Monthly Archives: August 2012

Humor: The Borowitz Report

POLL: Romney Trails Empty Chair

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NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—In a development that the Republican campaign is sure to find troubling, a new poll of likely voters showed nominee Mitt Romney trailing badly behind the empty chair Clint Eastwood talked to onstage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

When asked the question, “Who cares more about people like me?” thirty-seven per cent of voters responded, “Mitt Romney,” while fifty-two per cent said, “Chair.”

The poll numbers for the chair represent the largest post-convention bounce for an inanimate object since the nomination of Michael Dukakis, in 1988.

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Photograph by Lauren Lancaster.

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Mario Piperni on the Repug Circus

The Republican Convention – Lies, Deception and Clint Eastwood

August 31, 2012 By

The illustration pretty much sums up my thoughts on the Republican National Convention. Lies, deception and just plain nonsense. If you were solidly behind Romney before the convention, then three days of Obama bashing must have felt like an extended Christmas morning. Each new speaker brought out their own crudely wrapped gift of distortions, untruths and wingnuttery. I’m sure it was a joy.

If prior to the lie-fest you believed the Republican party represented all that is wrong with America, then nothing happened in those three days to change those sentiments…except, possibly, to reinforce any thought that, yes, these people are detached sociopaths.

But if you weren’t sure who you’d vote for in November and were hoping to learn something about Romney and how he planned to turn the economy around, you got nothing except vague promises and shiny glitter. No new ideas or policies were presented on the domestic front. But you did learn that Romney is intent on starting a new Middle East war with Iran…and something about reviving the Cold War and putting Putin in his place. Neocons love villains, real or imagined.

You also learned that empty chairs and invisible presidents are best left on a vaudeville stage.

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(The Romney and Ryan source photographs are Creative Commons licensed images from photographer Gage Skidmore.)

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Andrew Sullivan on Mitt’s Handout

Romney’s Government Handout, Ctd

A reader writes:

This seems like a pretty big deal to me. If you read the Rolling Stone article in its entirety, it’s clear that Romney blackmailed the FDIC into settling Bain debt at pennies on the dollar by threatening to remove what remaining cash assets Bain had that were owed the US government as bonuses rather than paying down the debt – and later following through on it. In other words, he screwed the American taxpayer out of millions of dollars while giving his buddies (and maybe himself) bonuses rather than paying Bain’s debts.

This is Gordon Gecko at his worst.

Another:

So Mitt Romney … didn’t build that?

Humor: The Borowitz Report

Romney Accepts Nomination: “I Bought It”

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TAMPA (The Borowitz Report)—Coining a phrase that seems destined to become his new campaign slogan, Mitt Romney needed only three words tonight to accept the Republican Presidential nomination: “I bought it.”

Those words had a special meaning for Mr. Romney, who had to spend seventy million dollars in the G.O.P. primaries to defeat a serial adulterer, a former pizza executive, and a crackpot in a sweater-vest.

It has been an up-and-down convention for Mr. Romney, who was largely ignored at Tea Party rallies early in the week but later picked up a key endorsement from his wife.

Tonight, however, was a time to reflect, as he put it, “on money well spent.”

“Our opponents say that America is in decline, that it is no longer number one,” he said. “I say our democracy is the best that money can buy.”

Mr. Romney braided his speech with the theme of “I bought it,” reminding his audience that in order to take the White House, “I have millions to go before I sleep.”

He made an emotional appeal to a group he called “the single-issue billionaires,” imploring them, “Let me know what you want. Eliminate the E.P.A.? Bomb Iran? Mitt Romney is open for business.” The audience roared its approval.

Mr. Romney made one reference to his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.): “Don’t let his crazy rock-and-roll playlist fool you. He’s serious about the important things: cutting taxes for the rich and ending Planned Parenthood.”

Ultimately, he ended his speech with a rousing call to arms that brought the Republican audience to its feet: “The road to the White House will be hard, and strewn with challenges. But together, there’s nothing we can’t buy.”

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Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Mario Piperni on Ryan’s Speech

Truth Takes a Beating in Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech

August 30, 2012 By

A long time ago, in a make-believe land, this conversation took place.

The Blue Fairy: You must learn to choose between right and wrong.
Pinocchio Ryan: Right and wrong? But how will I know?
Jiminy Cricket: [watching] How’ll he know!
The Blue Fairy: [to Pinocchio Ryan] Your conscience will tell you.
Pinocchio Ryan: What are conscience?
Jiminy Cricket: What are conscience! I’ll tell ya! A conscience is that still small voice that people won’t listen to. That’s just the trouble with the world today…
Pinocchio Ryan: Are you my conscience?
Jiminy Cricket: Who, me?

It appears that Paul Ryan never did find out what a conscience is or, if he did, he has no use for one. He took the stage last night at the Republican National Lie-Fest and repeated every lying talking point that Republicans have been pushing for the last year.

