He’s not vicious or malicious

John once wrote that:

The funny thing about all of this is that no matter how bad all their ideas are, no matter how disastrous their governance has been, no matter how many horrible things they have done to the economy and this country, what really is killing the Republican party is that deep down, they are just complete assholes.

I don’t know much about Mitt Romney personally, but his 47% bs certainly made him look like an asshole. In 2004, it seemed to be part of the Bush-Rove strategy for Bush to act like a dick on the campaign trail. And the 2012 Republican primary was often a contest to see who could be the biggest asshole.

Do you think it made much difference in this election that Obama has studiously avoiding seeming like a jerk? I’m not sure what I think. I believe it’s definitely a smart move politically to guard Obama’s image as a basically nice enough guy, but I don’t know if it gave him a big advantage or a small one.






63 replies
  1. 1
    Ben Franklin says:

    Do you think it made much difference in this election that Obama has studiously avoiding seeming like a jerk?

    Yeah, that is, before he needed our vote. Now; not so much.

  2. 2
    LarryB says:

    Obama had to guard against the “angry black man” libel. I think that was more important. Historically, staying cool has hurt, not helped Dems, by playing into the “Democrats are weak” meme.

  3. 3
    FridayNext says:

    Except that those who don’t like him thinks he does act like an asshole, like taking an “exotic vacation” in Hawai’i while the country is in the middle of a fiscal cliff crisis. While Romney was just telling it like it is when he made the 47% speech.

    It’s a matter of perspective.

  4. 4
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Obama always seemed more likeable than both Romney and McCain and that definitely helped him.

  5. 5
    AxelFoley says:

    Deee-lite quote for the MF win, Doug!

  6. 6
    jheartney says:

    “Doing horrible things” and “being an asshole” are two sides of the same coin. If they weren’t assholes, they might have some better policy positions.

    The best capsule description I ever heard of American politics said that Republicans try to unite the upper and middle class against the lower, while Democrats try to unite the lower and middle class against the upper.

    Given that their aim is to help plutocrats ruin everyone else, the GOP doesn’t have any strategy alternatives involving simple decency; thus they are all assholes.

  7. 7
    gussie says:

    Kitty Dukakis.

  8. 8
    jl says:

    Bush Jr. may have acted like an SOB jackass, but he was packaged with a pitch that made him look like the average person’s SOB jackass. M_tt couldn’t pull that off. Or, the nutcase wingnuts base of the GOP wouldn’t allow him to even try for more than half a day.

    I doubt M_tt could have pulled it off even if the deranged base allowed him to try, but he was not allowed to try.

    The GOP reactionary wing, which controls the GOP, has become so vicious and deranged that the recent GOP dog whistles, head fakes and double speak/think are now impossible.

    Now, only thing they can say, without instant wingnut base backlash karma visiting them, is “if you ain’t one of us, hell with you. You ain’t got money, hell with you. You ain’t got your pile, your fix, your ‘in’ hell with you. You’re sick and you ain’t got the dough or the bennies already, die quickly”.

    Strangely, most people find this approach a tad offputting.

  9. 9
    bemused senior says:

    One man’s asshole is another man’s fountain of wisdom. (Please eschew follow-on jokes about bullshit). The secret video of Romney disclosed an asshole to the readers of this blog, but his audience thought he was telling the truth about the state of American politics.

  10. 10

    I’m not sure it matters a ton for votes right now. But the GOP’s post-policy descent into pure identity politics makes projection of disdain the glue that holds them together. (How else do they know who each other are, given the manic inconsistency of their views on policy?) That can work in some areas, and maybe even nationally if you pick on unpopular enough groups. But whites like me constituted a mere 72% of the electorate this year. So it isn’t helping them much going forward.

  11. 11
    NonyNony says:

    In 2004, it seemed to be part of the Bush-Rove strategy for Bush to act like a dick on the campaign trail. And the 2012 Republican primary was often a contest to see who could be the biggest asshole.

    The whole idea behind the 2004 Republican campaign was “WAR PRESIDENT”. To Republicans, “WAR PRESIDENT” means “Belligerent Asshole”. And it worked for them.

