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Mitt Romney is a Nice Man

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I should avoid the crack of the excerpts from Halperin and Heilemann’s new book about the presidential campaign. Such books bring out the worst in the political class–the gossip, the insider knowledge, the focus on personalities over issues. But as I have low character, I can’t help myself. So what do we learn?

1. Mitt Romney is a massive asshole who likes to make fun of fat people as if he were an insecure 14 year old boy desperate to prove he’s better than others. Oh wait, that accurately describes Mitt Romney.

2. Romney picked Paul Ryan in no small part because he reminded him of the young go-getters at Bain, showing that Romney actually did conceive of himself as a venture capitalist CEO ready to bring those insights to the White House. Boy, running the nation like that would have been awesome.

3. Bill Frist was a semi-finalist for vice-president? Was Howard Baker too fresh and relevant for Romney?

4. Of the 11 semi-finalists, there were 9 white men, Marco Rubio, and Kelly Ayotte. Given how irrelevant the VP actually is, you’d have thought Romney would at least thought about the optics and considered Susana Martinez or Nikki Haley or even a moron like Bobby Jindal. But of course not.

5. Chris Christie has just a slight corruption problem. Along with his own asshole problem.

6. Obama rightfully saw the pick of Ryan as incredibly stupid.

Now I realize that it’s way too early to being thinking seriously about the presidential campaign in 2016. But Rob’s post on Cruz and Paul yesterday brings home just how damaged every major Republican possibility is. Cruz and Paul are insane and couldn’t win a general election barring some sort of monstrous catastrophe that makes the Democratic brand toxic. Christie can’t win the primary and even if he could, there’s the corruption and his awful personality that won’t play in most of the nation. Jeb Bush is a has-been. Rubio is probably finished as a serious contender. Ryan’s views are so unpopular that I don’t think he gained a single thing by being the VP candidate. I’m interested in how much his media presence has declined in the last year. Scott Walker is probably the candidate that scares me the most, but he also has major corruption problems that will haunt him in a general election. I suppose that leaves the plain vanilla conservatives like Pawlenty or Portman or Daniels, but color me skeptical that’s the kind of person who wins this thing.

I’m not Nate Silver or Dave Brockington, but I have trouble seeing a generic Democratic candidate with less than a 75-80% chance to win in 2016 simply because every single major Republican candidate has such glaring problems. It’s going to be crazy.

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  • Ralph Wiggum

    barring some sort of monstrous catastrophe that makes the Democratic brand toxic

    Well, in six months’ time the American people will discover the TRUTH about how Barack HUSSEIN Obama personally murdered the Benghazi Four in order to reinforce his global rule of Islamofascist tyranny, and the ensuing scandal will destroy the Democrat Party forever. Just you see!

    • Am I wrong to read this as Poe in action?

  • djw

    Bill Frist was a semi-finalist for vice-president?

    Hey, Paul Ryan doesn’t look quite so bad now, does he?

    • Why don’t they just admit that they could have run everyone through a weight/height simulation program and picked them on body fat.

      • Scott Lemieux

        I mean, Paul Ryan once ran three consecutive marathons in less than 20 minutes, so the choice was obvious!

      • Then why didn’t Christie win?

        • Ahuitzotl

          he did win, they picked Ryan

    • Warren Terra

      I’m a politics junkie and have been since before Josh Marshall played a role in the immolation of Frist’s career – and I honestly had to stop and think: Bill Frist, where have I heard that name before? We’re talking about some dude who had been out of politics for five years, and left in a cloud of humiliation because he was Too Racist for national politics. This was a serious candidate?

      • FlipYrWhig

        You’re thinking of Trent Lott.

        • Warren Terra

          See what I mean?

          • Derelict

            Frist ended up getting caught in the Abramoff scandals. However, his senatorial career was on the downswing anyway when it came to light that, as a surgical student, he’d fraudulently “adopted” cats from shelters so he could practice surgical techniques on them.

            Nice, eh?

            • anthrofred

              Wow. And this is the guy who lectured Michael Schiavo on ethics and the sanctity of life?

              Which, also, is what I will forever associate Frist with. He’s a sanctimonious distance-doctoring piece of crap who profited off of a family’s suffering.

              • The Velveteen Rabbit

                Frankly, I thought that Frist should have lost his license to practice medicine after putting his doctor cred behind diagnosing a patient, outside his specialty, on the basis of a heavily-edited video. Good thing for him that he’s from Tennessee.

  • Funkhauser

    Economic fundamentals matter, and Christie can win a Republican nomination. Candidate personalities don’t matter. Your expectations are inflated and ill-informed.

    • Ralph Wiggum

      I remember people telling me that that was why Barack Obama couldn’t possibly win reelection, and that Romney would inevitably win. How did that go?

      • Funkhauser
        • Panda

          I have a hard time accepting this kind of dtereminism, for a simple reason: the changing make up of the electorare. Given racial voting pattern, had the electorate been the same as it was in 2004, Obama woukd have lost. If it was the same as the projected electorate in 2016 he would have probably won at 2008 margin. How do historically based models like the one ini your link account for this kind of tectonic shift?

          • Timb

            By declaring them irrelevant. By declaring that people vote as individuals and not as blocs….

            So, not as well as one might hope

          • An excellent point.

          • DivGuy

            By declaring that parties are really, really good at ideological positioning. The shifts in blocs of votes are already baked in to the parties’ positioning.

            The Republicans have been losing many more state-level races than they should because of poor ideological positioning. But they have yet to screw up like that at the national level.

            • panda

              This sounds like the efficient market hypothesis (stock prices incorporate all information known to investors, and therefore there is no such things as bubbles) applied to politics. It might make sense theoretically, but i have hard time buying it given what we know of the real world.

          • tt

            Given racial voting pattern, had the electorate been the same as it was in 2004, Obama woukd have lost.

            Where is this analysis? Short google search doesn’t turn up anything. It sounds wrong to me, given that Obama won by quite a lot in 2008 and the electorate wasn’t that different.

            • The electorate was substantially less white in 2012 than it was in 2008, IIRC. One of the things I seem to remember is that Bill Clinton lost the white male vote by the same as Obama did–but it mattered less to Obama’s victory because there were fewer white males in the electorate.

              • tt

                Both those sentences are true, but neither imply Panda’s claim.

                • No, but they are a response to your assertion that “the electorate wasn’t that different.” It was.

                • tt

                  Well, it depends on your threshold for “that different”, but that’s not worth arguing about. One important point, though, is that it matters where these voters are–increasing Hispanic voters in California and Texas probably won’t matter for a few more cycles.

            • panda

              2008 was different, in that Obama got an unusually high percent of white vote. 2012 was a reversion to the mean for post- 1968 democrats, and still Obama won, even though a similar performance among whites would have meant he would have probably lost in a 2004 electorate.

