After the last 24 hours, I’m afeared to look at what further shrieking outrages either or both parties, or indeed anybody else in the world, have perpetrated, so bring me up to date with all that or anything else you want to talk about.
Meanwhile, if you’re not already signed up for Executive Class at Rumproast, don’t forget that this week offers a rare chance to join our ranks, laugh in the face of CAPTCHA, and hang out in the Rumper Room.
Notice, in Dharapak’s photo, the press aren’t smiling. Know why? Collusion, of course! Caught RED-handed and hot-mic’d, trying to coordinate a question-bomb aimed at the Governor. Is there no end to his suffering?
There’s a story that the Romney Campaign actually considered holding off on shameless prevarication about the White House’s reaction to violent protests in Egypt and Libya, in deference, you know, to The Anniversary and all. But in the end, they just couldn’t resist, even though the White House had nothing to do with the statement released, then unreleased, by the beleaguered Libyan embassy US embassy in Egypt.* Why let facts get in the way of a political opportunity? The tragic deaths of the U.S, Ambassador to Libya and three Embassy staffers at the hands of religious extremists are pure political gold, aren’t they?
Well, perhaps not. But you can’t blame a guy for trying, can you? Even if his blustering rings as hollow as himself. After all, God may just be the only Being useful enough to Willard to have guaranteed job security. And exploiting another culture’s religious fervor to drum up a little juice of his own doesn’t cause Willard to resemble this putz, not at all! *Thanks to SamR for the correction. One MittWitted blunder is more than enough!
Evidently, Candidate Romney took the recent criticism that he is a big wuss to heart and came out swinging last night—before the bell. With only an hour and a half left in the 9/11 Moratorium on Campaign Ugliness, Willard simply could not keep his Vorpal Sword sheathed for another moment. And so, it came to pass, that a righteous roar of indignation issued forth from his solitary sanctum high atop Mt. Neocon, shaking the very foundations of the White House where the pretender, Barack Hussein Obama, now holds court.
“Disgraceful,” Mitt fumed, disgraceful, I say. Romney was, as it turns out, incensed by some hasty tweets issuing forth from the American embassies in Benghazi and Cairo where the resident diplomats were trying to avert a siege by armed protesters. Protestors were rioting in response to an online film, promoted by American Christian Culture Warrior and used furniture salesman, Terry “Quran Burner"Jones. The film denounces Islam and contains material that is profoundly disrespectful of the prophet Mohammed in ways that only a redneck nitwit could appreciate.
Romney, a neophyte in matters “furrin” (among other things) mistakenly took the messages emanating from the embassies pre-crisis, as the official position of the Obama administration post-crisis, by which time there was one American dead and one injured.
Pre-crisis the diplomats on the ground decried and disowned the American film that was causing all of the trouble in an attempt to prevent the riot from escalating.
Here’s the message issued by the US Embassy in Egypt that:
. . . condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.
After violence broke out, the embassy said, on its Twitter account, that it “still stands” by its condemnation but decried the breach of its compound.
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, issued a separate statement Tuesday night that explicitly called out any purported justification for the violence:
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.
Despite the embassy’s explanation of the timeline, Romney pounced on the opportunity to wag his finger and accuse President Obama of, once again, apologizing to foreigners for America.
I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.
The Obama campaign was having none of that and accused Romney of exploiting the crisis to score political points. Obama’s campaign press secretary, Ben LaBolt, said in a statement:
We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack.
Always anxious for Republicans to have the last word, RNC Chairman Prince Prepuce swore his fealty to Lord Romney by accusing Obama of siding with the rioters in this adolescent riposte:
So. While these terrified diplomats, on the ground, were desperately trying to defuse the situation (as diplomats are generally inclined to do) and prevent loss of life and destruction of the embassy, Candidate Romney waded in to make their job just that little bit more impossible. Well-played, Mitt Wit.
Bipartisan shocked reactions pouring in this morning on Romney’s statement, last night, regarding the deadly riots involving the US embassies in Libya and Egypt. Here are a few of those reactions from Ben Smith of Buzzfeed:
From a very senior Republican foreign policy hand:
“They were just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit based on the embassy statement and now it’s just completely blown up,” said a very senior Republican foreign policy hand, who called the statement an “utter disaster” and a “Lehman moment” — a parallel to the moment when John McCain, amid the 2008 financial crisis, failed to come across as a steady leader.”
