Dessert Topping or Floor Wax?

This morning, Bernard attempted the valiant intellectual feat of trying to get inside the mind of one W. Mitt Romney.  The question:  what lies behind his pre-Sandy hate on FEMA?  His answer:

When Romney talked about killing FEMA it wasn’t because he really thought the states could or should do it, nor did he think the private sector could or should. When Romney went after FEMA in the primary debates, it was all about letting GOP voters know that he sees the Black Helicopters too.

That’s plausible, certainly, and I’ve no doubt that when you’re betting on Romney’s combination of cynicism and opportunism, you’ll never lose taking the over.  But at the same time, I think this particular stance was overdetermined — and that it’s worse, not better, that Romney’s views on federal involvement in any social good derive even in part  from remnants of genuine belief.

Here I have just a hint of (one remove) personal insight to share.  Y’all recall that among the Romney “home states,” Mitt and his family did in fact live in Massachusetts for a lot of years.  Which means he had friends here, people who knew and liked him before ambition consumed his soul.  As it happened, I had dinner with a couple of those folks last week — people who had  met him in the context of (non-sectarian) social action and who had become personal friends over the years the they knew each other, beginning well before Romney embarked on his political career.

My friends barely recognizes their friend any more, which saddens them, but in talking about Mitt’s charitable interests, our dinner companions emphasized two things:  the first is that Romney does recognize that there are people in need, those for whom a helping hand is both needed and likely to be effective.

The second: Romney possessed then, and presumably does now, an enduring commitment to the Mormon church — not just to the formal tenets of the faith, but to the institution as it saw itself, a kind of corporate entity integrated into all facets of its members’ lives.  That’s the context in which Mitt had no problem with the idea of a group responsibility to ensure individuals’ well-being-in-extremis.  But such social service properly takes place (in my understanding of my friend’s gloss on Mitt’s views) within the private sphere, in the settings that Mormons or others find themselves.  The idea of state intervention was not just unnecessary; it was an unwarranted intrusion.

The virtue of such an approach is obvious, I think:  within specific communities, there are real, kept, mutual guarantees.  Its defects are equally plain:  for one, the price you pay for such common cause is that the gentile — and we’re all gentiles to somebody — is not part of the deal; and for another, there’s the problem of scale.  In a country of 310  million-plus folks of all kinds of origins and destinations, the moral and practical implications of that kind of approach are catastrophic.  As Sandy illustrates with brutal clarity, if your approach to the problems of society within the nation we actually inhabit is a canned goods drive…well, were he actually in charge, the consequences that would flow from what at least were once Romney’s beliefs would be pretty certainly disastrous.

And hence the real problem, IMHO.  Throughout this election season, plenty of folks who should know better have floated the notion that the GOP candidate seen on the stump is a fake Mitt — thus enabling the fantasy of some pragmatic, moderate Mitt who would both seek and be able to govern from the sensible center.  I think that’s pretty certainly hogwash on the face of it; the running mate choice, if nothing else, is the one actual Presidential decision a nominee gets to make before the election, and I think Mitt’s shows the direction of a putative Romney presidency pretty clearly.

But even if there still survives some real Mitt behind the facades we’ve seen to date, here’s the rub:  to the extent that the archaeology of friendship exposes that person, we find a man who does not accept the implications of what it means to live in a heterogeneous nation and a pluralistic society.

So, that’s what you have to ask yourself: is it better if Mitt didn’t care what he said about FEMA before it became inconvenient to have uttered his wingnut-bait?  Or should we prefer that he actually believed in the proposition?

To me, it’s the second option that truly terrifies.YMMV.

Image:  Egbert van der Poel, View of Delft after the Explosion of 1654,  1654.

103 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    Now I’ll have to look up that nugget of history later. Durn you Tom Levenson! Always teaching aintcha? :)

  2. 2
    Cassidy says:

    I aid it the last thread and will say it here: they fear FEMA because it has the actual power they project onto other agencies.

  3. 3
    skippy says:

    nothing to add, but i just want to say, nice use of a 35 year old reference in the title!

  4. 4
    Scamp Dog says:

    I think the R’s oppose FEMA because in their minds, the purpose of government is to do things TO people, not for them. So making war and incarceration pass muster, but little else.

  5. 5
    maya says:

    You’re giving this way too much thought,TL. He’s just your average, republican, run-of-the-Millhouse Nixon schizoid personality.