    The idea behind the 2012 Republican campaign was “WHITE PEOPLE TAKING THEIR COUNTRY BACK”. Which … yeah. I think we can see why the jockeying to be the biggest asshole might have been an important facet.

    But in 2000 Bush wasn’t really trying to be the biggest asshole – he was trying to be the guy that people wanted to have a beer with. That many of us saw him as an asshole in 2000 is more a factor of the kinds of people that we’d want to have a beer with rather than a deliberate campaign to be an asshole on his part.

  12. 12
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    It seems, btw, that Obama has decided that it’s time to use all those emails he’s been gathering. He’s telling everyone it’s time to call your reps and let them know what you think about the negotiations. (The link is a Daily Kos link showing parts of an email from Stephanie Cutter.)

  13. 13
    Brachiator says:

    Do you think it made much difference in this election that Obama has studiously avoiding seeming like a jerk?

    No. This is a variation of the equally dumb “guy you would like to have a beer with” metric.

    This also falsely implies that Obama, or any other politician, has absolute control over how he or she is perceived, and that voters are passive saps who eat up however a politician is marketed.

    @FridayNext:

    Except that those who don’t like him thinks he does act like an asshole, like taking an “exotic vacation” in Hawai’i while the country is in the middle of a fiscal cliff crisis.

    Yep. With Obama especially, and Bill Clinton in a different way, the perceptions of people who hate him have nothing to do with anything that Obama says or does.

  14. 14
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    My reaction to pols’ personalities is one of the many ways I just don’t fit in with the larger public. What most people seem to have thought was Dumbya’s winning regular-guyness I saw as a the smug, smarmy frat boy who never grew up, but just to show my fair and balanced-ness, Bill Clinton is, of the four Dems I’ve voted for, the one I found the most off-putting.

    When I read all these stories about donors and office-holders, Republicans and Democrats, whining because Obama isn’t a grinning back-slapper, I start thinking about those meteors. They deserve it, I don’t.

  15. 15
    Joel says:

    @LarryB: I hear this a lot, but I think it’s a lot more than that. Many Obama supporters genuinely like the guy, not just his policies, but the man himself. I include myself in that group. It’s a lot easier to motivate people who like you to donate, to volunteer, to vote. BIg advantage.

  16. 16
    jl says:

    He seemed neither dangerous nor insane, but he did intend harm. The princess sensed something awry and ran off right quick. Sad day. A person could write an epic about it. The Saddyssey, or Soddyssey, or sumpin’ like that.

  17. 17
    Roger Moore says:

    @jheartney:

    If they weren’t assholes, they might have some better policy positions.

    This.

  18. 18
    Raven says:

    Jesus, every other day for the year leading up to the election Obama’s “likeabilty” was trumpeted. Now we have to debate whether it had an impact. Duh.

  19. 19
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Do you think it made much difference in this election that Obama has studiously avoiding seeming like a jerk? I’m not sure what I think. I believe it’s definitely a smart move politically to guard Obama’s image as a basically nice enough guy, but I don’t know if it gave him a big advantage or a small one.

    It isn’t about being nice. Being a nice guy isn’t what gives the President a political advantage, it is being an optimist, being bullish on America. Nice Guy and American Optimist are two rather different things. Reagan was very good at this, and so is Obama, with similar results.

    Presidents need to be American Optimists in order to be effective because an unstated part of the job description is being the chief priest of, and spokesperson for, our unofficial national religion, which is American Exceptionalism. If you are bad at that, you get tossed out on your ass by the electorate. Every really effective President has been very, very good at it.

    ETA: and where this matters politically is that when the President can cast his political program as something that makes Americans admire themselves and their country, while the opposition is reduced to carping that that budget make your butt look fat, then Presidents tend to win those battles.

  20. 20
    Amir Khalid says:

    Do you think it made much difference in this election that Obama has [been] studiously avoiding seeming like a jerk?

    We can be confident it won Obama the no-jerks-in-the-White-House-please demographic. But from what we’ve seen of the man, I don’t think it’s an act; I think Obama really does hold himself to a no-jerkitude standard.

