Even the liberal Mother Jones magazine

This is why I hate Kevin Drum:

I like being able to fire people.

Hah! Ain’t that just like a plutocrat who’s spent most of his career buying companies and then making millions by mounting brutal mass layoffs of their workers? Of course, this is wildly out of context. What Romney really said was that he likes being able to buy, say, health insurance from whoever he wants, so that he can switch companies if he gets bad service. It’s really completely unobjectionable. So what about that out-of-context snippet? Do you think:

1. It’s fair game. After all, Romney himself, after airing a plainly deceptive quote about Barack Obama, was the guy who proposed the “what’s sauce for the goose is now sauce for the gander” standard for quote doctoring. And pretty much everyone on the right backed him up.

2. It’s ridiculous. We lefties should have more integrity than to stoop to stuff like this.

How did so much of the left descend into this kind of dickless navel-gazing? Because you know this is pretty typical of the tote-bag crowd. I’m glad Mike Royko isn’t alive to see all of this.






229 replies
  1. 1
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    Tell Mr. Drum that, while we don’t condone the out of context quote, we’ll have plenty of time to sit around lauding our moral stance after these pieces of pure evil defeat us with their crap in November. I just remember Willie Horton and how great that went over. And though the Mittster SAYS he’s a really religious guy, you have to remember that people who think that they are on a mission from THEIR CREATOR will do just about anything, say just about anything, and have super pacs produce any lie in order to win.

  2. 2
    mario says:

    No one says “I like firing people” when they’re talking about changing service providers, unless, you know, they ACTUALLY LIKE firing people.

    If we don’t beat him over the head with this….

  3. 3

    Well, and it’s not unobjectionable in its original context, either. The health insurance market isn’t like the market for toasters or sedans, for reasons Kenneth Arrow explains here.

    So, wrong on the merits of what he’s talking about, and tone deaf in the larger context. And we’re supposed to play by Marquess of Queensbury rules when Mitt’s already said that taking people out of context is fair game. And when Mitt’s whole campaign is based on lying about the president in a manner calculated to make whites feel fear & loathing. That makes sense!

  4. 4
    RalfW says:

    I’ll take door number one, Mr. Drum.

    Yes. I’m sure of it. Door number one.

    Because door number two is a Zonk. And we’ve zonked ourselves enough damn times, fer chrisssakes.

  5. 5
    Kevin says:

    Citing Mike Royko…I like the cut of your jib.

  6. 6
    kansi says:

    Mike Royko! Well played, sir. One of the best…

  7. 7
    freelancer says:

    How did so much of the left descend into this kind of dickless navel-gazing?

    Ahem, it’s not like dickless navel-gazing on the left is a new thing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCSMyFWTjRc

  8. 8

    So this Drum fellow wasn’t being deeply sarcastic? Really?

  9. 9
    Mark S. says:

    Even in context, what Mitt said was stupid. Most people are stuck with whatever health insurance their employer gets them.

    And while a insurance company deciding to not pay something is an inconvenience for Mitt, it can be devastating to a family.

  10. 10
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    Hate Drum? Who do you like?

  11. 11
    Lev says:

    I have no idea what’s going on with Drum here. Last time I checked, Mitt’s Republican opponents were going after him on this subject as well. And I’m not so sure the context matters all that much–in both cases, you’re ceasing to employ people who don’t do a good job for you.

  12. 12
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @mario: Exactly. As I said earlier, it’s the context of the context, and what it says about Willard the Robber Baron’s position among the 1%.

  13. 13

    Nah I thought the same thing when I read the WHOLE quote. I thought, this is going to play to Mitt after the furor dies down because “everybody knows” (i.e. the current CW) that you can’t fire people anymore. civil service regs and lawsuits and all that.

    This is one of those things that plays to the red meat base. I wouldn’t touch it. Now we’re going to hear about all of those awful teachers and public workers and postal employees who aren’t worth a damn but no one can fire them no matter how terrible they are and all that shit.

  14. 14
    MildlyAmusedRainbowPerson says:

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/updates/3839

    WEST: I absolutely understand what you’re saying. And you know I’ve had a lot of people ask me about that, because the responsibility of our senior generals has to be to the men and women in uniform. And they have to be very careful about blindly following a Commander-in-Chief that really does not have the best intent for our military. And I think that when you understand that President Obama said he was going to fundamentally transform the United States of America, you’re seeing him destroy our economy, and now you’re seeing him destroy our military capability.

    I am just wondering how we should describe this latest utterance from Allen West. Is there a liberal-approved style book out there?

  15. 15
    Gust Avrakotos says:

    Oh for fucks sakes! Quoting Newt Romney(sic)as saying “I like being able to fire people” without the rest does not change the meaning of what he was saying. It just highlights one part of it.

    But editing video to make Obama look like he was saying almost the complete opposite of what he was actually saying is totally different.

    Soooo…here we go with the fucking both sides do it false equivalency bullshit again. Yawwnnnn, wake me up when it’s election day.

  16. 16
    Zifnab says:

    It’s really completely unobjectionable. So what about that out-of-context snippet?

    Hey, Kevin Drum – why not ask Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry? They’re the ones running in the Republican Primary and they’re the ones leading the charge against Mitt with this line of attack.

    How is it that when a Republican and a Democrat say the exact same ‘effing thing, all the Democrats have to team huddle (re: circular firing squad) to determine whether its “fair” while all the Republicans can just back slap and high five over and awesome zinger?

    Go pick on the damn Republicans for a while, Drum. It’s their primary. It’s their turn.

  17. 17
    El Cid says:

    First, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with genuinely not liking Mitt Romney for what his leveraged buyout etc. work did to companies and people. So something serving to easily trigger a reference seems unobjectionable to me.

    Second, I don’t think there are too many times I’ve encountered the use of the term “firing” to sound ordinary and happy except on radio and TV shows or maybe commercials when they’re talking about “firing” your cable company or whatever.

    As long as you’re open that you’re riffing on it, or consciously making a connection between the use of the phrase and some insight you think it prompts for Romney, fine; if you’re literally claiming that Romney was discussing, bluntly and openly, how he likes throwing people out of their jobs, then that’s dishonest.

    But yes, it’s okay to use that phrasing to emphasize it if you think that the record shows that Romney indeed enjoys throwing people out of their jobs, because he does. Because that was how he was making money, more frequently than not.

  18. 18
    mistermix says:

    A true liberal wouldn’t take #1 or #2. Instead, he’d look for a third way. Can’t we triangulate ourselves out of this deep moral dilemma?

  19. 19
    mistermix says:

    Also, too, James Fallows gets it right: Just saying you like to fire people is bad, no matter what the context, because you shouldn’t *like* it even if you recognize that it’s necessary:

    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r.....click.phdo

  20. 20
    MildlyAmusedRainbowPerson says:

    @mistermix:

    Clintonian Parsing is the strategy we need now.

  21. 21
    LT says:

    Pointing out that someone plainly used a quote out of context is “nitpicking”? What kind of crap is that? Trying to twist this into “Oh Oh, what he actuall ymeant is he REALLY REALLY LIKES TO FIRE PEOPLE FROM JOBS!” is reaching nonsense.

    How about just highlight the idiotic points Romney was making:

    I want people to be able to own insurance if they wish to, and to buy it for themselves and perhaps keep it for the rest of their life and to choose among different policies offered from companies across the nation. I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep people healthy. It also means if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. If someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I’m going to go get somebody else to provide that service to me.

    1) Do employees get to choose among polices? Any, many? I sure didn’t.

    2) He’s saying, with some errors, but basically saying “Let’s go back to the way it was!” For christ’s sake – bury him in THAT, not this nonsense.

    And: He’s implying that it’s actually fun to shop for insurance. And switch companies. Christ. Does anyone not quake at the thought?

  22. 22
    Warren Terra says:

    Mitt’s line was in reference to health care. And this matters.

    Under the ACA, modeled on the law Romney backed, you can fire your health insurer, and switch to another one. You’re just not allowed to fire your health insurer, pocket the premiums, and go uninsured. You’d think Mitt might know this about his own health care legislation – although, of course, his whole career was about firing people and pocketing the savings (although in that situation the people going uninsured were the people he fired, and definitely not Mitt or his ailing wife).

    Indeed, with respect to the specific issue of firing and the ACA, the two key changes made by the ACA are:
    1) You will have an increased ability to fire your health insurer, because of shall-issue and community-rating. Under the pre-ACA situation if you lost your insurer no other company had to sell you a policy, nor sell you one you could afford.
    2) Your insurer will no longer be able to fire you, which was a huge source of savings for them before, finding niggling technical details with which to eliminate the vexing customers who actually required care.

    In short: as a generalized idea, being able to switch service providers can be a good thing, and it’s only by using the word “fire” that Mitt fouled up this generalized idea. But it’s when he applies it to health care that it becomes clear that Mitt is wrong in every conceivable way.

