Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Sinking Ship

Growing up, my family discussed (and still discusses) politics nonstop.  To the uninitiated, the whole thing can be intimidating - we throw out facts and figures, discuss major issues of the day, and editorialize on things we know nothing about.  Anyway, I remember once, during a Presidential campaign going south (I think it was Bob Dole in 1996), my father saying that the race was over, but what was left was to protect the House of Representatives.  Unfortunately for the Republican Party, I think that's what's going on now.  The Professional Republican elite - those individuals who actually make money off of politics - have written off Mitt Romney, and now expect he's going to lose.

Hence - Chaos on Bullshit Mountain

All this craziness, all this fighting, has nothing to do with Mitt - if he wins, he wins, but right now, he's more unpopular than any Presidential candidate in recent (since 1988) memory.  Democratic voters, smelling a good ole fashioned ass kicking (and really, who doesn't love an ass kicking), are now starting to pay attention.  Republicans, meanwhile, are on the verge of being discouraged.  And discouraged voters don't vote, or don't tell their friends, family and neighbors to vote.  

What's more, the kind of anger and distrust of the nominee has a tendency to splash on the down-ticket races.  Which is why you won't see Mitt Romney campaigning a lot with candidates for other offices.  Of course, that further discourages the base.  Next thing you know, its a wave election, and the Democrats take the House of Representatives.  

So, to prevent this from happening, the GOP has to go all out.  Now, the Democrats could still self-destruct, but so can (and probably will) Romney.  But keep this in mind over the next few weeks - we are going to see Bullshit Mountain get even bigger.

Monday, September 17, 2012

With Candidates Like These. . .

Right now, if I was a Republican who voted in the primary, I'd be pissed.  After all, if I wanted to vote for a candidate who would be prone to saying absolutely stupid things, I would've voted for Michelle Bachmann or Rick Santorum.  Romney was supposed to be the guy who actually knew what he was doing. . .

Or not.  At a private fundraiser, Romney opened up his big mouth and said that Obama's supporters are all on public assistance so, and so fuck those guys.  Well, he didn't say that exactly, but he did say that he doesn't have to care about those people.  Per the article:
"[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

For a guy who is already wildly unpopular, who's campaign has swung dramatically from one strategy to the next, this kind of statement is particularly problematic.  As I said before, all candidates have prove that they are more than the image the other campaign tries to paint.  Bush could prove he was no dummy by spouting off a few names of world leaders, and Obama proves he's normal by being a normal guy (brewing his own beer doesn't hurt either).  Kerry's "I voted for it before I voted against it" line confirmed the worst line of attack on Kerry, and Al Gore's sighing at the debates played into the negative image Bush had crafted of him.

Similarly, Romney has managed to prove that he is an out-of-touch elitist who thinks that 47% of the American people are total and complete fuck-ups.  By the way, the 47% figure is something of a canard  - that figure includes people who work but don't pay federal income taxes (but do pay federal payroll taxes, state sales taxes, etc.), and retirees.  And quite few of the "47%" are those tea partiers who carried signs that said "Get your government hands off my Medicare."  Of course, those people don't believe they are on government assistance, and will vote for Romney.

The real problem isn't the 47%, if you will, but the rest of us who hear Romney's comments and think - "Holy shit, what a dick!"  Add that to his comments that people making $250k are middle class, or that he doesn't care about the very poor, or one of his myriad of other tone deaf comments (including last week's smirk), and Romney becomes virtually radioactive.

Now, while it is true that I'm a Democrat, I am also a political junkie.  So while my voting behavior is determined by my own policy preferences, I can separate those preferences when looking at the politics.  So, with that said, my dear Republican friends, I feel your pain.  Believe me, after watching Dukakis, Gore, Mondale*, and Kerry all bumble their way through the Presidential campaigns, I understand what its like to have a candidate who seemingly doesn't want to be elected President.

But while I feel your pain, rememb
*Okay, I don't remember Mondale that well - I was eight years old during the race, after all.  But Mondale actually had a negative bounce out of his convention.  Meaning the more people heard about Mondale, the less they liked him.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Fucking Smirk. . .