Steve Clemons, founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation:
Romney blew it and revealed how seriously maladroit he is when it comes to foreign affairs and national security. An attack on an Embassy, the murder of U.S. officials including an Ambassador, is an attack on all Americans and the idea of America — and Romney gave terrorists what they want — a divided country still torn emotionally and politically by the events of 9-11. Romney talks of leadership but with his reckless commentary when events were fragile and still unfolding, he belly-flopped.
Another Republican, a former Bush State Department official said:
It wasn’t presidential of Romney to go political immediately — a tragedy of this magnitude should be something the nation collectively grieves before politics enters the conversation.
David Rothkopf, a former Clinton State Department official said:
He did jump the gun. It revealed yet again that his foreign policy team is not ready for prime time,” said David Rothkopf, a former Clinton State Department official. “It is ugly and amateurish. It also seems strangely out of character with Romney who elsewhere in the campaign seems inclined to be restrained to a fault.
Romney, faced with all of that criticism, dug in his heels, saying:
It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values.
Since the Democrats effectively disarmed the Republican lock on an image of toughness in the face of terrorism, the old PNAC crowd and their allies haven’t been able to do much other than gripe from the margins and express their desire for further foreign piratical adventures to anybody who’s still listening.
This has been reflected in Francophile draft-dodger Mitt Romney’s tendency to slip into his public pap-burblings his wish to oversee an “American Century”—most recently in an interview today for the Daily Caller:
In foreign policy, I am guided by one overwhelming conviction: This century must be an American Century. In an American Century, America has the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world.
Form an orderly queue over there for the dancing rainbow-farting ponies dole-out.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney took a shot at President Barack Obama late Monday night after it was reported that the president has attended fewer than half of his daily intelligence briefings.
I dunno. It seems to me that if you have a competent staff, actually bothering to, you know, read daily copies of these briefings and listen to their advice rather than chortling over books on goat husbandry and dismissing those advisers with “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now” is probably a step up the scale of administrative competence, but what do I know? Dick has the track record—amirite? Boggle now as he performs a double pike with full pirouette to segue into another hoary campaign talking point:
“If President Obama were participating in his intelligence briefings on a regular basis then perhaps he would understand why people are so offended at his efforts to take sole credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden,” Cheney told The Daily Caller in an email through a spokeswoman.
I won’t respond to such blatant trolling by expressing my wishes for the just fate to befall this revolting shameless war criminal, but it can’t come to soon.
Public Policy Polling decided to ask Ohio Republicans who they thought “deserved more credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden: Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. In what some (my colleague Tim Murphy) have called “the greatest thing ever,” a full 15 percent of Ohio Republicans surveyed said Romney deserved more credit than the president. Another 47 percent said they were “unsure.”
Romney, an ordinarily self-effacing candidate, has made no official comment on the recognition of his valor by Ohioans but, evidently he appeared at a campaign event in Ashtabula, OH in a flight jacket with a “mission accomplished” patch on the sleeve and a Patton-esque swagger stick tucked under his arm.
Predictably, Twitter lit up with Romney supporters only too happy that their hero has finally stepped out of Obama’s shadow and been recognized for his role in one of America’s finest hours (see below).
On a sadder note, the rest of the country is not yet willing to give credit where credit is due. Nate Silver, of the FiveThirtyEight blog at the New York Times, has President Obama at a commanding 80% likelihood of re-election. Only time will tell whether the recent revelations of Candidate Romney’s feats of Middle East derring-do can stem that tide.
***** Find this kind of crap all too appalling? ******
Become a Roaster (click here) and vent your spleen at all hours of the day and night in a loving and supportive group environment. Go ahead, you know you want to . . .
. . . Romney’s half-hour with Gregory was like sitting in still-warm reused bathwater, with a film of half-truths and a couple of outright lies in the tub too.
There was one exciting moment, though, when Candidate Romney indicated to David Gregory that he’d had a newsmaking change of heart on repealing “ObamaCare.”
Well, I’m not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place.
