Over at Big Journalism, Larry O’Connor has a rare scoop. Mitt’s minions have been fluffing the wingnuts over there again:
“Drudge is the single most powerful force in the media today,” said Zac Moffat, Digital Director of the Romney Campaign. Lenny Alcivar, campaign spokesman, agreed: “The Governor’s simple message yesterday was, ‘If we want to repeal Obamacare, we have to replace the president.’ When Drudge highlighted that quote as a headline linked to the Weekly Standard, it began the unified message across the board on the center-right.”
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Moffat and Alcivar discussed how websites like Breitbart and Drudge influence the way their campaign receives and delivers the news.
Moffat revealed, “I have two windows constantly up on my screen all day long, Twitter and the Drudge Report.”
OK, I can see the first wee problem here: Romney’s Digital Director is Zac Moffatt, not Moffat. Nevermind. Carry on, Larry.
Alcivar, who took a leave from the groundbreaking and influential Hynes Communications to work for the Romney campaign, sees a major shift in how the media works:
When this election is over, one of the lessons that will be learned by the mainstream media is that they no longer have a toe-hold on how Americans receive their news. Never before – in a way that has taken Democrats off stride – have we seen the confluence of an aggressive online community, led by Breitbart, and an aggressive campaign team not willing to cede an inch of ground to Democrats. This combination has created a new political reality. We no longer allow the mainstream media to define the political realities in America. The rise of Breitbart, Drudge and others, combined with an aggressive Romney campaign is a powerful tool in the arsenal of the conservative movement.
If I talk to Breitbart about an issue, thousands more will hear our message than if we give a quote to one of the hill rags.
If you have a quick scan of Drudge or Breitbart’s recent frontpage offerings you may be driven to wonder what the heck Alcivar’s been saying to them. John Roberts is too gaga from epilepsy medication to do his job? “Sarah Palin: ‘Nancy Pelosi Is A Dingbat’”? “Romney Ad Shows Hillary Clinton Attacking Obama”?
As has already been covered here and even more revealingly here, this Fast and Furious business is much to-do about the Republicans wanting scalps, generating heat and light, and generally persecuting the Obama Administration instead of doing what they could be doing, like passing some job-creating legislation regarding building roads and bridges and fighting wildfires and keeping teachers on the job and the like.
Now, I’m not terribly in favor of executive privilege as a general thing—a very good case is made right here regarding how it could be overused, but still—
Could there possibly be a cover-up of something we all have so much information about, now? I mean, what exactly do they want to know? And what do they think is the importance of knowing it?
After reading everything I could about this issue, I don’t think this at all looks good for most Republican policy on guns. It especially doesn’t look good for NRA-backed lax gun-sale laws. My read on it is that guns actually walk their way to drug-dealers because they can, and because bad people will seek out guns to do bad things like shoot border agents with them. And that this probably means that we should make some legislation regarding gun sale restrictions with some teeth in them so bad people can get prosecuted before they, you know, kill Federal agents or the like.
I admire the Democrats who walked out for making a small, grumpy gesture about how absolutely full of non-nutritive lipids the GOP case is—especially if they want to make oleaginous Darrell Issa eat his self-importance.
(Oleaginous? I’m just saying, when there’s a margarine shortage, the Red Cross calls him.)
But I want them to actively question what this is really about. Whenever possible, they might just want to raise the issue of what exact illegal thing the GOP congresscritters think took place—by the agents involved. Instead of trying to pin this on Holder’s Justice Dept, I think attention should be shifted to the very gun worship that obviously persists to this day.
What I’m saying is, I suspect Boehner probably wanted the contempt vote to come Thursday, so it nestled under the armpit of the bigger news about the ACA decision. After failing to even have an opportunity to spike the ball, the GOP-dominated Congress went about the business of punishing an Obama-Administration official for being liberal. And the very best revenge is working to further discredit the GOP congress in hopes of getting something better.
I see your contempt vote, GOP, and my own contempt is raised.
