Oct 2012 04

by ChrisSick

Mitt Romney loves Big Bird. He likes coal. He doesn’t like expensive things. They hurt families.

This is what passes for substance in a Presidential debate. By the fifteen minute mark I felt as bored and listless as President Obama looked, and was mostly focused on trying to figure out what drugs he was taking and pondering how hard it would be to acquire some for myself, because by the half hour mark I was clearly more upset with how poorly he was doing in the debate than he was.

If you want the conventional wisdom take you’ll be seeing over the course of the next seven days before the VP debate takes place on October 11, it can be boiled down to Mitt Romney won and Jim Lehrer should’ve just stayed the hell home.

Every time the President smiled while Romney was speaking, it was because Lehrer was making a “talks too goddamn much” sign with his hands while slugging back from the flask he had in his jacket pocket. It was a pretty embarrassing show for everyone involved, honestly, except for Mitt Romney, who has no shame.

It only took fifteen minutes into the debate for Governor Romney to reverse himself completely on his tax policy. When pressed on the analysis by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center that says he couldn’t possibly implement his proposed 20% tax cut and not add $5 trillion to the deficit without increasing taxes on the middle class by closed deductions he happily pointed out that he has studies that show otherwise. And the President has studies. We all have studies, but Mitt Romney likes JOBS.

It was a stunning display of politics in a post-partisan era and Obama seemed slow to respond to it. Analysis from Jon Lovett (no, not that one) at The Atlantic sums it up well:

“In many ways, this election is a referendum on whether or not Mitt Romney’s kind of politics is effective. People can argue about the president’s policies, but he has always been honest about our fiscal situation; he has always been honest about gimmicks — whether it was cutting earmarks four years ago or cutting PBS today — which will do almost nothing to lower our debt. Mitt Romney believes he can get by without the numbers adding up. He can be for deficit reduction while being against cutting taxes, entitlements, and military spending. He can promise more education funding to some audiences; more NASA funding to Florida; more health-care funding to seniors; and ‘Oh by the way, I won’t accept any deal that raises even meager revenues when compared to budget cuts.’ It’s BS. It’s nonsense. It’s obviously not true. But he has not only embraced this idea, he’s embraced its cheerleader in the Congress, Paul Ryan.

So anyway, that’s frustrating.”

By the halfway mark the President was finally beginning to wake up, successfully laying traps for Romney that put him on record supporting Medicare vouchers, saw him stumbling through a populist style attack on big banks, and trying to explain away Romneycare/Obamacare, which one of the advisors who helped draft the two laws says “it’s the same fucking bill.”

But Obama continually failed to capitalize on these attacks and build any momentum. By 9:50 PM EST, it was clear to most people that Obama wasn’t going to pull this one out, despite getting a few good jabs in. Republicans, of course, had been claiming victory for at least thirty minutes by that point. One thing Republicans aren’t shy about, it’s claiming victory.

Romney wandered into a few traps that will work well for future Obama ad-buys, and spawned at least one new Twitter account (@FiredBigBird), but he did his job reasonably well, and kept the President listless and defensive. I found myself not being sold by Obama’s liberal ideals that I already agree with.

From Jon Lovett, again, an instructive bit to the secret of Mitt Romney’s success:

“Though I forgot about this from the primaries: Mitt Romney’s skill in debates is speaking with great conviction about matters on which he’s held like seven positions. He’s no longer cutting taxes? Come on. He didn’t propose tax breaks for the wealthy? But he says it like he’s actually taking offense. It’s stunning.”

And that is exactly what made him so successful tonight. This is the brand-new-and-improved Mitt Romney, the reboot that finally actually took. For the first time since the last time, Mitt Romney finally got his chance to introduce himself to the American people without any media bias bullshit. This was Romney unfiltered, and he would not be denied by some bullshit moderator.

Romney talked about the things he likes (coal!) and the things he loves (Big Bird!), instead of accusing Obama of being a secret Muslim socialist. He was hopeful, upbeat, and present in a way Obama just couldn’t be bothered to be. Hell, even the campaign email I just got from Obama was subjected with a sad-ass “hey.” As in “hey, buddy, you still with me?”

So round one goes to Romney. What to watch for over the next few days:

* Will the Right excoriate their guy deviating from party orthodoxy, or be too busy taking victory laps now that Romney’s finally won one to notice?

