Mitt Romney Starring In “Wormhole X-Treme!”

Moving on.

E.J. Dionne makes the excellent case that Rick Santorum’s reckless social extremism is giving Mitt Romney cover for Romney’s own (even worse) reckless economic extremism.  Just because Romney isn’t running around spouting brimstone doesn’t mean he’s any less dangerous for the country, either.

And the candidate who says that he’ll eliminate the deficit does not let on, as a new Tax Policy Center report noted Wednesday, that his tax giveaway would add more than $3 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. Romney talks vaguely about closing loopholes to recoup some revenue, but aren’t “moderates” supposed to see deficit reduction as urgent?

There is a terrible bias in the mainstream media that judges “moderation” almost entirely in relation to positions on social issues such as abortion or gay marriage. The media love these issues because they often involve sex, which everyone likes to read about, and do not demand elaborate explanations, charts or tables.

Go right on social issues, and the extremist charge can’t be far behind. But the media rarely peg an extreme economic conservative as “extreme” because doing so requires tedious math-laden paragraphs. Besides, people in pinstriped suits who are driven by money don’t seem “extreme.”

So here’s a counterintuitive argument: These primaries have damaged the Republican candidates’ images in the short run. But in the long run, they may yet help Romney — if he prevails — because by comparison with Santorum and Newt Gingrich, he seems “moderate,” and his supporters are more “moderate” than the voters backing the other guys. And Romney has been on so many sides of so many issues that pundits can arbitrarily imagine their own Romney.

Shorter E.J.:  If it takes more than 140 characters and doesn’t include a crotch shot, Shiny Object Villagers get bored with it.  Besides, how can econ nerds be extremists?  You know, besides that shrill Krugman guy.

The larger issue is that Romney doesn’t have to pivot at all from his current far right positions as long as Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are saying “He’s not a real conservative!”  Voila!  If he’s not a real conservative, he must be a centrist.  Q.E.D. and all.  As long as Marquis de Mittens here can keep from saying social stuff worse than “Those inner city kids should work as janitors!” and “That baby your rapist left you with is a gift, ladies!” then he can happily continue the work of transferring that slice of the pie the one percent doesn’t have right on up the line.

Not that the Village would complain much about that, either.  Eventually, they’ll just toss his “slide to the right” into the wormhole and say “How could Mitt Romney be an extremist?”  Worked for Bush.  Twice.






35 replies
  1. 1
    campionrules says:

    Tips for the Stargate reference – I think we need more of these in our political discourse.

  2. 2
    MattF says:

    But… Romney is rich, dishonest, amoral, and affect-less. How can he be wrong about economics?

  3. 3
    Steve says:

    By this logic, no Democrat would ever get successfully portrayed as a liberal because we have Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton to make them look moderate. Doesn’t actually work that way.

    Santorum and Gingrich are wingers and they have the track record of wingers. Romney has a fairly moderate track record. He is talking like a winger now and he will presumably try to talk more like a moderate in the general election. If people end up deciding that the moderate Romney is the “real” Romney, I think it will have more to do with his moderate track record than with Santorum and Gingrich giving him cover.

  4. 4
    Catsy says:

    I alarmed my coworkers by LOLing at great length over the post title. Well played.

    I think there is some substance to this argument, but I also think we really are reaching a kind of tipping point where candidates simply can’t get away with that kind of talking out of both sides of their mouths indefinitely. There’s too much audio and video, too much data, and too many people are on the internets.

  5. 5

    Marquis de Mittens

    :-)

    Question:

    Romney seems a bit thin-skinned. I don’t know how well he tolerates criticism. I can imagine Savonarola using the powers of the state to get rid of critics but I’m not sure what Romney would do with people bitching at him.

    What do you guys think?

  6. 6
    ExurbanMom says:

    Off topic, but Connie Schultz is reporting on her Facebook feed that Andrew Breitbart is dead. WTF? Anyone know about this?

  7. 7
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    But the media rarely peg an extreme economic conservative as “extreme” because doing so requires tedious math-laden paragraphs. Besides, people in pinstriped suits who are driven by money don’t seem “extreme.”

    This argument cuts both ways. Yes, it is easier to sneak thru economic extremism in defense of the 1% taking liberties with our national wealth, without ordinary folks noticing what a vice it is, because it is extremely boring. But if doing just that is the whole rationale behind your candidacy, as is the case with Mittens, then the candidate himself is also extremely boring.

    When Mittens gives a speach he is so boring he even sounds bored with himself. That might work against a shitty opponent, but it isn’t going to get the job done against Obama. Romney is the Dementor of GOP politics, whenever he enters the room the audience feels a cold chill as he sucks all the joy and happiness out of them. Should do wonders for the downticket races.

