Here we go either liveblogging or openly thready, somewhat off-kilter, as your hostess is a hurricane refugee hanging with Strange in PA, and your host is napping until CNN stops telling us to ignore their own exit polls (“It’s too early!”).
The incomparable comedian and writer Steve Allen coined a useful term “dumbth” as a measurement of the willful ignorance of the (particularly) American people as a part of his book of the same name which suggested ways in which education could be improved. I humbly suggest “Trumpth” to mean the kind of willful ignorance that only the Donald Himself displays the way he does, and which is naturally personalized with his very own name, just like one of his buildings. It was his dumbth that made the Donald a birther; but it’s sheer Trumpth to think that his ignorant Twitterings could or should make President Obama render information like his school records—that no president has really ever been asked for before—public.
It’s an illness with me that I pick at things. A hangnail. A bugbite. Donald Trump’s stupidity. Indulge me. Because unless I totally explore the joke that is Trump’s awkward foray into politics, I can never really expand adequately on the joke that is Mitt Romney (Mr. Clean! snerk) and Donald Trump (bad cop?) in an alliance against President Obama. Because that—is what I’m staring at—
See, from the time that Trump endorsed Mitt to the time that it became clear that Trump was way down the rabbit hole on birtherism (contemporaneous, natch), I wondered when a more sober and circumspect Romney would distance himself from the iron grip of a genuine nutter. And then he didn’t. In fact, it looks like Mitt is pleased enough that Trump is willling to repeat the shameless lies of his advertisements:
even though they are quite clearly wrong; so long as Donald Trump will lend his CEO of a particularly (un)helpful 1980’s, art of the deal, greed is good, lifestyles of the rich and infamous cache to the campaign—in the form of everyone’s favorite form of campaign communication, the robocall, Romney is quite willing to embrace this kind of dumbth—the Trumpth, for all it’s worth.
I’m a cynical person. I do not understand this. Why does Romney want to embrace the success of tehstoopid? Is this the signal that “willfully dumb” is the new Republican smart? Is that why Unskewed Polls is so popular? And does anyone on that side suspect this is the sort of thing that even makes smart Republicans think of endorsing Obama because of odd factors like functional government and acceptance of science?
Live coverage will begin around 8:30 ET. For those feeling a leetle skittish about Mittbot’s seeeming surge of late, let the Big Dawg explain the flawed math behind Romney’s great tax plan and soothe your nerves a little:
Still have questions? John Cole has found a valuable source of information regarding the specifics of Romney’s plan right here. Heh.
Drink if you must (and I’m not sure who mustn’t), grab some popcorn and a cushy seat and tune in later this evening for some Roastie comaraderie.
You can’t wander far online right now without encountering fistpumping jubilation among rightwingers that four diplomats were killed and three wounded in Benghazi last month—just in time for their October Surprise!
... in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we have hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean that’s—that was—that was the focus, and so him solving that made all the difference in the world. I’m afraid today if you said, “We got Iran to agree to stand down a nuclear weapon,” they’d go hold on. It’s really a, but…by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.
YAY! Something of that nature happened! Dead Americans! Opportunity!
Mitt Romney shared a remarkable story at a campaign rally in Iowa today, his voice wavering and cracking slightly as he described the tragic death of a former Navy SEAL he’d met years earlier. The young man was from Massachusetts; he died in Benghazi during the September 11 terrorist attack against the American consulate that claimed the life of US Ambassador Chris Stevens. Here is Mitt’s stirring and moving tribute:
Romney was visibly emotional during the story, and the video of the speech was repeated throughout the day on network and cable news.
But one of Glen Doherty’s best friends remembered Doherty’s impression of this meeting much differently.
Ellefsen said Doherty recalled meeting Mitt Romney years ago, but the account was much different from what the Presidential candidate retold in Iowa.
According to Ellefsen, Romney introduced himself to Doherty four separate times during the gathering.
“He said it was very comical,” Ellefsen said, “Mitt Romney approached him ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale.”
Ellefsen said Doherty remembered Romney as robotic.
“He said it was pathetic and comical to have the same person come up to you within only a half hour, have this person reintroduce himself to you, having absolutely no idea whatsoever that he just did this 20 minutes ago, and did not even recognize Glen’s face.”
The mother of Glen Doherty, a Navy SEAL who was one of four Americans killed in the Sept. 11 attack in Libya, told a Boston TV station that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney shouldn’t politicize her son’s death.
