under the bus” by saying, “Her contributions are for her and not for me”?

Romney appears to have a strong need to ingratiate, an urge to say much more than he really needs to say. When he wanted to prove he was a hunter and a regular guy, he made reference not to hunting animals or game but “varmints.” Twice. He boasted that his father marched with Martin Luther King Jr., but, admirable as his father was on civil rights, this was not true. His sons may have avoided military service, but they were “showing support for our nation” by…working on his campaign. The list goes on.

At other moments, a very different impulse reveals itself, and Romney’s deep and perhaps even unconscious sense of class superiority rises to the surface. He likes “being able to fire people,” he said to an audience recently, expecting a laugh that did not quite materialize. Complaints about his income are nothing more than “the bitter politics of envy.” Income inequality—this is the most incredible one to me—should be discussed only in “quiet rooms.” And his speaking fee income was “not very much” ($374,000 in the year ending in February 2011). Here again, he is his father’s opposite: George Romney was known for refusing bonuses, explaining that no executive needed to make more than his $225,000 a year ($1.4 million in today’s dollars).

Both urges, to pander awkwardly and to protect the prerogatives of his class, are at play in matters of policy. Romney’s proposed tax cut, writes The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein, is roughly three times the size of George W. Bush’s 2000 proposal. It’s far more regressive—it would actually raise taxes on many working-class people, which Bush did not do—and would add to the deficit a hefty $600 billion. Likewise, Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic found that Romney’s proposed budget would cut at least 14 percent and perhaps 25 percent from every domestic program—on top of the cuts already slated to go into effect as a result of the congressional deal on the debt ceiling.
posted by russilwvong at 4:15 PM on February 2, 2012


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