Sadly for Drudge, Carlson, Hannity, and their rightwing online allies, when lined up for comment, usually reliable scenters of racially tinged opportunism Allen West and Newt Gingrich greeted it with a resounding “What’s the ‘So what’ of this video? I don’t think it’s going to really go anywhere” from the former, and “I don’t think this particular speech is definitive,” from the latter. “This hurts Mitt,” BuzzFeed reports 2008 Romney campaign consultant Alex Castellanos as saying. “Mitt’s window to turn the economic debate around is [Wednesday.] And his alleged supporters just shit on it. An abysmally selfish and stupid event.”
The Romney campaign, as host Soledad O’Brien noted, recently released a statement saying it is not involved in distributing the video. Cutter responded, pointing out the people she thinks are responsible:
Well, I think allies to Mitt Romney are responsible and I think that the Romney campaign should stand up and do the right thing and say that it was irresponsible to do something like that, particularly on the eve of the debate.
And it was so transparent, what they were trying to do. Mitt Romney has been taking heat for weeks now for his secret comments behind closed doors with his wealthy donors that he didn’t care about half of this country. Their answer to that is to put out an already publicly-released speech that the President gave five years ago where he was talking about the reaction to Hurricane Katrina and the inadequate reaction to Hurricane Katrina. You know what, it’s an interesting strategy by Mitt Romney and his allies that they actually want to defend the Bush administration response.
When O’Brien pointed out that it sounded as if Cutter was holding Romney responsible for the tape’s re-release, Cutter insisted that she thought it was allies to the campaign that were responsible, not Romney or the campaign itself.
We’ve covered for many months now the transparent links and overlaps between the Romney campaign and what I’ve chosen to term in shorthand “The Borg”—the rightwing online echo chamber headed by Drudge that serves as an arm of Romney’s online presence—so Cutter’s just stating the obvious here, as Steve Kornacki and others can confirm:
The connection between the Romney camp and Drudge has been well-known for years: Matt Rhoades, who cultivated the reclusive Drudge while serving as the RNC’s research director last decade and who has been with Romney in each of his national campaigns. In both 2008 and 2012, Drudge’s favorable treatment of Romney and frequently unflattering coverage of them was a source of considerable irritation among rival campaigns. Drudge’s all-out assault on Newt Gingrich after his South Carolina primary victory this year offered a vivid demonstration of the phenomenon.
I’ve said all along that this association would end up with Romney covered in cooties. It’s not my fault they chose to ignore my advice. The fact that this affair gives me yet another legitimate opportunity to link Romney and some of the most blatant racebaiters in current political discourse is just another shot in the foot for Mitt’s disastrous campaign, and a cherry on the cupcake for me.
Which leads me to file the desperate flailing to assert that there is too a valid point in dragging up a five-year-old recording at this precise point in the election cycle over the course of a couple of clips of Carlson’s appearance on yesterday’s Hannity show under “Comedy” rather than “Tragedy.” Desperate to drum up charges of racebaiting, they take it off the scale themselves, but they’re too puffed-up in self-importance, self-absorbed, and plain dumb to realize it.
I’m not going to get into the weeds of arguing about Obama’s comments on shortcomings in the federal response to Katrina, except to say that if Carlson and Hannity want to portray the whole episode as an unflawed triumph of state intervention in a natural disaster and its aftermath, good luck with that. More fun were the repeated attempts to portray Obama as inauthentically black—a subject on which Hannity and Carlson are obviously the ultimate arbiters—along with the resurrection of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright as Bogeyman-in-Chief.
Here’s a clip of the first part of the Hannity/Carlson meltdown:
From which I’ll cherrypick:
Hannity: You notice a change in the way he delivers the speech before a predominantly African-American audience?
Carlson: Well, the accent, let me just be clear, and anyone who just watched it and who’s seen Obama speak in public over the last ten years will note, this accent is absurd. This is not the way Obama talks, at least it’s not the way he’s talked in the dozens, the scores, of speeches I’ve watched him give, or public appearances I’ve seen him make. This is a put-on. This is phoney, that’s what the issue is.
“And I would say whether he was putting on a southern accent or Asian accent, it doesn’t matter. He is playing a role in one of these cases. It is not clear in which one. I assume in the Hamptons speech he is putting on a persona he doesn’t usually occupy to pander to the crowd, but who knows?”
