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Rmoney and Ryawn: Bain & Pain Inc.

by Frank Schnittger Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 08:28:58 AM EST


Twitter/BooMan23: Ryan probably sealed his selection when he wet his pants while shaking Romney's hand

The US economy is growing at what Americans consider an anaemic 1.5% - a rate most Europeans can only dream about. President Obama is languishing in the polls at a 46% job approval rating (49% disapprove) and at 39% - 53% disapproval on the Economy. And yet he leads Romney by a fairly consistent 2-3% average in the polls, and more in most of the critical swing states which determine the outcome of the Presidential election college.

Romney has been running what has been quite possibly the most incompetent political campaign in the history of US Presidential elections and yet remains in with a 28% chance of winning largely because of record donations from his billionaire and millionaire backers to "Superpacs" which market him as a brand rather than attempt to engage in any kind of rational political or policy debate.

And now Romney has nominated as his Vice Presidential running mate a man who has built his reputation on proposing budgets which give massive tax breaks to millionaires whilst turning Medicare into an insurance voucher programme and privatising social welfare: proposals which poll some way south of chlamydia in popularity whenever explained to the electorate. Indeed Booman has been arguing for some time that the Democrats chief problem up until now has been in convincing voters that the Ryan Budget plan could actually contain such wildly unpopular elements.

So what gives?


First, let us consider Romney's conduct of his campaign:

Booman Tribune ~ Romney Reduced to Zero

Mitt Romney has five obvious things on his resume that might count in his favor as someone who could be a good president. Let's look at them.

1. He received an excellent education, going to a top prep school, graduating at the top of his class at BYU, and getting dual graduate degrees in business and law from Harvard. However, he decided to attack his opponent for his Ivy League connections and thereby lost the ability to tout his own educational credentials.

2. He became a multimillionaire by running a private equity firm. But he just spent two weeks trying to convince us that he left that firm four years earlier than he actually did because he doesn't want to be associated with the firm's activities.

3. He ran the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. But after his trip to the London Olympics, the last thing Mitt will want is for anyone to mention the words "Romney" and "Olympics" in the same paragraph.

4. He was the governor of Massachusetts. But he renounced his biggest accomplishment as governor, and he didn't bother to run for a second term because he would have been soundly defeated.

5. He's an upright and moral family man. But he won't let us see his taxes or examine his secret foreign bank accounts, and he just threw his wife and her dressage horse under the bus on international television in return for what he perceived to be some kind of short-term political gain.

Or again:

Booman Tribune ~ Mitt Romney Has Nothing

He doesn't want to talk about his religion. He doesn't want to be associated with the company that made him rich. He doesn't want to talk about his record as governor of Massachusetts, which involved the third-worst job creation in the nation, an assault weapons ban, and the template for ObamaCare. He doesn't want to talk about the Olympics. He doesn't want to talk in any detail about the Paul Ryan budget he has endorsed. He doesn't want to talk about his Ivy League education. He doesn't want to be associated in any way with his wife's horse. He doesn't want to talk about his tax returns or his offshore bank accounts. He doesn't want to talk about his time at prep school. He doesn't want to talk about his plans to build a car elevator in his garage. He doesn't want to talk about the time he strapped his dog to the top of his station wagon. He doesn't want to talk about where he differs from George W. Bush. He doesn't want to take a stand on anything. He doesn't want to talk about why he's changed his position on almost every issue under the sun, including abortion

Polls 12 weeks out from the election can be volatile and misleading, although this year they have been remarkably stable to date. The closer it gets to election day, the harder it gets to turn the tide. There are perhaps three major planned opportunities for a challenger to change the game at this stage: Naming his VP running mate, the Party nominating convention, and the October television debates. All can produce a bounce in the polls, although the effect tends to be temporary.

So how is Romney likely to do with his Ryan pick? Again, please allow me to channel Booman:

Booman Tribune ~ A Progressive Community

First, let's look at what picking House Republican Paul Ryan didn't do.

1. It didn't help Romney with women.
2. It didn't help Romney make any inroads with blacks, Latinos, Asians, or Muslims.
3. It didn't boost confidence in a Romney administration's preparedness to handle foreign policy, a la Dick Cheney.
4. It didn't force the Obama administration to defend new territory.
5. It didn't deflect attention from Romney's tax returns/avoidance.
6. It didn't help Romney move to the middle.
7. It didn't isolate Romney from the wildly unpopular House Republicans.

And let's look at what picking Ryan did do:

1. It forced Romney to try and fail to distance himself from Paul Ryan's budget plan. Romney now says he would have signed Ryan's budget, and he therefore owns a budget plan so unpopular that people don't even believe it was actually proposed.
2. It locked Romney in to a plan that raises taxes on lower middle class folks while effectively zeroing out his own taxes.
3. It locked Romney into a program that voucherizes Medicare, and twins him with a candidate who wants to privatize Social Security.
4. It, therefore, weakened Romney substantially with white working class voters and with seniors, who both hate the Ryan Budget with a white hot passion once they learn the details of it.
5. It saved the Obama administration the cost and difficulty of tying Paul Ryan and the House Republicans to Mitt Romney.
6. It created the best conceivable opening for Democrats running in difficult heavily-white states and districts.
7. It turned a battle of personalities, which polls showed Romney was losing narrowly, into a battle of ideologies, which polls show Romney will lose decisively.

Lets add some numbers to this:

Congressmen rarely do well in Presidential elections in any case, but Ryan is a leading member of a Congress with an 11% approval rating and 68% disapproval.  Makes President Obama's numbers look positively rosy.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid (and fellow Mormon) has alleged that a Bain investor told him that Romney has paid no income taxes on his hundreds of millions of income over the past 10 years: a claim Romney hotly denies without being willing to release his tax records to prove his case. But the Ryan budget plan would copper-fasten this situation into the future by eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends (Romney's main source of income)  thus reducing Romney's future tax liability to less than 1% of income without any continuing need to use Swiss banks accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters.

Even Romney's worst detractors concede Romney is a smart guy even if he is tone deaf politically and prone to verbal gaffes. So why is he pursuing an apparently failing strategy which has his Democratic opponents overjoyed? A number of "psychologistic" explanations have been offered, revolving around the theme that Romney knows he will lose and wants to inoculate himself against the wall of blame that is likely to come his way from conservative Republicans by appointing their darling to the ticket.

But the truth may be more prosaic. Romney is heavily dependent on his billionaire and millionaire backers and they may have insisted that their champion be included on the ticket. No one has more brazenly championed the reduction of taxes on the wealthy than Ryan. Romney is already out-raising Obama by a considerable margin, but his strategy seems to be almost entirely TV advertising led which is an expensive way to campaign.  