From what I understand Chief Justice Roberts, who has issued the overall opinion, found the individual mandate constitutional, not under the Commerce Clause, but under the Congress’ authority to tax. So the penalty for not buying health insurance is essentially equivalent to a tax. There are a few complications with that in that currently there is no penalty for not paying the penalty, but Treasury may be able to fix that through regulations depending on the way it’s written.
The Court also threw a monkey wrench into the expansion of Medicaid by essentially removing the penalty against states for not going along with it. However the carrot approach could work better there than the stick.
A lot of analysis to be done but overall a pretty good day for the Prez.
UPDATE: I saw some speculation the last couple of days that Justice Alito’s sad temper tantrum directed at Obama over the Arizona immigration act ruling was a sign that he was not happy with the way the ACA decision was coming down. Didn’t want to say anything about it cuz I’m superstitious that way, but looks like it was spot on! And Scalia seriously needs to consider retiring before he embarrasses himself any more than he has.
I don’t. But if you believe the Roberts Court operates as the judicial arm of the Republican Party, the ruling may settle one enduring controversy: Is the ACA a sloppy wet kiss to the insurance industry, as the firebaggers claim, or is it a step on the road to universal access?
A Court that serves the party of the 1% can be expected to rule in the best interests of its patrons. But then again, while it’s true that the 1% control the Republican Party, they occasionally have a hard time tamping down the excesses of the crazies they must manipulate to seize and hold power in a democratic republic. Mathematics be damned: Scalia and Thomas may be the Court’s 27%.
In any case, the great TBogg summed up the ultimate outcome nicely:
No matter how the Supreme Court rules today, Ann Romney’s tap-dancing hobby horse will still get better health care than the majority of Americans and Ann will be able to write it off.
Vice President Joe Biden kept up the heat on Mitt Romney’s investments at Bain Capital in companies that outsourced on Wednesday, telling a crowd in Dubuque, Iowa, that it went to the core of the governor’s economic philosophy.
“After days of saying nothing in response to our criticism for that policy, the Romney campaign responded, I think yesterday, by saying we just don’t get it, we don’t understand the difference … between offshoring and outsourcing,” Biden said. “If you’re looking for work, that’s a pretty cruel joke.”
He continued with an image straight out of a New Yorker cartoon: “I can picture one guy in my old neighborhood standing next to another guy in the unemployment line and saying, ‘Hey John, did you get offshored or outsourced?’”
Arguing that Romney put outsourcing into practice in public policy, Biden went into an extended riff on a bill he vetoed in Massachusetts as governor that would have prevented state contractors from farming out operations overseas. At issue was a $160,000 contract with Citigroup, which used call centers in India to help manage the state’s food-stamp program. Biden called the measure a “cruel irony.”
“You pick up the phone to call the state of Massachusetts line, a woman picks up, she lost her job, picks up the phone to call the state of Massachusetts about her unemployment benefits and she ends up talking to someone in another country who has a job she could be doing and not have to seek unemployment,” Biden said. “I know it sounds so crazy, but that’s literal. Literally!”
I would say I didn’t know why freshman Senator from KY Rand Paul tried to insert an amendment asserting that human life begins at conception into a flood insurance bill, but I think I do: he’s signifying. If there was a move that said “Boy, look at me, I am certainly pro-lifing it up in a pro-lifity life life way over here!” well, that would be Rand, son of Ron, right there.
It certainly does take me back to early in the political career of Rand, son of Ron, which would be last year, when he inserted his pro-life cred into a discussion of one of his favorite subjects, light bulbs—and toilets. He said at the time:
“Actually, that’s the point,” Paul said, during an appliance efficiency hearing at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
“The point is that most members of your administration probably would be frank and characterize themselves — and upfront — as being pro-choice for abortion,” he said, “but you’re really anti-choice on every other consumer item.”
Paul continued on a string of attacks against federal regulations and labeled the lighting efficiency standards set by a 2007 energy law as just another government overreach.
“Light bulbs, refrigerators, toilets, you name it. You can’t go around your house without being told what to buy,” Paul said. “You restrict my purchases. You don’t care about my choices. You don’t care about the consumer.”
