I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
Well Newshoggers has closed it's doors so Middle Earth Journal is active once again.

Showing posts with label Mitt Romney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mitt Romney. Show all posts

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Mitt Romney - Still Unprincipled

The Quote of the day comes from Daniel Larison reacting to Romney's comment that the 47% remark was not really what he believed.
Of course, it never mattered whether Romney “really” believed what he was saying, because it became clear years ago that he would have said almost anything to win. In that case, it was a good bet that Romney was always more likely to lie to his audience than not, and for that reason he disqualified himself through sheer, overwhelming dishonesty. When in doubt, it was safe to assume that Romney was lying, and it was usually safe to assume the worst about his intentions. If there was a chance that he might cave in to hard-liners and ideologues in his party, there was no reason to believe that he would ever stand up to them. When the 47% remarks came out, it didn’t matter whether he believed what he had said, because he had been willing to say it and he had done so because he was so desperate to appeal to the worst elements in his party. As it was, everyone assumed that he didn't believe what he was saying, but we attributed it to his unprincipled willingness to pander, which simply made his awful statements seem that much worse. (bold mine)
It was fairly obvious from the beginning that Romney had no principals or real ideology.  He was driven by the belief that he was entitled to the presidency.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Once again the quote of the day comes from Daniel Larison:
Even if he wished to do so, Romney is in an even weaker position to influence the GOP than most other losing nominees. He has been out of elected office for almost six years, and he presumably won’t ever hold elected office again. By itself, that wouldn’t have to keep him from contributing to the intra-party debate, but Romney wouldn’t have anything to add to that debate even if he joined it. As a famously unprincipled politician who ran a campaign that was mostly about nothing, there have been no issues that seem to animate Romney and no cause other than his own self-promotion that drives him to participate in politics. If Romney’s failure can teach the GOP anything, it is that utterly shameless opportunism and unscrupulous pandering can only get a candidate so far. (bold mine, RB)
I think this is accurate.  Romney was little but an unprincipled plutocrat and saw the Presidency not as an opportunity to serve but a trophy he was entitled because of who he was.  A sociopath completely lacking empathy can't win even though it should have been a Republican year.   

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Romney Legacy

Gary Wills compares Romney to other men who have lost the presidency and the comparison is brutal.  What differentiates Romney from the likes of Goldwater, McGovern, Carter, Kerry and Dukakis?  They didn't sacrifice their principles and disavow earlier convictions to get the nomination.  As a result they continued to play a part on the U.S. and world scene. Unlike Romney:
None of these men engineered a wholesale repudiation of their former principles. Romney, on the contrary, did not let earlier positions grow—enriching, say, his experience of health care legislation to give his approach greater refinement or focus. He just tried to erase the whole matter from his record. He began with a promise to be to the left of Senator Kennedy on gay rights and abortion—and ended up to the right of Strom Thurmond. He decided to hire more expensive lawn care only on the principle of “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake, I can’t have illegals.”
 Now I don't think that Romney actually disavowed earlier convictions because I believe he is a shallow man who had none to begin with.  Willard Mitt Romney's entire political career is a non stop Etch A Sketch moment - he is a political chameleon who took on whatever colors he thought were required at the time.  As a result he won't join the distinguished losers who continued to serve their country and the world.  Like a good sociopath he will:
What public service do we expect from Mitt Romney? He will no doubt return to augmenting his vast and hidden wealth, with no more pesky questions about where around the world it is stashed, or what taxes (if any) he paid, carefully sheltered from the rules his fellow citizens follow.
The country and the world dodged a bullet when this modern day Gordon Gecko was defeated. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Good Bye Turd Blossom