  6. 6
    The Dangerman says:

    …get inside the mind of one W. Mitt Romney.

    Inside that mind is only KA-CHING! I’ve never heard of anyone, at least in public life, that is as greedy a fucker as Mitt. In the hierarchy of his personal beliefs, Faith takes a back seat to Wealth, which may (or may not) be OK in Mormonism, but is backasswards in more traditional Christian churches.

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    A question about climate change at a Romney rally was drowned out by chants of “USA!USA!” http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....-S-A-U-S-A

    Typical right-wing posture of head in the sand, ass in the air.

  8. 8
    trollhattan says:

    @The Dangerman: I thought it was just a sackful of zeros and ones, or is it actually a bunch of aluminum dust-covered beads?

  9. 9
    The Moar You Know says:

    Typical right-wing posture of head in the sand, ass in the air.

    @beltane: Just where I want them when the tide comes in and never goes out again.

  10. 10
    Don says:

    I think Tom is correct about Mitt, and if I may restate it in slightly different form, I think that Mitt thinks ALL “charitable” actions should be centered in an institutional church, not by any governmental structure. However, his example is his own LDS church, which is extremely focussed on its own members, and has extraordinary resources cf. most congregations of mainline Protestant churches, and I daresay, most Hebrew congregations or Mosques as well.

    There are a number of examples of his own efforts in that regard when serving as the president of his branch, or stake, or whatever it was, but it was for other LDS people there. Are there examples of his efforts on the part of some random needy Baptist out there? I haven’t seen any.

    This is yet another trap that Newt Gingrich has opened for us. Recall he said that we should send all that “welfare” stuff to the churches. Sounds good, but our congregation has enough trouble meeting its modes payroll, much less feeding our share of those in our community who need it.

  11. 11
    Yutsano says:

    @The Moar You Know: Tide goes in, tide goes out. U can’t explain it lib!!

  12. 12
    scav says:

    But even if there still survives some real Mitt behind the facades we’ve seen to date, here’s the rub:  to the extent that the archaeology of friendship exposes that person, we find a man who does not accept the implications of what it means to live in a heterogeneous nation and a pluralistic society.

    Applicable to more than just Mitt.

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    Aren’t Mormons required to keep several weeks worth of canned goods on hand in case of disaster? This type of thinking can really fill people’s minds with false feelings of security and invincibility.

  14. 14
    Violet says:

    So, that’s what you have to ask yourself: is it better if Mitt didn’t care what he said about FEMA before it became inconvenient to have uttered his wingnut-bait? Or should we prefer that he actually believed in the proposition?

    The problem isn’t really the specifics. The problem is that this flip-flopping or Etch-a-sketch-ing is a regular and predictable pattern. He’ll say whatever is most convenient for him at the time. He lacks a core of belief. He stands for nothing.

    That’s the really scary part. If elected President he’ll continue to do whatever is most convenient for Mitt, not what is best for the United States of America.

    I don’t care much about the specifics of what he believes or doesn’t believe about FEMA. I’ve seen enough to know that it’s part of his pattern of Mitt First. And that’s exactly what we don’t need in charge of our country.

  15. 15
    Soonergrunt says:

    @scav: Yeah, it’s pretty much the basis of modern conservatism.

  16. 16
    Nylund says:

    Too many Tea Party types hold all sorts of crazy conspiracy views regarding FEMA concentration camps. On one hand, I’m glad we haven’t heard more about it (that would imply people took the crazy ideas seriously), but I’m also sad we haven’t because that may help reveal just how crazy wingnuts really are.

    But yes, I think one of the reasons that Romney bashed FEMA so hard during the primaries was precisely because it is at the center of so many wingnut conspiracy theories.

    Plus, if you send it back to the states, no one can blame you when it messes up! I bet Bush and Brownie wish they had thought of that.

    Just remember, if you want incompetent government, vote for the people who believe government can’t be anything but incompetent. It’ll become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  17. 17
    WMR says:

    Romney/Ryan NOW HEADED TO PENNSYLVANIA! It’s official folks–the map has EXPANDED.

  18. 18
    sharl says:

    @WMR: Are you that VICTORY! dood? How come you keep changing your nym?

  19. 19
    Elmo says:

    Emergency relief is a lever. If you want the church to help you, be a member of the church. Simple as that. It’s how feudal organizations have maintained their power since time immemorial – fealty in exchange for protection and succor.

