I’m Posting as a Real Asshole from Rochester

In a post titled “I’m posting as a faux hipster from Williamsburg”, Jay Rosen points out that the horserace media’s acceptance of the notion that a politician can adopt a politically expedient persona at will has looped back to the candidates themselves:

[…] “Gingrich is running as a Washington outsider” could be seen as bizarre, absurd, farcical, insulting, disqualifying on its fat and false face. But these are relatively “hot” reactions. In punditry the preferred style is cool, analytic, unshockable: savvy.

The purpose of constructing the sentence that way is to delay or defeat the most logical question we can ask about any candidate, which is not what he’s running as, but what he actually is. That journalists are more comfortable with the “as” than they are with the “is” tells us something about the state of truthelling in that profession.

[…] Listen to what Romney says: “The issues I’m running on will be exactly the same. I’m running as a conservative Republican.”

Do you see what he did there? He took the savvy pundit’s view… of himself! […]

This is why John will probably be posting that Rachel Maddow story about Romney’s lies a couple more times. Once you accept the notion that politicians are actors playing roles, pointing out they’re lying is like a movie critic saying that Jack Nicholson is a big fibber.

26 replies
  1. 1
    the fugitive uterus says:

    i’m sorry this first comment is OT, but i just wanted to say i like the new site, ‘cept i miss the little guy in the clown pants.

    oh, and where is the author’s name?

  2. 2
    c u n d gulag says:

    So, Gitt U’R-money accidentally told the truth?

    I love the people who assume that if he wins in November, he won’t be as Conservative as other R candidates.

    He’ll have to prove his Conservative bona fides EVERY day!

    If the House and Senate are Republican, he won’t veto a thing.

    So, Liberal Obama-haters, wake-up and smell the santorum!

  3. 3
    WereBear says:

    Things political are getting so Meta I can’t stand it.

  4. 4
    the Conster (f/k/a Cat Lady) says:

    New day, new site, new season, new nym.

    Rachel went back over the lies thing again the next night because she created a bit of a stir in the blogosphere about her relentless truth telling about the lies. She pointed out how the WSJ’s column by Karl Rove deliberately misquoted Bill Clinton about Obama’s decision to get bin Laden that’s in the Obama ad/documentary, just like Romney deliberately misquoted Obama in his very first ad, and her staff and she, offline, asked whether Rove and WSJ were going to issue a correction. The WSJ did a couple of days later, but they haven’t heard from Rove. Shocking, I know. Her point being that the Romney campaign’s shameless deliberate lying in the face of the ability to fact check everything – about things both inconsequential and important – is unprecedented and very dangerous.

    Rachel’s courage and smarts may make the kind of difference in this election that Tina Fey made in the last, because Rachel doesn’t want to be a Villager.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    the fugitive uterus says:

    oops, ok, i see it now

  7. 7
    MattF says:

    I wouldn’t say politicians are like actors, I’d make a distinction between ‘acting’ and ‘pretending.’ A real actor becomes a different person, and you can’t do that transformation unless there’s a real person there to start with, a From: that provides the resources to become a To:. Noot has a real personality, he’s a grifter. But Romney… ah, nope.

  8. 8
    WereBear says:

    @MattF: I’m still trying to figure out what the heck Romney is. Part of that might be the automatic screen such “public” people throw up to have some privacy. But they usually project something if so; Romney doesn’t even put up a screen saver.

  9. 9
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    This is the thing. Rmoney will have to feed red meat to the scum that is the Rethug base every day on the campaign trail, to keep them satisfied. If he does not, there’s a good chance they’ll just stay home on election day, because there’s the Mormon thing, and there’s the inauthenticity thing he’s got to fight. The etch a sketch will not work this time around, not for Rmoney.

  10. 10
    HRA says:

    There is something about Willard that I find unusual or maybe not seen lately in the race for the presidency. It’s a nervous to the point of sweating when he was losing. Is it ambition? Maybe ambition is not the right word?

