The last time Mitt Romney had an opinion about the Olympics, he got made fun of by basically everyone in London. But I guess a fear of mockery never stopped Mitt Romney before.
So! Now, in USA Today, Mitt Romney wrote an editorial complaining about the waste of the Olympics. He recommends a budget cap on future games. And why? Because governments spend too much on the Olympics. Which, of course, leads to the question:
Why do governments spend so much?
Public-sector inefficiency accounts for some of the gap, and corruption is surely to blame as well. But the big difference is that government personalities are promoting themselves and their country with someone else's money.
You've got to be fucking kidding me. I was at the Republican National Convention in 2012, and I'm pretty sure that the fact that Romney "saved" the Salt Lake City Olympics was mentioned more often than the fact that Romney was governor of Massachusetts. What a crock of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do bullshit this is.
In addition, Philip Bump at the Atlantic Wire points out that Mitt Romney's Salt Lake City Olympics cost more than the budget cap he proposes in his editorial. This is prime Romney: It's fine when he does it (Massachusetts's health care plan) but when someone else does more or less the same thing (Obamacare), it's an unconscionable waste. Why can't Romney just go away? Why does he keep floating around like this? If he hates politics as much as he claimed while he was running for office, why doesn't he just go and be a private citizen? At least when he was running for president, he had the claim of a higher calling. Is he now feeling that same higher calling to write pissy editorials that do nothing but subconsciously reveal Romney's deep sense of self-loathing?
I definitely want to watch Mitt, this Netflix-only documentary shot inside the Romney presidential campaign:
The thing is, I'm already dreading the reviews of this thing. "Mitt Romney seems like a really nice guy," people will say. "Maybe we were wrong about Mitt Romney!" They'll be surprised to see him act tender with his friends and family, and they'll be moved to see him so worried about his campaign, as though Mitt Romney was somehow always inhumanly awkward in every interaction he ever had.
I never had any doubts that Mitt Romney was nice to people in private. The thing I'm hoping this movie can do is treat Romney like a human while still addressing his politics. It doesn't have to talk about his politics in a negative light, but it does have to talk about the issues he promoted. If this thing is just a portrait of a loving American without talking about his plans and the politics of the people he aligned himself with, it's just a too-late propaganda piece from the 2012 presidential campaign.
Obama is really the president of this nation...
In the end, President Barack Obama got exactly what he said he wanted — a debt-limit increase, an extension of the federal government’s funding, and no overly binding strings attached — and he did it by keeping faith with his unusual watchwords: No negotiation.It's tempting to see in all of this (the challenge, the resolve, the victory) the makings for what the future might mark as the turning point for a presidency that appeared to be heading in a direction that was leaving the race of the leader as its sole distinction.
Experience had taught Republicans, and even Democrats, that he would wilt. Obama had agreed to austere spending limitations and big tax cuts in past budget showdowns. And Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert joked earlier this month that the president needed a transplant of vital pieces of male anatomy to take a strong stand on the debt limit and federal spending this time around.
But Obama stood his ground, beating back GOP efforts to extract concessions such as major changes to his health care law.
This old punching bag again? Sure, why not? It turns out that Mitt Romney now says he didn't say comments he was caught on video saying. When author Dan Balz interviewed Romney for an upcoming book about the election, he asked Romney what he was thinking when he said 47 percent of Americans couldn't take responsibility for themselves, Romney replied:
Actually, I didn't say that…That's how it began to be perceived, and so I had to ultimately respond to the perception, because perception is reality.