  23. 23
    Rafer Janders says:

    2. It’s ridiculous. We lefties should have more integrity than to stoop to stuff like this.

    I’ll reserve my integrity for things like helping to elect legislators who will pass laws that will help the poor and needy, not for campaign tactics against soulless GOP automatons.

    There’s a certain species of liberal that would rather be seen to be good than to actually, you know, do good, if doing good would require them to get their hands dirty.

  24. 24

    Hey Mitt, you fucking jizz-stain, people don’t “fire” their insurance providers, they GET FIRED BY THEM. The insurer takes the customer’s money year after year, then when they actually get sick, they get kicked off the policy. Why don’t you show me one instance where someone kicked off their insurance for a pre-existing condition was able to switch providers afterward?

    Republican policies are a direct threat to my health, so if I take it personally, get nasty, and wish for your personal fucking destruction over it, then I hope your fainting couch is covered in shit-smeared razor wire.

  25. 25

    @mistermix:

    Can’t we triangulate ourselves out of this deep moral dilemma?

    Yes. Voters can like to fire people too. Let’s put Mitt and the rest of the Republicans out of work.

  26. 26
    freelancer says:

    Also, yes. If you don’t go after Romney for this, you deserve to be beaten. A plutocratic greed-fed robot, who was raised in a bubble of outlandish wealth, never had to want a day in his life, hollowed out from the inside and craves power to fill whatever vacuum exists where a person’s soul normally goes and has to impersonate human behavior in order to do so. And he fails on every measure.

    Whenever I hear Mitt speak or read an article about him, I’m reminded of a portion of a review of one of the best worst movies ever made, Birdemic: Shock and Terror:

    On top of that, there is the lead actor. Our hero Alan Bagh walks like an alien trying to impersonate a human being and talks like one too. I have my eye on you Alan Bagh, there will be no more pod people on my watch!

    Mitt Romney talks and this is the sense I get of him.

  27. 27
    Danny says:

    How did so much of the left descend into this kind of dickless navel-gazing?

    I made up my mind on Kevin pretty soon after he moved to MJ: labeling him “the left” and expecting him to be a reliable left wing pundit is a mistake. The guy doesn’t want to be a progressive partisan – he wants to be a grumpy contrarian. He’s just completely uninterested in forwarding a consistent progressive narrative. But he’s very interested in writing about whatever his feelings are at the moment.

    And there’s your problem with “the left” these days: too few are content with just being happy warriors.

  28. 28
    trollhattan says:

    @WereBear (itouch):

    I read it as well disguised snark, but will defer to Dr. I.M. Kookie for the final say.

  29. 29

    @MildlyAmusedRainbowPerson:

    I am just wondering how we should describe this latest utterance from Allen West. Is there a liberal-approved style book out there?

    “Allen who? Is he someone who matters?”

    If you’re up against hateful fuckwits, you really can’t get worked up everytime they act like hateful fuckwits.

  30. 30
    Cat Lady says:

    Drum’s asking his commenters to vote on whether to be dickless navel gazers or not – he’s not advocating being one. He should have a poll box to vote on however, even though his commenters seem to be leaning towards fair game. I don’t read him enough to know whether he’s inclined to dicklessness.

  31. 31
    LM says:

    Sorry to seem dense but what part of this strikes you as dickless navel-gaving? (No sarcasm, I’m really asking.) Do you think it’s silly to bring the Mittens statement up at all? Silly to point out that it’s mostly been repeated out of context? Silly to think that position #1, or #2, isn’t clearly right? Or…?

  32. 32
    Satanicpanic says:

    @mario: THIS. I have never once said “I fired my phone company”- regular people don’t talk like that.

  33. 33
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    And I like this quote from Drum’s comments:

    “Sometimes in business you have to fire your customers” is one line of generic biz owner advice. It’s a way of saying “if a given line of products or services isn’t helping the biz, get rid of it.”

    It’s good that we’re finally seeing some attention paid to Williard as Soulless Management Consultant Mercenary, as it’s that, I think, that is most significant about what he threatens to do if elected.

  34. 34

    @LT:

    And: He’s implying that it’s actually fun to shop for insurance.

    OMG yes. I fucking hate that line. Like I don’t have enough fine print in my life as it is. Like I don’t have enough crap to wade through. Jesus.

    I wrote about this at the time and got flamed by Libertarians and RWNJS who thought I had uttered the worst sort of sacrilege but I will repeat: I DO NOT WANT TO SHOP FOR A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN. NO I DO NOT. I have a life. I have a family. I have better things to do with my time.

    All if fucking want is to see the doctor of my choice when I want, and not have my bank account emptied in the process. Is that so fucking hard to understand?

    Republicans and some Dems keep trying to sell me something I DO NOT WANT. Why do I have to deal with insurance? They add nothing to the product. They’re a middle man who provides absolutely NOTHING. Get rid of them.

  35. 35
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Apart from anything else (and what everyone else has said above) try (prior to the ACA) “firing” your health insurance company and “hiring” another if you have had so much as a fucking sniffle in the 5 years prior. It must be nice for Mittens, he can self-insure anyway and doesn’t need health insurance. The moron has such a disconnect with the real world it scares me that he may one day be in charge.

    Oh and goose meet fucking gander Mittens.

  36. 36
    Mark K says:

    I hate Drum as well. Hes a frickin’ mole. EJ Dionne and him need to have some brandy with David Brooks.

    These Republicans have declared war on Democracy and us liberals. You don’t EVER give them the benefit of the doubt.

  37. 37
  38. 38

    I really want to be the demon on Mitt’s shoulder whispering into his ear every day “use more personal anecdotes, it really connects you to regular people”. Because every time people hear Mitt talk about himself, they loathe him more.

    “I’m unemployed too.” — just play that on a fucking loop for an entire ad spot.

  39. 39
    Kola Noscopy says:

    While I’m happy to see the Deems fight back in any way necessary to win, my objection to this would be that it is not necessary to take quotes out of context or twist facts or context at all…just present the reality of what the republicans have done and are responsible for over the last decade, and drive the results home hard…who needs to play games? The TRUTH is hardass enough.

  40. 40

    @The Other Chuck:

    Hey Mitt, you fucking jizz-stain, people don’t “fire” their insurance providers, they GET FIRED BY THEM.

    Really good point. See, THIS is the convo we should be having. Not passing off Mitt’s comment as some kind “I enjoy firing people from their jobs” thing. That’s not what he said and it’s not even the most damaging thing. He’s so fucking out of touch he doesn’t understand that 99% of us don’t have the luxury of firing their insurance company. We sure don’t at our house. I mean, I guess we could do without completely. But that’s the only option. We take what the employer provides and that is IT. There’s no “choice.”

  41. 41
    Tonal Crow says:

    We have plenty of legitimate (and very dry) rhetorical ammunition to fire at Republicans without stooping to their level. And that other Republicans are using this attack against The Romnoid does not mean that it’s OK for us to use it.

    I’m all for fighting Republicans hard, deep, long, and frothy.

    But I’m foursquare against lying.

  42. 42
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Southern Beale: Seconded.

  43. 43
    300baud says:

    How about:

    3. We should treat it as fair game for now but work toward a world where politicians compete on substance.

    I don’t like weapons much, but unilateral disarmament is suicide.

  44. 44
    Jay in Oregon says:

    I wrote about this at the time and got flamed by Libertarians and RWNJS who thought I had uttered the worst sort of sacrilege but I will repeat: I DO NOT WANT TO SHOP FOR A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN. NO I DO NOT. I have a life. I have a family. I have better things to do with my time.

    What, you don’t have time to compare health insurance plans?
    And privatized fire department coverage plans?
    And privatized police protection plans?
    And privatized road maintenance plans?
    And privatized postal service plans…?

  45. 45
    Napoleon says:

    ABL, er Doug, you are a fucking moron if you are complaining about this.

  46. 46

    I will say that there’s no point in going after Mitt especially hard on this quote. His record is what the military would describe as a target rich environment, so why go after a minor point that he can plausibly defend as being taken out of context and really expressing something that most people agree with? Instead, go after him for his behavior at Bain, his relentless dishonesty, and his endless changing of opinions to suit whomever he happens to be trying to woo at the moment. If you can’t mine that record for something that will make a good 30 second attack ad, you’re not going to be able to turn this into a good one either.

  47. 47
    Not Sure says:

    @freelancer: In fact, most of us aren’t old enough to remember a time when this dickless navel-gazing was a new thing.

  48. 48
    geejayeff says:

    I get it..some of you heard an out of context remark, but I heard a freudian slip. It was another “for pete’s sake, I’m running for office” nip slip.