Just hours after my last post talking about the desperation of the Romney campaign, Romney goes ahead and tops himself.  Here's the background - an "Israeli Jew" who is apparently a California real estate developer and is 53 or 56, creates a ridiculously over the top anti-Islam video on YouTube.  People get pissed off, start protests.  Okay, that's their right.  The U.S. Embassy in Cairo releases a tweet that says, "hey, we think this guy is a jackass too," and the protests turn violent in Egypt and in Libya, and an ambassador and five other FSO's are killed.  Romney blasts the Obama Administration (who didn't release the statement) for sympathizing with terrorists while these thugs were KILLING AMERICAN CITIZENS.

Now, the latest rumor is that the violence against the U.S. Embassies was planned in advance, and used the protests against the ridiculous web video as cover.  This makes some sense because the U.S. has a 90% approval rating in Libya (we, after all, helped bring down the former government).  Also, no one has ever heard of the creator of this web video - including the Israeli government who says that it has no record of an Israeli citizen by the name of "Sam Bacile."  All of this, by the way occurs on 9 -11, and shortly after the U.S. kills a high-ranking Al Qaeda member. . .hmm. . .sounds very "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" to me.  Granted, I just finished reading The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco (a great read by the way), so I am a bit suspicious about these sorts of things.

But I digress.  This post isn't so much about what's happening in Libya and Egypt, but what happened in Washington, D.C.  As I said before, Romney attacked the Obama Administration for "sympathizing" with the thugs who attacked our embassies based upon a tweet that was (1) issued BEFORE there was any violence; and (2) was written by a U.S. Embassy employee, and not someone in the White House.  Did I mention that Romney unleashed this attack on September 11, and did so while Americans were being killed.

Oh, and during the whole cartoon blow-up during the Bush Administration, the White House said basically the same thing.  And the White House, along with Secretary Clinton both issued statements that said the guy was a jack-ass, but he has the right to be a jack-ass, and that violence against the U.S. will not be tolerated.  Again, perfectly reasonable.

This morning, Romney then reiterates his attack - that Obama issued a statement supporting the violence against Americans (which again, he most certainly did not).  And the son of a bitch walks off the stage after lying about the President, and politicizing the deaths of Americans SERVING THEIR COUNTRY with a fucking smirk on his face.  A. Fucking. Smirk.

In an astonishing, yet, refreshing change, the traditional media understood what Romney is up to, and they are pissed.  Heck, Ezra Klein writes that Romney's actions reek of desperation.  And he's right.  The safe play, the right play, would be to strongly condemn the attacks, stand up for the freedom of people to say fucking stupid things, and then state that the perpetrators must be brought to justice.  End of statement.  And above else DO NOT FUCKING SMIRK.

But no, Romney had the temerity to accuse the President of not just being weak, but actually sympathizing with terrorists.  Really.  In the "West Wing" - which basically was the show that helped progressives live through the Bush years - there scene where President Bartlett decided he was going to kick his opponent's ass for reelection.  I felt a similar reaction during Sarah Palin's speech at the 2008 RNC - when she decided to denigrate community organizers.  I'm starting to feel that way towards Mitt Romney now.

And I have to say that I am amazed at Obama's ability to get his opponents to do dumb shit like this.  In the past nine years, he eeks out a victory in the Illinois Senate Primary, only to have his Republican opponent blow up in spectacular fashion.  So, Obama gets to run against Alan Keyes (who he slaughters).  He then runs for President, and runs against Hillary Clinton, who's campaign fucks up her messaging, and can't keep a delegate count.  Obama has to fight long and hard, but he wins.  Then he takes on John McCain who, in a panic, picks Sarah Palin, and then tries to suspend his campaign over the Lehman Brothers disaster.  Now, Obama gets Mitt Romney, who is a walking timebomb.  At some point, you have to wonder if Romney actually wants to be elected, or if the whole thing isn't an elaborate hoax.  A fucking smirk. . .