  11. 11
    RSA says:

    During the last Presidential election I got into a long online discussion about political narratives. My view is that we understand the world largely in the form of stories that make sense, and that narratives are inevitable. Our horse-race political contests make this a problem, though. It’s too easy for a narrative to gain momentum and be very hard to change; Al Gore’s situation is probably the best example, but we saw it in the persistence of John McCain’s reputation as a maverick. Rosen is pointing out another problem: people like Romney will try to deliberately manipulate a narrative, casting themselves as characters that aren’t a good reflection of reality. If the media buy into that, we’re lost.

  12. 12
    c u n d gulag says:

    The media won’t have to “buy into that.”

    They’re “paid to do that!”

    Think of all of the CU money that’s going to be out there!

    If there’s no horse-race to sell to people, ad-revenues, subscriptions, circulation, viewers, listeners, will all go down.

    So, if there’s ONE solid bet you can make – it’s that the MSM will manipulate a narrative that will keep this race close!

    And THAT, you can take to the bank! Which will then figure out a way to screw you out of your money.

  13. 13
    Justinbanks says:

    All I want is the mobile site back

  14. 14
    Roger Moore says:

    Once you accept the notion that politicians are actors playing roles, pointing out they’re lying is like a movie critic saying that Jack Nicholson is a big fibber.

    Only the lies about himself, though. The lies the Republicans routinely tell about the world outside themselves are something very different.

  15. 15
    lacp says:

    Actors playing roles? More like cartoon characters. Some are Dudley Doright, some are Snidely Whiplash, but all are sponsored by Wall Street.

  16. 16

    ‘Insecure’. ‘Out of his depth’. ‘Slow-witted’.

  17. 17
    rb says:

    Reminiscent of George H.W. Bush intoning “Message: I care.” At the time it was considered embarrassingly distant and awkward, more like a pundit’s observation than an expression of emotion.

    Now such pronouncements are SOP. The game was never very real, but the 24h news cycle and news-as-business infotainment model has really degraded things.

    On the other hand, I am cautiously optimistic that the internet and direct media are swinging the pendulum in the other direction. There’s a hell of a lot of misdirection and misinformation out there, but it’s actually easier to get a candidate on record, unvarnished, than it has been in quite a while.

  18. 18
    Constance says:

    @the fugitive uterus:

    If you are seeing the author, where are you seeing the author because I can’t find it?

  19. 19
    RSA says:

    @Constance: The author’s name is at the footer of each post on the front page. (I’d like to see it at the top, myself.) But it disappears once you go to the page where you can comment on the post.

  20. 20
    gbear says:


    It’s a nervous to the point of sweating when he was losing. Is it ambition? Maybe ambition is not the right word?

    It’s his all-encompassing sense of entitlement. He simply cannot believe that he’s not getting everything he wants handed to him on a silver platter. The help are not performing up to expectations and he’s wondering what the hell is wrong with these people.

  21. 21
    Chris says:

    “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake. I can’t have illegals.”

  22. 22
    John Hall says:

    If these Republicans are like actors playing roles, then you can thank their inspiration for it: “The Gipper” Ronald Wilson Reagan.

  23. 23
    Mike says:

    A quick glance at the real estate allocation shows that the new design favors flashy ad blocks and diminishes space for content. Why not reduce the width of the ad column?


  24. 24
    Constance says:


    Thank you! I’m not seeing it because I get BJ on my Google homepage and it takes me directly to the place I can comment. I’m going to come in the other way and see what that looks like.

  25. 25
    Jewish Steel says:


    Most pols who make it to the national level are largely unflappable. I think that’s Romney’s Achilles heel. He always looks like if you snuck up behind him and popped a paper bag he would come unhinged.

    He seems totally flappable. Not a presidential quality.

  26. 26
    rikyrah says:

    for those of you interested in Willard’s LIES

    need to read The Maddow Blog. Steve Benen does a WEEKLY chronicle of Willard’s biggest LIES OF THE WEEK. It comes out every Friday. Last week was edition ELEVEN.

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