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Free advice for a multimillionaire, Part 2: Lies, damned lies, and surrogates

In our second edition of “Free Advice for a Multimillionaire“, we’re going to be looking at one of perennial challenges in political campaigns: how to lie with surrogates. Surrogates are one of those “must have” assets in the media landscape because they can say the things a campaign wants people to hear but doesn’t want to get caught saying. You know, things like lies. Because when campaign staff lies, people notice.

So it was not surprising to see a number of surrogates in the media this weekend attempting to quell the growing number of questions over Mitt Romney’s magical mystery “retroactive retirement” from Bain. Well, that plus some other stuff.

Now, on to Mitt’s free advice:
First, always remember that in politics the best defense is a good offense. And one of the best ways to go on the offense is to use some good ‘ol fashioned political jujitsu. You need to turn those attacks on all these issues into the issue. Now, there are good ways and bad ways to go about this. For instance, if you’re going to demand an apology for these outrageous attacks, you first need to explain why they’re outrageous. Otherwise you might just end up looking guilty, deceptive, and foolish.

So if your going to ask for an apology, you need to first lead with a counter-attack and only after it’s clear that the counter-attack will “stick” should you ask for an apology. Now, how do you craft an effect the counter-attack when even your own party thinks the charges against have substance? Well, one way is to attack the attack’s style. This is politics. Style trumps substance every time. And feel free to use a surrogate because you want it to seem like even impartial outside observers agree that the attack is a shot below the belt. But if you do take this approach, one thing you must absolutely avoid is using a surrogate that was a trailblazer in the dark arts of politics. They probably don’t make the best messenger boys in this instance:

Karl Rove: Obama Making A ‘Big Mistake’ By Suggesting Romney May Be A Felon
9:48 AM EDT, Sunday July 15, 2012
Reported by Sahil Kapur

Republican strategist Karl Rove on Fox News Sunday advised the Obama campaign to stop suggesting that Mitt Romney may be a felon over allegedly inaccurate statements he made on his SEC forms regarding Bain.

“The fact of the matter is that if the president continues to make this charge – this outrageous charge that his campaign had that Mitt Romney is guilty of felonious activity, could’ve committed a felony – that’s a big mistake,” Rove said. “Remember who’s up for grabs in this election: independent voters.

Rove, who runs the GOP super PAC American Crossroads, said independents were drawn to Obama’s promise to transcend politics as usual in 2008 and predicted the felony charge won’t work with them. “This is gutter politics of the worst Chicago sort,” he said.

Now, while surrogates like Karl may not be the best choice as the water carrier in this situation (they tend to poison the well first), that doesn’t mean they don’t have some good advice too. Independent voters don’t really like attack ads. Sure, voters are frequently persuaded by them, but they don’t like being reminded of that. So if you have to counter-attack, and it’s a baseless counter-attack, you might want to use a surrogate. Fortunately, in our post-Citizens United world, that’s easier than ever.

Keep in mind, though, if the original attack on you has enough substance the “gutter-politics” counter-attack may not have the required “sting” to throw your opponent off. But don’t fret. There are still options. For instance, you could always try the Jedi mind trick (i.e. “These aren’t the droids political issues you’re looking for”). For that, first you need a Jedi. And if no Jedis are available (they tend to avoid the Dark Side), any ol’ Sith Lord will probably do. So pick your surrogate Sith, pick your trick, and start distracting:

Ryan: Romney’s Assets In A ‘Blind Trust For Pete’s Sake’
3:25 PM EDT, Sunday July 15, 2012
Reported by Pema Levy

Romney surrogate and VP contender Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said on Sunday that the Obama campaign using Bain Capital and the issue of Romney’s taxes to distract the country from the issues people really care about.

“People are not worried about the details as to when Mitt Romney left Bain Capital to save the Olympics or the details about his assets, which are managed by a blind trust for Pete’s sake,” Ryan said on “Face the Nation.” “They’re worried about their jobs and their family’s future.”

See how simple that was? Voters aren’t concerned about Mitt’s history as outsourcer-in-chief. They concerned about American jobs. Brilliant! Who cares about the history of Mitt anymore? Now they just care about his planned policies!

