Did you see the hilarious piece by Philip Rucker in the Washington Post this morning on how poor Mitt and Ann Romney are having trouble adjusting to life out of the spotlight?
Gone are the minute-by-minute schedules and the swarm of Secret Service agents. There’s no aide to make his peanut-butter-and-honey sandwiches. Romney hangs around the house, sometimes alone, pecking away at his iPad and e-mailing his CEO buddies who have been swooping in and out of La Jolla to visit. He wrote to one who’s having a liver transplant soon: “I’ll change your bedpan, take you back and forth to treatment.” [....]
Four weeks after losing a presidential election he was convinced he would win, Romney’s rapid retreat into seclusion has been marked by repressed emotions, second-guessing and, perhaps for the first time in the overachiever’s adult life, sustained boredom, according to interviews with more than a dozen of Romney’s closest friends and advisers.
Romney’s next door neighbor is renovating his house, but the Romney’s planned renovations to their La Jolla home, including the famous car elevator haven’t even begun. The former presidential candidate is now renting an office in Boston at his son Tagg’s firm, Solomere Capital. Ann Romney is reportedly more devastated than her husband.
By all accounts, the past month has been most difficult on Romney’s wife, Ann, who friends said believed up until the end that ascending to the White House was their destiny. They said she has been crying in private and trying to get back to riding her horses.
Ann apparently bought into the White Horse Prophecy, and believed–along with her husband’s pollsters–that God would keep the black people away from the polls because Mitt had been chosen by god.
But Mitt’s friends say he’s not bitter, and he isn’t going to let himself go, despite his hangdog appearance in the photo above. He’s been riding his bike around his La Jolla neighborhood, and he’s not going to balloon up and grow a beard like Al Gore did after he was cheated out of the presidency.
One longtime counselor contrasted Romney with former vice president Al Gore, whose weight gain and beard became a symbol of grievance over his 2000 loss. “You won’t see heavyset, haggard Mitt,” he said. Friends say a snapshot-gone-viral showing a disheveled Romney pumping gas is just how he looks without a suit on his frame or gel in his hair.
The article says Romney might write a book about the campaign, and he’s even thinking about starting some kind of charity along the lines of the Clinton Global Initiative. But wouldn’t that require some kind of ability to empathize with people who need help?
But here’s the funniest part. On Thanksgiving, son Josh came for a visit with his four kids–they all had to sleep in one bedroom–and no one wanted to cook dinner, so they ordered out from Boston Market.
It’s all so very very sad.
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
If you didn’t get to see the first half of Ken Burns’ documentary on the Dust Bowl last night on PBS, please be sure to watch it when you can. It was outstanding, although very painful to watch at times. I watched it with my mom. It brought back lots of memories for her, as she grew up in North Dakota in the Dust Bowl days. Toward the end of the show last night there was film of FDR visiting North Dakota to survey the damage. Most of the archival footage is from Oklahoma and Kansas, with lesser amounts from Colorado, Kansas, and Texas.
The second part of the documentary will be on tonight. I’m guessing this part will be less agonizing because it will cover Roosevelt’s efforts to deal with the greatest man-made ecological disaster in history. I hope it will cover the creation of the CCC and how the government supervised planting of lines of trees for windbreaks. You can still see them all over the Midwest. There are lots in Indiana. There must have been other scientific improvements to farming that I don’t know about.
I highly recommend watching the second part tonight if you can. I don’t think you need to watch them in order necessarily.
I’m so happy that Charlie Pierce is back from his interminable week-long vacation! He has some great pieces up today already.
This morning he weighed in on the Susan Rice witchhunt on yesterday’s Sunday talk shows.
Then he recommended that Ross Douthat and other who missed the ’60s
drop some brown acid, listen to the first Quicksilver album, or at least read more than two books before they start telling the rest of us how everything they would have loved about America, had they been alive then, went to hell in a handbasket the first time Ken Kesey sat down at a typewriter.