    The Govt stepping in and providing emergency relief to everyone in need, no strings attached, removes the strongest incentive people have to belong to such an organization and adhere to its tenets.

    This is not complicated. People like Romney oppose Govt relief for the same reason protection rackets oppose police and fire depts. They are operating a protection racket, and the Govt is getting in the way.

  20. 20
    WMR says:

    @sharl:

    My nyms keep getting blocked. But I’ll always come back.

    With PA now in play, we don’t need Ohio necessarily!

    Oh yeah–FIVE DAYS LEFT until President-Elect Romney!

  21. 21
    ACS says:

    Tom definitely hit on something. I grew up in fundamentalist Christian circles, and this belief–that private charity is great but if the gubmint does the same thing it’s tyranny–is widespread among the conservatives I know and pops up constantly on my facebook feeds, etc.

    Now, my pop-psych gloss on this is that these people (I’m talking about a specific subset of conservatives here), who are very active churchgoers, tend to (a) overestimate the efficacy and frequency of private charity (since they see food drives, etc. fairly frequently and know a couple people who have been helped by their church), and (b) underestimate the extent of societal problems out there to be solved (since they tend to live in affluent communities).

    Now, of course the idea that private charity can adequately solve a significant amount of the country’s societal issues is batshit insane when you actually think for a moment about it, but that’s not what this sort of ideology is there for. It’s there to provide the comforting fiction that the world is basically simple, and if those damn meddling libs would just get out of the way, everything would solve itself.

    And, unlike the explicitly “fuck you, I’ve got mine” kind of thinking, this “private charity can solve everything” at least has a thin veneer of public-spiritedness to it, which arguably makes it more destructive. (This is not to say that these people are immune to what Roy Edroso would call the “Ooga Booga” stuff, but they at least try to bury it under the small government stuff to a greater extent than most of their conservative brethren, at least in my limited experience.)

  22. 22
    Chyron HR says:

    @WMR:

    Oregon is in play! Unskewed Polls says so!

    I like how you’ve run out of names so now you’re just going to start calling yourself random letters.

  23. 23
    beltane says:

    What do the letters in the troll’s new name stand for? Wipes Mitt’s Rectum?

  24. 24
    dmsilev says:

    @WMR: Oh look, it’s back.

    Hint: Romney campaigning in a state where even Rasmussen has him down by 5 points isn’t “expanding the map”, it’s a desperate Hail Mary because Ohio (despite your promises) doesn’t seem all that receptive to him.

  25. 25
    Real American says:

    I know this is OT but I had to post it–Slate tries to prove undecided voters aren’t idiots, succeeds in proving exactly that.

    Here’s the rundown of their undecideds:

    1. Straight white 24-year-old male who apparently can’t decide what’s more important, making sure his gay friends are treated like human beings or landing a job.

    2. Horribly pretentious woman who pens incomprehensible gibberish that offers neither criticism nor praise for either candidate.

    3. Obvious Republican plant whose letter is a rundown of GOP talking points.

    4. Idiot who complains about poor job prospects and living in a “crumbling community” but also complains about paying taxes. Doesn’t like Willard’s stances on social issues but balances that out with extremely vague concerns about “federal over-reach.”

    5. Privileged gay ala Andrew Sullivan. Worries about Obamacare because some people people deserve government assistance but other people don’t and just take advantage of the system. I wonder who those other people might be!

    Undecided voters: Idiots, assholes and plants.

  26. 26
    dmsilev says:

    @beltane: WMR. Willard Mitt Romney. Hmmm.

    So tell us, Governor, what do you *really* think about Chris Christie?

  27. 27
    WMR says:

    BTW, WMR=Willard Mitt Romney, or as he’s now being called on our blogs, “Mitt Reagan”.

  28. 28
    pillsy says:

    @WMR:

    My nyms keep getting blocked. But I’ll always come back.

    A lesser person might take the fucking hint already.

  29. 29
    scav says:

    @dmsilev: Given their knowledge of the world, learning that Romney is going to a state may very well expand their (mental) map considerably–well, those that don’t assume Pensylvania is a place with a happy hour and all you can eat buffet.

  30. 30
    WMR says:

    @dmsilev:

    Ohio is still in play too. This just forces Obambi to play more defense and quite possibly help to defeat Casey (the PA Senate race is tight-as-a-tick in some polls).

