Don’t need too much persuading, I don’t mean to sound degrading

WTF with Romney considering skipping some debates? Scaring an opponent out of showing up for something is the ultimate bitch slap. Just ask Randy Kuhl or Sue Kelly how it feels to be on the receiving end of that one. And if getting bitch-slapped hurts in a general election, it hurts twice as much in the pistol-by-the-waist, Cristal-by-the-case milieu of contemporary Republican primaries. So this is no surprise:

After last weekend’s two debates in South Carolina, advisers to the former Massachusetts governor had said the candidate hadn’t committed to any more campaign debates. But Romney said Saturday, on the day when South Carolinians are voting in their state’s GOP primary, that he will be at the Tampa debate on Monday, and advisers say he also will participate in the Jacksonville debate on Thursday.

But why were they even thinking about skipping them? I get that Newt cleaned Romney’s clock in the last two, but all Romney has to do is this: (1) keep saying “I don’t apologize for being successful” (with a few references to China, Cuba, soshulism etc.) when they ask about his taxes and (2) counter Newt’s media attacks with his own media attacks or by saying “if you want cheap stunts, vote for Newt, if you want real leadership, vote for me”

This isn’t that complicated.

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83 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    counter Newt’s media attacks with his own media media attacks or by saying “if you want cheap stunts, vote for Newt, if you want real leadership, vote for me”

    Potential meta in that sentence.

    And no Willard won’t do that. Because he CAN’T. He’s fundamentally incapable of that kind of mental flexibility. Especially since the inevitability bubble hasn’t burst yet. Plus he’s arrogant. So arrogant that he just assumes he shows up and people fawn over his ideas. My guess is he’s heard that his whole life.

  2. 2
    Suffern ACE says:

    One thing that 2008 showed is that the public likes it when a candidate behaves erratically. McCain is still climbing in the polls as we speak. It builds confidence.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    efgoldman says:

    The great Charles Pierce’s great daily evisceration of Mittster:

    The lies are also bone-deep in Romney’s campaign. His wife, of all people, told a complete fairy tale here on Friday night about how, “a year ago,” she and Willard “were talking and had the same conversation so many of you have had out there, and we said we thought the country was going in the wrong direction, and I turned to Mitt and asked, ‘Can you save the country?'”
    Okay, now Ann Romney is a very nice lady, and a very brave one, but, honest to god, is there anyone not playing with their toes who believes that Willard Romney stepped into the fray a year ago out of patriotic altruism? Is there anyone not playing with their toes who believes that he he ever stopped running for president after 2008? Hell, the hardcover edition of his campaign book, No Apologies — the book he barbered to make its contents more palatable to a Republican primary audience as a paperback — is almost two years old. The truth simply has ceased to matter in this campaign.

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/p.....ry-6642382

  5. 5
    dmsilev says:

    I get the sense that the Romney campaign has hired Mark Penn as a chief strategist. Once the “you should vote for me because we all know that I’m the inevitable nominee” approach has crashed and burned, it appears that plan B is to run around like a flock of headless chickens and hope that a few tens of millions of dollars in Super PAC negative ads will turn the tide.

  6. 6
    Politically Lost says:

    “This isn’t that complicated.”

    Apparently, for Romnybot tech team the haven’t perfected that alogorythm yet.

  7. 7
    efgoldman says:

    And two really really important GOBP endorsements, also too:

    http://articles.nydailynews.co.....unny-ranch

    http://www.wnd.com/2012/01/my-.....president/

    [If you’re constitutionally unable to click the second link – I don’t blame you – Chuck Norris endorsed Newt. There goes the all-important WoW vote.]

  8. 8
    trollhattan says:

    Willard may be taking a page from Sarah’s(tm) book on how to conduct a campaign. No interviews not with Fox, no debates or if you MUST debate, ignore the questions and replace them with your own questions.

    Should work just fine for him and I’ll wager Greta VanXenu(tm) has time in her schedule to become Mitten’s, uh, handler.

  9. 9
    aimai says:

    I think there is one irreducible in any campaign–the candidate. I just don’t think Mitt can face the hostile reaction of audiences. He is absolutely not used to it and doesn’t understand it. You can see that Newt, and Obama, feed off the energy of the crowd. They make love to the crowd–Clinton did too–but Romney doesn’t like people en masse and he gets his feelings hurt when they don’t respond to him. He also isn’t used to the call and response quality especially of the Southern Republican style. He is used to lecturing and holding forth in “quiet rooms.”

    aimai

  10. 10
    Montysano says:

    @dmsilev:

    it appears that plan B is to run around like a flock of headless chickens and hope that a few tens of millions of dollars in Super PAC negative ads will turn the tide.