    The guy was born to power and he likes it. It’s how he understands his relationship with the world. He’s the man that does the firing and everyone else is there to earn another day without a pink slip. Hey, I’d like it too if I was one of the .001% and had the power to fire anyone that I didn’t like. But if I thought that saying so was a way to relate to everyday working people or to illustrate a point about how nice it is to have choices, I’d be wrong.

  49. 49
    Cassidy says:

    @The Other Chuck: The best way to handle someone like west is for a Democratic or liberal vet to invite that shitbag to the gym and do a few rounds of combatives. Then you get it on video showing what a “warrior” he is as he gets choked out, over and over again. It works better if the liberal/ Democratic vet was enlisted.

  50. 50
    JGabriel says:

    Said it a couple threads ago, may as well say it again here, where it’s on topic:

    Romney’s words were not even taken out of context. He was talking about firing an insurance company, and extended it to service people in general.
    __
    You’re not going to find anything more “in” context unless you come across video of Dog On Car cackling gleefully as he stamps pink slips and shouts, “I LOVE DOWNSIZING!” — which, let’s face it, is probably not going to happen.

  51. 51
    4jkb4ia says:

    I am going to defend Kevin Drum, especially since he agreed with me on the flip-flopper attack. (To write, “John, is Kevin Drum concern trolling?” was tempting. But I didn’t do it.)

    They are both true, and actually in the post Drum didn’t express an opinion now that I read it again. Mitt has no right to complain if this attack is used because his own people called ads basically propaganda. But it is too easy. The Obama that released that devastating video about the Keating Five to show he could throw a punch can, as mistermix implied, use the whole narrative of Mitt’s days at Bain to show where he wants to take the country by contrast. There is enough there just in the WSJ piece. Simply because Bain Capital had some control of the stock didn’t mean that all the companies succeeded–a significant number of them failed. But Bain became very wealthy with the few that did succeed because it could claim credit for imposing market discipline. How is that different from what Obama did with the auto bailout? How can Romney criticize that with a straight face?
    Not only is it too easy, it is terrible for Obama’s image of integrity to tell an open lie like that. You can write “Chicago politics at its worst” ad infinitum.

    You can absolutely give the context if you have defined what the context is or people know the story you want to tell, so they understand why you have bolded the new, important idea.

  52. 52
    HRA says:

    To answer the question of being able to choose another health insurance company as has been focused on here, I am able to opt for getting another company out of a field of 3 or 4 once a year. It usually happens in November. I have opted to stay with my original choice since it’s the devil you know and other co-workers have been disappointed in making the change.
    I must add I am one of those “privileged” gubmint workers.

  53. 53
    SBJules says:

    Royko would have loved they way the Mittster fired all those people via Bain (looking for sarcasm key). After all, you shouldn’t run for president unless you can afford it.

  54. 54
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Roger Moore:

    [Romney’s] record is what the military would describe as a target rich environment, so why go after a minor point that he can plausibly defend as being taken out of context and really expressing something that most people agree with? Instead, go after…his relentless dishonesty….

    Right. Instead of being dishonest ourselves and thereby adding actual substance to the “both sides do it” lie.

    Christ on a crutch, I thought people knew better than that.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    Jay B. says:

    Did Drum:

    1. Post two divergent thoughts as multiple choice options and ask for his commenters to vote on their preferred approach in the comments?

    2. Give his opinion and disguise it as multiple choice comment bait?

    If you think 1, you actually read the post. If you think 2, you are reading into what you think he meant, but didn’t write.

  57. 57
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Here’s a way to claim it and disavow it at the same time:

    “You probably heard about this: Mitt Romney the other day said that he enjoys firing people. Now, he says he meant it a different way, saying good riddance to bad service. But from what you know and I know about his background, it was probably more like a Freudian slip.”

  58. 58
    Bill Arnold says:

    KDrum, Jan 3:

    Nearly every day I face the same decision: do I pretend to take Republican crankery seriously and write a few chart-laden posts about why they’re wrong, or should I instead write a couple of rants about how lunacy has become mainstream and can hardly be fought with yet more wonkery and tedious empirical evidence?

    Obviously, I usually opt for the former. But not without qualms just about every single day.

    I saw the post DougJ quoted as as a gentle trolling of KD’s readership, frankly. The “plainly deceptive quote about Barack Obama” means it isn’t exactly an argument for a false equivalence.

  59. 59
    Cassidy says:

    Nope, nope and nope. The tactics of the right work because the American people are, largely, disinterested and overstimulated with horserace, he said-she said bullshit. This stopped being a war of ideas a long time ago and became the war of soundbites and news cycles and wall to wall ads heaping large piles of bullshit through the idiot box. We need to win and win decisively. There is no going back for these fools. They are guanopsychotic and have no intention of pretending to govern this country in any kind of sense whatsoever. The ends justify the means here. We need to get as dirty and bloody as they think they’re willing to.

  60. 60
    DougJ says:

    @Napoleon:

    I’m not insulted to be compared to ABL, I’ll tell you that.

  61. 61

    Speaking of healthcare, this is interesting: “Germany’s Painful Lesson On Private Insurance.

    Shocked by premium increases of as much as 50 percent, many Germans with private health insurance are seeking to switch to a national health plan, the news magazine Der Spiegel reported Sunday.
    __
    Many private health insurance plans pushed through hefty premium increases at the beginning of the year and that’s behind the move to switch, the magazine said.
    __
    “We’ve gotten increased telephone inquiries from those privately insured who want to come to the AOK,” Wilfried Jacobs, the head of the AOK in Rheinland/Hamburg, told the magazine. The AOK, with 15 regional branches and some 24 million members, is Germany’s largest public health insurance organisation. The magazine said other public health insurers have received similar inquiries.

    Apparently German law only allows people to change under certain circumstances, like if you lost your job ….

  62. 62
    Ruckus says:

    @mistermix:
    It may not be hard for Mittens because he doesn’t suffer with all the issues. Remember when he fired lots of people, he got rewarded for it. Don’t know if he has ever been fired but even if he has been, what suffering would that have caused him? It sure hasn’t hurt his financials, caused him to miss a meal, or even have to think about missing a meal. So what’s the downside for him? Yes for normal people (non douchebots) firing is hard on either side. For mittens? Probably not so much.

  63. 63
    JGabriel says:

    FlipYrWhig:

    But from what you know and I know about [Romney’s] background, it was probably more like a Freudian slip.

    … A Freudian Pink Slip.

    .

  64. 64
    Mike D. says:

    I’ll chime in to say that I don’t hate Kevin Drum. At all. To me, he is a highly able and knowledgeable analyst of policy who puts policy in its political context to just about the right degree, doing so from a center-left perspective. People like that are not a dime a dozen.

  65. 65
    j says:

    Re: Royko ans semi O/T (I was in Chicago for a funeral and the son of the deceased was reading the Tribune and started laughing. This was right before him having to go to the funeral home and I was his driver. Here’s what he was cracking up about.):

    “Olga Fokyercelf”

    Read it!

    http://articles.chicagotribune.....ese-column

    There will never be another Royko.

  66. 66
    LT says:

    @Warren Terra: Great comment.

    Indeed, with respect to the specific issue of firing and the ACA, the two key changes made by the ACA are:
    1) You will have an increased ability to fire your health insurer, because of shall-issue and community-rating. Under the pre-ACA situation if you lost your insurer no other company had to sell you a policy, nor sell you one you could afford.
    2) Your insurer will no longer be able to fire you, which was a huge source of savings for them before, finding niggling technical details with which to eliminate the vexing customers who actually required care.

  67. 67
    Sly says:

    The most important thing to a liberal is to feel good about the decisions we make.

    I have no problem with this. In fact, it helps put many of those decisions into very clear terms that are easy to rationally evaluate. In this instance, I’d rather feel good about continuing to have health insurance than feel good about not being a prick to the guy who wants it to be harder for me to have health insurance.

    In fact, fuck that guy.

  68. 68
    kwAwk says:

    @mistermix:

    That one made me literally laugh out loud.

  69. 69

    @Jay in Oregon:

    Gah. That is not a world I want to live in.

    Jesus. I can barely go to the grocery store and get my shopping done. America is fucking insane. I’ve been meaning to do a post on this for a while, haven’t had the time. But I saw this article on “The Paradox Of Choice,” and how too many options basically shuts people down and makes shopping for anything a chore. Health insurance, clothes, groceries, it doesn’t matter. Throw too much shit at the wall and it’s a chore to wade through it all.

    God I hate to shop. HATE it. I don’t want more shopping in my life. No, no, no. Please God no.

  70. 70
    Kola Noscopy says:

    @DougJ:

    I’m not insulted to be compared to ABL, I’ll tell you that.

    I’ll be charitable and assume you’re lying here, in a misguided attempt to appear to be honorable or something.