But if you now have voters fretting about their own futures instead of your own past, doesn’t that mean you need to have plans that won’t destroy the future? NO. Can you really talk about all those plans in public? YES. And how is that possible? Because the crazier your plans sound, the more they’ll like you. And you, Mittens, have some craaazy plans. Here’s why: the kind of planned deviousness that the modern day GOP calls “public policy” is incomprehensibly bad. It’s so incomprehensibly bad that people just assume your emoting your deep internal resolve to get the budget under control. It’s meta-politics at work: The more you say you’ll destroy their futures, the less they’ll believe you and the more they’ll like you. Voters can be weird like that:

Nobody Takes Conservative Wingnuttery at Face Value

-By Kevin Drum
| Fri Jul. 6, 2012 10:05 AM PDT

Jon Chait calls our attention to Robert Draper’s piece in the New York Times Magazine this week about Priorities USA Action, a Democratic super PAC run by Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney. Here’s a lovely little excerpt:

Burton and his colleagues spent the early months of 2012 trying out the pitch that Romney was the most far-right presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. It fell flat. The public did not view Romney as an extremist. For example, when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan – and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” – while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.

So there you have it. Voters simply refused to believe that the bare facts about the Ryan plan could possibly be true. Chait is cautious about what this means: “I wouldn’t overread this and assume that the Republicans have found the ultimate wormhole, advocating policies so outlandishly unpopular that opponents can’t persuade voters they’re real.”

I agree. Sort of. But I do think that it points to something real: Over the past couple of decades, Republican leaders have become such stone ideologues, and have made outrageous proposals such a standard part of their stump speeches, that a lot of voters just don’t take them seriously anymore. They view these things less as actual plans than as statements meant to show group affiliation. As the bar gets raised year after year, Republicans have to say ever more outrageous things to demonstrate that they’re real conservatives, but it’s still just blather. They don’t actually intend to do any of this stuff if they get elected.

Independents might discover – too late – that they’re wrong about this. But I suspect that’s how they treat a lot of this stuff: as mere rote catechisms, professions of faith not meant to be taken literally.

As you can see, oligarch power-brokers aren’t the only group out there that gets to say “we create our own reality” anymore. Independent Reality-Denialsts Unite! It’s a brave new world, Mittens, and you’re running to run it. So you had better understand it.

But don’t you worry. While you may have some new competition on reality-creating front, you still have some of the greatest myth-maestros in the planet working for you and that stuff still works. Just makes sure to use a surrogate:

Medicare Scare Ad Makes False Claim of $500 Bln Cut to Seniors
Heidi Przybyla, ©2012 Bloomberg News
Published 02:18 p.m., Friday, June 29, 2012

June 28 (Bloomberg) — Florida seniors will be living a “nightmare” because Senator Bill Nelson voted for $500 billion in Medicare cuts, the anonymous voice warns in the most-aired ad in his re-election race — a message repeated in similar spots targeting other Democrats across the country.

It’s also wrong, according to a Republican health-care expert and independent analysts.

“There are no reductions in the Medicare benefits promised in law,” said Gail Wilensky, who served as administrator of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare under President George H.W. Bush and is a senior fellow at Project Hope, a health-research organization in Virginia.

The nonpartisan Concord Coalition, a budget research group, says the ads assume insurers will cut Medicare benefits to comply with President Barack Obama’s 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which scales back payments to Medicare Advantage plans, an alternative to traditional Medicare.

The law, its constitutionality to be determined today by the U.S. Supreme Court, also slows the growth of Medicare payments to hospitals and other health providers. Seniors’ benefits weren’t reduced in the legislation.

That hasn’t deterred Republican-aligned groups such as Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from the benefit-cut assertion in campaign television commercials targeting the law that have outnumbered positive ads by a 3-to-1 ratio since measure took effect, according to data provided by Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks campaign advertising.

Voucher Plan

What’s more, Republicans assume the same savings in their own budget blueprint crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican. The plan would convert Medicare to a voucher plan, a proposal that’s drawn scorn from seniors’ groups including the AARP because it would end Medicare as a defined-benefit program. While the current law plows its projected savings back into subsidies to help low-income individuals buy insurance, the Ryan plan counts the money toward debt reduction.

“Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies”. Heh, don’t you just love pro-oligarch political groups with the word “Grassroots” in the name. That’s the Rovian-touch we’ve all come to know and love. Well done Karl. You never disappoint.