I probably don’t have to point out that many people—not just politicians—change their accent and mode of speech depending on the audience they’re addressing. It’s actually a key skill of rhetoric and a natural way of relating for many. Of course, if your natural style of speech reeks of privilege as much as Hannity and Carlson’s, you’ve probably never felt the need to make such accommodations. Presumably Carlson and Hannity fell for the myth that President George W. Bush was a simple cowpoke never happier than when clearing a curiously persistent stand of brush on his now-abandoned ranch for eight long summers, rather than the Ivy League spawn of generations of wealthy politicians.
By now, even my middle-school paperboy can tick off 10 solid reasons why Mitt Romney won’t win the 2012 election. The kid’s still young enough that his focus is mostly on bloopers, unforced errors and viral out-takes (i.e., the obvious) but there have been enough of them to convince my pint-sized pundit that Romney’s toast.
One of the kid’s teachers, on the other hand, offers a slightly more incisive assessment that resonates with me:
The GOP’s Strategy for 2012:
1) brand the president a Kenyan, Marxist, community organizer
2) times are tough, keep ‘em tough by obstructing everything that might help the country
3) field a pack of whackadoo candidates and a boring white capitalista who could win (this time)
4) don’t offer a single new idea
5) show the world what right-wing extremism really looks like
6) make up a lot of stuff (budgets, voting records, facts)
7) sit back and let it happen, we’ll win!
Hard to imagine how such a brilliant strategy could go off the rails. But it has . . . so, cue the Greek chorus of pundits, shock jocks, wingnuts and the TEA Party caucus to explain how Republicans managed to recover a fumble and run it back 80 yards to the wrong end zone.
Enter the solemnly erudite but bewildered conservative grey-beard, George Will, veteran of a hundred GOP cock-ups, to patiently explain, in words of two syllables or less for the hoi polloi, how life can be so . . . well . . . enigmatic.
Certainly, if ever Republicans had all of their sheep duckies in a row, it was now. 2012—the year of the conservative tipping point when the republic would be restored to its strict Puritan Rightness and liberalism would be beaten into a bloody pulp, and left to limp off the field to be dependent forever on the kindness of strangers—instead of taxpayers.
Mr. Will enumerates the reasons why Obama should be losing right now in his signature adults-only snark style then concludes:
Obama’s administration is in shambles, yet he is prospering politically. This may not, however, entirely be evidence of the irrationality of the electorate. Something more benign may be at work.
And, according to Will that “something more benign” is Americans’ famous penchant for lavish “racial reparations”:
Perhaps a pleasant paradox defines this political season: That Obama is African American may be important, but in a way quite unlike that darkly suggested by, for example, MSNBC’s excitable boys and girls who, with their (at most) one-track minds and exquisitely sensitive olfactory receptors, sniff racism in any criticism of their pin-up. Instead, the nation, which is generally reluctant to declare a president a failure — thereby admitting that it made a mistake in choosing him — seems especially reluctant to give up on the first African American president. If so, the 2012 election speaks well of the nation’s heart, if not its head.
Well, now, Mr. Will, I sense a little defensiveness. How could anyone possibly construe your argument that Americans are willing to keep a bad President in office, because of his race, as racism? especially when the alternative is a candidate as warm and avuncular, as thrilling, imaginative and honest as Mitt Romney? What other explanation could there possibly be?
Maybe it’s time to go full-time baseball spectator, Mr Will. This article is patronizing, patriarchal political rubbish (and not particularly well-written: false equivalencies, bad metaphors and . . . what’s this? a double negative?
. . . reluctant not to give up on the first African-American president.
or was that more of a Freudian slip?
If Mr. Obama wins re-election it will more likely be for simpler reasons like this:
2008: GDP: -9.0%...Jobs per Month: -750K, Total Jobs: +1.1M.
2012: GDP: +1.3%..Jobs per Month: +100K; Total Jobs: +5.1M.
“Osama is dead and GM is alive” and that’s way more than Mitt promises.
As time goes by, the American electorate is learning pretty conclusively that Mitt Romney is a lot like Oakland, CA, which Gertrude Stein famously described as having “no “there” there. The latest proof is Romney’s platitudinous foray into presidential-level foreign policy published Sunday in The Wall Street Journal’s Op-Ed section, entitled “A New Course for the Middle East.”