“I don’t trust Romney,” she said. “He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda. It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”
ThinkProgress catches Romney surrogate Rudy “A Noun and a Verb, and 9/11” Giuliani being just a tad too candid from the safe confines of Fox News.
BILL HEMMER (HOST): David Axelrod made the claim Mitt Romney is doing his best to exploit this. Is there argument to be made there? How was this handled on?
GIULIANI: He should be, he should be exploiting it. I mean, there is real chance, there is a cover-up here. They’re trying to run out the clock. Hillary Clinton appoints a commission that will investigate. They will not report until next January or February.
The appropriate course of action would naturally be to come to conclusions before bothering to conduct any investigation, following the lead of Darrell Issa.
Meanwhile, Fox Nation has apparently outsourced its content provision to Babelfish:*
In the third-from-the-bottom paragraph in the Washington Post’s article — the 17th paragraph — on its new poll out this morning, showing President Obama leading, 49 percent to 46 percent, among likely voters:
Partisan identification fluctuates from poll to poll as basic orientations shift and with the sampling variability that accompanies each randomly selected sample of voters. In the current poll, Democrats outnumber Republicans by nine percentage points among likely voters; the previous three Post-ABC polls had three-, six- and five-percentage-point edges for Democrats. The presidential contest would now be neck and neck nationally with any of these margins.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
~Jedi Philosopher and Teacher, Yoda
This is a couple of days old, but it’s been stewing in my neurons looking for a place of ventilation:
No, Ma’am, you study it out (is this a colloquial thing?) The woman in the above clip believes, much in the fashion of Alan Keyes or Victoria Jackson, that our President, Barack Obama, is in fact, a cryptocommiemuslimofascist. She can’t quite put her finger on what makes him a communist, and yet she knows. He’s also, for what it’s worth, not an American—no matter where he was born.
Which I think has always been the point. There’s a very particular definition of communist” and “American” at work here—and it’s always been beyond irony. It’s impossible to pwn, being self-pwning, solipsistic, tautological, and f’d up. The mental progression goes a little like this:
1) Anything not conservative (Republican) is communist.
As the dust settles slowly from the VP debate, the election trundles on regardless, the polls take their own sweet time to give any clear indication of WTF is going on, and Paul Ryan fans feverishly adapt to the abject drubbing their idol took by collapsing onto the crowded fainting couches of denial, Philip Klein at The Washington Examiner twangs his readers’ last nerves by pointing out a quirk of the Constitution:
It might be hard to believe after his assault on Mitt Romney in last night’s debate, but there’s a scenario under which Joe Biden could serve as Mitt Romney’s vice president.
As noted in an earlier post, there are plausible scenarios under which next month’s election could result in a 269–269 electoral vote tie, which would send the presidential election over to the House of Representatives. Such an outcome would favor Romney over President Obama, according to an analysis by the Washington Examiner.
But in such a case, it would fall on the Senate to choose the vice president, with each Senator getting a vote. Given that it’s quite possible (arguably likely) that Democrats will retain control of the Senate, it means that they could vote for Biden to remain on as VP, even if the House elects Romney as president.
In theory, if the election outcome is a 50-50 Senate, Biden could be the tie-breaking vote for himself. This would allow him to remain on as VP and for the Democrats to retain effective control of the Senate. It would also usher in the Romney-Biden administration.
Clear some space around Treacher if you do, since Klein caps his musings with:
If the House ends up deadlocked in choosing a president, then the candidate the Senate chooses as vice president would be sworn in as commander in chief. In other words, this scenario could produce a President Biden.
The New Yorker came out with its customary October Surprise the other day, to a mixed reception. Like most art, and quite a lot of humor, it’s an ambiguous image in which folks will see a reflection of their own inner life and preconceptions.
Some on the Democratic side of the aisle have taken it as a slam at President Obama’s supposed absence during the debate, as have others on the Republican side with their usual childlike kneejerk jubilation (Col. Mustard: ” An empty Obama chair on the cover of The New Yorker smells like ... victory”; Dan Riehl: “Ouch!: The New Yorker set to mock Barry ‘The One’ Obama with next cover”).
I can accept that interpretation as one among those that are valid, but I’m not the sort of mindreader who can tell you what exactly cartoonist Barry Blitt’s intention was. Not that it matters that much, because often those who create an artwork are hostage to their own unconscious’s promptings and the subsequent interpretation the audience imposes on their work.
The image inevitably reminds me more of Clint Eastwood’s widely ridiculed scolding of an empty chair during the massive fail that was the climax of the GOP Convention.