He gave us a title for the Petraeus scandal and some great nicknames for John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
Well, not much happened while we were gone. The entire national-security apparatus got together and decided to produce a remake of the famous 1989 Helen Mirren vehicle, The Cook, The Thief, The Wife, Her Lover, The General, His Wife, The Other Woman, The Other Other Woman, The Other General, and The Lovesick Shirtless FBI Guy. In the other half of the double feature, we have Senator Grumpy and his sidekick, Huckleberry Closetcase, yelling about Benghazi while Harry Reid contemplates turning a garden hose on them to cool them down.
And then he beat up on Maureen Dowd for her nasty Sunday column on Susan Rice.
let’s pause for a moment and mark the return of airy dementia to the prose of one M. Dowd, of The New York Times, who decided to unlimber herself on the Bigger-Than-Watergate-Teapot Dome-Crédit Mobilier-The-Combined scandal surrounding what the gnomes in John McCain’s head think happened in Benghazi. Notably piquant is this passage in which Ms. Dowd wonders whether or not the president and his staff are as shallow and muddleheaded about politics as she is.
And MoDo will absolutely hate the photo that accompanies the post. I’m sooooo glad Pierce is back!
I have to admit, I’d like to stretch out the Mittenfreude, so I have a few Romney links for you.
TMZ caught Mitt and Ann going to see teen chick flick Breaking Dawn yesterday. I knew those two were immature, but I guess I didn’t realize how immature.
NBC News has a piece about what Romney and Ryan would have been doing this week if they hadn’t been beaten in a landslide on November 7.
If Mitt Romney had won the presidential election, insiders say, it’s not hard to imagine what he and his number two, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, would have been tackling on this very day.
An extensive preparation plan dubbed the “Romney Readiness Project,” pulled together by the GOP nominee’s team and no longer of any use, offers detailed insight into how ready he was to take the reins, the sources told NBC News.
Romney and Ryan each had office space set aside for them at a transition office in southwest Washington, D.C., where former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt led a team of hundreds of advisers tasked with crafting an ambitious agenda for the Republican’s first 200 days in office.
Insiders describe a well-prepared transition that was ready to hit the ground running on Nov. 7, and begin the work of fashioning a Romney government.
Hahahahahahahahahaha!! I’m sure glad we dodged that bullet!
Finally, Kevin Drum calls Romney “Officially the Most Hated Man in America,” and all because the articulated what most Republicans believe–that about half of the American people are worthless layabouts who don’t deserve to eat, live indoors, or have health care when they get sick.
What are you reading and/or hearing?
United Auto Workers (UAW) President Bob King and the Center for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) will hold a press conference at 2PM today to announce that they are filing formal ethics charges against Mitt Romney with the US Office of Government Ethics for
improperly hid[ing] a profit of $15.3 million to $115.0 million in Ann Romney’s so-called “blind” trust.
The union chief says, “The American people have a right to know about Gov. Romney’s potential conflicts of interest, such as the profits his family made from the auto rescue,” “It’s time for Gov. Romney to disclose or divest.”
The Romneys’ gigantic windfall was hidden inside an offshore corporation inside a limited partnership inside a trust which both concealed the gain and reduces taxes on it.
According to ethics law expert Dan Curry who drafted the ethics complaint, Ann Romney does not have a federally-approved blind trust. An approved “blind” trust may not be used to hide a major investment which could be affected by Romney if he were to be elected President. Other groups joining the UAW and CREW include Public Citizen, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Public Campaign, People for the American Way and The Social Equity Group….
In 2009, Ann Romney partnered with her husband’s key donor, billionaire Paul Singer, who secretly bought a controlling interest in Delphi Auto, the former GM auto parts division. Singer’s hedge fund, Elliott Management, threatened to cut off GM’s supply of steering columns unless GM and the government’s TARP auto bailout fund provided Delphi with huge payments. While the US treasury complained this was “extortion,” the hedge funds received, ultimately, $12.9 billion in taxpayer subsidies.
Singer’s fund ended up making $1.27 billion, after which he moved all Dephi production to Mexico along with 25,000 UAW jobs. The goal of the ethics complaint is to force the Romneys to reveal how much profit the made off this sleazy deal.
Feel free to use this as an open thread.
Good Housekeeping has published interviews with Michelle Obama and Ann Romney. The editors call the interview with Romney “revealing,” and I’d have to agree–though probably for different reasons than theirs.