Even Team Romney’s head-cheerleader, Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post blog “Right Turn,” had to do a face-palm on Romney’s latest blunder, saying:
If Romney wrote the Journal piece himself, someone should have the nerve to sit him down and say it is unhelpful and weak. If someone else wrote it, he should be benched.
A forceful set of policies would be simple to spell out. On Iran, make a military threat credible by obtaining authorization from Congress for use of force ( it hopefully would not be needed, but it would make an impression), develop a regional alliance with friendly Arab states, and make a joint statement with the Israeli government on “red lines.” Oh, and meet with world leaders at a critical time instead of going on “The View.” On the Middle East more generally, Romney can call for a review of foreign aid, move with allies to aid the Syrian rebels and make a forceful defense of free speech, debunking the idea that we should hush up robust, even insulting expression by American citizens. That would be a piece worth the ink and pixels.
(To be sure, someone at WaPo should have the nerve to sit down Ms. Rubin and say her advice is unhelpful and reckless.)
Given the makeup of Bush’s Romney’s foreign policy “Gathering of Neocons”—Bolton, et al,—I believe that there’s every possibility that Candidate Mitt has been told, numerous times, “don’t worry your perfectly-coifed little head, when it comes to World Domination, we’ll tell you what to say.” In the meantime keep it jingo-istic . . .
Nevertheless, Romney doesn’t have much more time, to “bang the drum loudly.” As he surely knows, if any Middle East policy issue resonates with American voters, at this moment in time, it is probably the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran which the professional fearmongers have conjured up so successfully.
Big opportunity! unfortunately Mitt muffs it. His policy nostrum for Iran just so happens to be one of the silliest bits of the “New Course for the Middle East.” Romney believes, he says, that if we “restor[e] our credibility with Iran,” everything will quiet down in the Middle East. (And we all know what “restoring our credibility” is code for . . .) Poor Mitt needs to get out his copy of “Shias and Sunnis For Dummies” if he really believes that.
Here’s a clue, Mitt: there are a whole lot of Muslims in the region who just plain don’t give a rat’s what our policy toward Iran is. They hate Iran almost as much as they hate us . . .
Even by the standards of political silly season and in the heat of battle weeks before an election—when exaggeration, obfuscation, and willful distortion become the orders of the day—this article sets a new bar for its vacuity, aimlessness and lack of coherence. There’s nothing “new” in it, and it provides no “course for the Middle East.” If anything, it takes us back to the kind of muscular nonsense and sloganeering that has wreaked havoc on our credibility in recent years.
Miller closes with this:
This has nothing to do with being a “declinist” or not believing in American “exceptionalism.” We are exceptional, but part of that uniqueness lies in understanding that the wisest policies are those that find the balance between the way the world is and the way we want it to be. Great powers get themselves into heaps of trouble when they commit transgressions of omniscience and omnipotence by thinking they know everything and can do everything, too. Romney’s op-ed is chock-full of both—and that’s not being on the smart side.
Just to continue with the theme below—I’ve got no confessions about any third-party voting I’ve ever done. But I do want to cop to an interesting thing I did just recently: I filled out a voter registration form.
Yeah. As I recently admitted, I’m old enough to have been participating as a voter for the past 20 years, and truth be told—I have! But the PA voter ID law and my checkered past caught up with one another when I realized my voter registration and my legal ID names didn’t match. (True story: IRL, my name is not Vixen Strangely. It feels like it should be, sometimes.) So, even though I have voted at my polling place for 10 years now with this discrepancy without a hitch, I found myself having to get my papers in order to avoid a possible hassle. Not a big deal, but people who don’t pay attention might not have thought to do it. So I submitted a change form to make sure my voter registration matched my legal ID. Which is cool for me, because I a) have a legal ID and b) have the mobility and means to download the form, figure out how to fill it out and where to send it and c) realized it was necessary to do this before the deadline. I’ve had photo ID—in a few names! But the Powers That Be nearly made me a provisional ballot voter for this go-round.
This is because of the fetish that Republicans have made of voter fraud. Voter fraud, as such, does not happen very often at all—the actual machinations involved to make in-person voter fraud worthwhile are just nonsense. How many bodies could you actually get to stand in a voting line, to vote under names you for some reason already know are registered and not previously voted under, over and over again, until you get a significant enough number to sway an election? (I dunno, but it seems like too much work.) But registration fraud and disenfranchisement could happen and not-surprisingly, do among those who think voter fraud is a real thing. And the GOP is there!