  8. 8
    Martin says:

    Shorter E.J.: If it takes more than 140 characters and doesn’t include a crotch shot, Shiny Object Villagers get bored with it. Besides, how can econ nerds be extremists? You know, besides that shrill Krugman guy.

    EJ isn’t saying that Villagers get bored with it, they’re saying the public is too fucking stupid and uninterested to understand the issue without delivering a 100 level course introduction to it every single time. And if they do provide that introduction, the reader is just going to skip over the column – unless your name is Krugman – he can get away with it.

    And he’s right. Easily 90% of the public do not understand marginal tax rates and AGI. And they actually are impacted by marginal tax rates and AGI. When that’s your starting point, there’s no way, even with Greewaldian length and sourced posts that you can get more than a handful to understand even something like the issues surrounding repatriation of corporate profits. So why waste the ink?

  9. 9
    Yutsano says:

    @ExurbanMom: One thread down has more info. But it’s a trollfest. You’ve been warned.

  10. 10
    Brachiator says:

    E.J. Dionne makes the excellent case that Rick Santorum’s reckless social extremism is giving Mitt Romney cover for Romney’s own (even worse) reckless economic extremism.

    Mitt’s tax proposals sound a lot like Dubya’s. No surprise since a lot of Bushies are now on Team Mittens.

    This stuff is not extreme, but the standard package of the money (as opposed to religious) wing of the GOP.

    And people have been pegging Mitt as moderate ever since he entered the race, mainly because he keeps talking about how he would be a Businessman President. Voters and pundits stop here and don’t examine his views more closely, thinking that someone who promises to focus on the economy and jobs just must be moderate. Unless, of course, he’s a Kenyan Sooshilist.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    When Romney has to face Obama head on, he’s going to miss Santorum and Gingrich very much.

  12. 12
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Worked for Bush. Twice.

    Except Bush doesn’t come across like the guy with the top hat in the Monopoly game like Mittens. Of course the Villagers love give aways for the 1% because they are part of the 1%.

  13. 13
    Schlemizel says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Should do wonders for the downticket races.

    From your lips to His noodley appendages.

    I think you are right. Despite the fact that the Willard will be given as much of the unified backing of the wingnutitory as can be expected the teatard hate him. He is joyless & soulless. couple with the fact that the media does actually hate him (like they did Gore in 2k) I am trying to remain hopeful that he will work his magic & the Dems will regain control of the House & several States too. We will still have the Great Constipation happening in the Senate but there is a chance things might get a little better because of the Willard’s failure.

  14. 14
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    I disagree with Dionne. It’s America’s staggering level of economic illiteracy that gives Romney cover for proposing ideas that, if enacted, would mean the literal ruin of this nation.

    They just do the culture war shit because they love beating up on people who can’t fight back. Party of sadism.

  15. 15
    Zandar says:

    @Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity: Point taken.

    But then again that goes back to the Village maintaining that ignorance.

  16. 16
    Culture of Truth says:

    sex, which everyone likes to read about, and do not demand elaborate explanations, charts or tables.

    You need a spreadsheet to keep track of what Santorum considers natural.

  17. 17

    I don’t think this sort of positioning will actually help Romney. He’s got enough crazy mumbo-jumbo from just the past few months on tape for the Dems to kill him in the fall. He’s pretty much writing the ads for them.

    On that note we have more good news for (insert appropriate GOP antediluvian old man’s name here):

    Billionaires Charles and David Koch have filed a lawsuit against the Cato Institute, which Charles Koch founded in 1974, in a fight for control of the influential conservative think tank.

    Aside from a bit of snow here in northern New England good news just keeps rolling in today.

  18. 18
    Mark S. says:

    test

  19. 19
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    @Zandar: I’m not buying that. The Village in and of itself is pig-ignorant of economic issues, that is obviously true. But Americans themselves tend, as a group, to despise knowledge and science and try to keep themselves as ignorant as possible on any subject that doesn’t involve their own personal gain.

    I don’t hold the Village responsible for issues of ignorance since America seems to like that state just fine without help.

  20. 20
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    There is a terrible bias in the mainstream media that judges “moderation” almost entirely in relation to positions on social issues such as abortion or gay marriage.

    True, that and personality are how nasty old ran partisan and right-wing fuck Alan Simpson has maintained a “moderate” rep for as long as I’ve been following politics, but it’s expanded in recent years. Just yesterday I saw Dick Lugar and Orrin Hatch described as moderates. And I’m sure Susan Collins vote for the Blount amendment will do nothing to harm her status as a treasured moderate. Though it may be good news for Chellie Pingree.