        • Hogan

          That’s not “fundamentals” so much as one fundamental (GDP growth). It would be good to see some analysis involving other numbers, like wage growth and unemployment.

    • That’s precisely why Al Gore won in a landslide over George W. Bush in 2000.

      • Malaclypse

        Well, technically, Gore did win. The fact that the victory was thrown out by five bad referees doesn’t change that.

        • Thom

          He won the popular vote, but it certainly wasn’t a landslide.

          • Snarki, child of Loki

            While 2004 *was* claimed as a “landslide”.

            Now, one can debate whether the brown goopy substance that engulfed the country in 2004 was “land”.

      • Funkhauser

        See chart above. Gore may or may not have counted as an incumbent running for re-election, based on whether one’s theory attributes credit/blame to the incumbent party or politician. In either case, his popular vote as a function of fundamentals wasn’t an outlier from historic trends.

        Attributing election success or failure to “problems” or personality, by contrast, is atheoretical and almost Green Lanternism. We have data that suggest that the state of the economy in 2015 is going to matter significantly for economic voting decisions.

        • Rarely Posts

          I agree with this argument. However, I do wonder if it will hold into the future, and specifically, it’s possible that the widespread acknowledgment of this “fact” will change political conduct in a way that makes it untrue.

          Specifically, the economic fundamentals did a very good job of projecting electoral success during the era when political parties and operatives did not know outcomes were dictated by economic fundamentals. So, throughout that era, political parties and operatives were trying to win over voters by moderating their positions, adopting popular positions, and campaigning heavily.

          Now, more and more politicians and political operatives don’t believe that they have to adopt popular positions to win the general election – the underlying economic fundamentals will decide the issue! So, we see more and more politicians focusing on strategies to win primaries and showing no concern for the general election. The shutdown and debt-ceiling hostage crisis are great examples. At some point, one could imagine Republican politicians taking these strategies so far that the unpopularity of the strategies will overwhelm economic fundamentals. I suspect we’re not there yet, but if Republicans shut down the government another few times between now and 2016, we might get there.

        • What I am saying is that there are many reasons candidates win and lose. The economy is certainly one of the most important. Probably the most important. But you are being reductionist by saying it is the only factor.

          • Funkhauser

            Fair enough. I’ll concede that the role of personality is unknown. The role of economics is far more well-established.

            I would certainly, however, not put money behind a wager that Democratic candidates have

            a 75-80% chance to win in 2016 simply because every single major Republican candidate has such glaring problems.

            That’s unsupportable.

            • Random

              Black Americans vote around 9:1 for the Democrats in every presidential election regardless of what the economy is doing.

              It’s just basic math that demographic shifts in the electorate have a far-larger impact on the election results.

              • tt

                That doesn’t seem clear at all. Black turnout gained 5 percentage points between 2004 and 2008, and Obama gained 2 points in vote share among whites. Since blacks make up only ~12% of the electorate, the shift in whites was larger. And bad economy in 2008 might explain some of high black turnout for Obama.

                • The economy has been terrible for Black Americans for years now–you can’t explain their increased turnout for Barack Obama as other than related to the candidate.

                • tt

                  1. Thing can have multiple causes.
                  2. Sure you can. These thing are hard to prove because we don’t have that many data points, but it’s not implausible that the terrible economic news late 2008 motivated some blacks to vote just like it motivated some whites to vote Obama.

                • Could you really make a less interesting argument if you tried? Some stuff happened that caused other stuff to happen is really not much of a contribution.

                • tt

                  You nitpicked one sentence of my specific evidence against Random’s argument, and didn’t even address that evidence. I’m just defending myself.

              • Pat

                During the Eisenhower administration, African Americans split 50:50 between the parties. It’s only been in the last 15 years that they’ve been a potent force for Democrats.

                • djw

                  It’s only been in the last 15 years that they’ve been a potent force for Democrats.

                  This is completely and utterly false. Eisenhower was a high water mark in the post New Deal era for the Republican share of the African American vote, but it was nowhere near 50% (he just cleared 30% in 56). The last time the Republican share of the African American vote cleared 20% was 1960.

                  During the FDR era, African Americans were still 50/50 in party ID but voting for Roosevelt by huge margins (of course, these totals are tainted by vote suppression in the South). Far more African Americans identified with Democrats than Republicans by 1948, and that trend never reversed. It’s difficult to overstate how wrong you are.

            • Random

              The role of economics is far more well-established.

              It’s established to not be the best predictor. Direct polling has consistently proven to be a much better indicator of voter intention than extrapolating how you think in your head voters should interpret objective economic indicators. As it turns out asking people how they will vote is really good at predicting how they will vote. Go figure.

              “I would certainly, however, not put money behind a wager that Democratic candidates have
              a 75-80% chance to win in 2016 simply because every single major Republican candidate has such glaring problems.”

              That’s unsupportable.

              It is a very smart wager and very supportable when you consider that the primary and unifying problem every one of those candidates has is that they are Republicans.

              The aforementioned polling shows that long-term trends in partisan preference track very strongly with demographics. I will bet you ten million dollars that the black vote for example will go at least 8:2 for the Democrats in 2016 no matter what the economy is doing. I will bet you ten million dollars that white males in rural areas will vote overwhelmingly for the Republican no matter what the economy is doing.

              If you think the Democrats aren’t almost certainly going to win the White House in 2016, then please draw up the details of the demographic composition of this supposed winning GOP coalition. You’ll see that it’s not happening.

              • tt

                Direct polling has consistently proven to be a much better indicator of voter intention than extrapolating how you think in your head voters should interpret objective economic indicators.

                It’s really not an interesting finding that measuring a variable directly is the best way to predict it!

                • Well, I think his point, tt, is that people’s intentions matter quite a bit and that their expressed intentions have more to do with their long term identity and the identity of their party than it does with economic turnups or turndowns. I just came from reading an astonishingly awful WaPo article, linked to up above I think or at Booman tribune. Basically every single white male they interviewed in a little town in Georgia is convinced that Barack Obama is out to destroy the economy and every economic downturn is attributable to his direct intervention. The fact that the economy doesn’t support the business they are in and the banks won’t keep loaning them money because theya re a bad risk is completely obscure to them. In other words: even the magic words “the economy” have to be understood as, for the voter, refracted through a lens of partisanship. One person’s bad economy is an excuse to try to vote for a new party/leadership and another’s is confirmation of the original vote for the Republican party.

                • tt

                  Sure. All that is true. The vast majority of voter have already made up their minds. But the US is close enough that a small minority of swing voters (both people deciding between D and R and people deciding to vote or stay home) still have the power to decide presidential elections (probably), and it’s an interesting and important question why they eventually choose to vote a certain way, which isn’t resolved just by noting that polls are an accurate measure of people’s voting preferences.