Advertising isn't about logic, or rationality, or policy, or even about personality. It's about building a brand and creating negative fears about the competition. It's about associating your brand with perceived positive characteristics like "success", "wealth", "freedom", "low taxes" and "security" whilst associating your opponent with "failed economic policies", envy, red tape, high taxes, and terrorism.

It is a fact free world where actual product or service quality is irrelevant and perception is everything. Perceptions are largely subliminally and emotionally driven at a subconscious level - appealing to sexual desires, material needs, racial fears, pet hatreds, and class aspirations. Who wants to be associated with an elitist, smarter than you lawyer who wants to regulate everything and give your hard earned money to others (particularly blacks)? You want to be successful and rich like Romney, don't you?

The Rmoney Ryawn ticket is a business proposition, not a political one. It raises the cash required for an almighty product launch and re-branding exercise unrelated to the actual policies and leadership style on offer. Romney freely and frequently tells complete and verifiable lies about President Obama and is rarely called on it by a corporate media operating on a "he said, and then he said - both sides are doing it" principle and doing little by way of fact checking or independent analysis.

This election could still be a lot closer than it currently looks. The campaigns are operating out of almost completely different paradigms which rarely connect. In one, money and free speech are more or less the same thing, as are corporations and people, a fact now legitimised by the Supreme Court Citizen's United decision. Politics is a business and its money that counts, and potential hostile voters should be suppressed wherever possible. In the Democratic paradigm, the state still has a legitimate (if shrinking) role, and people have rights as people, not simply as employees, investors and consumers. The market is a servant of the people and not their God.

This is a pretty existential battle for the soul of the USA, and with a Rmoney Ryawn ticket it is very much game on. But whereas the Romney strategy has always been to turn the election into a referendum on Obama's (economic) performance in office, his nomination of Ryan may make it a referendum on billionaire tax breaks instead.

Display:
Say what?
He doesn't want to talk about the time he strapped his dog to the top of his station wagon.
So I went googling, and found this: What our fascination with Mitt Romney's dog Seamus says about our culture (Boston.com, January 08, 2012)
To recap: Sometime during a 12-hour drive from Boston to Canada in 1983, Mitt's oldest son, Tagg, noticed a brown liquid running down the rear window of the family station wagon. Realizing the liquid was being discharged by their dog, Mitt pulled off the highway and into a gas station, borrowed a hose to wash down Seamus and the car, and then returned the dog to his rooftop carrier for the duration of the trip. Most media reports have accurately relayed those basics. However, exaggerations and faulty assumptions have been advanced, most notably by New York Times columnist Gail Collins, who has trotted out the ghost of poor Seamus in more than 30 of her pieces since 2007.

The exaggerations tend to be patently absurd, like the implication that Romney strapped his dog to the roof of his car with nothing more than rope, rather than in a carrier with a specially fashioned windshield.

To be honest, it seems to me the reason Romney doesn't want to talk about anything is that he knows the press is going to put him in a "when did you stop beating your wife?" situation. Not the least because of thins like this:
Wasik, an editor at Wired magazine, predicts the Seamus citations will become more political and more plentiful if Romney becomes the GOP nominee, as President Obama partisans use it to paint Romney as a cruel character who, as Wasik puts it, will "sort of tie us all to the roof of the car."
But that's going to happen to any politician in this day and age. Anything they do or say (or not, or they could plausibly have) is going to be exploited by merciless journalists and political opponents and stand-up comedians. So, for instance, why does Romney not want to talk about any of this? here's another WTF moment:
he just threw his wife and her dressage horse under the bus on international television in return for what he perceived to be some kind of short-term political gain
Especially when the only narrative negative about the horse of Romney's wife (that the Romneys are wealthy enough to own a horse) is balanced by this
Ann Romney, who rides as part of her therapy for multiple sclerosis, was in the VIP stands at Greenwich Park as she was when Rafalca made her Olympic debut last week.
There's more to owning a horse here than just flaunting wealth... And the horse is co-owned by three people, which suddenly makes it look like a lot less wealth.

So is Romney's problem that he doesn't deal with nuance, or doesn't trust the cruel world to treat his nuance fairly? Maybe because he doesn't do nuance very well himself?

In this connection, what's interesting is the conclusion of the Boston.com article. After noting earlier

Faced with such irrefutable evidence, most people, I suspect, would have relented and let the ailing dog cram into the back of the wagon, even if logic dictated that cleaning up a repeat episode of his gastric distress would be a whole lot messier than if he were returned to the roof.
the piece ends with
I think another reason for the story's endurance is that Romney remains an enigma, the product of two of the most mysterious and least understood subcultures in the country: the Mormon Church and private-equity finance. So Seamus has become a shortcut for people trying to get a bead on a candidate whose image has shades of ageless businessman and Stepford husband. Ironically, behind the scenes, Romney showcases a sharp, agile mind. But when he's engaged in retail politics before rolling cameras, he can seem as maladroit as he was during his first campaign back in 1994, when he approached a reluctant woman on the street to shake hands and said, "I know, you haven't got your makeup on yet, right?" (Dumbfounded, she replied, "I do!") His awkward moments this campaign have included sidling up to a crusty older veteran in a New Hampshire diner and inveighing against gay marriage, only to learn later that the man's husband was sitting across from him. The more Romney's handlers try to control his environment and prevent him from going off script, the more people will hunt for flashes of unscripted behavior, whether that involves clumsy conversations with voters or the ham-fisted handling of a distressed dog half a lifetime ago.

If he's not careful, I won't be the only person who has to worry about Seamus making it into the lead paragraph of his obit someday.

I am beginning to think Romney is just tragic. Someone this socially awkward shouldn't be in politics, and someone with the kind of money Romney has doesn't need to be in politics for a living. So, why all this?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 10:22:33 AM EST
Ego and a desire for more cash. Being Pres is one helluva business opportunity for self, family and friends.

Romney is tragic like the US is tragic - boundless self belief, deep reserves of wealth, and a relentless lack of sensitivity and social awareness, combined with a desperate need to exploit anyone and everyone for personal profit and self-indulgence.

I don't feel sorry for Romney. The worst that will happen is that he'll burn through some cash he can afford to burn through.

But I do feel sorry for his dog.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 10:38:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's another enumeration of Romney's exploits: Is Mitt Romney a Sociopath? (A Little Reality, JUNE 07, 2012)
The second story comes from when he was in boarding school and criminally assaulted a fellow student. Organizing a gang to attack a younger student - clearly the act of a bully - shows the ability to manipulate others. He showed a desire to dominate and humiliate another. Ignoring the cries for help is cruelty to humans. There was a total lack of remorse to the point he claims to not even remember the event. So this incident has four major symptoms of a sociopath.