    I LOL’d.

  11. 11
    c u n d gulag says:

    They probably gave him his latest upgrade.

    No more Flip-floppy MITT 3.0 – the sloppy, un-empathetic, semi-reasonable seeming robot, with the guilty rich-mans fake smile.

    Get ready world – here comes MITT 4.0!

    MITT 4.0: The smiling, sympathetic-sounding cyborg with an assassin’s heart, a rapier wit, and enough racism, militarism, xenophobia, misogyny, and homophobia to take on Santorum, Newt, and Paul – aka, Dopey, Sleazy, and Doc, and beat them into screaming and shrieking mounds of surrender monkey meat.

    Maybe they’ll have him sing a little too, ala Obama, on top or reciting The Pledge of Allegiance, or “America, the Beautiful.”

    MITT 4.0 – so close to human, less people will be able to tell the difference.

  12. 12
    The Dangerman says:

    When people hear Romney speak live, his numbers trend downwards. When he speaks live, little truths seep out (“I’ll release my tax returns and take the hit AFTER I lock up the nomination” is my personal favorite). When he speaks live, he sounds as real as a 3 dollar bill.

    He’s got the bucks to run a media only campaign, but is a Max Headroom candidate marketable in 2012? Also, he gutted Newt in Iowa; why didn’t he do the same in South Carolina (assuming the polling holds true)?

  13. 13
    Yutsano says:

    @aimai:

    but Romney doesn’t like people en masse and he gets his feelings hurt when they don’t respond to him

    Objection: assumes facts not in evidence. I have yet to see a genuine emotional reaction from Willard at any time. And there’s no evidence he cares for humans in small groups either. The rest of the world only exists for him it seems.

  14. 14
    dmsilev says:

    That debate is going to be fun as hell to watch. If Newt comes in anywhere near where the last set of polls had him for tonight, it’s going to validate a whole slew of anti-Romney messages. He’s vulnerable on Bain. He’s vulnerable on his taxes. He can’t connect with the GOP’s Southern base. Newt will be, all by himself, an entire pack of hyenas tearing at these perceived vulnerabilities.

  15. 15
    lamh35 says:

    DougJ,

    this is soooo OT, but I figure you might actually get a kick outta this.

    The OBAMAM/BIDEN 2012 campaign has released Obama singin Al Green as a ringtone. I kid you not.

    POTUS on your phone

    I honestly don’t know if this is fun of them or not, but hey why the heck not. Someone on TMZ said the campaign shoulda sold it as a ringtone on ITunes and used it to I guess to fundraise or give proceeds to charity. But hey now you can get it for free

  16. 16
    dmsilev says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Also, he gutted Newt in Iowa; why didn’t he do the same in South Carolina (assuming the polling holds true)?

    He tried. Somewhere, I saw a report giving the breakdown of SuperPAC ad spending in SC, and Romney’s SPAC was a factor of 4 or 5 more than any other (and ran to several million dollars). It just didn’t work.

  17. 17
  18. 18

    @efgoldman: OMG! That whole article is so frwakin’ good that Everyone should go read Pierce right now.

    This Republican primary situation is looking very FUBARred right now. Oh, dear FSM! The prayers of so many are manifesting! World without end, Ramen!

  19. 19
    lamh35 says:

    Ummm btw, what happened to the edit capabilities?

  20. 20
    Montysano says:

    @aimai:

    You can see that Newt, and Obama, feed off the energy of the crowd.

    Bill Maher (or one of his guests, can’t remember) made this point last night. At the end of a debate, Newt seems energized; Romney seems drained. This whole process seems to make him miserable, which then begs the question: why is he doing it?

    It reminds me of Obama’s visit to the GOP retreat in January 2010. 100+ Republican’s vs. Obama. Obama was completely relaxed and in control, totally in his element. Like Clinton or Newt, it’s what he was born to do. It’s hard to imagine Romney in the same setting.

  21. 21
    Yutsano says:

    @dmsilev:

    Newt will be, all by himself, an entire pack of hyenas tearing at these perceived vulnerabilities.

    They could seriously ignite the Second Civil War all by themselves. Except this time we might not contest secession. Just let them go their merry way and hold on to the remaining sanity of the US.

  22. 22
    Brachiator says:

    WTF with Romney considering skipping some debates?

    Maybe he needs the time to work on his tax returns.

