Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coverage v. Narrative

Paul Krugman wrote this election is a test of the system; Matt Taibbi commented that it should never have been this close; Bob Cesca has wondered why the corporate-owned media has stuck with its narrative of a close race, come hell or Hurricane Sandy's high waters; Steve Benen at The Rachel Maddow Blog has been chronicling "Mitt's Mendacity" throughout the campaign.  Our blog roll alone contains an endless stream of words and deeds by the R ticket that should DISQUALIFY Romney from being President.  And yet here we are, a week out, and you can follow the polls, the pundits, the MSM, anyone you want.  What a country!  Democracy in action!  Except, it's not.

From a purely HIGHpocritical viewpoint, it's easy to spot the most basic of problems: Romney's debate #1 'win' fueled a narrative that Romney was not going to end up the inevitable loser.  Everything he said and did up to that point was a gambit anyway.  But, Obama's and Biden's debate wins [more convincing IMO because they were actually debating real people, not ghosts, who showed up intent on winning too] restored the forecasting numbers, but the narrative went unchanged.  Why? 

McCain-Palin. Romney-Ryan. Not 1 of the 4 belongs anywhere near the White House. Whatever criticisms could be lobbed at the current President, we'll never get that discussion on a national level, because of the cynicism & lying on the part of the major opposition party in our political system, and because of the false equivalence on the part of the MSM.  BTW, that begs the question of when the media is ever going to take a serious look at the Koch-addled influence being peddled?  About the same time as they ask for Romney to release his tax returns, meaning, never.  Tax returns alone = he's hiding something, why is that OK?  How come he gets a pass there?

What about race or religion?  [Hint: Missourah relatives know Romney is a tool, but they will vote for him anyway, since Obama is black. OK, that's more than a hint.]  Why was Romney's Mormonism never an issue, race is OK, but religion is off-limits?  That's HIGHpocrisy.  I stopped reading Sullivan's blog after his hair-on-fire posts but he did write a great one on this topic.  
What about character, then?  Romney has lied all year, demonstrably. He doesn't care about fact-checkers.  Pollsters have a liberal bias.  Stats are cooked if they favor Obama.  Chris Matthews tried to tell Steve Schmidt that Romney should apologize to America for being such a complete cynic.  We've said already that Romney has either been lying to the base all along, made more obvious when he switched on 'Moderate Mitt'; while Ryan winks and tells everyone he's conservative enough for the both of 'em. Or, Romney's lying presently to the moderates. Or both. And at the same time. 
How does that help this once-great nation as a whole, when we're still trying to recover from 2 unfunded wars and tax cuts for the rich?  We don't know, we don't have answers.  We have theories, above, and wishes, that maybe these last 2 acts of a desperate, shameless shyster will finally put him back in his rightful place?!  All we can say before this election that ends a campaign unlike any other in history, is what Sgt. Phil Esterhaus used to say on Hill Street Blues: 
Hey, let's be careful out there.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Debate #3, 'gangnam style'

OK not really.  There is actually a lot of HIGHpocrisy to be found in Monday night's final debate, starting with the most basic: it was supposed to be about foreign policy.  Romney/Ryan = 0 experience, so of course the R had to keep talking about the economy.  Maybe that might have been OK, too, except that Romney said many of the exact same things he had already said in the prior two debates, literally, and verbatim.  I know how to create jobs, I know how to get the economy going, I know how to lead, blah, blah, blah.  Except, you never say "how" you're going to do any of those things (worse, how you even know you can).  And no one asks him how, either.  More on the failed media narrative in our subsequent entry.

So, the debate should not have been.  On substance, that was not a debate: no Russia (thankfully, no "Russia from my house"); some China; lots of Middle East; too much Israel.  No climate change, no drug war, no Africa as developing continent. No real debate on drones.  No Euro crisis.  In a sane world, in a normal plane of existence, when the President would bring up the 2 wars that the last R started, without paying for them, the other guy would reply with an actual answer.  That would be quite democratic, but we're a laughing stock on public discourse.  How do we know that?  Because there's a ticket with 0 foreign policy experience being taken seriously. 

And yet, almost as many people supposedly watched #3 as #2s and 1 (about 60 million people, about 1/5th of the country's population, almost all of whom had already made up their minds).  So, debates matter, right?  Well, before the 3rd one, Rollah read a brief post on another site (!), that Romney was tied on the topic of FP via some random poll.  That had to be a joke.  Nothing has happened, Romney has said nothing, done nothing, that would trigger a rise in his FP standing.  He's still at 0.  Not Ground Zero, just 0, 00, and lots more 00000000s.  OK, then, so maybe debates don't matter, even if they should?  A la Bill Murray in Meatballs, "all the really good-looking girls are still gonna go out with the guys from Mohawk, because they got all the money."