Feeling better yet Mittens? You’ll be out of your son’s basement that cramped space and into a nice big Oval Office in no time.

One last bit of advice:
There’s still the issue of what you’re are going to do if the independent voters actually vote vou into office and we end up with the Ryan plan. At some point those independents are going to get a serious illness – let’s say a brain tumor. Standing there with a voucher in their hands and tumor in their head is going to make the awfulness of your policies a rather undeniable reality. That could be a problem in 2016. So if THAT ever happens, call Frank.


19 comments for “Free advice for a multimillionaire, Part 2: Lies, damned lies, and surrogates”

  1. Accepting tens of millions of dollars from a shady casino-magnet with ties to a notorious underworld crime syndicate. An offshore notorious underworld crime syndicate, no less: What could possibly go wrong?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 16, 2012, 10:15 pm
  2. The far-right’s WMD of choice: retroactively retiring the Enlightenment:

    GOP Stonewalls Climate Hearing Amid Extreme Weather

    Sahil Kapur July 17, 2012, 5:38 AM

    House Republicans are blocking Democrats’ push for a hearing on the extreme weather that has ravaged the nation, from record heatwaves to severe storms.

    A new report by the National Climatic Data Center determined that the odds of this year’s extreme weather being a fluke – as opposed to the consequence of manmade carbon dioxide emissions – are extremely low.

    “Willful ignorance of the science is irresponsible and it is dangerous,” the Democrats wrote.

    Late Monday, Karen Lightfoot, a spokesperson for Democrats on the committee, told TPM that Republicans “have not yet responded to our letter.”

    A committee spokesperson for Energy & Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) told TPM that Republicans had already addressed the issue in a March 2011 hearing.

    “The committee held a hearing last year to examine related issues including extreme weather events, patterns of warming, and the attribution of climate change to human activity,” the aide said. “With 41 consecutive months of higher than 8 percent unemployment, the committee’s focus continues to be on jobs and promoting commonsense solutions that protect both the environment and the economy.”

    Translation: “Calm down. We already addressed this year’s unprecendented freak weather last year”.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 17, 2012, 8:10 am
  3. Here’s some more free advice for Mittens: Retroactively retire this response.

    Here’s another tip: Someone that built a company that buys, guts, and sells other companies, probably doesn’t want to “go there“.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 17, 2012, 10:27 am
  4. Re GW’s new book mentioned in that article – The 4% Solution; Bush reportedly liked torturing small animals as a child and many researchers are settling on one in twenty-five as the number of sociopaths extant in the population, so it’s an apt choice of title.

    Mitt reminds us that economics is so, so complicated. I naively thought offshore accounts were vehicles to avoid scrutiny and taxes. Now he explains that they are a way of increasing investment in America. It took me a while to see that (I had to take lots of drugs). Now I’m entertaining the concept that Bain Capital created jobs! It’s good to be open minded, I guess, but I’m fast running out of drugs.

    Posted by Dwight | July 18, 2012, 2:20 am
  5. And here we go again:
    Ok Mittens, you got problems and you need solutions. This tax-return issue is not threatening to turn your offshore accounts and $100 million IRA into a national rorschach test, and that’s the last thing your need when introducing yourself to the American public. I know, isn’t it crazy how everyone doesn’t already know how awesome you are? I mean, you’re damn near an Olympian! No one ever said the lifestyles of the rich and famous was an easy one. *Sigh*

    Now, about those tax returns. You clearly get the basics: you have to say something about the issue. But you can’t just say anything. In particular, you can’t say that you won’t say anything. That’s not going to help with the rorschach test:

    Romney Steadfast in the Face of Growing Calls to Release More Tax Returns

    Published: July 18, 2012

    Mitt Romney has said it every way he can: he is not releasing any more of his tax returns.

    Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, is facing millions of dollars in searing ads from President Obama and a rising chorus from puzzled Republicans, urging him to reveal more of his financial history.

    But with each answer he gives, Mr. Romney seems more determined than ever that voters will not see any of his tax history before 2010.

    “In the political environment that exists today, the opposition research of the Obama campaign is looking for anything they can use to distract from the failure of the president to reignite our economy,” Mr. Romney told National Review on Tuesday, explaining his opposition to a broader release of his tax data. “And I’m simply not enthusiastic about giving them hundreds or thousands of more pages to pick through, distort and lie about.”