  21. 21
    Zifnab25 says:

    @LarryB:

    Historically, staying cool has hurt, not helped Dems, by playing into the “Democrats are weak” meme.

    I don’t know. Historically, seeming moderate or liberal played into the “Democrats are weak” meme. When Dukakis said he wouldn’t ask for the death penalty against a hypothetical murderer of his wife or when Al Gore wanted to talk about reasonable tax reform and social security preservation rather than “Everyone gets a pony!” tax reform and “Who gives a fuck about entitlements? They are stupid anyway!” That gets Democrats in trouble.

    But Obama wasn’t afraid to throw a few punches in the debates, and he’s certainly not above arm-twisting and hard-balling at the negotiating table. So its hard to paint him as “weak” when he keeps getting results. And yet its hard to paint him as a bully or a jerk when he comes across as so calm and friendly.

    His policies are moderate, but his rhetoric runs the board from fiery progressive to Reaganesque conservative. The fact that he comes across so smooth and calm probably does more to eliminate reasons for people not to vote for him, and leave him a nice, safe “default” choice.

  22. 22
    dr. bloor says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): An NPR piece a few weeks back touched on this–they’re very much planning on using their e-mail base as a governing tool (or, if you will, an ongoing campaigning tool) this time around, and recognized that they had blown the opportunity to do so during his first term.

  23. 23
    MattF says:

    I think that Obama being smart, decent, and competent drives the wingers nuts. Just look at the reaction to Obama’s successful campaign– Republicans admit that they were outclassed, but no one has made the obvious connection that it might have had anything to do with the Moooslim-Kenyan-Soshalist who just happened to be running the show.

  24. 24
    gwangung says:

    Jesus, every other day for the year leading up to the election Obama’s “likeabilty” was trumpeted. Now we have to debate whether it had an impact. Duh.

    Well, we can be a might dim around here….

  25. 25
    schrodinger's cat says:

    If you want to see malicious and vicious check out NYT’s Room for Debate on immigration today. Its all chain migration this and anchor babies that, and people hyperventilating about a million new immigrants. I don’t know where they got their number from.

  26. 26
    scav says:

    There’s jerk and there’s knee-jerk jerkishness. I want a tactical wonky jerk that knows when to abstain and when to bring out the rusty iron-toed boots. Team knee-jerkishness seems to have lost their off-switches.

  27. 27
    John Dillinger says:

    The most interesting thing to watch is going to be how the Republicans try to tamp down their assholery during the 2016 primaries. Romney never recovered from the process whereby he had to beat a bunch of other dicks by engaging in public dickishness. It used to be no one got to see much of primary debates. Now all the cable nets drool over that content, broadcast during the winter months when people are stuck at home watching TV, and the performances are rehashed for days on the interwebs. I really think it behooves Dems to contribute to the campaigns of the Santorums and the other clowns, just to make sure they make ’16 a rerun of ’12.

  28. 28
    👽 Martin says:

    I think this is a product of false reasoning. I have this little venn diagram I pull out from time to time that shows a big circle labeled ‘assholes’ and a much smaller circle about 99% overlapping with the larger one labeled ‘people who get things done’.

    Many of the most effective people were just flaming assholes – and many seem to be self-aware that they are assholes, but they get results and they accept that trade-off. The better ones can at least limit their assholishness to when they’re on the job, or to recognize when they’ve succeeded and back off. Athletes and other celebrities in particular have trouble with this separation.

    But most asshole aren’t effective at all – they’re just assholes. And learning to distinguish the two breeds is important. The GOP seems to often be under the illusion that all assholes are effective, or at least effective in all settings. And asshole behavior, just for the sake of being an asshole, is often rewarded as a result: “He’s such an asshole, obviously he’ll get things done!” See John Bolton or Newt Gingrich as obvious examples.

  29. 29
    IowaOldLady says:

    It disturbs me that some people read Obama’s decency as weakness or stupidity.