Dan Amira could not have worded it better in stating that Paul Ryan is betting on the ignorance of America to sell his story.

Paul Ryan has a reputation as a nerdy budget wonk, but tonight in his RNC speech, he transformed into an attack dog. Running the gamut on the many, varied transgressions of President Obama — including the stimulus, the jobs crisis, ObamaCare, the debt, Medicare, and, obviously, “You didn’t built that” — Ryan had the crowd laughing, booing, and frequently showering him with piercingly loud standing ovations thanks to a slew of pitch-perfect applause lines. While this is just a hunch, we expect that his focus on Obama’s inability to adequately revive the economy probably hit home with a lot of moderate voters. In short, it was, without a doubt, the best, most effective speech of the convention.

It was also appallingly disingenuous and shamelessly hypocritical.

And then there’s this little fact which turns out to be what the entire Romney/Ryan campaign of dishonesty hinges upon.

But here’s the thing: Most of the millions of people who watched the speech on television tonight do not read fact-checks or obsessively consume news fifteen hours a day, and will never know how much Ryan’s case against Obama relied on lies and deception. Ryan’s pants are on fire, but all America saw was a barn-burner.

If you didn’t hear the speech, Amira has a long list of Ryan’s lies including his claim that Obama and the stimulus were responsible for a plant closing in Ohio…in December 2008! This was a month before Barack Obama took office and a bunch of months before the stimulus was passed.

If Jiminy Cricket was referring to conservatives and Republicans, he was right. They stopped listening to their conscience a long time ago and it’ll be evident again tonight in even grander fashion when Romney takes the podium.

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(The Paul Ryan source photograph is a Creative Commons licensed image from photographer Gage Skidmore.)

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Humor: The Borowitz Report

Ryan Launches Campaign Theme of Lying About Everything

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TAMPA (The Borowitz Report)—In his speech to the Republican National Convention last night, Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan test-drove what the Romney-Ryan campaign says will be a major theme for the 2012 Republican campaign: “lying about everything.”

“The question was, how many whoppers could you pack into one speech?” the campaign adviser Tracy Klugian said. “All I can say is, when Fox News accuses a Republican of lying, you know you’ve witnessed something historic.”

Mr. Ryan pronounced himself pleased with his performance, noting that he only strayed into the truth when he recited the names of his wife and children.

“That won’t happen again,” he laughed. “Call it opening-night jitters.”

As for Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, he said he was working “around the clock” to add additional lies to his speech tonight: “I’m no Paul Ryan, but, darn it, I’m going to do my best.”

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Ezra Klein at the Convention

Republican National Convention: Five thoughts on day one

Posted by Ezra Klein on August 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm

J. David Ake — AP

Now that I’ve had some time to process the first day of the Republican National Convention, a few thoughts.

1) It’s genuinely weird for a whole day to be based around “You didn’t build that.” But more than it’s weird, it’s small. It would be like Democrats dedicating a whole day of their convention to “I like to fire people” or “I don’t care about the very poor.” Conventions are supposed to make political parties big. Day one of the Republican National Convention made the Republicans look petty.

2) It’s also dishonest. My colleague Glenn Kessler handed the Republican convention’s use of the line four pinocchios. Then there were the repeated uses of the discredited welfare attack. There was Romney pollster Joe Newhouse’s comment: “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers” — or, you know, facts. This is starting to feel like more than politics as usual. It’s starting to feel like a disregard for the truth that actually matters. As Jon Chait writes in a post that deserves to be quoted at length:

One disturbing hallmark of the previous Republican presidential administration was the willingness of the president and his allies to rely utterly on the version of truth that circulated within the closed confines of the right-wing subculture. The meta-message of the Bush administration for its critics was: We don’t care what you think. What climate scientists or budget crunchers or intelligence experts said didn’t matter. The Republicans had their own people who assured them that carbon emissions weren’t necessarily warming the planet and tax cuts wouldn’t lead to deficits, and these truths would reverberate on Fox News and other friendly media. In that mental state, a Republican can confidently say or do anything, and — as long as he stays true to conservative dogma — he will be hailed as virtuous and true by the only parties whose standing matters to him.

One hope for a potential Romney administration is that Romney, and his appointees, would feel embarrassment at this method. Romney, unlike Bush, is not a product of deep Red America. Perhaps he and his staff would like to be held in high regard by educated people who get their information from news sources not operating under Republican message discipline.

The development of his campaign strongly suggests otherwise. Romney and his campaign feel perfectly cozy inside the confines of the right-wing information cocoon, where fealty to party doctrine is the only standard for which they will ever be held accountable.

3) There was a lot of political talent on display. Scott Walker, Kelly Ayotte, Chris Christie, and a number of other relative newcomers to the national stage performed admirably under the klieg lights.

4) But there wasn’t a lot of planning on display. There was no coherent argument for Mitt Romney. There was no coherence at all, in fact. Ann Romney came out and said, “Tonight I want to talk to you about love.” Christie came out right after her and said, “I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.” When your two prime-time speakers can’t agree as to the convention’s position on love, you’ve got problems.