Now, I don’t begrudge people their right to pretend they can send psychic messages to the national parties through their abstinence from voting or their symbolic choice to vote for a third party that will not win. But I hate like hell the SOB’s that would take away even that fingertip grip on voter choice from eligible people. To my mind, that’s a pretty good reason to vote against those schmucks even if you can’t tell the difference between the party that supports DOMA and the one that made marriage equality part of their platform, or the party that supports torture, versus the one that, well, doesn’t.
I spent the weekend ass deep in sheetrock, tile and half-assembled cabinets, attempting to reconstruct my kitchen. While catching up on the blog this morning, I read that TBogg, LGM, DougJ, Mistermix and Balloon Juice commenters are Manichean monsters. Not that this is anything new, mind you: liberals who vote for compromised Democrats (and there is no other type of elected or electable official) are routinely—with cicada-like regularity, one might say—accused of heartlessly casting aside the poor, the innocent victims of pointless wars, the uninsured, the homeless, the mentally ill, women, the LGBT community, people of color, etc., as so many bumps in the road to 270 electoral votes.
Perusing the threads on this topic here and elsewhere, I was struck—as others were—by the resemblance to the arguments I myself advanced in 2000—back when I was the sanctimonious twit saying that there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between Bush and Gore. I was wrong. I learned my lesson. In my own defense, all I can say is that the consequences of my casting one of the 1,784 votes in Florida that was the official margin of difference between Bush and Gore were unimaginable at the time, at least to me.
And I’ve regretted it ever since and will until the day I die. Seriously. I number that vote among the worst things I’ve ever done as a human being on this planet, even though I’ve done more stupid and mean things than I care to remember, and despite the fact that my motives in that case were fairly pure.
I don’t expect my fessing up to this and saying I learned my lesson and regret my third party vote in 2000 will change anyone’s mind who is contemplating a similar move in 2012. It’s not only that I remember well my own self-righteousness 12 years ago, though I do. It’s that anyone who can’t draw the blindingly obvious lesson from that debacle—which isn’t exactly ancient history—is probably just not persuadable.
So what should the disaffected liberal do? Well, sack up, for one thing: Ridicule from someone on a blog isn’t exactly a Hellfire missile up the poop chute. Advocate for your goddamn position with facts and figures—at the grassroots level—even if someone is mean to you on a blog! Persuade the people who don’t currently give a shit, which is, sadly, most of the American public. Get involved in politics at the local level, where your voice is potentially louder. All these are good and worthy goals.
Empowering politicians who think the US isn’t sufficiently aligned with the Likud Party in Israel isn’t a good and worthy goal. It wasn’t in 2000, and it isn’t today. Your actions have consequences. Own them. And for Christ’s sake, quit whining about it.
Mitt Romney’s quest for a “defining moment” took a sharp-turn off-road this week. In an effort to reconnect with the 47% of “your tired, your weak, your longing to be free of Lyme disease,” Mitt promised the State of Virginia, specifically, that he will find a way to deliver them from the ravages of the deer tick, in a campaign mailer delivered this week.
The mailer (see below: credit: The Weekly Standard) declares the disease a “massive epidemic threatening Virginia” and says that the Republican presidential nominee and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will do more to fight the spread of the disease by “improving synergy” between agencies and “increasing awareness” among the public. It is a little-known fact that the disease, carried by tiny ticks that ride on whitetail deer, flourish in environments, such as Virginia’s, where “interdepartmental synergies” are particularly sub-par due to the failures of the Obama administration.
Unlike his opponent, Barack Obama, who rattles on continuously about jobs and boring stuff that affects everyone, Candidate Romney cares deeply about the .00002 percent of the population of battleground states afflicted by Lyme disease, where the tick-borne scourge threatens whole communities of TEA Party activists who conscientiously keep their health insurance up to date and never mooch off the taxpayers.
A few months ago, Mitt Romney supporters claimed that Ann Romney would be Mitt’s secret weapon. I had fun with the concept in a blog post written in the early days, when the wheels were just starting to come off the Ann Romney express. The recent conventional wisdom is that Ann has failed to deliver the goods, but her most recent gaffe just might spell curtains for Mitt’s campaign. Here’s Mitt’s secret weapon, detonating on Mitt’s ass as if it were Bikini Atoll:
While that tiny clip is out of context, the full video doesn’t provide any exculpatory evidence. Mitt has been on the ropes ever since his lack-luster Republican National Convention appearance… I can’t imagine that he could have expected that the knockout punch would have come from his wife.