One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like.
I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax advantage basis through their company.
Romney again pledged repeal of the Affordable Care Act but opened a door to the idea that he would retain piece parts that are popular with the public which could make keeping that pledge very tricky business. His comments also shine a light on his lack of congressional-level legislative experience.
There’s more than a few “something creepy”‘s about this ad purporting to show a disillusioned Obama supporter (the actress here is actually a GOP staffer). For one thing, Republicans are again displaying a Fauxbama—they basically erase his actual record and accomplishments and put up a mock figure they are more comfortable (I guess) dealing with. But what they’re also doing is creating a fake Obama supporter, and I’m not sure how well that will sit with people who did support President Obama in 2008.
The resemblance of this ad to the break-up of a romantic relationship implies that people did support Obama in 2008 because they “fell in love with him”, not because they simply thought his ideas were better or that the Republicans couldn’t be trusted to clean up the messes they made. There may have been a certain starry-eyed quality about the support Obama got in 2008—but implying that Obama supporters made the choice based on feeling alone is kind of off-putting. I think voters can figure out that the president is not our boyfriend.
Also, there’s a lot of people out there who had “that talk” with a partner and are probably getting flashbacks right now. And they might be hearing it the way I did—
Richard M. Nixon’s Black Leadership Council, Sammy Davis, Jr., 1972
Forty two years ago, Nixon’s political strategist Kevin Phillips popularized the Republican Party’s Southern Strategy. In an interview included in a 1970 New York Times article, Phillips touched on that strategy’s essence:
From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that… but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.
Not a lot has changed for the GOP . . .
Last week, Mitt Romney promised to “bring it” to the Democratic National Convention. An office was slapped together near the convention site and the most cunning of Team Romney’s operatives were dispatched to North Carolina to rain on the Democrats’ parade.
A Republican staff of roughly 50 has gathered in a temporary headquarters just outside the perimeter of the Democratic convention site. The Romney team, backed by the RNC, will host daily news conferences, release Web videos and feature prime-time speakers including South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
Like all things Romney, there was secrecy around what the few, the proud, the brave would unleash on the Democrats; but yesterday morning, some of the waiting was over when Team Romney launched one of its most diabolically clever initiatives, to date (drumroll, please)—the Romney Black Leadership Council!
You heard me!
Like Bill Clinton said last night: “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
One hallmark of the Romney 2012 Presidential campaign is that it’s short on details. Post-convention and only two months out from Election Day, it’s still short on details. Team Romney would have us believe that this is a devilishly clever political strategem. Last month, in keeping with that strategy, an unidentified Romney advisor told a reporter that:
The nature of running a presidential campaign is that you’re communicating direction to the American people. Campaigns that are about specifics, particularly in today’s environment, get tripped up.
(Or found out . . .)
Likewise, Vice-Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan told the press that he plans to discuss the Romney Tax Plan but—surprise!—not until after the election:
That is something that we think we should do in the light of day, through Congress.
(Translation: we can kick the can to Congress and watch the whole notion of deficit reduction take a one-way journey to oblivion.)
Ryan then promised to “have a process for tax reform so that we do this in the front of the public”:
. . . we want feedback from Americans about what priorities in the tax code should be kept, and what special interest loopholes we want to get rid of.
But, for the “economically-challenged” person in the street, it’s all too mysterious. Given the size of the deficit that Romney has pledged to halve, in relation to the number of tax loopholes in the current tax code, wouldn’t it be safe to assume that he’d have to close all of them in order to get anywhere near delivering on that pledge? especially since, so far, Team Romney hasn’t offered any other revenue-raising brainstorms to tame the deficit.
That strategy might have passed muster in the early days of the campaign while the campaign team got its “sea legs” but, at this point, post-convention, it could very well be a liability. Over the past few days some heavyweight opinions have been aired that Team Romney would be wise to heed—if it’s not already too late. There is a consensus developing that Romney squandered a valuable opportunity to connect the dots between his vision and the policy he would employ to realize that vision by keeping his Acceptance Speech, last week, too vague and abstract.
Romney’s “biographical rather than policy” speech telegraphs a certain amount of self-consciousness and a realization that the Romney biography is in need of repair after some direct hits scored by the Obama campaign.
