Home / General / “There are too many poor people nowadays. Please tax the shit out of them. I am not a crackpot.”

“There are too many poor people nowadays. Please tax the shit out of them. I am not a crackpot.”


Shorter Buzz Bissinger: “I used to be a Democrat. Them I figured out that I’m sitting on a big pile of cash, am therefore willing to repeat transparent Republican dissembling that conflates “income taxes” and “taxes,” and am also unable to understand a rule that can be quickly grasped by any halfway-bright 12-year-old Little Leaguer, so I’m voting Romney.”

Or, as Josh Zembik puts it, “Buzz Bissinger’s new support for Romney is almost Dennis Millerian in its superficiality and laziness.” Well, except that it’s too kind — as with David Mamet, it’s so lazy and superficial it out-Millers Miller.

UPDATE: For those who would prefer to avoid the rotten mangoes, Bissinger’s column is available in video form:


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  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    1. Friday Night Lights remains an excellent book.

    2. I can’t believe you made me click through to that ridiculous Bissinger piece.

    3. I can’t believe I made myself read most of it once I was there.

    Gah! Let’s hope that Bissinger’s conversion is truly unusual in its laziness and superficiality. Then again, if we’re a nation of Buzz Bissinger’s, I suppose we’ll end up with the government that we deserve.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Bissingers* (Preview, please!)

    • SamR

      I saw Buzz’s piece linked in a lot of places, and thought “older rich white guy is shockingly voting Republican? Yeah, I think I can skip that, thanks.”

  • djw

    Conveniently, the Daily Beast provides a sidebar feature, “stories we like,” which contains links to a number of essays more thoughtful and compelling than this one, including “Kate Winslet’s seven sexiest runway moments” and “If I don’t find Mr. Right, should I marry my male friend?”

    • Hogan

      Are you sure that last one doesn’t link to Bissinger’s essay?

      • Manju

        Heh, heh.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I got “Pippa: Hot or Not?” Alas, I’m pretty sure this is still to highbrow for Bissinger’s intended audience.

  • Fighting Words

    I guess Buzz Bissinger spent too much time with Tony La Russa when he was researching “Three Nights In August.”

    By the by, I really hope that Charles Pierce has a response to this.

    • Warren Terra

      The intersection of sports writing and politics does seem right up his alley … but he might have professional courtesy reasons to ignore it. Or, y’know, other things he wants to write about.

  • Icarus Wright

    I care as much about Mamet’s political vies as I do for Clint Eastwood’s (who nailed that empty chair, btw) or Britney Spears, or George Clooney: zero.

    Awaiting the Hanna Montana Miley Cyrus political op-ed.

    • Marc

      Michael Moore did catch the essence of the Britney endorsement of Bush in Fahrenheit 911…

    • Manta

      For now you can have Chuck Norris’ op-eds.

      (It’s one of those rare occasions on the internet when mentioning Chuck Norris is appropriate…).

      • Cody

        I imagine you know how hard it is not to derail this thread into Chuck Norris jokes….

    • rea

      Ms. Cyrus is an Obama supporter, I believe.

    • witless chum

      Kid Rock is apparently poised to endorse the Romney campaign.

      On behalf of the people of Michigan, I apologize for the continuation of his campaign of annoying, but bland suck. The AV Club pointed out around 2000 that Kid Rock was straight up the Pat Boone of the 90s, so he might as well get the World Net Daily column going.

      • mark f

        Kid Rock is apparently poised to endorse the Romney campaign.

        On behalf of the people of Michigan, I apologize for the continuation of his campaign of annoying, but bland suck.

        On behalf of the people of Massachusetts, I apologize for making him governor.

        Oh, you meant Kid Rock?

        • witless chum

          I’m not picky, but Michigan has tolerated relatively little of Mitt Romney since he became a legal adult.