The headline revelation has to be that Ann Romney wants to “throw out the” education “system.”
GH: Can you tell me, what campaign issue is closest to your heart?
AR: I’ve been a First Lady of the State. I have seen what happens to people’s lives if they don’t get a proper education. And we know the answers to that. The charter schools have provided the answers. The teachers’ unions are preventing those things from happening, from bringing real change to our educational system. We need to throw out the system.
Romney doesn’t elaborate on what “answers” the charter schools have provided or which improvements teachers unions are preventing. But a number of studies have found problems with charter schools, and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that students’ test scores are better overall in charter schools than public schools.
As for the teachers unions, I realize that Ann’s husband would like to eliminate all unions and reduce workers’ pay as much as possible. Certainly privatizing education through charter schools would be a good way to eliminate teachers unions.
Ann Romney was certainly a lot more explicit about the goal of ending public schools in this interview than her husband has been. Perhaps Mitt isn’t worried about the reactions of readers of Good Housekeeping. He probably thinks they’re just a bunch of silly airheads.
Ann gave several other answers that I found pretty stunning. In response to a question on why her husband should be president, Ann said:
I’d say because of his life experience, starting with the example [his father] George Romney set of being successful in his family and business and then serving in a political sphere. [He showed] what a difference being involved in politics makes. The formula from his perspective was, you never get involved in politics unless you’re financially secure and your children are raised. So when our children were older and Mitt had made a bit of money, there was his father’s example that you find ways to serve and give back.
So I guess anyone who isn’t a millionaire shouldn’t run for office? Or does “a bit of money” mean hundreds of millions to Ann? Clearly Obama shouldn’t have run with those two young daughters! Back to Ann’s pontificating:
That’s also what drew us to the Olympics. Mitt gave up everything, walked away from a very lucrative position [to lead the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympics]. It was just a little square inch of light that you walk into saying, “I think this is the right thing to do.” You get that confidence from intuition and prayer…all of those things where no one’s going to give you a blueprint of how life is going to turn out.
“Mitt gave up everything?” WTF?! At this point it should be clear to anyone who is paying attention that Mitt Romney never really left Bain Capital. The Boston Globe reported in July that Romney didn’t resign from Bain in 1999 as he has claimed, but instead took a leave of absence and only negotiated his severance package in 2002 when he decided to run for governor of Massachusetts. The severance package kept him earning money from current Bain investments for ten more years. Romney was even listed as CEO of Bain on the Olympics website and during public appearances at the time. Even now Romney is still profiting from the company he founded.
Ann Romney is every bit as full of shit as her husband is. She says that Mitt would help the economy by “getting rid of regulation,” and “using our natural resources,” (meaning open up national parks to oil drilling) but she acknowledges that in places like China where there is no environmental regulation,
the pollution and the air quality is just abysmal, and people are having to live in that. You understand how important it is, but you also have to recognize that we have to balance those things.
Right. We “have to balance” the rights of the rich to feed their endless greed with the rights of the 99.9% of Americans to clean air and water.
Ann says that as First Lady she would continue to work with at-risk young people. I didn’t realize she had done that, so I looked it up. According to Wikipedia,
Ann Romney has been involved in a number of children’s charities, including having been a director of the inner city-oriented Best Friends, which seeks to assist inner-city adolescent girls. She advocated a celibacy-based approach to the prevention of teen pregnancy. She worked extensively with the Ten Point Coalition in Boston and with other groups that promoted better safety and opportunities for urban youths. She was an honorary board member of Families First, a parent education program in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was a volunteer instructor of middle-school girls at the multicultural Mother Caroline Academy in Boston.
She has said her interest in helping underprivileged children dates back to when she and her five boys saw a vehicle carrying a group of boys to a Massachusetts Department of Youth Services detention center. She began volunteering for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay soon after that, and by 2002 was serving as one of that organization’s board members. She was on the Faith in Action Committee for the United Way, working with local religious establishments to assist at-risk children and helping to found United Way Faith and Action. Earlier, by 1996, she was a member of the Massachusetts Advisory Board of Stand for Children.
Please note that Stand for Children is an organization that has worked to reduce protections for teachers and undermine the power of teachers unions.
