Tuesday, November 27, 2012
GOP’s 2012 Job Creation Program
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.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Have you been plagued, recently, with an uncontrollable urge to sell your house and move into a subway tunnel? or a burning desire to turn over your 401K to UNICEF? how about an insatiable craving for free oral contraceptives? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you may be suffering from prolonged exposure to Barack Obama’s cunning exercise of the Delphi Technique of Mind Control (more on this later) designed to enslave Americans and turn them over to the cunning United Nations Overlords plotting the New World Order, i.e., UN Agenda 21.
Depending on who you ask, Agenda 21 is, as TBogg described it:
a nefarious plot that includes forcibly relocating non-urban-dwellers and prescribing mandatory contraception as a means of curbing population growth.
Sane people, on the other hand, believe that Agenda 21 is a 20-year-old UN program that attempts to address hunger, poverty and sustainability in Developing Countries.
I know that some of you are probably shaking your heads in disbelief and pooh-poohing this as a crackpot conspiracy theory straight out of the “Devil’s workshop” of the intertoobz. But not so fast! If this were not a legitimate policy concern, would the Georgia State Senate waste taxpayers’ precious dollars, in the current economic climate, on a four hour education session for Georgia State Legislators?? I ask you??? Huh?
So. We’ve established that this is serious business which deserves further attention . . . and here’s how the State of Georgia got out ahead of this national security threat.
We’ve been discussing the rich wingnut assholes who promised to Go Galt or retaliate against their employees or customers in some way if President Obama was reelected. The ranks of these entitled pricks include Papa John (Romney bundler and maker of crappy pizza), that asshole coal company owner (who first forced his miners to appear at a Romney rally and then laid off a bunch of them after the election in a fit of pique), and the Florida timeshare mogul and personal palace builder who plagiarized a threatening anti-Obama chain letter and then failed to follow through on his mass layoff threat (so far).
But this John Metz character is arguably the biggest asshole of all because he’s leveling his fire at the most powerless employees in his personal fiefdom: servers at his Florida Dairy Queen, Denny’s and Hurricane Bar & Grill restaurants. Via Gawker by way of HuffPo:
John Metz said he will add a 5 percent surcharge to customers’ bills to offset what he said are the increased costs of Obamacare, along with reducing his employees’ hours.
“If I leave the prices the same, but say on the menu that there is a 5 percent surcharge for Obamacare, customers have two choices. They can either pay it and tip 15 or 20 percent, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server, who is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare,” Metz told The Huffington Post.
Metz had plenty of choices if he wanted to express his displeasure with KenyanSocialistCare. He could have gone the Papa John route and announced in a huff that he would be raising prices on his crappy food. He could have threatened to lay people off but punked out after the election like the dodgy timeshare guy or actually followed through on the threat like the coal company asshole. But what Metz has done is perhaps even more despicable: He’s encouraging customers to lower the income of people who are probably already barely scraping by. What a dick!
Here’s the thing, though: While servers might seemingly have little power compared to muckety-mucks in the food service industry, they are frequently in control of the actual food, at least for brief periods of time. I used to be a server back in the day. I’m not proud of it, but I confess I horked a loogie on a plate or two. Always under extreme provocation, mind you.
I had server friends who did even worse. One young waiter of my acquaintance expressed his displeasure with a particularly irksome customer by removing her prime rib from the plate with a fork and dragging it around the rim of the horrendously dirty employee toilet while we, his coworkers, laughed and hooted. Then he placed it back on the plate next to the baked potato and sprig of parsley and served it.
I’m not saying this is right or proper. It’s just the way it is. The “powerless” find ways to strike back. I don’t know whether or not Metz eats at his own restaurants, but he might get more than Moons over his Hammy next time he’s at Denny’s. And it wouldn’t surprise me if wait staff at more upscale joints decided to shake a few drops in Metz’s bisque in solidarity should he seek sustenance elsewhere. It’s just a bad idea to fuck with servers.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
My brilliant co-bloggers have covered the Petraeus affair with their characteristic brilliance. The one thing I have to add to the commentary concerns the role of the Republican party’s resident Iago/Starscream...
Consider, if you will, the strange case of General David Penetraeus. When he was heading up the counterinsurgency in Iraq, Petraeus was the fair-haired boy who stood up to quisling Democrats regarding war policy, any criticism of him was considered treasonous by right wingers. To the Republican true believers, General Petraeus was seen as the great hope for Republican party since Bush was a failure (for a hilarious sample of butthurt, check out this fawning video). The hero-worship for Petraeus wasn’t limited to his biographer/comare.