The third story is about how Romney liked to dress up like a policeman and pretend to be a cop. His "pranks" were to frighten and intimidate people. He would "arrest" women and abandon them without a car. His felonies include impersonating a law enforcement officer and kidnapping. Worst, however, is the creepiness factor. Serial killers and serial rapists like to impersonate policemen. That Romney chose this path for his recreation shows him to be a deeply disturbed individual.

We can add his joy at firing people, the pain he inflicted during his Bain Capital days, and his treatment of his neighbors as criminals to find an adult with a mile wide callousness streak. But does that make him a sociopath?



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 02:37:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If he is a sociopath he's not a very good one.

The genuine article is glib, slick and able to tell the most outrageous lies while making them completely plausible. The motivation is always to get one over other people, fuelled by a covert but simmering permanent state of anti-social rage.

Sociopaths are often more intelligent than average.

Diagnosis at a distance is a waste of time, but if someone twisted my arm I'd suggest Romney is more likely to be a textbook narcissist. He's defensive and touchy about criticism to a pathological extent, he has some obvious entitlement and grandiosity issues, and he appears to lack all empathy.

He's also missing the charisma and social smoothness of a genuine sociopath.

Ryan on the other hand simply creeps me out. To me he looks like someone who has an entire basement full of very dark secrets - some of whom may still be alive, at least for now.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 03:05:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's also missing the charisma and social smoothness of a genuine sociopath.

Yes, that's what I'm thinking.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 03:09:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are lots of varieties of sociopath and many of us can exhibit some sociopathic tendencies from time to time. So added to the risks of remote diagnosis are the problems of categorisation. However if you go through the checklist below, Romney seems to tick an awful lot of boxes...

Profile of the Sociopath

Profile of the Sociopath

This website summarizes some of the common features of descriptions of the behavior of sociopaths.


  • Glibness and Superficial Charm

  • Manipulative and Conning
    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

  • Grandiose Sense of Self
    Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."

  • Pathological Lying
    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

  • Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

  • Shallow Emotions
    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

  • Incapacity for Love

  • Need for Stimulation
    Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

  • Callousness/Lack of Empathy
    Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

  • Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
    Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

  • Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
    Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

  • Irresponsibility/Unreliability
    Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

  • Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
    Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

  • Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
    Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.

  • Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
    Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.

Other Related Qualities:

  1. Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
  2. Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
  3. Authoritarian
  4. Secretive
  5. Paranoid
  6. Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
  7. Conventional appearance
  8. Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
  9. Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life
  10. Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
  11. Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
  12. Incapable of real human attachment to another
  13. Unable to feel remorse or guilt
  14. Extreme narcissism and grandiose
  15. May state readily that their goal is to rule the world


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 03:25:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Itself: "At least it's not an ethos": Nihilism as comfort food (August 14, 2012 -- Adam Kotsko)
I've come to the conclusion, as I'm sure many of you have, that Mitt Romney is the "least bad" Republican presidential candidate, both out of the primary field and in comparison with Bush and McCain (much as Paul Ryan must be grudgingly conceded to be a "less bad" VP pick than the frankly demonic Dick Cheney and the total loose cannon that was Sarah Palin). What alarms me about this is my rationale: not that he's actually more moderate than the other options, not that he supports better policies, etc., but precisely because he seems like a completely nihilistic opportunist. In short, when it comes to Republicans, it seems like the best argument is "at least it's not an ethos!"

I don't know quite what to make of this comfort I take in Romney's nihilism, in his seeming willingness to humiliate himself in every possible way in the service not quite of "power," but of the simple fact of being president. He's like a living reductio ad absurdam of my thesis in Why We Love Sociopaths -- the fact of striving as such is somehow admirable or reassuring, but instead of "doing whatever it takes" in the sense of skillfully manipulating everyone, having people killed, etc., he's just flagrantly lying in an easily traceable way.

...

Still, there's something deeply disturbing about this infamous video where Romney seems genuinely offended that his Democratic opponent would accuse him of being less than 100% pro-choice. On a first, "naive" viewing, we have a man who has bravely broken with his party and is outraged that his sincerity would be questioned. But when we rewatch it in light of the fact that he totally reversed his views within a couple years, perhaps the offense is at a different level: "What the fuck do I have to do to convince you people that I'll say and do whatever it takes to hold office?"

Political commentary with Big Lebowski references. I love it!

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 09:10:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would jibe with narcissism again - 'Just give me the most important job in the world already, because I totally want it and what else do you need?'
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 09:25:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you may be missing some of the narrative background and context for all of this. To many people Romney comes across as a heartless, robotic raider who takes over companies, leaches all the money out of them, and then stiffs their employees, pensioners, suppliers and creditors for millions. Most people would regard putting a dog in a crate on the roof of a car for a 12 hour journey as cruel - especially if he was hosed down half way through the journey.

The story about the horse is that it competed in a dressage competition (for Germany or at least with a German rider) - a type of competition even many horse lovers regard as elitist. Romney denied all knowledge and feigned disinterest when asked was he going to see the horse compete on his trip to London. Most people would be proud of their wives being associated with such a prestigious event and certainly wouldn't disown them for their love of the sport.

Romney has been completed dishonest about his career at Bain, his tax payments, even his residency status when he ran for Governor of Massachusetts (he was availing of Utah tax breaks at the time). But tax records are secret and little can be proved, so people are going after stories which (to them) symbolise what Romney is all about.

Booman has been very vocal about the double standards applied to politicians. Republicans have accused Obama of being a muslim terrorist not even born in the USA who spends his time apologising for the USA when all of that is demonstrably untrue. But call Romney on his treatment of his dog or his wife or his tax payments and all hell breaks loose.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 10:48:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My point is that "Obama the Manchurian Candidate" is as preposterous as "Romney would tie us all to the roof". However, Obama is not socially awkward and so he's able to navigate the narrative minefields where Romney just keeps digging.

Which goes back to what is such an awkward person doing running for office, and how was the Massachussetts governor election he won different?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 11:07:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My point is that there is no equivalence in accusing Obama of very serious things which are demonstrably wrong and criticising Romney for things he did actually do - even if their significance is open to nuance and interpretation.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 11:29:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's even worse than equivalence. Why can't Romney navigate such minutiae?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 11:32:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He was born, raised, and worked all his life in a very wealthy, elitist bubble where he could get away with anything (including bullying his school mates) and firing subordinates at his pleasure. CEOs don't have to explain themselves to their subordinates. The skills of financial engineering and running a command organisation are somewhat different to running a political campaign.

He is very comfortable in, and exemplifies, many of the cultural attributes of the WASP elite and country club set which is increasing divorced from a rapidly diversifying US population.

Successful business leaders are almost revered in the US with an obsequious media and social milieu. That can also get you quite far in politics (ONCE) but re-election is more difficult.

