When in Trouble, Lie

In trouble for what he said about the Palestinians, Mitt is behaving like a five-year-old who ate the forbidden candy, and lying his tush off.  Now he’s claiming that he “did not speak about the Palestinian culture,” when he clearly did, negatively and explicitly contrasting their culture with that of the Israelis in terms of their per capita GDP.

How he thinks denying that he said what he said is going to help him is beyond me.  It prolongs the controversy and adds another dimension to it.   It makes him look even more strange, untrustworthy, and unfit for the Oval Office.

His staff continues to be bush league.  His traveling press secretary had a nasty encounter with reporters in Poland, telling them to “shove it” and “kiss my ass.”

Except for his hefty fundraising, the trip was a disaster, and Mitt was an embarrassment to the GOP and the country.


Likability = Electability?

In the last five presidential elections, the guy who was considered more likable won.  In the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, President Obama has a 30-point edge in likability, 60% to 30%.  But he is in a virtual tie with Mitt on actual votes.

When it comes to the issues, Mitt is viewed as “better” in all the economic ones — the budget deficit (55-36%), creating jobs (50 to 44%), taxes (49 to 45%), and the economy in general (51 to 41%).

They are tied when it comes to health care, 47 to 47%, which makes sense given that Obamacare is Romneycare.

Obama has the edge on foreign affairs, 52-40%, but very few voters make that their most decisive issue.

The Gallup polling summary concludes:  “For now, it appears as if Romney’s economic strengths and Obama’s likability edge are offsetting one another, as voters are evenly divided in their preferences for whom they want to be the next president.”  Emphasis added.

The economy isn’t going to get better between now and November.  But I doubt Mitt is going to get more likable.  And the electoral college map still favors Obama.

The bottom line for me is that this was the GOP’s election to lose, and it will take someone who is a caricature of phoniness, coldness, and cluelessness to give Obama a second term.

Will GOP Succeed Because They Support Failure?

It will be bad enough if Mitt wins.

But it will just kill me if he wins because the failing austerity policies in Europe do so much damage to our economy that they cost President Obama the election, the same misguided austerity policies that the GOP wants to impose here.

So European economic failure would generate GOP success would in turn would generate American economic failure.  Who’s on first?

Does Mitt Have Aspergers Syndrome?

I looked at a picture of Mitt with Ed Miliband, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, and suddenly a little light bulb went on.  I’d seen that fake, forced smile a thousand times, but, all of a sudden, it occurred to me that Mitt may have Aspergers, which is part of the autism spectrum.

People with Aspergers lack empathy and have difficulty with social situations.  Basically, they find it very hard to relate to other people, to put themselves in their shoes.

If Mitt has Aspergers, it would explain a lot.

I posted right after Aurora urging everyone to watch Mitt’s comments about the tragedy, and his weird, insincere, robotic affect.  Aspergers would explain why he was so “off” when he made his statement.

It would explain stuff like “Corporations are people too” and “I enjoy firing people.”

It would explain his ruthlessness in the way Bain closed businesses and fired people without severance, health care, pensions, job training.  As Mitt’s opponent in his run for governor, Shannon O’Brien, asked about one such closing, “Couldn’t Bain have made $80 million on that deal instead of $100 million and helped the displaced workers?”  But if Mitt has Aspergers, he has a complete inability to imagine what getting fired was like for those people.

It would explain his citing the time he put his dog Seamus on the roof of the car as an example of his ability to solve problems, and having no clue why other people were horrified by that story.

I really think there’s more going on with Mitt than just being a spoiled, sheltered rich person.  A lot of rich people have genuine smiles.  If I had $250 million, I’d be grinning all the time.

Sean Hannity has been using the tag line “Can you afford four more?” about President Obama.  I wonder if we can afford a president with Aspergers, a president with no empathy at a time when so many Americans are suffering.



A Little Bit of This, But a Whole Lot of “That”

Mittens is running hard with his lie that President Obama meant business owners didn’t build their businesses, when he said “You didn’t build that,” even though “that” clearly referred to the infrastructure businesses rely on, not the businesses themselves.

Today the campaign is running “We Did Build This” events in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada, where small business owners will vent their rage on President Obama.

I wonder how carefully they’ve vetted these venting owners to make sure they didn’t receive government $.  Based on the Gilchrist fiasco in New Hampshire, I’m guessing not enough.

I hope this lie turns around and bites Mitt in the tush by showing voters what a truly despicable little creep he is.  It’s not just that he has no respect for President Obama, he has no respect for any of us in the 99% either.

The Debates Will Decide

My feeling is that the presidential debates will decide this election.  I believe the polls will remain close between now and October, and that the debates will be heavily viewed and play a significant role not just in how the undecideds finally vote, but in moving some “soft” support from one candidate to the other.

So mark your calendars:

October 3 — University of Denver, Denver, Colorado — Presidential

Ocotber 11 — Centre College, Danville, Kentucky — Vice Presidential

October 16 — Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York — Presidential

October 22 — Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida — Presidential

Mitt’s Possible Swiss Bank Amnesty Getting Into MSM

The mainstream media is finally raising the question of whether Mitt took advantage of the IRS’s 2009 tax amnesty for Americans with previously undisclosed Swiss banks accounts.  Participation in that amnesty would have required him to pay back taxes and a fine, but allowed him to avoid prosecution.