          • Or in other words, in a bad economy I could easily see Scott Walker becoming president despite his problems that will hinder him. But I have trouble seeing Ted Cruz becoming president in the same circumstances, despite the significantly above zero chance he’s the nominee.

            • Why is no one mentioning Kasich? Don’t you all think he’s going to run?

        • IM

          But why do assume that the state of the economy in 2016 is worse then 2012?

          • Funkhauser

            I don’t assume that. I argue that the economy in 2016 is at present unknown, and if things go very badly between now and then (with, say, spending freezes dragging on the economy), then that will matter much more than any quirks about “personalities” or “negatives” when voters go to the polls in November 2016.

            In short, reading these gossip-rag books as any type of bellwether or guide for the next campaign is a wrong-headed endeavor. (Which is to say that Erik’s very first sentence at top is correct.)

            • Rarely Posts

              This is the very thing that I fear. Since Obama’s election, the Republicans have actively been trying to hurt the economy so that the Democrats will be unlikely to win future elections. We see that with their constant cutting on spending, well below levels that they thought were acceptable during the Bush II years.

              But, at some point, maybe those strategies will overwhelm the economics? I don’t know of any prior era when a party so clearly attempted to undermine the economy. At some point, people might come to attribute the poor economy to the House and Senate Republicans, and not the Democratic President?

              I don’t think we have any evidence of that happening in the past, but the Republican conduct is somewhat unprecedented.

            • Random

              Again, this is all predicated on the demonstrably-wrong (and stupid) notion that voters interpret economic trends and ascribe blame for those trends in the way you think in your head they should. Economic-based models badly underestimated Obama’s victory in 2012 for example.

              Just asking voters how they intend to vote is a much better means of assaying how they will vote. The racial/ethnic/regional breakdown of that polling directly predicts the racial/ethnic/regional breakdown of the election results.

              Unless something in these long-term trends somehow magically changes, the GOP really has very little chance of winning the White House in 2016 regardless of what the economy does.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Just asking voters how they intend to vote is a much better means of assaying how they will vote

                Of course. But polling candidate preferences doesn’t help us to determine how much the performance of campaigns and candidates affects voting behavior, which is the question at issue here.

              • Dave Empey

                Just out of curiosity, how good a predictor is asking people who do they think will win?

          • Sheetrock Bobby

            Nothing is 100% certain, but the prospect of additional sequestration coupled with a rise in interest rates following the anticipated (and inevitable) tapering of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve suggests that the “moderate growth” will slow.

    • Bruce Vail

      Oh, but candidate personalities DO matter.

      The repellent Romney won 47 percent of the vote. Had he shown an ounce of attractiveness and humanity, he would be president today.

      • djw

        Doubtful. Obama’s approval ratings, along with the state and direction of the economy, made him a favorite for reelection.

      • Malaclypse

        Had he shown an ounce of attractiveness and humanity, he would be president today have lost the Republican nomination.

        Fixed.

        • delurking

          Yeah, that’s a true story.

        • Tehanu

          Boy, did you get THAT right!

    • Anonymous

      I know that was meant as a joke, but I could see Christie getting the nom if Cruz and Rand are dumb enough to split the crazy vote.

      • DivGuy

        See McCain 2008 and Romney 2012. The establishment will 100% come together behind Christie. It’s possible that the extreme right will unify and we’ll have a true battle, but it’s much, much more likely they’ll splinter like they did in 2008 and 2012.

        • I believe that if the establishment does unite around a candidate, it’ll be Walker.

          • DivGuy

            I’ve been really unimpressed with what I’ve seen from Walker. But it could be.

            The invisible primary over the next two years, and in particular the invisible primary on the establishment side, will probably determine the nomination. I think Christie has a major upper hand there given his connections to Wall Street and the national party.

            • I just think Walker has a better ability to hold the Tea Party people in line while basically being a business-friendly establishment candidate. Christie is certainly the latter, but the relationships with the former are too strained.

              Plus Christie’s challengers will play the image of Christie hugging Obama over and over and over again in the primaries.

              • DivGuy

                The Tea Party will fall in line behind Christie more easily than they did behind Romney. If the Teapers will commit 100% to Romney, they’ll commit to whomever eventually gets the nomination. Christie’s a big jerk, they’ll love that.

              • Snarki, child of Loki

                I think you misunderestimate the “flexibility” of the GOP spin-weasels, when confronted with a desperate situation.

                With an looming success of Obamacare, they rebrand it “HeritageCare”, claim Obama is secretly a moderate Republican, and therefore the Obama/Christie hugs are just some inter-GOP bromance.

                They only have to convince the TeaTards, who have not demonstrated much acuity.

                • Obama IS a moderate Republican.

                  Or would be in a universe that made any kind of sense.

          • DivGuy

            The one thing I will bet on, at whatever pointless odds you want, is that the Republican establishment will unite around a candidate. They always do this. Suggesting that this time they won’t feels like wishcasting.

            • Oh, I definitely think they will. I just don’t think it’s particularly clear that they will be able to see that candidate through if the lunatics unite behind someone too.

              • DivGuy

                I agree. If the lunatics unite, or just 75% unite, they are a powerful bloc.

                I just think the odds of the lunatics uniting is pretty low. They are lunatics after all.

                • Ain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?

              • Random

                Even if the RINOs see that candidate through, RINOs aren’t any more popular than the Tea Party with the general electorate.

          • Pat

            I agree with Erik. Walker’s got solid anti-union bona fides, which are strengthened by the fact that he applied them in Wisconsin. Surviving the recall also makes him look like a tough guy, and he’s never said a good thing about a Democrat.

            Christie’s infrequent honesty dooms him from the get-go. His business backers can never be sure that he won’t drop some bomb they can’t defuse.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            Santorum. In every major primary (i.e. when they’re not re-nominating the incumbent) the GOP always picks the runner-up of the previous major primary. The only exception going back to 1968 is when Buchanan (1996 runner-up) quit the GOP in 2000, leaving the field open.

            Don’t count Santorum out…

            (List of GOP primaries: 1968 Nixon beats Reagan. 1972 Nixon incumbent, 1976 Ford incumbent, 1980 Reagan beats Bush Sr., 1984 Reagan incumbent, 1988 Bush beats Dole, 1992 Bush incumbent, 1996 Dole beats Buchanan, 2000 W beats McCain, 2004 W incumbent, 2008 McCain beats Romney, 2012 Romney beats Santorum)

            • Arnaud de Borchgrave

              Any rule that places more importance on Reagan’s 1968 run than on his 1976 run in explaining how he got the nomination in 1980 is obviously meaningless.

