Posts Tagged 'Romney'

The Morning After

Tuesday evening Sweetie and I watched Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins duke it out in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Gary, in a role superbly suited to him, still scares me as he seeks to capture Winona Ryder’s heart while fending off the sharpened stake wielded, somewhat comically,  by a partially deranged Mr. Hopkins.

You were watching a twenty year old film on election night, you say?  With all that time on your hands why weren’t you focused on the election results?  Because my blood pressure was already high enough, thank you.

In a way I suppose I was, in fact, watching a stand-in for the election night results.  Oldman could just as well have been playing Mitt Romney, a man who was serially written off for dead, starting with the primaries where he was confronted by any number of netherworld demons including Newt, Michelle, Rick, and Herman.  No stake in the heart could penetrate him regardless of multiple ill-fated attempts. His pursuers were doomed to fall on their own swords.  Like Dracula, Mitt’s oft-repeated metamorphosis from one life form into another finally ended only when he was exposed to the full light of day.

Hopkins, a somewhat shy and retiring personality, could have been Obama who refused to give up the quest for another four years even though at times you wondered if he was really serious about the whole thing.  Stake in hand, he methodically pursued his quarry and, when all seemed to hang by a thread, plunged the dagger into his antagonist.  Not a lingering death as predicted by the pundits, it was all over in the blink of an eye.

Belatedly, we made the rounds of the usual cable news stations.  MSNBC, CNN and, yes, Fox.   OK, I really enjoyed Fox.  Shepard Smith was particularly interesting.  With a “what the hell happened” expression on his face, he looked splendidly shell-shocked.

Karl Rove was delightful as the mad scientist who, with precise logic and an intensity bordering on the maniacal, sought to refute Fox’s award of Ohio to Obama.  How dare Fox do that without his permission.  In a moment rivaling the best of the Keystone Kops, Megan Kelly, playing the role of Karl’s Igor, dutifully strolled down to the bowels of Fox and asked her own statisticians “are you guys shitting me or what?”

Rove and his buddy George Will were understandably stunned.  How could this be?  Especially after the outpouring of money from their friends and neighbors.  We will win big, they had assured themselves and their minions. This must be some alternate universe.  When we wake, things will be better.

Donald Trump who, as NBC’s Brian Williams put it, has driven well past the last exit of relevance, tweeted multiple brain farts including a frenzied call to his followers to march on Washington.

Bill O’Reilly, a little late in seeking more Hispanic votes, made a plea for an election re-run with Marco Rubio instead of Paul Ryan as Mitt’s Sancho Panza.  While insulting half the American voters and ignoring the fact that Mitt’s votes came from predominantly aging white men on Medicare and Social Security, Bill observed that the 50% of the country who voted for Obama want stuff.   They want things.  And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it. And he ran on it.

But perhaps the most rewarding election revelation came the morning after when we were treated to an analysis of the money spent and the rewards of that extravagance.  The most candid and resigned expression came from Kenneth Langone, the founder of Home Depot and a top Romney fundraiser.  “All I can say is the American people have spoken.”

The Koch brothers spent millions including a reputed chunk of the $11 million delivered from an Arizona mystery PAC in a failed attempt to block California’s Proposition 30 supporting schools, and to promote Proposition 32 that would have limited the rights of unions to spend money just like, thanks to Citizens United and the Supremes, corporations do.

Foregoing the ubiquitous PAC route, Linda E. McMahon, owner of a professional wrestling company, concluded her second attempt to single-handedly buy a Republican Senate seat by spending $100 million of her own money in Connecticut.  She lost.  But in the process she certainly succeeded in adding jobs to the media and printing industries in her own state.  Way to go, Linda.

Joe Ricketts, the owner of the Chicago Cubs, spent close to $13 million to bankroll a super PAC attacking Obama over federal spending.  Better he should have spent it on the pitiful team that lost 101 games this season.  That’s the last time I go to a Cub game.

And then there’s Sheldon Adelson, the gambling casino mogul.  Sporting a refreshed carrot coloring of his sparsely populated hairline, he seemed unperturbed about the sixty million he had pumped into the super PACS supporting eight carefully selected Republican candidates.  Sheldon went 0 for 8.  Better stay away from your own craps tables, Sheldon.  Oh, and buy a mirror.

As the NY Times reported, Karl Rove has been busy fielding calls from many of those bazillionaires who forked over about $300 million to two super PACs founded in part by him.  Always looking on the bright side, he offered them these uplifting words,  “Without us, the race would not have been as close as it was.”

