Really this is one of those stories where you don’t know whether to laugh or cry ROTFLMAO.
According to Joshua Green at Bloomberg BusinessWeek, heading into the Michigan primary, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who at that point still had some sort of chance in the race, hatched a plot to combine forces and run Romney off the road:
As Mitt Romney struggled in the weeks leading up to the Michigan primary, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum nearly agreed to form a joint “Unity Ticket” to consolidate conservative support and topple Romney. “We were close,” former Representative Bob Walker, a Gingrich ally, says. “Everybody thought there was an opportunity.” “It would have sent shock waves through the establishment and the Romney campaign,” says John Brabender, Santorum’s chief strategist.
“Oh noes” we are supposed to say in retrospect! Such a stupendous charismatic pair as Serial Adulterer Newt and Colossal Dick* Santorum could totally have upset OBamz apple cart and WHERE WOULD WE ALL BE TODAY!!
Well, we know it didn’t happen and Romney pulled out a squeaker win in Michigan. The coalition collapsed and, as much as anything, from the stupendous weight of their own egos.
But the negotiations collapsed in acrimony because Gingrich and Santorum could not agree on who would get to be president. “In the end,” Gingrich says, “it was just too hard to negotiate.”
And the rest of us were denied the spectacle of a truly great clown show of a campaign, surpassing even that of Grandpa Grumps and Klondike Barbie. If only.
*Thanks to Charlie Pierce for the oh-so-apt moniker.
It is true that as far as flippant jackassery goes, Sen. McCain’s Tweet implying that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a simian astronaut probably isn’t as purely awful as his improvised song parody, “Bomb, Bomb Iran”, but it is up there, even drawing criticism from fellow Republican, MI Rep. Justin Amash, who Tweeted in return: “Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes.”
I suppose if there’s one silver lining to come from Susan Rice’s decision to withdraw her name from the running for Hillary Clinton’s replacement as Secretary of State, it’s that Sen. John McCain has to stop his tantrum regarding her. (Oh, but how long before the next tantrum commences?) I suppose I can see where people are coming from if they feel a little ripped off that she didn’t get further in the process because it just feels like giving in to the angry old GOP bastards, and who wants to give them an inch? On the other hand, I lean towards this being her decision to make, and getting out before it gets uglier (as McCain was threatening) is very sensible.
But where does the White House go from here regarding SoS Search? I know the current narrative is the next at-bat goes to Sen. John Kerry, because that’s who the Old Boys’ Club deems acceptable, and also they want a crack at slipping Scott Brown back into the Senate. Me, I don’t see why Obama doesn’t consider Samatha Power. (Well, actually I kind of do. I must be part troll that I’d be looking forward to “Shit-show 2: Power Boogaloo”, because if the GOP wanted to shit-stir regarding Power, well, I guess they would. But I’m a blogger and that’s blog-fodder. I’m capricious like that.)
But regarding the idea that Sen. Kerry accepting a role as SoS necessarily means losing that seat, I’m not convinced. The people of the Commonwealth have seen Brown’s act, and it’s not like there isn’t anyone who could run against him. I rather like the idea of Barney Frank in the Senate (we should be so lucky!). Although more than a few people on Twitter have mentioned Rep. Ed Markey, who I also rather like.
It’s starting to really shape up that the criticism of the Obama Administration regarding the attack on the consulate at Benghazi is a lot of outrage about….the Obama Administration even existing. I was astonished that then-Republican candidate for the presidency, Mitt Romney, chose to opportunistically seize on the deaths of four Americans because it was the sort of flail a losing campaign with a candidate who neither seemed to know or care to understand much about foreign policy might launch. Astonished that no one called it off—not astonished that it occured. The point being—I could remember exactly that sort of fail-flail occuring with a candidate who attempted to grandstand on an issue—the economy, which was not his known strong point, in exactly the same point in his campaign;
The candidate was Senator John McCain, and the event was the nonsensical suspension of his campaign and the further subsequent flail of calling together a group of his peers to try and hash out a plan. From then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s version of the events:
It was brilliant political theater that was about to degenerate into farce. Skipping protocol, the president turned to McCain to offer him a chance to respond: “I think it’s fair that I give you the chance to speak next.”