    @efgoldman:

    The lies are also bone-deep in Romney’s campaign. His wife, of all people, told a complete fairy tale here on Friday night about how, “a year ago,” she and Willard “were talking and had the same conversation so many of you have had out there, and we said we thought the country was going in the wrong direction, and I turned to Mitt and asked, ‘Can you save the country?’”

    I think this is meant also contrast Mrs Romney, who really cares about her country, with Mrs Obama who, in the fetid fantasies of idiots, supposedly does not.

  23. 23
    Angry DougJ says:

    @lamh35:

    I love it.

  24. 24
    kwAwk says:

    Mitt wasn’t planning on going to the Florida debate because he figured the race would be all but over after South Carolina.

    Newt and Santorum were supposed to be gone by today. No point in going to a debate and facing only Ron Paul.

  25. 25

    @lamh35: Our President is the World’s Coolest Leader!

  26. 26
    lamh35 says:

    “Gingrich Took a Month to Rebound, but Here He Is”

    …What a difference a week makes. One good debate performance, another great debate triumph (sparked by a flopped sex scandal attack of the sort that inoculated Bill Clinton in his 1992 presidential campaign) and suddenly Gingrich is back in a big way. The Field projects him to win today’s third-in-the-nation contest, setting up a months-long back-and-forth two-way contest ahead as Gingrich and Romney battle through upcoming state primaries and caucuses (with an ocassional Ron Paul boomlet in the latter, to keep things weird enough). The also-rans have run out of gas. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum just could not get a word in edgewise and probably wishes he had a sex scandal of his own now. Former Utah Governor Rick Huntsman and Texas Governor Rick Perry are now officially out. And Gingrich will now play Itchy to Romney’s Scratchy for the coming weeks and months and then in the end somebody will get blown up and everybody gets to laugh.

    But the real lesson here is that polling is not the most reliable indicator for early presidential primaries and caucuses. It wasn’t four years ago when the pundits and pollsters tried to feed us the “inevitability” of Hillary Clinton’s nomination for president, nor is it this cycle when Politico’s Roger Simon wrote, after the Iowa caucuses that “It’s over. Let’s all head to Tampa” and coronate Romney as the nominee. A lot of people who bet on Romney on Intrade (with a 90 percent supposed chance of winning South Carolina) are likely to be parted with their money tonight because they were foolish enough to believe the mass media hype…

    Read the rest over at the field.

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    OvenMitt is a coward. Fundamentally, that’s what he is. The snivelling shit had to have assurances that his reputation or finances would not suffer if Bain Capital failed to succeed.

    The vile amphibian is eating this cowardly shit alive, and it shows. This is a sign of weakness that only invigorates the vile amphibian.

    This pathetic wuss would get the 3AM call and immediately raise a white flag.

    Ovenmitt is worthless and weak. Now drop and give me twenty!

  28. 28

    @Yutsano:
    I think there are probably people MultipleMitt likes, you know, people from the same “background” sort of thing. I don’t think he’s in the least ready to like people in general.

    I’ve politicked for years and campaigned myself and every politician with a prayer has had that characteristic – they’re ready to like people. Every conversation I’ve had with a sucessful pol carried this – they wanted to like you and wanted you to like them. I don’t care if the person was in a three piece suit limmoed in or ragged ass work clothes. If you can’t give money or operational help, you’re still a vote.

    I don’t think Romney gets (or maybe resents) that the great unwashed have his future in their hands, they aren’t workers to be dismissed for profit. When the calculations are 200% profit or 15% and keep a work force and 200% wins hands down… Right, I like people…

  29. 29
    smintheus says:

    Actually it would make sense for Mitt to skip the remaining debates. Newt has little more than the debates to draw attention to himself. He has far less money than Romney, he has little organization on the ground. Newt also keeps shooting himself in the foot at campaign stops. His attraction to Republican voters is almost entirely based on his punchy face performances in the debates.

  30. 30
    dmsilev says:

    Another thing to consider is what the whole tax-return thing says about Mitt Romney’s crisis-management abilities. Not that I would need any additional reasons to vote against him, but the way he has handled the whole mess casts real doubt on his ability to manage any sort of crisis that is even vaguely out of his comfort zone.

    In other words, is this the guy you want in charge if (say) Iran tried to close the straits of Hormuz?