  71. 71
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    How did so much of the left descend into this kind of dickless navel-gazing? Because you know this is pretty typical of the tote-bag crowd. I’m glad Mike Royko isn’t alive to see all of this.

    I notice that nobody has bothered to address the specific question which, granting the premise that KD is full of shit on this one, DougJ actually posed. So I’ll give it a shot. Here’s how we got to this point: the people who get a shot at a microphone, who have a chance to speak for “the left” (whatever the fuck that term even means in the context of contemporary US politics), are almost all of them borderline 1-percenters themselves. Top 2.5 percent almost certainly. Take a look at Mike Royko’s childhood and early-adult bio, and tell me how many people from that social and economic class make it into the punditry today.

  72. 72
    C-Dub says:

    Drum has a valid point.

    He isn’t a rabid partisan, and that’s why I like his blog. Hate him? He’s Kevin Drum! It’s like hating Mr. Rogers.

    The quote is taken out of context, and that makes it dishonest. I understand that Romney opened that door first. I don’t care… but I can understand it. So poses a perfectly valid question worth consideration.

  73. 73
    kwAwk says:

    @Danny:

    I’m not sure I enjoy reading the writings of happy warriors. I’d rather believe that when somebody is in support of a position and writes about it, they mean what they say.

    What you’re talking about seems to be propaganda rather than analytical writing.

  74. 74

    @Mark K: You’re fucking clueless. Drum isn’t a mole. As has been said, he’s a policy wonk. As such, he’s not much of a bare-knuckled brawler. There has become a tendency to label anyone who doesn’t turn the partisan shit throwing up to eleven as a traitor, and it’s not only stupid, it’s how the Republicans started down the path that they are on.

    In your attempts to beat them, you are becoming just like them, and it will end badly if your approach succeeds. Understand Drum for what he is, not what you wish everyone would be like.

  75. 75
    MCA says:

    @mistermix: Fallows FTW. That was what I was thinking, too. Who cares what the context was – who enjoys “firing” anyone at any time? Assholes, that’s who.

  76. 76
    Raven says:

    Laissez les bons temps rouler bitches.

  77. 77

    @4jkb4ia:

    Simply because Bain Capital had some control of the stock didn’t mean that all the companies succeeded—a significant number of them failed. But Bain became very wealthy with the few that did succeed because it could claim credit for imposing market discipline. How is that different from what Obama did with the auto bailout? How can Romney criticize that with a straight face?

    I think you’re making Romney’s case for him. As I read it, he was trying to use the government’s approach to the auto industry as a defense of his approach at Bain. The idea is that the government had to make some painful cuts, close factories, shut down dealerships, etc. in order to rationalize the industry and keep it afloat. Romney’s argument is that he was doing the same kind of thing when he was at Bain Capital, so he should be able to use the same argument to defend his behavior there.

    The problem with that argument is that it’s a load of crap. The government took over GM and Chrysler because they saw the auto industry as a key part of our economy and something worth saving. Their primary goal was to keep the companies in business so they would benefit the country as a whole, and they were willing to take a loss on the project in order to achieve that goal. Bain saw distressed companies as an asset and an avenue for profit, not as something of value in and of itself. Their only goal was to make as much money as possible, even if that meant destroying a company that could have been saved. It’s a totally different mindset, and not one that I want anywhere near the Presidency.

  78. 78

    Eh, I think it’s a fairly dishonest attack but I don’t really know why I should care if it becomes one of those political memes that won’t die… it’s happened to our side often enough… and it was definitely clumsy out of touch wording that was just asking for trouble. I doubt I’d use it myself as anything other than a joke to upset a Romney supporter… there are so many reasons to think he would be terrible that I don’t see any reason to quote out of context.

  79. 79
  80. 80
    harlana says:

    @Southern Beale: I agree, IT SUCKS, it’s exhausting – not a fan of anybody that wants to make it even harder than it already is

  81. 81
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @JGabriel:

    Freudian Pink Slip.

    Nice!

  82. 82
    jl says:

    If Romney meant to state the unobjectionable principal that he (and we all) like to have the option of taking our business to other places if they do not provide good service or a good product, he could have said so. There are buzzwords for that.

    For example,’I like to vote with my dollars and feet to fire companies that do not provide good service.”

    But Romney said “I like to be able to fire people.”

    Being able to express oneself clearly has always been a part of politics, and I do not see why we should give Romney a pass on his statement.

    I heard the clip, and personally, I believe Romney meant what it sounded like he was saying, even though the context indicates that it could be a very clumsy way of expressing something else.

  83. 83
    danimal says:

    Jeez, Drum’s style is different than dougj’s (and mrmix as well), but he’s on the right side on this. He’s publicizing Romney’s douchery about jobs, Romney’s obvious elitism and his callous disregard of campaign ethics all in the guise of a reader poll. It’s a pretty good frame for getting all the relevant information out in the public arena.

    Drum’s more a policy person than a partisan, and he’ll never be a fire-breather, but aren’t there a thousand more deserving targets out there, especially Mittens?

  84. 84
    Danny says:

    @kwAwk:

    Now for the hard question. Which do you prefer: staying a virgin or seeing more progressive policy becoming law?

  85. 85
    WaterGirl says:

    @Dr. Loveless:

    “You know, something may be going down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart.”

    Ick.

  86. 86
    jl says:

    @danimal: OK, fine, then attack Romney for not being able to express himself. I’ll settle for that.

    I think there are more deserving targetst, I heard a clip where Romney seemed to lie about seeing anti Gingrich(?) ads. First he didn’t see them, then he did about a sentence later.

    Was that out of context too.

    Anyway, I am not going to bend over backwards providing charitable interpretations of what Romney might have meant to say, but did not in fact say. And I do not see why anyone else in the reality based community should bend over backward to do that either, including Drum. And that is what I think Drum did in his post.

  87. 87
    Brad says:

    But, but, if Democrats use this they will certainly earn a Pants on Fire rating from PolitiFact! We all know that’s more devastating than losing an election to an unrelenting bullshitter.

  88. 88

    @Roger Moore:

    GM was forced into Chpt 11 bankruptcy don’t forget. Bush handed GM TARP money, Obama forced GM into bankruptcy so they would renegotiate with their unions and creditors, then gave them money in excahnge for 61% of the company.

  89. 89
    harlana says:

    You know, something may be going down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart.”

    Herman?

  90. 90
    Jon O says:

    Democrats should absolutely not make an issue of this.

    Anonymously funded Super PACs in swing states, though? BUY BUY BUY

  91. 91

    There need be no angst here. Democrats should just run the whole quote. Plenty of damnation to go around!

  92. 92

    @harlana:

    Oh yeah, whatever happened to him?

    Herman Cain? Herman Cain? You out there???

  93. 93
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    The reason for the naval gazing is that the left has itself bought into the idea that it is the mature, fair side to the point that it cannot see when that is the wrong position to take. That’s why Ron Paul gets a look at by people who should know better.

  94. 94
    Lolis says:

    Well Al Gore did invent the internet …

  95. 95
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Mark K:

    THIS is fuckin’crazee talk…..

  96. 96
    patroclus says:

    I say Fair Game. Not for any actual Democratic politician or supposedly respectable pundits (like Drum), but for SuperPAC’s and the rest of us, absolutely!

  97. 97
    Mackenna says:

    Mitt Romney saying he wants to give Americans “the freedom to fire insurance companies” who don’t deliver on health care is sickening, considering the American insurance industry consists of a bunch of giants who collude with each other to determine prices, services and territory to maxmize mututally beneficial profits. They are not bound by anti-trust laws and there is virtually no competition (because that gets in the way of them making money).

  98. 98
    Raven says:

    45 minutes till kickoff!

  99. 99
    Jon O says:

    If you include the context, it becomes clear that he’s absolutely not talking about firing employees for the heck of it. Thing is, if you include the context, you realize that it’s insane to think about insurance shopping this way.

    Started tweeting the #regularguymitt tag to offer some other examples of this uncanny formulation.

    “I like being able to fire people, when the service is bad at a five-star restaurant”
    “I like being able to fire people, when I’ve been dating someone and it just doesn’t work out”
    “I like being able to fire people, when car insurance won’t cover my car getting keyed”

  100. 100
    danimal says:

    @jl: Romney’s a two-face, value-free soulless hack of a politician; and you won’t catch me wasting valuable breath defending him. Kevin Drum is a center-left analyst asking a question about an ethical issue. To hate Drum for asking a genuine question is absurd.

    Face it, the context of Romney’s quote is clear (he’s not talking about jobs). But the Romney campaign has clearly given carte blanche to deceptively take quotations out of context. The question (Should liberals use deceptive means, such as taking quotes out of context, to score political points?) is valid, even if we disagree on the answer.

    Personally, I don’t think we need to highlight this quote when there are so many examples of Romney’s duplicity, greed and cluelessness in context to choose from. YMMV.