So now Mitt Romney claims that he's a victim whose statements about how nearly half of the electorate was solidly in Obama's corner were taken out of context. Romney says that he was just talking about reality, and that he never called nearly half of all Americans a bunch of parasites. Except you know who disagrees with Mitt Romney on this issue? Mitt Romney, in the video in question, as relayed by David Corn at Mother Jones:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what… These are people who pay no income tax..."[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives
I don't want to spend a lot of time on this. Romney is now a private citizen (albeit a disgustingly wealthy private citizen) and he has no influence on the political discourse. He doesn't speak for the Republican Party—he never really did. But this is just such a classic Romney moment that I had to take note of it for nostalgia's sake. After every failed presidential campaign, there are people who say that the character of candidates weren't properly reflected by their own campaign staff. "They didn't let _________ be ________," friends and family members would complain. This is proof that the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, which was full of lies and attempts to distort reality, absolutely reflected the content of Romney's character.
Well, Romney probably voted for himself during the 2012 elections. But the Huffington Post says:
Over the Christmas break of 2010, Mitt Romney and his family took an internal poll on whether he should run for president once more. Twelve family members cast ballots. Ten said no. One of the 10 was Mitt Romney himself.
This information comes from a book about last year's elections by Washington Post reporter Dan Balz, Collision 2012, which will be released in early August. I can't wait.
It's one of the most familiar pieces of advice from authorities to people in the path of a tornado: Get into your basement. Yet few homes in the Oklahoma City area have them — even though that state is hit by far more powerful tornadoes than most others.I would be surprised if the answer to that question is not in anyway related to this fact:
"Probably less than one tenth of one percent" of the houses in Moore are built with basements, said Mike Hancock, president of Basement Contractors in Edmond, Oklahoma. "There's just such a misconception that you cannot do it."
Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, wins Oklahoma and leads in all counties reporting results. GOP nominees have captured all 77 Oklahoma counties in last two presidential races and topped 65 percent of the vote.
Seriously, there are certain things that are indeed political and other things that are certainly not. The economy, for example, is political; tornadoes are not—and never the other way around. CNN:
In fact, basements are so rare in the area that real estate listings do not include "basement" as an option under foundation types...
In another report:
Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis told CNN's Jake Tapper, also Wednesday, that six people previously unaccounted for have been located.
Five were found alive. The sixth is dead, and the body was located at the medical examiner's office. The mayor was not sure whether that death was included in the official count of 24.
He also told CNN that he would push for a law requiring storm shelters or safe rooms in new homes.
The story is everywhere; the man who is now the most famous bartender in American political history....
he man who filmed Mitt Romney making the now-infamous "47%" comments is speaking out about why he secretly-recorded the GOP presidential candidate at a fundraiser last May.Rmoney's mistake? He was completely honest; he and what he represents does not recognize members of the under class, the working class, and even the middle class as political subjects. True, Rmoney did not lose the election because of the this tape, but it certainly brought his political career to an end. He is never coming back. That comment would kill him in a Republican primary. Trust me, any GOP opponent would use it like a nose bone and stab him repeatedly, stab him debate after debate—47%.
Scott Prouty, a bartender who worked for a catering company, said he was inspired to do so after a friendly encounter with former President Bill Clinton.
Prouty came forward in interviews with the Huffington Post and “The Ed Show” on MSNBC.
At a previous event, Prouty said Clinton came back to the kitchen and expressed gratitude to the staff, waiters, bartenders and busboys who helped cater the event. He took photos, shook hands, signed autographs and complimented the meal, he told Huffington Post.
He said when he heard Romney would be attending an event that he was tending, he brought his camera in case he could get a picture with the presidential hopeful.
The former Massachusetts governor, however, was late to the Florida event and left shortly after it was over, without speaking to the event staff. While he told the guests that his comments would be off the record, he did not address the same instructions to the wait staff.
The source of my nose bone.
He'll be making his identity known today, and Huffington Post says he was motivated by Bill Clinton:
WASHINGTON — Bill Clinton won the presidential election for Barack Obama. But it wasn't his masterful Democratic National Convention speech or the advice he offered the president's reelection campaign. Clinton, it turns out, inspired the man who filmed Mitt Romney's infamous and game-changing 47 percent comments...
