Browsing the archives for the Mittens category.

Veep Debate Live Blog

Mittens, Obama-Biden

I refuse to listen to the pre-debate commentary on teevee, but you can begin commenting here if you like. I’ll start the live blog at 9 o’clock.

* Well, it’s 9 o’clock. Wish us luck.

* Joe Biden says the last thing we need is another war.

* There’s a split screen on MSNBC that shows Biden reacting to Ryan.

* I want Biden to call Ryan out for saying anyone is “apologizing for our values.”

* There is no subsidy of abortion in Obamacare.

* Well, Ryan was clear about something. He wants to criminalize abortion.

* Ryan is anti-abortion because of reason and science?

* I think Joe is doing well so far. I like the question to Ryan, how will you change minds in two months.

* 47 PERCENT! Joe got it in!

Sic ’em, Joe. He’s on a roll.

Ryan is saying the economy is getting worse, and I don’t think that’s what people are feeling now.

Is Ryan even making sense now?

*Show me a policy!


No, Social Security is not going bankrupt.

Sorry I’m not posting; I’m having a good time watching this.

Privatizing social security!

Who do you trust.

Oh, is Ryan leaving himself open.

No, he doesn’t have the specifics. He has a framework, no details.

Push him on the math.

How is American foreign policy “unraveling”? Does it seem that way?

Ryan is smacked down on Afghanistan.

Ryan is not making sense. We’re supposed to work with our allies but he doesn’t want to wait for allies.

If we don’t get to women’s issues there is going to be a of griping, but that would be the moderator’s fault.

Ah ha! abortion!

Joe said “forcible rape.”


Ryan has been neither a convincing wonk nor a convincing salesman. He comes across as a callow little twerp.

Well, Chris Matthews is happy. Should everybody be happy?

* Twitter is alight with calls for Martha Raddatz to take over Meet the Press. And with that I will sign off for the night. See you tomorrow!

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Live Blog Tonight

Mittens, Obama-Biden, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

If you plan to watch the veep debate (beginning 9 pm eastern time), you’re welcome to hang out here for moral support. As before, I make no predictions. However, I do not make the assumptions that Captain Ed assumes we liberals are making.

Democrats are too quick to deride Ryan as a colorless wonk. They know he will bring an encyclopedic knowledge of policy, especially on budgets and entitlement programs, but assume that he will come across as bland and unemotional.

If that meathead has an encyclopedic knowledge of anything more complicated than mayonnaise, I’m Prince Harry.

Lately Zombie Eyes hasn’t even been faking it well, although I assume he is being drilled with misinformation he can use in place of actual facts. And when he’s on his game, he’s good at presenting a right-wing caricature of a policy wonk, so anything can happen tonight. But no, I am not concerned that I will be bored by Paulie’s emotional blandness.

The moderator will be Martha Raddatz, ABC News’s chief foreign correspondent. She has not moderated a debate before, so there is no way to know how she will do. However, after all the criticism leveled at Jim “the Marshmallow” Lehrer, I hope she will provide a bit more of an edge to the evening.

Speaking of debates, there was another Warren-Brown debate in Massachusetts last night, and from the descriptions I read Warren did very well and Brown is a jerk, although it seems he has backed off harping on Warren’s family heritage. Current polls have Warren ahead by 4 points.

Finally, the eternally pathetic Darrell Issa and his witchhunt hearings on Benghazi, eagerly trying to find political ammunition to use against the Obama Administration, accidentally blew the cover of a secret CIA base. Thanks loads, guys.

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Mitt’s China Syndrome


This just up at Mother Jones —

… according to Romney’s recent tax returns, between 2008-2011 Romney invested more than a half million dollars in the stocks of 10 Chinese companies—including firms that embezzled, partnered with Iran, and stole US intellectual property.

Coming to an Obama campaign video near you.

Romney has long invested in China, putting millions into Chinese firms back when he ran Bain Capital, as MoJo’s DC bureau chief David Corn first exposed in several reports this summer.

