I hate to be a Patsy Pile-on (okay, I lie, I love to pile on once a suitable target is acquired), but I just wanted to elaborate a little on Romney’s journey to some countries he, by rights, should not have been able to screw up in. This trip wasn’t really about Mitt Romney’s foreign policy and how he related to leaders around the world—it seems in hindsight that it was more about allowing him to do some cultural signifying to the base. From that perspective, what were perceived as gaffes—weren’t. He conveyed the themes he intended to:
United Kingdom=Anglo-Saxony (Whatever that’s supposed to mean—but I think it’s just “The middle two letters in “WASP”.)
Israel=Judeo-Christian values (Pronounced in that fashion that lets you know that the other Abrahamic faith is silent.)
And Poland=Anti-Communist (Because Soviet Union, you guys!)
Put them all together they spell “Mitt Romney is an Anglo-Saxon, Judeo-Christian kind of guy who isn’t a Communist,.” (Unlike, you know.)
So, if you think that US foreign policy is about representing this country’s interests while participating as something like a “first nation amongst equals”, say, with grown people expectations about how other participants on the world stage may act and react to the things you do and say as a world leader, you might roll your eyes and wonder how this clod got his crust. But if your idea of foreign policy is “Eat American Exceptionalism BITCHEZ!” you might have actually thought that any poor reaction Romney received was because other people are just so…p.c. and shit.
In real-world terms, I tend to agree with the commentary of Suddeutsche Zeitung that Romney has sort of disqualified himself from potentially meaningfully carrying out any Middle East policy because he has already provided Islamic nations with reason to think he can’t or won’t deal with them in good faith. He made particular statements about Palestinian vs Israeli culture in an economic sense that bore little relationship to the historical or current political background--which he a) tried to backpedal from, b) which were actually nearly verbatim from his book No Apologies (giggle, snort, no, really), and which he then c) doubled-down on in a National Review op-ed piece.
Nice, right? So, instead of a one-term Massachusetts governor with no foreign policy trying to show that he is so capable of being better than, say, She Who Needs Not Be Named, he shows that he still has to pander to the Republican base. Which is possibly what some people might call wimpy. At this blog, it’s been regularly iterated that he is an example of “Profiles in Something Other than Courage.”
As a presidential challenger, he should be presenting his resume and showing what he has that would make him better than President Obama. As it stands, he reminds me of when the polls were regularly showing that a “Generic Republican” might beat Barack Obama, even if no single Republican candidate stood out. At this point, Mitt Romney may as well change his name to “Jan Eric Whyte-Guy” for all the good his experience does him. As we find out who he is, we start to suspect we understand what he is a little better.
I know some people might not see that as a problem for his campaign—but I think for someone who wants to be president, it’s a BFD. Some may look back and wonder if he was even properly vetted.
As the dust settles from the #RomneyShambles Grand World Tour, those left snorting in Mitt’s wake are finding reasons to be grateful for his visit, some of which border on the miraculous.
The British Government thanks a black-hat baddie who was obviously born to the role for rallying a hitherto less-than-enthused and hypercritical populace behind the London Olympics. Wherever Mitt went, he was greeted by wildly cheering crowds. For instance, traffic congestion meant that he and his entourage had to walk down Grosvenor Place to a meeting at the Irish Embassy.
“Hey, Mitt—shake. HAHAHA gotcha!”
“Oops. I can’t believe you just did that,” says Mr. Gotcha’s companion. Keep your eyes on the man in green.
Here he is again. I have a suspicion he may feature in a few photoshops before the campaign’s done.
The accompanying headlines? The Daily Mail wasn’t untypical:
Just to not be posting something about Mitt Romney, because Oh MY Gawd that Guy! I’m going to be posting an innocent picture of former VP candidate and former half-term governor, Sarah Palin, along with the Former First Dude, Toad, who are very excited to be sharing a picture of themselves having just made a purchase at a chain restaurant.