The man, who tended bar for a company that catered to a high-end clientele, had previously worked at a fundraiser at a home where Clinton spoke. After Clinton addressed guests, the man recalled, the former president came back to the kitchen and thanked the staff, the waiters, the bartenders, the busboys, and everyone else involved in putting the event together. He shook hands, took photos, signed autographs, and praised the meal — all characteristic of the former president.
When the bartender learned he would be working at Romney's fundraiser, his first thought was to bring his camera.
Meanwhile: How did Romney treat the bartender and the rest of the staff at the infamous event? Take a wild guess.
What a funny name this fellow has! At first I thought his first name was "Matt," but it turns out, he's called "Mitt!" How silly! And "Romney?" That name rings a bell...something political, I believe. It beckons to me from the past. Ah, yes! A quick Google search informs me that a man named "Romney" ran for president in 1968! Assuming he was 40 then, that means this gentleman is at least in his eighties. He's held together quite well, wouldn't you say? Let's see what the codger has to say:
Okay, first of all, I'm unsure what a political candidate from the distant past who now lives a life of comfortable retirement has to do with anything. Second of all, Mr. Romney is an old-fashioned conservative, whose beliefs clearly have nothing to do with the twenty-first century. He's a relic of a conservatism that doesn't apply to the modern world. Surely, there is a place for this ancient political candidate to share the wisdom of his experiences, but asking him about modern political dilemmas is kind of like asking a neanderthal for favorite poutine recipes. Let the old man go to his retirement with some dignity, rather than asking him to rehash the glory days of his outdated campaign for the entertainment and amusement of modern audiences.
Okay, so Karl Rove had hundreds and millions of dollars from Republican donors to advance Republican candidates. None of them won. What happened next?
“My posterior was shredded a little bit by donors wondering why we are writing checks for people who then turn around and run such lousy campaigns,” Rove said on Wednesday while speaking in Dallas at a luncheon sponsored by the National Center for Policy Analysis, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Weirdly, Rove's shredded-posterior imagery inspired deep within me a powerful craving for a pulled pork sandwich. But look at the second half of that sentence, when he lays the blame on the candidates. Rove says he's learned that "The quality of candidates matters.” Because that's something that never occurred to him before he started tossing around three hundred million dollars of other people's money. If a Rove super PAC pulls in that kind of money again in the next election cycle, I'll be stunned. I don't know how anyone could trust him with three dollars, yet alone three hundred million.
Next Sunday, Mitt Romney will do his first major post-election interview with, unsurprisingly, Fox News. This means it's time for any number of retrospective news pieces on what went wrong, featuring Republicans who took part in the Romney campaign. Now, most of these are going to be boring, intellectually lazy rehashes that concede one or two points to the Obama team, like this clip, in which Romney strategist Stuart Stevens admits that the media wasn't strictly "in the tank" for Obama...
...but there's a lot of subtext that we're going to have to keep an eye on, because it's going to tell us a lot about the future of the Republican Party. If Romney continues to blame his loss on the 47% of Americans who he thinks Obama gives gifts to, and if other Republicans agree with that assessment, they'll have effectively learned absolutely nothing from their loss this time.
The fact that GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans aren't going to the Conservative Political Action Conference this year is a bad sign; the rumors that Chris Christie won't be invited are even worse. For Republicans to win elections, they're going to have to concede some ground. Mitt Romney's carefully groomed-and-edited Fox News interview would be a good place to begin that process. If that doesn't happen, the Republican Party will be stuck in teabaggy 2012 for at least the next two years.
Carter's grandson, James Earl Carter IV, torpedoed Romney with the 47 percent video....
NBC News reports that Mitt Romney is celebrating his opponent's inauguration by sitting around and probably not being anywhere near a television set:
The former Republican presidential contender is spending Inauguration Day at his home in La Jolla, Calif., where it’s sunny with a forecasted high of 73 degrees.
An aide told NBC News that the former Massachusetts governor and his wife have "no big plans."
