Mitt Romney—Meet Your Base; Base—Meet Mitt Romney
Yesterday, during his bus tour, President Obama breakfasted at Ann’s Place in Akron, OH, where he met the owner, Josephine “Ann” Harris. An hour or so after the visit, Ann Harris—who had been suffering from ill health for some time and had a medical history of recent heart attacks and a stroke—was taken ill, and died not long after in hospital.
Such a sad coincidence is no doubt newsworthy, judging by the coverage in media from the exalted HuffPo to the lowly wingnut blogs. Drudge carried a link to the original report in the Akron Beacon Journal, and from there the newswires and numerous bloggers picked up the news.
Gawker carried a straight report, “Owner of Ohio Restaurant Passed Away Shortly After Serving POTUS Breakfast,” which sparked the commenters there to vie in wry speculation about how Fox News might cover Ann Harris’s passing, the suggestions including “Fox news: ‘Obama kills elderly woman,’” “Obama bad for small business owners,” “Obama Begins Enforcement of Death Panels,” and “Obama’s lead in Ohio narrows.”
These folks know their rightwing media well enough, but Fox News’s coverage was straitlaced in this instance: “Ohio restaurant owner dies shortly after meeting Obama.” However, it spawned a flurry of activity on Twitter.
You see, there’s one small detail that makes a big, big difference when you dangle a story like this in front of some: Ann Harris was an avid supporter of President Obama, and had been thrilled by the visit:
You know it’s great,” Harris, 70, said Friday morning, shortly after Obama left her family-owned restaurant on South Hawkins Avenue.
Harris, who didn’t know Obama planned to visit until earlier that morning, sat at a booth with a wet towel around her neck.
“He treated us like one of the brothers,” she said. “He hugged all of us and ... got his picture taken with all of us.”
Hence, the story got picked up with a vengeance by the flying monkeys of the ilk that Mitt Romney’s going to be relying on to get his message out to the electorate over the next few months. A few of the Twitter comments that linked to the Fox News article more than fulfilled the Gawker commenters’ expectations:
Death by nausea? @FOXNews. Ohio restaurant owner dies shortly after meeting Obama: http://fxn.ws/NtS3v9
I am telling you everything this guy touches dies: economy, people, ect. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/06/ohio-restaurant-owner-dies-shortly-after-meeting-obama/
Obama finally creates a job vacancy. http://fxn.ws/L6FVCQ
The straight report at Huffington Post attracted predictable trolls who apparently met with moderator approval, like one who tried to cook up a conspiracy theory based, as ever, on a non-existent video:
My sympathies to her family. I saw the video of her talking about how she was at home, sick in bed and they called and told her Obama was not leaving until she got there so they made her get out of her bed and come down to meet him when she was not feeling well. No spin - her words.
Another, one getrealtoo (“Conservative Republican”), ran around hyperactively “F&F!”-ing anyone who made an acceptably loaded remark about the story, himself offering:
Why not blame Obama? The stress of meeting a POTUS probably caused this. I bet Obama blames Bush for her heart attack! lol
There were plenty more such lols among the comments on a number of RW blogs, but some didn’t feel like they could rely on their commenters to supply the requisite spin and bile.
BigFurHat at iOwnTheWorld led with the surprisingly coy headline “Everything He Touches Turns To Sh8T or Dies” above an otherwise inoffensive report, but the pumps had been primed, and the bulk of the comments took off as you can imagine.
Scared Monkeys was touchingly pragmatic:
The only news that might have been worse for the Obama bus tour was the jobs numbers that came out on Friday. A pathetic 80,000 jobs were created in June. What a tragic story, the death of the restaurant owner as well as what seems to be the death of our economy and jobs under Obama.
But such milquetoast sentiments won’t whip up a commentstorm. How’d Ed Driscoll at PJ Media do it?
As John Podhoretz wrote in September of 2010, anticipating the Democratic House’s loss in the midterms that year, “Something weird happens when presidencies go wrong:”
Something weird happens when presidencies go wrong — presidents become incompetent at doing the things they were always able to do in their sleep, and their aides follow suit. I noted this when I wrote my first book, Hell of a Ride, about the decline and fall of the first President Bush, back in 1993. When Bush spoke, it rained, and his advancemen weren’t quick-thinking enough to move his events indoors. When he went to Japan on a state visit, he vomited. He was so intent on getting out his message of the day that he referred to it as “Message: I Care.”
So it’s a pair of one-term presidential train wrecks combined — Jimmy Carter’s killer rabbit meets George H.W. Bush’s disastrous food-related incident. Plus this, as an Obama shill in the audience gets called out as well: “BUSTED!… Sobbing Ohio Woman at Obama Campaign Stop Just Happens to Be ‘Obama’s Best Fan,’ Jim Hoft writes at Gateway Pundit.
So arguably, it’s not all bad news coming out of Mr. Obama’s visit to Ohio: clearly, he’s doing wonders for that farm region’s planting efforts.