    I recently saw a link to a PUMA sight on election night and clicked to enjoy some tears, which is my assholery, I suppose. But I didn’t enjoy it. Instead, I felt like I’d turned over a rock and found the slime flingers and a bottomless well of hatred.

  30. 30
    Wiesman says:

    Oh great. Now every time I see Obama on TV I’m going to think he is delovely and delicious.

  31. 31
    Lurking Canadian says:

    The Republicans have changed since the days of Reagan. I mean, Reagan wanted to stomp the faces of everybody he didn’t like, but he did it with a smile, and it was morning in America, and the wealth was going to trickle down and everybody would be better off in the end.

    They don’t talk like that anymore. They don’t think like that anymore. Romney wasn’t saying, “Our policies will be the best thing for you, poor 47%”. He said, “Fuck the poor 47%.” It’s not “cut our taxes because it’ll make you peons richer”. It’s “how dare you peons act like you have the right to vote for how much tax I pay!”. It’s not “hate the sin but love the sinner”, it’s “Boo the war hero because we don’t like what he does with his dick”.

  32. 32
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @👽 Martin: See John Bolton or Newt Gingrich as obvious examples.

    I was just thinking that the more pertinent personality question these days is Boehner’s, who if he comes across as Bob Dole’s less witty but equally brusque nephew, isn’t the kind of camera-hungy arrested adolescent (Newtie) who’s gonna throw a prime time tantrum and blow the game.

  33. 33
    GregB says:

    At this stage I am pretty sure behave like a total dick-bag is on the GOP convention platform.

  34. 34
    dmbeaster says:

    Because Obama was likeable and not a jerk, he was able to sell the idea that despite the difficulties of his first term, he was still basically cleaning up the last jerk’s mess. Much harder to sell if you are also a jerk.

  35. 35
    👽 Martin says:

    @GregB: I think so. If you accept the following simplified formula

    Success = Competence + Motivation

    In legislating and public policy and such, competence is wonkiness and motivation is the ability to deliver the votes you need. Now, if you’ve sold the public that your platform is saying no to everything – no gay marriage, no taxes, no debt limit increase, no health care reform, no spending increases, and so on, then ‘asshole’ can deliver on that motivation pretty well, and the competence is trivial to the point of Sarah Palin. Just tell everyone to go suck a bag of dicks on every issue and stop feeling bad that you drowned a city or destroyed a country.

    And this is where the firebaggers do deserve a bit of credit here. They’ve been screaming for Obama to step it up on the motivation side in the same way that Republicans do. That’s harder when your goal is ‘yes’ rather than ‘no’, however, much the left hasn’t quite sorted out what we like in a leader on this. We’re pretty clear on the policy side, but often don’t want to see the kind of sharp elbows needed to bring it about. Obama’s threats of going over the cliff aren’t wearing well on the left, but they should be. That’s where leverage comes from. And there’s a lot of handwringing and concern trolling on the left on every issue as a result.

  36. 36
    Stooleo says:

    Speaking of assholes, the Hostess executives looted the pension. Who coulda known?

  37. 37
    Rock says:

    I think Obama has had to be very careful to not seem “like a jerk” because the Village would go into full-fledged revolt if he acted like it was “his place”. Also, I honestly think he’d lose a bunch of white voters if he had acted very forceful and not as conciliatory as he did — certain media often portrayed him as angry anyway so they thought it would be an effective attack…probably for a reason.

    I do think a big sector of voters want to vote for a jerk…they want a powerful ruthless guy who takes no crap (witness the supposed Rick Perry focus group about his execution of an innocent guy breaking 50/50 for Rick). But those people were not going to be Obama voters anyway.

    So, yes, I think not acting like a jerk was probably pretty important in getting Obama re-elected.

  38. 38
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    @bemused senior:

    The secret video of Romney disclosed an asshole to the readers of this blog, but his audience thought he was telling the truth about the state of American politics.

    Likewise, I hear from people all the time who still think Clint Eastwood haranguing an empty chair was sheer brilliance.

    It’s because deranged assholes look normal to other deranged assholes.