* The polls were narrowing earlier in the week, expect them to narrow even more after the President’s poor debate performance. Will the Right finally start to believe in polling again, provided they show their guy has a lead?

* How fast and how many attack ads will the candidates various positions spawn over the next seven days alone?

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Oct 2012 03

by Nicole Powers

The weekend leading up to Occupy LA‘s October 1st anniversary featured a packed schedule of activities, which included panel discussions, educational events, and a Really, Really Free Market. In anticipation of the big day, several protesters reoccupied City Hall on the Sunday night, erecting tents on the sidewalk surrounding the now restored South Lawn. Though the LAPD harassed campers under the premise of minor infractions, occupiers ensured they stayed within the bounds of local bylaws and codes, and were allowed to stay in their temporary encampment overnight. Despite the fact that two arrests were made – after those suspected of “crimes” such as first degree jaywalking and possession of a bike with no light were found to have outstanding warrants – the symbolic victory set a distinctly upbeat tone for Occupy LA’s first birthday celebrations, which featured a rally at Pershing Square at noon (where OLA kicked off exactly one year ago), an afternoon of marches and direct actions, and a special evening GA. Though anti-Occupy propaganda and general burnout had taken its toll on numbers, a hardcore group of protesters, who through shared goals have forged strong bonds over the past year, came out to celebrate their numerous tangible achievements (most notably in the realm of foreclosure) and their new American Dream: that another – fairer – world is possible.

[Occu-puppy springs into action on the restored South Lawn of City Hall.]

[Agreed: “Revolt Is All We Have – We Must Overthrow This Corporate Dictatorship.”]

[End the Koch party: “Billionaires Your Time Is Up.”]

[Yep: “Free Pussy Riot.”]

[Clowning around…]

[…As the media circus comes to Downtown.]

[Son Fish gets carded.]

[As temperatures soared well above 100 we wanted to get our nipples out too – but the sexist law in LA doesn’t allow women to bare their breasts in public.]

[“Imagine Fairness” – Nowhere Man gets everywhere; We’ve occupied with him in LA, Chicago, and New York.]

[A couple of dishy and delish ladies!]

[“Power To The People” – Problem is corporations are apparently people too!]

[“Free Hugs” make us happy 😀 ]

[Money talks…and corporations walk..over everyone and everything.]

[Anon love…]

[…Can lead to Anon babies.]

[Love it when OccupyFreedomLA gets that faraway look in her eyes.]

[“Capitalism’s Fate Is The Corporate State.”]

[Beware of this chalk pusher – she could get you arrested with her wares. #Chalkupy]

[Yummy family dinner.]

[“Anti-Imperialista ~ Anti-Fascista.”]

[“Police Are Pawns…And Shellfish.”]

[The best kind of birthday party.]

[Who Is Your Enemy?]

[The US Government “Now Detaining Awakened Americans” under unlimited detention without trial provisions of the NDAA.]

Visit our gallery for more pictures of OccupyLA’s first anniversary.


Oct 2012 03

by Steven Whitney

When Mitt Romney recently declared that 47% of us are “dependent on government,” he made it sound like a bad quality – starkly un-American, as if we were all addicts smoking the administration’s crack pipe.

Yet dependency in and of itself is neither a good nor bad attribute – it’s just a part of who humans are on the most basic biological and anthropological scales. We are a social species – it’s in our DNA – and everything we do that has any meaning is dependent on social interaction, whether it’s buying and selling to make a living or profiting emotionally by just hanging with friends and loved ones.

No one exists in a vacuum. We live in families and tribes and cultures, and sub-tribes and border cultures – whether it’s surf bums or car enthusiasts or school parents or Wall Street self-proclaimed “Masters of the World” – we are all dependent on some grouping that sustains us emotionally, psychologically, and often financially. We seek out others who share our interests, passions and values to give us a sense of belonging, precisely so we don’t feel isolated and alone as we float down the river of life on something akin to Sartre’s ice floe.

This is the most basic concept of what it means to live and work in a community. And, with the freedoms America offers, it’s normally a community of our own choosing – be it a church, a bowling league, a book club or rotisserie league, or even a political party.

As a devoted acolyte of the self-interest rationalization (objectivism) of Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan can be excused for not knowing this simple human truth. But Romney should. Whatever their faults, Mormons famously take care of their own – perhaps to the exclusion of those outside the Latter-Day Saints circle, but Mormons comprise a real and ongoing community.

