Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

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.

I was looking forward to Newt Gingrich’s attacks on Romney’s corporate raider past, but as Minkoff Minx reported last night, someone got to Newt and told him to cool it.

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?

33 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” was posted on the internet yesterday.

  2. After W I find it hard to be shocked by any candidates – for Prez or otherwise. Would not any of the contenders: Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Paul, Perry, Santorum leave any rational, sane person shock. To me Huntsman & Romney are the least shocking of them all. It does make me shake my head that these folks who proclaim their love for the Constitution and call on the Founding Fathers almost as often as they do god. Personally I think any of our founders would be appalled that these small minded, tragically uninformed scam artists think they are defending what the colonists fought to establish. Not that I’m all starry eyed about the virtuousness of the founders – they all had their flaws – but, in general, had lofty ideals and goals.

    As for a single voter in SC turning around Newter, don’t think so. But it was a good PR moment, something each of them are constantly searching for. Clinton’s nickname was Slick Willy. Newter is much slicker and maybe he should be called Slimy Newter. He seems to be able to slip and slime his way out of whatever corner he’s painted himself into – even when he’s shown the tape of his previous comments. The benefits of Republicans’ war on our educational system is reaping its reward – a voting populace that can’t even connect any dots, let alone think for themselves and make rational decisions. Why else would so many people vote against their own self-interests?

    • bostonboomer says:

      To me Romney is the most shocking. Every day I learn something more stunning about him than I knew the day before. He’s also dangerous, because he could win.

  3. Proofread much? This: Would not any of the contenders: Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Paul, Perry, Santorum leave any rational, sane person shock……should have ended as

    “leave any rational, sane person shocked?”

  4. peggysue22 says:

    The Eye of the Newt is a gift that just keeps on giving. The more he opens his mouth, the worse it gets. And Romney has yet to adequately beat back the attacks, particularly in a state like SC, where unemployment is a real issue.

    The Iranian thing is scary. I think most people strongly suspect Israel for the bombing. Did the US know in advance? Probably. The details really did sound like something out of a movie–guys on a scooter, magnetic bomb attached to the car–Boom! Though I really hate the idea of governments running around assassinating people, I guess this is preferable to an all out war in the region, which in my mind would be a total disaster. Yet that’s the way things are leaning.

    Good roundup, BB!

    • What has amazed me the most in the 4832 Republican debates is that the issues of greatest importance to Americans – the economy & jobs – is so rarely discussed. Maybe I’m biased (you, think?) but it seems more time is spent threatening to go to war with Iran than anything else. None of them seem to realize that it isn’t just Republicans watching these debates or seeing snippets of them. Don’t they realize that Iran, Pakistan and others around the world follow our political climate? I’m frankly afraid that there will be a war with Iran before the election even takes place. Obama will feel pushed into it to get re-elected. It’s starting to sound like the run up to the Iraqi war.

      One small point: both in 2008 & now, Romney was banging the war -war -war drum. I yelled at the TV – why haven’t your healthy, strong sons served int he military? You’re ready to send the children of other Americans to their doom, but what about your boys? And why is no one asking about that? Rachel Maddow finally brought that up earlier this week. It was in contrast to Huntsman statement about his sons serving in the Navy. At least it was FINALLY put out there. If you don’t want your sons (or daughters, Georgie W), why would other parents want to risk the lives of their children? No conscience, no empathy, no compassion.

      • peggysue22 says:

        I heard Romney say last night that if elected he will make sure the US military is so-o-o big no one will ever think to attack us again.

        Hello??? We spend more on war-related equipment, personnel, weapons, etc. than anyone on the entire planet! How much is enough for these people–the entire GDP? This war, war, war drum is absolutely deafening coming from the GOP. And the reason? Their whole schtick is based on fear when the real security threat is the lousy economy and people’s loss of faith and trust.

        For the life of me, I cannot understand how people turn off their critical thinking skills and buy into this nonsense.


        • I’m with you peggysue. When Romney said that about our military in his acceptance speech, my first thought was The Holy Roman Empire. Wasn’t that their goal, somewhat? And, where are they now? Maybe this boasting type speech works in the Board room or at the Country Club, but I can only hope that enough people see him for what he is – an empty suit.

  5. Pilgrim says:

    I consider Newt Gingrich a louse par excellence.

    He could possibly succeed in giving nomination over to, say, Santorum. Wonderful for women.

    He could also succeed in helping, or hurting, Obama’s re-election. If Obama people were intending to use this material later in the year, its poison could possibly have weakened by then and Romney people might have figured out how to de-fang the attacks. Boomer was hoping to get the chance to watch the effect of all this, and it looks like she will have the chance, as will we all.

    • ralphb says:

      This Bain material could just hang around and rot in people’s vision of Willard. This is the sort of thing that won’t disappear since corporate raiders have had a bad rep for a long time and deservedly.