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

State of the Race - Post Convention Edition

Well, its been a few months since my last post - the demands of the practice of law can be brutal, and this summer was no exception.  But to my defense, there was really nothing to blog about politics-wise once Romney wrapped up the nomination. . .oh, wait, did I blog about his pick of Paul Ryan? No? Crap.

Okay, okay, there has been a lot going on, and I haven't said enough.  But just as Bill Clinton can come back and remind us why he was one of the best stewards of the economy ever, I am can actually write a few words on the state of the race (particularly that the conventions are done and we're in the homestretch).

The Paul Ryan Pick for VP: If I had bothered to blog back when Romney made this pick, I would have said - See! See! Romney is beholden to the right-wing, he can never have a Sister Souljah moment! - and I would have been right.  Paul Ryan is an ideologue pure and simple.  And since he's never run for more than a House seat Paul Ryan can be as partisan and ideological as he wants (see Bachmann, Michelle).

With that said, Romney's selection of Ryan wasn't awful - Ryan doesn't have to have his hand held at all times (*cough*Sarah Palin*cough*), he won't say anything that will truly embarrass Romney, or try to overshadow Romney.  So, generally, this would be a good pick-up, except. . .

Bubba Killed It at the DNC: One word everyone - arithmetic.  And with that one word, Bill Clinton destroyed every single argument the GOP made during their convention.  No one, not even Obama, can match Bubba when he gets on a role when it comes to policy.  When Obama is at his oratorical best, he makes you want to follow him into the Gates of Hell, but with Clinton, you end up agreeing with every word he says.  Arithmetic.

The Conventions: Well, given that I'm talking about Bill Clinton's speech, and not Romney's, you can tell that the RNC did not go as planned (and I'm not talking about the chair).  Romney had a three-day infomercial to tell the American people what he would do as President and he blew it.  At best he got a 1% bounce.  Now, keep in mind that the very best polls have a margin of error of 3-5% - meaning that whatever bounce Romney got was statistically insignificant.  Moreover, guys like Chris Christie of New Jersey spent their time talking about themselves rather than Romney.  That's the kind of thing that happens when the speaker thinks there will be an opening for President in the next election cycle (which, if Romney wins, there won't be).

Compounding Romney's woes was Ryan's speech which, instead of being a light of truth, it was light on truth.  Three hour marathon my ass.  Little wonder Romney has started playing the "Obama is a not a real American" bullshit as soon as the RNC was done.

At the DNC, all of Romney's chickens came home to roost - Obama looked human, Clinton was electric, and Michelle Obama rocked it.  Oh, and Sasha's facial expressions once again completely humanized her father.  And ultimately, the "Obama is not a real American" thing never works because Obama, if anything, is more normal than Romney.  He grew up middle class, is a huge sports fan (he even has a fantasy football team, which I do not), and his kids try to weasel out of school when he gives big speeches.

Of course, there's more to it than just Obama is normal - Romney is not normal.  There is a difference between the very, very rich and the rest of us.  Who else buys a horse for "therapeutic" purposes that then is entered into the Olympics?  Who else has a car elevator at his 5th or 6th house? What teams does Romney root for?  I have no idea.

Worst of all, his fucking campaign staff is awful.  Telling a reporter that Romney's positions are written on an Etch-a-Sketch?  Changing what Romney said hours after he said it?  Who does this?  Well, given that Romney went overseas and immediately insulted Britain during the Olympics, Romney doesn't do so well on his own anyway.   The guy can't be trusted to campaign on his own, and his staff sucks.

So, coming out of the conventions, the only thing that can change the tone of the campaign is the debates.  With the assumptions by many Republicans that Obama is an idiot,* the onus will be on Romney to kill Obama at these debates.  But I don't think he can.  Obama may not be as capable of being the Explainer as Bill Clinton is, but he isn't the idiot the GOP makes him out to be.  Either way, the pressure will be on.

*For the life of me, I can't figure out the whole teleprompter attacks on Obama.  Yes, he reads his speeches from a teleprompter - like every other President ever.  The dude went to Harvard Law, and was President of the Harvard Law Review.  Even if he got in due to affirmative action (which there's no proof of), he drops from being super-ridiculously smart to ridiculously smart.