    #WMReagan12

  31. 31
    Yutsano says:

    @Soonergrunt: Give me a TARDIS and an abortifacient. I’ll go back in time and slip it in the mother of Ayn Rand’s drink while she’s pregnant with her.

  32. 32
    dmsilev says:

    @pillsy: It doesn’t want to take the hint. It’s on the clock, and is probably paid by the post and forced to work long hours.

    Perhaps it should consider forming a union.

  33. 33
    Chyron HR says:

    Only FIVE DAYS LEFT until Romney replaces FEMA with McDonald’s coupon books! VICTORY!!

  34. 34
    Dream On says:

    That’s A pretty damn perceptive post.

  35. 35
    WMR says:

    Chris Christie is just doing his job. He has to get reelected in a blue state, everyone understands.

  36. 36
    burnspbesq says:

    @WMR:

    Just make sure you’re here at 11:07 Eastern time on Tuesday night, when every network except Fox finally realizes that Silver Wang has been right all along and calls it for Obama.

    I want a big fucking piece of you, dickhead. And no, y’all, I am not sharing. Take a number.

  37. 37
    Mike in NC says:

    We’re in central FL for 5 days and all indications are Rmoney is fucking toast in this state.

  38. 38
    hep kitty says:

    plenty of folks who should know better have floated the notion that the GOP candidate seen on the stump is a fake Mitt—thus enabling the fantasy of some pragmatic, moderate Mitt who would both seek and be able to govern from the sensible center

    Who can tell? What idiot assumes Mitt is going to do what they want him to do, regardless of what he is vomiting up at any given time? Who can tell what a sociopath would do in office? Why would you take a chance? Well let’s just roll the dice and find out, America! Astonishing that there really are people who believe this.

  39. 39
    trollhattan says:

    @sharl:
    There are a hellofalot of PCs in the library at juvie, apparently. Taco will prevail, evidently with inflatable maps.

  40. 40
    trollhattan says:

    [stoopid duplipost. I should say something funny here.]

  41. 41
    El Cid says:

    And also maybe because Romney (and many others) just really don’t give a shit if their games with FEMA result in terrible consequences for people.

    At worst, it will result in some political and popularity cost to such types.

    There’s no bound on his opinionmaking on this issue outside the payoff interests of taking one or the other approach, whether a political payoff or some longer range task of dismantling a federal nation-state’s social and infrastructure support or bringing on some desired apocalypse.

    If an opinion on FEMA might affect peoples’ basic survivability, well, that possibility will enter his mind when and only when such a consideration serves some desired purpose.

    There’s no inherent prompt to worry about how his plans for FEMA might help or harm people.

    So any direction of thought is okay, because there’s no morally limiting factor.

  42. 42
    trollhattan says:

    @WMR:

    or as he’s now being called on our blogs, “Mitt Reagan”.

    Huh, shockingly close to what I call him.

  43. 43

    @WMR: No wonder I saw Zombie Reagan slouching eastward on the 101 near Thousand Oaks. He’s pissed that Willard is appropriating his name.

  44. 44
    beltane says:

    @burnspbesq: This one has had so many incarnations there’s enough of him to go around.

  45. 45
    Hill Dweller says:

    The map is expanding…for Obama.

  46. 46
    Jay C says:

    @beltane:

    Aren’t Mormons required to keep several weeks worth of canned goods on hand in case of disaster?

    I thought it was a year’s worth for the whole family (a hangover from their pioneer days settling in inhospitable wilderness areas (like Utah) ?

  47. 47
    trollhattan says:

    @Mike in NC:
    Betty started it, yelling at the wingers on her way to vote. Showed them.

  48. 48
    hep kitty says:

    The idea of state intervention was not just unnecessary; it was an unwarranted intrusion.

    It is an interesting point to consider, especially considering Mitt’s grandpappy had to flee to Mexico to escape American law against bigamy, and considering how many Mormon descendants risked such prosecution by a government entity in practicing their religion.

  49. 49
    trollhattan says:

    @ranchandsyrup:
    On his way to Trader Vic’s for a pina colada.

  50. 50
    Amir Khalid says:

    @WMR:
    beltane #23 is right, and you are wrong. Well, you were about due for a nym change anyway, so why not WMR? While you have it, we can all make up better things for those initials to stand for.

  51. 51
    Chyron HR says:

    S-Stupid Ohio. It’s not like “Mitt Reagan” wanted to win you anyway.

  52. 52
    Ash Can says:

    Hey admins, why block Reality Cheese in the first place? The dude’s a stitch.