Well we won't have W. Mitt Romney to kick around anymore but is it possible that this is the end for Karl Rove as well.  His Crossroads groups spent 300 million dollars of billionaires money and have little to show for it and they are not pleased.
Karl Rove is feeling the heat. The face of the historic $1 billion plan to unseat President Barack Obama and turn the Senate Republican, Rove now finds himself the leading scapegoat for its failure. And he’s scrambling to protect his status as a top GOP money man by convincing disappointed donors to his Crossroads groups that he did the best he could with their $300 million.
Not only did Obama beat Romney 332 to 206 EVs most of the Senate candidates he supported lost.  It looks like the "genius" has lost his Midas touch.
Richard Viguerie, a pioneering direct-mail consultant, called for Republicans to purge from their ranks Rove and Ed Gillespie — who helped found Crossroads and later moved over to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign — as well as Romney advisers Stuart Stevens and Neil Newhouse. “In any logical universe,” he argued, “no one would give a dime to their ineffective super PACs, such as American Crossroads.”
Rick Tyler, a former strategist for the pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC and a top adviser to Todd Akin’s Missouri Senate campaign, called Crossroads’ efforts “a colossal failure,” and asserted, “Rove has too much control over the purse strings.”
Of course Rove is afflicted with the same disease that infected the Romney campaign - he believed his own bull shit.
Karl knows he's in trouble which may account for his meltdown:

Friday, November 09, 2012

Some Manager

W. Mitt Romney's main selling point was supposed to be he was a successful data driven manager.  We certainly didn't see that in his campaign.  First we have the GOTV project known as ORCA.
The Unmitigated Disaster Known As Project ORCA
Project ORCA is a massive undertaking – the Republican Party’s newest, unprecedented and most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election.
That's the Romney campaign's description.  Ace of Spades says:
Pretty much everything in that sentence is false. The "massive undertaking" is true, however. It would take a lot of planning, training and coordination to be done successfully (oh, we'll get to that in a second). This wasn't really the GOP's effort, it was Team Romney's. And perhaps "unprecedented" would fit if we're discussing failure.
And what about that "data driven" part? The campaign may have been data driven but they selected bad data from the conservative echo chamber.
Mitt Romney's campaign got its first hint something was wrong on the afternoon of Election Day, when state campaign workers on the ground began reporting huge turnout in areas favorable to President Obama: northeastern Ohio, northern Virginia, central Florida and Miami-Dade.
Then came the early exit polls that also were favorable to the president.
But it wasn't until the polls closed that concern turned into alarm. They expected North Carolina to be called early. It wasn't. They expected Pennsylvania to be up in the air all night; it went early for the President.
After Ohio went for Mr. Obama, it was over, but senior advisers say no one could process it.
"We went into the evening confident we had a good path to victory," said one senior adviser. "I don't think there was one person who saw this coming."
Not unlike the Bush administration in the lead up to the Iraq war the Romney campaign was only considering "data" that told them what they wanted to hear.  The data the labeled as "liberal bias"  turned out to be correct.
Judging from his campaign it would appear that this country dodged a bullet when Romney was defeated.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Always a blame game

Romney lost so let the blame game begin.  Conservatives just can't believe they are out of touch with the American people so some are blaming Romney.

Conservative leaders on Wednesday lashed out at Mitt Romney, saying his attempts to paint himself as a centrist and hide his principles cost him the presidency.
They vowed to wage a war to put the Tea Party in charge of the Republican Party by the time it nominates its next presidential candidate.
“The battle to take over the Republican Party begins today and the failed Republican leadership should resign,” said Richard Viguerie, a top activist and chairman of ConservativeHQ.com.
He said the lesson on Romney’s loss to President Obama on Tuesday is that the GOP must “never again” nominate a “a big government established conservative for president.”
Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots said Romney failed to make the kind of strong case for conservatism that would have won the election.
 Of course it's the Tea Party that probably cost the Republicans the Senate for the second election in a row.

Some are blaming Chris Christie because he was well, doing his job.  Doug Mataconis:
It was inevitable that conservative activists and advocates would find someone other than Mitt Romney and the Republican Party to blame for the fact that Mitt Romney lost the election and succeeded in winning only two of the states that Barack Obama had won in 2008. After all, we can’t admit that the Republican Party is slowly but surely losing touch with a large segment of the American public, including its fastest growing minority group. We can’t say that four years of opposing the President at every turn while failing to offer a coherent alternative contributed to the GOP’s problem. Nobody’s going to admit that the fact that GOP still hasn’t come to terms with the legacy of the Bush years, or that it spent the better part of the winter and spring of 2012 alienating women, contributed to its electoral troubles. And, surely, it can’t be because the polls were right all along and the American people actually wanted to re-elect the President. No, a scapegoat must be found and, at least in this initial 24 hours after Election Night, that scapegoat appears to be the Governor of New Jersey.
 If the Republican Party is going to survive it must come to recognize that their problem is their ideology.  It's simply not very popular.  I was watching FOX News today and Shepard Smith left the ranch again.  He was talking to some Republican hack who was talking about not increasing tax rates but eliminating deductions.  Smith went ballistic and said that everyone is in favor of eliminating deductions as long as they are not their deductions.  Once again poor Shep is telling truth to power - something Roger Ailes is not real happy about I would guess.  Republican economics is always based on unicorns and fairy dust.