  101. 101
    Hill Dweller says:

    New CBS poll: Romney 47 Obama 45, Obama 46 Paul 45, Obama 47 Santorum 43

  102. 102
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    Who gives a flyin’ fuck?

  103. 103
    RSA says:

    I like being able to fire people. …Of course, this is wildly out of context.

    I disagree that it’s out of context. Romney has consistently refused to talk about the people who were laid off by the decisions his company made. (If you care about that sort of thing, apparently you’re a communist.) It brings up important unanswered questions, front and center: How many people lost their jobs because of Romney? What did his company do in mitigation? (I haven’t heard of anything in particular.) Apparently “being able to fire people” can make someone enormously rich. What happens to those people?

  104. 104
    kwAwk says:

    @Danny:

    I’m not sure those are the only two options.

  105. 105
    jl says:

    @Mackenna:

    Good point. If that argument can fit into an ad, it would be better to give context. As long as you play the quote, and then play it again.

    Seems to be a recent trend in GOP candidates very plainly saying very weird things and then either media allowing them to simply bald face lie about what the said (Rih Anhorumn, and Newt) or try to find rationalize what they said.

    I don’t see parallel to Gore, since I do not believe Gore ever said he invented the internet. Romney did in fact say that he likes to be able to fire people.

  106. 106
    g says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Going with Warren Terror’s explanation here, I get it – but of course what Warren points out is that it’s only under ACA Mitt’s hypothetical consumer will have the ability to “fire” his insurer if he doesn’t like the service.

    right now, under our current system, the consumer can’t – and because Mitt vows to repeal the ACA, Mitt will be making sure of that.

  107. 107
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I’m sure someone has said this, but the idea that buying health insurance in the “free market” is like picking a cell phone service or hiring a plumber is pretty fucking stupid.

  108. 108
    Violet says:

    @mistermix:
    Fallows is absolutely right. No normal person likes firing someone. It’s an awful thing to have to do. Add that statement to the image of him standing with his rich cronies while money flies around them and you’ve got the perfect image for who Romney really is.

  109. 109
    General Stuck says:

    Well, just got back from my self imposed blog hiatus, and come by to check on the troll asylum known as Balloon Juice. , and see I missed the great nun raping epic and ABL’s departure.

    They ought to name a hurricane Glenn, next season, in honor of that dudes extraordinary ability to wreck every fucking thing in his path. I just hope your adoration for the guy is worth it John Cole. It seems quite insane to me.

    I’ll be at my defunct blog, talking to myself. Easier on the nerves.

  110. 110
    dogwood says:

    I don’t think Dems are going to have to use the quote. Late nite comedians and Comedy Central will see that it gets plenty of attention.

  111. 111
    Ron says:

    Maybe “I like to fire people” is out of context, but it shows a lack of touch to talk about wanting to “fire” your insurance company when most people are stuck with whatever health insurance provider they can get through their employer.

  112. 112
    MikeJ says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    The reason for the naval gazing is that the left has itself bought into the idea that it is the mature, fair side to the point that it cannot see when that is the wrong position to take.

    Or as Robert Frost said, “A liberal is someone who won’t take his own side of an argument.”

  113. 113
    amk says:

    Typical self-defeating, holier-than-thou, preachy leftist crap from drum. Politics is a gutter fight kevin. People with pearls should stay out of it.

  114. 114
    jl says:

    @danimal: I see your point, but if Drum is spending his analyst time trying to game out what Romney meant to say given the context, and issuing his analyst recommendation that Romney be given a pass when he says weird things, I disagree with Drum’s analysis.

    Romney did not say ‘shop with your feet’ or ‘take advantage of competition to switch companies’. He said ‘I like to able to fire people’.

    If he did not mean the plain words, then he cannot express himself, and even you impute the alternative meaning, he is not supporting policies that will allow people to take advantage of competition.

    So, no pass for, or defense of, or explaining away, Romney quotes for me.

  115. 115
    Hill Dweller says:

    Huntsman went on CNBC and said Romney’s love for firing people made him “unelectable”.

  116. 116
    JGabriel says:

    @LT:

    Trying to twist this into “Oh Oh, what he actuall ymeant is he REALLY REALLY LIKES TO FIRE PEOPLE FROM JOBS!” is reaching nonsense.

    You want to be fair to Republicans? To someone running for the presidential nomination of the GOP? To the kind of person who fires people just so he can sell off corporate divisions at increased prices?

    Look, when you’re talking about Republican politicians, the most important thing to remember is that all they want to do to Democrats, progressives, lefties, and anyone expressing a non-wingnut opinion is non-consensually sodomize them and put a bullet in their head.

    For FSM’s sake, it’s in the first verse of the GOP theme song:

    Ass-rape and murder and sick children dying,
    Firing people, insurance denying,
    These are a few of our favorite things!

    .

  117. 117

    @Hill Dweller:

    Huntsman went on CNBC and said Romney’s love for firing people made him “unelectable”.

    Well that’s it then. The Republicans have piled on so the Left can just step aside and pass the popcorn.

  118. 118
    MattMinus says:

    I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep people healthy.

    Really, Mitt? Sounds more like you want to make sure that there’s no chance that actual people ever have anything resembling leverage over your preferred corporation people.

    Also too, I would use the sound byte and play it for larfs in attack ads. Have a mock interviewer ask what his economic policy is and he responds ” I like being able to fire people.” Ask what his hobby is, and so forth and keep playing the clip.

    When he objects, you can play it off his robotic inhumanity. “HAHAHA dumb android is responding seriously towhat was obviously a joke.”

  119. 119
    kuvasz says:

    The problem for progressives today is that unlike 100 years ago the majority of people who were on the Left actually worked at hard labor for a living. Today that segment of the political spectrum is filled by a lot of dilettantes who think that marching down a street for a cause is hard work.

    Just say from the looks of the pantywaisted shit that Kevin Drum writes he has never spent a day working in a coal mine, steel, or auto plant or textile mill, or farm doing hard physical labor. He knows about as much about the driving forces of the class struggle in America as a gopher.

  120. 120
    Raven says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: Shit, who the fuck are you?

  121. 121
    penpen says:

    This is why I love DougJ:

    How did so much of the left descend into this kind of dickless navel-gazing? Because you know this is pretty typical of the tote-bag crowd. I’m glad Mike Royko isn’t alive to see all of this.

    How do so many of his posts descend into gleeful shit-stirring and meta-commentary? Because I know this is pretty typical of his front page posting. I’m glad I’m alive to see myself post this comment.

  122. 122
    Danny says:

    @kwAwk:

    What you’re saying it’s possible being a huge slut and voting republican?

  123. 123
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MildlyAmusedRainbowPerson:

    And they have to be very careful about blindly following a Commander-in-Chief that really does not have the best intent for our military.

    If you said this in reference to the deserting coward, who sent over four thousand of our military members to their deaths, and many thousands more to maiming, in a pointless war of aggression to make him feel better about his position vis a vis his father, Allan West would be among the first to scream treason.

  124. 124
    jl says:

    @kuvasz: Wait, you aren’t saying gophers are elitist pantywaists are you?

  125. 125
    Violet says:

    OT – The NBC show “Rock Center” is doing a segment on the “Mexican Romneys” tonight. No idea what the angle will be, but interesting they’re doing it now. Are they trying to paint him as an “illegal Mexican” or talk up his Latino roots to get the Latino vote or burnish his “immigrant” credentials?

  126. 126
    Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937 says:

    I like to fire up a bowl. Is that so wrong?

  127. 127
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Violet: NBC better explain their reasons for fleeing to Mexico(avoid anti-polygamy laws).

  128. 128
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @General Stuck: Hey, Stuck! Been a long time!

  129. 129
    MikeJ says:

    @jl: I wonder if he patronizes bunny rabbits.

  130. 130
    Raven says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I was gonna say that!

  131. 131
    KS in MA says:

    @j: Ah, Royko! That’s a lovely story. Not the column (which was funny, of course)– the thought that it gave the son of the deceased a laugh.

  132. 132
    Raven says:

    geaux tigers!!!!!!

  133. 133

    @Violet:

    That reminds me, I really miss “Big Love.”

  134. 134
    rikyrah says:

    I don’t give a rat’s ass about folks taking Willard ‘ out of context’.

  135. 135
    Raven says:

    “the land of the weeeeeeee
    and the home of the brave. . . . “

  136. 136
    Rosali says:

    When my cable service was sucking, I switched companies. I didn’t fire anyone because Comcast did not work for me. It’s a reflection of Mitt’s thought process that he thinks that everyone who provides him a service, works for him. I’m sure he’s the type of jackass who calls employers when he thinks he received bad service and tries to get the boss to fire the worker. “My waitress last night kept us waiting 5 mins for the bill. This is unacceptable service and you should fire her.”

