Tag archive for Romney

Editorial ‘toons w/facts: illographix from Brodner and Rall

The marvelously talented Steve Brodner, nominated for a prize by the design community, says he is pioneering a semi-new kind of drawing, the "illographix," which involves graphing and charting as well as illustration. Here's one example, worked out with two notables editors, and submitted for a prize: 


Not sure how new this concept really is. After all, Ted Rall often draws cartoons based on shocking facts. Here's his latest: 

Rall also has a spectacularly informative talk/essay (for SWSX Interactive) on the facts of political cartooning in the age of the Internet…and a solution for content providers and papers!  

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Why Romney deserved to lose: Daniel Larison

Daniel Larison writes a fitting political epitaph for Mitt: 

Romney represented almost everything that was wrong, misguided, and
self-destructive in the Republican Party and the conservative movement.
His defeat is a good outcome for the cause of peace and liberty in the
country as a whole and within the Republican Party. The public rejected a
candidate of fathomless cynicism and dishonesty, and that has to be
greeted as a small, encouraging sign that there are still some things
that Americans won’t tolerate in their leaders. Very few candidates have
deserved to lose an election as richly as Romney deserved to lose this

Strange but encouraging to see some writers at The American Conservative (such as Rod Dreher) quietly accepting a Democratic president, not for the sake of liberalism, but to allow a true conservativism to take root in the shell of the Rove-addled, Limbaugh-deranged, money-besotted GOP. 

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Humiliation planned for losing candidate: Romney set

The most astonishing book of the year to date around here is critic Wayne Koestenbaum's Humiliation, from 2011, a pained confessional essay about being brought low, about being crushed, about what the pain of embarrassment, shame, and mortification brings to a sufferer.    

Tomorrow the media pillory that Koestenbaum describes so well will begin (it's already started, in fact, even before the race is run). But it's not all bad, Koestenbaum argues!

Here's the critic/poet on the deeper meaning, and worth, of humiiation:

I believe, with Jean Genet, and Jesus Christ, and Oscar Wilde, and a few other martyrs and mysters and troublemakers, that humiliation is a kiln through which the human soul passes, and where it receives burnishing, glazing, and consolidating. Humiliation cooks the spirit to a fine finish. (About the experience of servitude, the great Robert Walser wrote, in his 1907 novel The Tanners, "Strange, too, that you might nonetheless experience this state of affairs as a sort of refuge, a home.") Neither Walser nor I consider humiliation pleasant. But if it didn't contain a silver lining, I wouldn't be examining this dismal category of experience. If humilitation didn't hvae the the potential (sometimes, in certain circumstances) to transfigure the person over whom it casts a noxious cloud, then I'd drop the subject and write about something genuinely redemptive, like white wine. [in the chapter called "Five O'Clock Shadow, a reference to Nixon] 

Nixon was the President most humiliated in our lifetimes until Bill Clinton came along, but Clinton,as Koestenbaum hinted, has been burnished by his trial by his passage through the kiln of media fire. 

The American public never exactly apologized to Clinton for its orgy of shaming during the ill-fated and seemingly endless impeachment debacle, but it's surely not a stretch to say that Clinton's huge popularity today is in part a recognition on the part of the public that they/we/us went too far in blaming/shaming/humiliating the man.

Koestenbaum writes:

When Bill Clinton's extramarital escapades hit the press, I quaked with vicarious shame and outrage that a mere blow job should rock the nation and that this forgivable president and his wife and daughter and Monica Lewinsky and everyone who knew and loved Monica Lewinsky hsould need to suffer in public and be seen by hypocritical viewers and pundits and senators as humiliated beasts…If this book has an ulterior aim, however disreputable, here it is: I want to stand up for those who are publicly shamed for [non-exploitative] sexual conduct. 

The pillory will be virtual, but the pain will be real for Obama or Romney. If the incumbent President loses, for the rest of his life he will be derided, mocked, and scorned for losing an election he should have won. If, more likely, the challenge Romney loses, he will be torn down, sneered at, shunned. It will be his fate, just as in Greek tragedies it was the fate of Cassandra to prophesize murder of her family, and not to be heard by them, or anyone.  