Asked if the governor was likely to watch the inaugural ceremonies today, the aide said, "Doubtful."
Enjoy La Jolla, Mittens!
If you want more celebrity bullshit posts, post 'em. And please note that the two Seahawks posts were by regular actual employees of The Stranger, and one of them was so disdainful as to actually constitute a Golden Globes post.
And the Seahawks game was more important: There's a Golden Globes every year. The Seahawks do not make the post-season every year.
Slog tipper Clinton sends along news of maybe the best item ever to appear on Craigslist:
What would you do with a 300-pound steel slab, formed in the shape of Iowa, and emblazoned with Mitt Romney's "Believe in America" motto?...Word has it that a landlord of a former Romney Campaign office wants it gone—soon. Consequently, the Criagslist seller is willing to give it away for free, provided you have a truck that can haul 300 pounds of steel.
I would like to turn this into a headboard.
And how about this, Eli:
The 113th U.S. Congress convened at noon Thursday, ushering in 82 freshman House members and 12 new senators. Of that group four African Americans, five Asian Americans, 10 Latinos and 24 women were sworn in, ultimately marking a shift in which white males no longer make up the majority of House Democrats.Out of the 233 seats held by the GOP, 209 are occupied by white males. It is what it is: the GOP is the white male party. Politics in America has come down to white males against the rest (the rest includes white males), the past against the future, the idea against the reality.
It's even better a couple months later, no?
It's an ad, I know, but it's also a pretty good look at what the hell just happened:
Politifact has determined that Mitt Romney's lie about Jeep moving its business to China is the lie of the year. Everyone knew Mitt Romney was going to win this prize, but the Jeep choice is kind of arbitrary. Romney lied and lied all year long. He lied and then lied again. If he was caught in a lie, he'd just lie some more, and then return to his original lie. I'd say Romney's biggest whopper was his campaign slogan:
At his best moments, Romney believed in 53% of America. After the election, he only believed in 47% of America. This lie is the root of all Romney's other lies.
Michelle Malkin's sad little "social media" site Twitchy has a story up right now that is crowing about how Republicans "crushed liberals on Twitter in 2012." Someone writing under the unfortunate handle of "Twitchy staff" effuses:
Congrats to all the happy warriors on Twitter who delighted in crushing narratives, mocking the steady supply of mock-worthy liberal nonsense and tweeting truth to power!
Uh huh. Keeping in mind that President Obama's "Four more years" tweet was the single most retweeted post on Twitter in 2012, I think Twitchy's Twitter facts might be a little, shall we say, skewed. But whatever. I'm willing to let them have this one; pushing the issue would be like stealing the shoes from a passed-out drunk.
At a press conference earlier today, leaders of the effort to legalize marijuana in Washington State said pretty much what Cienna already said: Don't be dumb about the new law.
If you have questions about how much you can legally possess after tonight, whether an employer can still test you for pot use, whether you can legally smoke pot in public, or where the new government-run pot store is, the ACLU has answers. Also, Initiative 502 architect Alison Holcomb reminds: "Initiative 502 was not drafted as a celebration of marijuana use, but rather as a recognition of the failure of marijuana policy."
That policy of prohibition, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said, "has made us the number one jailer nation on the planet, and it has made drug dealers very rich." The change in policy in Washington State, he continued, "is good government, and it is good government by the people."
Former University of Washington Professor Roger Roffman added that "marijuana use is not harmless," and cheered the fact that Initiative 502 will "finally adequately fund science-based education about what marijuana does." (And what it does not do.)
Holmes knows some smoke-ins and other celebrations have been planned for when the law goes into effect tomorrow, but said he's just happy to have a new law on the books. "I have better things to do with my time than test the limits of the law," Holmes said.
With the issuing of the first gay marriage licenses a few hours away, the Washington Secretary of State's office shares this proclamation:
BOEHNER: OBAMA NEEDS TO STOP ACTING LIKE HE WON ELECTION
Tensions over the so-called fiscal cliff reached a boiling point today as House Speaker John Boehner accused President Obama of acting like he won the November election.