  137. 137
    Raven says:

    A thread for that dog Orange Bowl and none for the National Championship? A Pox on your house.

  138. 138
    jl says:

    Current headline at TPM

    No more Mr. Nice Newt
    Gingrich Goes Ballistic On Pretty Much Everyone

    Let’s all watch for our own personalized attack ads, when that can be done without violating commenter confidentiality, of course.

    The anti Tunch ad should be good. Newt is currently on an anti fat cat jag, I hear.

  139. 139
    Gus says:

    @LT: Some places do give choices. My wife had the option of spending about $500 a month for decent coverage or something like $300 a month for ridiculously horseshit coverage. That was for herself. Family coverage would have made it much more expensive Fortunately my company is run by small business people who are real mensches, so we get really good coverage for the whole family at a very reasonable rate, which is HUGE because she was just diagnosed with MS. If, God forbid, I lost my job, we’d be fucked. Her medication without insurance is going to be about $30k a year.

  140. 140
    Mike in NC says:

    O T – Former Gingrich spokesperson and all-round rat bastard Tony Blankley died today of cancer at age 63.

  141. 141
    JGabriel says:

    @Rosali:

    I’m sure he’s the type of jackass who calls employers when he thinks he received bad service and tries to get the boss to fire the worker. “My waitress last night kept us waiting 5 mins for the bill. This is unacceptable service and you should fire her.”

    “After my shopping servant came home with the household groceries last night, we discovered on the receipt that we were overcharged 35 cents for the sturgeon caviar. We demand that you fire checkout person #17, and reimburse us $12,000 for time and damages.”

    .

  142. 142
    dollared says:

    @Tonal Crow: Sorry. Whatever it f*#&ing takes. Canada can’t hold all of us who need jobs and health insurance, and I don’t give a sh#$t about your integrity. I really don’t.

  143. 143
    cmorenc says:

    @Ruckus:

    So what’s the downside for him? Yes for normal people (non douchebots) firing is hard on either side. For mittens? Probably not so much.

    Part of why it wasn’t hard for Mittens is that his role at Bain never involved any of the direct, dirty work of actually firing people that resulted directly from his role as a vulture capitalist raiding companies’ assets for huge profits to himself.

  144. 144
    JGabriel says:

    @jl:

    Newt is currently on an anti fat cat jag, I hear.

    Aha! Proof that Newt is a blood-sucking vampire: clearly it’s years since he’s seen himself in a mirror.

    .

  145. 145

    If you’re a big fan of the “both sides do it” excuses then by all means advocate doing something because the other side does it. Make good and sure that you don’t have a leg to stand on when you call the GOPers lying sacks of shit.

    Politics ain’t nice and it ain’t for the weak of heart is true. That sure the hell doesn’t mean you can’t pick and choose your ammunition and put your shots on target.

  146. 146
    stevestory says:

    I’m all for having liberal demagogues who run wild, take things out of context for political gain, etc.

    But I don’t want to read them.

    I want to read people like Drum, who will have an honest discussion and not try to mislead me.

  147. 147
    dollared says:

    @kuvasz: This. A thousand times this. And I’m not sure Hubert Humphrey ever dug a ditch, but he sure as hell knew that 60 year old ditch diggers cannot wait until age 70 for Medicare and SS to kick in.

    Fu#k the moderates.

  148. 148
    Mnemosyne says:

    @geejayeff:

    The guy was born to power and he likes it. It’s how he understands his relationship with the world. He’s the man that does the firing and everyone else is there to earn another day without a pink slip. Hey, I’d like it too if I was one of the .001% and had the power to fire anyone that I didn’t like. But if I thought that saying so was a way to relate to everyday working people or to illustrate a point about how nice it is to have choices, I’d be wrong.

    QFT. When I switched my insurance from Kaiser Permanente to Cigna, I didn’t think I was “firing” them. You can’t “fire” a whole company.

    This is another failed attempt by Romney to talk like a normal person.

  149. 149
    Joel says:

    @LM: I cant speak for DougJ, but most people seem to interpret Kevin Drum’s post as concern trollery. I happen to agree.

  150. 150
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rosali:

    It’s a reflection of Mitt’s thought process that he thinks that everyone who provides him a service, works for him.

    This, too.

  151. 151
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @dollared: Didn’t the ’68ers rail against Hubert Humphrey as a clueless establishment figure?

  152. 152
    MikeMc says:

    “We lefties should have more integrity than to stoop to stuff like this”. Drum has just expressed why lefties, so often, lose elections. This is a perfect, as James Carville would say, throw him an anvil moment. Seriously, though, I’m concerned about our integrity. Fuck me! Sometimes it’s hard being a liberal

  153. 153
    ThresherK says:

    And: He’s implying that it’s actually fun to shop for insurance.

    When you’re rich as all Mittens, shopping for a lot of things is fun, methinks. Automobiles? Contractors/construction? Business or vacation travel? Dinner or groceries? Clothing?

    Not surprised he’d confusedly add insurance to that mix.

  154. 154
    gogol's wife says:

    @harlana:

    Somebody probably already answered this, but it’s Christie.

  155. 155
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: Wasn’t there an ad campaign with a line like “fire your phone company” or “cable company” or something like that? I think there is actually a kind of counter-fantasy of being a customer who gets the chance to turn the tables on Big Evil Corporation. (Health insurance isn’t like that, of course, because we have a stupid system by which we feel lucky to have a terrible company screwing the life out of us, because it still beats the alternative. That’s why it’s a bad example for Mitt to trot out.)

  156. 156

    @FlipYrWhig:
    Humphrey strangled himself with LBJ’s war policies. As for the rest of it – well, maybe you like where this economy has gotten to? You honestly don’t think the symptoms weren’t already on display?

  157. 157
    The Spy Who Loved Me says:

    I can’t believe that DougJ has the temerity to complain about dickless navel-gazing. Hell, he’s a master at it.

  158. 158
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jl: As Martin said above, Romney’s comment, taken in context shows what an asshole he is. No one, except an asshole, enjoys firing people (even if the person being fired is an asshole). It sucks. The fact that Romney could see it as good way to make his point indicates to me that he certainly doesn’t mind firing people. It means he is entirely lacking in empathy and is an utter and defective douchebag.

  159. 159
    Svensker says:

    @Gus:

    Oh, gee. So sorry to hear that but glad you have coverage. Man, life is tough sometimes.

  160. 160
    gogol's wife says:

    @General Stuck:

    How’s Charlie? I’ve been seeing him in my dreams.

  161. 161
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chuck Butcher: Are you looking for a fight or something? About the legacy of Hubert Humphrey, or about something else? Because I don’t know how you get from my comment to the notion that I’m happy with the economy.

  162. 162
    LT says:

    @Gus: Oy. (Thanks for the info (I might have had a choice like that, but it hardly adds up t a choice like that being talked about here.) More importantly – best to your wife. And to you and those around you. Tough stuff.

  163. 163
    General Stuck says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Charlie is doing most excellent.

  164. 164
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    No one, except an asshole, enjoys firing people (even if the person being fired is an asshole). It sucks.

    When it comes to “services,” which is what’s being talked about, it’s fucking wonderful fun to fire them, if, in the case of insurance companies, a pain in the ass.

    Anybody remember that little “Close your account at Bank America” thing? That was FUN. It was even called “Fire Your Bank“.

  165. 165
    penpen says:

    @The Spy Who Loved Me: More like dickish navel gazing, amirite?

  166. 166
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @LT: My mom really likes the “you just lost yourself a customer” gambit.

  167. 167
    contessakitty (AKA Karen) says:

    Mitt started the war when he took Obama’s words out of context for his ad and REFUSED to pull it. Oh excuse me, his PAC did. So Obama’s PAC can do the same. Turnabout is fair play.

  168. 168
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LT: Fine, nevertheless, it is a remarkably silly statement for a vulture capitalist to make because it does allow the easy pivot to how he made his pile. Largely by firing people. I am guessing he likes it. This was a Kinsley gaffe or a Freudian slip.

  169. 169

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Didn’t the ‘68ers rail against Hubert Humphrey as a clueless establishment figure?

    Yep, they did. The question I’m asking, I suppose, is if you think they were wrong? I don’t, but then OWS came around quite a while later in my history of banging that drum.

  170. 170
    DougJ says:

    @penpen:

    That was funny.

  171. 171
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chuck Butcher: I only brought it up because dollared was invoking Humphrey as a liberal and bidding a fine fuck-you to moderates, while in my estimation Humphrey was, in his day, considered something of a moderate. That probably just goes to show how far the center has slid. I don’t know enough about Humphrey in his own right to have a strong feeling either way.

  172. 172
    Cacti says:

    I feel zero obligation, moral or otherwise, to explain what a lying sack of crap like Romney “really meant” when he said “I like firing people”.