              Also meaningless in general is most discussion of primary runners-up, because the people doing the discussing never define “runner-up.” Is it the person who came in second in number of primaries won, or second in number of delegates won, or is it the candidate who lasted the longest? Some years, that choice could give you three different runners-up. (I note that, at least by the last standard, one can make the case that Ron Paul was the runner-up in 2012.)

              • Arnaud de Borchgrave

                Oh, and are you sure that the runner-up in 2008 was Romney and not Huckabee?

      • Arnaud de Borchgrave

        I think that people are being a bit too quick to dismiss Christie. I offer as a counter-arguments the examples of Romney and Gingrich (yes, I know, not exemplars of electoral success, but Romney did get the nomination, and Gingrich did a lot better than he had any right to do).

        1. The main cause for Republican hatred of Christie is his acceptance of federal aid after Hurricane Sandy. Do I need to remind you that we just went through an election in which the principal Republican issue was opposition to Obamacare, and the Republican candidate was…the man who had put an extremely similar program in place in Massachussetts. For the sake of party loyalty, Republicans convinced themselves that Obamacare and Romneycare were two entirely unrelated programs, not remotely alike in a single aspect. If Christie starts winning primaries, these people will have no trouble pretending that they never said anything bad about him. “Well, of course he accepted Obama’s help after a natural disaster. It’s a governor’s job to do what’s best for his state. That’s not the same as endorsing Obama, not at all.”

        2. Before the tide turned, what conservatives loved most about Christie was his bullying manner, which they interpreted as manly truth-telling. Remember how Gingrich’s supporters fed on the fantasy of him in a debate with Obama, his brilliant intellect showing up the Kenyan Pretender as an empty suit who only got by through Affirmative Action and a teleprompter? If the Republicans start seeing Christie as the candidate most likely to wave his fist under Hillary Clinton’s nose and yell at her to shut up and get back in the kitchen, his approval ratings will go up.

        • Yes, sure. No one doubts the ability of the Republican party to fall in line behind its standard bearer. And there is a lot that makes Christie attractive to every wing of the Republican party–they are all, like the hun, either at your throat or at your feet and he’s a classic dominator and bully. They’ll be all over him like a cheap suit if he makes it through the primary. But he’ll never be the evangelical candidate. He’s not their style. And if he shores up his purity score by going hard right on gays, women, muslims etc… he loses whatever limited fantasy centrist “new england” republican shimmer he has for idiot blue state white males.

          • mds

            And if he shores up his purity score by going hard right on gays, women, muslims etc… he loses whatever limited fantasy centrist “new england” republican shimmer he has for idiot blue state white males.

            No, he doesn’t. As evidence, I will point out that, even though you are most certainly not an idiot blue state white male, you seem unaware of the fact that Christie is already hard right on gays and women. He’s anti-choice. He opposes marriage equality. He’s a poster-child for viciously misogynistic homophobic shitbag. And he’s sailing to re-election in a landslide with massive Democratic support. So if he’s the establishment candidate in another divided field of lunatics, he’ll apparently have no difficulty pretending to tack to the center for the general.

    • DivGuy

      Candidate personalities matter a ton. You see this at the sub-national level all the time.

      However, parties almost always pick a good, viable candidate for national elections. People were making all the same comments about Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008 that are now being made about Chris Christie in 2016. “Can’t win” / “too moderate” / etc. But they won because they were the most viable national candidate the party had. Both performed well within the range you’d expect based on the economic fundamentals.

      I expect Christie will get the nomination (honestly, I’ll take 1-to-1 odds on him right now) and he’ll do roughly as well as “generic Republican”.

    • Random

      This is akin to saying that even though the Raiders are ahead by 2 touchdowns going into the second half, the fact that the Falcons have a great running back means the Falcons are poised to probably win the game.

      • No. I think you’d need a great QB for that to work.

  • Ken

    Boy, running the nation like that would have been awesome.

    It would also have been terrific and fantastic. AT least in the etymological sense.

    • N__B

      Incredible.

      Unbelievable.

      Unique.

  • Too bad the technology ain’t there yet, cause the person they’d most love to have run, is Zombie Ronald Reagan.

    NOT, of course, the real Ronald Reagan – who actually cut deals with Democrats, negotiated with Gorby, raised taxes, cut-and-ran from Lebanon, hiked the deficit astronomically, and was fully aware of the Iran-Contra deals, a far worse scandal than even Watergate.

    So, the Tea Party Zombie Ronald Reagan of their fevered dreams, is the man for them!
    With Phyllis Schlafly as his VP candidate.
    Or, maybe Herman Cain.

  • Randy Paul

    Howard Baker and his father-in-law would be considered too liberal for today’s GOP.

  • dmsilev

    Within a month, the vetters had assembled preliminary research books on the 11, which Romney perused and then rendered his short list: Christie (Pufferfish), Pawlenty (Lakefish), Portman (Filet o Fish), Rubio (Pescado) and Ryan (Fishconsin).

    Is “really bad at picking code names” a disqualifier for being President? If not, it should be.

    • Yeah: fishconsin? What, they don’t even know enough to go with IceFish? Or Crappie?

      • DocAmazing

        “Crappie” would have been kick-ass.

        • Hammerhead.

        • You need to know it’s pronuonced “Croppy.”

          Or, at least the fish is.

          • Damn.

          • “As I was mounted on the platform high
            My aged father was standing by
            My aged father did me deny
            And the name he gave me was ‘the croppy boy.'”

          • anthrofred

            Here in Fishconsin, we always mispronounced it as kids to make the adults mad.

            • “Fish without sin”? You’re wading in deep waters here.

              • Or is that “with”? I can never tell those fish apart…

                • anthrofred

                  Neither. It’s a warning that the fish here will try to rip you off.

          • rea

            Croppies lie down . . .

      • Derelict

        Crappie FTW!

      • DocAmazing

        I guess “Muskie” was already taken.

        • Halloween Jack

          Boehner wouldn’t allow it, since he’s the one who knows all there is to know about the crying game.

      • snoey

        Northern Piker

      • jmack

        Goby would work as well. Seems appropriate to use a name for an invasive species.

    • herr doktor bimler

      No-one was ‘Candiru’? I am disappoint.

      • anthrofred

        If you could find a fish that does a similar thing, but for uteri, you might have a new emblem for the GOP.

      • Barry Freed

        In a way, aren’t they all really “Candiru”?

      • Blobfish

        I too am disappoint.

    • stepped pyramids

      “Pufferfish” sounds like a fat joke.

      • Hogan

        “Pufferfish” is totally a fat joke, from a campaign that apparently couldn’t pass up a fat joke.

      • herr doktor bimler

        With the implication of a lethally toxic liver.

