Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Veepstakes 2012:  Rock Stars!

I don’t know what the deal is with calling non-musical people “rock stars” these days, but this is apparently the pundits’ way of saying “crowd-pleaser” in a hip and with-it kind of way. In other words, “rock star” is the new “bee’s knees”. Ann Romney has been called a rock star, recently. I would think Mrs. Mitt is a tolerable pop act, tops.  But no, if people genuinely applaud things you say, and not in a “you stopped talking, I must mark the lacuna” way, you too, could be a rock star.

But you’re not going to be like the GOP’s heavy hitters. The “Rock Star”, ideally, is a person who brings the sizzle. Sadly, where there is sizzle, there is not always steak. There isn’t even fried onions, sometimes. I guess one can’t discuss the rock star phenomenon without discussing Sarah Palin. You may have seen her in such venues as the Today show just recently, being an intentional caricature of her persona, or her reality show, being an unintentional caricature of her persona, or her tour de force role as a VP candidate in the ready-for-cable 2008 presidential election. As easy to photograph as her sentences are hard to diagram, she somehow succeeds in working a liberal’s last nerve like a Flying Wallenda crossing a tightrope between two very large buildings, and inspires fierce loyalty among folks who think with their endocrine systems. She gives “star bursts” and possibly other hard candies.  Does she know what the hell she’s talking about?

She’s a rock star. Please. Is it possible that Romney could try to catch lightning in a bottle for the second unsuccessful time?

Unlikely. I think the aforementioned cable movie probably sunk her practical chances for good, if real life hadn’t already.

Now, what about Paul Ryan? I don’t even get the whole Paul Ryan thing. I think his budget is pants and kind of have major issues with Randroids. Although, from a purely aesthetic POV, that would be one easy on the eyes pairing.  If one cared for that kind of thing. I don’t. No. Stop looking at me like that. I don’t.  Anyway, Obama is going hard against that kind of “eat the poor” economics, and I think Romney should recognize it as a trap—also Ryan probably is better off maintaining his “bright boy” role in the House.

I don’t know why people keep bringing up John Thune on the VP list. Is this a thing? Am I missing a train here? I keep reading people saying he’s exciting or attractive or something, but I just keep seeing a barber college hairstyle and the Bible camp counselor we all stayed clear of on general principles, No, I’m kidding. I never went to Bible camp.  But really—once again—le rock star? Mais, non.

And Donald Trump.  He certainly has tried to influence this race, but with diminishing returns. It doesn’t really matter if your cracker is a Ritz once the cheese has done slipped off it, and I do believe his recent opinions on vaccinations and so forth tend to make no one except really confused people want to take him seriously—so who would that leave?

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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/03/12 at 10:14 PM
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Categories: PoliticsPolisnark

Extremely Dumb and Incredibly Obtuse

Breitbart Big Ho editor / Hollywood flop John Nolte dislikes the film “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” because – get this – it “exploits 9/11:”

The film’s biggest problem is that, to put it bluntly, it exploits 9/11. Thomas could’ve died just as easily in a plane crash or boat accident without a single element of the story having to change. For Daldry (working off a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer) to use one of the biggest crimes ever committed against this country as a “device” is truly repulsive and a symptom of a Hollywood bubble so impenetrable that a group of people with the power to make a multi-million dollar film actually thought it was okay to say 9/11 is all about …. me.

God, that’s funny, in a “Union Carbide Bhopal executive complains about worker flatulence” kind of way. Has there ever been a group that has exploited a national tragedy to silence opponents and enact a radical, ruinous agenda as efficiently as the modern GOP humped 9/11 for fun and profit? If so, I was mercifully not alive for it.

John Nolte, whose writing recalls the elegance of Nick Nolte’s mug shot, goes on:

According to [Director Stephen] Daldry and company, what 9/11 is about, though, is the opportunity for a nine-year-old “amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist” to trot off on a narcissistic journey of self-discovery while banging his precious tambourine and providing his precious voice over and meeting all the precious people in the precious city of New York. And in the film’s most racially patronizing scene, meeting a group of precious Christians who are of course, Black.

And there you have it in a nutshell, ladies and gents. Wingnuts despised New York City before 9/11 for the same reasons they hate Hollywood, and their grievances against it would match up point-for-point with the Talibans’. Except the Taliban probably don’t hate “the Blacks” as much.

[X-posted at Balloon Juice]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 04/03/12 at 09:06 AM
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Categories: PoliticsBedwettersBushCoNuttersWar In Error

Monday, April 02, 2012

Veepstakes 2012:  It’s About Strategery.

Since I decided to do this series looking into Mitt Romney’s choices for the coveted (?) number two slot on the 2012 presidential ticket, I’ve been reading a bit about other people’s opinions.  I can’t say that I’ve necessarily done a lot of agreeing.  Conventional wisdom is usually more conventional than wise. Take this article by John Heileman talking up OH Sen. Rob Portman:

But the paramount reason Portman would be Romney’s smartest and safest pick is this: He would both be and be immediately universally regarded as qualified for the gig. For all the gaming out of pros and cons of various possible picks, the truth is that the way the selection matters most is as a reflection of the nominee’s judgment. In this, a V.P. choice is one of those rare campaign events where the substantive and strategic imperatives are in alignment. Doing the right thing for country also happens to be the right thing politically.

Boring. I think people who write exclusively about politics fall for the oddest people. It’s Mitch Daniels or Paul Ryan or some other sap, and I never feel that tingle up my leg over them. But overall, there just doesn’t seem to me to be too much of a reason for Romney to make a pandering pick. He does enough pandering with policy. It’s unlikely that he’s going to cover much ground with Hispanics, for example, with his whole “self-deportation” rap. Also—how much pandering does he need to do? Are there any self-identified Tea Partiers straddling the fence who might go to Obama if Mitt doesn’t pick Michele Bachmann? Are there any red states in the south that will waver on Mitt if he doesn’t decide to tap Haley Barbour?