Nevertheless it was appalling to see how inept his performance in Britain and Israel where. He had simply no idea how offensive he was being to host sensibilities. And he had spent some years as a Mormon missionary in France so you might have expected more sensitivity to cultural differences. There is a difference between financial and emotional intelligence and Romney is notoriously one dimensional in that regard.

But if you look at the other GOP candidates for the Presidency - Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Hermann Cain, Rick Perry- the standard is appallingly low. Newt Gingrich had some demonstrated abilities, although notoriously unstable.

The problem with having a corporate culture taking over the political space is that you don't have to be very bright to be a CEO or a front of house representative. In fact too great an intelligence can be a distinct disadvantage.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 11:57:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"But if you look at the other GOP candidates for the Presidency..."

And I thought GW Bush was the most miserable excuse for a candidate the GOP could put forward! In reality, one could be led to suspect that while they would like someone at least a little slick, the overwhelming qualification is an ability to toe the line.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 11:29:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nevertheless it was appalling to see how inept his performance in Britain and Israel where. He had simply no idea how offensive he was being to host sensibilities.

I think he knew that perfectly, but he didn't care. All he cared about was sending a message to his voters who hate everything European almost as much as they hate everything Arab.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 06:42:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't agree. I'm not sure how well anti-europeanism polls in the US.  My theory is he was trying to tout his own expertise on Olympic matters - how he had done it all so much better - and didn't expect the response to be quite so robust. He is so used to obsequious adoration from his chums and cronies he didn't realise even UK conservatives weren't going to kowtow to him.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 06:50:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh, no, I don't think so.  Anti-Europeanism on the right doesn't generally include Britain.  In fact, "Europe" in that sense is basically a synonym for "France" -- or rather a synonym for the cartoon of France the right likes to imagine.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 09:46:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wasn't Kerry lambasted as an effete elitist because he could speak French? Can Romney, or did the years spent in France as a missionary not include actually speaking to French people?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 10:03:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There have been digs at Romney à ce sujet, iirc.

But it's OKIYAR.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 10:08:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hollywood version of Europe = France = Paris

So when the asteroid hits Paris in the movie Armageddon, it is really Europe that is destroyed.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 12:35:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See also:

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 04:54:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...adding: Remember the right is still on the "Germany is teh Best.Thing.EVAH" kick right now.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 09:50:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's why Mitt highlighted his stop in Germany on his 2012 summer vacation European blitz.  Poland with Lech Walesa is close enough to Berlin with Angela Merkel for American consumers.
by Marie2 on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 02:03:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has anyone ever had the temerity to suggest to you that there are times when you might possible be perceived as being just a tad cynical?? :-)

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 04:20:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a friend whose watchword translates roughly as "people are useless morons."

He likes gaming with me, because the games I run remind him that he really is a gregarious optimist.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 05:45:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More than a tad, but always so inadequate to the propaganda arts of US politics, the MSM, and corporations.
by Marie2 on Fri Aug 17th, 2012 at 12:53:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The skills of financial engineering and running a command organisation are somewhat different to running a political campaign.

Our last person to step from the top of a big command organization to the US Presidency was Dwight Eisenhower, and being Supreme Allied Commander in Europe required far more political skill than being CEO of a Private Equity firm.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 12:49:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just waiting for Mitt to go all Chad Everett and say that his wife is the most beautiful animal he owns. ( Dick Cavett show 3/31/1972 Lily Tomlin walked off in disgust.)
by Marie2 on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 02:26:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
he is tragic, like gwb without the 'aw shucks' goofball humour that made the rubes want to suck down a coors with him.

and moreofyamoney doesn't imbibe, so there goes that populist come-on.

all the GOP biggies are tragic, as is lieberman on the dem side.

mccain, palin, pizza man, perry, all have the terrible veneer of normality covering their venal, narcissistic cores, as the party's means and ends are patently humanity-hating, so no surprise there.

for mitt it's all about him and his tribe of religious and business cronies, plus a supersize
 dollop of vanity, he lives on a podium of his own fantasy, and being effectively cut off by his lifestyle from normal -heh- people, the non 1 %, is as clueless about their realities or even how to speak in a language they understand.

tragic, yes, all of them, but just meatpuppets at the end of the day. wanna see tragic, that would be if the electorate, or diebold, votes in this brylcreem ad of a 50's suburban mentality candidate.

it is already tragic enough under obama, but romney is a walking disaster in the making, in the great GOP tradition of reagan, or george 'clusterfuck' bush jr.

in mitt's little desert fishbowl he's the biggest predator around, plus central casting gave him the gig, he sees it in the mirror every morning for chrissake it's obvious. he's got those itchy underpants providing plenty of um, drive, like a jesuit with his self stigmatisation goad.

mitt's on a mission allright, to screw the 99% and make the operation look civilised, impeccable, even godly

this is what happens when money has too much power in politics, (and everything else), etch-a-candidates is what you're left with, multipurpose tools that don't do any job well except lie on demand for the right price, nudge, wink.

funny watching him self-immolate, couldn't happens to a phonier sack of shellac. seems like the auto-gag software is glitching almost daily, the bugs are out running around and frying GOP circuitboards like crazy.

ryan has an undertaker's aura, which is perfect for romney, who needs frequent re-embalming for the cameras.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 12:04:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, Melo, saw your comment after posting mine above. Same wavelength, I guess, but your comments much better.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 11:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the problem with the hobby horse is this:

on their 203-page joint 1040 for 2010, Williard M. & Ann D. Romney  reported a $77,731 passive activity loss from Rob Rom Enterprises LLC, which owns Rafalca, the horse that equestrian  Jan Ebeling is riding  for the U.S. in the "dressage" competition of the London Olympics

Who gets a $77K tax deduction for their hobby?

Source:http://www.forbes.com/sites/janetnovack/2012/07/31/romney-has-a-duty-to-exploit-every-tax-loophole-h orse-feathers/

by jjellin on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 02:50:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Somebody with a 200-page tax return?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 02:54:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have obviously not filled out a U.S. tax form. 200 pages is about average if you have any investments at all.
by asdf on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 07:04:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've only filled out 1040EZ forms, when I was a student.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 07:41:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have investments, and I think our tax return was about 10 pages long.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 09:47:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In 2010 we had stock in two companies and our federal return alone was 35 pages long. TurboTax maybe tends to be somewhat aggressive about finding forms to fill out.

But a few years ago we had a combination of moving (multiple states), overseas stock (mistake), job changes (retirement plan complications), and significant medical expenses. All added up to many, many pages, especially if you count the states. I don't have them handy to count, but it was a lot.

No horsey deductions, no fancy accountant.

by asdf on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 10:28:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I thought Swedes bitched about the tax returns! When the only thing you actually need to do is to check the papers to make sure the pre-written numbers are actually correct (they usually are), and unless you are going to make some specigic non-automatic deduction, you only need to send an "OK" SMS to the tax authority.