Both Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove have written columns this week on what they think Mitt Romney should do in the first debate with President Obama. Both of them threw in passing references to Romney using humor as a tool.
“Romney must … set the record straight in a presidential tone—firm, respectful, but not deferential. And a dash of humor is worth its weight in gold,” Rove wrote.
Gingrich said, “No president in my lifetime has been as vulnerable to humor as President Obama.”
Mitt’s telegraphed intention is to factcheck President Obama on the fly during the first debate, so I expect him to bring a clown horn onstage, and each time he detects a mistruth, *HONK HONK* and a slap on the head with a pig’s bladder. “You were saying ...?”
Mitt loves to recycle material, so expect the reprise of such impromptu kneeslappers as:
• “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake.”
• “Corporations are people.”
• “I’m unemployed, gissa job.”
• “They should have let Detroit go down the tubes.”
• “It would be helpful to be Latino. For one thing I’d save a fortune on spray tan.”
• “The President’s a n-n-n-nice man, just a totally incompetent and lazy lyin’ liar.”
• “Romneycare was my biggest mistake.”
• “Those cookies look like dogmess and probably taste like it too, what were you thinking?”
• “The chief of MI6 is at this moment in 10 Downing Street, just sayin’, al Qaeda.”
• “The Soviet Union is America’s number one global threat. Sorry, did I say ‘Soviet Union’? I meant China. No, wait, Iran. Aw heck, all of them. I’ve got money in all of them.”
• “47 percent of the country are shiftless scrounging assholes fit only for fertilizer.”
• “I like being able to fire people. Unless they’re my campaign staff and know where the skeletons are buried, in which case they get hush money bonuses.”
• “I feel your pain, though obviously not in a literal nor metaphorical sense.”
• “I’m going to cut your taxes hahahaha no I’m not. My taxes. I’m going to cut my taxes. Not that I pay any. Oops. Too soon?”
• “Companies are Soylent Green, my friends.”
• “I am SO going to win this thing.”
• “Quit whining and get on the roof.”
You can probably do far better than me in trawling Mitt’s past utterances that the po-faced liberal media mistakenly took as serious statements, only to be punked yet again because Mitt was just pulling our legs.
As an incentive, during next week’s presidential debate, I’ll offer a sammitch to whoever’s the first to spot a Mittens quip. It may be a bit stale by the time it reaches you, as it could take from then till November to figure out whether he was kidding or not.
This will apparently be running in the swing states against MittBot’s video attempt to *connect* with *humanoids*. Not so successful unless you too are drawn to insincere smiles and awkward expressions of *concern*.
And just to reprise the Obama campaign’s former zinger:
I’m so happy that the Dems have decided to mount a full on, effective offense against the Rethugs and their BS, especially Willard Mittens RMoney Howell III, that I’m just humming to myself.
Well, DAMN! You know how it is when you laugh so hard you start worrying about passing out? you can’t see for the tears in your eyes? can’t catch a breath before another wave of hilarity hits?
Well, that just happened to me when I landed on Politico and read Kevin Robillard’s piece on Mitt Romney’s plan to become a one-man, real-time fact check team during his upcoming debates with President Obama. I’m wondering “is he a buzzer, or perhaps, a gong man?” Or maybe, to show he’s up to speed, he’ll bring a little audio fx pad along. Or, maybe Ryan’s told him about the nuns’ trick? the old ruler across the knuckles.
I suppose Mitt thinks all of this is necessary because a) he’s losing, b) he’s a bully and c) he’s a lumberjack and he’s Okay (sorry, just a little Romney-esque campaign humor. Plebs never get this stuff.)
. . . I think the challenge that I’ll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true. I’ve looked at prior debates. And in that kind of case, it’s difficult to say, “Well, am I going to spend my time correcting things that aren’t quite accurate? Or am I going to spend my time talking about the things I want to talk about?
Evidently, Mitt’s now made up his mind. He’s going to play Truth Enforcer and to hell with “what he wants to talk about” because, truth be told, he still doesn’t quite know what he wants to talk about . . . to tax or not to tax . . . that’ll come to him later “in quiet, private rooms” or “in the light of day” or maybe just riding in his car elevator. Who knows?
