Mitt Did Us a Favor

From “Paul Ryan’s disappearing act,” Jonathan Martin, Politico:

“Last year’s It Boy of the graying Republican Party has been bigfooted by the GOP’s new twin heartthrobs, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

“Ryan is actually hurt by having been on the ticket last year.  Many Republican activists had heard of the smart young Wisconsin conservative but not actually seen him up close.  And when they did, well, it didn’t send their pulses racing.

“‘He fell flat out here,” said Sam Clovis, a conservative talk radio show host in northwest Iowa.  ‘He just didn’t measure up to the hype.'”

Just as McCain showed us that Sarah Palin is empty-headed, Mitt showed us that Paul Ryan is empty-hearted.  Ryan had his moment, and he won’t be president.

As for Rubio, he’s very slick, but not very bright.  All he really has going for him is that he is Cuban-American, but the GOP will figure out that Cuba-Americans don’t identify with other Hispanics and, more importantly, vice versa.

Rand Paul may be less weird than his father, but he’s still way too weird to be president.

Jeb Bush has that fatal last name, Scott Walker is arrogant and dumb, John Kasich is arrogant and obnoxious, Bobby Jindal is simply goofy…  I’d go with Christie.  Sure he’s over-the-top Jersey to GOP Southerners, but what are they going to do, vote for Hillary?   Hed keep red states, swing purple states, and put blue states in play.

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GOP’s Attack on Obama Speech Continues Demonization of Romney

The GOP has been attacking Obama’s inauguration speech as partisan.  I actually didn’t think it was particularly partisan, and neither did Newtie, so he and I agree on something, which is kind of creepy.

But what do they think a Romney speech would have been like?  With Obama sitting there, Mittens would have declared that the country repudiated Obamacare and wanted less government spending, especially on social programs and entitlements, and less regulation and lower taxes.  He would have said the country wanted the Ryan budget and privatization of Social Security and Medicare.   He would have said his victory was a repudiation of everything from gay marriage to abortion rights to climate change.  Given the failure to re-elect a sitting president, Mitt’s speech would inevitably have been highly, harshly partisan.

In attacking Obama’s speech, the GOP continues to blame their messenger, not their message, when the country soundly rejected both.  Yes, Mitt was a terrible candidate who personified every negative stereotype and caricature of his party.  But they still don’t get that they surrounded him with embarrassing nut jobs like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, and that they forced him to sell a fringe platform.  They still don’t get that if Mississippi rejected a Personhood Amendment, such an amendment is not mainstream.  On this 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, new polls show that less than a quarter of Americans want it repealed.  It’s the same on immigration and gay rights and the Ryan budget and the environment.

The GOP somehow is still convinced that while we didn’t like their guy, we like their policies.  In attacking Obama’s speech, they fail to accept that we like both him and the sentiments he expressed on Monday.

The GOP didn’t just lose the election, they lost their compass.   They can’t find their way to the middle, the golden mean where the majority of votes will always be found.

 

Data-Driven Mitt Couldn’t Do the Math

From “Why Romney Never Saw It Coming,” John Dickerson, Slate:

“In the final 10 days of the race, a split started to emerge in the two campaigns. The Obama team would shower you with a flurry of data—specific, measurable, and they’d show you the way they did the math. Any request for written proof was immediately filled. They knew their brief so well you could imagine Romney hiring them to work at Bain. The Romney team, by contrast, was much more gauzy, reluctant to share numbers, and relying on talking points rather than data. This could have been a difference in approach, but it suggested a lack of rigor in the Romney camp. On Election Day, the whole Romney ground-game flopped apart. ORCA, the much touted computer system for tracking voters on Election Day, collapsed. It was supposed to be a high-tech approach to poll-watching, a system by which campaign workers would be able to track who voted. Those who had not yet voted could therefore be identified and then have volunteers tasked to finding them and getting them to the polls. ORCA was supposed to streamline the process, but it was never stress-tested. Field operatives never saw a beta version. They asked to see it, but were told it would be ready on Election Day. When they rolled it out Tuesday, it was a mess. People couldn’t log on and when they did, the fields that were supposed to be full of data were empty. “I saw a zero and I knew I wasn’t supposed to be seeing a zero,” said one campaign worker. A war room had been set up in the Boston Garden to monitor ORCA’s results, but in the end Romney and Ryan had to watch CNN to find out how their campaign was doing.  In the end, the numbers guy was deprived of his numbers in more ways than one.”

Not real impressive for a Harvard MBA, is it?

It’s Interesting…

It’s interesting that on anything related to science (climate change, whether people are born gay, whether a fertilized egg is a person), the GOP  insists on imposing  fundamentalist Christian views on everyone.

But when it comes to economic policy, they have turned to an atheist — Ayn Rand — who preached unregulated capitalism, an unfettered free market that is as extreme to many of us as the GOP’s theocratic policies.

That’s why I don’t understand today’s GOP bravado that Mitt was a lousy candidate, but Paul Ryan will do just great in 2016.  He’s with Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock on abortion, and with Rand on economics.  He’s the personification of what lost last night.