See? There they are, each holding some warm bags of chicken because that is what they do. They have pictures taken of themselves inside fast food places. Because they’re regular folks, is what. And because they support businesses, is why.
Now, some people might contend that this is a political statement in favor of a business that does discriminate against people, that they’re using this business to show support of the larger “cause” of homophobia, and some might even go so far as to suggest that they’ve aligned themselves with the “chicken winger” cause du jour because it makes them seem relevant to a backwards movement against the freedom of a select group of people to make choices particular to their families and their lives, in support of what could be labelled hate speech against those people. And there may very well be reason to believe that not only is Sarah Palin a virulent homophobe, but she’s raised her own children to be, and her own grandchild is being raised to be as well.
But mostly, I think the Palins simply believe that there is essentially nothing that they can or should do anymore that isn’t digitally recorded and broadcast, whether it be dancing amongst the pseudo-stars or even buying sundered, deep-fried poultry bits linked to hate. Maybe some folks want to call that “family values”—but I don’t think that’s what you call saying some people aren’t valuable enough to make families.
I don’t care if she’s supposedly politically irrelevant—what she is taking a stand for isn’t, yet. But it ought to be. And she obviously wants attention—so here. Attention is paid.
Did you watch the Piers Morgan interview with Willard and Ann(toinette) Romney that Anne Laurie linked? OMFG!
Here’s a deal for you, British cousins: We won’t make any trouble when the Little Lord Fauntleromneys* try to return to America if you’ll keep that insufferable prat Morgan within your borders. An example of the hard-hitting journalism:
MORGAN: On the economy, clearly Barack Obama has decided your weakness, your vulnerability, is your record at Bain Capital. And it’s a very divisive issue. And quite a fascinating issue because when I look at some of these attack ads, it’s almost like he’s attacking you for being successful and rich which is not a traditional area of battleground to an American from an American because America was founded on working hard, achievement, success, and making money.
That’s Kristol-level wrongness there, in which falsehoods are nested within falsehoods like a Matryoshka doll. But I thought the most fascinating segment was when Morgan questioned Romney about the upcoming dressage competition. Romney was all, “Rafalca who?”
Look, I’m sure Rafalca is a perfectly lovely animal—one I’d like to have a beer with!—and it’s not her fault that she’s the plaything of useless rich people. The issue is that the Rafalca-owner class has rigged the tax code to such an extent that I can’t write off my child’s braces, whereas Rafalca’s owners can write off more than my entire annual wages for a nonexistent dancing horse “business.” But that’s not enough; they want MORE.
Clueless, entitled prick that he is, Romney dimly perceives that this looks kinda bad, so he’s hoping no one watches the dressage competition and that his wife’s horse fails to medal so the issue will go away. Me, I hope Rafalca takes the gold, and I’ve circled August 2 on my calendar.
*Spelling correction H/T to NotMax. Also too, apparently it was Earl Fauntleroy (rather than Little Lord) who was the entitled douchenozzle—H/T, Aimai.
I was attracted to this story via ABC’s OTUS Blog regarding the Chinese-made Olympic pins bearing Mitt Romney’s likeness for my own wack reasons (Oh, MSM, how do you ever pick up on such interesting stories?), when I espied “new-to-me” information about the extent of the outsourcing. Apparently, one of the fund-raising gimmicks used to fund the construction of various edifices peculiar to the Olympic environs included Chinese-sourced granite bricks inscribed with the names of donors. In Salt Lake City Utah—which is as near to granite as a very near to granite thing.
Looking further at this Gateway Plaza business (for this is where the donor pavers are situated, and I have no actual issue with the idea of donor bricks—it produces a nice look and provides a donor incentive of recognition in a pretty permanent way, which is really neat for the donors to point out to people or to just kind of quietly feel like a part of a project with) it turns out there is a smidgen of cronyism there.