The most bizarre feature of the current Petraeus adultery scandal is the source of the leak. A teabagging FBI agent got wind of Petraeus’ affair and concocted a theory that the press was conspiring to hide the affair to, get this, protect President Obama. The teabagger contacted fellow teabagger Eric Cantor, who informed the director of the FBI. The conspiracy theory is now that Petraeus was forced to resign before he could testify about the attack on the consular office Benghazi. Yeah, this is an Obama Administration scandal, even though all of the principals are Republicans. Now, the conspiracy mavens on the right just might impeach the president for another man’s infidelity (the specter of Clinton’s penis yet again looms over the office of the presidency).
If Eric Cantor stabbed David Petraeus in the back in an attempt to embarrass President Obama, it would not be the first time that he stuck it to a fellow Republican. During last year’s debt ceiling negotiations, Cantor bucked Boehner’s authority as Speaker of the House. Eric Cantor is a false-friend worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy or a mafia movie. Part of me thinks that he might be engaged in a deep-cover Alinskyite plot to undermine the GOP from within (and then I come to my senses). It would be fun to spread this rumor in order to undermine Cantor, the man who single handedly prevented David Petraeus from rebuilding the Republican Party and taking it to victory (bonus hilarity at the link- d00d thinks Scott Brown should run in a 2013 special election if John Kerry becomes Secretary of State).
President Obama’s re-election has released a veritable tsunami of conservative animus directed both outside and inside the GOP. Every post-election day that goes by spawns ever more colorful responses to the “shock and awe” dealt to unsuspecting Republicans of every stripe. Today, for instance, we have the highly amusing spectacle of the circular firing squad setting their sights on the “conservative media” for leading us all down the garden path about Romney’s real prospects.
I can’t figure out which “conservative media” they’re going on about, though, because David Frum, Jonathan Martin of Politico and, now, Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” evidently believe that they are not members of that particular club. Frum pouted that, “Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex.” Politico’s lead story today exposes the GOP’s “media cocoon,” which prevented it from seeing a true picture of the election. And Scarborough commiserated with the donors who poured hundreds of millions of dollars into conservative Super PACs, saying they should be mad that they were “lied to” by conservative media, and yet he attacked Nate Silver, calling him an “ideologue” for predicting anything but a tossup in the election? I wonder how he would have reacted if some conservative pollster had said “You know this isn’t looking too good for Mitt”?
Hilarious. I’ll bet Rush Limbaugh is simply quivering in his Gucci loafers at the prospect of his excommunication from the “new” conservative movement all infused with truthiness. Wasn’t it just a few short weeks ago that Paul Ryan earned the title of Prevaricator-in-Chief and was carried around the Republican Convention on the shoulders of adoring fans for setting a new land speed record for zero to sixty lies in 20 minutes?
Whatever. That’s all pretty funny in a typically over-the-top Republican way . . . what I’m finding even more entertaining is the posturing of John Boehner who, apparently. believes he actually has a hand to play on the Bush Tax Cuts expiration. Perversely enough, there even seem to be a few Democrats who are playing along. Now I understand that this election has been particularly discombobulating and we’ll just have to put up, for a while, with silliness like Grover Norquist’s revelation that Obama won the election by calling Mitt Romney a “poopy head.”
Nevertheless, get serious people! those Bush Tax Cuts are not even in play. Furthermore, Republicans, that’s your fault. Back when you wanted to ramrod those babies through, you structured the deal so that they would expire in ten years. You had to do that because that was the only way that you could make them appear to cost less than they did. Had they been less “ambitious” (i.e., showboat-y) you might have gotten them passed as smaller, permanent tax cuts and you’d still have Obama where you want him. Obama would now be in a position, even having won the election, that required him to come hat-in-hand to beg the House to raise taxes on the wealthy. Alas, that wasn’t how you played it, so now it’s time to suck it up because you’re about to learn a valuable lesson about being “hoist by your own petard.”