  173. 173
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @WaterGirl: I wouldn’t have nearly as negative a reaction to this if Christie had just left out that offensive and gratuitous “Sweetheart.” The man defines slimitude.

  174. 174
    Cacti says:

    @Violet:

    OT – The NBC show “Rock Center” is doing a segment on the “Mexican Romneys” tonight. No idea what the angle will be, but interesting they’re doing it now. Are they trying to paint him as an “illegal Mexican” or talk up his Latino roots to get the Latino vote or burnish his “immigrant” credentials?

    So how did they spin it?

    Was it “Miles Park Romney fled to Mexico to practice his colorful religious beliefs” or “Miles Park Romney fled to Mexico with his 4 wives to avoid prosecution by US authorities”?

  175. 175
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Violet: Yup, this. A great (and cheap to produce!) 30-second spot would be just that photo, maybe occasionally focussing in on tight shots of the currency hanging out of Mitt’s waistband, and super-tight close-ups of his smirking face, with a sound track consisting of an endless loop of “IliketofirepeopleIliketofirepeopleIliketofirepeopleIliketofirepeople” over and over and OVER again.

  176. 176

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I just missed being able to vote for HHH. That would be because I knew who the hell RMN was and McCarthyism meant something to me. Compared to today’s “middle” HHH would be a flaming Soshulist.

    Was the left of the time correct about where and why we were headed? More so than damn near anybody since. It does involve a bit more than disliking the hair to find out what was being warned against.

  177. 177

    Why hate Drum for speaking the truth? Start quoting people from the other side out of context and you become every bit the dick they’ve become…and, you take away your right to criticize them the next time they do it.

  178. 178
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Cacti:

    New children’s book, with apologies to Heather Has Two Mommies: Mitt Has Four or Five Grannies.

  179. 179
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @General Stuck:

    I’m sorry.. gogol’s wife and I require photographic evidence.

  180. 180

    @SiubhanDuinne: Defines slimitude? There’s nothing slim about him.

  181. 181
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Gus: working backwards through the comments so just saw this. That just sucks, I am so terribly sorry. I hope the insurance you have provides you with medical services that are both effective in dealing with the disease and supportive of you and your wife as you grapple with the implications. And of course I hope it is a mild form of MS that is treatable/controllable and that engenders the minimum amount of disruption in your lives.

  182. 182
    Gus says:

    Thank you SiubhanDuinne, LT and Svensker. Her prognosis is quite good, but it’s still a blow. They’ve made great strides in MS drugs. MS is very unpredictable, but she can expect to lead a normal life for the foreseeable future.

  183. 183
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Heh, I was trying to figure out how to spell it. Slimeitude? Slimytude? Slymitude? Anyhow, the epitome of sliminess.

  184. 184
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: As of this minute, I am stealing the term “vulture capitalist” and making it mine own.

  185. 185
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Gus: I hope you’ll let her know, if she doesn’t know already, that there’s a whole big messy community of intimate strangers out here who are all pulling hard for her.

    And sending {{{hugs}}}

  186. 186
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I don’t believe I coined it, so go right ahead.

  187. 187
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Gus: All my best thoughts as well.

  188. 188
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Thank you. Notice to whomever coined the phrase:

    As of this minute, I am stealing the term “vulture capitalist” and making it mine own.

    You have been fairly warned.

  189. 189
    Not Sure says:

    @HRA: My company has reduced the number of choices for health coverage to one. Good thing my other half works for someone else.

  190. 190
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Rosali:

    I’m sure he’s the type of jackass who calls employers when he thinks he received bad service and tries to get the boss to fire the worker. “My waitress last night kept us waiting 5 mins for the bill. This is unacceptable service and you should fire her.”

    Perhaps he has people who do this sort of thing for him.

  191. 191
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Of course, this is wildly out of context. What Romney really said was

    One would think the whole point would be that most people would not express any opinion of any sort by using the phrase “I like being able to fire people”, including their opinion of firing people

  192. 192
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Bill Arnold: How would you like to be the waitstaff in the diner serving the four MiniMitts a chocolate milkshake to share while they’re waiting for primary results? Bet that’s some great-paying gig, eh?

  193. 193
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Most people who aren’t complete assholes.

  194. 194
    AA+ Bonds says:

    So yes, Kevin Drum is a dumbshit

  195. 195
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I believe the accurate statement for Romney would probably be,

    “I would feel screamingly insecure if I were ever in my life in a situation where I could not fire people. Suicidal, even, I’d just jump the fuck off a bridge.”

  196. 196
    Montana says:

    You are right, Drum is a bore and a drag. He is the Chunky Bobo of the left.

  197. 197
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I think the context is exactly what makes the statement.

    Mitt Romney attempted to draw an analogy to choosing health insurers (we don’t know how this works since our assistants handle it) by using that common experience all Americans share, whether Mitt Romney or Mitt Romney’s dad: the joy of firing thousands of American workers on a whim

  198. 198
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @AA+ Bonds: I accept your analysis yet suggest that nothing in it negates his simply being an asshole as well.

  199. 199
    kc says:

    DougJ, aren’t you a Somerby fan?

  200. 200
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Oh yes, but on top of that, he also doesn’t have the things in his brain that would allow him to ever not be an asshole about anything, on the off chance he chose to try to not be an asshole

    He thinks firing people and his Parisian houseboy and personal chefs and so on are relatable things that will help him connect – he has no real experience of life as an American and when he goes off script he is on Mars

  201. 201
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @AA+ Bonds: I had to read it three times, but, yeah, that too.

  202. 202
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Honestly I think Romney plays from a book that up until very, very recently was a road to the heart of Republicans and rightist “independents” alike: sadistic power fantasies of acquiring wealth and floating off into the sky and never having to smell the smell of your own shit again

    The sort of delusion where if you work hard enough for your boss to get his dick reddened by a riding crop in Reno, he will finally remember your name

  203. 203
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Are there places in Reno that specialize in such things? I learn so much at this blog.

  204. 204
    DanielX says:

    @Southern Beale: Got that right – due to some ill health (unfortunately) afflicting my spouse, I’ve been having to carry out her shopping duties at Walmart recently for staples – canned goods, flour, paper towels, like that. I regard shopping of any kind as torment, and having to go to Walmart and deal with the freak show that comprises Wally World’s customer base on Friday evenings makes me all twitchy. The idea of spending any part of my life shopping for insurance is about as appealing as using Tobasco sauce as mouthwash. Like Mitt Fucking Romney has ever shopped for anything that cost less than $10,000. He has people who do that for him…actually, like Mittens has ever had to comparison shop for anything. Mitt Romney knows no more about what life is like for the average citizen in these yere Yewnited States than any of his spawn know about humping a SAW in Anbar province (Nephi forbid!). It’s not difficult to see why people don’t like him, it’s very simple – he’s an asshole on a Biblical scale.

  205. 205
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    They are also opening some whorehouse where the lady will dress up like a Star Trek for you or whatever, a science fiction dick-pleasing palace

  206. 206
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @AA+ Bonds: ‘Tis a pity that in many ways I am a man of simple, if refined, tastes.

  207. 207
    Unsympathetic says:

    Why not have the policy “Do whatever they do right back at them?” Seriously. If Real Murkans can’t/won’t tell the difference – just win, baby.

  208. 208
    dww44 says:

    @Kathy in St. Louis: Talking about the Willie Horton stuff, did anyone else hear Chuck Todd say on the Lawrence O’Donnell show (tonight’s show;less than an hour ago)that Al Gore was the first person to deploy the Willie Horton stuff against Dukaikas? I don’t recall ever hearing that before and wonder if it’s true.

  209. 209
    Darnell From LA says:

    This is the great weakness of liberals: The desire to be ‘ethical losers’, while the other side beats up to a pulp because they are unfettered by the same hang ups that kept Dems like McGovern and Dukakis in the dog house.

    Fuck him.

  210. 210
    Darnell From LA says:

    @Gust Avrakotos: I will tell you this: as someone who has worked in middle management, and actually fired more people than I can remember, the words “I like to fire people” in ANY fucking context have never passed by lips. Period. I mean, really. How many people say they “fired” their cell phone company? Or “fired” their bank? That’s not the context that statement holds in Willard’s brain. (His “Brain Capital”. See what I did there?)

    Nobody in the middle class talks like this. Mitt has eliminated more jobs than most middle class people have eaten eggs. And the words “I like to fire people” are obviously part of his lexicon. Deal with it. Fuck you, Willard.

  211. 211
    dollared says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Try this one on:

    In 1974, along with Rep. Augustus Hawkins of California, Humphrey authored the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, the first attempt at full employment legislation. The original bill proposed to guarantee full employment to all citizens over 16 and set up a permanent system of public jobs to meet that goal. A watered-down version called the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act passed the House and Senate in 1978. It set the goal of 4 percent unemployment and 3 percent inflation and instructed the Federal Reserve Board to try to produce those goals when making policy decisions.