  31. 31
    brantl says:

    Mitt isn’t disappointed, he’s just frustrated, he hasn’t been in an environment where he hasn’t had unearned adulation for any significant length of time. I think this comes from being the son of a rich guy and being a Mormon. The republicans gave him lots of strokes as the son of a governor, then a governor, and being part of a cohesive, insular community, he doesn’t get much in the way of disapproval. He’s a victim of his own echo chamber, I betcha.
    NPR had a little bit about him and the Olympics, and I have never heard such a narcisistic approach to running something that is supposed to be a public interest in his own interests. (Tons of souvenir pins that had his face on it.)
    Who would want a souvenir button of someone who looks like an anorexic Hermann Munster?

  32. 32
    dmsilev says:

    @smintheus: He can’t skip the debates, or at least not the two that are scheduled for next week. Skipping out only works if you’re coming from a position of strength, and that’s not where he is right now. If he had skipped this set of debates, “Mitt Romney, wimp” would lead every newscast in the country.

    If he wins Florida on the 31st, then he can think about bailing on the debates, but right now it would be death for him.

  33. 33
    beltane says:

    Think back to the 2008 primaries and how Obama dealt with the Jeremiah Wright business and then try to imagine Romney faced with something similar. How would he handle it? Could he handle it at all, let alone handle it with Obama’s calm fortitude?

    Mitt Romney cannot make the case that he is a leader because he has never in his whole life shown any sign that he is capable of genuine leadership. All this man has ever accomplished is the extraction of wealth from dying companies and the poor souls who labored for them. He is a hyena, not a lion.

  34. 34
    jimmiraybob says:

    “if you want cheap stunts, vote for Newt, if you want real leadership, vote for me”

    But, but….Newt is the leader of cheap stunts. And assuming that the GOP base that’s being played to wants effective leadership in government is a stretch. Newt stirs their long-cherished and deeply held intestinal juices. I might have meant convictions.

  35. 35
    handsmile says:

    @efgoldman: (#4)

    Thanks for the excerpt and link. Certainly did enjoy the use of “barber” as a verb, and the phrase “playing with their toes” was a coffee-spew.

    Also too, I think I speak for everyone here and on every other thread today: “Edit function…here, boy…here, boy…c’mon, where are ya?”

  36. 36
    Keith G says:

    This isn’t that complicated.

    Were there to be a Romney administration, the thing that I find the most frightening is that these folks don’t seem to be that good at anything pertaining to the daily flow of political decision making. Shrub was a fool, but he did have some political instincts and he had a posse that could get things (as often as not the wrong ones) done. I haven’t seen any aptitude for politics at all on Team Mitt.

  37. 37
    smintheus says:

    @dmsilev: Florida is mostly going to be about media buys. Skipping the debates, if that gets them cancelled, would turn that primary into a big money competition pure and simple. That’s Mitt’s strength at this point. So if he had courage and political sense, he would skip them. But sadly for Mittens, he has neither.

  38. 38
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ @ Top:

    But why were they [the Romney campaign] even thinking about skipping them?

    The Romney Campaign thought they’d be leaving SC as the all-but-coronated GOP nominee with a triple-win in the first 3 contests, and a commanding plurality lead over the split Not Romneys. You can skip debates if you’re lead is commanding enough.

    But you can’t skip them if you’re losing or the competition is, in fact, competitive. And now that Santorum won Iowa, and Gingrich will probably win SC, Romney can’t skip the debates because the first 3 contests are split 1-1-1, he is the perceived loser of the last debate, and the race is still competitive.

    .

  39. 39
    Amir Khalid says:

    @dmsilev:
    It seems to me that some recent developments on the US political scene are demonstrating that unlimited money on a politician’s side doesn’t make him invincible. In the presidential primary, the vicious Mitt vs. Noot proxy fight looks like it will damage the eventual nominee in the general election. Scott Brown has way more money on his side than Elizabeth Warren, and he’s the one scared of her. A million people signed the recall petition against Scott Walker, almost as many as voted for him in the election.

    I suspect that up to now Mitt has never been in a close, long-drawn out fight like this campaign is shaping up to be, and his nerve is failing him. I think of Foreman vs. Ali: up to that point, George Foreman had never had to go to six rounds against anyone anywhere, let alone against Ali in tropical Africa; he turned out not to have the stamina or the savvy or the heart to beat Ali.

    Now Mitt’s balls are shrinking, while Noot is surprised and delighted to find the nomination — maybe even the Presidency — actually within reach.

  40. 40
    Michael says:

    @Angry DougJ: Then you’ll love these too.

    Obama sings Aretha

    Obama sings Dionne Warwick

  41. 41
    beltane says:

    @Keith G: Unlike Shrub, Romney can’t glad-hand people to save his life. When I look at him all I see is a badly drawn caricature of John Kerry.