Back in 2010, fresh off a Republican takeover of the House majority, President Obama agreed to extend the Bush Tax Cuts for two years until after the 2012 election. Coming off the spanking of the 2010 mid-term elections, a lot of Democrats were angry and dispirited over that capitulation but it was smart and, actually the best thing for the economy that was, otherwise, about to be tamped down whenever possible by an obstructive House bent on making Obama a one-term wonder. Even then, though, anyone who could think two moves ahead could see where Obama was going with that extension to preserve the status quo until the 2012 election, all that remained was to be re-elected and cash in his tax-cut-expiration chips. Boehner and company don’t have enough leverage to prevent the Bush Tax Cuts from expiring.
As the President pointed out, post-election, the Senate has already passed a measure to extend the tax cuts for the middle class only. Republicans are in a “pay me now, or pay me later” situation insofar as they can pass that plan now, or after the tax cuts expire in January. Despite the fact that word has come down from Mount Norquist that any vote for a tax plan that extends only the middle class tax cuts and allows the upper rates to expire is tantamount to “raising taxes,” that’s the very sort of silliness that doesn’t appear to work any longer. Not to mention that the GOP doesn’t have a whole lot of political capital to squander, right now.
All that the administration needs to do is allow the Bush Tax Cuts to expire (without panicking), then immediately revive the Senate bill and—win/win. Republicans get to say that they passed a big tax cut package and the President gets his revenue-from-the-rich.
The only way that Republicans could conceivably screw this up is to stand on principle, turn their platform on its head and vote against a massive middle class tax cut to preserve low tax rates for the wealthy who frankly, aren’t all that incensed about the notion of their tax rate rising—especially the ones who aren’t Republicans to begin with (and, believe it or not, there actually are a good many of those.)
Florida Governor Rick Scott, whose attempts to disenfranchise Democrats backfired when he inspired them instead to endure waits as long as eight hours to vote, now says it’s time to review and reform the voting system:
“We are glad that so many voters made their voices heard in this election, but as we go forward we must see improvements in our election process,” Scott said in a statement. “I have asked Secretary of State Ken Detzner to review this general election and report on ways we can improve the process after all the races are certified.”
Maybe it’s time to federalize voting processes. A democracy can’t function if eligible voters are prevented from casting ballots, and Scott and other GOP clowns were openly subverting the process. They shouldn’t be in a position to do so.
Please feel free to discuss whatever.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Comically obvious arch-villain Florida Governor Rick Scott doesn’t understand why you people are so upset about waiting until one o’clock in the morning to cast a ballot and STILL having no official outcome five days later:
“Look, it was a close race. We want to make sure every vote gets counted. Every vote’s important, so I think the secretary did the right thing,” Scott said. “Here’s what people should feel good about: We have a diligent and thorough process, and every vote’s getting counted.”
Here’s what people should feel good about: Even if the Dems tap an Everglades python that has just swallowed a litter of puppies on live TV to run against Scott in 2014, Scott will lose. Here’s what people should feel queasy about: The Florida Democratic Party is dumb enough to blow this opportunity.
Right now, the name being bandied about the most is former GOP Governor Charlie Crist, who got booted out of the Republican primary in favor of Marco Rubio when he ran for US Senate, then switched to independent to take Rubio on and got his ass kicked.
Crist wasn’t an awful governor, and he’s been a stand-up guy for President Obama—ever since Crist realized his former party had turned into a freak show, which just happened to coincide with its rejection of himself. I’m sure he’d be perfectly willing to morph into a Democrat to run against Scott. But in a state where disgust with Republicans is at its highest level in years, maybe we don’t have to settle for a Blue Dog. This ain’t Missouri.
Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, who knows how to handle the clowns at Fox News, was one of the few Supervisors of Elections who didn’t embarrass the state back in 2000. She was an excellent and popular mayor of a key Florida city.
Now she’s speaking out on the still-unfolding 2012 voting debacle. Unlike Crist, Iorio actually is a Democrat. I know it’s crazy, but I’m hoping the Florida Democratic Party will nominate a Democrat to take on Scott.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
One of the best things about the Romney campaign post mortem is reading the collective cri du cul emanating from the right-wingers. One interesting feature of their distorted view of the election is the contention that Romney, like his predecessor John McCain, was not conservative enough. Yes, even though paleolithic paleoconservative rape-apologists like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock lost their senate bids because of their knuckle-dragger comments concerning women’s rights, Mittens somehow lost because he wasn’t regressive enough.