In 2008 I thought that Obama would be a one term President because there was no way he could fix the economy.  What I didn't count on was the Republicans would only be able to come up with a hapless field to challenge him.  If Mitt Romney is the best the party can come up with the party is in big trouble.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Etch A Sketch Debate

 So what does Romney do tonight?  Do an etch a sketch and alienate his neocon supporters or stay to the right and scare off 72% of the Independents, 65% of the Democrats and 53% of the Republicans?
 Well he did do a complete Etch A Sketch but what I should have anticipated was his neocon masters would assume he was lying.
Juan Cole documents a few of Romney's Etch A Sketch Moments:

On Israel-PalestineRomney said Monday,
But in a secretly videotaped fundraiser in Boca Raton last May, Romney had said about the Israel-Palestine conflict:
“So what you do is, you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem….and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”
So in public Romney is criticizing Obama for lack of progress in the peace process, without mentioning that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has in the past actually boasted about derailing the Oslo peace accords. But in private he admitted that likely under these circumstances, no progress is likely, and that the ball would have to be kicked down the field.
Verdict: Flip-flop.
On Afghanistan
Romney on Monday said
“Well, we’re going to be finished by 2014. And when I’m president, we’ll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014. The commanders and the generals there are on track to do so. We’ve seen progress over the past several years. The surge has been successful, and the training program is proceeding apace.”
Although Romney had earlier generally given an impression of concurring with the 2014 withdrawal date, he had earlier hedged it by saying:
“I will evaluate conditions on the ground and solicit the best advice of our military commanders . . .”
So before, he implied that Obama was riding roughshod over the Joint Chiefs of Staff in high-handedly making Afghanistan policy, whereas he, Romney would defer to them. Now he has withdrawn that objection, acknowledging that the Pentagon is on board with this withdrawal timetable.
Verdict: Flip-Flop.
Will it work?  Only time will tell!

Jeffery Goldberg asks a question:
Did the 'Neocon Puppet Masters' Get Outflanked by Romney?
The answer is Goldberg is not sure.
But this wasn't a debate: It was a moment for Obama to show himself to be all commander-in-chiefy, and for Romney to show himself to be sane, responsible and uninterested in foreign entanglements (Iran, of course, being the bipartisan exception). My assumption is that the so-called neoconservatives close to Romney didn't lose an argument about how to approach these issues, my assumption is that these people read polls, too, and know that Americans profess to be tired of the Middle East, and that therefore, it is best, two weeks before the election, not to recommend to their candidate that he push for greater involvement in the Syrian crisis, for example. Neocons, like everyone else in politics, are interested in winning.
Does this mean that Romney, if he wins the White House, will shed his moderate cloak and embrace the agenda of the interventionists? Maybe, maybe not. I tend to think of him as more of a pragmatist than an interventionist. I'm not suggesting that he was hiding anything last night. I'm suggesting only that he accentuated his non-interventionist impulses, and I'm also suggesting that his neoconservative advisers happily went along with this less muscular approach.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Daniel Larison - Fair and Balanced

Daniel Larison has spent a great deal of time criticizing Mitt Romney's foreign policy.  Today he spends some time on Barack Obama.