As Mitt Romney got ready to take his seat in London for the Olympics’ opening ceremonies, the focus of the presidential campaign this week shifted to the candidate’s time running the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Romney is generally recognized as the take-charge executive who turned the Games around after a massive bribery scandal. But there’s another side to that record. Romney’s campaigns, as we’ve previously reported, have taken in $1.5 million in donations from the families and business associates of two central figures in the Salt Lake scandal. And documents obtained by Mother Jones shed new light on another of the candidate’s Olympic connections—his personal intervention on behalf of his closest Salt Lake friend, developer Kem Gardner, in connection with a key real estate deal.
At issue is the Olympic Legacy Plaza, a public square in the Gateway, a massive shopping/retail/office complex that Gardner was developing at the time. The plaza features the 2002 Games’ snowflake logo, a fountain, and a concrete “wall of honor” listing donors and volunteers. No other bids or sites were considered for the project, which helped Gardner secure a multimillion-dollar city tax break for building a public plaza. Romney also wrote a memo discouraging other municipalities from building competing projects, and he helped fill a Gateway housing complex with media representatives during the Games. Gardner, his family, and his business associates have since given more than $500,000 to Romney’s campaigns.
The reason I got interested in Romney’s helming of the SLC Olympics was because it was the part of his resume that provided his entree into politics. Since he can’t really flog his record as a one-term governor of MA, he’s left with Bain and the Olympics. He’s been dodgy about his time as King of Bain, yet, since our elections coincide with a certain set of international games, he should be exploiting his successful run of one (like someone ever held an Olympics and nobody came, amirite?).
But I am not myself interested in seeing him have anything to run on. So investigate his Olympics, I have to.
What I won’t do is diss Rafalca, though. I like animals. If Rafalca is a good horse who likes to dance for people, this is not my issue. I only care if the critter is well-treated and loved and all that. I think Ann might love this horse, and I hope has seen to its good treatment, even if Mitt doesn’t seem too interested.
But the participation of a Romney horse in the Games is probably also a story about privilege. I expect there may be more information about the 2002 Mittlympics.
It will have come to your attention that not all of us in the British Isles are particularly taken with the way you’ve conducted yourself during your visit to our shores for the 2012 London Olympics. Whatever the right or wrongs of it, you’ve managed to rub some of us up the wrong way.
You arrived with the promise that you would rekindle some relationship you imagine once existed between our two countries based on a regime which held uneasy sway over only part of our territory before the Norman Conquest in 1066 transformed our society irrevocably. This mystified most of us, because we don’t identify ourselves with an era so long past, and indeed a lot of us carry only a fraction of Anglo-Saxon blood, if any. We are a mongrel nation, for sure, and none the worse for it.
“I’m looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again,” Romney told a crowd of about 250 people at a Thursday evening fundraiser at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel following a day of meetings with current and former British leaders.
This takes up a refrain that has been current on many rightwing blogs and comments sections throughout the World Wide Web over the past few years, here repeated by CBS News:
The bronze torso of Churchill had been loaned to President George W. Bush following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and although it was due to be returned when Obama took office, British officials offered to extend the loan for another four years. Obama declined, and replaced the Churchill bust with one of President Abraham Lincoln, a Republican figure in history Obama admires.
The same article helpfully explains:
Romney’s idea of putting the bust back in the White House first surfaced in an article in The Telegraph, a British newspaper. In the story, two unnamed advisers said Romney would like to pay homage to Churchill if he is elected, with one saying the move would be “symbolically important.”
She’s a winner: Michelle Obama raises her arms in delight as David Beckham applauds during a football game with children as part of the Let’s Move-London event at Winfield House Picture: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages
Mitt secures his place in history by being namechecked by London Mayor Boris Johnson as he prompts a “Yes we can!” call and response from a vast and wildly enthusiastic crowd as the Olympic torch arrives in Hyde Park:
People are coming from around the world and they’re seeing us, and they’re seeing the greatest city on Earth, aren’t they? Now, there are some people who are coming from around the world who don’t yet know about all the preparations we’ve done to get London ready in the last seven years. I hear there’s a guy, there’s a guy called Mitt Romney, who wants to know whether we’re ready … he wants to know whether we’re ready.