But just maybe the extremely insular nature of the church has impacted Romney more than its communal practices. As Romney has shown almost every day of the campaign, he is uncomfortable with and wary of outsiders, or “the other,” a trait commonly found in minority sects that robs them of any real sense of either a national or global community.

Mormons make up just 2% of our population – yet as a group they are so tight-knit that the other 98% have become “those people.” Ann Romney is afraid of giving “those people” tax returns they might use as ammunition, and Mitt said his job is not to worry about “those people.” So one has to wonder if it’s a lack of empathy or social skills on their part or an extreme level of xenophobia – but none of those can or will play well on a world stage that foreigners and all sorts of “those people” inhabit.

As time (and the song) has shown – people need people. The well-being of every person on earth – and every nation – begins and ends with dependency on our social and professional interaction with other people, for companionship, for work, for sex, and for love. We cannot be free or happy if we are imprisoned in our own solitude.

Indeed, study after study shows that prisoners in solitary confinement inevitably suffer from schizophrenia and other serious mental disorders. Free in society, those who isolate themselves are prone to paranoia, obsession, depression, agoraphobia, pre-senile dementia, and early onset Alzheimer’s.

Many experts in the mental health field define true madness as the loss of self. If they’re right, and madness ensues from extreme isolation, then it follows that we lose at least a part of ourselves – of who we are – when we forego social interaction, when we lose our connection to other people. The “other,” then, becomes not only necessary for our optimal survival but must also be an integral part of each of us. Who of us, for instance, does not carry inside someone living or dead – a parent, a lover, a friend, or mentor – who in some way changed the course of our life and helped make us who we are?

Even higher education – colleges and universities – was originally conceived not only as a venue of advanced learning but as a necessary social and psychological bridge from narrow adolescent groupings to the larger adult society.

Especially in democracies – which are by definition created “of the people, by the people, and for the people” – we are dependent on other people in every aspect of our lives.

But Romney and Paul Ryan are distancing themselves and their party from the immutable truth of community and what it means by adopting a by now all too familiar “I did it all by myself” stance.

First because it’s not true – both Romney/Bain and the Ryan family have depended greatly on government contracts, subsidies, and corporate tax exemptions. Romney often puts forth his involvement in Staples as proof of his extraordinary skills as a businessman. But one of Staples’ biggest clients is the Department of Defense – our military – with $13 million in orders. And in the second quarter of 2011, Staples received a $21 million tax refund through a special exemption. As for Ryan, his grandfather built the construction company that has provided for three generations of privilege on the back of government highway contracts.

Secondly, it’s just too much too bear from the neo-Gatsbys of Massachusetts and Wisconsin who were more than a tad bit dependent on the rich families that gave them a leg up. Someone has to explain to these two the old axiom that if you’re born on third base you did not actually go to bat and hit a triple. They did not build lives of privilege and elite schools and exceptional opportunities all by themselves. They had help from their DNA, those who loved them, and many others. To be successful, it does indeed take a village.

Mitt and Paul and all of us are dependent on workers who make furniture, who build houses and apartment complexes, who labor on the assembly lines, who pack our microwave lunches, and who make with their hands all the things the rest of us need. And yet, like the soldiers in Afghanistan, Mitt didn’t find them worthy of even one mention during his convention address.

Dad works two jobs, Mom works one and takes care of the kids, and this family has the temerity to feel they’re entitled to food or to some kind of basic housing? A soldier in Iraq gets his legs blown off and now expects healthcare? A senior citizen who paid into Social Security every two weeks for more than fifty years now has the balls to demand the government fork over a check every month? What an outrageous lack of personal responsibility!

More than 400 years ago, John Donne wrote an elegant prose section in Meditation XVII that he later turned into a poem.

No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. . .
any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind,
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.

Still, when referring to 47% of our population in what was supposed to be a top secret briefing to financial backers, Romney says: “My job is not to worry about these people.”

That doesn’t cut it – a President’s job is to represent and worry about all the people – the richest and the poorest, the healthiest and the most infirm, the overworked and the unemployed, and everyone else. You cannot lead if you do not care for all the people.

So for Mitt and Paul – and all the rest of the rugged Republican individualists who built everything by themselves with absolutely no help from others, all of them who are not in the least involved in mankind – the death knell of the upcoming Presidential election tolls for thee…and, hopefully, for your sociopathic mindsets as well.