So it’s four more years.  Used to seem like a long time.  Not any more.  A blink of an eye.  A week in Dracula time.  I hope Obama’s stake is well sharpened.

A Lesson in Communications

That was quite a storm.

Having struck out with the airlines, neighbor Bob and his dog Toby drove back to Ojai from Rhode Island.  Because of Toby’s handicap, Bob had to find shelter along the way that welcomed pets.  When I spoke with Bob early in the week, he was ensconced in a Motel 6 in Lawrence, Kansas surrounded by all manner of wailing and yowling.  He cut our conversation short saying “I have to go to bed…right now.”  I shudder to think of driving nearly 3,000 miles with a dog licking my face, or worse.

Then I see those poor people back east who are without power, many without a home and all with a major clean-up effort ahead of them.  Now those folks could use some serious face licking.

And speaking of clean-up.  Mitt is busy dry cleaning his comments about FEMA.  You remember.  He told us during the primaries…so many moons ago…that FEMA was an unnecessary intrusion on the free market.  Much more better to have private companies, maybe like Halliburton or Bain Capital, jump right in with both feet to save us from Mother Nature’s vagaries.  Mindful that Sandy had been more than a sun-shower, Mitt’s campaign jumped in to clarify his position and to amend what they claimed was only garbled communications.

It reminded me of that scene from Cool Hand Luke.  The one where the prison guards, led by that scary guy with the mirrored sunglasses, have just beaten the crap out of Paul Newman.  The prison boss, played by that oh so nerd-like Strother Martin, stands over Newman and in all seriousness says “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” 

Taking a page from Strother Martin, Mitt would surely also point to a lapse in his communication skills when trying to explain his other memorable moments…

“I’m proud of what we’ve done.  If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing Romneycare, then that will be a model for the nation.”

“Look, I was pro-choice. I am pro-life. You can go back to YouTube and look at what I said in 1994. I never said I was pro-choice, but my position was effectively pro-choice. I changed my position.”

“If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.”

“It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”

“That’s not going to make me the hero of the NRA.  I don’t line up with a lot of special interest groups.”

“They’re not happy that my dog loves fresh air.”

And now his campaign is trying to woo back the auto guys they once shit-canned by scaring the crap out of them.  An ad approved by Mitt says “Obama is shipping your jobs to China to build Jeeps.  You better learn how to use chopsticks.  And sharpen your skills at making those miniature paper umbrellas that go into mai tai drinks.”  Or something like that.  Even a letter from Chrysler telling Mitt that he was a dumb-fuck  failed to put a stop to the scare tactic.

So tell me, why is it that so many voters trust this guy?  Why is the election so close?  Why do I continue to write these political blogs when I swore I’d stop.

It should be as plain as the nose on your face. But then, some of us need extra help.  Or maybe just improved communications.

Romney Supports Obama for President

While continuing his support for Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdoch despite Mourdoch’s declaration that a child born of rape is a gift from god, Mitt Romney announced that he will support President Obama’s re-election.

Interviewed on CBS this morning, Governor Romney said “I realize that I have no scruples and have waffled all over the lot for the last year and a half.  So I find no conflict in what I think I believe and  who I can support.”

When asked what it was that brought him to his decision to support Obama, the Governor said “It is a continuation of the meek approach I took in the third debate with the President where I applauded the President’s stance on foreign relations.  I figure that if I agree with everything the President has done for the last four years, that people will see how friendly I am.  Supporting his re-election will also reinforce my contention that I am the candidate best suited to work hand in hand with the opposition across the aisle.”

Reporters pursued the logic of Romney’s decision and noted that the polls since the third debate seem to have reversed their earlier movement and were heading slightly in Obama’s favor.  “It’s all part of my grand strategy”, the Governor said.  “If they continue to move in the President’s direction, I will simply claim that I was misquoted in this video interview.  Everyone knows that the media is populated by flaming liberals, except for Fox of course.”

Concluding his remarks, the Governor offered his own views on a woman’s right to determine what to do with her own body.  “I think a woman should be able to do whatever she wants.  And I intend on my first day in the Oval Office to offer legislation that moves us in that direction, starting with giving them the right to vote.  I realize that this may not sit well with some in my party but we’ve got to move vigorously into the twentieth century.”