I might add that all tax returns are public documents, so no one gets away with hiding stuff like Romney does.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 12:48:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Same in Finland.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 04:12:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you have a VERY simple return, such as one income from a reasonably competent company and no deductions, then you still have to fill out the forms and they are pretty simple. The difficulty is that the biggest deduction for most people (the 99%) is the interest on their house mortgage. To get credit for that, you move from the simple form with the standard deduction over to a different set of forms where you itemize your deductions. The big one is your mortgage interest, but then you also want to list your charitable giving, your medical expenses, work-related expenses, etc., etc.

If you have stock in a company, they you will have a few additional forms. If you have any losses on stock that you are trying to use to cover gains in others--not uncommon even for small investors, despite what the newspapers say--then there are even more. Foreign companies (like Canada, even) cause more headaches.

While you can fill in the forms by hand, as it gets more complicated you use TurboTax on your computer. TurboTax likes to find obscure forms that you probably wouldn't even know about if you did it by hand. You end up with a whole "worksheet" with one number on it, and add it to the pile.

Then there are certain state taxes that can be deducted from your federal taxes. If you move, you have to fill in partial year forms for each of the states, which then can quadruple the complexity of the federal deductions for those cases.

It can get pretty interesting...

by asdf on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 07:33:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 08:10:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by asdf on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 11:19:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose he would prefer to live in China or Russia: much bigger police forces and (I presume) fewer tax preparers.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Aug 16th, 2012 at 03:12:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also many fewer people imprisoned...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 16th, 2012 at 04:04:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Spain it is coming to that too for ordinary workers at least.

res humà m'és aliè
by Antoni Jaume on Fri Aug 17th, 2012 at 07:05:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 10:23:08 AM EST
From the round up:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/11/us-usa-campaign-romney-teaparty-idUSBRE87A0I720120811


(Reuters) - For Tea Party activists uninspired by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the choice of fiscally conservative Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate might allow them to vote in November without holding their noses.

Hours after Romney's announcement on Saturday, Tea Partiers' reactions ranged from "Wow!" to "a step up from Romney" to "this doesn't change a thing for me" - what one would expect from a notoriously fragmented coalition bound by a desire for smaller government.

Many hailed the selection of as a sign of fiscally conservative movement's growing influence on the Republican Party platform. Others said it will not eradicate the enthusiasm deficit among conservatives that has dogged the former Massachusetts governor's campaign.

"This absolutely brings excitement to the ticket," said Debbie Dooley, co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party, who said she her reaction was "Wow!" when she heard the news. "This gives us something to vote for rather than voting against (incumbent Democratic U.S. President Barack) Obama."

by njh on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 10:58:51 AM EST
This may well be true, but what's the Tea Party worth as a voting percentage?

I always assumed that in real terms the TPs were entirely fringey and in no way representative, even as a vocal minority.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 03:07:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The importance of the Tea party activists is their huge contribution to the GOTV effort and influence in many local organisations - e.g. school boards. They can create a local sense of what it means to be a real American which most people will just passively accept or not actively resist. They may also be able to appeal to the fears, needs, desires, aspirations and resentments of low information voters in a way more educated librul activists find difficult.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 03:33:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't the Koch brothers many thinktanks hire a new gang if the first gang quit? Or has the Tea Party expanded from its start as plain billionaire financed astroturf?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 05:07:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As the book What's the matter with Kansas? and subsequent controversies demonstrated, the question of why social conservatives support economic conservatives who systematically rip them off and do little effective to implement their socially conservative agenda is complex and not reducible to "plain billionaire financed astroturf".

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 05:58:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, there's just way to much crazy enthusiasm for them to be all astroturf.  They're way too . . . um . . . silly.  And old.  A truly fake astroturf movement would hire photogenic and appealing actors and salt them with the local Young Republicans, not deadly earnest old people with handmade signs declaring such insanities as, "Keep your government hands off my medicare!", and "Get a clue, Moran!" (yes, it was misspelled in original.)
by Zwackus on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 11:53:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That the Tea Party started as astroturf - with FOX, a handful of (probably paid) libertarians and a number of webpages set up by a conservative thinktank creating the necessary echo-chamber - I think is quite proven (it was in detail in the Exiled back when it happened). I don't dispute that they appeal to a larger segment of downwards mobile white people who then fill up as extras, what I am disputing is if it matters if some of the extras walk off (if all walks off, of course it matters but for that to happen at the same time they need to be organised in some sort of union).

My impression is that it is still a top-down movement with billionaires in the top. It is not a party with membership, voting etc, it is a brand. Has that changed from the early days?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 06:25:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really think the Tea Party has a dual structure.  On the one hand, you have the organizers and the shadowy leadership - the astroturf side.  But the organizers have merely given impetus to a real outwelling of crazy enthusiasm among rank and file movement Republicans, and these people are dedicated and serious.  The organizers didn't have to sell them anything - they'd already bought the cool-aid long ago.  

There was an article I read in Salon a while ago, where a journalist went and visited a Tea Party organizing meeting.  A bunch of ordinary conservatives had gotten together their own little tea party meeting . . . but none of them had the faintest idea what to do.  The complete lack of organizing ability or experience was painfully obvious, and the meeting went nowhere.

The Tea Party isn't quite like the "Americans for Clean Coal" people, which is a pure astroturf movement.  Those really are different.

by Zwackus on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 01:03:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds about right. The Tea Party also served to blame the democrats for the woes of the nation, directing anger away from banks and the wealthy.

Thinking about what the Tea Party is, I started thinking about the candidates they ran. Sometimes they ran aggressively against the established republicans. If we see this as faction fighting the Tea Party also served as a vehicle for a faction within the republicans to gain power on the expense of other factions.

So the pick of Ryan is either to get the conservative rank and file exited (the bottom of the structure), or it is a demand from the Tea Party leadership to be represented on the ticket. Or both.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 03:53:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From my v. small direct experience of the USA I would say that the tea party is largely made up of low intelligence, low education, low information, low career achievement magical thinkers. There are huge numbers of these in the States - biblical fundamentalists, creationists, snake handlers, white supremacists, American exceptionalists.

They are xenophobic, insular, anti-science, prone to conspiracy theories and have a huge reservoir of resentment against all others - especially minorities - who they see as doing well at their expense. In one sense, they are even right in this regard. Smart blacks and Latinos are increasingly moving into better jobs which would once have been the preserve of whites - almost to the extent of post apartheid South Africa.

They have two options for explaining their failure to achieve the American Dream.

  1. Blame themselves
  2. Blame somebody else.

It's always easier to find a scapegoat, and they don't have the analytical skills to understand how the system is, in fact, rigged against them but not by who they think. They actually believe the marketing hype of Corporate America. You have to be very credulous to believe the world was created 4000 years ago... and then go and drive a car created by the same scientific methods and principles that disprove the creationist theory.