Matt Yglesias has raised it in the Washington Post, “If Romney releases his tax returns, what are the worst things we could find?”  Yglesias has previously written about the amnesty scenario in Slate, but WaPo is a big step up for the story to get some legs.

Yglesias also suggests that Mitt may have had either big profits from the financial crash, when most people were suffering, or big losses from the crash, so that he paid a teeny, tiny amount of taxes.  While his campaign has denied that he paid nothing, Yglesias rightly asks, “But would paying $2.75 really look all that different from paying $0?”

Of course, there is an easy way to end all the speculation about his taxes.  Mittens, the ball is in your court.  You know, the private court that’s part of your New Hampshire vacation estate.

I’m sure Mitt will post many years of tax returns online soon.  Keep checking at http://www.aintgonnahappen.com.

Mitt Is LBO, Not VC, and Why It Matters

Mitt keeps trying to portray himself as a venture capital guy, but we need to remember that he was a leveraged buyout guy and the difference between them when it comes to job creation.

From “Mitt Romney:  The Man Without a Past,” Michael Hirsh, The Atlantic:

“Mitt Romney has an identity problem.  He is running for president by making promises about America’s future, but as a man who is largely without a past.  Not only has Romney renounced many of his previous positions — on abortion, immigration, gun control, climate change, and the individual mandate he once championed as Massachusetts governor.  He also refuses to divulge many details about what even he has said is his main qualification for the White House in a faltering economy:  his successful career in ‘private equity’ from 1984 to 1999 (or thereabouts).

“What is it about the private equity world that Romney doesn’t appear eager to bring up? … The term ‘private equity’ sounds respectable, but it is a euphemism for the old leveraged buyout deals we remember from the 1980s, the era of corporate raiders like T. Boone Pickens and Henry Kravis.  After junk-bond king Michael Milken, who funded a lot of those takeovers [and whom Mitt worked with], went to jail, the industry decided to rename itself in order to remove the taint.

This is Mitt Romney’s true world.  As the founder of Bain Capital, Romney became a brilliant LBO buccaneer who specialized in buying up firms by taking on a lot of debt, using the target firm as collateral, and then trying to make the firm profitable — often by breaking up or slashing jobs — to the point where Bain and its investors could load up the firm with even more debt, which Bain would then use to pay itself off.  That would ensure a profit for Bain investors whether or not the companies themselves succeeded in the long run. 

But job creation is irrelevant to Bain’s business model, which is all about paying back investors.  Nor does the long-term fate of the companies that private-equity firms buy up matter crucially to Bain’s bottom line (though of course success is better).  The only real risk for Bain is that these companies fail to make enough initial profit in order to permit Bain to pile on more debt and extract a payout, so that it can make back its investment quickly.”  Emphasis added.

If people understand what Mitt did, and they want to vote for him anyway, that’s fine.  I just hate to think of all the people who will vote for him without really getting the Bain business model and the source of Mitt’s extraordinary wealth.

Mitt Will Lose Because He Thinks He’s Better Than We Are

From “Pathos of the Plutocrat,” Paul Krugman, NYT:

“Anyway, what’s now apparent is that the [Romney] campaign was completely unprepared for the obvious questions, and it has reacted to the Obama campaign’s decision to ask those questions with a hysteria that surely must be coming from the top.  Clearly, Mr. Romney believed that he could run for president while remaining safe inside the plutocratic bubble and is both shocked and angry at the discovery that the rules that apply to others also apply to people like him.  [F. Scott] Fitzgerald again, about the very rich:  ‘They think, deep down, that they are better than we are.’

“There are plenty of very rich Americans who have a sense of perspective, who take pride in their achievements without believing that their success entitles them to live by different rules.

“But Mitt Romney, it seems, isn’t one of those people.  And that discovery may be an even bigger issue than whatever is hidden in those tax returns he won’t release.”

Krugman’s point here is why I believe it’s okay to dislike Mitt without engaging in class warfare.  I don’t hate rich people, I just really dislike this particular rich person.

Also, Krugman shows why Mitt is more un-American than anything the fevered brains of the far right can dream up about President Obama.  There is nothing more un-American, more antithetical to who we are as a people, than thinking you’re better than other people, and I agree with Krugman that Mitt (and Ann) believe that they are superior to those of us who don’t move in their charmed circles.  It’s hard to be down-to-earth when you’re atop a dressage horse or a car elevator.


Mitt Won’t Make a Good Comforter-in-Chief

I’m sorry, but there’s just something wrong with Mitt.  I watched his statement about Aurora and then President Obama’s.

The President looked and sounded like a normal human being reacting to the news.  But Mitt, although his statement wasn’t badly written,  had his usual weird Mitt affect, both his voice and his face were way off in terms of expressing appropriate emotion.  He could have been talking about the latest Bain quarterly report.

The President seemed to be speaking from his heart, while Mitt seemed to be going through the motions, saying what he thought he should, what “you people” expect, without genuinely feeling very much.

Every American should watch these two statements and listen to their gut reaction.