See, I think in Rand Paul-world, flood insurance and abortions are totally the same thing because they are things on the market that people could buy—so why not regulate light bulbs, I mean, toilets, I mean—oh wait—the actual personal bodies that live human beings inhabit and will live with until they die? Hmm? And since people are insured against fire and stuff, I can’t wait to see how he tries to append an anti gay-marriage amendment to emergency wildfire relief—because that’s apparently how he rolls. It’s as if nothing intersects with human experience except in terms of somebody paying for things—people paying for toilets that will accommodate the exceptionally prolific bowel movement, or light bulbs that are inefficient but do not remind one of soft-serve ice cream—and yet, if women mean to pay for certain health care services or let’s say gays mean to pay for marriage licenses—
Oh—suddenly there’s libertarian-lite-as-in-not Rand Paul, either sucking up to the Christian Right or genuinely believing that the government will let a fool part with his money any way he wants, but fuck him or especially her if s/he thinks the government doesn’t own her/his pee-pee parts. Especially where the wee fetuses are concerned.
Basically, Rand Paul is not only claiming government dominion over your, my, our pee-pee parts, but saying the government has a right to parent our children, too, since he’s claiming loco parentis over the fetus-folks by the government, and basically threatening to eminent domain ladies’ bodies on the wee person’s behalf.
That, my friends, sounds like a real government takeover. Maybe he could get some more support for that if he got fetuses the right to vote, but good luck getting them out to the polls, huh? They don’t speak English and they don’t get out much, you know?
I think what I’m saying is, Rand Paul is quickly proving himself to be a shining example of the future of the Republican party, and stuff.
I’m not saying the future is looking great for them.
(Sorry—totally all about the Ermahgerd Meme lately. It’s like Ig-pay Atin-lay only er-lier.)
Willard Mitt Romney, who is supposedly a grown-up person, and is running for kind of an *important* job, namely President of the United States, seems to think cruising Pres. Obama’s fund raising events in his bus for the purpose of honking the horn at, um, the building is so cool that he keeps doing it!
Steve Benen’s take:
I sometimes think about something President Obama said in his inaugural address: “We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.”
If someone could let Obama’s opponent know, I’d appreciate it.
Thinking about it though, perhaps circling buildings with his bus is just a metaphor for the circular positions his campaign is taking in which the answer to all questions asked about Willard’s positions come around to Obama’s supposed failure to lead on the issue and nothing about Willard’s actual ideas ever come forth. This video over at TPM is a perfect example. Soledad O’Brien asks Romney’s surrogate for five minutes whether Romney supports the upheld portion of the Arizona immigration law and for five minutes the surrogate says the issue isn’t about Romney, it’s about Obama. Even though the question was, you know, what does ROMNEY think?
He and his surrogates have taken this same tack when asked specifically what spending cuts he would make, what programs he would cut or reduce and what tax loopholes he would get rid of in order to pay for the taxes he would cut. Round and round, honking noises, going nowhere. Willard’s little bus stunts are just extensions of any position he has on anything. Or, more accurately, doesn’t have.
The more the Romney camp tries to unzip the “Mitt as Irrepressible Prankster” meme, the more clear it becomes that either “prank” is an earthling word that Mittbot 2012 cannot compute or else the dude is just a fucking psycho. Here’s a fond remembrance of pranks past published by Tucker Carlson’s puke funnel:
On a Friday evening in 1962, or perhaps 1963, Ben Shaw and his sales employees at the Princeton Prep Shoppe in Birmingham, Mich., were watching traffic roll by as an ordinary work day wound down. But with young Mitt Romney around, Shaw recalls, nothing was ordinary. The future presidential candidate and three friends dressed in what Shaw calls “gangland fashion” hopped out of a 1930s vintage Ford that was double-parked across the street, in front of City Hall and the police station.
The four teens wore “trench coats with turned-up collars and wide-brimmed fedoras,” Shaw told The Daily Caller in an interview.