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Oct 2012 02

by Lee Camp

Did you know that Transformers is a propaganda film produced by Toyota? Or that The Hangover was made by the recreational drug industry in order to convince people that blacking out is fun? Or that the new Maggie Gyllenhaal flick Won’t Back Down is a propaganda piece by the people who want to privatize education?…I have a confession to make. Those first two sentences were lies. (But that last one is true.)

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Oct 2012 02

by ChrisSick

It’s very early in the morning here, well past my weekly deadline to bring Tactical Animal, first, to my editor, then to all you fine people. There have been significant travails in the Sick Cave of late, and many more yet lay ahead. I won’t bore you with the largely irrelevant details, just suffice to say, I blame Ed Gillespie. As ever.

Moving on, as I’m sure you — patriotic and well-informed citizen that you surely are — are aware, there’s a debate a’coming. This Wednesday, October 3rd the first of three Presidential Debates will be held. The topic — domestic policy. The format — six topics covered in fifteen minute segments, each candidate will have two minutes to respond to the opening question with the balance of the time used to more thoroughly explore the issue. The host — Jim Lehrer, whom my entirely made-up sources assure me will not be moderating the debate while drunk. Quite a bold move on Mr Lehrer’s part.

But! I foolishly promised you observations didn’t I? Yes, I am almost positive I was foolish enough to do that. Well, let’s stop wasting time and get right into it.

Observation the first: The best way to win is to tell every one you’re going to lose.

“First, just as he was in the primaries, we expect Mitt Romney to be a prepared, disciplined and aggressive debater. Governor Pawlenty said Romney ‘is as good as it gets in debating. He is poised, prepared, smart, strategic.’ We expect that Mitt Romney to show up in Denver.”

—David Axelrod, Obama for America press release

“Given President Obama’s natural gifts and extensive seasoning under the bright lights of the debate stage, this is unsurprising. President Obama is a uniquely gifted speaker, and is widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history.”

—Beth Meyers, strategy memo to Romney/Ryan surrogates somehow “obtained” by CBS News and National Journal

This is the nicest these campaigns will ever be about their opposition until they’re drafting concession speeches. Because modern political debates aren’t about, say, thoroughly exploring issues in a deeply meaningful way with great respect given to the context and nuance necessary to understand complex political, social, and economic problems. They’re basically about doing your best not to create a photo opportunity like this:

[Image:Democratic Undergroud]

And to that end, it’s all about lowering the bar to the point where the pundits are impressed by your ability to speak in complete sentences, Sarah.

Observation the second: If you haven’t gotten the drift yet, this is all pretty meaningless theater.

The debates are, at bottom, good television – in that they’re entertaining. Granted, that’s mostly because hardcore political junkies generally turn them into drinking games (drink every time Mitt Romney says 100%, drink whenever Obama blames W.). Which is, in large part, why the media hypes them up so much. But as Gallup bluntly put it in the title of an article, “Presidential Debates Rarely Game-Changers.”

“Gallup election polling trends since the advent of televised presidential debates a nearly a half-century ago reveal few instances in which the debates may have had a substantive impact on election outcomes. The two exceptions are 1960 and 2000, both very close elections in which even small changes could have determined who won. In two others — 1976 and 2004 — public preferences moved quite a bit around the debates, but the debates did not appear to alter the likely outcome.”

—Lydia Saad, Gallup Politics, 25 september, 2012

Ms. Saad does go on to say that in close elections — specifically citing Kennedy/Nixon and Bush/Gore — debates may influence the race, because a percentage point or even two might matter. Of course, good political junkies already have a deep and abiding interest in those two races, due to allegations and accusations of fraud in both races, and contentious court battles that ultimately either re-affirmed — as in 1960 — or de facto appointed the President.

The Gallup article also posits that it’s not unlikely this debate could have a significant impact on the election, due to the overall tightness of the race. However, they also note that it’s nearly impossible to tell — given all the factors of any election — how much changes in the polling are due to debate performance. After all, there aren’t many historical polling models for a candidate standing up and saying that he doesn’t even care about 47% of the electorate.

Final observation: The polls are not wrong.

“You may remember a week or two ago I noticed a bounce for the Democrats due to the DNC . Well, good news, that bounce has now evened out.”

—Dick Morris, Twitter update, 25 September, 2012

“I saw Dick Morris on the ‘Hannity’ show last night. He wasn’t just saying Romney still has a chance; he was saying it’s a toss up, which I don’t quite believe. It’s getting a little more ridiculous the more polls that come out. But he was saying, ‘I think Romney will win by four points. I think he’ll win Pennsylvania and would be competitive in Michigan.’ You have to be totally delusional to think that. Is he out of touch with reality? Or is he lying?”