One axiom of the right-wing is that Conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed. Since Romney failed, he cannot be a conservative. So, what of 2016? Ryan would be the most likely choice, because he was the second banana on the ticket… the one hitch is that he will still have the Romney stench clinging to his P90X-toned frame. Former Tea Party heartthrob Chris Christie is being drummed out of the party because he praised President Obama’s response to Superstorm Sandy. Rick Santorum is too much of a Big Government guy to be entrusted to run for the White House. Rick Perry is too soft on immigration. Let’s face it, there are very few true conservatives worthy of running in 2016, but I have the perfect ticket:
I believe this is the true conservative ticket that can win the White House back for the GOP. Let’s meet the candidates, shall we? Here’s the totally-not-insane presidential candidate, speaking calmly and eloquently about the importance of the separation of Church and State:
Here’s the one-hundred-percent-not-sexually-confused Ted Nugent eruditely discussing the psychosexual implications of the Second Amendment:
How could the GOP fail to capture the all three branches of government with such a dream team at the top of the ticket?
And won’t that be fine?
In addition to civic duty, I’m willing to admit that part of the reason that I voted for Barack Obama was revenge. That was the last small, petty bit of silliness that the Romney campaign dragged around to the must-win states that they didn’t win—an offhand remark from Obama: “Voting is the best revenge!” Naturally, because this is what a flailing campaign does, they tried to construe this as something other than the obvious point:
You vote against Romney and move on. Don’t hate—just win.
I’m not as chill as the President is. I like winning, and I like that we did. But I still have some bad feelings, so let me sum up more ways in which it is revenge, and not just because “living well is the best revenge.” (Which I will always hear in Ivana Trump’s voice, interestingly.)
You also vote because the bastards don’t want you to, and together we work on doing what we need to do. You look at the disenfranchisement, the long lines, the attempts to end early voting, the robocalls and leaflets that gave wrong election dates and the negative ads not designed to make people vote for a given candidate—but to make them give up their franchise in despair. You look at all that undemocratic fuckery and you have to vote. You have to try and change it. You have to believe that we can do better; but more than that, we have to do it together.
And for Obama’s part, he has to keep the faith with us that we put in him—and his victory speech is long on the promise that he will keep that faith. But here’s a thing he doesn’t have to worry about now—re-election. His mandate is that he did get re-elected this time. He has four more years. It’s all he’ll get. So this “why doesn’t he make a big friendly bipartisan gesture” talk I’m hearing?
Boehner and McConnell can fold that noise up into all sharp corners and sit on it until 2014. If they want to continue to be obstructionist, that’s fine—but the next referendum is on them. And voting is the best revenge.
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!”).
I’ve been taking some time out from blogging in this last week or so before the Poll To End All Polls.
This was partly out of deference to the savage storms whose aftermath some of you folks are going to have a hard enough time living through without some anonymous smartarse from Scotland looking out his window and muttering, “60 m.p.h. winds and horizontal rain—barbie weather!”
It also took a while for Ms. YAFB to rev up on the runway at Glasgow airport through one canceled flight and eventually jet stateside to visit her own version of Republican Mom/Lefty Daughter Hell, with Thanksgiving and eventual escape a long, LONG way away when you’ve the prospect of no heating, phone, Internet, or lights. She’s now safely landed, picked her way over of the NY State relics of the storm and people’s livelihoods and dreams, and miraculously somehow managed to have power restored to her mom’s house within an hour of arriving, so some of our Brit can-do stiff upper lip has obviously rubbed off over the years. If you get a GOTV phonebank call from an excitable jetlagged woman with a faint Scottish burr, a tendency to profanity, and a pathological distaste for Mitt Romney, treat her kindly.
I’ve also been wary of reenacting the Guardian‘s infamous Clark County Project of 2004. This predictably disastrous experiment in transatlantic diplomacy rallied well-meaning lefty readers to write to undecideds in Ohio in the hopes of drumming some British common sense into them along the lines of “Quit voting for Bush, WTH are you thinking?!”, garnering reactions ranging from “Have you not noticed that Americans don’t give two shits what Europeans think of us?” through “Please be advised that I have forwarded this to the CIA and FBI,” to “KEEP YOUR FUCKIN’ LIMEY HANDS OFF OUR ELECTION. HEY, SHITHEADS, REMEMBER THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR? REMEMBER THE WAR OF 1812? WE DIDN’T WANT YOU, OR YOUR POLITICS HERE, THAT’S WHY WE KICKED YOUR ASSES OUT. FOR THE 47% OF YOU WHO DON’T WANT PRESIDENT BUSH, I SAY THIS ... TOUGH SHIT!” and beyond.