      • rjcoy06

        I found it funny that Kid “Mr. Detroit” Rock would endorse the guy who said “Let Detroit go Bankrupt”. I think he has been spending too much time in the back woods with Hank Jr.

    • Timb

      Just so I can feel better….IMHO, Clooney is different from those others. He has been to the regions he is talking about. He is well-read on the subject and seems to realize his involvement is useful to shine a light on a problem and allow actual decision makers to arrive at policy.

      He has as much in common with Buzz here, as his idmb page does with Buzz

    • tomk

      Miley’s pro occupy video


  • Shorter Buzz Bissinger: “On Wednesday, Mitt Romney finally got my dick hard. I finally have a mancrush on one of these candidates.”

  • c u n d gulag

    Even shorter Buzz, “I got mine, f*ck you, get your own!”

    • cpinva

      shortest Buzz, “I am a dick.”

  • The “skin in the game” bit is sure to earn Bissinger the praise of Glenn Reynolds.

    • The Telegraph’s Ian Cowie’s started going on about this on my side of the Atlantic, too, now enough American conservatives have started banging on about it, which rather confirms my suspicions that what separates Tories from Republicans is a sense of timidity and nothing else.

  • Man, I really wish Leitch had torn out Bissinger’s neck with his teeth during their “debate” some years back. Never trust a man who rails against blogs, I always say.

  • If that debate was enough to change his mind, he’s probably too stupid to vote. Let’s hope he moves to one of those places that’s attempting to disenfranchise voters. Then again, as a rich white guy, he’ll probably be safe. *le sigh*

  • Cody

    I was really hoping Mitt Romney’s game plan wouldn’t work. But apparently Americans are that stupid!

    Obama should run this kind of campaign and see how it works… he can just put forward a bill that will rage gigantic deficits and give a large stimulus to the American people. He’ll say it’s a budget. All the Progressives will be happy and vote for him. Then he can also propose a budget with large tax increases and spending caps, and all the moderates will support it!

    Then we can all vote for the President we want, even if it’s apparently the same one! Seems like an easy way to get 100% of the votes.

    • Heron

      Bissinger was going to vote Romney anyway; has probably been voting R for years. The fact that he actually buys that narrative -actually thinks it’s a moral failing that the elderly, the young, the student and the too-poor don’t pay income taxes, actually thinks that asking the people with 90% of the money in the US to pay more that 23% of it in taxes is theft- shows you what his values are and heavily implies how his vote and his economic interest coincide. The debate and Obama’s defensive, refuse-to-call-bullshit-so-I-don’t-piss-off-rich-people performance merely provided him with a good excuse to finally be open about it.

      It was nice of him to include that little gender-dismissive backhand theme about his wife in the essay as well. “Oh, women with opinions are so precious”. He apparently thought it wasn’t good enough to tell his readers that he’s a proud plutocrat who considers his upper-class life -made possible by their patronage- entirely self-created while considering them and theirs lazy, shiftless parasites, he also felt the need to express some solidarity with the pro-patriarchy wing of the Republican party as well.

  • So an old, rich white guy known for throwing temper tantrums like he’s still a child has decided to vote for Romney. Fascinating.

    He should get some kind of junior centrist pundit badge for dismissing his wife in the opening paragraph, making up the word “liberalogy”, and actually saying this (presumably after reading it over at least once):

    “By instinct I still cling to my Democrat roots. But I admit that as I get older, on the cusp of 58, I am moving more to the center or even tweaking right, or at least not tied to any ideology.”

    I’m above it all, and I approve this message.

    • Jim

      So he admits he was tweaking when he made the decision to vote for Romney.

    • Uncle Ebeneezer

      “But I admit that as I get older, on the cusp of 58, I am moving more to the center or even tweaking right, or at least not tied to any ideology, other than lowering taxes on the wealthy.”

      He just ran out of breath before he could finish. It’s hard to talk when he’s about to ejaculate all over the Romney fathead on his wall.