The pillory has already been erected, and Romney already has been splattered by commentators on the right such as Daniel Larison…although in a recent post Larison let up a little bit, in order to put the blame on George W. Bush

The Bush administration truly was one of the three or four worst
presidential administrations of the last sixty years, and Bush’s party
still hasn’t come to grips with what that means for how the rest of the
country sees them. In the wake of such a huge failure, it would be
almost inexplicable that the public could entrust the Presidency to that
same party after just four years. Assuming that Romney loses next week,
the puzzle won’t be why he lost, but why he was ever within striking
distance in the first place.

Karl Rove and other mainstream right-wingers put the blame on Hurricane Sandy, perhaps to avoid being blamed for choosing a candidate as obviously two-faced as Romney: 

“Obama has temporarily been a bipartisan figure this week. He has been the comforter-in-chief and that helps,” Rove said.

On the other side of the coin, our national Humiliator-in-Chief, Rush Limbaugh, has put the blame on Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, for being insufficiently partisan, and calling him "fat and a fool." 

Is it possible to dislike a politician and not want to see him viciously attacked? Maybe not. Which maybe means that those of us who suffer must learn to love our humiliiations, if we hope to survive them. 



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“Lying is what makes you sound like a conservative”

From Rick Perlstein's dark journey into the mind of Mitt Romney

It’s time, in other words, to consider whether Romney’s fluidity with the truth is, in fact, a feature and not a bug: a constituent part of his appeal to conservatives. The point here is not just that he lies when he says conservative things, even if he believes something different in his heart of hearts—but that lying is what makes you sound the way a conservative is supposed to sound, in pretty much the same way that curlicuing all around the note makes you sound like a contestant on American Idol is supposed to sound.

Genuinely frightening, if you believe in democracy. 


From The Baffler.

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A flip-flop too far: Romney shuts up on FEMA after Sandy

A couple of days ago it was suggested somewhere that reporters on the campaign trail ask Gov. Romney if he still advocates replacing Federal disaster aid, including FEMA, with grants to the states, as he said last year in response to a direct question in a GOP debate.  

This morning that is the question pool reporters are asking the candidate in Ohio: 

Governor — you've been asked 14 times, why are you refusing to answer the question? 

Will Romney shift his stance and now endorse Federal aid and FEMA? 

That's been his pattern ever since the Oct. 3 debate: a new-found moderation. But in the media glare following a mega-disaster such as Sandy, to suddenly forget that Federal disaster aid is "immoral" will be a flip-flop too far. 

Probably. After all, this is a guy who can pretzel his position even on abortion. Rare talent. 

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Romney calls FEMA disaster aid “immoral” (6/11)

A year and a half ago, during a GOP debate, when asked by a journalist if he would oppose Federal aid to disaster victims, or replace it with something else, Mitt Romney said yes. He would want to cut agencies such as FEMA, he indicated,  but would provide aid to the states, or allow privatization of emergency services. 

CNN/JOHN KING: …FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.

The questioner seemingly could not believe Romney's willingness to cut Federal aid to disaster victims, and asked about it again:

KING: Including disaster relief, though?

ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.

"No sense at all." Someone should call Mitt on this — ask him if he still wants to cut Federal aid to hurricane victims. Except that he doesn't take any questions, which may be why he hasn't gone on any talkshows, when major shows — including Saturday Night Live — would love to book him.

After all, he's such a funny guy. 

[Pic of Mitt Romney and Meatloaf singing "America the Beautiful"]


When the aging two-hit wonder endorsed Romney a couple of days ago, Meatloaf said: "There has storm clouds come over the United States." 

On this we all can agree. According to Dr. Jeff Masters, who has been blogging about hurricanes since l995, tropical cyclone Sandy is already one of the largest hurricanes ever recorded, of near-record size


Update: Ryan Grim reached the Romney campaign last night and they confirmed bia email that yes, they want to cut Federal aid for aid to the states, even in emergencies such as hurricanes. 

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The post-modern candidate who is about nothing: Romney

Mitt Romney's latest "secret video" debacle has been unexpectedly depressing for me. Think conservative Jonah Goldberg (of all people!) put his finger on the reason why here:

Romney’s remarks reinforce the overriding problem with his campaign:
It is bloodlessly non-ideological. And that is by design. Stewart
Stevens, Romney’s top strategist has made it abundantly clear he doesn’t
much care about ideas or philosophy. That showed in his convention
strategy and in Romney’s speech, which he apparently wrote. Responding
to complaints about his stewardship, Stevens told Politico:
“Politics is like sports. A lot of people have ideas, and there’s no
right or wrong. You just have to chart a course, and stay on that
course.” Not only is that not true of politics, as best I can tell it’s
not even true of sports either. 