  42. 42
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    OvenMitt is a coward

    He really doesn’t understand his constituency. Pig-headedness is a virtue and that intransigent quality is frequently mistaken for courage. If he would just hang in there, give as good as he gets, he would eventually emerge triumphant. He seems averse to confrontation, timid even. Those are unforgivable sins to his electorate.

  43. 43
    jacy says:

    keep saying “I don’t apologize for being successful”

    Too late, I think. Mitt has already steered his super-fancy yacht into the weeds on this one when he flipped and flopped and wished and washed about tax returns and marginal rates and off-shore accounts. He mighta got some traction if he’d been as big a bald-faced liar about this as he has been about every other thing he lied his ass off about right from the start. But “bold” isn’t really in his weaselly nature. Now anything he says is going to be seen as stonewalling, as hiding something. And any opponent, Republican or Dem, has seen the hole and will drive an icepick into it repeatedly until the bleeding just won’t stop.

    Anyway, I have faith in old Mittens. He’s tone-deaf enough that he’s never going to be able to thread whatever needle-eye might have existed.

  44. 44
    Rathskeller says:

    @dmsilev: all true, but I think you must always include fervent anti-Mormon feeling for any election being held below the Mason-Dixon line. Except for Florida, of course.

  45. 45
    Danny says:

    but all Romney has to do is this: (1) keep saying “I don’t apologize for being successful” (with a few references to China, Cuba, soshulism etc.)

    Maybe the dirt-poor, Sarah Palin faction in SC doesn’t like hearing that from a patrician mormon from Massachusetts who’s paying less in taxes than they do while they’re dealing with 10% unemployment? The Reagan coalition won’t last forever…

  46. 46
    efgoldman says:

    @smintheus:

    Florida is mostly going to be about media buys. Skipping the debates, if that gets them cancelled, would turn that primary into a big money competition pure and simple. That’s Mitt’s strength at this point. So if he had courage and political sense, he would skip them. But sadly for Mittens, he has neither.

    Well, if Newt has half the hyena cunning he seems to, if the debates get cancelled, he buys the time on Fox (maybe splitting the cost with Crazy Ron(r), and they debate an empty chair.

  47. 47
    Rathskeller says:

    wow, still no edit button. hmm.

  48. 48
    Jamie says:

    He’s got a glass jaw.

    Assuming he can control the narrative, he wins. And that works really well when you’re rich and connected – normally, he could.

    But when you are used to controlling things from a pristine, well lighted office, and a wolverine claws into your underpants, you are unprepared.

    This causes doubts about what will happen in the general. At night, the ice weasels come.

  49. 49
    beltane says:

    @smintheus: Florida is a closed-primary state with a Republican base of die-hard lunatic teabaggers who have loved them some Gingrich since forever. As Charlie Crist can attest, money and media buys are not enough to win the support of these people. Romney’s sole asset was that he looked like a winner. Now that he looks like a loser wimp who is afraid of Newt, all bets are off.

  50. 50
    Keith G says:

    @beltane:

    All this man has ever accomplished is the extraction of wealth from dying companies and the poor souls who labored for them. He is a hyena, not a lion.

    Please pass this along to someone who can put it in front of an independent add group. This, plus Perry’s vulture symbolism, can build a Rovian style attack on Mitt’s strongest claim.

    As much as I dislike Rove, I admire the strategic brilliance of relentlessly attacking and demolishing your opponent’s greatest strength; and then let them to try to piece together a new campaign under the pressure of a mortal attack.

  51. 51
    JGabriel says:

    @smintheus:

    Florida is mostly going to be about media buys. Skipping the debates, if that gets them cancelled, would turn that primary into a big money competition pure and simple. … So if [Mitt] had courage and political sense, he would skip them.

    Yes, if Dog On Car was winning. The truth is debates can hurt a front-runner, and there is not much upside because they’re expected to win.

    But you can’t skip them if you’re falling behind, because then it just looks like you’re scared. So Mitt really can’t skip the debates yet. My guess is that Romney’s lackluster performance, so far, means he can’t start skipping the debates unless and until he gets a decisive lead after Super Tuesday.

    .

  52. 52
    efgoldman says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Scott Brown has way more money on his side than Elizabeth Warren, and he’s the one scared of her.

    I’m not sure that’s true. She is raising a lot of early money. Over $$1 million in one day this week.

    Noot is surprised and delighted to find the nomination — maybe even the Presidency — actually within reach.

    Aargh. I will chalk this up to you being 10k miles removed. Newt has no chance in the general. Nobody liked him before…..
    His success today, remember, is with a minority of voters in the most stupidly TeaTard state in the US.