Ed offered a tart response to a tart first comment:
1. Kevin T. Keith
Congratulations. As far as I can tell, you’re the first person to find a reason for mockery in this situation. But I’m sure you won’t be alone.
Thanks. I learned everything I needed to know about mockery from Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky and Barack Obama.
The well-meaning Kevin T. Keith evidently lives a somewhat sheltered online life. He obvously hadn’t been to The Jawa Report:
A woman dies just hours after getting a visit from Barack Obama:
Within hours of Obama’s visit, Harris, who had been ill for some time, complained of fatigue and a tingling feeling. She was rushed to Akron General Medical Center, where she died about 11:15 a.m., according to the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Has anyone warned Chris Matthews? That tingle isn’t a good thing…
But leave it to Dan Riehl, regular contributor to Big Journalism, to man the dogwhistle at his own blog while retaining a modicum of decorum:
No doubt some of Obama’s harshest critics will enjoy poking fun at him for this. Dark humor is what it is. I won’t say I’ve never enjoyed it. But I’m not really trying to poke fun here. Still, the missteps and unavoidable pitfalls of his campaign this year certainly stand in contrast to 2008. She’d probably have won the state lottery back then. Things simply do not seem to be going Obama’s way. Still, this is a shame. It was kind and appropriate of him to call the family.
UPDATE: The White House responds, via the pool report:
Carney said POTUS, from Air Force One, phoned Wilma Parsons, the daughter of Josephine “Ann” Harris, the owner of the Ann’s Place restaurant in Akron, which POTUS visited this morning. Harris died hours after the presidential visit.
Harris was not there when pool was inside the restaurant, but Carney said she met with POTUS afterward.
“The president expressed his sorrow and his [condolences]. Very sad event, he was honored to meet her this morning and passed on his feelings that the whole family is in his thoughts and prayers today.”
Dan Riehl knows damn well that “some of Obama’s harshest critics” can reliably be found in the comments to anything he writes. Give me another convincing reason why he even posted about this story, “not really trying to poke fun here.” His own blog is short on comments, long on vitriol:
Deathly allergic to Marxists?
Posted by: Live Free Or Die
Appropriate yes, but kind? Obama never does anything out of genuine kindness. He only called her because if he didn’t he would look bad. Human life really means nothing to this guy as his playing politics in Iraq and his involvement in Fast and Furious have shown. ...
Posted by: zf
Is Obama Jinxed?”
Nope,just rich,delusional,Marxist,insulated from the wider world in an Ivy League enclave that hates America and surrounded by people who want to rip up the Constitution,get rid of the free market,overthrow the sovereign U.S. government,and replace it with a bland,mediocre,one-world government where everybody is forcibly made exactly the same and “inconvenient truths” are simply flushed down the memory whole,where education’s goal is to instill ignorance and dependence on incompetent authority figures,and where the only people doing more than ekeing out a hellish existence on the margins and praying to die every day are him and a handful of other “enlightened leaders” wearing Brownshirts.
Hope? Change? Sure,but for whom ?
Of course,he’s merely a tool to the people he’s playing with. If he is successful in installing a Communist government,his buddies will shoot him because he knows too much and might interfere with their memory-holing their slimy,illegal,thuggish tactics in staging their “Glorious Revolution”. Stalin killed his revolutionaries,Hitler did it too when he didn’t jail them,whoever The One is working for will do it to him too.
Why are human beings so fundamentally stupid? Maybe we all deserve to die.
Posted by: BarackHusseinL0LBAMA
“Why are human beings so fundamentally stupid? Maybe we all deserve to die.”
If we re-elect him, millions *will* die.
Death panels from Obameecare. Economic collapse and chaos. Revolution in the streets.
You always get exactly what you deserve.
Posted by: Lightwave
Lest I be accused of nutpicking RW blogs that aren’t mainstream, here’s the staid The Hill, where another straight account of the story spurred comments like:
The cause of death was determined to be bull$hit poisoning.
So sad, Obama seems to have a negative effect on some folks. May God rest her soul,
but she will still vote for him in nov
O Bama boy is a bad Omen. The poor woman got a whiff of loser in chiief. Her heart just couldn’t take it anymore. She would have been better off if he never ate in her restaurant.
Doubtful she died of a heart attack. No doubt it was due to Ogasmic eroticism. It could also be that when he is around all the air also gets sucked out of the room thanks to his ego. Bad day in Ohio!
No surprise, the lady found out Obama stiff them on their food bill, he’s good at that. _Bastard_
Now Obama and Ted Kennedy have another thing in common besides a love for socialized Deathcare.
So there you have it. Even on those rare occasions when Mitt’s rightwing conduits affect to play it relatively classy, those base readers that Mitt’s relying on to carry their message far and wide from there ... well, they do that voodoo that they do so well.
This is just a minor example of what passes for daily discourse on so many of these blogs that form a major plank of the Romney campaign’s online strategy.
Good luck with that. They deserve each other.