— Nate Silver, Nate Silver: The Polls Aren’t Wrong ( interview), 29 September, 2012

In my last column I mentioned the emerging talking point from the right that the polling data showing Mitt Romney losing is unreliable because…well, because so many survey respondents insist on self-identifying as Democrats, and pollsters insist on not ignoring them. The talking point has now been forcibly mated with Gallup results showing a sharp decline in trust in the media:

“The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power. When they desert those ramparts and decide that they will now become active participants… they have, then, made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy, and, in my opinion, made themselves the enemy of the American people.

— Pat Caddell, speech to Accuracy in Media‘s Conference, Obamanation: A Day of Truth

Note the wild hyperbole, the sky-is-falling dementia, the pounding-the-fist-on-the-table insistence that — at any minute — the Republic will fall apart thanks to the efforts of yellow-bellied “journolists” who carry the President’s water and don’t report how Mitt Romney is really going to steamroll over him come November.

All of which, I’m just guessing, is primarily in service of ensuring the Pat Caddell always has a home — and a paycheck from — Fox News and other reliable right wing media centers that learned long ago there’s more money to be made in telling their audience comforting lies than any disquieting truths.

Caddell contrasts the findings in the Gallup media poll, which shows that only 26% of Republicans have “a great deal/fair amount” of trust in the media with the 58% of Democrats who express the same trust to “prove” that the media is liberally biased. I, on the other hand, would like to suggest an alternate hypothesis: Maybe Democrats aren’t so shit-scared the media is lying to them because they don’t have shrill cunts like Caddell shouting it at them constantly.

Here’s a collection of headlines from just this past week to underscore the point:

1. “Bogus Polls and Declining Dem Registrations,” Powerline Blog
2. “The Media’s Fatal Slide Continues,” Washington Times
3. “Democrat Delusions Driving Pro-Obama Polls,” Washington Examiner
4. “Juiced Media Polls: The Newest Negative Ad,” Big Government
5. “Is This The Most Corrupt Press In History?,” National Review Online

Lest I be accused of being a partisan hack, let me point out: I’ve seen headlines that similarly constructed alternate realities and boggled my head from leftwing journalists — EJ Dionne sticks out in my mind — before, as well. In the last forty-five days before the 2010 midterms, many Democratic talking heads and pundits were clinging to the idea that the coming battering of Democrats in the midterms wasn’t going to happen.

Wanting to stick your head in the sand and ignore an uncomfortable reality isn’t a uniquely partisan emotion. However, one key difference here is that those liberal pundits who were insisting that the Tea Party wouldn’t be able to deliver electoral defeat to Democrats weren’t attacking pollsters as corrupt, or claiming that Fox News was an existential threat to American Democracy, or saying that we were witnessing the end of accuracy or honesty in media.

They weren’t arguing — to their audience, a large segment of the population —that if their candidate(s) lost, it would be because of a willful and deceitful conspiracy that joined “mainstream” media with one political party for the purposes of subverting the will of the electorate.

Because that job was, and apparently still is, fully staffed by a voracious shadow media that makes its living scaring the living shit out of white people, many of whom are heavily armed. Sleep well on that one tonight, friends.

Finally, my big-time, fake-political-pundit-style prediction, just for you:

Next week’s debate?

Won’t matter a bit.

Romney’s bleeding percentage points daily and he’s too risk-averse by nature to try anything major to “shake up the race” and under far too much pressure to execute a risky maneuver well should he be convinced he has to “go for it.” The President will primarily be playing defense, bobbing and weaving around questions about his record while directly challenging Romney to call him a liar to his face, a strategy that he hopes leaves Romney no place to go — forced to either back down from previous attacks, or defend them to both Obama and Lehrer with little substance to them.

It won’t upend the polls, and it won’t be pretty, that’s for damn sure. You’re probably better off just skipping them all together, not bothering to come up with a complicated drinking game, and just heading straight to the bar.

The election is 36 days, 2 hours, and 26 minutes away. After that? I’ll meet you there.

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Sep 2012 27

by ChrisSick

Or a further examination of the alternate realities of Republicans worthy of an episode of Star Trek and the consequences of deciding that it is more important to defeat your opponent than to be victorious.