“Our message is clear: Mr. President, we are ready to negotiate with you,” Mr. Boehner told reporters. “But this nonsense of acting like you won the election has got to stop.”
Lashing out at Mr. Obama’s “delusional arrogance,” Mr. Boehner added, “I don’t know what planet he thinks he won an election on, but this whole ‘the American people elected me’ act is getting a little old.”
The general impression is the GOP has long to go before it has recovered something like its senses from the initial shock of the loss (see Paul Constant's post). They had no idea that Obama was no longer an accident of history. How could you not put the economy in the hands of a man who has all of the historic signs of reliability: white, mature, male, and rich?
A handful of outlets have reported that Team Romney’s internal polling showed North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia moving safely into his column and that it put him ahead in a few other swing states.Read the rest for the answer.
When combined with Ohio, where the internal polling had him close, Romney was on track to secure all the electoral votes he needed to win the White House. The confidence in these numbers was such that Romney even passed on writing a concession speech, at least before the crotchety assignment-desk known as “reality” finally weighed in.
Less well-known, however, are the details of the polls that led Romney to believe he was so close to the presidency. Which other swing states did Romney believe he was leading in, and by how much? What did they tell him about where to spend his final hours of campaigning? Why was his team so sanguine about its own polling, even though it often parted company with the publicly available data?
Today's required reading is a Washington Post story about what Mitt Romney's been up to. So, uh, what's Mitt Romney been up to? A whole lot of nothing, turns out. There's this, which is the newsiest part of the article:
In private, Romney has told friends he has little interest in helping the Republican Party rebuild and rebrand itself.
And this, which is kind of sad:
By all accounts, the past month has been most difficult on Romney’s wife, Ann, who friends said believed up until the end that ascending to the White House was their destiny. They said she has been crying in private and trying to get back to riding her horses.
But mostly, it's all mundane stuff: An older man, bicycling to stay in shape, staring out the windows of his beach house, and eating fast food:
One friend said [the Romneys] ordered their turkey dinner from Boston Market, the home-style restaurant chain, because there were too many kids running around the house to bother with cooking a feast.
I think every presidential loser should be forced to eat Boston Market for Thanksgiving, just as a little extra punishment. This whole, melancholy article is even better than the "pick[ing] at a vegetarian breakfast burrito" article that came out back in September, if you're a fan of reading about Mitt Romney suffering from the sads.
The New Republic has a look at Mitt Romney's internal polls, and they're hilariously bad.
The first thing you notice is that New Hampshire and Colorado are pretty far off the mark. In New Hampshire, the final internal polling average has Romney up 3.5 points, whereas he lost by 5.6. In Colorado, the final internal polling average has Romney up 2.5 points; he lost by 5.4. “I’m not sure what the answer is,” Newhouse told me, explaining that his polls were a lot more accurate in most of the other swing states. “The only ones we had that really seemed to be off were Colorado—a state that even Obama’s people tweeted they thought it was going to be one of their closest states—and the New Hampshire numbers, which seemed to bounce a lot during the campaign.”
Huh. I wonder where they went wrong?
Broadly speaking, the people who showed up to vote on November 6 were younger and less white than Team Romney anticipated, and far more Democratic as a result. “The Colorado Latino vote was extraordinarily challenging,” Newhouse told me. “As it was in Florida.”
Oh, yeah. That. Well! Who could've predicted?
Here, via NBC, is the White House report on President Obama and Mitt Romney's no-media lunch:
This afternoon, President Obama and Governor Romney visited for an hour over lunch in the Private Dining Room adjacent to the Oval Office. Governor Romney congratulated the President for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming four years. The focus of their discussion was on America's leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future. They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future. Their lunch menu included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.