    From Wikipedia. HHH was in the wrong on the war, but he was the best friend a working man ever had.

  212. 212
    gaz says:

    @dww44:

    Talking about the Willie Horton stuff, did anyone else hear Chuck Todd say on the Lawrence O’Donnell show (tonight’s show;less than an hour ago)that Al Gore was the first person to deploy the Willie Horton stuff against Dukaikas? I don’t recall ever hearing that before and wonder if it’s true.

    Seriously? Aren’t we past the point where we can give any TV bobblehead any benefit of any doubt? Not yet?

    Honestly, I don’t know if it’s true. But if someone on a “teevee n00ze” program said it was, I would believe they were lying until I knew they weren’t. And if they weren’t, well, THEN I’d be suspicious that that truth was dropped so as to distract viewers or provide cover for something far more … unseemly that was going on.

  213. 213
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @dollared: Tell Chuck Butcher. He seems to have an opposing view.

  214. 214
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @dww44: If I remember my Somerby/Daily Howler, it’s not true, although I think the reason it isn’t true is because Gore brought up the prison furlough program in general but not Horton in particular.

  215. 215
    Frankie T. says:

    You guys are flaying Kevin Drum over this? You should worry more about stumbling into a circular firing squad than some dickless navel gazing.

  216. 216
    moderateindy says:

    @Cassidy:
    Sadly , I must agree with Cassidy on this. And it truly pains me because I have always taken Tonal Crow’s position that we don’t need to revert to the tactics of the right wing. We do have enough real crap against Romney and the right that just pointing out there actual crazy ass positions should be sufficient. But into today’s media climate nuance and explanations are near useless. Simple as talking points and bumper sticker slogans seem to be the only thing that gets through to the less than interested or informed voter. Stupid crap like claiming a guy said he liked firing people resonates much better than trying to explain what Mitt did at Bain Cap. Regrettably, it has come to the point that perhaps we should embrace the both sides do it paradigm. Hell, it’s already the media’s favorite meme. If you are already catching the blame for it, why not actually do it?
    I abhorred the way they twisted Kerry’s joke about Bush not studying, and being informed, being the reason we were stuck in Iraq, and pretended he was actually insulting the troops and saying if you’re uneducated and ignorant you end up having to join the military and get stuck in Iraq. Basically, this is what we are doing here with this quote. But at some point you have to quit bringing a knife to a gun fight. Let’s just be honest, and admit what we are doing. What I find more distasteful than using such BS tactics are the people that are attempting to justify what they know is standard right wing perfidy, with the ridiculous argument that Romney really meant to say that he liked to fire people. Shut up, no he didn’t. If that’s what ya need to tell yourself so you can pretend you’re not engaging in standard right wing garbage, well, whatever gets ya through the night. I, on the other hand, admit my transgression of hypocrisy, and engaging in behavior I dislike, and most of my justification comes from the age old wisdom of “Mom Mitt Started It”. At some point I have to recognize that while I would love stick to the golden rule to always treat others the way you would like them to treat you, sometimes you have to treat others the way they actually treat you. I only have four cheeks, and after having turned all of them I was promptly kicked in the groin. So maybe it’s time to buy a cup and start kicking back.
    It becomes the oldest question politicians have to face. Do you trade part of your soul for victory? The idealist in me says no, never. The pragmatist says it depends what’s at stake.

  217. 217
    Suffern ACE says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Not one of Gore’s finest moments, regardless of the Horton image; but then an easy score since Senators never have to risk pardoning anybody and later having it blow up in their faces. It’s a pretty safe line of attack.

  218. 218

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Compared to today’s “middle” HHH would be a flaming Soshulist.

    hmmm

  219. 219
    vanmet says:

    Doug J,

    where the f’k do you get off “hating” Kevin Drum? For what? Granted he’s a professional writer, but any random post of his on any given day has A TON MORE substance and actual thought in it than anything I read from you in a month. But, come to think of it, it’s clear why you “hate” him, just like it’s clear who the real dickless navelgazer is. Like you’re some sort of sharp-eyed, far sighted schmuck in comparison? Gimme a break. Projection is the only game all you assholes don’t understand.

  220. 220
    norbizness says:

    Oh no! The Left! I’d better blockquote something big… and quick!

  221. 221
    BrianM says:

    “I like being able to fire people” is a way to sound and feel tough. It’s just a little pathetic because it signals that the speaker isn’t tough at all.

    It’s like seizing the chance to accuse people on your side of “dickless navel-gazing” or of being in “the tote-bag crowd”. Ooh! Snap! Take that, Kevin Drum!

  222. 222
    BrianM says:

    @moderateindy:

    Simple as talking points and bumper sticker slogans seem to be the only thing that gets through to the less than interested or informed voter. Stupid crap like claiming a guy said he liked firing people resonates much better than trying to explain what Mitt did at Bain Cap.

    But going with the “Romney likes to fire people!” attack helps Romney.

    The Republican candidates reflect their base: people who want to feel manly, to feel tough. They’re the ones who’d be kicking ass and taking names (from the comfort of their easy chair.) They’re the ones who liked Romney’s reaction to the idea of closing Guantanamo: “Close it? I’d double it!” The only reason they liked it was: “Fuck yeah! [chest bump]”

    The attack against Romney isn’t that he’s a tough bastard who likes firing people — too many people have a sick secret respect for that kind of faux-macho (I see it in Dougj – I don’t see him writing this post this way unless he’s got the toughness-for-toughness-sake disease). The attack against Romney should go something like this:

    “Romney doesn’t give a fuck about you. You know it. I know it. You know there’ll never come a day when he’d sit in that Oval Office and give one tiny rat’s ass about how his decisions affect real people like you. He won’t like firing you because he wouldn’t even notice firing you. Vote for him, and you’re a sucker voting for someone who’s playing you.”

  223. 223

    […] has some people jumping with glee.  It has others justifying (unfortunately) the context-free narrative-reinforcing interpretation, and maligning those who don't want to […]

  224. 224
    Nick says:

    I disagree entirely with Doug and everyone else bashing Drum on this. I get being frustrated with Drum’s moralism but it’s just strategically wrong to take Romney’s words so blatantly out of context. It will backfire and every network and paper and fake fact checker will fall over themselves to bash Democrats for distorting poor Mitt Romney’s words. It’s not quite Shirley Sherrod in reverse, but it’s the same animal. I can’t deny that I’d be happy to see news media running with the quote on their own (for the reasons Fallows states) but that doesn’t mean Democrats or liberal orgs should jump on him for it. Romney says so much evil shit intentionally anyway – hit him with those statements.

  225. 225
    Tonal Crow says:

    @moderateindy:

    Sadly , I must agree with Cassidy on this. And it truly pains me because I have always taken Tonal Crow’s position that we don’t need to revert to the tactics of the right wing. We do have enough real crap against Romney and the right that just pointing out there actual crazy ass positions should be sufficient. But into today’s media climate nuance and explanations are near useless. Simple as talking points and bumper sticker slogans seem to be the only thing that gets through to the less than interested or informed voter.

    Or course most voters listen mostly to brief talking points and bumper-sticker platitudes. I’ve been arguing that point for years, and also the corollary that we desperately need to create better brief talking points and bumper-sticker platitudes, and to use them relentlessly.

    That does *not* mean that we have to lie.

    Put down that Ring. That way lies madness.

  226. 226
    JR in WVa says:

    Rewind those contradictory quotes, over and over, with “I like to fire people!” between each set of contradictory quotes. Show his mouth moving, use film of him saying it, over and over.

    I was a manager, I fired people who couldn’t do what they were hired to do. It was awful, and I hated doing it. But I only had so many positions to get the project(s) done with, and I couldn’t afford to carry people who couldn’t carry out some part of the big picture. I still get chills about doing it.

    Fortunately, we usually knew in a couple of weeks that someone wasn’t an expert at what we were doing, and let them go immediately, so the projects weren’t threatened, but I still hated doing what I had to do.

    Willard, clearly, enjoys firing people. It may have been a freudian slip, but it was what he meant to say. The context is completely irrelevant.

  227. 227
    Keith G says:

    Shame on you Doug. You appear to be either disingenuous or a fool. By not including more of Kevin’s post you are shaping what others here will perceive to be his intention.

    What was your intention?

  228. 228
    Paul Moeller says:

    C’mon Doug. You can do much better than this.

  229. 229
    Elias says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Chill out.

    This is politics. Not demented but thorough debate. 11-dimensional chess doesn’t work any better for the Republicans than it does the Democrats.

    Take the easy punches when they fall into your lap, have a grand strategy, and see if you can encourage your opponents to make mistakes. And if you don’t know what else to do, kill a pawn. Not much different than 2d chess.

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