Romney has said that he has no role in managing his personal investments; one of his aides told the Financial Times recently that Malt works “to make the investments in the blind trust conform to Governor Romney’s positions, and whenever it comes to his attention that there is something inconsistent, he ends the investment.” But back in 1994 Romney himself said that blind trusts don’t absolve an investor of responsibility: “The blind trust is an age old ruse, if you will, which is to say, you can always tell the blind trust what it can and cannot do. You give a blind trust rules.”

Lots of interesting details here. For example, while Mitt has been railing against Chinese companies stealing U.S. patents, one of the companies he invested in is a convicted patent-stealer.

Update: See also “Bain Tobacco” —

Ghosh’s work for cigarette companies was chaotic, unbridled and, ultimately, deadly. To Mitt Romney and his colleagues at Bain & Co., it was a chance to rake in money. Ghosh said he reported directly to Romney, who was excited about the Russian market. “He was my boss,” Ghosh said.

At the time, Romney was CEO of Bain & Co., the Boston-based consulting firm that launched his white-collar career and led him into the high-stakes world of corporate buyouts. Although Romney’s activities helming the private equity giant Bain Capital have drawn significant attention, his role at Bain & Co. has received almost no public scrutiny. A Huffington Post investigation into Bain’s tobacco work found that the consulting firm helped Philip Morris increase its revenues in the U.S., and aided two other tobacco titans as they vied to move forcefully into the Russian market.

Yes, Mittens was pushing American cigarettes in Russia. But, really, this was about patriotism. Since Russia is America’s “number one geopolitical foe,” Mittens was doing his bit by giving the Russians lung cancer.

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When Talking Points Collide


Watch Paul Ryan fail to get his story straight —

Ryan is not just stupid, but stupid with resolve. No wonder the righties admire him.

See also Michael Tomasky.

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Quickie Quiz! What Do the Foreign Policies of Truman, Kennedy, Reagan, and Clinton Have in Common?

American History, Mittens

Damn if I know, but whatever it is, it’s what Mittens wants to go back to.

The Romney campaign cast Obama as an outlier president who failed to continue a bipartisan tradition of a strong military and leadership in the world. Several times on the call, his advisers described Romney as following a tradition that included Presidents Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton while President Obama’s approach, they said, was similar to Jimmy Carter’s. Romney’s approach is “a restoration of a strategy that served us well for over 70 years” and will renew a “bipartisan vision” of foreign policy, Wong said. “[Obama’s] foreign policy is marked by passivity, by delay and by indecision.”

I question whether there was any one “strategy” that “served us well for over 70 years.” You’ve got to be completely ignorant of global history to even think such a thing. And the national security challenges of today are utterly different from what they were in the post World War II era, and these new challenges demand new approaches both diplomatically and militarily. There is simply no one-size-fits-all approach to foreign policy that might have worked in 1949 or 1962 and would still work in 2012. In particular, whatever happened to “9/11 changed everything”?

Again, Romney speaks of the military as if we need to be prepared to land on Normandy beach and advance to Berlin. But that sort of declared war between nations is unlikely to ever be fought again, or at least in our lifetimes.

Conservatives of the 1950s must be rolling over in their graves over praise of Truman who, after all, “lost China” and failed to win the Korean War. And Truman was the guy who said “I like Stalin.” Truman changed his mind later, but still …

Kennedy, Bay of Pigs? That was a bonehead move, although today people mostly remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. Historians are still arguing about how much Kennedy should be blamed for Vietnam.

Reagan’s incoherent Lebanon misadventure cost the lives of 241 servicemen, mostly Marines, in one terrorist attack. So Reagan withdrew and consoled himself by invading Grenada. If Reagan had been a Democrat, the Right would have put him in the Weenie Museum next to Carter. And Iran Contra? Really, Jimmy Carter never did anything that weird.

And conservatives had nothing good to say about Clinton’s foreign policies while he was in office. I’d agree that foreign policy wasn’t President Clinton’s strong suit, although he got better as he went along. And, of course, the Bush II administration (unfairly) blamed Clinton for 9/11. How soon they forget.

Even a fellow from the American Enterprise Institute understands that Romney has to do more than pretend to be Ronald Reagan: “Mr. Romney needs to persuade people that he’s not simply a George W. Bush retread, eager to go to war in Syria and Iran and answer all the mail with an F-16.”