I’m guessing that this plan actually came crawling out of the maw of Team Romney who connected the dots between Paul Ryan’s trousers flambe performance at the Republican Convention and the big boost in Obama popularity after the world pegged Ryan as an even more audacious liar than his running mate. Ergo, if Romney calls Obama a liar, good polling for Romney should ensue, eh? It has Team Romney foolishness written all over it, IMO.
At this point, I can’t think of much that would be more entertaining than watching Mitt play “debate truth monitor” unless, of course, it would be watching him smirk his way through a concession speech.
President Bill Clinton, speaking at this year’s Democratic Convention, voiced many sentiments about the Republican Presidential Campaign that Democrats were all longing to hear. Among them was this hands-down winner:
When Congressman Ryan looked into that TV camera and attacked President Obama’s Medicare savings as “the biggest, coldest power play,” I did not know whether to laugh or cry. Key cuts that $716 billion is exactly to the dollar the same amount of medicare savings that he had in his own budget. It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.
Undeterred, Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan gave a speech in Colorado yesterday that is no less “brassy.” Ryan’s job, yesterday, was to talk up Romney/Ryan foreign policy expertise (Oxymoron Alert) and bromance the military at the Air Force Academy and Fort Carson. Here’s what Paul’s been keeping under his “foreign policy hat” . . .
Ryan cited the protests in the Middle East as evidence that Obama’s foreign policy has failed there, saying it “looks like Tehran in 1979, but in about a dozen capitals throughout the world.” (Can’t get away from that Jimmy Carter meme).
You can turn on the TV and look and see how the Obama foreign policy is blowing up in our faces.
In Colorado Springs, home of the Air Force Academy and Fort Carson, Ryan promised:
We’re going to rebuild this military and stop apologizing for the greatness of this country.
Now I wonder why the Greatest Show Military on Earth would need rebuilding . . . ? Could it be that some Republican Commander-in-Chief and his merry men embroiled the military in not one but TWO neocon wetdreams that wound out for a decade? squandering blood and treasure and global credibility? Chickenhawk Ryan has big brass ones and a very short memory.
I’m no policy wonk but it’s pretty obvious to me that some of these “costs of war” resulting from our neocon escapades in Iraq and Afghanistan might, possibly, have contributed to anything that’s “blowing up in our faces” today . . .
Here are just some of the “costs of war” tabulated by costsofwar.org, as of January, 2012:
• Putting together the conservative numbers of war dead, in uniform and out, brings the total to 286,006. A more realistic minimal estimate is 298,000.
• Indirect deaths from the wars, including those related to malnutrition, damaged health infrastructure, and environmental degradation, may far outnumber deaths from combat. While these deaths are difficult to count due to factors such as lack of comparable baseline mortality figures, a 2008 survey by The Geneva Declaration Secretariat estimates that assuming a ratio of four indirect deaths to one direct death in contemporary conflicts would not be unreasonable. This would put the death toll at five times 181,000, or 905,000.
• Millions of people have been displaced indefinitely and are living in grossly inadequate conditions. As of March 2012, the number of war refugees and displaced persons—7,424,780—is equivalent to all of the people of Connecticut and Oregon fleeing their homes.
• The wars have been accompanied by erosions in civil liberties at home and human rights violations abroad.
• The human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades, some costs not peaking until mid-century. Many of the wars’ costs are invisible to Americans, buried in a variety of budgets, and so have not been counted or assessed. For example, while most people think the Pentagon war appropriations are equivalent to the wars’ budgetary costs, the true numbers are twice that, and the full economic cost of the wars much larger yet. Conservatively estimated, the war bills already paid and obligated to be paid as of June 2011 are $3.2 trillion in constant dollars. A more reasonable estimate puts the number at nearly $4 trillion.
• As with former US wars, the costs of paying for veterans’ care into the future will be a sizable portion of the full costs of the war.
• While we know how many US soldiers have died in the wars (over 6,500), what is startling is what we don’t know about the levels of injury and illness in those who have returned from the wars. New disability claims continue to pour into the VA, with over 675,000 disability claims registered with the VA as of September, 2011.  Many deaths and injuries among US contractors have not been identified.