  53. 53
    KG says:

    @WMR: I linked to this earlier, but since you’re here now… Polls in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado show huge leads for Obama in early voting.

    And in 2000 Bush finished the campaign in California, he won there didn’t he?

  54. 54
    beltane says:

    @Jay C: It would all be useless in the event a 10 ft. storm surge washes your house away. And living in a 500 sq ft apartment with a year’s worth of supplies is just no way to live at all.

  55. 55

    @trollhattan: and his zombie hair is perfect.

  56. 56
    trollhattan says:

    @Jay C:
    IIUC that’s the dealio. When a buddy moved to SW Idaho (don’t ask) he was perplexed all the starter homes had a gazillion bedrooms and a giant pantry, until the real estate lady ‘splained the whole “map may say ‘Idaho’ but you’re in Utah now, boy” concept to him.

  57. 57
    scav says:

    @beltane: But they have inflatable maps!

  58. 58
    Svensker says:

    @WMR:

    Rush Limbaugh doesn’t. El Rushbo is pissed. That could be steam coming out of his ears but I think it’s sulfur fumes.

  59. 59
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @WMR:

    BTW, WMR=Willard Mitt Romney, or as he’s now being called on our blogs, “Mitt Reagan”.

    At least you could have translated from the original German for us.

  60. 60
    WMR says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Care to explain why?

    Even your best buddy Nate Silver has FL in the RED COLUMN.

  61. 61
    trollhattan says:

    @ranchandsyrup:
    You could land a 737 on it. Yep, me likie Willard Reagan(tm).

  62. 62
    quannlace says:

    Romney/Ryan NOW HEADED TO PENNSYLVANIA

    So they’re flailing around like a bunch of hysterics? Yup, looks like victory to me!

  63. 63
    Chyron HR says:

    Mitt Reagan

    Be fair, guys. If your party had nominated Romney you wouldn’t want to say his name either.

  64. 64
    Ash Can says:

    I mean, really — “Mitt Reagan?” How perfect is that? The two biggest frauds in the history of presidential politics. I’m stealing this, big-time.

  65. 65
    gex says:

    @quannlace: I’ve heard PA is Iran’s outlet to the sea, and Obama wasn’t doing a darn thing about that.

  66. 66
    slightly_peeved says:

    Think this is just part of the Republican long game; convince the US voting public that government cannot help them, then sit around in congress lining their own pockets with no obligation to work.

    Every time the government helps, it undermines their message. Bill Kristol had it right when he talked about healthcare; the worst thing for the Republicans is for the American people to believe government should help them. It forces them to actually work for a living.

  67. 67
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @quannlace: Clearly following the path of Sandy. From where he’ll eventually weaken and eventually dissipate over the Great Lakes.

  68. 68
    trollhattan says:

    @Ash Can:
    Would that be Willard-Mitt-Wilson Reagan at formal events?

    I’m gussing Nancy is going to get in a final asskicking before her coda, if this gets legs.

  69. 69
    scav says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Well, he’s certainly left a trail of destruction and people left standing in his byproduct up to their necks behind.

  70. 70
    LanceThruster says:

    @WMR:

    Aren’t there odds-makers taking bets on the election? You’ll really be able to clean up what with the spread and all. What will you do with all this cabbage?

    Can you provide some of the Reich Wing websites you frequent so I can can view what your orgiastic circle-jerk there must look like?

    What happened to you as far as your upbringing goes that requires such prominent displays of assholery? Is your anonymity enough to remove any vestigial sense of shame?

  71. 71
    trollhattan says:

    @WMR:
    See your Silver, raise you a Wang.
    NV Obama +3% 100.0
    IA Obama +3% 62.9
    NH Obama +2.5% 61.9
    OH Obama +3% 58.0
    CO Obama +2.5% 48.2
    MI Obama +4.5% 30.8
    MN Obama +5% 23.8
    WI Obama +5% 23.2
    PA Obama +5% 21.8
    VA Tied 21.4
    FL Tied 17.0

  72. 72

    WMR reminds me of Brick Tamland in Anchorman (who goes on at the end of the movie to becoming a goper operative). He comes here and shouts the first “scary” thing that comes to mind. I LOVE LAMP! LOUD NOISES! TEA PARTY WAVE! UNLIMITED CORPORATE PERSONHOOD!
    Still, he’s better than kitchen implement (provided they’re not one and the same). At least WMR can admit he’s a troll.