Mitt will be speaking today at the Virginia Military Institute:

In a speech on Monday at the Virginia Military Institute, Mr. Romney will declare that “hope is not a strategy” for dealing with the rise of Islamist governments in the Middle East or an Iran racing toward the capability to build a nuclear weapon, according to excerpts released by his campaign.

The essence of Mr. Romney’s argument is that he would take the United States back to an earlier era, one that would result, as his young foreign policy director, Alex Wong, told reporters on Sunday, in “the restoration of a strategy that served us well for 70 years.”

But beyond his critique of Mr. Obama as failing to project American strength abroad, Mr. Romney has yet to fill in many of the details of how he would conduct policy toward the rest of the world, or to resolve deep ideological rifts within the Republican Party and his own foreign policy team. It is a disparate and politely fractious team of advisers that includes warring tribes of neoconservatives, traditional strong-defense conservatives and a band of self-described “realists” who believe there are limits to the degree the United States can impose its will.

In other words, Romney is a bit fuzzy about the details

Each group is vying to shape Mr. Romney’s views, usually through policy papers that many of the advisers wonder if he is reading. Indeed, in a campaign that has been so intensely focused on economic issues, some of these advisers, in interviews over the past two weeks in which most insisted on anonymity, say they have engaged with him so little on issues of national security that they are uncertain what camp he would fall into, and are uncertain themselves about how he would govern.

Truly, as in all things that don’t involve leverage and tax shelters, Mitt cannot make up his mind.

Indeed, while the theme Mr. Romney plans to hit the hardest in his speech at V.M.I. — that the Obama era has been one marked by “weakness” and the abandonment of allies — has political appeal, the specific descriptions of what Mr. Romney would do, on issues like drawing red lines for Iran’s nuclear program and threatening to cut off military aid to difficult allies like Pakistan or Egypt if they veer away from American interests, sound at times quite close to Mr. Obama’s approach.

And the speech appears to glide past positions Mr. Romney himself took more than a year ago, when he voiced opposition to expanding the intervention in Libya to hunt down Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi with what he termed insufficient resources. He called it “mission creep and mission muddle,” though within months Mr. Qaddafi was gone. And last spring, Mr. Romney was caught on tape telling donors he believed there was “just no way” a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could work.

You’ll like this part:

Liz Cheney, who served in the State Department during the Bush administration and is the daughter of Mr. Bush’s vice president, has begun to join a weekly conference call that sporadically includes Dan Senor, who served as spokesman for the American occupation government in Iraq. Since the Republican National Convention, Mr. Senor has been assigned to the staff of Mr. Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan, who in recent weeks has made Mr. Obama’s foreign policy a particular target.

Please, people, this man must not become President. Must. not. become. President. A Romney administration would be a global catastrophe.

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Debate Tonight!

Mittens, Obama Administration

Just to get us all in the mood, here’s a clip from the Daily Show on the expectations game

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Party Tonight!

Bush Administration, disasters, natural and unnatural, Hurricanes, Mittens, Obama Administration, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

The virtual debate party begins here tonight at 8:30 eastern time, for the pre-debate warmup. BYOB. I’m taking suggestions for drinking games.

There are a number of articles out now that claim debates make no difference to elections, but Nate Silver’s analysis says that they often help the challenger. However, it could be argued that the post-debate spin was what made the difference, not the debate itself. For example, the numbers show that the Clinton-Dole debates in 1996 helped Dole just a little, and there’s no way. Dole was awful. I was embarrassed for him.

On the other hand, Nate’s numbers say that if the election were held today, Mitt’s chance of winning would be 2.7 percent. heh.

I’m not too worried about the spin. Why? Because righties are so out to lunch they couldn’t spin a dreidel on a turntable on a carousel. Right now they think they have a BOMBSHELL video of President Obama in 2007 telling an audience of black ministers that the federal government did not do enough to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Seriously. That’s their idea of a controversy. I guess we’re supposed to remember that Brownie did a heck of a job.