Questions Obama Should Have to Answer, But Won’t Be Asked
1) Your administration has presided over an intensified sanctions policy against Iran. This policy has imposed onerous economic burdens on the Iranian people without causing any apparent change in Iranian regime behavior regarding its nuclear program. Isn’t your Iran sanctions policy ineffective on its own terms as well as needlessly cruel and harmful to the civilian population?
 2) The Libyan war was justified primarily on humanitarian grounds and has been held up as an example of the “responsibility to protect” in action, but its effects have contributed directly to serious security and humanitarian crises in the Sahel, especially in Mali. If you knew then what you know now about the consequences of the Libyan war, would you still have ordered military action? If so, why?
 3) You have ruled out the possibility of containing a nuclear-armed Iran. Is there any reason to believe that the U.S. does not have the ability to contain a nuclear-armed regional power? Doesn’t the decision to rule out containment make war with Iran much more likely than it has to be?
 4) Weapons supplied to Syrian opposition forces with U.S. help have reportedly ended up in the hands of jihadist groups. Wasn’t it a mistake to agree to assist Saudi Arabia and Qatar in providing arms to the opposition?
 5) One of the results of the Libyan war has been that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is now able to operate freely in northern Mali. When are the costs of humanitarian intervention to international security too high to make it worthwhile?
All good questions that won't be asked.  I'm not too fond of Obama's foreign policy but I have every reason to believe that Romney would be much worse.

Romney's Foreign Policy Trap

Daniel Larison has an interesting PEW survey "Most Want The US Less Involved In The Middle East".
As you can see according to this survey Obama is probably to the right of not only most Americans but a majority of Republicans.  Thanks to his reckless neoconservative advisers Romney has placed himself to the right of Obama.  So what does Romney do tonight?  Do an etch a sketch and alienate his neocon supporters or stay to the right and scare off 72% of the Independents, 65% of the Democrats and 53% of the Republicans?
While the candidates do not differ from one another on policy questions as much as their campaigns want the public to believe, there does appear to be a significant difference between the incumbent, whose response to political upheaval in North Africa and the Near East is frequently faulted for its “passivity,” and the challenger, who seems to think that the U.S. needs to be even more assertive and involved in these developments than it already is. If most viewers perceive Obama and Romney that way, it is difficult to see how Romney’s message will be very appealing to most of them. The survey results clearly show that the public doesn’t favor a candidate pushing for a more activist and hard-line approach, and it’s not even a close contest. After the last decade, the only thing that is surprising about this survey result is that there is still any support for more involvement.
Romney has said that we should not have left Iraq and that we should stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014.  In addition he has been very hawkish on Iran.  All of these positions are contrary to public positions.  As I said here Romney Foreign Policy sounds a lot like Bush 2.0. While Romney studies Neoconservative talking points I would hope that Obama is prepared with Romney's past Foreign Policy pronouncements.

Romney knows he's not going to win tonight according to Politco. Larison's reaction:
The greatest danger for Romney is that he sabotages himself by repeating attack lines that only hawkish ideologues find credible. That would show that he is either just mouthing their phrases or so intent on proving that he is a hawk that he doesn’t care how politically harmful their hard-line policies are. For example, if he returns to dated, nonsensical complaints about the Green movement protests or missile defense, he wouldn’t land any hits on Obama’s record and he would demonstrate how much he relies on the movement conservative echo chamber for his arguments. The less that he sounds like the candidate who delivered the VFW and VMI speeches, the better it will be for him politically. A reliable standard for judging how well or badly Romney has performed is to see how the most ideological neoconservatives respond to what he says in the debate. If they are extremely pleased by his performance because he echoed their views, Romney will have lost the debate very badly indeed.
Update II
When The Former Head Of Mossad Calls You a Moron…Or Why You Don’t Hand Over Foreign Policy To An Out-Of-His-Depth-Hack Guided By The Worst People In The World
Read it and Romney should too but he won't!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wow! Salt Lake City Tribune Endorses Obama

While they thought that Romney was one of them now they are not sure who he is.