    • Is “really bad at picking code names” a disqualifier for being President? If not, it should be.

      Well, “really bad at picking nicknames” didn’t keep the previous wanker out of the White House.

  • Bruce Vail

    It creeps me out that you use the phrase ‘Democratic brand’

    Brands don’t win elections, candidates do. The beltway bandits who get rich losing elections like to talk about the brand. The good professional operatives who actually help candidates get elected never do.

    • I don’t agree. Brands win elections when they have a good example of their brand on the shelves–there is, indeed, such a thing as brand loyalty. Without it Romney wouldn’t have gotten as close as he got. Only Brand loyalty kept a sufficient number of Republicans pulling hte lever for a guy they disliked and distrusted as a Mormon and as a corporatist. Brand identity is what permits a low informtion voter to vote for a candidate without knowing what the candidate stands for because he/she presumes that the candidate will largely track with the loyalist’s dim understanding of the brand itself.

      • Derelict

        I can actually back this up with real-world experience. Back when I was doing political consulting, I worked with some local-government candidates in southwest Florida. The area isn’t red, it’s crimson. We ran three candidates who advocated pretty far-left policies, but who we managed to get themselves on the ballot as Republicans. As it turned out, it didn’t matter what their policy stances were, or what they actually did once in office. As long as they had that R next their names, people pulled the lever.

        • Bruce Vail

          That may be true bit is meaningless in presidential politics, which is the subject of the day.

      • Bruce Vail

        I think it is right that the major party candidates automatically go into a presidential election with a firm 40 percent of the vote, due to party loyalty (or brand identification, if you must). It’s that other 10 percent plus one that makes the difference between winning and losing, and that’s where all the corporate bullshit about branding goes out the window, and the critical importance of the candidate’s personality comes into play.

        • So this is a totally semantic argument, then? A) assume that the brand loyalty of the country is evenly divided beween the two parties. B) assume that there is legitimately an intermediate group that can swing either way. C) Argue that the personality of the candidate matters for this group.

          A)–A isn’t necessarily true. That is: there can be brand loyalty for the two parties but the country isn’t necessarily divided evenly.

          B) The swing voters are not necessarily evenly disposed to choose between the two candidates. There can be some number of voters who are not at the center between the two parties at all and tend to vote third party, or sit it out.

          C) The candidates likeability for one kind of group may also be his dislikeability factor for the other group. And thats actually true for Obama (and for Hillary potentially). The very things that excited Obama’s base (as someone else pointed out) were hugely energizing and even terrifying for Romney’s voters. You might say that brand loyalty and fear for the loss of brand purchasing power drove both turnouts.

          • Not semantic. Got distracted by burning a batch of granola. Just–kind of silly. No one is saying that personalities and identities don’t matter. But they don’t matter much. I’ve never not voted for a democratic candidate. Never voted for a republican. And studies show that “swing voters” are largely a fiction. They are either regular voters who just don’t like to self identify with a particular party (the people in my state who resent being called “unenrolled” because they relish an identity as “independent.”) or they are irregular voters who can be push/pulled to vote during an extremely exciting election but who aren’t really changing their brand loyalty so much as their shopping needs for a given day.

            • Pat

              I voted for both Pete Wilson (the first time) and Gray Davis. Couldn’t stand either one.

            • Sockie the Sock Puppet

              I think the swing voter doesn’t work the way pundits think it does. They don’t swing between Republican and Democrat, but between voting for their loosely preferred party and not voting at all.

              In aggregate, this looks like some people swinging back and forth and other people never voting, but I don’t know if I’ve met someone who voted for Dole then Gore then Kerry then McCain. As one party or another drifts ideologically, you could see a trend over time where after sitting out a couple cycles someone would switch sides. But I don’t think anyone was really torn between Obama and Romney or Pappy Bush and Clinton.

              • Yup. This.

              • Also, between each election, there’s four years’ worth of dying and four years’ worth of eighteenth birthdays, which can look like a lot of people changing their vote.

    • Mr. Madame Psychosis

      “Brands don’t win elections (. . .)”

      I think I would also have to respectfully disagree with this.

      Allow me to ponder and reminisce.

      In the Year 2000 (!) does Dubya even win a primary if his name is anything other than what it was? Any name, like I don’t know, maybe ‘Rick Perry’? GWB never would have been seriously looked at by the party establishment.

      The Bush brand held its own and skimmed more than a few others in that election. I don’t think GWB’s even on the ticket to begin with if he has any other Family name.

      Its sorta the inverse of Don Draper’s Caldecott Farm/horsemeat problem in MM S3, which was if the product is quality and tests well but the name’s tainted, just change the name; create a new brand. We all knew Dubya was 99 and 44/100 spoiled dogfood but the name on the can, and its brand recognition, held enough cache with stray voters to persuade them to not only buy it but serve it up on toast points.

      And then of course The Court made us all eat it.

  • Rarely Posts

    First, sadly, I think both Jeb Bush and Rubio can come back. They’d both have trouble winning the primaries, but they both could get establishment support. Rubio hasn’t done anything massively disqualifying. It’s horrifying to imagine the American people electing another Bush, but I don’t think we can rule it out. They have short memories.

    Second, unfortunately, the Democrats cannot run a “generic Democratic candidate.” If they could, I bet they would totally win. Instead, they will have to pick a real candidate, and every real candidate has problems and the potential to be slimed and degraded. The Republicans and Mainstream press managed to turn Al Gore into a “liar,” despite the fact that he was actually for more honest and forthright with the American people than the vast majority of politicians (and certainly than his opponent). The press managed to make Kerry’s Vietnam record “scandalous,” despite his having won the purple heart and running against a person who got out of service through political connections. Obama has (relatively) Teflon skin, but I’m not sure any other Democrat will pull that off. Certainly, Hillary Clinton’s popularity and fundamentals will be dragged down by a campaign.

    So, don’t start crowing yet. The Republicans have an uphill battle given (1) demographic changes and (2) the Republicans’ actual policy goals are dreadfully unpopular (but they never get held accountable for those goals during elections). But, 2016 is a long time from now.

    • Its never too early to despair! But, conversely, the massive hate on that Obama came in for because of his race will not be an issue if the Dems run a white person, and of the potential candidates at the moment Hillary Clinton’s negatives are already on the table and baked into calcuations.

      • Timb

        If you think the “massive hate” is caused solely by race, you’re wrong. It’s cause is the “D” next to his name. The symptoms are made worse by his race, but, if you think there less derangement about Hillary than about Obama, then you forgot the ’90’s AND BENGHAZI

        • Ian

          Okay, but let’s not move too far in the other direction. Note, for example, the massive shift in the whole of Appalachia away from the Democrats between 2004 and 2008. This area is shifting red, but not that fast.