Righties say Obama’s remarks were racist because he ties the not-rebuilding of New Orleans to racial discrimination. Um, yeah, that was pretty obvious. Although I suppose it could be argued that it wasn’t so much racist as an attempt to finesse Katrina for political gain by making a Democratic governor look bad. And that the federal dollars eventually offered to New Orleans mostly went into the pockets of contractors with ties to the Republican Party and were not spent on, you know, rebuilding. And that was just good old-fashioned corruption. But it’s still not likely the Bushies would have played games like that if the neighborhoods that were destroyed were mostly white. I think anyone but a white racist can see that.

See also “Breaking: Obama Is Black” and “Right-wing Racial Panic.”

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Mitt: I’ll Bury Our Enemies With Platitudes

Middle East, Mittens

Mittens has an op ed in the Wall Street Journal called “A New Course for the Middle East” that I made myself read so you wouldn’t have to. Although you can if you like.

Executive Summary: The strategy appears to be that we are going to overwhelm the Middle East with our glorious greatness, and once they fully appreciate how gloriously great we are they will love us and stop misbehaving.

At one point, Mittens writes that he would place “no daylight between the United States and Israel.” That’s as close as he gets to any concrete policy. The rest of it is all verbiage that doesn’t say shit. Writing an article about new Middle East policy without using the words “Afghanistan,” “Iraq,” “troops,” “drones,” or “Islam” may provide a clue how utterly empty this op ed is. It is a mush of platitudes and straw men.

Mittens appears to believe that the United States can control everything that happens in the world if we just want to badly enough, and the fact that people in other countries misbehave is all President Obama’s fault. Typical paragraph:

The first step is to understand how we got here. Since World War II, America has been the leader of the Free World. We’re unique in having earned that role not through conquest but through promoting human rights, free markets and the rule of law. We ally ourselves with like-minded countries, expand prosperity through trade and keep the peace by maintaining a military second to none.

We mostly got to be “leader of the free world” because we were the only major power on the winning side of World War II that wasn’t left in ruins when it was over. And thanks in large part to the economic stimulus provided by government spending on the war, plus postwar programs like the GI bill, our economy was strong and growing while most of Europe and Asia were still struggling to just find their socks and make some breakfast. We were fortunate to have moderately progressive leaders, including Republican ones like Eisehnhower, who respected FDR’s New Deal legacy and who ignored the hotheads who wanted nuclear war with China. We also implemented the Marshall Plan and maintained sensible foreign aid programs even though conservatives grumbled about it. And that’s how we got to be “leader of the free world.” But after the Debacle that was Dubya, it’s hard to say that title has any real meaning any more.

But in recent years, President Obama has allowed our leadership to atrophy. Our economy is stuck in a “recovery” that barely deserves the name. Our national debt has risen to record levels. Our military, tested by a decade of war, is facing devastating cuts thanks to the budgetary games played by the White House. Finally, our values have been misapplied—and misunderstood—by a president who thinks that weakness will win favor with our adversaries.

Mitt Romney seems to think that history jumped from VE Day to the assassination of Ambassador Stevens in Libya with nothing happening in between. He describes President Obama’s policy as afflicted with “incomprehension.” I don’t doubt Mittens doesn’t comprehend it, as there are no tax shelters involved, but fortunately President Obama is a lot smarter than Mittens.

In this period of uncertainty, we need to apply a coherent strategy of supporting our partners in the Middle East—that is, both governments and individuals who share our values.

And who would that be, Mitt, except Bibi Netanyahu? And, frankly, I’m not sure many of us over here share Netanyahu’s “values,” whatever they are. The U.S. has a long policy of propping up anti-communist dictators, such as the Shah of Iran — notice how that turned out — and of forming alliances with people who openly are selling us out — think Pervez Musharraf. But when people in other countries win the freedom to finally elect their own choices, they don’t always choose people we might like. Our glorious greatness doesn’t always make an impression, I guess.

This means restoring our credibility with Iran. When we say an Iranian nuclear-weapons capability—and the regional instability that comes with it—is unacceptable, the ayatollahs must be made to believe us.

And how are you going to do that, Mitt? Send them rotten fish in the mail? Insult their mothers? Threaten them with nuclear war? Don’t ever make threats you aren’t willing to carry out, dude.