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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/02/12 at 10:36 PM
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Categories: PoliticsElection '12Mittens

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

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So, the GOP is holding its convention in Tampa, Florida—the Lap Dance Capital of the Universe—during the height of hurricane season, when the heat and humidity are enough to prompt Satan himself to prance under the scalding sprinklers for momentary relief.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the other city bigwigs are coming up with all sorts of rules to try to contain the mayhem, including my personal favorite, which is to limit parades to 60 minutes so the riot cops can take a break from their humidity-retaining Imperial Stormtrooper suits.

They’ve banned all sorts of items, including super-soaker squirt guns and string, from the “protest zone.” But guess what they can’t ban outside the Secret Service perimeter? Actual guns:

Conspicuously absent from the list of potential weapons: Firearms.

That’s because state law bans local governments from placing any restrictions on the carrying of guns in public spaces.

And that’s because the brilliant Rick Scott administration allowed the NRA to run its wish list through the GOP super-majority state legislature. Is it possible for an entire state to perish from terminal stupidity? We may be about to find out.

[X-posted at Balloon Juice]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 04/02/12 at 01:37 PM
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Categories: NewsPoliticsElection '12

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Veepstakes 2012: Are You Experienced?

NM Governor Susana Martinez and OH freshman senator Rob Portman both get mentioned a lot in discussions regarding possible 2012 VP picks—I don’t think either of them are likely to be picked, and the reason in both cases is experience.

To take Gov. Martinez as the first example, she took office in 2011 and has already indicated that she isn’t interested in the job.  I’ve already pointed out that there is a lot of that going around, but in her case, with just over a year in her governorship—she isn’t wrong. I can think of another just under half-term governor who had good buzz, but ultimately neither won on her ticket nor found the experience of running very helpful to her career. I think there is something very cynical about this kind of pick: the GOP suffers in polls regarding women and Hispanics, so why not pick a person who intersects both demographics? Answer: It’s the policies, not the pols. I think journalists might like the idea of shaking things up with a “refreshing” choice, but if Nicolle Wallace was right about one thing—it’s that preparedness will count.  I don’t know if Gov. Martinez is ready (doubt it)—but she’s already implied she might prefer to bide her time.

The other person on the journos’ short list for VP pick, Rob Portman, is a little more likely. He’s definitely got Beltway experience as a former Bush Administration OMB Director. But that’s just it—that means as a Budget Director, he’s kind of tied up in the Bush era deficits. That might not really be a winner with born-again budget hawks, especially since Romney is kind of signalling support of the Ryan Budget (which itself isn’t really so much deficit-hawkish, as “throw momma from a speeding train”-ish). Although he definitely might be helpful in delivering a swing state (not many picks these days can, I think), I don’t think he’d help him anywhere else, and he’s kind of boring.  I’m not trying to be mean. He just is.

That being said, he also has given signs of not wanting the VP pick either, but I think it’s more of a pro-forma “But I’d be happy to be selected” thing in his case. My guess is that Romney might go for a middle of the road, but higher-profile pick.

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/01/12 at 09:09 PM
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Categories: PoliticsElection '12Mittens

GOP Candidate Requests Advanced Foreign Policy Tutorial, President Declines

Seeing this story at TPM makes me wonder about Romney’s game:

The Romney campaign suggested Friday that President Obama should release notes and transcripts from his meetings with world leaders to prove that he is not promising world leaders to change his position after November, in a statement to National Journal. Democrats responded that this request betray’s Romney’s foreign policy “naiveté.” 

The statement, from Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul, came in response to a call from the Obama campaign that Romney release 30 years worth of tax returns. Team Obama claims that a policy that allowed Bain Capital employees to invest retirement money in companies bought by Bain through a special share class, raises “questions about Romney’s manipulation of the tax laws.” Saul’s response brought the subject back to Obama with a reference to his “hot mic” incident with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev:

“The Obama campaign is playing politics, just as he’s doing in his conduct of foreign policy,” Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul wrote. “Obama should release the notes and transcripts of all his meetings with world leaders so the American people can be satisfied that he’s not promising to sell out the country’s interests after the election is over.”

Yep. I think Team Romney has no game.

In honor of April Fool’s Day, I’m going to advance my personal Obama 11-Dimensional Chess Theory notion (probably someone else has thought of this first, but I haven’t seen it); that “hot mic” incident was no accident. Two messages were conveyed: 1) President Obama is reasonably comfortable about his chance for re-election, and 2) Grown-ups will resume talking after the election is over.  What gets highlighted in all this is that Gov. Romney is kind of weak at foreign policy, showing his ass regarding the START treaty not that long ago, and having to be chided by House Speaker Boehner about politics ending at the water’s edge just recently.

One might suggest that Romney does realize that this kind of information is privileged for a reason (and for that matter, transcripts wouldn’t just possibly be uncomfortable for Obama, but for any foreign leader he may have spoken to) and is just gassing. But that this silly request comes in response to the Obama campaign’s request that Romney release 30 years worth of tax returns is telling.  It took an uncomfortable amount of pulling to get the couple years’ worth out of Mitt—he’s pretty defensive about his financial information. After all, one might find donations to Planned Parenthood or NOM, for all we know….

In short, Obama is now living in his head rent-free.

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/01/12 at 02:10 PM
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Categories: PoliticsElection '12Mittens

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