          • Rarely Posts

            I agree with this, but given the shifts in the areas’ attitudes, it’s not fertile ground for democratic success. Obama was very well positioned to capitalize on the two regions becoming more liberal – the Southwest and certain parts of the Southeast (Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida) and to hold the true swing-states of the Upper Midwest (including Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa).

            The problem with the old Clinton-style strategy is that it focuses on the areas where the fundamentals are driving hard against the Democrats — Appalachia and the Southern Midwest (West Virginia, Missouri, Arkansas). Maybe they swung hard against Democrats in recent elections because Obama is black, but I doubt that even Hillary Clinton could recapture those states (and few other Democrats could even try).

            So, better to focus on a candidate that can push the Democrats over the top in the true swing states, rather than a Democrat who can perform better but still lose states that are trending Republican.

            • J R in WV

              Technically, West Virginia is the only state wholly included within Appalachia. I’m flattered to be included in the Midwest.

              Sadly, WV is becoming more right-wing, extreme in some ways. When I was young, FDR and JFK hung on every living room wall. They still do for very elderly folks, who have been panicked by the lies of the Republicans about the intentions of the Democratic party, so that the old admiration of the New Dealers doesn’t matter much.

      • Rarely Posts

        The flip side to Obama’s race is: (1) it seems likely that his race helped energize and drive up turn-out among traditionally democratic constituencies, particularly African-Americans and maybe Latinos; and (2) his race may have neutralized some of the mainstream media’s gushing hatred for Democrats: The traditional attacks on liberal democrats as effete brains didn’t resonate with a black candidate in the way it might for a white candidate (Dukakis, Gore). Also, the kind of over-drive media attack on Gore would have looked bad directed against a black candidate.

        It’s true that Obama’s race hurt him with racist whites, but overwhelmingly, those people already hate Democrats. It’s true that if Obama weren’t an amazingly talented, brilliant, and calm politician, his race would have hurt him a lot. But he is, and so it didn’t.

        As a matter of pure electoral politics, it’s not clear that the benefits of running a white candidate like Hillary Clinton will be greater than of running a black candidate like Barack Obama.

        I’m not despairing, but I am pushing back against excessive optimism.

      • Crunchy Frog

        That’s one of Hillary’s main two advantages – that her negatives are already fully absorbed into the electorate. No “shocking scandals”, no matter how many Newsmax web ads are plastered all over the political blogs.

        Her other advantage is that of the old time tennis player, always booed, who in her last couple years is suddenly embraced by the crowd as the hero (think Navratilova, Graf). She’s been around so long and been through so many ups and downs that she’s now a sympathetic character – and at her age you know she won’t be sticking around that much longer. Unlike Obama, whose race scared the old farts, she’ll sweep up the senior vote on the strength of the women.

        • think Navratilova, Graf

          I think Connors on his last go-round is a better comparison, in that he had a bigger swing from hate to love than Navratilova or Graf.

        • My grandfather, who lived most of his working life as a pariah, observed the same thing sometime around his sixtieth birthday. He said something like “I’ll go from Pariah to eccentric cute old guy if I live that long.” Don’t quote me on that because I know thats just a paraphrase.

          • Sargasso Sink

            Your grandfather is Dr. Paul Wheeler of Johns Hopkins?!

    • DocAmazing

      I think both Jeb Bush and Rubio can come back.

      Bush would be easy to neutralize: footage of Katrina’s wake or flag-draped coffins with the caption “What part of ‘Bush’ don’t you understand?”.

      That might be effective, though, so the Dems will never do it.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        Time to start gearing up those “dark-money” groups, then.

        • I read too fast and often scan down so fast that I mentally move consonants from up above. As a result I read your comment as

          “Time to start gearing up those “dark monkey” groups.” I thought: man, is this the new rumor on the right side of the aisle?

  • patrick II

    As a republican nominee, Walker scares me the most too. He seems to have walked through an amazing amount of personal dishonesty and right wing extreme governance and is still able to win re-election in WI. That’s impressive, up until now Wisconsin has not been Mississippi. But I don’t count Christie out, he has been setting up his run for a long time now and if he gets big east money that will help. There was a time not long ago when I would have said that would be decisive — but if the Kochs and Adelmans and other right wing billionaire/sociopaths can get together on one candidate this time, instead of splitting between Gingrich and Santorum and Caine, someone like Cruz may actually have a chance at the nomination.

    • Walker will appeal to a huge swathe of the Republican party, the part that likes a thin white guy with the morals of a stoat. But I don’t think he can pull more than Romney pulled with independents and Democrats. The question is will the Republican party have split, irretrievably, over purity by the time he takes his shot?

    • brad

      Have you ever seen him speak?

      He’s the asshole boss with an MBA who kisses the ass of anyone above him and is a huge prick to anyone below him, and he has the charisma a dead fish giving a rousing pep speech to Randians.

      People won’t like him, and that will really matter.

      • Romney without the charm? Oh. My.

        • brad

          Yep.

          And god, how I love being able to say this about a male public figure; Scott Walker is too ugly to be President. He’s plain goofy looking.

          My best guess from this far out is Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Walker keep the crazification factor divided enough for either Christie or Bush to just manage to be pushed through by the old power elite. But give me the right odds and I’d be willing to put money on Cruz.

          • So you are saying that “goggle eyed homunculus” wasn’t just a piece of pure invective? It was merely descriptive?

            • brad

              That’s a big yes.

              • Not so much a homunculus as an underformed fetus. Its a great phrase but I’d go with “bland fetal pig lookalike” as the epithet.

                • DrS

                  Sadly, we can’t just dunk him in a vat of formaldehyde until the next class dissection session.

      • anthrofred

        He’s immensely divisive in Wisconsin, but still remarkably successful. People appreciate that he won’t back down (i.e. that he’s a total asshole with no regard for anyone but himself). But the problem is that his success is driven almost entirely by a politics of resentment, which may work fine on a state level but just won’t fly nationally unless he can sweeten things up somehow. It’s hard for me to think of a less compassionate conservative.

      • He’s the asshole boss with an MBA who kisses the ass of anyone above him and is a huge prick to anyone below him, and he has the charisma a dead fish giving a rousing pep speech to Randians.

        Talking about Larry Summers, are you?

    • Bruce Vail

      Walker is a bit like Romney: Looks good on paper, not so much in person.

    • dn

      As a Wisconsinite, I tend to agree that Walker is the most frightening of the current bunch. He’s been Reagan-esque in his ability to dodge consequences or blame for the rampant corruption in his administration.