It means placing no daylight between the United States and Israel.


And it means using the full spectrum of our soft power to encourage liberty and opportunity for those who have for too long known only corruption and oppression. The dignity of work and the ability to steer the course of their lives are the best alternatives to extremism.

See, Mitt, I don’t think anyone actually disagrees with that. The question is, how will you do it? That’s kind of the catch, son.

But this Middle East policy will be undermined unless we restore the three sinews of our influence: our economic strength, our military strength and the strength of our values. That will require a very different set of policies from those President Obama is pursuing.

One might question the degree to which our “values” ever had much to do with our foreign policy. But I don’t see that President Obama is anti economic or military strength, or that he has no values. And throwing money at the Pentagon to maintain some muscle-bound military prepared to land on Normandy Beach and slog toward Berlin doesn’t necessarily address current military need.

And how is it that this moron was such a success in “business”? Making boatloads of money must not take much in the way of smarts.

Update: See also Paul Waldman, “Foreign Policy Is Hard.”

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Mitt’s Pancake Syrup

Middle East, Mittens, Obama Administration, Republican Party

Every now and then Tom Friedman hauls his head out of his ass and writes a good column.

For the first time in a long, long time, a Democrat is running for president and has the clear advantage on national security policy. That is not “how things are supposed to be,” and Republicans sound apoplectic about it. But there is a reason President Obama is leading on national security, and it was apparent in his U.N. speech last week, which showed a president who understands that we really do live in a more complex world today — and that saying so is not a cop-out. It’s a road map. Mitt Romney, given his international business background, should understand this, but he acts instead as if he learned his foreign policy at the International House of Pancakes, where the menu and architecture rarely changes.

Rather than really thinking afresh about the world, Romney has chosen instead to go with the same old G.O.P. bacon and eggs — that the Democrats are toothless wimps who won’t stand up to our foes or for our values, that the Republicans are tough and that it is 1989 all over again. That is, America stands astride the globe with unrivaled power to bend the world our way, and the only thing missing is a president with “will.” The only thing missing is a president who is ready to simultaneously confront Russia, bash China, tell Iraqis we’re not leaving their country, snub the Muslim world by outsourcing our Arab-Israel policy to the prime minister of Israel, green light Israel to bomb Iran — and raise the defense budget while cutting taxes and eliminating the deficit.

I would add that all that stuff didn’t really happen in 1989, either. Of course, Republicans have been playing the “we’re tough on security and they’re not” game since the end of World War II, and they’ve had a good run with it. Dems were first soft on communism and then soft on terrorism, according to the GOP. Looking at the actual history of the past century or so, I see no evidence that Republicans are intrinsically more effective at keeping America safe than Democrats, but they have managed to market themselves as the superior foreign policy brand lo these many years. And they’ve gotten away with that because Americans on the whole don’t travel much and don’t have a strong grasp of what’s going on in the rest of the world. Or much care, for that matter, as long as it’s not in their neighborhood.

I’d like to think that the young folks who grew up in the Internet age are less provincial and not so easily fooled. We’ll see. But my sense of things is that right now the general electorate is not in the mood to hear about bombing some Middle Eastern country if we can, you know, choose not to bomb some Middle Eastern country. Recent experience tells us that bombing Middle Eastern countries doesn’t really settle anything.

As far as Mitt is concerned, his hookup with the old Bush neocon gang was not something I would have predicted a couple of years ago. I had assumed he was more sophisticated about the world than that. And maybe he is, and he’s just playing the game because he thinks it will help him get elected. But if he knows it’s all a scam, that doesn’t speak well for him, either.

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Les Mittsérables


Greg Sargent says this is the only ad Mittens will be running in the swing states, starting Friday.

Is it me, or is this ad pathetic?

According to Jed Lewison, Mittens held some sort of rally in Ohio to help him connect to blue-collar workers, and everyone on the stage with him were owners and other executives. He’s also gone back to bragging about Romneycare.

And Staples? One of the jewels in Mitt’s success story? It’s going down the tubes.

As Josh Marshall says, irony and karma want to kick mitt’s ass.

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