Oh, I’ve still been keeping apace with what I can glean from various online resources, and from what I can see from that limited perspective, Mitt & Co. look like they’re resignedly scaling the first steps of the Kübler-Ross model. But a lot of what’s been cooked up in the way of late gamechangers from the Mittens camp and hangers-on is just desperate replays we already covered a month or more ago, like Fox news’s Benghazigate drive, all of which have been overshadowed by meteorology and President Obama opportunistically acting all presidential and competent and hanging out with his BFF Chris Christie. Indeed, other than a few flurries of stupidity that have leaked out from some public speeches, it looks like Romney and Ryan have largely been trying to keep their heads down, presumably for fear of forgetting which of the policy positions they once proclaimed they’re now abandoning because they’re running for election, for Pete’s sake.
In among all this, I’ve been marveling at what a total damp squib Ryan’s been on the stump, given the rapturous welcome that greeted his pick as the HAWTNESS on the ticket. Last I looked, even Free Republic was back to revolting against the Yoke of Mittness. With just a few longer-form interviews as support from his running mate, Mitt’s been driven to serve as his own attack dog throughout, slinging zingers and recycled lies from his windy vantage point on the roof, and ostentatiously dispatching stocks of his own hot Groundhog Day fudge to the needy in New Jersey and points west where echoes from his denunciation of FEMA are drowning out his recent sudden change of heart. If I compared being attacked by Ryan or Romney to being savaged by a dead sheep, I’d not only risk angering flyover country, I’d be underestimating the viciousness of zombie sheep (not to mention ripping off one Denis Healey).
It’s probably been a frustrating few months for Ryan, doomed to beta male groupie status and hampered by a near total lack of charisma in trying to shake off the utter rout that was his VP debate performance. He’s been seeking succor by doodling on napkins what the future might hold if his prayers are answered and he finally escapes the deadend daily drudgery of serving as the Republican Party’s fiscal boy wonder among the grizzled congressional rabble, as the gloriously named Trip Gabriel at the NYT managed to shake out of nameless gabby “aides” yesterday:
... if the Republican ticket prevails, Mr. Ryan plans to come back roaring, establishing an activist vice presidency that he said would look like Dick Cheney’s under President George W. Bush.
Now THAT’s what I call a lede! They’re going to be hiring White House caterers, by the sound of it:
Mr. Ryan would dedicate most evenings to dinners with senators and House members of both parties, aides said, as he steps into the role Mr. Romney promised: architect of a Romney administration’s drive to enact a budget that shrinks the government and overhauls programs like Medicare.
In Lundtspeak, of course, “shrink” translates as “render totally inoperable and thus irrelevant” and the “overhaul” is likely to resemble my babyhood tendency not to consider any toy truly played with till I’d reverse-engineered it into a messy pile of component parts destined for the trash. But where did that Dick Cheney comparison come from? Are we in HuffPo headline territory here?
Is Turd Blossom pre-spinning a Romney loss? Maybe:
“If you hadn’t had the storm, there would have been more of a chance for the [Mitt] Romney campaign to talk about the deficit, the debt, the economy. There was a stutter in the campaign. When you have attention drawn away to somewhere else, to something else, it is not to his [Romney’s] advantage,” Rove told The Washington Post.
If President Obama wins this election (and I think he will), what does that say about the power of Super PACs? Here’s OpenSecrets.org’s total Super PAC spending broken down by ideology:
Conservative groups have outspent liberals two to one. For nearly four years, their political operatives in Congress have worked very hard to sabotage every attempt President Obama has made to deal with the crappy economy so that they could run as the out party during a persistent economic crisis, and their 2012 standard bearer promised yesterday that unless he is elected, Republicans in the House will continue to fuck America up the ass for having the temerity to elect a Democrat as president.
And yet it looks like there’s a pretty decent chance that they’ll not only fail to unseat President Obama, the Dems will retain narrow control over the Senate and pick up some seats in the House. What does it mean? Dr. Krugman thinks it might reveal a so-called political genius as a common grifter:
Well, what if we’ve been misunderstanding Rove? We’ve been seeing him as a man dedicated to helping angry right-wing billionaires take over America. But maybe he’s best thought of instead as an entrepreneur in the business of selling his services to angry right-wing billionaires, who believe that he can help them take over America. It’s not the same thing.