      OTOH, he has other weaknesses. I suspect he will be vulnerable to charges of evangelical wingnuttery (hasn’t gotten much play, but he is an extremist), and also to charges of Paul Ryan-ism on economics (he’s made absurd pie-in-the-sky promises that have totally failed to play out – the “250,000 jobs” howler will definitely be used against him if he tries to bill himself as an economic panacea). Additionally, he is the very definition of “provincial” – once he really enters the national stage I could easily see him suffering from Palin-esque foreign-policy cluelessness.

      Plus he really is a disaster in personal terms – he is as unctuous as Romney, but without the good looks or personal fortune that would impart “gravitas”. He also has his very own 47% tape in the form of the Buffalo Beast prank-call, in which he admitted that he considered stirring up violence among the Feb 2011 protesters.

  • sibusisodan

    Interesting, if slightly terrifying article, for yet another viewpoint indicated that Romney didn’t seem to have any idea of what he was doing.

    Putting Ryan on the ticket […] seemed to represent a bedrock strategic surrender.

    Precisely.

    Also this:

    Because the Romney campaign’s servers were under continual assault by Chinese hackers, the computers in the clean room were not connected to the Internet.

    My goodnesss! Thankfully they used that fish code, otherwise the Chinese would totally have found out about Romney’s VP preferences, with disastrous consequences.

    It is a source of bafflement to me that Romney – who in the past has seemed a moderate, competent, technocratic kinda guy – could run a campaign which was so incompetent. What happened to make it so?

    • Malaclypse

      who in the past has seemed a moderate, competent, technocratic kinda guy

      You’re not from Massachusetts, I see.

      • Hurling Dervish

        Exactly. The great untold story of the 2012 campaign was what a disaster of a governor Romney was.

        • MAJeff

          The constant nonsense about how he worked across the aisle while in Boston was laughable.

          • He worked across the red velvet rope he erected around his private elevator.

      • sibusisodan

        Touche, with slanty thing above the e. Fair point.

    • AGM

      Hedge funds can afford way better quants and IT people, and there is a lot lower test for ideological purity.

  • Joel Patterson

    Christie worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Securities Industry Association at a time when Bernie Madoff was a senior SIA official—and sought an exemption from New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act.

    Here’s what gets me down about the Democratic Governor’s Association: why aren’t they putting this on a TV ad running on the breaks in Dr. Oz’ show?

  • rw970

    I like that the Chinese hackers could be expected to crack their sensitive emails about who the VP nominee would be but not that:

    Lakefish – is the one from Minnesota
    Pufferfish – is the fat one
    Pescado – is the Hispanic one
    Fishconsin – is the one from oh, for Christ’s sake, really?

    • Timb

      How would they be expected to know us geography?

    • Warren Terra

      An Elizabeth Sile, posting on Esquire’s Politics Blog (ie Charlie Pierce’s place, mostly), weighed in on this.

    • anthrofred

      “Filet-o-Fish” is the worst. You have to feel bad for Portman for not even rating a species but rather a processed, deep-fried fish product.

      Pescado is up there, though.

      • They are all unreservedly awful. It needs only to append “day old” to all of them to get the full flavor of the contempt Romney’s people had for the work of doing this vetting.

        • Given the academic bent of this blog, I feel it is my duty to point out that “day-old fillet-o-fish” is a staple in freshman dining halls across the land.

          • anthrofred

            I’m so glad I never lived in dorms.

  • Gosh, my friends, what a fantastic morning “Ann” and I were having here in one of our various domiciles around this once-great nation, until I heard that someone has been writing scandalous things about my presidential campaign. You’ll recall my son (I believe it was Tagg, although it could have been Crom, or Hork, I’m not sure) pointed out was undertaken not because I wanted to be president (because I didn’t believe you me), but only for the good of the country. I simply felt that it was time to bring, um, light back to Amercia, to pull it from the shade, if you will, of the darkness that had…well, I’m sure you get the idea.

    Anyway, there “Ann” and I were, about to enjoy her delicious breakfast specialty (plain Cream of Wheat; I like to add just a touch of salt to mine to “kick that thing up a notch or two” as Chef Elmo likes to say), when I learned about this scurrilous piece and I immediately came here to rebut these allegations:

    1. First, I want to be clear that I have the utmost respect for Governor Christie. How anyone of that inhuman girth is able to roll himself out of bed each day, let alone muster up enough energy to govern an entire state, is beyond me. He’s to be commended, really.

    2. I did not simply pick Paul as my running mate because he reminded me of the upstanding young men I had mentored at Bain, but also because his views on the proper distribution of wealth in this country so closely mirrored my own, and those of the upstanding young men I had mentored at Bain.

    3. We briefly considered Howard Baker, but then he let us know quite emphatically that he would not want to be posthumously baptized into the Mormon faith, which was a non-starter for us. Still, I have great respect for Senator Baker and look forward to posthumously baptizing him into the Mormon faith.

    4. I’m not sure who these people are. We did lose a VP options binder somewhere in the sub-basement of a Ramada Inn near Des Moines, Iowa, so it’s possible that they were in there and, if so, I apologize to their families for their disappearance.

    5. Again, I have the deepest admiration for Governor Christie. I feel like I should send him something to express my respect, but I can’t seem to find a pizza establishment in Trenton that can deliver a thousand pizzas to Drumthwacket in time for dinner tonight.

    6. If Barack Obama is so smart, my friends, why were Paul and I leading in the unskewed polling all the way through Election Day?

    I hope this has helped to clarify these scurrilous tales and put them in their proper context. Thank you for reading and God Bless Amercia!

    Your friend,

    “Mitt”

    • I love you

      • Mitt again

        When people call me “too stiff” they aren’t really thinking of moments like this.

        • I sse what you did there. Keep it up.

          • Which one of you guys–Hogan? Warren Terra? Mal? Big Hank53? Fess up.

            • Warren Terra

              I do so wish I were capable of the beauty that is Mitt “Mitt” Romney.

              • Warren Terra

                By the way: a search finds about two dozen comments from Mitt “Mitt” Romney; all the ones that I looked at were gems.

                There’s also a link to a children’s book, but for me the verse doesn’t capture the manic, desperate energy of the prose.

                • And that’s the true genius of the man, because looking like he might break into a sweat or tears is really one of Mitt’s real characteristics.

                • They’re consistently hilarious. It’s why I love him.

                • anthrofred

                  I think I like the Ann variant better, if only because I imagine her brunching with Peggington Noonington.

            • Hogan

              Not on the best day I ever had, but thanks.

            • Malaclypse

              While honored that I made the list, not me.

              • Barry Freed

                That’s two in as many weeks. Now I’ve really got to up my game.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Thanks for finally taking credit for your work!

  • FMguru

    Mitt also cared about fitness and was prone to poke fun at those who didn’t. (“Oh, there’s your date for tonight,” he would say to male members of his traveling crew when they spied a chunky lady on the street.)

