(h/t J. Michael Neal)
Looks like Willard’s terrible, horrible, very bad, no good week remains a hot topic, praise Murphy. Some more gems, for your pass-it-forward delection:
Matt Taibbi, in his Rolling Stone blog, on Romney’s “new low“:
Romney can’t even be mean with any honesty. Even when he’s pandering to viciousness, ignorance and racism, it comes across like a scaly calculation. A guy who feels like he has to take a dump on the N.A.A.C.P. in Houston in order to connect with frustrated white yahoos everywhere else is a guy who has absolutely no social instincts at all. Someone like Jesse Helms at least had a genuine emotional connection with his crazy-mean-stupid audiences. But Mitt Romney has to think his way to the lowest common denominator, which is somehow so much worse.
Most presidents have something under the hood – wit, warmth, approachability, something. Even the most liberal football fan could enjoy watching an NFL game with George Bush. And even a Klansman probably would have found some of LBJ’s jokes funny. The biggest office in the world requires someone who buzzes with enough personality to fill the job, and most of them have it.
But Romney doesn’t buzz with anything. His vision of humanity is just a million tons of meat floating around in a sea of base calculations. He’s like a teenager who stays up all night thinking of a way to impress the prom queen, and what he comes up with is kicking a kid in a wheelchair. Instincts like those are probably what made him a great leveraged buyout specialist, but in a public figure? Man, is he a disaster. It’s really incredible theater, watching the Republicans talk themselves into this guy.
Alex Koppelman, at the New Yorker, complains that “Mitt Cries Condi“:
Political campaigns don’t, as a rule, tend to show much respect for the collective intellect of the media that cover them. They think we’re lazy and sloppy and more interested in noise than policy, and that we can, like babies and cats, be easily distracted by shiny objects. They’re not totally wrong.
Even by those standards, though, the stunt that Mitt Romney’s campaign pulled Thursday evening was almost insulting in its lack of subtlety. Scrambling to divert the media’s attention from the question of when, exactly, Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital really ended, as compared to when he says it did, they decided to leak the shiniest object of them all: a veepstakes rumor about a “surprising name” emerging as a frontrunner, floated directly to Matt Drudge…
Forget that Romney’s base doesn’t particularly like Rice, whether because of her pro-choice views or because she was too much of a realist for the neo-conservatives in the Bush foreign-policy establishment. There are dozens of possible running mates out there—for what possible reason would Romney pick the one person guaranteed to give President Obama the chance to take some focus off the economy and make the election into a referendum on George W. Bush’s foreign policy? (If you don’t think Obama’s reëlection campaign has done enough crowing about the fact that he did what Bush couldn’t and got Osama bin Laden killed, wait until the Biden-Rice debate.)
And so it’s hard to see this as anything but a cynical, desperate calculation that if floating a minority or a woman as a possible running mate would get some buzz, and serve to distract the media to some extent, then naming someone who’s both a minority and a woman must be twice as good. The Romney team surely realized how desperate their ploy would look. But they went for it anyway. Combine that with their decision to send the candidate himself out for a round of interviews with just about every television network that would have him this evening, and the picture that emerges is of a campaign in panic. They know the damage the Bain attacks are doing, but they can’t figure out a way to make them stop. Too bad for them, then, that crying “Condi” only works so many times.
To demonstrate just how much “Romney’s base doesn’t particularly like Rice”, Jim Newell at Wonkette shares “Let Us Memorialize This Fake One-Day Condi Boomlet Thing With a Wingnut Chain Letter”:
It’s Condi Fever everywhere! And we don’t mean the kind where little Middle Eastern children get bomb shell infections during the arbitrary “eh what the hell, sure” American occupation du jour. We mean the hot new Vice Presidential sensation sweeping the land, for a pretermined narrative duration of ~48 hours! And while Mitt Romney is only pretending to be considering the tenured Stanford warlord for vice president as a stunt get the reporters yappin’ about things unrelated to his personal finances and employment history, some on the Right are taking the occasion to share their sharp anti-Condi stand while they can. How old is this story, 20 hours? Because yeah, we’ve already received a comical wingnut forwarded chain email.
Let’s give the floor to “Liz in Ohio.” She writes a list of furious grievances against Condolleezza Rice, who could be the nation’s first black female vice president, and appends a link to a popular white nationalist website. Who knows? Her politics are really anyone’s guess…
Also from the New Yorker, James Surowiecki on “the real scandal“:
…[W]hat this constant drip-drip of revelations about S.E.C. filings and tax returns and overfunded I.R.A.s underscores is how adept Mitt Romney has been at gaming the system, and how easy it’s been for him to play by rules that most Americans simply can’t play by.
What Romney’s career shows, after all, is that once you’re at the top, you can keep being called C.E.O. even if you’re not even working at the company. You can get paid a hundred grand a year—chump change for Romney, to be sure, but twice the U.S. median income—while doing, by your own account, nothing at all for the company. You can build up an I.R.A. worth tens of millions of dollars when the maximum annual contribution is four thousand dollars. (Henry Blodget suggests here that Romney’s ownership of Bain Capital shares may explain how that I.R.A. could have legally gotten so big.) And, above all, if you manage a private-equity firm, you can reap the benefit of the carried-interest tax loophole and pay a much lower tax rate on your income than the vast majority of Americans, and you can continue to reap the benefit of that loophole even after you stop working for the firm. None of these things is illegal, but none of them are things that ordinary Americans can benefit from, and that’s the real scandal of Romney’s career at Bain.
And finally (to continue the cartoon theme) Gail Collins snipes:
[G]iven the hysteria with which the Romney campaign is defending this 1999 termination marker, you would think that in the next few years Bain had embarked on a new and lucrative path involving the slave labor of My Little Ponies.
Apart from making a big batch of popcorn, what’s on the agenda for the day?