      • Linnaeus


      • KF1

        The BB piece is poor on all levels and I discount as an example of semi-known guy who says he was a Democrat political wankery. That said, there are a non-trivial number of well off individuals who are Democrats only up to the point it will cost them money. Even some supposed progressives who support the goals of liberal economic policy in the abstract balk at baring the cost and criticize all actual proposals as unworkable.

    • laura

      You’d never guess he’s been married three times.

      • Bill Murray

        I am surprised he was married even once.

        • cpinva

          drugs in the drinks helped.

          I am surprised he was married even once.

  • stratplayer

    Who’s Buzz Bissinger?

    • Kurzleg

      I wondered that too.

    • He must be another one of those bloviators who is a legend in his own lunchtime…

    • Uncle Kvetch

      Who’s Buzz Bissinger?

      I was wondering how and why a comic book character would be endorsing a presidential candidate…

      • DrDick

        Well, Romney is rather a comic book character himself, so it only seems appropriate.

      • Uncle Ebeneezer

        I always admire an astronaut who’s willing to punch a moon-hoaxer, but he seems to have gone even further off the rails!

    • JoyfulA

      Apparently, he’s a sportswriter. I had to click through to find out because I’ve never heard of him.

      IOW, nobody in particular.

      • mark f

        This subthread is somewhat silly. No, Buzz Bissinger doesn’t own the biggest microphone in the world. And his endorsement one way or the other isn’t going to sway anyone. But he is well-known, he did write Friday Night Lights, which is sometimes assigned high school reading and was adapted into a successful television show, and he does get to do the usual talk show rounds when he has new books out. And his columns appear in popular national print and online publications, one of which saw fit to print his musings on the debate.

        In other words, this isn’t exactly nutpicking.

        • cpinva

          oddly enough, i lived Friday Night Lights, so i didn’t need anyone to tell me about it. frankly, if the tv show was actually based on the book, it was utter bullshit, compared to the real thing.

    • spencer

      Sounds made-up to me. Kind of like “Yom Kip-poooor.”

    • Bill Murray

      He’s the new John Galt

  • OlderThanDirt

    If he had any Democratic roots, he would never have called them “Democrat roots.” Using ‘Democrat’ for ‘Democratic’ in a sentence like that is a dead giveaway.

    • elm

      Not really. Living in the South, I’ve met a number of actual Democrats (and not just the old-style Southern Democrats) that say “Democrat Party.” Since most Southerners are Republicans (or fake Dems or fake independents), you’re usually good with your assumption, but if Buzz is a Southerner, he could just be using a regional tic.

      I don’t care enough to look up if Buzz is a Southerner, though.

      • John

        His wiki article doesn’t say where he was from originally, but he went to Andover for high school and then Penn for college, and has lived around Philadelphia for most of his adult life.

        • Hogan

          His first book was a hagiography of Ed Rendell, the urban version of a DLC Democrat. I suspect his roots are in the Republican wing of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, the one that loves real estate developers and hates public employees.

        • wjts

          In the linked article, he mentions his hardscrabble upbringing in the liberal ghetto of the Upper West Side of New York City, living “in some garret reminiscent of the French Resistance”. Mitt a une longue moustache, Buzz. Mitt a une longue moustache.

      • greylocks

        Bissinger is a professional writer. He doesn’t get a pass on this stuff, regardless of where’s he from.

      • OlderThanDirt

        I grew up in North Carolina and I never heard “Democrat Party” until whoever it was wrote the memo. I suspect people who are using it and are not Republicans are people who get their “news” from Fox.

        • DrDick

          Agreed. I grew up in eastern Oklahoma (basically West Arkansas) and never heard that construction before it became a Republican epithet.

          • elm

            OK, so maybe it’s a South Georgia regional tic? The typical Yankee that I am, I assumed all southerners were the same.

        • cpinva

          i grew up in NY, NC & VA, and never heard or read “Democrat Party”, until the recent construction by rush limbaugh.