A couple more of Ann’s answers really bugged me. There was the one in which she praises Mitt for saying it was OK if Ann couldn’t cook all his meals for him when she was suffering from MS:
You have to find something that’ll pull you away from those scary places. And it was my husband telling me, “I don’t care if you’re in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. I don’t care whether you make dinner; I can eat cold cereal and toast. As long as we’re together, as long as you’re here, we’re going to be OK.”
Why couldn’t Mitt cook his own damn meals? How hard is it to open a cookbook and learn the basics? If he just couldn’t bring himself to do that, he could hire a cook–and other servants as well–to help his sick wife. They were hardly struggling to make ends meet!
But here’s the most annoying statement Ann made in the interview:
GH: Who are your heroes? Your role models? Don’t say your husband, even if it’s true. (Laughing)
AR: I would say Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa…and Hillary Clinton. She has been through so much; she just kept going. Now she’s doing a great job as Secretary of State.
Mother Theresa was a hypocrite just like Ann, I buy that one. But I don’t believe for one minute that she agrees with Eleanor Roosevelt or Hillary Clinton on anything.
Let’s see what’s going on out there in the world today. It looks like the Salt Lake Tribune endorsement of President Obama for a second term has shocked right-wing world a bit, because it’s the top story this morning at right leaning Memeorandum.
The endorsement is especially noteworthy for its assessment of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. The editors begin by saying that Romney’s run for president had been “warmly welcomed” in Utah, especially because of “Romney’s singular role in rescuing Utah’s organization of the 2002 Olympics from a cesspool of scandal, and his oversight of the most successful Winter Games on record.” But now, the editors say, they barely recognize what their “favorite adopted son” has become:
Sadly, it is not the only Romney, as his campaign for the White House has made abundantly clear, first in his servile courtship of the tea party in order to win the nomination, and now as the party’s shape-shifting nominee. From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: “Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?”
The evidence suggests no clear answer, or at least one that would survive Romney’s next speech or sound bite. Politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience. Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear.
More troubling, Romney has repeatedly refused to share specifics of his radical plan to simultaneously reduce the debt, get rid of Obamacare (or, as he now says, only part of it), make a voucher program of Medicare, slash taxes and spending, and thereby create millions of new jobs. To claim, as Romney does, that he would offset his tax and spending cuts (except for billions more for the military) by doing away with tax deductions and exemptions is utterly meaningless without identifying which and how many would get the ax. Absent those specifics, his promise of a balanced budget simply does not pencil out.
If this portrait of a Romney willing to say anything to get elected seems harsh, we need only revisit his branding of 47 percent of Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, yet feel victimized and entitled to government assistance. His job, he told a group of wealthy donors, “is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
More than half of the editorial is devoted to explaining why Romney doesn’t deserve to win the election, and although the editors praise Obama’s first term achievements–the auto industry bailout, health care reform, and foreign policy successes–it is clear that the editorial board would have preferred to endorse the Mitt Romney they once admired.
The Tampa Bay Times endorsement of Obama is also near the top of Memeorandum this morning. Theirs contains much more full-throated praise of the president’s first term achievements, but they also condemn Mitt Romney’s vague and negative agenda.
The economic stimulus package, which Mitt Romney and his Republican allies deride as a failure, had its flaws but stopped the collapse. It preserved or created up to 3 million jobs, and it invested in smart projects such as expanding U.S. 19 in Pinellas County and connecting the Port of Tampa with Interstate 4 in Hillsborough County. The auto company bailout, which Romney opposed, preserved jobs and rejuvenated the industry. The Dodd-Frank financial regulations, which Romney would repeal, protect consumers and force banks to act more responsibly. Undoing those reforms would be a mistake and invite the abuses that contributed to the economic crisis.
The Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature legislative achievement, offers sweeping health care reform that presidents from both political parties unsuccessfully pursued for decades. More than 30 million uninsured Americans will get health coverage. Millions of young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance policies, and insurers no longer can refuse to cover children with pre-existing conditions. In 2014, insurers also will have to accept adults with pre-existing conditions, and most people will be required to have health insurance or pay a penalty. This is a historic step toward universal health care and a fairer sharing of costs, and it should be improved upon rather than repealed as Romney promises. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the guts of the law, and it is time to work as hard on containing health care costs as on providing access to care.