Mitt Romney’s long-planned summer fundraising bashes in England and Israel made the itinerary for his getmetheh-e-doublehockeysticksoutofhere vacation look a little bare and blatant, so he told his staff to spin that Rolodex and figure out some more stops to pad it out. France was out of the question—too much of a reminder of the two years he spent on mission there in his youth, when he managed to convert two people before nearly taking out a bunch more in a car crash, plus it’s now run by socialists who’re being mean to banksters, so the optics wouldn’t be good and the reception likely less than warm. A visit to Germany was mooted, but didn’t pan out, and in any case would have invited too many unfavorable comparisions with President Obama’s barnstorming visit in 2008. Switzerland and the Cayman Islands were also off limits, for reasons that should be obvious. Then Lech Walesa came to the rescue with an invite, so the final leg ends up being a two-day stay in sunny Poland.
Even before he flees American soil, Mitt’s managed to cause a diplomatic incident. He can largely get away with spinning his own web of reality from others’ words in America, but the rest of the world can sometimes set more exacting standards. The leaders he’ll be meeting may be considerably more guarded in what they say to him for fear he’ll end up citing them publicly and “reinterpreting” their words to fit what he wants them to imply after his run-in with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr:
Tune into Rumproast.com on Thursday July 26th for the triumphant return of StrangeAppar8us. He recently dictated a post to Mrs. Polly during one of her many visits to Pittsburgh to take care of our pal and we’re very excited to give you a heads up about it. Please spread the word and come on by this Thursday at approximately 10:30 AM ET. People will be thanked, secrets will be revealed, you will laugh and cry, and Mrs. Polly will be reading all of your comments to Strange as they come in. See you then.—Your Semi-Retired Blog Founder
President Obama, your position on gay marriage “evolved” (to your great credit). Isn’t it about fucking time that your position on gun control showed similar evolution? These are innocent young people who died. And they aren’t the only ones. We’ve had enough of these tragedies. It’s time for you to stand up.
Now, I’ll give the Romney campaign a brief benefit of the doubt. Maybe a friendly spammer thought s/he was doing the campaign a solid. On the other hand, a superficial tweak like trying win the “war” on social media by follower count is just the kind of useless thing the campaign that believes in a place called Amercia might do.
Oh—I retroactively didn’t use the above blog-title. That’s just mean.
My backyard chicken project finally paid off: an egg! The hen who laid it, Dorito (pictured below), had not been selected by any of us in the first-layer pool, so through random selection my husband got to eat the first hen fruit, which he reported as delicious!
In retrospect, Dorito should have been an obvious pick in the pool as her comb and neck dooly-bobs are more developed than those of her peers. Stupidly, we all went with other indicators, like overall size or fondness for hanging out in the nest boxes.
We know who laid the first egg because we heard squawking, which my daughter went out to investigate. She then saw Dorito exiting the henhouse and found the still-very-warm egg, which she bore triumphantly to the kitchen.
That was midweek. Yesterday was the kiddo’s birthday, and she had requested last week that I take the day off so I could chauffeur and chaperone her and a friend to the Batman movie premiere (matinee, not midnight showing).
Despite receiving the news of the carnage in Colorado shortly after waking up, we decided to go to the Batman premiere anyway. We figured any would-be copycats would have to wait until the local gun shops and militia gear purveyors opened at nine o’clock and that it would take some time – even in Florida – to assemble the requisite high-capacity magazines, select a target, etc., so 11 a.m. moviegoers would be relatively safe.
And we were. The kids enjoyed the movie. My verdict: meh. Anne Hathaway is a good Catwoman, but she was the only bright spot as far as I’m concerned. I think the film was trying to make some half-baked point about the Occupy movement a time or two – a point that Rush Limbaugh could sympathize with if he weren’t focused on ginning up dumb outrage over the use of the name “Bane” for the villain.
Anyway, maybe I’m just shallow, but I enjoyed “The Avengers” a lot more.