Eastwood engaged with a caricature of Obama onto which he could project his own prejudices and spout untruths unchallenged, and assumed that the audience would go along with him as he pursued his theme. The aftermath wasn’t exactly a triumph for the Republicans. Not only did Eastwood’s overrunning bump Mitt from that vital media time slot the whole campaign had been building up to, but discussion of Eastwood’s performance vastly overshadowed the other coverage of the convention, and not in an entirely flattering way. Indeed, it doesn’t sound like Eastwood himself saw it as a particular triumph in retrospect, later saying: “If someone’s dumb enough to invite me to speak at a convention, they get what they get.”
A New Yorker cover from 2008 was also controversial and ambiguous.
Some Republicans rejoiced at this portrayal of the contender in all the gruesome glory they’d been ranting about. Those Democrats, and others, who weren’t outraged because they shared this interpretation, however, saw it as a slam at the ridiculous myths that these same Republicans, led by Sarah Palin, had been spreading. Again, I can’t read the mind of the cartoonist, but in that case I find it less easy to imagine that the intention was as the Republicans saw it. And all their trumpeting of the “Muslim!!!!” “Terrorist!!!!” fistbumping image didn’t prevent Obama’s election.
A New Yorker cover isn’t going to win or lose any election, so I’m quite happy to let the wingnuttiest of the wingnutty have their cheap chortle right now if that pleases them with just a month to go. There are other, possibly more powerful—and less ambiguous—memes out there, and the battle’s only just begun.
With apologies to Barry Blitt, and none at all to Mitt.
Back in ‘08, gun and ammo wholesalers cunningly spread the meme that if elected president, dusky peacenik/wannabe murderous dictator for life Barack Obama would be comin’ fer yer guns, so BETTER STOCK UP RIGHT AWAY. As things panned out, although it provided a handy additional stimulus to the American economy, that didn’t happen.
Gamechanging alleged hottie wunderkind prospective VP Paul Ryan hasn’t exactly set anybody’s hair on fire except his and Mitt’s handlers and spinners so far. With a few days to go to the first presidential debate, and a few more to the VP one, Ryan’s currently damping down widespread expectations among the borg that he’s gonna ZING! Joe Biden into a quivering blob of hairplug-studded jelly:
GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan said Sunday he’s not counting on gaffes from Vice President Joe Biden when they debate on October 11.
“I don’t think he will. You know he doesn’t do that in debates. The gaffes - he’s kind of legendary for this - that’s not in these kind of situations,” Ryan said on “Fox News Sunday.” “He’s a very disciplined person when he speaks in these kinds of situations. He doesn’t produce gaffes in these moments. Those are when he’s off the cuff.”
As for his own debate preparation, Ryan said he’s not worrying about coming up with creative lines - he’s just going to be himself.
“I’m not really a line guy. I’m more of a gut guy,” Ryan said. “I believe in what I believe. I do what I do. And I really believe in the policies we’re providing, that we’re pursuing. And at the end of the day, I’m just going to go in there and be me.”
Ryan has been preparing with former Solicitor General Ted Olson, who is playing the part of Biden in mock debates.
Ryan said Biden has excellent debate skills, so his plan is not to try to rattle Biden, but to simply lay out the Romney-Ryan vision for America.
Nevertheless, during this tense run-up to the debates, if any tactic can be identified in the Rich Bastard/Granny Starver 2012 campaign at the moment, as Bette observes, it looks like they’ve decided they need to go hell for leather for the crucial outdoorsperson demographic to clinch this thing, so this last week Ryan decided it’s time to fulfil his early promise and basically steal Palin’s favorite lines:
“I might add that in small towns we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t,” she said.
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.
Tom Lehrer once observed that “political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Prize.” Despite the urban legend, this isn’t what prompted him to retire, as he explains here, where he also makes some observations on the problems of satire in the modern world, including: “everything is so weird in politics that it’s very hard to be funny about it.”
In recent US election cycles, where even weirder things are afoot and some folks’ grip on reality is extremely tenuous at the best of times, while others of us are having the boundaries of what we consider feasible in the political arena expanded by the hour, perils abound.
For example, some on the left have apparently taken Politico’s Roger Simon’s transparently snarky article from yesterday, “Paul Ryan vs. The Stench”, at face value, and seem to buy into the idea that Hottie McStudMunster is now literally in the habit of referring to his running mate as “Stench.” You can take issue with Simon’s abilities as a satirist, and even his omission of any overt flag to indicate that he wasn’t being entirely serious, but had his words appeared in The Onion rather than Politico, the situation might have been clearer. The fact that people thought this was a plausible story is far funnier than the story itself, but less funny than the absolutely OUTRAGED reactions of some of the commenters at Simon’s Politico article.