But it was Romney’s singular role in rescuing Utah’s organization of the 2002 Olympics from a cesspool of scandal, and his oversight of the most successful Winter Games on record, that make him the Beehive State’s favorite adopted son. After all, Romney managed to save the state from ignominy, turning the extravaganza into a showcase for the matchless landscapes, volunteerism and efficiency that told the world what is best and most beautiful about Utah and its people.
In short, this is the Mitt Romney we knew, or thought we knew, as one of us.
Sadly, it is not the only Romney, as his campaign for the White House has made abundantly clear, first in his servile courtship of the tea party in order to win the nomination, and now as the party’s shape-shifting nominee. From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: "Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?"
They not only don't know who is they don't know what he is going to do - the Etch A Sketch problem.
More troubling, Romney has repeatedly refused to share specifics of his radical plan to simultaneously reduce the debt, get rid of Obamacare (or, as he now says, only part of it), make a voucher program of Medicare, slash taxes and spending, and thereby create millions of new jobs. To claim, as Romney does, that he would offset his tax and spending cuts (except for billions more for the military) by doing away with tax deductions and exemptions, is utterly meaningless without identifying which and how many would get the ax. Absent those specifics, his promise of a balanced budget simply does not pencil out.
So they have seen through Mitt - a man who will say anything to get elected and refuses to give any details of what he would do.  We can make some guesses when it comes to Foreign Policy - just like George W Bush
But what do they think of Obama?

For four years, President Barack Obama has attempted, with varying degrees of success, to pull the nation out of its worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression, a deepening crisis he inherited the day he took office.
In the first months of his presidency, Obama acted decisively to stimulate the economy. His leadership was essential to passage of the badly needed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Though Republicans criticize the stimulus for failing to create jobs, it clearly helped stop the hemorrhaging of public sector jobs. The Utah Legislature used hundreds of millions in stimulus funds to plug holes in the state’s budget.
Via The Agonist

General Tommy Franks?

Let's suppose you are running against a President that ordered the operation that resulted in the Death of Osama bin Laden what general would you chose to endorse and advise you?  If you are Mitt Romney it would be the general that lost Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora.

If you're a presidential candidate looking to establish your national security cred with a war-weary American public, who might be the worst frontman you could choose for your cause? How about the guy who oversaw the campaign that lost Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora, then bungled planning for war in Iraq? In a news release Wednesday night, Mitt Romney announced the 300-plus members of his "Military Advisory Council," and that man led the list of endorsements:
"I'm proud to be supporting Mitt Romney in this critical election about our nation’s future," said General Tommy Franks, USA (Ret.), Past Commander, U.S. Central Command. "Governor Romney is committed to restoring America's leadership role in the world. Instead of playing politics with our military, he will strengthen our defense posture by reversing the President's devastating defense cuts. The fact of the matter is that we cannot afford another four years of feckless foreign policy. We need level-headed leadership which will protect our interests and defend our values with clarity and without apology."
Few living Americans can speak with as much authority about "years of feckless foreign policy" as can Tommy "Rumsfeld's water boy" Franks, who comes in at No. 4 on a Foreign Policy list of worst US generals ever. As readers of our lie-by-lie Iraq timeline will recall, Franks oversaw CENTCOM from 2000 to 2003 and scripted the initial conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 
This just goes to show how wedded Romney is to the failed foreign policy of George W. Bush. It is also obvious that Romney is in favor of maintaining the welfare to the military industrial complex.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mitt Romney and George W. Bush