Although he came to the job with limited foreign policy experience, Obama has been reasonably sure-footed. His appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state reflected the Democrat’s self-confidence to invite a former rival and wife of a former president to join his administration. Obama followed through on his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq, which Romney called a mistake. The president’s temporary troop surge in Afghanistan stabilized the country and checked the Taliban’s momentum. Yet the president recognizes Americans have no appetite for a never-ending war for diminishing returns. He pledges to pull combat forces out of Afghanistan in 2014, while Romney remains fuzzy about his intentions.
There’s an interesting drama playing out in Indiana between far right Senate candidate Richard Mourdock and the man he defeated, long-time Republican Senator Richard Lugar.
The Boston Globe reported last week that Lugar was angered when Mourdock sent out a campaign mailer claiming that Lugar was supporting Mourdock.
Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher said Wednesday the piece was ‘‘clearly unauthorized’’ and comes from a group that spent $100,000 against Lugar in the primary. Conservative lawyer Jim Bopp’s super PAC sent the mailer to Hoosier voters this week.
Mourdock has continued to try and win Lugar’s mantle in the general election — claiming in Monday’s debate that he had been endorsed by the senator — but Lugar has kept him at arms-length throughout the campaign. Mourdock said Wednesday he’s not responsible for messages sent by outside group’s like Bopp’s.
Retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar reiterated Wednesday that he will not campaign for Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock after a mailer from a longtime conservative opponent claimed Lugar’s “torch has been passed” to the tea-party hero who beat him in the primary.
The mailer comes as both Mourdock and Democrat Joe Donnelly fight desperately for the “Lugar Republicans,” or moderate voters, who appear likely to swing Indiana’s tight Senate battle.
Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher said Wednesday the piece was “clearly unauthorized” and said Lugar’s refusal to campaign for Mourdock has not changed.
“During the primary, Mourdock and his supporters perpetuated misleading statements about Sen. Lugar. Unfortunately, that has continued with this mailer funded by a committee that spent over $100,000 to defeat Sen. Lugar. It was clearly unauthorized and done without consultation with us,” Fisher said in a statement.
WISH TV in Indianapolis notes that Lugar is campaigning for another Republican.
Senator Richard Lugar won’t campaign for Richard Mourdock, yet he is campaigning for another Republican, Attorney General Greg Zoeller.
Lugar is staying out of the Senate race but he’s clearly not quitting politics. It helps make the point that his refusal to campaign for Mourdock is personal and intentional.
Just last Thursday, Dick Lugar hosted a fundraiser at the Conrad Hotel for Greg Zoeller. Zoeller has distributed photos of it on his website and his Facebook page, showing Lugar delivering remarks, posing for pictures and working the crowd.
24-Hour News 8 caught up with Zoeller by phone in Washington, DC.
“I’ve supported him over the years,” said Zoeller, “so I was glad to have his help and would accept it again.”
For Lugar, it’s the return of a favor. Zoeller appeared in one of his ads before the May primary. But it comes at a time when others are trying to convince voters that Lugar and Mourdock hold similar views without the benefit of a Lugar campaign appearance.
“Richard Mourdock is so much closer to Richard Lugar than the other gentleman,” said South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham at a Mourdock event Wednesday.
The Washington Post headline calls this “sour grapes.” Really? Lugar is an old-style moderate Republican who worked with Democrats in the Senate. Donnelly might be a moderate Republican if he lived in a more liberal state. Anyway, I hope this helps Donnelly. Mourdock would be a disaster for Indiana and for the country.
Here are a few more suggested reads, link dump style.
The New York Times: Romney as a Manager: Unhurried and Socratic.
Jonathan Bernstein at Salon: Fox News cost Mitt the debate
Laura Gottesdiener, Alternet: Ann: Mormon missions are just like military service!
Amanda Marcotte on the ugly right wing response to Katherine Fentons’s equal pay question at the second presidential debate: You Don’t React Like This to a Simple Question Without Being an Outrageous Misogynist
David Ignatius at the Washington Post: CIA documents supported Susan Rice’s description of Benghazi attacks