And while Rove the crusader is looking — provisionally, of course, until the votes are in — like a failure, Rove the businessman has just had an amazing, banner year.
If this scenario comes to pass, the biggest losers, of course, will be the billionaires who have spent astonishing sums to purchase our democracy fair and square—with bupkis to show for it on November 7. Sheldon Adelson and family will be out $53.69 million. The Koch Bros. will be $36.66 (number of the devil!) lighter.
They’re businessmen. Maybe they’ll conclude it would have been cheaper to just pony the fuck up on their taxes? Hahahaha!
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Sitting in the dark on the job for two days, one has time for contemplation. Because I was sitting in the dark as a result of a major storm, disaster response has been on my mind. I’m going to riff off of one of the last blog posts I read before losing the electricity, Bette Noir’s “compare and contrast” post about President Obama’s approach to disaster relief and Mitt Romney’s statements about disaster relief in one of the primary debates. Here’s an excerpt from the transcript of the debate, hosted by CNN’s John King:
“FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role,” Mr. King said. “How do you deal with something like that?”
Romney’s response: “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.
“Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut – we should ask ourselves the opposite question,” Romney continued. “What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot ...”
King interjected: “Including disaster relief, though?”
Romney replied: “We cannot – we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.”
A quick glance at the map of Superstorm Sandy demonstrates the stupidity of Mitt Romney’s proposal for diminishing the role of the federal government in disaster response. Hurricane Sandy was a vast storm which ravaged the Atlantic Coast of the United States from North Carolina to Massachusetts, with lesser, though significant effects felt as far west as Ohio. Simply put, the storm was too vast for any single state to be able to handle disaster response and relief. Damage to the infrastructure within a state hampers the coordination of relief efforts. Even now, days after the storm, there are communication problems (I have electricity, and I am having problems getting through on the phone for various reasons, those without power are even worse off). In much of the New York tri-state area, gasoline is in short supply. To put the burden of disaster relief on the overburdened states is asinine. Just because I want to twist the knife, so to speak, Mitt Romney’s record as a governor responding to a natural is not a good one.
In times of disaster, it is important to remember the original motto of the United States, E Pluribus Unum, which is Latin for “out of many, one”. Combined, the states form a more powerful whole. In times of natural disaster, the federal government can coordinate the response more readily than the states which have been hit. The United States is a vast country, the nature of disasters differs from location to location- while different states can concentrate on their areas of expertise, a central coordinating agency is better able to marshal resources that will be needed after local resources are exhausted.
To compound Romney’s idiocy, his assertion that he’d rather have the private sector administer disaster responses is truly a howler. Of course, Romney’s not really an idiot- he’s the sort of sociopath who would prefer that there’s an executive skimming off the top when funds are allocated for disaster aid. If Romney gets elected president, expect well-connected wealthy insiders to get even wealthier on the misery of disaster victims. In anticipation of such a (literal) windfall, Jeb Bush has founded a for-profit disaster response corporation. If disaster response is privatized, there will be a two-tier approach to relief and recovery operations- the rich folks will be whisked out of the disaster area in luxurious helicopters with fully-stocked bars while Joe and Jane Schmo will die horribly… the executives have to make a profit, after all. I imagine Jeb Bush’s privatized disaster response will be just as successful as his brother George’s privatized war.
In the ‘90’s the town of Rye Brook, New York decided to experiment with privatized firefighting services. The private firefighting corporation cut corners with wages, ensuring that the workers were poorly-trained and had a high turnover rate, and they refused to engage in a mutual assistance agreement with neighboring municipalities, and the result was disastrous. Imagine how poorly a private corporation, with an eye towards maximizing profits, would handle a disaster of the magnitude of a Sandy.
Hopefully, the example of Sandy will wake voters who would vote for Mitt Romney out of spite. Romney is unfit to run the country- Chris Christie, a man I can’t stand, has praised President Obama’s disaster response and is being lambasted by his former admirers for it. Former Republican and wishy-washy “third way” flack Mike Bloomberg has endorsed President Obama’s candidacy. In the face of disaster, real leadership and a genuine desire for public service is needed. Mitt Romney is a callow, hollow simulacrum of a man, and his history of failed disaster response and putting personal profits over the public need renders him unacceptable as a President.