George W. Bush is still blamed by a majority for what is wrong with the United States and the world for that matter.  So one would think he would be trying to distance himself from the Bush years but he's not.
Ezra Klein:
In fact, that’s Romney’s biggest problem. It’s George W. Bush, not Barack Obama, who has made voters skeptical of many of Romney’s core policies. It’s George W. Bush, not Obama campaign strategist David Plouffe, who persuaded voters that our economic troubles aren’t mainly Obama’s fault. And so it is, in a sense, the electorate’s lingering fear of George W. Bush, as much as its residual affection for Barack Obama, that Romney needs to beat if he’s to become president.
At Tuesday’s debate, Romney was given a chance to do just that. A voter from Nassau County stood up and asked: “Governor Romney, I am an undecided voter, because I’m disappointed with the lack of progress I’ve seen in the last four years. However, I do attribute much of America’s economic and international problems to the failings and missteps of the Bush administration. Since both you and President Bush are Republicans, I fear a return to the policies of those years should you win this election. What is the biggest difference between you and George W. Bush, and how do you differentiate yourself from George W. Bush?”
So this was the perfect opportunity for Romney to distance himself from Bush but he didn't. He didn't even answer the question.
“Thank you,” Romney said. “And I appreciate that question.” But his mind was still on the previous question. “I just want to make sure that, I think I was supposed to get that last answer,” he complained to moderator Candy Crowley.
Instead he chose to continue to answer the previous question.
Notice what he didn’t say there. He didn’t say that Bush had gotten anything wrong before leaving office as one of the most unpopular presidents in history. He didn’t say, “You’re right to be skeptical of Republicans, because we didn’t live up to your expectations last time.” He said, rather, “Have you heard about my five-point plan?”
Daniel Larison:
What’s remarkable about Romney’s answer was that he didn’t even acknowledge or endorse the questioner’s main concern, which was that the Bush administration presided over major debacles that are still adversely affecting the U.S. The questioner was worried that Romney would repeat Bush’s errors, and he responded by rattling off a campaign agenda that Bush could and did run on. Like Bush, Romney talks about fiscal conservatism, but Romney gave the woman no reason to believe he would govern differently. It was Romney’s “just trust me” argument all over again, and he failed to acknowledge that one of the reasons so many people don’t trust him is that he doesn’t seem to have many major differences with Bush.
Romney's problem is the same problem the Republicans have in general -  they can't admit that George W Bush did anything wrong.  The Democrats should be taking more advantage of this and they will have the opportunity in the Foreign Policy debate on Monday.
Ed Kilgore has a valid observation
But Obama’s follow-up to Mitt’s evasions was interesting as well. He could have done what Ezra did in his column in pointing out that the big economic policies that led to the 2008 disaster remain part of the Romney/Ryan agenda. But instead, he focused on the areas where Romney has parted company with Bush in a more radically conservative direction: immigration reform, most obviously, but also Medicare voucherization (half-true) and a ban on funding for Planned Parenthood (which W. would probably have supported if asked, despite Poppy’s identification with the group).
In taking this tack, Obama sacrificed the opportunity to identify Mitt with W. in order to attack the “Moderate Mitt Meme.” But it might have been a lot more effective had he pointed out that Mitt’s party has decided almost unanimously that Bush was a bad president because he was too moderate. This was the verdict after the 2008 defeat, and was the constant refrain of the 2012 Republican primary season: the GOP had erred not by pursuing endless high-end tax cuts or relentless deregulation of the financial sector or a dumb war with Iraq followed by a disastrous occupation, but by creating Medicare Part D and No Child Left behind and embracing comprehensive immigration reform. Bush was equally faulted for failing to undertake (with the exception of his abortive Social Security offensive in 2005) the kind of assault on the big New Deal and Great Society programs now associated with the Ryan Budget.
Obama missed an opportunity to tie Romney to Bush, something that could cost him the election.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Debate Three

Apparently Romney will be spending the next few days preparing for the Foreign Policy debate on Monday. Since he has little knowledge and no experience that prep will probably consist of memorizing neoconservative talking points.  When it comes to foreign policy Obama himself is to the right of the country and Romney will have to go to the right of Obama to please his neocon advisers.  
This [Foreign Policy] has remained one of Romney’s biggest weaknesses for a few reasons, the most important of which is that he simply hasn’t spent enough time or paid enough attention to these issues to be as well-versed in them as he should be. There are many things that aren’t Romney’s “natural” subjects, but he doesn’t struggle with any other kind of policy as much as he struggles with this one. As a former governor, it is understandable that he prefers talking about domestic policy issues, but favoring this preference has caused him to neglect foreign policy to a remarkable degree for someone who has been running for president since 2006. Until now, most voters likely haven’t noticed the result of this neglect, but they will see it in Monday’s debate.
As Larison points out when it comes to Foreign Policy Romney sounds a lot like Bush 2.0, not something the war weary citizens of the United States are ready for.  The lesson most Americans take from the Libyan incident is we simply shouldn't be there not that we should have hundreds of armed guards or Marines.  So he has to please is neocon masters and at the same time not scare the American people - not an easy task. 
It would be reasonable for the questioner and the public to conclude from his response that there aren’t any major differences between Romney and Bush on foreign policy. That is what all of the other evidence to date confirms, and given the opportunity to distinguish himself on foreign policy Romney opted to talk about other things. Romney could correct that oversight in Monday’s debate, but I wouldn’t count on it. If losing the foreign policy debate means that Romney “probably won’t win” the election, as Kristol says, then Romney probably won’t win.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Quote of the Day