 

Muscle bound

Dick Shawn, who died on-stage in 1987, was one of my favorite actors and comedians.  His role in The Producers as the flower-power-hippie cast as the lead in Springtime for Hitler was classic.

Perhaps less well-known was Dick’s stand-up routine as a muscle-bound weight lifter.  Proud of his bigger than life physique, he was asked by his mother “So what good are big muscles?”  Stumped for an answer, he stumbled around giving inane responses to this simple question.

I was reminded of Dick’s routine as I watched the debate last night.  The first question posed by a young college student was “So, how are you going to create more jobs?”  Smiling as he stared into the young man’s eyes, Mitt attempted to lay out the specifics of his job creation plan.  Only there were none.  Dick Shawn had risen.

Next came a question from a motherly middle-aged woman.  “I understand that you want to simplify the tax code and give everyone a 20% tax cut.  And that you want to balance that cut by limiting deductions.  How will your plan impact my home mortgage deduction, charitable contributions and the deduction for  my kids’ college tuition.”  Mitt smiled and flexed his big muscles.  Dick Shawn was having a hell of a night.

When the debate took on the issue of women in the workplace, the two contenders tried their best to become the champion of the fairer sex.  Obama cited his signature support for the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay for equal work legislation and for Planned Parenthood’s myriad of services.  Mitt muted his promise to de-fund Planned Parenthood and chose to ignore his running mate’s vote against the Ledbetter legislation.  He instead cited his search for qualified women while Governor of Massachusetts.

When his closest advisers were incapable of identifying women for his cabinet, he said “Well, gosh, can’t we find some women that are also qualified?”  He was then presented with “whole binders full of women.”  With big muscles, I’m sure.

Another questioner asked “How will Mr. Romney’s presidency differ from that of George W. Bush?”  Mitt lamented Mr. Bush’s budget busting wars, crossed his heart and promised never to do that again.  Obama noting that in spite of his other failings Mr. Bush had never proposed Medicare vouchers, proceeded to chastise Mitt’s vaporous health plan, a scheme that according to a new study by the Kaiser Foundation would cause six in ten Medicare recipients to pay higher premiums.

And so it went.  In the end we were treated to interviews with ten undecided voters who had been gathered together in the studio to observe the debate.  The moderator asked  “So, now that you’ve seen the debate, which of you will be voting for Mr. Romney?”  One hand went up.  “And which of you will be voting for Mr. Obama?”  One hand went up.

The other eight were obviously living in some alternative universe.  Maybe looking for some guy with bigger muscles.

Is Anyone Listening?

My buddy Irv called today.

How ya doin?  How come I haven’t seen a blog from you in the last two weeks.  I enjoy them so much that I send them to my Rabbi.   God knows he could use a laugh.

Oh, we were in Chicago for about ten days.  Just got back on Saturday and I’ve been busy sorting my socks and stuff like that.

I didn’t tell him the truth.  That I was too depressed to write.

What a debacle.  What a mess.  What a downer.  Sailing along on rising poll numbers and then he has a president-sized  brain fart and lets you-know-who back into the race.

I finally did fess up to Irv.  And funny thing, he felt the same way…in spades.  Didn’t sleep a wink after the debate.  Sherry had to rub my head for hours, give me a cookie, and tell me it would be OK.

I was so down since last Wednesday that I couldn’t get a single thought in my head that was worth blogging about.  What else could I say about you-know-who that hadn’t already been said a million times. Why bother?  Is anyone listening?

I thought about the high school play we saw in Chicago.  The Wizard of Oz.  Remember when Toto pulls the curtain aside and there stands Frank Morgan pretending to be the powerful wizard.  He stares at Judy, Ray, Jack and Burt.  He says into the mike “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” and goes on with his wizard impersonation as though nothing had happened.  He might have gotten away with it if Judy and gang were as dumb as some voters.  But being bright kids, they spot the hoax and confront Frank with his lie.  I thought I would write something like that.  But no, it’s already been said and no one cares.

Then just last night around dusk, I was reading and saw a flash of color in the back yard.  A fox.  Next to bears and mountain lions, the rarest of creatures around here. Beautiful.  An endangered species.  So I thought I’d write about Mitt’s views on global warming and his wait and see attitude.  The icecap is melting, it was the hottest summer since the Cubs won the World Series, and the ocean is about to engulf Peoria.  But no, it’s already been said and no one cares.