• The ripple effects on the US economy have also been significant, including job loss and interest rate increases, and those effects have been underappreciated.
• While it was promised that the US invasions would bring democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq, both continue to rank low in global rankings of political freedom, with warlords continuing to hold power in Afghanistan with US support, and Iraqi communities more segregated today than before by gender and ethnicity as a result of the war.
Now. Tell me again whose fault this is? and how you and Stench plan to make it better? Through strength? How manly . . .
Americans, if you have a heart or a mind or a soul or a conscience or anything left in your bank account, make sure, on Election Day, that the only way these clueless amateurs ever see the inside of the Oval Office is with a Visitor’s Pass. PLEASE!
Americans have more confidence in President Barack Obama to deal with a crisis in the Middle East than they do Republican Mitt Romney, though they are losing faith in the president’s handling of terrorism.
By a margin of 49 percent to 38 percent, respondents to a Bloomberg National Poll say Obama would be better suited to cope with unforeseen events in the volatile region.
The poll, coming two weeks after Romney assailed Obama’s response to protests in Libya and Egypt, offers little evidence the Republican’s foreign policy critique is boosting his candidacy.
Romney is seeking to capitalize on turmoil in the Middle East, ranging from strains in the U.S.-Israel alliance over a showdown with Iran to violent protests in the once-authoritarian countries that embraced democracy in the “Arab spring.”
Sometimes, I just notice a pattern with people. Take a look at this ad:
When i was asked to speak with Mitt Romney it seemed like a very important thing to me, and I wanted to put a lot of careful thought into what I would say. So, I went to the round table discussion very optimistic and interested in hearing what he had to say.
When he sat down, one of the first questions he asked was, he said “I understand there is a teacher here today, which one of you is a teacher?”
So, I raised my hand, thinking that’s a good thing, he’s interested in education, but it wasn’t a good thing. I felt like his view was a little old-fashioned and I was surprised by it. He went on to kind of lecture me about schools and how bad they are. He talked bad about the teacher’s union. He was talking about the importance of private schools and voucher systems.
At one point, I said to him, “I have an answer for that.” And he said, “I didn’t ask you a question.”
The wheels are coming off the RomneyBus and there’s not a tow truck in sight so most of the passengers are either a) gibbering incoherently b) praying for a miracle or c) plotting their escape without incurring grievous bodily harm. Democrats are rubber-necking but not all that surprised.
I don’t believe it ever does to overanalyze crazy talk. Just cataloguing it is usually enough to make the point that “crazy is as crazy does.” I can’t say that I blame the nutters because I know that entertaining even a remote possibility of their candidate winning the 2012 election turns my brain into a flopped souffle swimming in squid sauce. If the prospect of another Obama term does that to Republicans, I can fully understand their current dementia.
Surely, by this stage of the presidential campaigns, most Republicans expected that their candidate would be cruising toward victory . . . which means that they vastly overestimated their candidate’s viability or underestimated his opponent or a lethal mix of both. At any rate, I never expected, under any circumstances, how wildly the usually buttoned-down GOP would react. We’re ten days away from the beginning of the 2012 Presidential Debates which are, more and more, shaping up to be “Romney’s Last Stand.” Keeping that, and the fact that there are only 40-some days left to campaign, here is a compilation of this weekend’s “quiet riot” of serious people and serious people surrogates on the Right . . .
The ever-hilarious mean-girl, Ann Coulter, checked in with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos for a little race-baiting and to share a bit her own homespun civil rights manifesto. Ann has taken it upon herself to warn her friends in the black community that Obama has dumped them for latinos because, well, there are more latinos than blacks, now.
Coulter: We don’t owe the homeless, we don’t owe the feminists, we don’t owe women who are desirous of having abortions or gays who want to get married to one another. That’s what ‘civil rights’ have become for much of the left.”
Stephanopoulos: “Immigrant rights are not civil rights?”
Coulter: “No, I think civil rights are for blacks. What have we done to the immigrants? We owe black people something, we have a legacy of slavery. Immigrants haven’t even been in this country.
What’s that you say? . . . you didn’t even know about it? Well, maybe that’s because politicians and Wall Street have a long tradition of dumping bad news, lame-ass statements and damaging revelations into the late-Friday afternoon news cycle. The reasoning behind this Old-Media custom is that such things will get the least possible amount of attention when tossed into the TGIF outbox.