  73. 73
    Amir Khalid says:

    … to the extent that the archaeology of friendship exposes that person, we find a man who does not accept the implications of what it means to live in a heterogeneous nation and a pluralistic society.

    In this respect, Mitt is not so different from the reactionary and religious Muslims whom I know here in Malaysia.

    But if it were tactically expedient for him, I have no doubt Mitt would publicly repudiate this position as he would any other. I think that it’s useful to know the Mitt that was. But Mitt as he is now — the man may have decided, even before his “moderate” days, to become changeable for the sake of political success and I’m not too sure that there is still a real one to be exposed.

  74. 74
    Ash Can says:

    @trollhattan: That would be sheer box office if she kicked some Romney-fan asses around because of this. Unfortunately, if Weapons of Mass Rankitude is correct that this is showing up just on RW blogs, it’ll never attain sufficient popularity to put it on her radar screen.

  75. 75
    Surreal American says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    At least you could have translated from the original German for us.

    Then it would be spelled as “Mist.”

  76. 76
    Yutsano says:

    @WMR: D’awww!! Soooo totes adorbs!

  77. 77
    Joel says:

    @ACS: This is something that I occasionally run into with people discussing science. Let’s put it this way: Basic research isn’t paid for by marathons and pink sweatshirts.

  78. 78
    Tyro says:

    he had friends here, people who knew and liked him before ambition consumed his soul.

    Truthfully, I’ve always found it hard to picture Romney with friends. He always struck me as the sort with just business associates and his family.

  79. 79
    JPL says:

    @Chyron HR: haha.. A friend just spoke with her ex in NY and the building he’s in without power provided egg mcmuffins for breakfast. He doesn’t like egg mcmuffins.

  80. 80
    Haydnseek says:

    @skippy: @skippy: It was the Puppy Uppers……..

  81. 81
    Violet says:

    @JPL: Egg McMuffins? It’s just like Calcutta.

  82. 82
    Redshift says:

    @WMR:

    Even your best buddy Nate Silver has FL in the RED COLUMN.

    Ah, so Nate Silver giving Romney a 59% chance in Florida is golden, but giving Obama a bigger chance than that in every other state you’ve talked about, you’re sure he’s less accurate than a week-old Ras poll.

    Got it.

  83. 83
    priscianusjr says:

    In other words, what you are suggesting is that Mitt makes total sense in the Mormon context, but not outside of it, and that’s why none of us “gentiles” could figure him out.

    That’s very possible, though it makes Romney look rather naive, doesn’t it? But maybe he is. How somebody like that could expect to win a national presidential race with the sectarian outlook of what is to most Americans a weird and suspect religion, is not easy to understand. Unless he truly saw a commonality between the Mormon version of reality, and the Tea Party version. Which apparently the TP types saw too, whether they liked the man or not. Maybe they were trying to repeat the success of another Mormon, Glenn Beck.

    It might be helpful to read this:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....-Chapter-6

    I really enjoy your posts, Tom, and this is no exception.

  84. 84
    Haydnseek says:

    @ACS: This is one of the primary reasons that some people support Ron Paul. During the debates he said that Medicare wasn’t necessary, because we have churches and charities to provide for people who can’t pay insanely high medical bills. I couldn’t believe that a rational person would say this, let alone a physician. But the morans applaud like chimps, because FREEDUMB!

  85. 85
    danimal says:

    Glad to see the troll made it back, the flatulence level of this blog has been a little low lately.

    To TL’s post: I agree completely. Romney’s Mormonism is one institution/philosophy/POV he has retained throughout his life. He would govern according to the precepts of his church. I don’t believe that the Mormon approach to charity scales well in a pluralistic society, but that just makes his approach wrong, not evil. I believe President Romney would be much more revolutionary than moderate. But President Romney would not be an angry Tea Partier, he would try to appeal to the civic-minded populace. Luckily, it looks like speculation about President Romney will only be a thought exercise, and not a daily nightmare for 4/8 years.

  86. 86
    geg6 says:

    @WMR:

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    There is no there there, dude. The ads haven’t worked up until this point (and believe me, there were plenty until it became clear that PA was way ahead of OH in embracing the Kenyan Muslim), why would an ad buy 5 days out help? And having spent a lot of time out in the streets doing GOTV activities, I have yet to see a Romney campaign worker. Worst campaign I’ve ever seen here. They think lawn signs are the cutting edge in getting voters to the polls. The local GOPers aren’t out there talking up Mittens. They’re afraid for their own asses.