I have two thoughts about this:
1. As Boston.com notes, Mitt Romney kicked off his 2012 campaign by serving big bowls of Ann Romney's turkey chili to fans in New Hampshire. There is no way that today's menu was a coincidence.
2. "Let's stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future" is the new "fuck you, you fucking fuck."
Meanwhile, Joe Biden took the most-documented trip to Costco in the history of the world this morning.
Remember the Romney face tattoo guy? He's had a change of heart:
Hartsburg tells POLITICO he plans to get the tattoo lasered off, a process that could take a year...[Hartsburg] heard some of Romney’s post-election comments, most notably his claim that the president won reelection because of “gifts” given to various constituencies.
“It stands not only for a losing campaign but for a sore loser,” Hartsburg said. “He’s pretty shameful as far as I’m concerned, man. There’s no dignity in blaming somebody else for buying votes and paying off people. I can’t get behind that or stay behind that.”
When a guy who would accept money to get a face tattoo calls you "shameful," you know you've hit rock bottom.
You must find the time today to read Ezra Klein's great interview with Chrystia Freeland, an expert of the mindset of the class of people who rule our financial universe and the author of a book I'm going to buy right quick, The Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. My favorite passages:
CF: There’s a great joke on Wall Street which is that the bet on Romney is Wall Street’s worst bet since the bet on subprime. But I found the hostility towards Obama astonishing. I found the commitment to getting him out astonishing. I found the absolute confidence that it would work astonishing. On that Tuesday, the big Romney backers I was talking to were sure he was going to win. They were all flying into Logan Airport for the victory party. There’s this stunned feeling of how could we be so wrong, and a feeling of alienation.
CF: Let me be clear that I’m not defending any of them. But I think the way it works — and I think Romney’s comments were very telling in this regard — there are two differences in the mind of this class. First, they’re absolutely convinced that they’re not asking for special privileges for themselves. They’re convinced that it just so happens that their self-interest coincides perfectly with the collective interest. That’s where you get this idea of the “job creators”. The view is that to seek a low tax environment or less regulation, that’s not special pleading for yourself, it’s not transactional politics. It’s that this set of rules is the most conducive to economic growth for everybody. It will grow the pie. Now, it also happens to be an incredibly convenient way of thinking. If you’ve developed an ideology that what’s good for you personally also happens to be good for everyone else, that’s quite wonderful because there’s no moral tension.
CF: To get back to Romney, that’s where you get the belief that being successful in business qualifies you to be president. What’s interesting to me is that if you talk to the billionaires in other countries that have different social orders, you heard different views on this.
Yuri Millner, the Russian billionaire, set up a prize in theoretical physics where he gave three million bucks each to what he thought were the nine best theoretical physicists in the world. The reason he did that, he said, is that he thinks that the way our society allocates brainpower against work is not ideal. He thinks the work he does is kind of boring and humdrum and doesn’t make that much of a difference in the world but leads to these huge rewards, while in his view, the most defining and important work, the work that makes us human, is grappling with understanding the universe. George Soros will say that he thinks the most important human endeavor is to be a philosopher. You encounter that sentiment less often among the anglo saxons, because we’ve persuaded ourselves that the heroes of our social narrative our businesspeople.
President Obama will have lunch with his one-time Republican rival, Mitt Romney, at the White House on Thursday, making good on an election-night pledge by the president to meet with Mr. Romney.
The White House announced the event Wednesday, in a statement released by Mr. Obama’s press secretary. The lunch will take place in the Private Dining Room, next to the Oval Office in the West Wing, the White House said.
“It will be the first opportunity they have had to visit since the election,” the statement says. “There will be no press coverage of the meeting.”
Knowing how much Romney hates it when the government hands out free lunches as gifts, I certainly hope he'll brown bag it. Romney will also meet with Paul Ryan before the lunch, which will be the first time the two men have talked since Election Day. I imagine tomorrow will be the most awkward day in Mitt Romney's already incredibly awkward life.
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