Even the campaign’s ostensibly ideological ads and soundbites seem
offered not as statements of conviction but as carefully — and sometimes
not so carefully — crafted slogans aimed at telling the silly
swing-voters what they most want to hear. I’m not naive; focus groups
and poll data are part of politics, like it or not. But when conviction
politicians use such tools it’s often as a way to make what they believe
more salable. With the Romney campaign, all too often it seems like
they’ve got it reversed. They’re trying to sell the voters on the idea
that Romney believes something.

That's what's really depressing. It's not that Romney is wrong (unsurprisingly). It's that he's completely cynical even in his wrongheadedness. He believes in nothing, except maybe not paying taxes. '

Where did we get this guy? Libertarian Dave Weigel shakes his head, tweets:

At this point I'm amazed that the Salt Lake City Olympics went off without constant fires and explosions.            


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Romney and Obama, at convention, on global warming

MItt Romney, in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention:

"President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet," Romney said. "My promise is to help you and your family." He got a standing ovation [for promising inaction on the threat of climate change]

President Obama, in response, at the DNC:

"And yes, my [energy] plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They're a threat to our children's future. And in this election, you can do something about it," Obama said, to a roar of approval from the hall.

It's something from the President. Perhaps as much as a line in the sand.

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Salt Lake City Doctor: GOP/Romney energy policy filthy

Startlingly fresh climate change commentary from a medical doctor in Salt Lake City: 

As I listened to Mitt Romney deliver his energy
plan for America and read the Republican Party platform, I was struck
by parallels to a book about the atrocious medical care given to
President James Garfield after he was shot on July 2, 1881.

Garfield would have survived the bullet, but
died weeks later from infection after gross medical malpractice. Most
American doctors of the time dismissed the "germ theory" pioneered by
non-American scientists, such as British doctor Joseph Lister.[snip]

Because they couldn’t see them, American
doctors ridiculed belief in bacteria, comparing it to the silly,
contemporary belief in fairies. Doctors even took pride in their filth,
carrying blood, pus, and dirt from one patient to the next. In 1881
American country doctors were still applying hot cow manure to open
wounds. Doctors treating Garfield routinely performed surgery without
changing their clothes or washing their hands and held instruments in
their teeth for convenience.

Much like the Garfield assassination attempt,
fossil fuels burned by industrialized civilization have gravely
"wounded" the ecosystems necessary for human survival.

Our current response to the "fever" and
"infection" spreading through our own habitat is to allow the most
ignorant and disingenuous of us to bully the rest of us to inaction. The
level of scientific sophistication Romney and congressional Republicans
are applying to the task is on a par with Garfield’s doctors in 1881.
You can’t see CO2, therefore it must not be a problem. CO2 is natural,
just like bacteria. Therefore, linking it to a climate crisis must be a

The whole piece is great, and a great excuse to publish this stark drawing on denial from the recent global warming contest in The New Yorker, a personal fav from Jonathan Bean:


Global Warming - Blown Covers

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Jobs versus extinction: Romney and Calvin and Hobbes

Romney's remark on climate change last night has occasioned a great deal of commentary.

Here's Kate Sheppard, reporting on the moment for Mother Jones

"If you didn't catch Mitt Romney's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night, you really missed an amazing snapshot of how he'll treat environmental issues as president: as a laugh line.

Here's the line from his speech last night. The stage directions are mine:

President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans … (Pause for effect, look of mild, mocking amusement on your face. Audience will chuckle here.)

And heal the planet. (Another pause for comedic effect.)

My promise (Pause) is to help you and your family. (Cheers.)"

She adds: 

Did you get the joke? It's hilarious that President Obama cares about climate change and promised to do something about it. Mitt Romney will totally not give a crap about that at all, aren't you glad?

And here's a wonderful old Calvin and Hobbes on the same conflict between short-term economic gain and long-term sustainability, with of course a twist. (Click to enlarge):


Brings to mind a line from an old folk song: When will we ever learn? 

Via Aguanomics

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