He and Paul Ryan promised to help the middle class, but they never explained other than in passing how they would do it. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Romney tossed out his five policy ideas almost as an afterthought. Energy got one sentence, education scored big with two. Neil Armstrong received almost as much speech time as what Mr. Romney would do specifically to spur faster growth and raise middle-class incomes.
As a result Democrats “will have a blank canvass on which to paint because Mr. Romney did so little to explain what he would do and how it would help improve the economy.”
Rabinowitz, in keeping with the Romney boosterism of the WSJ editorial board, speculates on why Team Romney might take such an approach:
This isn’t because Mr. Romney lacks an agenda. His platform is brimming with ideas, most of them good and many excellent. He simply didn’t talk about them. No doubt this was a strategic political calculation—perhaps a judgment, based on polling, that Mr. Romney’s main challenge is to reassure undecided voters that he’s not heartless, scary or extreme.
The thinking would be that Mr. Obama’s approval rating remains below 50% and voters are prepared to fire him, so all Mr. Romney needs to do is to show Americans that he’s competent and presidential. Thus Mr. Romney and the GOP staged a convention intended mainly to rehabilitate their political brands, show off a younger and more diverse party, and leave the policy stuff to the dull wonks on editorial pages.
Ergo, the “safe” political strategy.
One bit of advice that the WSJ editorial throws out is that Romney can run, but he can’t hide from the upcoming presidential debates (starting in exactly one month, October 3).
. . . sooner or later Messrs. Romney and Ryan are going to have to make the case for their policies. If not in their own speeches, then surely at the debates when Mr. Obama and the moderators won’t let them avoid it.
If they can’t confidently and aggressively win the argument for tax reform and spending restraint and why they promote faster growth and more jobs, they will give Mr. Obama an opening to win an election he should lose.
I live in the Tampa Bay area, and in the run up to the RNC, I thought I’d engage in a little citizen journalism. Or at least wander around the circus and capture shots of crazy people with my camera phone for y’alls’ amusement.
But when the convention actually started, I couldn’t summon the will to leave home, fight the traffic and elbow my way through damp crowds of Republican assholes when I could be home instead watching the circus unfold in air-conditioned comfort with iced cocktails. Until last night, when I finally dragged my ass down there.
When I heard that Clint Eastwood was going to be the “Mystery Speaker” at the RNC tonight (and not Hologram Reagan!) I was prepared to be disappointed. After all, Eastwood is a Republican, but he never struck me as being that guy. You know, the kind of guy who would fit in with all the lying and dog-whistling nonsense we’ve been getting from this convention, let alone this campaign. But from the moment he gave a shout-out to Jon Voight, one couldn’t help but suspect it was going to go downhill—and it sure did.
If the Romney folks weren’t just the least bit nervous when an empty chair was put on the stage, it looks like they became that way after about a minute:
On a night where virtually every moment was scripted, Eastwood was among the only speakers not reading from a teleprompter as he spoke.
Maybe they should have been just a little concerned a little bit sooner, hm?
It’s not that the RNC audience seemed particularly put off—he got some good applause lines at President Obama and Vice-President Biden’s expense, however unseemly they were—but as a home viewer, he seemed to be stuttering and awkward, mean-spirited and not especially winning. As he talked….to an empty chair. A Fauxbama, if you will. Arguably, despite being bizarre as all hell, this was where Eastwood really uncorked the id of the entire convention and really let a make-believe president have a stern, fatherly, old man to younger man talking to—you know, the kind he wouldn’t give to his face.
It’s tempting to blame this on age—but chalking this up to senility actually just makes everything sadder and ageist and I think is just really wrong. It seems this shambles has more to do with needing a bigfoot celebrity to range across the stage and shout out a nice catch phrase (did anyone else wince their dimples off when he got the crowd to say “Make my day”? Feh.) Because otherwise, they really just had some really boring speakers, Marco Rubio (who wasn’t horrible, in comparison, I guess) and then Mitt Romney himself—who I do believe did break Paul Ryan’s land-speed lying record. With any luck, many great run-downs of the many,many Romney lies will take their place alongside the staggering Ryan ones on the morrow.—If!