  39. 39
    👽 Martin says:

    @Stooleo:

    The Bakery & Confectionary Union & Industry International Pension Fund, the largest fund covering Hostess bakers, was 72% funded when Hostess stopped making contributions, the company said.

    They stopped making contributions in 2011. The pension was well underwater at that point. Wall Street got there even before Hostess did. And the union was trying to help:

    For example, John Jordan, a union official and former Hostess employee, said workers at a Hostess factory in Biddeford, Maine, agreed to plow 28 cents of their 30-cents-an-hour wage increase in November 2010 into the pension plan.
    Hostess was supposed to take the additional 28 cents an hour and contribute it to the workers’ pension plan.

    ‘Supposed to’. Apparently they didn’t. Wall Street fucked another pension, the company is now on the hook, goes to the union – the union steps up and tells the company to put their COLA into the pension instead, and the company abandons that effort and fucks the workers a second time.

  40. 40
    Hill Dweller says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    It’s because deranged assholes look normal to other deranged assholes.

    Apparently, Daniel Day-Lewis ridiculing Eastwood’s deranged chair rant is going to cost him some votes for the Best Actor Oscar. Possibly enough to lose it.

  41. 41
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Hill Dweller: Is there a link? I hadn’t heard about that.

  42. 42
    dr. bloor says:

    @Hill Dweller: Doesn’t strike me as the sort of thing that keeps Daniel Day-Lewis up at night.

  43. 43
    Lojasmo says:

    @FridayNext:

    Hawaii isn’t exotic, and the fiscal cliff isn’t a crisis.

  44. 44
    MattR says:

    @👽 Martin:

    ‘Supposed to’. Apparently they didn’t. Wall Street fucked another pension, the company is now on the hook, goes to the union – the union steps up and tells the company to put their COLA into the pension instead, and the company abandons that effort and fucks the workers a second time.

    And all this is proof that the bankruptcy was caused by the greedy, inflexible union.

  45. 45

    @Wiesman: I wouldn’t ask for another.

  46. 46
    Woodrowfan says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: On the Cincinnati Enquirer site today there are a bunch of white folks freaking out about the Reds using a Spanish-language jersey for some games in 2013. Fortunately there’s pushback, but’s there some really unhappy old white folk in the Ohio River valley…

  47. 47
    Roger Moore says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Apparently, Daniel Day-Lewis ridiculing Eastwood’s deranged chair rant is going to cost him some votes for the Best Actor Oscar. Possibly enough to lose it.

    I think it would take a lot more than “some” lost votes to cost him the Oscar.

  48. 48
    Roger Moore says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    On the Cincinnati Enquirer site today there are a bunch of white folks freaking out about the Reds using a Spanish-language jersey for some games in 2013.

    Are these the same people who made them change their name to “Redlegs” for a few seasons back in the 1950s out of fear of Communism? If they aren’t the exact same people, they’re certainly the spiritual descendants of the previous batch of ninnies.

  49. 49
    jefft452 says:

    @Brachiator: “This also falsely implies that Obama, or any other politician, has absolute control over how he or she is perceived”

    I don’t see how it implies that

  50. 50
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Do you think it made much difference in this election that Obama has studiously avoiding seeming like a jerk? I’m not sure what I think. I believe it’s definitely a smart move politically to guard Obama’s image as a basically nice enough guy, but I don’t know if it gave him a big advantage or a small one.

    Either DougJ is trolling his own Bots, or this is a new low in borderline mentally disabled/valley girl-style posts.

  51. 51
    Ted & Hellen says:

    omg.

    You people are taking this post seriously.

    Well done, DougJ. I am beginning to think your Obot pose is a complete fraud.

    Well done, indeed.

  52. 52
    redshirt says:

    It goes deeper than just the personalities of the candidates. The fundamental philosophies are geared towards this nice guy/dick division. Republican “policies” are mostly based on the worst of human instinct – greed, fear, hate, etc. Dems are based on sharing, helping, compassion, etc.

    These tow very different philosophies will naturally produce candidates who represent them in body.