This is the Quote of the Day neocon idiocy edition.  It comes from our sensible friend Daniel Larison:
Romney exaggerates the influence that a continued U.S. presence would give Washington, and he overestimates the ability of U.S. forces to prevent Iran from using its relationship with Baghdad to provide support to Assad. As usual, the people who favored deposing the old Iraqi regime and removing one of the main checks on Iranian influence are now deeply distressed there is an Iraqi government willing to cooperate with Iran. The conduct of Maliki’s government is a perfect example of what the U.S. can and should always expect even from those leaders that the U.S. helped bring to power.
Of course Romney is listening to the same  people who think we should occupy Afghanistan forever, occupy Libya and Syria and at the same time cut taxes and reduce the deficit.  The party of  Unicorns and fantasy.
If you liked the foreign policy of Bush/Cheney you will love Mitt Romney.

David Stockman on Mitt the Vulture

David Stockman was the man who sold trickle down economics to the American people.  He left the Reagan administration when he realized in was a sham and a lie.  Today he takes on Romney the "business man".  Mitt Romney is not a business man or job creator but a gambler, a vulture capitalist who if he created any jobs it was an accident.
Bain Capital is a product of the Great Deformation. It has garnered fabulous winnings through leveraged speculation in financial markets that have been perverted and deformed by decades of money printing and Wall Street coddling by the Fed. So Bain’s billions of profits were not rewards for capitalist creation; they were mainly windfalls collected from gambling in markets that were rigged to rise.

Nevertheless, Mitt Romney claims that his essential qualification to be president is grounded in his 15 years as head of Bain Capital, from 1984 through early 1999. According to the campaign’s narrative, it was then that he became immersed in the toils of business enterprise, learning along the way the true secrets of how to grow the economy and create jobs. The fact that Bain’s returns reputedly averaged more than 50 percent annually during this period is purportedly proof of the case—real-world validation that Romney not only was a striking business success but also has been uniquely trained and seasoned for the task of restarting the nation’s sputtering engines of capitalism.

Except Mitt Romney was not a businessman; he was a master financial speculator who bought, sold, flipped, and stripped businesses. He did not build enterprises the old-fashioned way—out of inspiration, perspiration, and a long slog in the free market fostering a new product, service, or process of production. Instead, he spent his 15 years raising debt in prodigious amounts on Wall Street so that Bain could purchase the pots and pans and castoffs of corporate America, leverage them to the hilt, gussy them up as reborn “roll-ups,” and then deliver them back to Wall Street for resale—the faster the better.
Mitt Romney is really not much different than the professional gambler in Las Vegas except the table was fixed for him to win most of the time. He's a banker more than a businessman.  If a venture he was invloved in created jobs it was in spite of him rather than because of him.  It's the Mitt Romneys of the world that created the financial crisis.  Mitt Romney will be a repeat of the very policies that created the crash.  Oh, and did I mention he's a sociopath. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Arm the Syrian Rebels?

Mitt Romney wants to arm Syrian rebels: What are the risks? (via The Christian Science Monitor)
Mitt Romney announced this week that as president he would make sure Syria’s rebel fighters get the heavy arms they seek to bring down President Bashar al-Assad’s helicopters and fighter jets. But with extremist Islamist elements – some affiliated with Al Qaeda – appearing to play a growing…

Friday, October 12, 2012

Romney/Ryan Tax BS

Over at Bloomberg Josh Baro has The Final Word on Mitt Romney's Tax Plan.
Mitt Romney's campaign says I'm full of it. I said Romney's tax plan is mathematically impossible: he can't simultaneously keep his pledges to cut tax rates 20 percent and repeal the estate tax and alternative minimum tax; broaden the tax base enough to avoid growing the deficit; and not raise taxes on the middle class. They say they have six independent studies -- six! -- that "have confirmed the soundness of the Governor’s tax plan," and so I should stop whining. Let's take a tour of those studies and see how they measure up.
The Romney campaign sent over a list of the studies, but they are perhaps more accurately described as "analyses," since four of them are blog posts or op-eds. I'm not hating -- I blog for a living -- but I don't generally describe my posts as "studies."
Shorter Baro - they are all as much BS as Romney's plan itself.