Or maybe I could write about his tax plan.  As The Onion put it in an imaginary meeting with his staff…“Okay, now, think—there’s got to be a way we can make these numbers add up, there’s just gotta be,” a profusely sweating Romney reportedly told his advisers while furiously calculating how in the world he could institute an across-the-board 20 percent cut in the marginal tax rate while balancing the federal budget within a decade and giving the Pentagon $2 trillion it hasn’t even requested.  Nope, no good either.  Folks already know he hasn’t got a plan and no one cares.

And then I heard Lakshmi Singh broadcasting the 4pm news on NPR.  Something about Mitt doing a flip-flop on abortion.  At the same time, daughter Nancy sends another tongue-in-cheek  Onion article about Mitt’s fibs…”it’s really easy to lie,” said Romney…“For example, if someone accuses me of having a tax plan that makes no discernible sense, I just lie and say that I do have a tax plan that makes sense. I also say there is a study that backs up my plan. See that?  Simple.  None of it is remotely true, of course, but now we’re moving on to the next topic because people are usually too afraid to ask me straight up if I’m lying, because that is apparently not something you ask someone who is running for president.”  Moreover, Romney said, if anyone does accuse him of lying, he will simply say he is not lying, which he noted is just an extension of the overall strategy.

Now, the Onion may be joking but I think they were spot on.  His latest abortion comments are an example of his strategy.   Tuesday’s Des Moines registerMitt Romney does not intend to pursue legislation to restrict abortion if elected president, the Republican nominee told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board on Tuesday…“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

Today, the Associated Press reports… A day after Mitt Romney downplayed his plans to fight abortion, social conservatives on Wednesday offered the Republican presidential nominee a not-so-subtle reminder of his pledge to do “everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.”  The head of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List distributed an article Romney penned last summer vowing to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood, while backing legislation that would “protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.”

ABC reports A little more than 24 hours after he told an Iowa newspaper that abortion legislation would not be part of his agenda if elected, Mitt Romney told reporters today that he would “immediately” move to defund Planned Parenthood.  “I’ve said time and time again, I’m a pro-life candidate…I’ll be a pro-life president. The actions I’ll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget. And also, I’ve indicated I’ll reverse the Mexico City position of the president.”

I’m not so depressed anymore.   Maybe someone is listening.   Maybe the curtain is opening just enough.

My Mother-in-Law

My mother-in-law was a Jewish Republican.  I’m not sure how she ever achieved that highly unusual status since in her day those political animals were about as rare as the Cubs winning the World Series.

Marge was a staunch Nixon supporter who excused everything he did…until Watergate.  When that sordid, pathetic story came into the light she retreated from vocal support to stony silence.  I’m sure she was embarrassed, disappointed and shocked that the President of the United States was actually a crook.  She never again mentioned his name.

Marge’s daughter, my Sweetie, often says “I wonder if my mother would vote for Romney.”  I’m certain that she’d like to think not, but deep down she knows that Marge probably would.  Until yesterday.

Even Marge had her limits.  Although sometimes abrupt and opinionated, she was kind and generous. She came from a lower-income background born to immigrant parents escaping from pogroms.   I’d bet that Marge’s parents never paid income taxes and probably were the beneficiaries of some form of  government largess.  Taking advantage of opportunities, Marge and Leo built a successful business, treated their employees well and supported those less fortunate than them.  And still she called herself a Republican.

I flicked on the TV this morning and saw “Will latest gaffe be an election game changer?” crawling along the bottom of the CNN news screen.  Mitt Romney had surgically divided this country into two camps.  One half of the population included him and those red-blooded Americans who paid their taxes.  The other half consisted entirely of the freeloaders who didn’t pay income taxes.  And there was no point, Mitt said, in reaching out to those freeloaders since they were dependent on big government to take care of them cradle to grave.  And he was not.

Speaking in mid-May at a $50,000 a person fund-raiser in San Diego, he said they are “dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them. Those people pay no income tax, and so our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

David Brooks, one of the two NY Times token Republican columnists, had these words to offer today about Mr. Romney’s comments.  It suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits…It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America…It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture…It suggests that Romney knows nothing about ambition and motivation…As a description of America today, Romney’s comment is a country-club fantasy…It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney.

Yesterday was Rosh Hashonah.  We and about a hundred other Jews spent the morning at Temple and were treated by Rabbi Mike to a description of what it means to be Jewish.  No surprise since it’s the same in just about every other religion.  Specifically, it is our responsibility to make this a better world. To repair it by service to society.  To help the fallen.  To strengthen the weak. To make their lives better even at the expense of our own.  It’s not critical that we alone save the world.  But it is commanded that we do what we can here on earth.