5) All that said, day one is meaningless. A strong day two will completely erase any memory of a weak day one. But, in the end, the only day that will really matter for this election is day three. Mitt Romney is going to have to make the case for Mitt Romney.

Humor: The Borowitz Report

Disturbed Man Gets Past Convention Security, Gives Keynote Address

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TAMPA (The Borowitz Report)—A mentally unhinged man slipped past security at the Republican National Convention last night and delivered a keynote address before he was subdued.

The man ranted incoherently on a variety of subjects, frightening many in the national television audience as security officials plotted their next move.

“We thought if we let him blow off some steam, maybe he would go quietly,” said the security spokesman Harland Dorrinson. “But he just kept shouting. I thought he was going to chew someone’s face off.”

After the man was subdued with a tranquilizer dart, Presidential nominee Mitt Romney said, “I hope he gets the help he needs,” adding, “Having said that, I’m going to repeal Obamacare on Day One.”

The entire incident has left the security staff “on edge,” Mr. Dorrinson said.

“A crazed individual breaking in and giving a nationally televised speech is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing,” he said. “But it could happen again tonight.”

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Photograph by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images.

Mario Piperni on the Clown Show

The Republican Clown Show

August 29, 2012 By

If you missed the two main speeches at last night’s GOP Lie-fest (aka The Republican National Convention), here are the two best summaries I’ve come across.

Steve Benen on the Chris Christie speech:

Christie decided to use this opportunity to celebrate … himself.

Even Christie’s theme seemed bizarre. The keynote was ostensibly about “hard truths” — he used the word “truth” 21 times — and the need for bold political “courage,” but all of this only reinforced the degree to which Mitt Romney disagrees.

Romney’s afraid to offend conservatives; he’s afraid to push back against extremist rhetoric; he’s afraid of the religious right; and he’s afraid of Limbaugh. He’s afraid to release his tax returns because he thinks Democrats might be mean to him; he’s afraid to disclose his bundlers because he worries sunlight may scare his wealthy benefactors away; and he’s afraid to take a firm position on key issues because he thinks he’d lose. His campaign said last week presenting specifics to voters would be “suicidal.”

Romney’s campaign isn’t about courageous “hard truths”; it’s about hiding the truth and hoping voters don’t notice.

Juan Williams on the Ann Romney speech:

Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, on the other hand, looked to me like a corporate wife. And, you know, the stories she told about struggle, it’s hard for me to believe. She’s a very rich woman. I know that, and America knows that.

It looks like a woman whose husband takes care of her, and she’s been very lucky and blessed in this life. She’s not speaking, I think, for the tremendous number of single women in this country, or married women, or separated. She did not convince me that, ‘You know what, I understand the struggles of American women in general.’

There you have it. Christie’s speech was little more than a set up for his 2016 run for the White House. If he has any respect for Romney as a leader, it didn’t come across in his speech. Rachel Maddow noted that Christie did not mention Romney’s name until he got through two thirds of his speech. Oh yeah, Christie’s really into Romney.

As for Ann Romney’s speech, Williams could not have stated it better. Ann came across as a loyal wife who would say whatever it took to help her man get elected. None of her words rang true. Trying to convince America that she understands the plight of middle class women because she and her privileged hubby started their marriage in a basement apartment was as phony as she stating yesterday that she buys Mitt’s shirts at Costco and he ironed his own shirt that very morning. Get real. These people treat the electorate as complete morons.

If this is the best Republicans have to offer in terms of convincing America that Romney is anything other than an out-of-touch modern day Gordon Gekko, they’re in deep, deep trouble.

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Humor: The Borowitz Report

Romney Hailed as Regular Guy by Woman with Horse in Olympics

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TAMPA (The Borowitz Report)—On the opening night of the 2012 Republican National Convention, the Presidential nominee Mitt Romney received fulsome praise for being a “regular, down-to-earth guy” from his wife, Ann, whose dressage horse, Rafalca, competed in the London Olympics.

“Mitt has never let his success go to his head,” Mrs. Romney said. “Take away the seven-thousand-square-foot house in La Jolla and the bank account in the Caymans, he’s still the same fun-loving boy who pinned a gay kid to the ground and cut off his hair.”

Mrs. Romney adopted an intimate tone as she attempted to describe “the Mitt only I know.”

“Every now and then, Mitt will give me this devilish smile of his, and I know that can only mean one thing,” she said, flushing slightly. “He just fired someone.”

In a small flub that many delegates found endearing, Mrs. Romney said, “Mitt Romney is like you or me—he puts his pants on one leg at a time. Oh, wait. He has a fellow who does that for him. My bad.”

But the nominee’s wife brought the convention audience to its feet with her closing endorsement of her husband: “I promise you that if you elect Mitt President of the United States, he will never give less than thirteen per cent.”

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Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.