Only if anyone can talk about anything but Eastwood and the chair. Because I know my fellow citizens. Gaspers like accusing Obama of sending jobs to China and the gobsmacking Reagan-echoing of “Are you better off?” (four years ago, the stock market fucking took sick and nearly died, Mitt, taking gas prices down with it—WTF?) and of course, the ever-present “apologizing” fib, will probably not get properly challenged except in the blogosphere if there is some celebrity drama to be discussed.
(Yes, I know I led off with Eastwood. But you know what I mean.)
I get the feeling that Mitt Romney really has unified the GOP, because the whole organizing theme of the evening was summed up pretty well earlier today by a Romney campaign pollster: “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”
Part of that stirring ethos was evident in the more overt theme of “We did build that”, which, of course, is basically just a take-off on an out-of-context interpretation of something President Obama said in a one sentence, in one speech. But just because it’s kind of cheesy and fake doesn’t mean they didn’t take off with it, most amusingly in the case of one Phil Archulleta, beneficiary of many decades worth of government contracts, whose main complaint was government just didn’t build it enough. But of course, the very deceitful welfare claims that those meddling fact-checkers are hassling poor Mitt Romney’s campaign about, were also treated like a sort of article of faith tonight and were repeated by Rick Santorum (who also said some stuff about holding hands that kind of lost me) and Artur Davis. Ann Romney tried to convince us that Mitt knew about struggling—that didn’t seem too convincing. And NJ Governor Chris Christie, about 2/3 of the way through his speech, actually thought he might work in that Jan-Eric Republican guy running this year (you know, until someone willing to tell hard truths runs in 2016, hint, hint), but I kind of wondered how much he was feeling that part.
Anyway, that was my impression of things—what’s everyone else think?
Whether by accident or divine intervention Fox & Friends, on Monday, used one of the world’s most popular gay anthems as they introduced Mitt Romney’s five sons.
The song “It’s Raining Men” was written in 1979 by David Letterman’s maestro Paul Schaffer and gay songwriter Paul Jabara, who died of complications from AIDS in 1992. It was recorded by one-hit-wonder The Weather Girls.
The LGBT community adopted the song as a gay anthem, catapulting it to the number one song in 1982 and then again in 2001, when it was covered by British pop singer-songwriter Geri Halliwell.
I, personally, have probably heard the song upwards of 5,000 times in gay bars and discos across this great nation. It would have been fun to see the Romney Boys jump up and “shake their little money-makers” a bit, while the lead-in played, but I guess the “apples don’t fall far from the very straight and rigid tree.” (It looks like the whole gang shares one personal shopper, too).
For those of you who are longing to get in touch with your “inner homosexual,” have at it with the long, FABULOUS studio version.
Mitt Romney’s aim for the Republican Convention may be unification but, thanks to Team Romney over-reach, that may be a tall order. A convention floor fight is brewing, for Tuesday, and, given the storm delay, party minority forces—which include supporters of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, as well as some top state party officials who back Romney—have an extra day to strategize and mount an attack on changes to the Party rules regarding delegates to the national convention.
Convention floor fights are rare and can be noisy and distracting—and the last thing Mitt Romney needs right now.
The trouble started on Friday when Ben Ginsberg, Team Romney’s top lawyer, took control of the powerful Convention Rules Committee and forced through changes “to correct what we saw as a damaging flaw in the presidential election process in 2012.”
Ginsberg had spent six hours successfully putting through his amendments, but when he proposed raising the threshold required for minority reports from 25% of a committee to 40%, the members rebelled.
He is systematically trying to prevent minorities from having even any remote opportunity of being heard,” longtime GOP operative Morton Blackwell objected. “This is wrong, it’s gonna hurt us, it’s gonna hurt our presidential candidate.”
That particular amendment was withdrawn, to cheers from the committee, but the others stood. According to a source who described the meeting to Business Insider, “the saga ended with former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, the committee chair, hightailing it out of the building before committee members could submit dissenting minority opinions, or ‘minority reports.
Ginsberg is, and has been for some time, the Republican Party’s all-round “go-to” guy in legal matters. He is a partner in the law firm of Patton Boggs, one of the premier DC lobbying firms and is a specialist in elections and campaign finance law.