I’d like to open this column by saying, simply:

You’re welcome.

I’ve spent the last hour, in preparation for writing this piece, reading through The American Spectator, National Review Online, The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner, and The Weekly Standard. These are reliable barometers of conservative opinion, and their contents are not apt to be easily discarded as just the shrill manifestations of the fringe extreme of the right the way, say, Breitbart or FreeRepublic might be.

I just want to make one thing perfectly clear. I do this because I love you.

“Enlightened” by these right-leaning media source, here’s what I found out, among various other things (like how the President loves Muslim terrorists):

1. Nothing has improved under Obama’s first term.
2. Polls are meaningless because they’re only polling Democrats.
3. The media is shamelessly campaigning for Obama.
4. The 2008 Stimulus was a complete and utter failure.

The interesting thing about these articles and these sites is that this is the face of conservatism that you’re likely not seeing if you read reliably liberal sites talking about what conservatives are saying. These are, bluntly, not the sites I tend to link to when I’m trying to mock conservatives or conservatism here in my column.

These are smart, well-educated, and articulate conservatives. I wouldn’t want to have to debate one in a public forum, regardless of how secure I am in my beliefs and values, or even my facts. Because, if nothing else, these people are devastatingly talented rhetoricians. But rhetoric is, primarily, about swaying your audience, not telling the truth.

So when Arthur C. Brooks, writing for National Review Online, talks about the Stimulus failing, he makes a pretty compelling case. He does so, first, by focusing on the well-documented drop in sales of new cars after the end of the Cash for Clunkers program. He ties this into a spirited defense of free-market principles as voiced by the current crop of Republicans, citing a wide-ranging study that links economic freedom — as defined by tax rates and government regulation — with economic prosperity.

All in all, its a pretty compelling argument. There’s one major problem with it: he narrows his focus to one program largely judged to be a failure without taking on the rest of the program, a third of which was focused on tax relief. He also doesn’t bother to engage the fact that most economists believe the Stimulus worked. These facts, of course, are inconvenient to his argument, so in the hope of swaying readers, he ignores them.

I, oddly enough, faced a similar choice tonight while writing this column. I wanted to include the line I’d seen repeated a few times around the rightwing noise machines, that Romney’s 47% comments were actually a winning argument. But when I searched the publications I listed in my first full paragraph, damned if I couldn’t find one.

I was shocked to discover that — near uniformly — the more “respectable” conservative publications had roundly denounced Romney’s comments as both misleading of the economic realities that go into the tax code and who pays and who doesn’t, and both tactically foolish and not indicative of conservative policy as they argue for it.

So I deleted the line and thought it was worth mentioning that I started with a perception that research turned out to be false, so I changed my perception, rather than ignore evidence to the contrary. The links I provided above are a small sampling, but what I saw fairly consistently in them was writers ignoring contrary evidence to a position they clearly wanted to argue for, rather than engaging it.

Why is this important?

Because these are the sharper tools in the conservative shed; these are the adult tables at the conservative Thanksgiving dinners, these are whatever your metaphor of choice is for the smart, intelligent, articulate end of conservative media. And they get kinda crazy sometimes and aren’t shy about ignoring evidence that contradicts their comforting narratives. These people are, after all, in the business of attracting readers, not being bold truthtellers.

And this is the high watermark of the conversation. From there you get down to conservatives who lie — constantly — complaining that the media is lying to get Obama elected, that voter fraud is running rampant despite all evidence to the contrary, to attacking facts as objective things that can be checked or verified. And then, thankfully for the lolz, there’s always Fox News.

And a lot has already been written about this subject by writers more experienced and qualified to do so than myself. I’d suggest James Fallows at The Atlantic as a great starting point on the topic of conservatives totally losing their shit – legislatively, in the media, and intellectually – during the drive to go all-in against Obama. As someone who’s beat is the strategy and tactics of a modern election cycle, this concerns me for one primary reason (as an engaged citizen in a floundering democracy, I’ve got a fuckton of other reasons I’m concerned)…

Because it leads to bad tactics. I’ve been saying since this election started in January with the beginning of primary season, Republicans have made a strategic choice — it is more important to them to defeat Barack Obama than it is to win the White House. These two goals sound like they’re more or less the same thing, but there’s a great strategic difference between the two.

I said in my last column that this is a base election. Both candidates are charting a tactical course that is more about making their opposition so incredibly unacceptable to voters, because they — at bottom — have nothing worth actually running on themselves. They can’t convince you to vote for them, but they can convince you to vote against their opposition.