        • Lightning Joe

          Wherever it came from, it seems to have picked up psychic energy from that old “Democ-RAT” Republican political ad. You remember it, it has a frame that skips through the letters of the word one by one, but supplies the “RAT” all at once in Capitals — not QUITE fast enough to be termed subliminal.

          Subtle, eh?

          Republicans of a certain age get a hard-on every time they think of that ad and its “cleverly” embedded lie, and the odd endurance of the “Democrat” meme might be SOLEY explainable, by considering who is now Richest, and who pulls the GOP strings these days (between visits to their geriatrist, that is).

  • wjts

    But millions do not pay such taxes with incomes of more than $50,000, and whether it’s as little as $10, every American should contribute both as a patriotic obligation and skin in the game. This is our country, not our country club.

    Country clubs are, of course, positively infamous for their large number of “members” who do not pay any dues and their extravagant largesse towards the poor and downtrodden.

    • witless chum

      I don’t know what would be worse. If Bissinger actually believes that paying income taxes is the only way one contributes to society or if he’s such a dishonest hack as to suddenly pretend something so dumb just because Mitt Romney said so.

    • Joshua

      Not to mention it’s complete nonsense.

      Lower income folks don’t pay income taxes in part because of the way the EITC works (a concept advocated by well-known Communist Milton Friedman).

      Saying that lower-income people should pay $10 amounts to a huge double-digit tax increase on the poor. Would Buzz be cool with paying an extra $25,000+ to Uncle Sam because Lloyd Blankfein deems his contributions to the treasury insufficient?

      • BigHank53

        Buzz would certainly be surprised to learn what the MOTU think would be an appropriate tax rate for him to pay. It’d be short-lived surprise, though, as he’d be parted out as soon as the auctions for his internal organs were over.

    • FlipYrWhig

      I find his “country club” remark to be one of the single most unsuccessful pieces of attempted zingerdom in the history of the printed word. Besides the idea that paying something very like a membership fee is the _opposite_ of what happens in country clubs, you have the idea that Mitt “Judge Smails” Romney brought him to a realization that the nation should be less like a country club. Holy hell.

      • Scott Lemieux

        “I had to take away the EITC and apply an across-the-board 25% flat tax with no basic deduction. I felt I owed it to them.”

    • Reilly

      Because I believe that paying taxes is a patriotic obligation, I’m voting for the guy who shelters his money in off-shore tax havens and squirrels personal wealth into a Swiss bank account.

      • wjts

        No, no, no – when The Poors get whole or partial refunds of their withheld payroll taxes every April (exactly the same thing as not paying any taxes of any sort at any time ever), it’s a sign that they don’t have any skin in the game and need to jump on the team and come on in for the big win to beat the buzzer. When The Riches are asked to pay the same tax rate on capital gains as they are on earned income (or have any portion of their income taxed at a rate above 15%… 10%… 7%… I’ll get back to you on that.), it’s the worst form of class warfare since Hitler and Robespierre shot the Grand Duchess Anastasia.

        • Reilly

          I think I get it now. The Poors have to have skin in the game so that the Riches can keep skinning the game.

          • Holden Pattern

            And man, poor people to be precise, are [the most dangerous] game.

  • AR

    He also maybe has some issues with the term “liberalism,” since the part of NYC he identifies as the heart of American liberalism is mostly Republican.