  53. 53
    dmsilev says:

    @smintheus:

    Skipping the debates, if that gets them cancelled, would turn that primary into a big money competition pure and simple.

    Emphasis added. If the debates *aren’t* cancelled, he comes across as a coward afraid to face the man who bested him in South Carolina. That makes skipping the debate a pretty high-risk proposition, since it only pays off if the debate is canceled.

  54. 54
    redshirt says:

    @Rathskeller: I think the anti-Mormon sentiment amongst Wingnuts is over rated, only because it’s trumped by the anti-Democrat/anti-Obama sentiments.

    They’d vote for a Mormon if given no choice. Maybe not enthusiastically, but they’d do it. Heck, Catholics are A-OK now apparently!

  55. 55
    smintheus says:

    @efgoldman: True, Newt would try to make hay with it. But passing on the umpteenth debate is a one-day story, at most. Few people tune in except political junkies, fewer care. In Florida, Republican voters are so pre-occupied with that whistling sound coming from the hearing aid, or figuring out how to make the menu screen go away, that they would barely notice if there weren’t any debates for them to tune out. The political ads would decide the contest.

  56. 56
    Rathskeller says:

    @redshirt: I would heartily agree with you if we were talking about the general election — but not in a GOP primary. Romney v. Obama could get some evangelical votes, but Romney v. Newt v. Santorum v. et al. will lose a major fraction due to that very strong religious feeling. This is all complicated by the incompetence or absurdity of the GOP candidates this year, but I think the effect will be more apparent now that we’ve lost the most ridiculous candidates who had a shot at the evangelical vote (Bachman, Cain, Perry) and the most religious folks can concentrate their votes.

  57. 57
    fasteddie9318 says:

    DougJ, for your own sanity, don’t go read Drum today.

  58. 58
    ChrisNYC says:

    I saw one of his surrogates on tv last night explaining the bad responses on taxes, Bain, etc with “he’s an extremely private person.” Yeah, that’ll work.

  59. 59

    @beltane:

    He is a hyena, not a lion.

    This. Mitt isn’t a vulture. Vultures are honest working birds who perform a disgusting but absolutely necessary job. (And I think this is true of actual vulture capitalists, too. There really are dead and dying companies that need someone to come in, clean house and sell off the pieces to someone who can use them.)

    Mitt is, indeed, a hyena. Hyenas are lunatic, vicious and vile creatures. And, like Mitt, they have a weird, off-putting fake laugh.

  60. 60
    Jamie says:

    In Florida, Republican voters are so pre-occupied with that whistling sound coming from the hearing aid

    I’m still convinced that the best use of Florida is a massive public work project to tow it around South America and use it as a crutch to prop up Califorinia, to prevent it from becoming its own country in the inevitable earthquake.

    Full disclosure: I live in San Francisco, and would personally benefit if we became our own country, so I wouldn’t indirectly be financing Jesus-dinosaur museums in Kentuky.

  61. 61
    handsmile says:

    Angry DougJ:

    Not to be too annoying, but any word on the next meeting of the…you know….

  62. 62
    Keith G says:

    @fasteddie9318: Just as a side comment, I noticed that Doug’s slap around of Drum (two weeks ago) seemed quite incongruous, as Doug used as his centerpiece a block quote that was incomplete and edited out of context.

    But he is “Angry”, so maybe that follows the nym.

  63. 63
    ChrisNYC says:

    I agree with the entitlement argument that lots of people are making. And I think there’s a darker side to it where he constantly reminds people of his stature (via his money money money) in a very sort of master of the universe alpha male take your place below me way. But he also is supposedly a data fanatic. I think he and his team worked out what they needed in terms of turnout, organization, etc and look at the town halls, debates, etc as sort of silly mushy formalities that don’t count. Surprise!

  64. 64
    ChrisNYC says:

    Imagine running for pres and seeing this story:

    “Doubts creep in as an awkward Mitt Romney tries not to lose the GOP nod”

    It’s like tsunami pointed at Mitt, that headline.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/ca.....ot-to-lose

  65. 65
    Amir Khalid says:

    @efgoldman:
    I may be wrong about this, being as you say 10,000 miles away, but isn’t Scott Brown with the big-money superPACs on his side?

    As for the Noot thing: yeah, I did put that in for shock value. I understand full well that the Republican party establishment dreads to see him in power. And that for those outside the Republican base, he is easier to despise than to like. But Noot is surely vain enough to take a victory in South Carolina as proof that he can be President. In this cycle, Republicans less impressive than he have believed that of themselves; so why shouldn’t Noot, who’s gotten farther than any of them, believe the Oval Office beckons for him?