The pretend gangsters made a beeline for the storefront. One knocked the door open while two others “stood menacingly with their hands in their pockets.” Shaw instantly pegged the fourth member of the team as Romney. The boy “shoved his way in,” he said, wielding a toy Tommy gun.
“This is a stick-up,” Shaw recalls Romney saying, adding that he “proceeded to ‘spray’ the entire store as sparks from the toy flew from the muzzle.”
In the blink of an eye, the pranksters jumped into their getaway car and sped away.
Mock executions, how droll! Of course, teen pranksters attempting such a stunt today would likely die in a hail of bullets as the shopkeepers exercised their right to “stand their ground,” particularly if the teens in question had a greater melanin concentration than Romney and his pals.
Shaw told of another Romney “prank:”
He recalled another staged stunt, “the fireman story,” that happened around the same year during the Christmas season. As holiday business picked up, Shaw kept the store open until 9:00 p.m. during the week, he said, and routinely received truck shipments around closing time.
So when he heard a “loud banging” on the metal delivery door in the back of the shop as he was preparing to lock the front door, he thought it was just another late-night delivery.
But when Shaw opened the door, he explained, he suddenly stood face-to-face with Mitt Romney “in full Bloomfield Township fireman’s regalia.”
“He had on the waterproof cape, the fire helmet, and he was carrying a bona fide fire ax,” Shaw told TheDC, and barged into the store screaming, “Where’s the fire? Where’s the fire?”
The costumed Romney paraded through the store — all the while yelling about a nonexistent fire while swinging the ax over his head — and walked out the unlocked front door. And as quickly as he had barged in, he vanished.
Again, this would result in summary execution for duskier-hued yoots, but one can readily appreciate the shopkeeper’s need to tolerate the “pranks” of a local scion with the juice to commandeer 1930s-era cars, gangster outfits and “fireman regalia” with which to amuse himself with the local merchant class. Especially at the “Princeton Prep Shoppe.”
Someone on Team Romney has an inkling that these events might not put their man in the best possible light since they’ve denied the “Tommy gun” and “ax” portions of the stories while coyly declining to deny the rest of the adorable hijinx, but the shopkeeper stands by his version. Does anyone really think that’s funny? Who the fuck are these people?
Like Betty, the kerfuffle over Fast and Furious and Darrell Issa’s desperate fishing expedition to root out an early October surprise hasn’t been something I’ve found particularly absorbing. My tolerance for anything to do with proto-Bond villain Issa is pretty low beyond noting last August that he and his department seemed to have an unhealthily close relationship with certain campaigning wingnuts in general, and during the Weinergate affair in particular. Many of the questions I raised at the time were never broached elsewhere, let alone resolved. It’s obviously either impudent or extremely uninteresting to suggest that anyone try to practise some oversight over the Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. But my appetite was re-whetted a little by today’s developments. Raw Story reports:
Last week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) charged that by asserting executive privilege over certain documents, the White House essentially admitted it had been involved in a cover-up.
“The decision to invoke executive privilege is an admission that White House officials were involved in decisions that misled the Congress and have covered up the truth,” Boehner told reporters.
This “gotcha!” moment is obviously something that’s gotten Boehner excited. It may even mean he and Issa can rescue their terminally lackluster terms in office after the heady early promises of firm action to expose the Obama administration as the scoundrels they no doubt are.
Speaking of Kaplan hacks, Kathleen Parker wants you to know that Ann Romney’s dressage horses are actually elaborately upholstered, living physical therapy appliances, rather than impossibly expensive playthings for a useless rich lady. Therefore, if you have a problem with the Romneys’ deducting more than you made last year for expenses associated with their part ownership of a fancy dancing horse, you’re a bad person who probably finds the sight of orphans on crutches and in wheelchairs hilarious.
Why this war on success, you guys? Parker really wants to know:
And why this war on success? People who are struggling through rough economic times didn’t suddenly become stupid, and surely most see through this absurd, sustained attack on the Romneys, whose only apparent sin is having been successful.