But McCain demurred. “I’ll wait my turn,” he said. It was an incredible moment, in every sense. This was supposed to be McCain’s meeting—he’d called it, not the president, who had simply accommodated the Republican candidate’s wishes. Now it looked as if McCain had no plan at all—his idea had been to suspend his campaign and summon us all to this meeting. It was not a strategy, it was a political gambit, and the Democrats had matched it with one of their own.
Finally, raising his voice over the din, Obama said loudly, “I’d like to hear what Senator McCain has to say, since we haven’t heard from him yet.”
The room went silent and all eyes shifted to McCain, who sat quietly in his chair, holding a single note card. He glanced at it quickly and proceeded to make a few general points. He said that many members had legitimate concerns and that I had begun to head in the right direction on executive pay and oversight. He mentioned that Boehner was trying to move his caucus the best he could and that we ought to give him the space to do that. He added he had confidence the consensus could be reached quickly.
As he spoke, I could see Obama chuckling.
McCain had nothing, then, and got called on it, just like Mitt Romney had nothing when, during the second debate, he stepped into the trap (“Please proceed, Governor”) that invited the moderator to actually perform an act of journalism and check the factual record, acknowledging that Obama from day one did consider the Benghazi assault an act of terror.
How is it then, that right after Mitt Romney’s notable shellacking in the election, that Senator John McCain decides to jump on the Benghazi bandwagon with both feet, so eager to publically smear Obama that he calls a potential nominee for Hillary Clinton’s replacement as Secretary of State “none too bright” whilst he is literally blowing off a briefing to potentially get the kind of answers that he was seeking?
How does one shriveled human actually contain so much bitterness? I don’t even know. In his wake, the wingnuts who were in mid-flock are caught spouting gibberish by journalists who smell a rat.
This leaves me with the happy thought, espoused by Booman, that just like this was a non-story, maybe this means John McCain is finally persona non grata. I, too, have longed for the time when McCain inserted his platinum card to draw from the old Bank of American Trust, and finds it declined (hell, he should get a bill with penalties for being well and truly overdrawn). But I treat this non-story as a bloggable event in much the way a doctor is interested in symptoms—“He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.” I’d like to see the symptoms abate—and yet, I am watchful in the event that the screamers on the right will try to actually get their “Watergate-style” hearings—facts be damned! They see the ghosts.
They need them. Or they would have to face the idea that maybe, just maybe, the Obama Administration’s greatest success is in not really being fuck-ups.
One of the names that has floated to the top of the Potential Hillary Replacement List has been that of Susan Rice currently serving as the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Getting wind of that, John McCain had one of his signature “McCain hissy fits” on Fox News, today, vowing to do everything in his considerable senatorial power to block any such nomination:
Susan Rice should have known better and if she didn’t know better, she’s not qualified. I will do everything in my power to block her from being the United States secretary of state.
She has proven that she either doesn’t understand or is not willing to accept evidence on its face.
This all started when McCain appeared on Face the Nation, a week after the attack, along with Rice and the president of the Libyan National Assembly. At some point, the Libyan guest shared his opinion that everyone knew the attack was led by al Qaeda. According to McCain, Rice should then have based her comments more on the Libyan gentleman’s surmise rather than the talking points provided by the CIA, at the time, which McCain deemed “irrelevant.”
According to the Washington Post, those CIA talking points affirmed what Rice said on the Sunday shows that week. When pressed on that point, McCain, as he sometimes does when his dander’s up, became slightly incoherent:
Because it was four dead Americans. She told the American people on every major newscast in America. If a select committee, if appointed, clears her of any wrongdoing — besides not being very bright, because it was obvious this was not a, quote ‘flash mob.’ There was no demonstration.
On Face the Nation, for example, she carefully told Bob Schieffer that she couldn’t yet offer any “definitive conclusions,” but that “based on the best information we have to date” it appeared that there had been a spontaneous protest in Benghazi “as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where [...] there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video.”
She then immediately added: “But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.” When Schieffer pressed her on whether the attack had been preplanned, or whether al-Qaeda was involved, she said directly that we simply didn’t know yet.
They [Congress] have every right to investigate Benghazi, which might very well have been handled poorly in some respects and which might have been a case of poor anticipation of an attack that should have been expected. But Rice’s conduct was fine. She very carefully, and very professionally, passed along what was, at the time, the considered judgment of the intelligence community. Some of it was wrong, but there was no coverup. There was just new information and new analysis over time, which is exactly what you’d expect following an incident like this.