That is why Obama's remark about bitter people clinging to their guns went down so very badly - especially coming from him. HE is the reason they are so downtrodden and their hatred for him has to be seen to be believed - and it doesn't matter a damn that, objectively, he is actually trying to improve their lot.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 07:04:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And some of them not only believe he's a furriner and a secret Muslinmn traitor, but that he's literally the AntiChrist.

So 'Don't vote for the AntiChrist' pretty much sums the entirety of their thinking, such as it is.

America is really quite a tragic country.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 03:08:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... parochial obsessions of an Imperial Metropole that has passed its peak to take on lives of their own: scapegoating someone for the decline is easier than changing the rules that favor well-entrenched vested interests, and scapegoats follow the symbolic internal logic in the culture of the Metropole rather than any coherent external logic.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 03:27:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, that sounds about right.
by Zwackus on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 10:00:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From my v. small direct experience of the USA I would say that the tea party is largely made up of low intelligence, low education, low information, low career achievement magical thinkers. There are huge numbers of these in the States - biblical fundamentalists, creationists, snake handlers, white supremacists, American exceptionalists.

One advantage of Ryan is that consentrating on economy won't expose the rift between libertarians and social conservatives. How large share of swing vote consist of people who are rich enough support republican economic policy but too sofisticated to associate with snake handlers?

by Jute on Thu Aug 16th, 2012 at 05:09:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Romney put Ryan on the ticket so he can shut him up and so he can control him (and his friends).  Romney appeals to a lot of wannabe's, business-types--they LOVE him.  LOVE him.  Ryan represents something else, that is more foreign to those well-to-do business republicans than anything the Democrats might put forward.  In Romney's cynical calculation no doubt, Ryan puts stars in the eyes of those "low education, low information" Limbaugh lovers.  But it's a film flam, and Romney will never deliver for them.  Romney will do as he pleases--he is no GWB, and Ryan is no Cheney.  

The educated, ambitious business people want nothing to do with Ryan style ultrasounds, and fetal personhoods--that stuff is so idiotic, it doesn't even register in their minds.  I'm sure a lot of people who will vote for Romney aren't even paying attention to the junk Ryan has put out, and now Romney has ensured that Ryan will never mention any of it again.

by jjellin on Thu Aug 16th, 2012 at 10:18:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Will nominating Ryan ensure that the Ron Paul supporters will vote for Romney? Paul is not only insane about fetal personhood, but about money.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 16th, 2012 at 10:36:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My understanding of the young Ron Paul supporters is they like his libertarian views on drugs, so really neither the Democratic nor the Republican nominee is going to appeal to them much.   To the extent that Romney leans libertarian in a business/money/zoning sense (freeing businesses to hire undocumented immigrants for example), some of Ron Paul's people might be okay with him, but I think they probably just won't lift a finger to help, and no, I don't think Ryan helps Romney with that.    Too bad for Romney because those Ron Paul people are pretty dedicated.
by jjellin on Thu Aug 16th, 2012 at 11:03:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paul's foreign policy, e.g, stop bombing and invading everyplace inhabited by brown people, also resonates.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Thu Aug 16th, 2012 at 12:25:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Romney would probably do a ROI Return on Investment analysis before deciding which people to bomb and which bombs to use. hmmmm... is Textron(a Rhode Island based arms conglomerate which makes the world's largest cluster bomb) up to date with its campaign contributions...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 16th, 2012 at 03:56:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by jjellin on Thu Aug 16th, 2012 at 04:04:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Economics and Politics by Paul Krugman - The Conscience of a Liberal - NYTimes.com

So, let me clarify what I believe is really going on in the choice of Paul Ryan as VP nominee. It is not about satisfying the conservative base, which was motivated anyway by Obama-hatred; it is not about refocusing on the issues, because R&R are both determined to avoid providing any of the crucial specifics about their plans. It is -- as Jonathan Chait also seems to understand -- about exploiting the gullibility and vanity of the news media, in much the same way that George W. Bush did in 2000.

Like Bush in 2000, Ryan has a completely undeserved reputation in the media as a bluff, honest guy, in Ryan's case supplemented by a reputation as a serious policy wonk. None of this has any basis in reality; Ryan's much-touted plan, far from being a real solution, relies crucially on stuff that is just pulled out of thin air -- huge revenue increases from closing unspecified loopholes, huge spending cuts achieved in ways not mentioned.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 03:43:54 PM EST
Two rich white guys in the WH ... this will be a fun 8 years. Screw that female, non-white appeal to voters crap. Just steal the election in the half-dozen swing states and away we go.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 08:20:27 PM EST
Aaaaaahhhhhh America ... a choice between 2 white guys who declare in a no-nonsense fashion that they only care about the wealthy and will screw the rest of us ... and a black guy who PRETENDS to care about us and couldn't care less. Fantastic choice ... a totally broken system. Syria, anyone?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 08:27:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least we've got a Supreme Court that reflects the demographics and social viewpoints of the population...
by asdf on Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 10:14:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"At least we've got a Supreme Court that reflects the demographics and social viewpoints of the population... REAL AMERICANS"...Fixed for ya...

SCOTUS average age 67...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 04:42:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes because America is two-thirds male and one-third female, two-thirds Catholic and one-third Jewish, and 22% of Americans have Italian ancestors.
by Marie2 on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 01:55:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The choice is between Big Oil, Big Coal and Private Equity on the one hand and Big Wind, Big Teh Gay and Hedge Funds on the other.

The fact that the Obama administration is a profoundly conservative status quo administration does mean that the choice in terms of foreign policy and regulation of Wall Street is mostly window dressing, but that does not mean that the differences across the board are mostly window dressing ~ the differences in energy and transport policy are substantial and real.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 03:22:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the counties that went for McCain get extended early voting hours, and the counties that went for Obama didn't.

How did they manage that? A separate election board for each county, two Democrats and two Republicans each. In Republican counties, the Republicans and Democrats all voted for extended hours. In the Democratic countries, the Democrats voted for, the Republicans against. The Ohio State Secretary of State breaks deadlocks. He's a Republican elected in the Republican wave election of 2010, so he broke all the deadlocks against extending hours.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 12:54:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And just as I report it, the decision is overturned ~ different times for the Republican and Democratic counties in the state was too much for even our State Secretary of State to defend, so instead they've gone to 8am-5pm weekdays the first three weeks of early voting, 8am-7pm weekdays the last two weeks, no weekend early voting. So rather than discriminatory voting hours, more restrictive voting hours than previously, but the same hours statewide.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 11:42:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Politico, which has good contacts into the GOP:

In more than three dozen interviews with Republican strategists and campaign operatives -- old hands and rising next-generation conservatives alike -- the most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election.