Now, there are times when it may suit people to wilfully misinterpret snark as truth. For instance, back in 2008, when Larry Johnson at No Quarter was furiously pushing the “Whitey Tape” fiction for all it was worth, Booman wrote a post that I’ve always interpreted as snark-tinged, which included this passage:
From what I understand, it is a tape of Michelle Obama criticizing the Bush administration.
How you’d write it:
Why did Bush cut folks off medicaid?
Why did Bush let New Orleans drown?
Why did Bush do nothing about Jena?
Why did Bush put us in Iraq for no reason?
How you’d say it:
Why’d he cut folks off medicaid?
Why’d he let New Orleans drown?
Why’d he do nothing about Jena?
Why’d he put us in Iraq for no reason?
How Larry Johnson wants you to hear it:
Whitie cut folks off medicaid?
Whitie let New Orleans drown?
Whitie do nothing about Jena?
Whitie put us in Iraq for no reason?
When I read that, I laughed. But it didn’t stop PUMAs and their ilk and fellow travelers taking it as Booman confirming that the tape actually existed, and posting selective quotes in every comment stream they could find, even while other well-meaning folks on the left quoted it as an explanation that Michelle Obama had been misunderstood, in the process implying that the tape did exist. A lot of good it did them in the end, but I’m sure you’ll still find some who believe it’s only a matter of time before it finally emerges on Fox, given that we’re apparently now at such a desperate stage in the election that the much-maligned Reverend Wright is again featuring in their output.
The first thing he said during their debate was that she clearly did not look like she had native American ancestry. It’s astonishing that someone would rely so thoroughly on an attack on Dr. Warren’s credibility-especially if it could be shown that her recollection is true, and her family can trace back to a Native American ancestor Which it looks like they can.
This lets her retaliate that Sen Brown is attacking her family.
Wow. He’s a jackass. Maybe he might have wanted to stick to the issues?
Naaaahahahhahahah. Pro-tip to future campaigns—as fake scandals and YouTube and Twitter conversations get mainstreamed, any smear should be pre-fact-checked. It might even be preferable to run campaigns on substance than attempting a smear—because of blowback..
Wait, wait. Before I get into the whole Romney mishegas more than I want to—but as much as I have to, being a political blogger, can I just start with the running mate story? M’kay. Here’s a perfectly well-programmed Randroid getting booed for lying in front of people who are old enough to know better than he probably ever will:
I understand his own mama was in the audience. and some of the seniors walked out on his ass. Somehow, Lyin’ Ryan and his mam benefited from government survivor benefits just enough for him to want to fiddle with them to make them dependent on market forces and less available to people who could use them. Obama is leading Romney in Wisconsin per the polls. That’s all I have to say about all that.
But when I’m not mentioning that Romney relied on a rock star privatization/supply side ideologue to be his running mate to give him a boost with a base that distrusts him—why don’t I point out that they still don’t love him enough to refrain from talking shit about him? Because Herman Cain just did:
“Stupid people are ruining America, and we’ve got to take it back,” he said.
Cain told members of the media after the speech that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s recent “47 percent” comment was a “non-story” being blown out of proportion by the media. But Cain said he would have been doing better if he was the nominee, saying that he’d probably have a “substantial lead” on President Barack Obama at this point.
“The reason is quite simple: I have some depth to my ideas,” he said.
Yeah. The guy who gave us the “999” plan and said he wouldn’t sign any bill more than three pages long, believes he has more depth to his ideas. Because, of course, he would handle the Libya situation that much better. And of course he wouldn’t be as especially crass in his language about the poor in America. By which I mean—seriously, whatever. The Hermanator isn’t running for president—Mitt is.
So, I think that Romney had a Friday doc-dump of his 2011 return and a notarized statement about his previous 20 years of returns is one ginormous subject-changing.30-second over the pants handjob. I expect there to be more educated opinions than mine, but I would say that even if he paid taxes as attested, he did release the info when he said he wouldn’t—didn’t he? Huh? Right. And folks are picking over it, such as it is, huh? Also right.
Does it distract from whether he’s still a bloody awful candidate with a rotten campaign going on? Not especially. It’s like proof of it. Cheers.