Thursday ReadsPosted: January 12, 2012
I’m still in shock from the realization that Willard “Mitt” Romney is most likely going to be the Republican nominee. I never thought the day would come when a candidate would appear who is more soulless, more shallow, more banal, and less prepared to be president than Barack Obama. But Romney is all those things. I don’t think he knows any more about politics or economics than Donald Trump, and he’s just as much of a blowhard. What could possess anyone to vote for him? The American experiment has truly failed when these two psychopaths are the choices to lead the nation.
Newt Gingrich on Wednesday suggested his attacks on rival Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital have not been rational – though a spokesman insisted Gingrich is not backing off the attacks.
Gingrich’s comment came after a voter in Spartanburg, South Carolina, told Gingrich that he believed the former House speaker has “missed the target on the way you’re addressing Romney’s weaknesses.”
“I want to beg you to redirect and go after his obvious disingenuosness about his conservatism and lay off the corporatist versus the free market,” said the voter.
Gingrich replied: “I agree – I agree with you.”
“I think it’s an impossible theme to talk about with Obama in the background,” Gingrich continued. “Obama just makes it impossible to talk rationally in that area because he is so deeply into class warfare that automatically you get an echo effect which, as a Reagan Republican it frankly never occurred to me until it happened. So I agree with you entirely.”
Gingrich, who has harshly criticized Romney for his record at Bain, seemed to be saying he cannot “talk rationally” about Romney’s record because of the way Mr. Obama frames the issue.
He sure doesn’t sound rational there. I can’t figure out what he’s even trying to say. But it sounds like he’s claiming that somehow Obama made him attack Romney. Sadly, I’m afraid we may never see that “When Romney Came to Town” video now. Rats!
According to an article in the NYT, Romney’s advisers have been “shaken by attacks” on the candidate’s record at Bain Capital.
Although the advisers had always expected that Democrats would malign Mr. Romney’s work of buying and selling companies, they were largely unprepared for an assault that came so early in the campaign and from within the ranks of their own party, those involved in the campaign discussions said.
Even as Mr. Romney coasted to victory in New Hampshire, they worry that the critique could prove more potent as the race shifts to South Carolina, where shuttered mills dot the landscape, unemployment is higher and suspicion of financial elites is not limited to left-leaning voters.
Both Iowa and New Hampshire have unemployment rates in the 5% range.
In his victory speech Tuesday night, Mr. Romney lamented that “desperate Republicans” were attacking the free enterprise system and the very notion of success.
“This is such a mistake for our party and for our nation,” he said. “The country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy.”
That message was echoed by Mr. Romney’s surrogates and embraced by a number of influential conservatives on Tuesday, from Rush Limbaugh to Michelle Malkin and the Club for Growth.
Unfortunately, the attacks seem to have caused many conservative who were previously unenthusiastic about Romney to rise to his defense.
At conservative blog Patterico’s Pontifications, “Karl” points out that it’s a little strange that Romney’s advisers weren’t expecting this, since Republican rivals have brought the issue up in Romney’s previous campaigns. I’m curious to see how all this will play in South Carolina.
Charlie Pierce had a bit of interesting Massachusetts gossip yesterday afternoon. Apparently one of Romney’s close advisers, Eric Fehrnstrom, is also an adviser to Senator Scott Brown, who as we all know is involved in a tough reelection fight with Elizabeth Warren.
Anyway, the gossip around the Massachusetts GOP — which is a small enough group that gossip can circulate at speeds at which matter is spontaneously created — is that some people in McDreamy’s re-election campaign have begun to complain that Fehrnstrom is spending too much time with Willard and not enough with their man, who’s in a much tougher fight with Elizabeth Warren than Romney is with the assemblage of second-raters in the Republican primary. It’s hard to see how Fehrnstrom can keep both of those balls in the air at the same time and, if he can’t, my guess is that McDreamy is the loser. This will not be a good thing for that campaign.
And speaking of Liz Warren, she raised twice as much money as Brown in the last quarter.
She has just over $6 million on hand, her campaign reported this afternoon.
Warren’s overall fund-raising for those few final months of 2011 outpaced Republican Senator Scott Brown’s total for the same time period. On Monday, Brown’s campaign released figures showing that he collected $3.2 million in the final quarter of 2011 and raised a total of $8.5 million last year.
Still, Brown holds a strong advantage, having accumulated $12.8 million in his campaign account, a record amount for any Massachusetts candidate this early in the election cycle.
Michelle Obama denies that she ever had any disagreements with Rahm Emanuel, as was reported in the new book “The Obamas” by NYT writer Jodi Kantor.
Obama said in an interview that aired on CBS’s “This Morning” that she does not routinely interfere in West Wing business despite reports that she clashed with top West Wing aides and has expressed her concerns and displeasure about policy and politics through back channels.
“I don’t have conversations with my husband’s staff. I don’t go to the meetings,” she told King. “I guess it’s more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here, a strong woman. But that’s been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day that Barack announced — that I’m some angry black woman.”
Obama said that she and former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel “never had a cross word” — despite Kantor’s reporting that they clashed over strategy and policy during Emanuel’s tenure.
In foreign news, another Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated. From the Globe and Mail:
Amid escalating threats, the covert war to thwart Iran’s efforts to get nuclear weapons took an ugly – if gruesomely familiar – turn Wednesday with the murder of a young Iranian nuclear scientist on a Tehran street.
It was the fourth such reported targeted assassination in two years, adding a dangerous new element to the escalating conflict over Iran’s refusal to rein in its nuclear program or to open it to international inspection.
Wednesday’s killing in North Tehran was similar to previous attacks. Using powerful magnets, a motorcyclist attached a small delayed-action bomb to a car carrying Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, a nuclear scientist and university professor.
The explosion killed the 32-year-old chemistry professor, who worked at the sprawling Natanz nuclear facility, and another person in the car, reports said. The pinpoint attack focused the blast into the car during the morning rush hour.
Wonderful. Are we being pushed into another war after just beginning to extricate ourselves from Iraq? The NYT reports that the covert actions are believed by “experts” to be coming from Israel, the Iranians, probably with good reason, assume the U.S. is also involved.
Iranian officials immediately blamed both Israel and the United States for the latest death, which came less than two months after a suspicious explosion at an Iranian missile base that killed a top general and 16 other people. While American officials deny a role in lethal activities, the United States is believed to engage in other covert efforts against the Iranian nuclear program.
The assassination drew an unusually strong condemnation from the White House and the State Department, which disavowed any American complicity. The statements by the United States appeared to reflect serious concern about the growing number of lethal attacks, which some experts believe could backfire by undercutting future negotiations and prompting Iran to redouble what the West suspects is a quest for a nuclear capacity.
Both Obama and Hillary Clinton denied any U.S. involvement. Sure.
Finally, there’s a wonderful article by the late Christopher Hitchens in the new Vanity Fair: Charles Dickens’s Inner Child. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but so far I’m very much enjoying it. I love Dickens and reading the piece made me want to pick up on of his novels again soon–maybe I’ll reread my favorite one–“Our Mutual Friend.” What a great book it is!
That’s all I have for today. What are you reading and blogging about?