  53. 53
    Citizen Alan says:

    “Likeability” is a relative term. It was certainly helpful when making arguments in support of Obama that one didn’t feel an obligation to first apologize for some awful thing he said the day before or to try to deflect jokes from the opposition suggesting that he was actually an android or possibly a lizard-man (as was the case with MittBot 2000). That said, there was literally nothing Obama could have possibly done to have gotten the 27% to “like” him, given the fact that they were prepared to twist everything he said and did into proof of some vile intent.

  54. 54
    Brachiator says:

    @jefft452:

    RE: “This also falsely implies that Obama, or any other politician, has absolute control over how he or she is perceived”

    I don’t see how it implies that

    Has Obama ever in his political career looked like a jerk? Did he go to political charm school and study anti-jerkiness?

    DougJ’s question is odd, un-serious, and ignores more serious obstacles that Obama has had to overcome, for example, the stupid media and wingnut tendency to ascribe negative and racial meanings to everything that Obama says and does.

  55. 55

    @Woodrowfan:

    Cincinnati is the cultural capital of Kentucky. The city does not have a history of enlightened political behavior.

  56. 56
    👽 Martin says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    On the Cincinnati Enquirer site today there are a bunch of white folks freaking out about the Reds using a Spanish-language jersey for some games in 2013.

    They haven’t looked at the back of the jerseys in a while, have they?

    33 Jose Arredondo RP R R 28 6-0 188 San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic $800,000
    61 Bronson Arroyo SP R R 35 6-4 193 Key West, FL $8,166,667
    — Carlos Contreras P R R 21 6-0 165 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic N/A
    — Daniel Corcino SP R R 22 5-11 203 Azua, Dominican Republic N/A
    47 Johnny Cueto SP R R 26 5-10 214 San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic $5,400,000
    — Ismael Guillon P L L 20 6-3 185 Valencia, Venezuela N/A
    65 Pedro Villarreal SP R R 25 6-1 225 Edinburg, TX N/A
    43 Miguel Cairo FA 1B R R 38 6-1 223 Anaco, Venezuela $1,000,000
    36 Henry Rodriguez 2B B R 22 5-10 150 Maracay, Venezuela N/A
    69 Neftali Soto 3B R R 23 6-2 200 Mantai, Puerto Rico N/A
    15 Wilson Valdez FA SS R R 34 5-11 170 Bani, Dominican Republic $930,000
    23 Denis Phipps FA CF R R 27 6-3 210 San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic N/A
    — Yorman Rodriguez CF R R 20 6-3 180 Ocumare de la Costa, Venezuela N/A

    There’s a hell of a lot of Spanish on them already. But that’s okay. Every protest will turn Ohio a little bluer.

  57. 57

    It hurt them. The Republicans, I mean. It couldn’t have done anything else. If youtreat people like shit, well, here’s a big shock, most people won’t like you. If you keep treating people like shit, most of them will grow to hate you.

    There are some exceptions, people like the few masochistic minorities and LGBTs who for whatever reason cling to the very assholes who beat them over the head all day. I don’t know what to think about them.

    The losers you saw at teabag rallies, the poor, ignorant, old, sickly chumps who were cheering for the very people who were fucking them, they’re easier to understand. They’re just the suckups you always find hanging around bullies. Sure, the bullies treat them like shit, too, but they go after others worse, and most bullies are smart enough to make a pretense about caring about their “friends”. Those sad “friends” will take any amount of abuse, since the bully lets them hang out with him, and, of course, as bad off as they might be, the outside targets fare far worse.

    But aside from those two groups, most of us don’t like assholes. Most of us recoil from the worst assholes. It’s a wonder to me that Rush Limbaugh, who spends three hours a day, five days a week being an asshole on a nationally syndicated radio show, doesn’t understand this, but he sure as hell doesn’t.

    George Bush showed us that if you are the right kind of asshole, a good ol’ down home, straight talkin’ ass-kickin kind of asshole who can wink knowingly at the rubes as he fucks some poor nobody, well, you can win over a good many people–for a while, at least. But even these guys can’t keep it up forever; sooner or later, most people will see through the funny, partying frat guy act, and learn to hate them. For awkward, socially inept assholes like Rmoney, the kind of bully who can never rely on anything but his brute strength or his father’s money to get away with his bullying–since his brute strength or his father’s money are all he has–well, people get the picture mighty quickly with those guys. And we saw how well that worked out for them this year.