Evidently, McCain hates to lose any opportunity to yell al Qaeda in a packed theater. Plus, he now gets to bang a drum for “Water-gate-type” hearings in the hope, I guess, that Obama will go hide under the bed or be forced to resign over a terrorist attack that he didn’t see coming in his Magic 8 Ball.
Let’s not forget that this is the same guy who figured it was a great idea to have Sarah Palin one (crotchety-old-man-with-anger-management-issues) heartbeat away from the Oval Office.
War’s over, Buddy. Republicans lost. Have a beer . . .
“General Powell, you disappoint us and you have harmed your legacy even further by defending what is clearly the most feckless foreign policy in my lifetime.”
Thus spaketh the Emperor Walnuts, depicted above standing a heartbeat away from noted foreign policy expert Winkerbelle Von Putinspotter.
Curiously, at that very instant, thousands of miles away, in a luxury Dallas condo, another scion of a more accomplished father woke up from a nap, choked up a pretzel, and called, “Laura, git me a Q-tip er somethin—there’s fire ants in mah ears!”
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.”
That, folks, was Sen. John McCain sarcastically deriding a bill intended to help veterans get jobs. It’s kind of weird for him to do that. But it isn’t surprising anymore. The atmosphere in Washington is frankly abysmal:
Barring a burst of productivity in the lame-duck session in November and December, the 112th Congress is set to enter the Congressional record books as the least productive body in the post-World War II era. It had passed a mere 173 public laws as of last month. That was well below the 906 enacted from January 1947 through December 1948 by the body President Harry S. Truman referred to as the “do-nothing” Congress, and far fewer than many prior Congresses have passed in a single session.
And for that reason, when President Obama makes the case that Washington needs to be changed from the outside—I’m appreciating what he’s talking about. It’s not just watching what’s going on right now—it’s thinking about what we could be dealing with if we, the voters, don’t make some changes down there.
And what sits in between is the crux of the matter. Yeah, that “health of the mother” thing.
Steve Benen, now well settled into his new digs at The Maddow Blog, expands the bounds of outrageous incivility by comparing Paul Ryan when he was a humble Congressman with Paul Ryan, would-be VP:
Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan sat down this morning with Jon Delano of KDKA in Pittsburgh, offering his first detailed remarks since Todd Akin’s odious comments over the weekend on rape. What was striking about Ryan’s comments was the extent to which they were at odds with his own record.
Ryan said in the interview, “Rape is rape. Period. End of story.” And while that may sound heartening, Ryan, just a year ago, co-sponsored legislation—with Todd Akin—that would have redefined “rape” for the purposes of Medicaid funding. In Ryan’s proposal, victims of “forcible rape” would receive protections, but victims of other, undefined kinds of rape would not.
Asked to defend his own legislation, Ryan refused. “Rape is rape. Rape is rape, period. End of story,” he said. When the reporters pressed further, asking, “So that forcible rape language meant nothing to you at the time?” The vice presidential hopeful again added, “Rape is rape and there’s no splitting hairs over rape.”
As for Ryan’s stated position that the government should force women to take their pregnancy to term if they are impregnated by a rapist, the Republican congressman seemed to concede that his position has been superseded. “Well, look, I’m proud of my pro-life record. And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It’s something I’m proud of,” Ryan said. “But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration.”
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Obama’s 2008 opponent weighed in on an ad by the pro-Obama Priorities USA that implies Romney was responsible for the death of a cancer-stricken woman after his company took steps that cost her her job and health insurance.
“In 2008, this president and the people around him promised hope and change, a new environment in Washington,” McCain said. “And now it’s probably deteriorated into the most negative, most unpleasant, most disgraceful campaign that I have ever observed, and I’ve been intimately involved in them since 1984.”
“I’ve got to give them credit, they have succeeded to a certain degree, of painting — with nothing but attack ads — Mitt Romney into something that’s not an acceptable alternative, because he can’t run on his record,” McCain continued.
But….but….if Governor Romney was really, really proud of his record, and it showed that he was actually better than President Obama, why wouldn’t he run on the strength of his resume? I mean, otherwise, all he has is attack ads that make up stuff about Obama’s record, right? After all, the “you didn’t built that” and the welfare work waiver things are patently bullshit attacks, so, um, what is the real complaint about negativity here? And yet, this is uniformly what the GOP is whining about. Like Reince Preibus with his “blood on Obama’s hands” nonsense, and the “stealing” of $700K (or was it $500K) in Medicare funds that had nothing to do with effecting anyone’s coverage.