  21. 21
    amk says:

    @Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity: Bingo.

    It’s America’s staggering level of economic illiteracy that gives Romney cover for proposing ideas

  22. 22
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    Billionaires Charles and David Koch have filed a lawsuit against the Cato Institute, which Charles Koch founded in 1974, in a fight for control of the influential conservative think tank.

    @The Ancient Randonneur: Somebody decided to up the stakes in the ongoing circular conservative firing squad. Yay injuries!

  23. 23
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity:

    The Village in and of itself is pig-ignorant of economic issues, that is obviously true. But Americans themselves tend, as a group, to despise knowledge

    Yup, it’s amazing that even with the failure of austerity in Europe and the UK especially, people still won’t listen to Krugman

    @Linda Featheringill: absolutely, he is unused to and does not like being challenged. It will not wear well over the next few months.

  24. 24
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity:

    But Americans themselves tend, as a group, to despise knowledge and science and try to keep themselves as ignorant as possible on any subject that doesn’t involve their own personal gain.

    I think this is going too far. Yes, a small minority of Americans fit this description, but not the majority, regardless of what Polifart may have to say on the subject. Where Americans have a blind spot is with knowledge which has little practical application which they can exercise, except on a very infrequent basis. And let’s face it, there is little that an average person can do with a knowledge of macro-economics on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Basically the only practical thing you can use that info for is to vote once every 2 years.

    Now us politics and policy junkies understand that in-between elections we need to be paying attention to what the politicians and parties are up to, and that does require a practical daily use of macro-econ knowledge. But for better or for worse most Americans just don’t think of politics as something they want to or should have to pay close attention to, except right before an election. The rest of the time they see it as a downer and a drag on their daily lives, a source of mental toxicity which is best avoided. And surveying the dreck and slime that is the daily fare served up by our national news media, I’m reluctant to call them wrong in making that judgement.

  25. 25
    gex says:

    The other explanation for the article is that he would like all of us to stop whining about the Catholic takeover of our social and health care policy. Why are we so MEAN to Catholics and their war on women? Hey look, ROMNEY!

    Cranky today. I hate all these fuckers. And Dionne can just

  26. 26
    gex says:

    The other explanation for the article is that he would like all of us to stop whining about the Catholic takeover of our social and health care policy. Why are we so MEAN to Catholics and their war on women? Hey look, ROMNEY!

    Cranky today. I hate all these fuckers. And Dionne can just recently added himself to the list.

  27. 27
    gex says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Okay, they don’t despise knowledge. They are bored or irritated by it and can’t be bothered with it. Is that any better?

  28. 28
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @gex:
    When it comes to self-governance, most Americans want to put in a part-time effort and get full-time benefits. Hey, who wouldn’t? That’s a nice gig if you can get it. Unfortunately the reality is that it hasn’t worked out so well, and they haven’t connected the dots that “not paying attention most of the time” = “shitty country”.

  29. 29

    Irrelevant. Extremism is not and has never been Romney’s weakness. Romney’s weakness is his absolute lack of charisma. The people who don’t understand economics see a stumbling, desperate fake who fired you because he needed the money to get his fifth yacht repainted.

    Yes, the lack of economic issues being addressed is bad, but it has nothing to do with Romney.

  30. 30
    Jeff Spender says:

    Did any of you see Rachel Maddow’s segment about the far-right drift of the Republican party? It was illuminating, and provided some interesting insight.

    I think this might all be a long-term strategy. If the Republicans know that they’re losing on demographics terms, how can they win long-term? By moving so far to the right, and getting cover from the media, that they shift the middle further right.

    That way, when Democrats actually govern and compromise, the middle positions are actually far-right positions.

  31. 31
    Ken says:

    @campionrules: “Memory hole” from 1984 would have been a better match for the way it’s used in the last paragraph.

    I was excited because I thought for a moment Romney had tried to up the stakes with Gingrich and promised to build a base on Alpha Centauri by the end of his second term. Then I remembered that the Florida primary is over and we will hear nothing at all about space or NASA unless this thing drags on to the Texas primaries.

  32. 32

    @campionrules:

    Thought that was nice obscure Stargate reference- saw that episode via DVR for the first time last week.

  33. 33
    Schlemizel says:

    @Jeff Spender:
    No DUH! Thats been the game all along. Look how successful they have been, Obabma is to the right of Saint Ronald on some issues & still is a commie, pinko, so-shall-ist.

    Even in losing the masters have figured out a way to win

  34. 34
    Darkrose says:

    @campionrules: Wholeheartedly agreed. More Stargate, pls!

  35. 35

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