At every Temple service we remember the departed.  We stand and say the Kaddish.  We silently think of those who have gone before us.  Our parents, grandparents, children and friends.  The next time I say Kaddish I will think of Marge.  And the next time Sweetie asks me do you think she would vote for him, I’ll know the answer.

What would President Romney do?

—A president would be sure of the facts before broadcasting his story.

—A president would strongly condemn the murder of innocents.

—A president would avoid language that further incites violence against his citizens.

—A president would assure other nations that he does not condone the repellent actions of bigots, racists  and troublemakers.

—A president would insist on the cooperation of other nations to control violence against our citizens.

—A president would inform those nations of the consequences of their inaction.

—A president would  instill the confidence of the nation in his judgment.

—A president would calm the nation and the world.

—A president would not seek political gain at the expense of doing the right thing.

Some folks, like that self-proclaimed foreign policy guru Paul Ryan, don’t think that my formula for handling things like riots precipitated by morons whose sole objective is to create a riot, is a fitting prescription for a president.

Speaking in De Pere, Wisconsin, the Bernard Baruch of the 21st century said…“It is very important that a president speak with a singular voice representing our principles and our values.  If you show weakness, if you show moral equivocation, then foreign policy adventurism among our adversaries will increase.”  He promised that a Romney administration would lead with “peace through strength.”  He might have added the watchword of his faith…shoot first, think later.

It reminded me of Ryan’s running mate, the ever ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Mitt Romney.  The Washington Post chronicled the Mitter’s all too frequent politics comes first approach to crises.  The Post said…there have been too many cheap shots and miscues that have only called attention to Mr. Romney’s inexperience in foreign affairs.  The Post included Mitt’s knee jerk attacks on the administration while in the midst of delicate negotiations over the fate of the Chinese human rights lawyer, and his blatantly political accusation that Obama sympathizes with rioters.

The Post continued by labeling his jeering at Russia as “unbecoming a great power “ and his threats of a trade war with China as “both unconvincing and unproductive.”  The paper concluded  with  “He appealed to the worst in the American people when he failed to stand up for religious tolerance by condemning the bigoted anti-Muslim movie trailer that incited riots this week, even as he rightly condemned the violence itself.”

Perhaps secretly embracing  the riots in the Middle East as a welcome respite from being roundly criticized for failing to offer up his tax returns or, for that matter, anything else of substance to public scrutiny, the Mitt began to prepare a methodical, high-minded approach to the upcoming debates with the President.  In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopolous, he revealed the secret weapon that he will use in dealing with Mr. Obama…“I think the challenge that I’ll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true,” Romney said. “I’ve looked at prior debates. And in that kind of case, it’s difficult to say, ‘Well, am I going to spend my time correcting things that aren’t quite accurate? Or am I going to spend my time talking about the things I want to talk about?”

Oh, that Mitt.  What a guy.  Confronting Obama with the schoolyard liar, liar, pants are on fire approach will give him the cover he needs when falsely disputing any facts offered by Mr. Obama during the debates.  It will also let him focus on the things he knows best, like foreign policy and, uh…

Mitt continued regaling George…” I believe that when the final decisions are being made by the American people, they’re going to ask themselves, “Who do I have confidence in to keep America safe? And who do I believe can get our economy doing what it needs to do?”  No shit.

Pressed on his plan to continue the Bush tax cuts while balancing the budget by closing as yet unspecified loopholes, our aspiring tax expert pointed to several studies including one by Harvard’s Martin Feldstein.  But Stephanopolous noted that Feldstein’s study said balancing was only possible if tax deductions for home mortgage interest, charitable deductions and state/local taxes were eliminated for everyone earning at least $100,000.  Romney sheepishly admitted that he actually hadn’t read the Feldstein report that he and his Pancho Sanza  traveling companion prominently cite on the campaign trail.  Big surprise.

Even reliable Republican pundits seemed on the verge of tears.  George Will lamented “If the Republican Party cannot win in this environment, it has to get out of politics and find another business.” Laura Ingraham said “If you can’t beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party, shut it down.”  Good idea.

Finally, the Wall Street Journal offered…”The GOP candidate might try explaining his policies.  Just a thought.”   As a fresh start in that direction, I give Mitt permission to use the list at the top of this blog.


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