As we all know, Romney really wished Obama would stop talking about his tax returns and start talking about issues. Well, I don’t know if the Obama campaign really should go that far, but in the interest of good will, they could preface the negative things they say about the Bully/Brown-noser ticket with something nice. You know, just a little compliment. Like saying, well, “I think you are a couple of very handsome guys….who want to destroy the middle class”. Or, you know, “Here are some fellows with great families…..but they have in for your grandparents.” “I’ve seen their front yards, and yes, the trees are the right height….but they’ll probably get us involved in a pointless war because they know fuck-all about foreign policy and all their advisers sound like John McCain.”
Chen took refuge at the embassy after escaping house arrest. He rejected a deal to keep him safely in China and now says he wants to leave the country. Chen has said he feels abandoned by the U.S. American officials have said they didn’t pressure him to leave.
“If these reports are true, this is a dark day for freedom and it’s a day of shame for the Obama administration,” Romney said. “We are a place of freedom, here and around the world, and we should stand up and defend freedom wherever it is under attack.”
The State Department said this week it conveyed no implicit threats and the issue of violence never came up in its discussions with Chen. They told him that China had agreed for him to reunite with his family if he left the U.S. Embassy.
Romney suggested U.S. officials were motivated by the politics of Chen’s case. He said U.S. officials “willingly or unwittingly communicated to Chen an implicit threat to his family” and accelerated negotiations for his safety because of scheduled high-level talks in the country with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and their Chinese counterparts.
And here’s what turns out to be some very sensible advice from Mr. Kristol:
The US says it expects China to allow prominent dissident Chen Guangcheng to travel abroad soon.
The US state department said Mr Chen had been offered a fellowship at an American university, and it would allow his wife and children to accompany him.
Earlier, Beijing said the blind activist could apply to study abroad - paving the way for a resolution to a tense diplomatic stand-off with the US.
So, basically, the outrage lasted about a week, would you say? At the embassy for about six days, then let out, then, voila! a perfectly reasonable and legal way for him to travel abroad appears! In real terms, this situation lasted an actual day for Mitt Romney, as in, he read a thing in the paper to criticize, pronounced it a “dark day for freedom and a day of shame” and now is just kind of looking awkward and clueless. Again.
The name of the SuperPAC supporting him, Restoring Our Freedom, kind of bothered me, but now it makes sense. I was always thinking, “Well, the future hasn’t happened yet, so, where did it go that it needs restoring?” But now I get it. Romney can’t win on his history, and he sucks at current events. So, the future it is!
The Romney campaign’s recent hire of Richard Grenell was met with a little controversy for a couple of reasons—for one, he had a bit of a mean sense of humor on Twitter (although that was easily deleted, if not entirely forgotten) and for another, he was openly gay. It looks like it was the latter detail that lead to Grenell’s resignation today, as Jennifer Rubin reports:
Richard Grenell, the openly gay spokesman recently hired to sharpen the foreign policy message of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, has resigned in the wake of a full-court press by anti-gay conservatives.
In a statement obtained by Right Turn, Grenell says:
I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman. While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama’s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.
According to sources familiar with the situation, Grenell decided to resign after being kept under wraps during a time when national security issues, including the president’s ad concerning Osama bin Laden, had emerged front and center in the campaign.
This is really quite disappointing. The last week or so has focused attention on Romney’s foreign policy views, and Grenell might have been able to, well, do the thing he was presumably hired for and help the campaign craft a consistent message if the social conservatives could actually bring themselves to view a person based on his merits, not his identity, and if the Romney campaign wasn’t—how should I put this?
Trailer for the upcoming HBO film “Game Change,” which is based on the book by John Heilemann and Mark “Dick” Halperin:
From that snippet, it appears Ed Harris pulls off McCain’s trademark peevish, constipated affect to a tee. Julianne Moore perhaps lacks the vocal range to accurately mimic Palin’s home fire alarm-speaking voice, but in that clip at least, she nails the verbal cadence, and kudos must go to the hair, wardrobe and make-up peeps.
I read the book when it came out a couple of years ago. The most revealing insights it provided were perhaps unintentional, as it was a window into the obsessive tabloid mindset with which our stupid media has so debased coverage of US politics. But for that reason, it’ll probably make an entertaining movie.