    All class, our Mitt.

    • KmCO

      Yeah, I’m sure Romney is all about “fitness,” and not just making misogynistic anti-fat jokes for the yuks.

      • In light of this tendency of Mitts its just impossible to imagine that he could ever have chosen Bobby Jindal who would have been the eternal butt of “98 pound weakling” style jokes.

  • Soliz

    At some point maximal opposition to Obama will no longer be much of a benefit to a GOP candidate, right? At some point Obama will become the “reasonable” Democrat whose legacy that dastardly socialist Julian Castro is seeking to destroy. I guess 2016 is probably too soon for that transition, but the Cruz model of “NO ONE HATES OBAMA MORE THAN ME” may have a short shelf-life, given that he won’t actually be running against Obama. It’s not like Newt Gingrich’s opposition to Bill Clinton in the 90’s earned him the nomination in 2012.

    No major point here, I guess I just figure we shouldn’t necessarily expect the future to be just like the present.

    • I noticed that coming up in the WaPo article (sorry I can’t find a link) in which the stone lunatic georgia republicans going broke under Obama, as they see it, look back longingly on Bill Clinton as a guy you could do business with.

      • johnwcasey

        And we know how much they all just LUUUUVV Harry Truman. If anything is better than a former Democratic President, it’s a dead former Democratic President.

    • James E. Powell

      Agree completely. And as I mention below, Republican base voters are giving the Republican elected officials a very free hand with policies so long as they present themselves as “standing up to that [insert racist epithet].” That isn’t going to work in 2016.

      And if the Democratic nominee is Hilary Clinton and they try to do the same demonizing with her because she is a woman . . . well ask Rick Lazio how that worked out.

  • James E. Powell

    What doesn’t get mentioned very often in analyzing the 2012 election is the unifying force of Obama’s blackness for the Republican ticket. They were able to adopt policy positions and to make policy statements that would have caused problems for them if the Democratic candidate had been, for example, Bill Clinton.

    • I don’t agree, or rather, I think that has it backwards. The Republican party went its length with Clinton and accused him of everything from drug running to rape. Rumors and videos accusing him of this stuff circulated endlessly in video form in churches and direct mail. And there was no backlash against them for this. Obama’s blackness just kicked the whole thing up a notch (as chef elmo would say–ed note) and enabled them to continue with the demonization they had already pioneered with Carter and Clinton and enabled them to extend their antipathy beyond the President to his voters. Carter and Clinton were represented as captive of black people and the welfare state, women and hippies. Obama is portrayed as leading and using these groups as shock troops. But what policy provisions and behaviors do you think a white candidate would have deterred them from taking? I think they have simply continued on a course of demonization and destruction that began with Carter, proceeded through Clinton and was used against Gore.

      • Mr. Madame Psychosis

        Note to Editor’s Note: With due respect(and much admiration), Chef Elmo? Cute but no cigar, you’re thinking of the BAM!! man, Emeril Lagasse.

        • Hogan

          Can’t be Emeril. He uses actual spices.

          • Hogan

            Oh. Never mind.

        • Reference to Mitt “Mitt” comment.

          • Mr. Madame Psychosis

            Oops! My apologies.

            Sluiced right through Mitt ‘Mitt’, missed the reference.

            Carry on.

            • Its ok. I can’t expect close reading from someone with the nym Mr. Madam Psychosis. I mean, I could, but I’d worry it might upset the fine balance you are presumably maintaining. Are you going for Metempsychosis? I love that word.

              • Mr. Madame Psychosis

                Ain’t nothin’ fine about this balance, I can assure you, but thanks for accepting my apology just the same.

                This “Elmo Incident” has been disappointing for moi precisely because I almost always close read your comments; you (almost-er-est) always express a cogent thought in the form of a well-constructed sentence. Existing in the Interweb and all, I admire and respect that.

                My mistake, of course, was I almost never close read Mitt Romney. Though for hilarious reasons which I have since discovered I should have violated that protocol in this thread also.

                Lastly, let me state I have no problem with metempsychosis as a hopeful End Result though I’m skeptical it will happen for me. I think I may share your affection for the word though; very cool, flowing pronunciation, and we get to take the ‘eye’ out of ‘psy’. Well, we flatten it out a least.

      • anthrofred

        They will continue to do this in bolder and bolder fashion until there are consequences. It’s looking less and less likely that the media will ever really call them out (Politifact rates this statement as mostly toasty!) and when corrections are made it’s clear that the backfire effect is incredibly powerful. It’s hard to be optimistic.

        • DrS

          “Wait! Atwater was totally wrong! You can say n****r, n****r, n****r!”

  • herr doktor bimler

    So what do we learn?

    Erik’s list misses out
    7. A lot of information about Romney’s intelligence and character was available throughout the 2012 campaign, which the likes of Halperin managed not to talk about. Instead they are bringing it up now to make the point that Conservatism Was Failed — i.e. that whatever the reasons contributing to Romney’s loss, his policies were not among them.

  • Mr. Madame Psychosis

    Personally I won’t sleep easy until Van Helsing himself has staked Bush the Younger, burned the corpse and scattered the ashes.

    (That does work in widely accepted vampyre lore, right? Or is that overkill? Anyone know?)

    Slightly more seriously though, considering just all of the above mentioned electorally-challenged Potentials, doesn’t the GOP establishment have to try to dust off Jeb in some way for at least – a) his draw with Hispanics and women, and b) his brand recognition, in order to have any decent chance this next time around?

    On the latter, check the ratings for whatever the Princesses of York do or have done at any time. It seems Americans still love the odd monarchy (or the looks of one at least) and I think some of Dubya’s stink can be washed off by a good fixer. Does the party still have a Winston Wolf on speed dial?

    • guthrie

      I would say staking and burning and scattering the ashes at sea was the minimum necessary.

      • Hogan

        Stuffing his mouth with garlic and burying him at a crossroads would be more traditional, but in a case like this I think nuking from orbit would not be excessive.

        • anthrofred

          He’s clearly terrified of the possibility. The man can’t even say nuclear.

        • Warren Terra

          It’s the only way to be sure.

        • Shwell Thanksh

          Just make sure to aim the nuke at the beach side, so most of the stench and blubber are blown out to sea.

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  • Woodrowfan

    check the comments on the Time piece. The wingers are going on about how THIS TIME the republicans need to nominate a REAL conservative! That the republican party is “too liberal”! NO MORE RINOS! wow.

    • Tom De Lay. He’s slime-covered, ready, and rested.

      • Warren Terra

        He is ready and indeed eager to serve his fellow man.

        (It’s a cookbook)

      • anthrofred

        Worst OKCupid profile adjective choices ever.

        • Ahuitzotl

          I’m betting they’re not the worst, disturbingly

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