      Rick Perry probably provided the best sound byte “We need more venture capitalism and less vulture capitalism”. He didn’t even break an ankle doing it either.

      • Ed Schultz claimed credit for the phrase “vulture capitalism” last night after having denied he coined the phrase just the night before. Ed then proceeded to annoy me by misrepresenting vultures. Vultures serve a critical role in the environment, eating only animals who have already been killed. They help prevent the spread of microorganisms that could infect and kill other animals. They have no feathers on their heads to avoid contamination themselves. While I don’t ascribe to anthropomorphism, I also don’t agree with painting non-human animals with the worst traits of humans when it is normally humans who are the only species that exhibit and/or practice these deplorable actions/traits. Personally, I think survival trumps greed any day.

      • ralphb says:

        The term vulture capitalist has been in use for a long time. T. Boone Pickens was one of the first people I heard called that over 20 years ago. Ed Schultz is a windbag.

      • quixote says:

        @Connie, srsly. Apologies are due to vultures in good standing!

      • dakinikat says:

        Need a good laugh? Thank you NEWT!!!

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t think the impact of this will be weakened. There’s too much stuff there that will keep coming out. Romney is going to become a caricature–a real life Thurston Howell.

      • ralphb says:

        I agree. Just watched the whole 28 min video and it’s devastating. Yesterday a man from Gingrich’s SuperPac said it was made by a former Romney staffer. I don’t remember the name but that guy made a good little film.

  6. quixote says:

    I think it was Juan Cole who had a post recently about the right wing in Israel (which includes Netanyahu) trying to maneuver the US into dealing with Iran for them. B0 (or Clinton?) to his (her?) credit is not going for it so far. According to the post, as I recall, the only reason Israel hasn’t already taken direct overt action against Iran is that the crazy civilians can’t get the military to cooperate. (!)

    The thing I keep wondering about is if Iran is such a huge threat, you’d think the Russians would worry the most. They’re a lot closer than anyone else.

    That said, never forget that lying is SOP for Iranian statecraft. (I’m half Iranian, although I never lived with that side of the family. But still. Genetics. Gives me direct insight. Or something. :P) So if they say they don’t want to develop nukes, there’s zero reason to believe them. Any more than there’s any reason to believe the US.

  7. janicen says:

    I’m sorry to hear that Michelle denied conflicts with Rahm. I was really warming up to her.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Me too.

    • northwestrain says:

      Me NEVER — she is a self centered, elitist. She is also a racist. (Her college thesis). Keep her away from children.

      Just shut her up.

      She has a vast staff that we the people are paying for — and her staff have staff of their own as well. So whatever warm fuzzies anyone has for the woman are due to the PR work of her staff’s staff who are trying to make her seem kinder and gentler.

  8. ralphb says:

    It’s an Insider Advantage poll, and they weren’t highly accurate in ’08, but still sounds good to me.

    Poll: Romney slipping in South Carolina, holds just 2 point lead over Gingrich

    Despite a historic sweep of the first two nominating contests in the GOP field, Mitt Romney holds just a two percentage point lead in South Carolina, his smallest lead of 2012.

    Romney is the favorite of 23 percent of South Carolina voters, narrowly edging Newt Gingrich’s 21 percent, according to the latest poll from Insider Advantage. Rick Santorum pulls 14 percent of Palmetto state voters, while Ron Paul rounds out the top four with 13 percent. Jon Huntsman’s seven percent and Rick Perry’s five percent trail the pack.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s some good news anyway. And there’s more time for Romney to put his foot in his mouth. Two weeks between NH and SC primaries.

  9. foxyladi14 says:

    as always.Good roundup, BB! 🙂

  10. ralphb says:

    SOPA sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith to SOPA opponents: You don’t matter

    This guy needs to be tossed out on his rear. Hope he gets primaried.

    • peggysue22 says:

      Unfortunately, his attitude is typical. They write [or their lobbyists write] these bills with wide-open holes, vague language and little care for abuse. We’ve entered a period where all things coming out of Congress are highly suspect. As are its members.

      The heat on this issue is really building. Small business, gamers, You Tube people, social media, search engines, etc are all joining the opposition. This is a battle royale in the making. Personally, I love the app that has come out listing the companies/organizations that support SOPA, and then list their products/services so that people can boycott directly. Hit ’em in the wallet; it tends to leave a mark.

      There’s a spirit of resistance out there in the hinterlands. People are waking up. That’s a good thing, a very good thing.

      • northwestrain says:

        I read somewhere that most bills coming out of congress are written by the lobbyists. One example is the rube goldburg .

      • northwestrain says:

        Stupid computer — does things on its own now.

        Anyway one example of a bill written by the lobby which would get the biggest benefit is that health whatever insurance garbage. The article that I read went into great detail. So the congresscritters hire staff etc. but it looks like that’s a waste of money when the industry can write laws and get them passed. Why bother to even elect anyone to congress — just bypass the middlemen and put Corporate reps in Congress?