We also think The Rude Pundit was on the mark, when he wrote yesterday,

"4. On substance, then, it was a fairly useless debate, as have all the debates. On style, though?If Obama had been as clueless, pandering, and flop-sweaty as Romney, pundits around the country would have said that they're getting ready to cover a Mitt administration. However, since it was the Democrat who won, most will say that Romney didn't do too badly. That's bullshit. Romney lost big time. It was embarrassing at times how little a major party candidate seemed to know or care about the rest of the world. Romney acted like Sarah Palin, a talking point machine who couldn't string together a proposition or thought. He looked like Nixon on meth, sputtering, useless, and, goddamn, so sweaty. He tried to shift to moderate mode again, but this time Obama was ready and he repeatedly called Romney out on it, at times eviscerating Romney. He tried to shift to domestic policy, and Obama went right along with him, kicking his ass every step of the way.
And when Romney wasn't trying to say that Obama was wrong, he was positively feckless. He either agreed completely with Obama or he threw out a word or two that made it sound like he had just looked up, say, Mali on his smart phone. As for any alternative to anything Obama was doing, Romney's sole plan seems to be that he'll be there and not Obama, and somehow, through Mormon magic involving the castrated balls of the eunuchs in the Tabernacle Choir, no doubt, America will seem stronger with a man named Willard in charge.
Based solely on our high standards for HIGHpocrisy, the end result of the debates was this: when Romney lied in #1, but Obama didn't push back, Romney was presidential and therefore the winner. When Romney lied in 2 and 3, but Obama called him out, Obama wasn't Presidential. Got that? [We want to keep believing that the media will wake up in time, not to ask any real or tough questions, they won’t, but just to look around and say, OK, we’ve let this go on long enough, it's time to stop messing with people’s lives.] Maybe the best outcome we can hope for would be for the wingnut base to feel as demoralized as Dems did after #1.  If they don't turn out, Obama wins.
Then debates matter.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Change in blog roll

We're all about the writing around these parts.  IN: Charles Pierce at Esquire; OUT: Glenn Greenwald. On the bubble: Firedoglake.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Debate #2: Twitter-style + bonus material

@mittens: Hey, how about that 1st debate, huh?  Mo' bizness, mo' bizness, mo' bizness.  +
Of course my math works, I just said it does, weren't you listening? There I said it again. 
- to women and immigrants: who ya gonna believe, me or my binders?  [btw, I'm not a douche, I just play one on TV]
- to moderator: where's that old guy who I bullied last time?

@hopey-changey: How about that 2nd debate, huh?  Now, STFU and vote!
- to mittens: Hulk smash.
More respectful, polite* version: If you had answers instead of lies, you would have said 'em by now.

@candyC's store: defund THIS, baby!  I ate Jim Lehrer's milkshake.

Since we really don't know how this all ends up, can we at least acknowledge:
(a) that the still-undecideds are morons, of the order of Idiocracy, and too out of it to be trusted with voting at all?
(b) that if the 1st debate was such a game-changer for the guy who lied his way through it (even though challengers often best incumbents, and even though debates aren't supposed to have that much of an impact on the overall election), then the 2nd debate should matter just as much?  Seriously, can anyone explain why Romney "winning" on style & optics 2 weeks ago allows him to overcome all of the reasons he was behind all year long, but Obama winning on style, substance, facts, optics, etc., wouldn't stop that momentum, or more importantly, reverse it?

*bonus hack-tastic false equivalence from AP's recap this morning: 'Romney pushed back forcefully on the economy'... Really, 'forceful'?  I don't recall ever seeing such disrespect for a sitting President; not just de-legitimizing his election victory in 2008, but often, his very existence.  From Joe Wilson's "you lie!" to last night's in-your-face haranguing, which, as Chris Hayes pointed out afterward on MSNBC, was another example of the ruling class ignoring the very debate rules that Team Etch-a-Sketch had agreed to beforehand.  Talk about 'uppity'.  I really thought it showed the robot's true character, if that's even possible; was he trying to get Obama to take a swing, or shove him, as if they were on Jerry Springer?  I have a suggestion for anyone who can't vote for the black guy: vote for his white half, the one who still takes donations from Citi group; the one who kept Geithner at Treasury; in other words, vote for the Obama you have, not the one you wish you had.  Sure, if he did half as well in the 1st debate, none of this would be relevant; he'd be on his way to an easy re-election. But it took his nose-dive last time to wake his ass up this time. So deal with the reality that for all the faults, Obama is still the most qualified to be President.  Just saying you were Governor and you know about business because you were in the private sector, that's not a reality that qualifies you for anything.

Friday, October 12, 2012

VP by DQ

Serious.  And brilliant !  Will it break through?

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Didn't we just say that?  Next week will be it; but last week was all preventable.  The suspense, the drama, and then the reality. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ya think? (2012)

No F'n sh*! Sherlock, how's about recognizing it WHILE THAT SH*! is happening instead of a week later, when the damage has been done?  Where was the light-bulb then, you couldn't see what you were doing?  How about any recall: the fact that you have asked us to help fight too, to be the agents of change too, right there standing beside you, did all that slip your mind for 90 minutes while you were too distracted to bother standing up for yourself?  Or did the brain freeze also extend to forgetting everything that Romney has been saying all year!?  How could you not see that the guy who showed up last week was completely different, I mean, he's right there next to you! 