Romney’s opponents seem to be aghast that he has made money for investors (aren’t we all investors?) [uh, no, you idiotic, out-of-touch fuck, no…—ed.], though they studiously ignore other greed-less facts: He never took a dime in salary for heading the Olympics in Salt Lake City nor as governor of Massachusetts, to mention a couple.
Jesus god, really? How did the Romneys manage to feed themselves, their livestock and the Mini-Mitts without the Olympics and gubernatorial salaries? Oh right, they were already gazillionaires before Mittens got those gigs, which were essentially rich dude hobby jobs. Parker somehow forgot to mention that Mittens claims he didn’t inherit any money from his father either, which makes him a Self-Made Man. I’m sure the fact that his father was a multimillionaire CEO of General American Motors and governor of Michigan didn’t grease the skids for the Marquis de Mittens a bit.
We’ll soon get to test Parker’s theory about the plebes’ ability to see through “absurd, sustained attacks,” alright. But rather than discerning if the manifestly out-of-touch, fuck-you rich Romneys are indeed manifestly out-of-touch, fuck-you rich people, the plebes will demonstrate whether they’re capable withstanding the tsunami of bullshit Rove & Co. will funnel through their TV screens shortly.
This fall will witness the ultimate test of the American people’s gullibility as we see if unfettered SuperPAC cash can sell Little Lord Fontleromney as a bootstrapped businessman and cast a moderate president who continued the bank bailouts and attempted to reform the private insurance industry as a Kenyan commie. The obscene gobs of cash necessary to fund this test are being raised right now by the Romneys’ fellow out-of-touch, fuck-you rich people.
And more than an election is on the line: The slender moorings that link things we call “words” to their corresponding concepts will be tested as well. I’m not all that optimistic. Rove was able to sell a not-so-bright, daddy-supported ex-cheerleader and serial fuck-up as an unassuming cowpoke, and that was before he had unlimited KochBucks at his disposal.
However, Parker ends her column on a more optimistic note, hoping that if Ann Romney becomes First Lady, she’ll use her influence to prevent retired horses from becoming “circus or zoo meat.” A worthy goal indeed. But by widening the wealth inequality gap even further, Mrs. Romney’s hubby might inadvertently direct that sad protein elsewhere. Romney-Ryan 2012: A Horse in Every Pot!
I’ve paid scant attention to the “Fast and Furious” furor for one simple reason: There’s an inverse relationship between an issue’s importance and the ferocity of the wingnut circle jerk surrounding it. The details of the case sound vaguely fucked up in the sense that it’s generally a bad idea to supply vicious criminals with powerful weapons, and it sucks that innocent people ended up dying when the criminals predictably used those weapons.
The whole sorry episode sounds like a textbook case of blowback, and you could find countless examples by examining bone-headed initiatives undertaken by any number of large organizations, be they public or private sector. The CIA’s weaponization of Osama bin Laden is just one such example.
But had I paid more attention, it might have occurred to me to wonder why the wingnuts were wanking so frantically over a case involving gunplay, as if that were a bad thing. (I mean, aside from the fact that both the President and the Attorney General are not white.) Now I get it:
The clip is about 18 minutes long but worth watching in its entirety if you haven’t seen it. It’s perhaps also worth noting that the lunatic who pulled this whole “Fast and Furious is a ploy to gut the Second Amendment” conspiracy straight out of his ass, “Fox News expert” Mike Vanderboegh, is indeed a pinwheeling-eyed crazy person who has authored McVeigh-wannabe fap-fiction that would make the writer of “The Turner Diaries” blush.
“Fox News expert” Mike Vanderboegh is such a compelling author of militia fap-fiction that he inspired a pack of brainless, gun-fondling crackpots to hatch an anti-government terrorist plot late last year. The plot was foiled by the fact that the four plotters had only around a teaspoonful of brains between them.
You will likely be unsurprised to learn, as I did, that this gubmint hatin’ Anwar al-Awlaki to the white sheet set has time to produce fap-fiction for gun-fondlers and inspire members of the US House of Representatives to waste millions of tax payer dollars on paranoid wingnut gun control fantasies because he receives a monthly government disability check. Didn’t see that one coming, did you?