It is not that the public professions of excitement about the Ryan selection are totally insincere. It is that many of the most optimistic Republican operatives will privately acknowledge that their views are being shaped more by fingers-crossed hope than by a hard-headed appraisal of what's most likely to happen.

And the more pessimistic strategists don't even feign good cheer: They think the Ryan pick is a disaster for the GOP.

GOP has managed to impose their policies without having to talk about them.  When people know what their policies are they first don't believe any pol would do that and then they get angry.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 01:50:55 PM EST
Seems to me that this is all "50+1" theory a la Karl Rove.

The smart thing for a Republican with Romney's profile to do would be pick a VP candidate who has (for example) some attraction for the Latino vote. Gives him a chance to chip away at Obama's support.

But this choice seems rooted in the theory that it's all about the base... I guess we'll find out if the base is truly big enough... I suspect not because there are too many swing states where Ryan is a net nothing (not positive, not negative)...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 06:18:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it ever crossed Romney's mind to nominate a Latino; it wouldn't have helped with Latino voters after four years of GOP directed-hate; nominating a Latino wouldn't have helped Romneys problem with the Base.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 10:01:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Marco Rubio wasn't so ethically challenged, he might have helped Romney with the base, with Latinos and in Florida - the one swing state he absolutely has to win.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 11:05:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And yet, being ethically challenged is what kept him on the list until just before the end.

It was just that there was an ethically challenged contender who was even more appealing to the radical reactionary wing of the Republican party, who need to be on board both for base turnout and for voter suppression.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Aug 16th, 2012 at 11:16:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think the Republicans see anything ethically challenged about Ryan. Has he cheated on his wife and fathered children out of wedlock? Is he a closet gay? Has been accused of a felony? If not, he's just fine by the base and by the party establishment

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 17th, 2012 at 05:19:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't say "being seen as ethically challenge", I said "being ethically challenged". He is just now coming out of a mini-controversy about voting against the stimulus, writing five letters to two departments in support of gaining stimulus funds, and then after that saying on talk radio that he of course would never vote against a bill like that and then ask for the funding, and had not asked for any stimulus funding for his district.

I won't even attempt to paraphrase the excuse that he made, since word salad like that needs to be quoted verbatim. Its just hard to remember something that makes so little sense.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Aug 17th, 2012 at 11:53:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No doubt he'll employ the "they're all doing it" defence...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 17th, 2012 at 03:02:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As near as I can understand it, he is retroactively not writing those letters, it was all his staff treating it as something routine and he had not realized it was tainted stimulus money he was asking for rather than normal government pork.

Really:

"After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled. This is why I didn't recall the letters earlier," he continued. "But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that. Regardless, it's clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy, and now the President is asking to do it all over again."


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Aug 17th, 2012 at 03:59:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He admits he is unable to lead any administration by that.
by Katrin on Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 07:09:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't you realise how hard it is to get good staff these days? Even Romney claimed tax exemptions in Utah whist claiming to be living in Massachusetts (for the purpose of running for Governor) because of a mistake by some underling.

It's always the little people's fault...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 07:34:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure. There is a danger in overdoing it, though. People will ask why R. attracts the stupids. Obviously whenever there is hiring to be done he hits on the idiots. The idiots then do the most stupid things and the boss doesn't notice until it is pointed out to him extra clearly. He really shouldn't run for an office. He will only attract the votes of the stupids.
by Katrin on Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 09:45:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the greater problem is one of a failure to take responsibility. As a manager you ARE responsible for the actions of your staff and I have no doubt Romney and Ryan new precisely what their staff were doing - it is just convenient for them to blame others for their own chicanery. President Truman had a sign on his desk: "The Buck stops here". It's time Romney Ryan stopped trying to pass their responsibilities onto others: If you sign a document - YOU are accountable for it.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 11:33:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But, he takes responsibility. He says so.

Surely nobody would say they are taking responsibility in a statement in which they are disclaiming responsibility?

Like I say somewhere else in this thread (inflated into a diary at some other sites), looking at the numbers of the current state of play, the Ryan pick is not about persuading swing voters, its about amping up the base vote for the Republicans and maintaining enthusiasm for Democratic voter suppression, so a Romney or Ryan defense has to be read in terms of giving a rationalization for supporters to hang onto, not about persuading the skeptical.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 12:14:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 11:42:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Romney's problem with the base is Romney.

So no - a token candidate would not have helped.

Ryan has helped with the baser parts of the base. But I still don't think there are enough of those to swing the swingier states.

Then again, considering the Rs are fielding two people with obvious psychological issues and they're only polling a few points down on Obama, anything could happen.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 11:06:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is indeed the oddest (scariest?) thing from an outsider point of view. There's little good about Romney and nothing good about Ryan but they seem to be making quite a close race of it...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 12:03:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They're outraising Obama, have the corporate media on their side, and are up against an uppity nigger whose being blamed for the slow recovery of the economy which they deliberately engineered...  Based on the economic fundamentals alone, they should actually be ahead.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 12:17:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
have the corporate media on their side

citation needed. All those anonymous officials that get to praise Obama for Keeping Us Safe are hardly a sign of a hostile press.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter

by generic on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 12:42:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The way that Romney gets away with flat out lies and gets it treated as equivalent to the Obama campaign telling truths about Romney that Republican don't want to hear ... that's a fairly compliant corporate media.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 03:18:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't say that they were hostile to Romney. As Colbert memorably explained, the corporate media employs mostly stenographers.
If the Republicans tell them Obama isn't tough enough on the Iran - Moon Nazi alliance they will print it. And if the Democrats insist that the President personally killed Osama with a harpoon suspended over a shark tank they'll print that too.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 05:36:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is a practice that most favors those willing to tell the most flagrant lies the most often. Picking between McCain and Obama on that front would take more in depth spelunking than I have time for, but in the present campaign, that clearly favors Romney.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 06:35:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... are up against an uppity nigger high-melanin challenged individual ...

please, please, before afew goes on an editing rampage.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 07:39:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rules of Thumb:  

  •  Americans don't start paying attention to elections until September.

  •  Summer is when the idea is to the frame what the election will be about and to define your opponent.

  •  Summer is when a campaign builds their GOTV and grassroots door-pounding organizations.  

After the conventions is when stuff gets real.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 12:33:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At 8.3% unemployment, the Republicans ought to be leading.

So the Republicans made a close race of it in two steps: first, when they prevented employment generating follow-ups to the second round of stimulus from April of 2009, in both the Energy bill and the Jobs bill, setting up a winning position. Second, in picking a weak nominee from amongst an extremely weak field, allowing the incumbent that ought to be behind to hold onto a narrow lead.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 12:17:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... has looked at which swing states are "swing voter" states and which are "base turnout" swing states ~ that is, they are swing states despite having few persuadable voters, because the bases are roughly equal in size.