So it is that Team Romney, in their infinite wisdom, first dumped the Romney-Returns, then, at 4 pm, the Romney Housing Plan “white paper.” Clearly, they believed that the “white paper” was the lamer of the two. And they’d be right, for a change. (I suspect they believe that the tax dump was a masterstroke of genius, with its under-reported largesse and would overshadow the silliness of the Housing Plan.)
The “white paper,” and I use the term with a smirk is, basically a blown-out vintage blog post that, in true Team Romney fashion, says nothing in seven pages or less . . . and shows little signs of any attempt to spin it into “something.” I guess it’s a shortcoming of my liberal education that I expect things that call themselves “white papers” or “policy plans” to have some substance and/or contain some clarifying facts and explanations . . . maybe that’s just me? Since the campaign has allegedly reset itself to provide greater detail of the RomneyVision, I expect that there are many more “white papers” in our immediate future. Oh well . . .
The Romney/Ryan Housing Plan is 50% whingeing about Obama’s “failed poloicies,” Dodd-Frank and the Macs (Fannie and Freddie); 40% platitudes (see title for example) and 10% plan to continue everything in Obama’s housing policy, so far, and take credit for it in four years.
I have to admit that the R/R Plan is a welcome evolution from Romney’s previous position on the housing crisis which was:
don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom . . .
And this little nugget of tough love:
I think the idea of helping people refinance homes to stay in them is one that’s worth further consideration, but I’m not signing on until I find out who’s going to pay and who’s going to get bailed out and that’s not something which we know all the answers to yet.
Those comments were made by Romney, late last year, during the Republican primary. They were delivered with typical Romney tact, sensitivity and fellow-feeling to an audience in Las Vegas, NV, one of the states hardest hit by the housing crisis. In fact, Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 56 consecutive months, according to data from RealtyTrac. More than 80 percent of Nevada homeowners are underwater, owing more on their mortgage than their home is worth.
On that occasion, The Las Vegas Sun’s J. Patrick Coolihan noted, Romney completely failed to address this critical part of the nation’s economic problem:
Conspicuously absent from the Romney plan is anything about housing. Construction spending has led us out of just about every recession since World War II. But because there was so much overbuilding — especially in Las Vegas — construction is dormant. And because nationally there are 4 million mortgages seriously delinquent or in foreclosure, construction will remain flat for years. Romney has nothing to say about this.
Indeed, Romney never mentioned housing or foreclosures during his speech, and makes only a passing reference to “millions of homes [that] have been lost to foreclosure” in his economic plan document, without suggesting any remedy.
Anyone who is busy giving Romney the benefit of the doubt on his recent “47%” revelation ought to do a little digging and discover that the same callous disregard for families losing their homes, through no fault of their own, is part of a recurring plot line in the Romney narrative which ascribes monetary difficulties to a lack of moral fiber.
From Univision’s perspective, Salinas said both candidates got a fair hearing in the end. She also sought to quash a bizarre internet rumor that began circulating after the first forum asserting that Romney, whose skin looked unusually tan on camera, used makeup to look “more Latino” for the audience.
“He used the same makeup person I use, and we asked her if he requested darker makeup,” Salinas said. “She said, ‘No he didn’t request anything.’ Apparently, he was just a little sunburned.”
So, I think if we were fact-checking this, I would have to call the evidence “inconclusive”. That explanation was way down at the end of a piece regarding how Romney packed the forum with people who weren’t students in order to make a better showing:
But after exhausting the few conservative groups on campus, the Romney camp realized there weren’t enough sympathetic students to fill the stands on their night — so they told the network and university that if they weren’t given an exemption to the students-only rule, they might have to “reschedule.”
The organizers relented. One Democrat with ties to the Obama campaign noted that Rudy Fernandez, the university official charged with coordinating the forums, is a member of Romney’s Hispanic steering committee. Fernandez did not respond to BuzzFeed’s questions about whether he gave preferential treatment to Romney’s campaign.
In any case, Romney’s team was allowed to bus in rowdy activists from around southern Florida in order to fill the extra seats at their town hall.
He also had a bit of a “temper tantrum” when his intro didn’t go the way he wanted, and insisted that he be re-taped.
So, to set the record straight, we don’t know that Mitt Romney really spray-tanned himself to blend in at the forum. He found a friendlier audience instead.