  66. 66
    Mike in NC says:

    Mitt is going to hire Betty White to read his talking points for him at the next debate. His opponents wouldn’t dare pick on a sweet little 90-year-old lady (well, Newt would) and it would play to the senior citizens of Florida.

  67. 67
    Brachiator says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    OvenMitt is a coward. Fundamentally, that’s what he is. The snivelling shit had to have assurances that his reputation or finances would not suffer if Bain Capital failed to succeed…. This pathetic wuss would get the 3AM call and immediately raise a white flag.

    I totally agree that Mitt is a coward. It puzzles me that some non crazy conservatives I know see him as the best the GOP has to offer. He reminds me more and more of the character Gibbis, from the Doctor Who episode, “The God Complex,” a species that has evolved to be perfect cowards.

    Oh, and I also did love Gibbis, the cowardly alien from the most conquered planet in the galaxy, who’s in charge of putting up nice trees so the invading forces have some nice shade to march in. He’s a bit of a one-joke character, but it’s a very, very good joke. “I just want to go home and be conquered and oppressed!” Heh.

    Mitt has mastered phony bluster, but you just know that there is nothing behind it.

  68. 68
    wrb says:

    @efgoldman:

    Newt has no chance in the general.

    I wouldn’t be so sure.

    I favor Newt over Romney because I think Willard could be a much more dangerous candidate in the general than others here do (I see the “what the country needs now is a businessman not a academic/community organizer” as being persuasive for many) and Newt would be weaker than Willard.

    However, if Europe tanks and unemployment starts rising again- a president Newt would not be unlikely.

  69. 69
    Danny says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Drum’s been getting worse and worse lately. The past week he did a hit piece on HSR in California and then came out against trying to do something about Citizens United! I think he might have gotten some funny ideas from Jay Ackroyd.

  70. 70
    efgoldman says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    In this cycle, Republicans less impressive than he have believed that of themselves; so why shouldn’t Noot, who’s gotten farther than any of them, believe the Oval Office beckons for him?

    It is common among politicians, to look in the mirror and say “[feckless candidate of choice] did it, why not me?”
    But no political race in the world takes the money, stamina, organization and luck that running for the US presidency does. Sometimes (often?) the prospective candidate is too ignorant, or too ego-driven, to know that.

    Newt is sui generis. I (and many other people) think he didn’t really get into the race to win it, but to make his grift more visible in a year when the presidential race sucks all the energy out of most other political news (see Snowbilly, for instance, for what can happen when the grift falls by the wayside). All that’s happened the last few weeks is pure gravy to him. The fact that he’s doing the Dems job for them – and also that he’s coming across as the stone racist hyena he’s always been – doesn’t matter, if he can sell enough books, and book enough speaking engagements, to keep Calista’s Tiffany account up to date.

  71. 71
    Keith G says:

    @Danny:

    ..then came out against trying to do something about Citizens United!

    I am sorry, I hate to be a bugger on this, but the above statement is not correct. Kevin said he doubts that he could support one specific attempt at remedy.

    He did type:

    ..would this be a good idea on a public policy level? I’d be shocked if someone could convince me that it was. As near as I can tell, just about every campaign finance reform measure of the modern era has either (a) had no real effect, or (b) backfired, making things objectively worse. The idea that we can predict the effect of yet another proposal well enough to set it in stone in the Constitution strikes me as extremely unlikely.

    I appreciate his caution as there may be a few paths short of amendments that could impact campaign spending in useful ways.

  72. 72
    J says:

    in the pistol-by-the-waist, Cristal-by-the-case milieu of contemporary Republican primaries.

    DougJ, I have to say, I am constantly impressed by your ability casually to work Lauryn Hill lyrics into your posts. Bravo.

    Enjoyed the great Jimi vid you posted last night too.

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    One of the most disheartening things about our political culture is showcased in the GOP primary process. People aren’t running for office so they can make life better for their fellow citizens, they’re running for office to enrich themselves, either in the pure monetary sense or simply to boost their own egos. A solid 27% firmly believes that the purpose of electing their candidates is to inflict pain on some despised “other” group. It’s so negative, all the time.

    Yes, I have a sad. Dunno what’s going to be done about it. I’ve been accused (and probably rightly so) of being one of those “half empty” sort of people, as opposed to the more sunny “half full” types, but damn, this shit is so depressing, even as it is entertaining to some degree. Watching OvenMitt squirm is way too enjoyable a sensation.