Swing Voters and Elastic States

Measured by his "voter elasticity" index, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania are "base turnout" swing states, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Wisconsin are "swing voter swing states", and Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Ohio are a roughly even balance of each.

Because of Romney's Latino problem, NM is not considered in play at the Presidential level, so taking it off the list, that set of swing states puts Obama at 191 and Romney at 191, each needing 79.

Lining those up in terms of the 538's model of the likelihood of a win of that state in November,
Obama:

201/270 MN: 91.2% +10 ~ balanced
217/270 MI: 89.0% +16 ~ balanced
237/270 PA: 86.2% +20 ~ base turnout
247/270 WI: 80.1% +10 ~ swing voter
253/270 NV: 78.2% +6 ~ balanced
257/270 NH: 73.5% +4 ~ swing voter
275/270 OH: 67.9% +18 ~ balanced
288/270 VA: 66.2% +13 ~ base turnout
294/270 IA: 63.6% +6 ~ swing voter
303/270 CO: 59.2% +9 ~ swing voter
332/270 FL: 53.9% +29 ~ balanced

Romney:
206/270 NC: 67.8% +15 ~ base turnout

Now, assume that Mitt Romney has given up on persuading persuadable voters and is doubling down on turning out the base, and put the swing voter swing state leaning toward Obama in the Obama column, and the major Latino Problem states in the same column, and run the count again.
WI: 80.1% +10 ~ swing voter
NH: 73.5% +4 ~ swing voter
NV: 78.2% +6 ~ balanced / Latino Problem
IA: 63.6% +6 ~ swing voter
CO: 59.2% +9 ~ swing voter / Latino Problem
... 226/270 all swing voter / Latino Problem: +35

236/270 MN: 91.2% +10 ~ balanced
252/270 MI: 89.0% +16 ~ balanced
272/270 PA: 86.2% +20 ~ base turnout
275/270 OH: 67.9% +18 ~ balanced
288/270 VA: 66.2% +13 ~ base turnout
332/270 FL: 53.9% +29 ~ balanced

Romney:
206/270 NC: 67.8% +15 ~ base turnout

Still doesn't look like a winning strategy, but OTOH Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Florida are all states where state governments dominated by Republicans are doing the best they can to suppress Democratic base voting.

So that looks like the strategy: base turnout by the Republicans, base voter suppression against the Democrats.

To make it work, you need the operatives of the voter suppression fight to be fully behind the campaign, and that is the second half of the point of the Ryan pick.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 01:39:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Nate Silver, the announcement of a VP pick general creates an average of a 4-6% bounce for the ticket making the announcement.  So far the evidence is still sparse, but the indications are of a bounce in the 0-2% range, the lowest on record. Ryan seems to be going down somewhere between Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin, although Biden only produced a 1% bounce for Obama.

If Romney doesn't at least temporally get ahead of Obama after the GOP convention (conventions produce a 7% bounce on average) then he is in deep shit.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 11:32:17 AM EST
That was previous years. In this year of unlimited $$ they can bury the swing states in fear and lies ... and if that fails, steal it ala the 2 W elections.

Start planning now campers, Willard and Jeri Ryan are in. Love her borg get-up.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 07:44:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Economics and Politics by Paul Krugman - The Conscience of a Liberal - NYTimes.com

So, let me clarify what I believe is really going on in the choice of Paul Ryan as VP nominee. It is not about satisfying the conservative base, which was motivated anyway by Obama-hatred; it is not about refocusing on the issues, because R&R are both determined to avoid providing any of the crucial specifics about their plans. It is -- as Jonathan Chait also seems to understand -- about exploiting the gullibility and vanity of the news media, in much the same way that George W. Bush did in 2000.

Like Bush in 2000, Ryan has a completely undeserved reputation in the media as a bluff, honest guy, in Ryan's case supplemented by a reputation as a serious policy wonk. None of this has any basis in reality; Ryan's much-touted plan, far from being a real solution, relies crucially on stuff that is just pulled out of thin air -- huge revenue increases from closing unspecified loopholes, huge spending cuts achieved in ways not mentioned.

by Bernard on Wed Aug 15th, 2012 at 01:22:04 PM EST
This just out today from Exiled Online: Paul Ryan's Guru Ayn Rand Worshipped A Serial Killer Who Kidnapped and Dismembered Little Girls (August 11, 2012, by Mark Ames)
To celebrate today's announcement that Ayn Rand fanboy Paul Ryan will in a few months' time be a heartbeat from the presidency--and to honor this special moment, marking the final syphilitic pus-spasms of America's decline and fall-we are reposting for your edification Mark Ames' 2010 article about the man behind the Rand: Ayn Rand's unrequited adoration of a notorious serial killer, William Edward Hickman. Yes, Vice President-to-be Paul Ryan owes his entire "moral" worldview to a lowly groupie of serial killers, a 1920′s prototype of today's "Joker" wannabees. Yes folks, in a few months' time Americans will finally be able to stand up and declare: "We are all serial-killer groupies now."


If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 16th, 2012 at 10:53:41 AM EST
by Bernard on Thu Aug 16th, 2012 at 01:42:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Like the world has not enough trouble with USA already....we just need these two lunatics...Oh my God we are going from bad to worse...But Americans may very well deserve them. If it's just about them...but Empire's decadence will take all of us with it...it is practically visible everywhere...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Aug 17th, 2012 at 06:16:19 AM EST
Daily Kos: Hilarious poem about Mitt Romney by 92-Year-Old Retired ND Judge & WWII Vet needs to go viral!
WHEREFORE ART THOU, MITT ROMNEY?
By Ralph Maxwell

O, Romney-O, Romney-O, Wherefore art thou, Mitt Romney?
You flip-flop here, you flip-flop there,
You flip-flop almost ev'rywhere.
You ballyhoo what you're gonna do
And then you pull a switcheroo;
You now malign what you found fine;
Seems like you've got a jellyfish spine.
Obamacare, by you begun,
Now you'd trash it on day one.
Gun control you did extol,
But now you're preaching decontrol.

O, Romney-O, Romney-O, Wherefore art thou, Mitt Romney?
We've got no clue what you will do
Or what new view you'll pander to.
Time was you championed women's choice,
But you no longer heed their voice;
On gay rights, too, guess you withdrew
Support they once enjoyed from you.
Global warming, EPA,
Immigration, minimum pay,
Roe V. Wade, also fair trade,
All joined your flip-flop cavalcade.

this old man kicks serious ass as an athlete, an activity he took up in his seventies.

pole vaulting, mindboggling man.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 19th, 2012 at 08:18:07 AM EST
And the rest of the poem is good too.  I hope Bruce Springsteen or someone puts it to music!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 19th, 2012 at 09:37:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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