    • Halloween Jack

      He also seems to think that a) Abbie Hoffman is some sort of patron saint, if not actual deity, to liberals in general, and b) therefore it would be heresy to not like him. I’ve always thought that Hoffman was a self-aggrandizing, small-time grifter whose biggest con was convincing a substantial number of hippies that he was at the bleeding edge of radicalism. Even his best-known accomplishment, Steal This Book, was itself largely plagiarized from nonpublished work by the Diggers, with much of the rest of the book’s original content provided by others whom Hoffman buries in an overinflated acknowledgement section, along with the likes of Mao and Geronimo. Peter Coyote, formerly of the Diggers, had this to say about Hoffman’s book:

      Abbie, who was a friend of mine, was always a media junky. We explained everything to those guys, and they violated everything we taught them. Abbie went back, and the first thing he did was publish a book, with his picture on it, that blew the hustle of every poor person on the Lower East Side by describing every free scam then current in New York — which were then sucked dry by disaffected kids from Scarsdale.

      • mark f

        Abbie Hoffman’s brother Jack used to write for an alt-weekly here in Worcester, MA (the Hoffmans’ hometown, and mine). It’s actually our second alt-weekly, and it’s run by a crazy person who mostly uses it to push her personal grudges. Jack quit writing around the time he got busted selling counterfeit designer purses at a flea market.

        • Halloween Jack

          The alternative newspaper (I think that it was an alt-monthly, although in its latter years it published pretty sporadically) in my hometown suffered a similar fate; the couple of people who showed up every paste-up day were the ones who became the editorial staff, and eventually drove it into the ground after they alienated what was left of the paper’s old readership and failed to attract new ones with their attention to their personal hobby-horses. I’m also reminded of the fate of the San Francisco chapter of ACT-UP, which was taken over by a cadre of HIV denialists, several of whom have subsequently died of AIDS.

          Also, I should note that the blockquoted text above is taken from Hoffman’s Wikipedia page. Further down, Coyote says that he thinks that Hoffman’s big mistake was drawing so much attention to himself and making himself a target, vs. the anonymity of the Diggers; you could make the case that the Diggers:Anonymous::Hoffman:Julian Assange.

        • DocAmazing

          Time out: the guy’s name was really Jack Hoffman?

    • John

      I had thought the Upper West Side was pretty liberal. It’s the Upper East Side, I thought, that leans Republican.

  • wengler

    In fairness, he’s never quite gotten over the internet and the fact that words don’t have to be read off of honest-to-God America-loving paper anymore.

  • Davis

    For a guy who claims to have studied the issues, he is preposterously ignorant.

  • Paul Campos

    Buzz Bissinger makes more than $250,000 per year? (I assume a lot more, or he’d be whining about being part of the oppressed middle class, like that U of Chicago law professor a couple of years ago).


    • Halloween Jack

      He’s a bestselling author, and Friday Night Lights was both a movie and a TV series.

  • Uncle Ebeneezer

    I’m not surprised that somebody who wrote a book about Texas football as a window into heartland America, ends up being basically a Republican. (Note: I have never read FML or seen the series but have heard that both are great.) But you would think that someone who immersed himself in small-town Texas, would have run across a poor person or two and have a better understanding of their lot in life.

  • Who is Buzz Bissinger? And why does anyone care what he thinks?

    Never heard of the guy out west, of course, and now that I have, i.e., a Pennsylvania journalist, “Who, especially cares what a guy named Buzz says?”

    Too bad Larry Harmon isn’t around or we’d get his opinion, too.

  • Pingback: Thanks A Lot, Poors, You Made Buzz Bissinger Endorse Mitt Romney « A Flea in the Fur of the Beast()

  • That’s a pretty amusing video.

  • Hovercraft Full of Eels

    Christ, what an asshole.

  • Bitter Scribe

    I always thought Friday Night Lights was way overrated. (Just like I thought David Mamet was overrated as a playwright. What a coincidence.)

    Also, WTF kind of grown man calls himself “Buzz”?

    • Malaclypse

      Also, WTF kind of grown man calls himself “Buzz”?

      Aldrin. He’s entitled to.

    • Pseudonym

      The kind who’s stepped foot on the moon or the kind who needs to buzz off.

      Also, I only experienced the film version of Friday Night Lights, but maybe Mr. Bissinger is still bitter about his team getting beat by the black guys.

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