  58. 58
    Wolfdaughter says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    If you want to see malicious and vicious check out NYT’s Room for Debate on immigration today. Its all chain migration this and anchor babies that, and people hyperventilating about a million new immigrants. I don’t know where they got their number from.

    I’ve noticed that anywhere in Blogistan that immigration is the topic, it brings out all the ugly commentators, with viciousness fully blaring. Consequently, I rarely click on debates about immigration anymore.

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Meh, I doubt it. It takes a lot more than that to lose votes in the Academy, like being a ginormous crazy asshole to everyone around you for a couple of decades like Mickey Rourke did.

    Plus Day-Lewis has the Spielberg mafia behind him.

  60. 60
    The Tragically Flip says:

    As another former conservative converted by the radicalism of the Bush administration, I would love to know if John or other converts enjoy the fact that as liberals, we don’t have to craft elaborate rationalizations our mean policies as really helping people.

    Now I don’t have to pretend that my preferred policies help people who need help. The policies I want now directly help them, instead of some kind of convoluted logic where by fucking them over I will “teach” them to fish (while my environmental policies now also help ensure there will still be fish too).

    It’s a big relief.

  61. 61
    Triassic Sands says:

    Researchers say that the more likeable candidate usually wins — or more accurately, the candidate the media paints as more likeable. If that’s true then of course it was important to not seem like a jerk. Romney, on the other hand, was handicapped by a life of entitlement in which he really does look down on people. When that’s your approach, you’re not likely to seem particularly likeable, except at the country club and in the board room, and then certainly not to the “help.”

  62. 62
    Thymezone says:

    Big.

  63. 63
    El Cid says:

    Romney’s biggest challenge of each waking moment of his campaign was to try to repress being a mean, weird dickwad to all the commoners he was having to appear with and in front of.

    His natural tendency was to insult his peasant hosts and the puny offerings they presented before him.

    Turn the “Days Without Mitt Romney Saying Something Shockingly Elitist” sign back to zero. Or, technically, two.
    __
    On Tuesday afternoon, Romney sat down for a 45-minute chat at a picnic table with a handful of voters from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. He was there to listen and learn about the financial concerns of everyday Americans — to demonstrate that, though he’s a multi-multi-millionaire with a car elevator, he’s still fighting for the common man.
    __
    And for most of the rectangular-table discussion, that’s what he did. But the only thing anyone is going to remember about the summit at Bethel Park is what Romney said about the cookies.
    __
    “I’m not sure about these cookies,” Romney said at one point, eyeing a plate of cookies on the table as if they were covered in human excrement.
    __
    “They don’t — they don’t look like you made them.” He turned to the woman next to him.
    __
    “You didn’t, did you?” After she confirmed that she did not, in fact, personally bake the cookies, Romney theorized as to the where such unappetizing specimens might have come from.
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    “No, no,” he continued, as his entire campaign staff died inside. “They came from the, local, uh, 7-Eleven” — “bakery,” someone interjected — “bakery, or wherever.”

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    Indeed, the cookies were the pride of the popular local Bethel Bakery, which had heard about the Romney event and made sure to get their trademark treats in front of him.
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    That any politician — much less one already battling a reputation for being out of touch — would ever vocalize such thoughts, in front of voters, on camera, is absolutely baffling.
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    Who cares if it might be a cookie from 7-Eleven? Just eat the fucking cookie. Or, at the very least, don’t go out of your way to insult it.
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    But the evidence is mounting that Romney just can’t help it. He has no filter, no ear for what he sounds like in the company of Normals. Which is a pretty unfortunate condition, for a presidential candidate.

    And the punchline is that lots of Republicans are griping because their nominee was such a stereotype of rich elitism himself it prevented him from being as mean and elitist as they wanted the candidate to be during the campaign.

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