  74. 74
    Danny says:

    @Keith G:

    W/r/t Citizens United there’s only two remedies: SCOTUS overturning it or an amendment. While getting better people on SCOTUS is imperative, the process envisioned by the framers if the constitution isn’t working for the people, is that the people should ask their representatives to amend it.

    From my point of view Kevin was concern trolling one of the few remedies there is, without offering an alternative way forward. Note that he – in the part you quoted – says that in his opinion all attempts by congress to keep money out of politics have failed or even made things worse. Then, when he’s not offering any suggestions of his own, my takeaway is that he’s an advocate for the status quo.

  75. 75
    Jamie says:

    Drum’s been getting worse and worse lately

    No. Drum had always been a classic Demo wonk. This is good and bad- good, in that it is smart to think about things, disagree, clash, see what works. Bad, because it is not optimized for electoral politics. Just ask family values proponent Newt – say what you will, but the man plays the people like a piano.

  76. 76
    Danny says:

    @Jamie:

    Sure, I see what you’re getting at. But in my mind being intellectually honest and open to try out different ideas on the one hand and effective in the pursuit of progressive policy goals on the other – that’s not an either-or proposition.

  77. 77
    Keith G says:

    @Danny:

    W/r/t Citizens United there’s only two remedies: SCOTUS overturning it or an amendment.

    In that specific case, I agree.

    I wonder if controls of spending can be achieved via different tacts. Remember, the right to speech is not absolute and the behaviors supporting even an act of protected speech can be regulated. E.g. Political donations and donations to advocacy groups are not tax deductible.

    Can a donators have to pay a progressive fee on donations over $1000?

    Can there be a wildly progressive tax on incoming individual donations over $5000? A tax on the yearly total receipts. If the Citizens for Free Citizens raises 500 million, let them pay 250 million to the feds.

    Can there be a federal law establishing what a corporation is and is not?

    The above are just baseless musing, but I would like to at least see a two prong attack: 1) See if some remedy can be found in new federal law as 2) An amendment is considered. (but which one?)

    Even though, I see the chances of an amendment passing to be almost nil, like Keven, I do wonder what the unintended side effects of such an change would be.

  78. 78

    An amendment is going to take some real serious thought. It will have to hang together coherently and straight up address unintended consequences. Worse yet, the language will have to be crystal clear and not open to wiggle word evasion. The mess we have is because it is about mucking around in speech, it is something to be real wary about.

  79. 79
    Danny says:

    The above are just baseless musing, but I would like to at least see a two prong attack: 1) See if some remedy can be found in new federal law as 2) An amendment is considered. (but which one?)

    Sure, I’m all for this. What should the amendment look like? First amendment:

    Congress shall make no law […] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press

    I would support an amendment making clear that congress has the right to pass laws regulating political advertising in any way the people see fit. Advertisments =/= freedom of the press and speaking is something human beings do with their mouth.

  80. 80
    Brachiator says:

    @Keith G:

    The above are just baseless musing, but I would like to at least see a two prong attack: 1) See if some remedy can be found in new federal law as 2) An amendment is considered. (but which one?)

    The dissents in the case were strong enough to give hope for a future reversal.

    A dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens was joined by Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor. To emphasize his unhappiness with the majority, Stevens took the relatively rare step of reading part of his 90 page dissent from the bench. Stevens concurred in the Court’s decision to sustain BCRA’s disclosure provisions, but dissented from the principal holding of the majority opinion. The dissent argued that the Court’s ruling “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” The dissent also argued that the Court’s holding that BCRA §203 was facially unconstitutional was ruling on a question not brought before it by the litigants, and so claimed that the majority “changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law.”

    Citizens United was a 5 to 4 decision.

  81. 81
    Danny says:

    @Keith G:

    I wanted to respond to this as well!

    I see the chances of an amendment passing to be almost nil, like Keven

    Why? The constitution is supposed to be amended when it’s imperfect. The wingnuts try to amend it all the time. Starting out by doing a virtual whip count in ones mind is putting the cart before the horse, imo.

  82. 82
    Cacti says:

    Team Romneybot is closing the barn door after the horse is out. You limit access to your candidate BEFORE he’s made a fool of himself. Waiting till afterwards just makes him look like a coward.

  83. 83
    Keith G says:

    @Danny: Indeed. Nothing you said is wrong. Let me add that the requirement of two-thirds of both houses of Congress to start the process will be a very large hurdle unless some sweeping electoral mandate is achieved. Simple majority votes will be extremely difficult as it is, but to my mind will be a bit more likely than the super majorities.

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