But leave it to Matt Taibbi for the real take down.
I've never thought much of Joe Biden. But man, did he get it right in last night's debate, and not just because he walloped sniveling little Paul Ryan on the facts. What he got absolutely right, despite what you might read this morning (many outlets are criticizing Biden's dramatic excesses), was his tone. Biden did absolutely roll his eyes, snort, laugh derisively and throw his hands up in the air whenever Ryan trotted out his little beady-eyed BS-isms.
But he should have! He was absolutely right to be doing it. We all should be doing it. That includes all of us in the media, and not just paid obnoxious-opinion-merchants like me, but so-called "objective" news reporters as well. We should all be rolling our eyes, and scoffing and saying, "Come back when you're serious."
The load of balls that both Romney and Ryan have been pushing out there for this whole election season is simply not intellectually serious. Most of their platform isn't even a real platform, it's a fourth-rate parlor trick designed to paper over the real agenda – cutting taxes even more for super-rich dickheads like Mitt Romney, and getting everyone else to pay the bill.
 Taibbi goes on to point out that Ryan wouldn't even answer yes or no questions on the tax plan and not only Biden but Martha Raddatz called him on it.
During the 2008 campaign I often referred to Sarah Palin as a snake oil salesman.  Will guess what, that's exactly what both Romney and Ryan are.
MS. RADDATZ: Well, let's talk about this 20 percent.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well – (chuckles) – 
REP. RYAN: Different than this administration, we actually want to have big bipartisan agreements. You see, I understand the –
MS. RADDATZ: You have refused yet again to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20 percent across-the-board tax cut. Do you actually have the specifics, or are you still working on it, and that's why you won't tell voters?
Here Ryan is presented with a simple yes-or-no answer. Since he doesn't have the answer, he immediately starts slithering and equivocating:
"We want to have bipartisan agreements?" This coming from a Republican congressman? These guys would stall a bill to name a post office after Shirley Temple. Biden, absolutely properly, chuckled and said, "That'd be a first for a Republican congress." Then Raddatz did exactly what any self-respecting journalist should do in that situation: she objected to being lied to, and yanked on the leash, forcing Ryan back to the question.
 Raddatz tries several times to pin Ryan down without success. It's hard to pin down a snake oil salesman.
Taibbi concludes with this:
The Romney/Ryan platform makes sense, and is not laughable, in only one context: if you're a multi-millionaire and you recognize that this is the only way to sell your agenda to mass audiences. But if you're not one of those rooting gazillionaires, you should laugh, you should roll your eyes, and it doesn't matter if you're the Vice President or an ABC reporter or a toll operator. You should laugh, because this stuff is a joke, and we shouldn't take it seriously.

Romney - Yes the L Word Fits

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Romnibot's Facial Recognition Software Bug

Mitt Romney gave an emotional account of meeting former Navy Seal Glen Doherty at a party a few years ago.  The trouble is that according to a friend Romney's story doesn't match the way Doherty remembered the encounter.

Ellefsen said Doherty recalled meeting Mitt Romney years ago, but the account was much different from what the Presidential candidate retold in Iowa.
According to Ellefsen, Romney introduced himself to Doherty four separate times during the gathering.
"He said it was very comical," Ellefsen said, "Mitt Romney approached him ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale."
Ellefsen said Doherty remembered Romney as robotic.
"He said it was pathetic and comical to have the same person come up to you within only a half hour, have this person reintroduce himself to you, having absolutely no idea whatsoever that he just did this 20 minutes ago, and did not even recognize Glen's face."
Romney truly is a man that consists of nothing but pure ambition.  No ideology, no empathy, no real knowledge of anything but making money.  He will become whatever people want him to become to get their vote.  He will say anything people want to hear to get what he wants.  A text book sociopath.