Since the beginning, Mitt Romney’s campaign has set out to tell you how bad this President has been, thus convincing voters to vote for him as the only alternative. He’s yet to offer detailed policies, but he has plenty of attack lines and corresponding attack ads. Alex Pareene — among others — offers an interesting theory of why, just maybe, this strategy has a lot to do with the perceived media bias against Romney, and he gets to swear so I always link to him rather than more staid commentators:

“But it’s true that the president is currently getting a lot less bad press for his campaigning than Romney. It’s because he’s better at campaigning than Romney. (Here’s Obama’s One Weird Tip for Getting a Pass: The president is, personally, nearly always respectful and fair to his opponent, even when his campaign is in slash-and-burn mode.)

The answer for Mitt Romney isn’t ‘be more substantive’ or ‘make it about real issues’ or ‘be more detailed’ or any of that shit. Romney’s totally correct to be as vague as possible about the specifics of his proposals. The answer is a lot simpler: Just bullshit the press better!

Here’s how Mitt Romney can earn himself much kinder media coverage: Talk like Jon Huntsman. If he wants the press to let up, all he needs to do (and he should have been doing this since the day he wrapped up the nomination) is sound ‘moderate’ in public and leave the nutty stuff to vaguely affiliated allies and targeted niche media.”

Or, to put it another way: bad news, conservative friends your candidate is losing because he is a bad candidate running a dismally bad campaign. Polls aren’t weighted against him, they’re using a variety of methodology and generally finding that the President is winning. The media isn’t out to get him, Romney just keeps making stupid mistakes. His campaign is so deeply in trouble that convention speakers used their time at the dais to pitch for themselves rather than for a Romney presidency.

Because their aim has never been for Mitt Romney to win the presidency. It’s been to deny another term to Barack Obama. This is why we’ve seen we’ve seen endless pieces about the so-called vetting of the President that routinely uncover nothing. This is why each potential scandal is suggested to have Watergate-proportions behind them, yet reveal nothing of the sort. This is why — in Pareene’s formulation — Mitt Romney fails to bullshit the press, because his greatest applause lines, that his audience is dying to hear, are about how the President is a filthy liar, or un-American, or a secret socialist. They’re not about how great President Romney is going to be for anyone who doesn’t define “great” as the guy who repeals 100% of Obamacare on day one.

And in that alternate reality, where all those horrible things are true, the good news, for Mitt Romney at least, is that he’s winning.

[Above: Courtesy of UnSkewed – Where they boil the liberal bias out of every poll]

Next week is the first Presidential debate, so I’ll be back after that with less dense reading and much more swearing.

Related Posts
Tactical Animal: On Politicking
Tactical Animal: Regarding The Pain Of Being Right…Or More Reasons Mitt Romney Will Never Be Your President
Tactical Animal: Have You Got Yourself The Belly For It?
Tactical Animal: Sorry Folks, Election’s Over, Donkey Out Front Shoulda Told Ya
Tactical Animal: Politics In The Post-Truth Era
Tactical Animal: Now We’ve Got Ourselves A Race

Sep 2012 26

Title: What The Hell Are You Eating??
Corny Title: Q: Why Did The Chicken Nugget Have Ears? A: Because It Was Made Of Corn!

by Lee Camp

Okay, I know it’s not polite to comment on someone’s diet, but you and I need to talk. …You’re eating too much corn. Really, you have to chill out on the corn. Breakfast, lunch, AND dinner? What are you nuts?! And I know what you’re thinking – “I don’t eat that much corn.” But you’ve forgotten about one thing – the fact that you’re wrong. Watch the video.


Lee Camp will be performing one night only in Denver, CO! If you haven’t heard of him, Camp is best known for going live on Fox News and calling them “a parade of propaganda and a festival of ignorance.” George Carlin’s daughter Kelly called him “One of the few keeping my dad’s torch lit.” SuicideGirls called him “Better than boobs!” and two weeks ago Rolling Stone said he “gets the crowd roaring!” He’s a contributor for The Onion and has been featured on most major TV networks. And now you’re thinking, “But I don’t have $20 to spend on a comedian.” Well, that’s good to hear – because the cost is a $5 recommended donation at the door.

It’s TONIGHT at 10pm at Deer Pile, located at 206 East 13th Ave. in Denver.