  87. 87
    Origuy says:

    @Surreal American:

    Then it would be spelled as “Mist.”

    Ich sah, was Sie dort taten.

  88. 88
    YellowJournalism says:

    @trollhattan: And, really, who doesn’t love a raised Wang?

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    Haydnseek says:

    @Jay C: @Jay C: They’re required to keep a supply of canned goods on hand, but you’re required to keep a massive amount of beer on hand, which is why you never invite a Mormon to go fishing with you more than once.

  90. 90
    Haydnseek says:

    @trollhattan: and a big dish of beef chow mein, and his hair was PERFECT.

  91. 91
    Haydnseek says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Gahhhhhhh! The lateness! It hurts!

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    Heliopause says:

    But such social service properly takes place (in my understanding of my friend’s gloss on Mitt’s views) within the private sphere, in the settings that Mormons or others find themselves. The idea of state intervention was not just unnecessary; it was an unwarranted intrusion.

    I’m not sure why you need testimony from some old acquaintances of Romney, just read the religious texts. The New Testament makes clear that charity is indeed a private (meaning between the giver, recipient, and the Deity) matter. The idea of the state (or its ancient equivalent) intervening in social problems is neither commanded nor proscribed, its simply not on the radar screen.

    the price you pay for such common cause is that the gentile—and we’re all gentiles to somebody—is not part of the deal;

    Not sure where you get this idea. Gentiles are most definitely “part of the deal” in the canonical scriptures and I’m pretty sure in Mormon doctrine as well.

    The religious beliefs of Romney and Obama really have little or nothing to do with this. Christian doctrine (which Obama also subscribes to, of course) does indeed hold that charity is a private matter and that gentiles are part of the bargain. One can hold that the state has its role in social problems but claiming Christian doctrinal support for that position is a pretense. Politicians hold the state responsible for social insurance to one degree or another for perfectly understandable reasons of maintaining a functional society, if they want to pretend that Christian scriptures are behind their particular positions that’s their prerogative but the rest of us are under no obligation to buy it.

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    @Haydnseek: That happens to me all the time. :) I put on the Dead version of werewolves this afternoon. And it was good. plus I regained some hippie cred.

    ETA: Shut Up Donna Godchaux! Why do you ruin every song from that era???????

  94. 94
    burritoboy says:

    Using WMR’s logic, Romney should just book a flight to Teheran and throw an event there too. If “campaign event = VICTORY BITCHEZ! ELEVENTY!!”, why hasn’t he done this yet? I’ll tell you why: Romney is Ahmadinejad’s SECRIT MALE LOVER!

    It would be irresponsible NOT to speculate, my friends.

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    bjacques says:

    The anonymous donor is beloved of God

    – The Laughing Black Helicopters

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    Jennifer says:

    My sister, who calls daily to tell me political tidbits I already know about (and usually in more detail) called right after Sandy hit worrying about how it might hurt Obama in the election and asking if I was worried about it. “Not particularly,” I said, and she asked why. “Because,” I said, “look back at how Romney’s handled every other potential opportunity. He’ll find a way to make himself look like an asshole.”

    The next day, he held that phony “storm relief” political rally. When she called that night, I said, “see, I told you.”

  97. 97
    Gretchen says:

    @Elmo: Bingo. The church holds the levers of relief, and you have to go by the tenets in order to receive help. Like the single pregnant woman whom Mitt told to give up her baby to a Mormon adoption agency. She didn’t want to do it, and kept her baby, so she was beyond the pale. She wasn’t welcome in her church, her family, her social group, nothing, because she went against her bishop’s orders.

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    Alex S. says:

    The Republicans hate FEMA because it demonstrates how the government can do good.

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    Paul in KY says:

    Tom, if those friends you spoke to were Mormon themselves, I would take what they said with a grain of salt.

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    Paul in KY says:

    @WMR: I’m sure you are probably spoofing, but no Republican has ever won the Presidency without Ohio.

  101. 101
    Paul in KY says:

    @Yutsano: The more elegant solution would be to fix it so little Ayn Rand grew up a proud commie.

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    Tom Levenson says:

    @Paul in KY: They weren’t.

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    LanceThruster says:

    Is it true Mitt Reagan is touring disaster sites and reminding the victims that, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘We’re from the government and we’re here to help.'”?

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