Karl Rove says that this country is still center right.  Even if that’s the case, his party is not center right, it is now far, far right.  As the GOP has moved more to the right, the Dems have not moved equally left, so they are now the more centrist  — and saner-seeming — party.

I would say this is a centrist country, that tilts left or right depending on the issue and how far each party is from the center.  If politics in America is played between the 20-yard lines, the GOP is out in the parking lot, with very few young or female or minority folks at its sad little tailgate party.

 

Dispatches from the Parallel Universe

Here’s Charles Krauthammer from “The Choice” at WaPo:

“An Obama second term means that the movement toward European-style social democracy continues, in part by legislation, in part by executive decree.  The American experiment — the more individualistic, energetic, innovative, risk-taking model of democratic governance — continues to recede, yielding to the supervised life of the entitlement state.

“Every four years we are told that the coming election is the most important of one’s life.  This time it might actually be true.  At stake is the relation between citizen and state, the very nature of the American social contract.”

This is just pure delusion.  In 2008, pundits could make wild claims about who Obama was and what he wanted to do.  But he’s been president for four years, a very moderate and centrist president, one who has frustrated the left of his own party.  We’ve seen him, we’ve lived with him, he is no radical.

By contrast, it is Romney/Ryan who are a true threat to the American social contract with their dramatic shifts of wealth and resources even further upward.  They are the threat to the middle class and those hoping to join it.

And if you want to talk about a “supervised life,” what better example could there be than the government forcing you to have your rapist’s baby?  Romney/Ryan, both supporters of the Personhood Amendment, offer their own sick version of an entitlement state where fertilized eggs are more entitled than those of us who are already here.

 

The Choice Isn’t Right or Left, It’s Right or Wrong

From “The Case Against Romney:  At Heart, He’s a Delusional One-Percenter,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine:
The election offers Romney his moment of maximal leverage over his party’s right-wing base.  If he actually wanted to cut a budget deal along the lines of Bowles-Simpson, or replace Dodd-Frank with some other way of preventing the next financial crisis, or replace Obamacare with some other plan to cover the uninsured, there would be no better time to announce it than now, when he could sorely use some hard evidence of his moderation.  He has not done so — either because he does not want to or because he fears a revolt by the Republican base.  But if he fears such a revolt now, when his base has no recourse but to withhold support and reelect Obama, he will also fear it once in office, when conservatives could oppose him without making their worst political nightmare come true as a result.

And so the reality remains that a vote for Romney is a vote for his party — a party that, by almost universal acclimation utterly failed when last entrusted with governing. … But his party has, unbelievably, grown far more extreme in the years since Bush departed.

“Economists have coalesced around aggressive monetary easing in order to pump liquidity into a shocked market; Republicans have instead embraced the gold standard and warned incessantly of imminent inflation, undaunted by their total wrongness.  In the face of a consensus for short-term fiscal stimulus, they have turned back to ancient Austrian doctrines and urged immediate spending cuts.  In the face of rising global temperatures and a hardening scientific consensus on the role of carbon emissions, their energy plan is to dig up and burn every last molecule of coal and oil as rapidly as possible.  Confronted by skyrocketing income inequality, they insist on cutting the top tax rate and slashing — to levels of around half — programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and children’s health insurance.  They refuse to allow any tax increase to soften the depth of such cuts and the catastrophic social impact they would unleash.

“The last element may be the most instructive and revealing.  The most important intellectual pathology to afflict conservatism during the Obama era is its embrace of Ayn Rand’s moral philosophy of capitalism.  Rand considered the free market a perfect arbiter of a person’s worth; their market earnings reflect their contribution to society, and their right to keep those earnings was absolute.  Politics, as she saw it, was essentially a struggle of the market’s virtuous winners to protect their wealth from confiscation by the hordes of inferiors who could outnumber them.

“Paul Ryan, a figure who (unlike Romney) commands vast personal and ideological loyalty from the party, is also its most famous Randian.  … But the Randian toxin has spread throughout the party.  It’s the basis of Ryan’s frequently proclaimed belief that society is divided between ‘makers’ and ‘takers.’  It also informed Romney’s infamous diatribe against the lazy, freeloading 47 percenters.  It is a grotesque, cruel, and disqualifying ethical framework for governing.”  Emphasis added.

Mitt will disappear after the election, he won’t be the leader of the GOP.  For the foreseeable future, Ayn Rand will be. At the time of the Great Depression, the concern was that our republic could be destroyed by the left.  So we got the New Deal.  I worry that our republic could be destroyed by the right if we get Paul Ryan’s Road Map.

 

He Who Must Not Be Named

From “Guess Who It’s All Up To?,” Gail Collins, NYT:

“Mitt is bringing half the Republican Party to Ohio on Friday to kick off the new ‘Romney-Ryan Real Recovery Road Rally.”  Everybody’s coming — Ann, the sons, Paul Ryan, Paul Ryan’s wife who we have yet to actually meet, Rudy Giuliani, a couple of Olympic medalists and pretty much every Republican elected official except He Who Must Not Be Named in New Jersey.

So the party now run by snake handlers hits the road to sell their snake oil…

I’m looking forward to my own Real Recovery from this campaign starting Wednesday.