I can understand the collective freak-out and group-think, as I am still in denial (coupled with anger) over the President's performance. Romney was his own enemy, his campaign was a joke.  But you don't take anything for granted in a zero-sum game when the fate of the nation is at stake.  The other side doesn't care about policy, or substance, or facts.  Obama wins on all of that.  Remember: 50+ million Americans still voted for McCain & Palin because the other guy was black! Haters gotta hate.  All Obama had to do was 'politely' point out a couple of the lies, and things would have gone on as before.  So yes, if Obama had bothered to defend himself once or twice in front of 60 million people, the R base would still be demoralized; the D base would still turn out. And Obama would still be well on his way to re-election.  Welcome to reality.
The larger problem is the state of this country's politics -- and thus its overall future -- when a politician can get away with lying his way to the White House. [Check out our new nicknames by the way, see if any stick: the Mormon Manipulator!  The Latter-Day Liar!  Romney the far Right(-eous).]  He knows he's lying; his advisers know he's lying.  Fact-checking is a nuisance that can be ignored. 
Sure Obama tanked, and sure the election should not be this close because 1 debate should not have mattered as much as it has.  But of those 60 million who watched the debate, how many were still undecided? As Bill Maher pointed out last Friday, if that many low-info voters are still out there, this is not a place worth saving.  That is the sad reality of all this. That is why social justice is so hard to achieve. If we can no longer know hope, then we should fall back on keeping the faith.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Big Letdownski

Or, as I tweeted this morning (didn't know I had a twitter acct, huh, J?):  Clint Eastwood feeling vindicated after last night's debate. New score: Invisible Chair 1, Empty Suit 1.

Talk about a case of mistaken identity?!  All of our links to the right say Romney "won" this 1st debate, because Obama played it too safe.  J's own version goes something like this:  'professorial…presidential…grown-up…intelligent'.  None of these adjectives and no amount of spin matter right now. O sh** the bed big time…what a pussy!
He needs to throw Mittens under the bus with all of the right wing nut bars that comprise the Republican party...make him own that ship of fools. He also needs to refute this garbage that he can’t “work across the aisle”…that is complete horse hooey….especially when it has been so widely publicized and overtly obvious that the repukes were doing everything to sabotage his agenda and legislation...just look at the freakin votes and filibusters!!'

J continued -- 'The way O kept looking down and taking notes last night made him look ashamed and small. Can he possibly believe that he is going to win again on passionate and lofty speeches delivered from teleprompters. I hate to say it, but he is playing right into the hands of the people that hate him and want him out. I agree 100% about the “fight” issue. He has to show that he wants to win and that he is passionate about his beliefs and what needs to be done to fix the current state of affairs. “That’s not my view” simply doesn’t cut it. Romney challenged him on so many things last night that went completely without response…..was he just unprepared? [Rollah note: a President would be prepared for a debate].  Does he not think well on his feet? Obviously he is a smart guy, but maybe he is someone who really needs time to collect his thoughts before he responds. Unfortunately, debating often doesn’t allow for that kind of long, deliberative and thoughtful response.'

I didn't even watch, and I still felt the same way last night.  What little sleep I got did not help me feel better this morning.  Continuing with all of the boxing metaphors, the President could have ended this fight once and for all.  He could have scored the knock-out, but he didn't come to fight.  He let a guy who was beaten get up off the mat, while he danced around the ring. Now he better pray he wins the fight on points. It's going the distance.  But you know what makes me less nauseated at his lack of fight? The fact that Obama's never been a fighterThat's our problem, we keep wanting to project our own traits on to the guy and he's not us.  Americans like fighters; you stand up to bullies.  Obama didn't do that.  So he lost a debate.  Americablog.com has a good take. 

The other part about winning v. losing that had me so worked up was the fact that Romney got away with so many lies.  If someone lies, you call them a liar.  Romney was either lying to the remaining undecideds [really? who the F still doesn't know?!?] & hoping he'd fool them into thinking he's a moderate, or, he was lying to the base about everything else up to this point. 

The only real fall-out to this 3-round BS-fest will happen if Obama doesn't bring it to the next 2 debates; if he can't be bothered to break a sweat, he will lose.  TPM, though, already has 2 quick entries up today about what Team O recognizes they need to do.  Sure, it would have been nice to see it last night, live, as the debate was going on.  But I'm not moving to Canada just yet.  Speaking of our northern neighbor, there's a reason this stuff matters; it's called our physical health!  Mental health, that might be next. 

Update, finally - J (and pdm3), read this.  Money quote:

Romney won the debate in no small part because he adopted a policy of simply lying about his policies. Probably the best way to understand Obama’s listless performance is that he was prepared to debate the claims Romney has been making for the entire campaign, and Romney switched up and started making different and utterly bogus ones. Obama, perhaps, was not prepared for that, and he certainly didn’t think quickly enough on his feet to adjust to it.