    That followed an equally emphatic statement on Friday, when Mr. Romney brushed aside calls for him to make public more than the 2010 returns he has released and the 2011 documents that he has said are coming soon.

    Those are the two years people are going to have, and that’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances,” Mr. Romney said in an interview on CNN.

    The definitive nature of Mr. Romney’s statements appears to have all but shut down any public contemplation from his close advisers of whether he might reconsider. Kevin Madden, a senior adviser to Mr. Romney, declined to talk about internal discussions on the issue, but made clear who was in charge.

    “I would point you to the governor’s statements,” Mr. Madden said. “That guides the campaign’s position.”

    Another senior adviser to the campaign said on Wednesday that he had “heard of no division in the inner circle on this.”

    Ok, yeah, no, this isn’t going to work. Sorry Mittens, but at this point your tax-return problem goes far beyond the 1999-2002 period and far beyond Bain. You see, your latest counter-attack – the “Obama hates successful people” counter-attack – is kind of a giant mistake:

    Romney Doubles Down On ‘You Didn’t Build That’ – Then Affirms Obama’s Point

    Benjy Sarlin July 18, 2012, 4:24 PM

    Mitt Romney continued his attack on President Obama for recent remarks suggesting public investments help build businesses Wednesday, then all but admitted he agreed with Obama’s underlying point.

    Romney, speaking in Ohio, said Obama’s speech last week “reveals what he thinks about our country, about our people, about free enterprise, about freedom, about individual initiative.”

    “I just want to say it exactly as he said it,” Romney said. “Speaking about small business and businesses of all kind, he said this: ‘If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.’”

    Romney conveniently ignored the sentences immediately before and after Obama’s quote, which made clear the president’s line referred to building public infrastructure like roads, bridges and the Internet that businesses utilize to their benefit. But Romney didn’t stop there: As he tried to twist the knife on Obama, he essentially made the president’s argument for him.

    After exhorting business owners to stand up and be recognized, Romney said:

    I know that you recognize a lot of people help you in a business. Perhaps the banks, the investors. There’s no question your mom and dad, your school teachers, the people that provide roads, the fire, the police. A lot of people help. But let me ask you this, did you build your business? If you did, raise your hand. Take that, Mr. President.

    Here’s how Obama described the relationship between “the people that provide roads, the fire, the police” and business owners in that speech Romney cited:

    Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

    The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

    In short, Romney: Yes, “a lot of people” help business owners, among them government, but in the end, “you build your business.” Obama: “We succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

    Ok, Mittens, are you trying to throw this? Not only can you turned into a lying liar in under 30 s with crap like this (the ads write themselves), but being a blatant huckster is the last thing you want to do right now. Especially with the “Obama hates successful people” con. Things might seem bad now but they could get a lot worse with stunts like that. People are mostly only focuses on your shenanigans in 1999-2002. You’ve only released 2010-2011. People might start asking for that whole 2003-2009 period. You know, when the financial system grew into a giant green greed monster and tore the global economy apart. And then got bailed out. It was an ‘interesting’ period.

    And while you might have some sort of “I was the governor, it was a blind trust” excuse in terms of what happened with your taxes during most of that period (and who knows what trouble you got yourself in…$100 million? Serously?), there’s still the fact that the giant green greed monster tapped you to be its avatar in the 2012 contest. Yes, the amount that Obama has allowed Wall Street to get away with has disappointed just about everyone except your own base, but that’s not actually good news for you. That’s because your base is Wall Street and the Teavanelicals and only Wall Street really likes you. And a lot of the Teavangelicals hate Wall Street nearly as much as they hate Obama.

    So when you bring up Obama’s apparent attack on “success” as a campaign issue, but do it using blatant con, that’s awfully close to an what Wall Street just did to the nation: lie shamelessly and pretty much continuously. You really don’t want to make your first impression as the sleazy Wall Street guy on all those undecided voters out there that haven’t barely paid any attention so far. Obama merely has to point to recently “successful” folks like John Paulson and Lloyd Blankfein to make it clear what kind against “successful people” the rest of us are upset with right now. Untouchable financial scam artists and oligarchs. Job destroyers. And you’re the job destroyers’ avatar in this contest. You needed a distraction, yes, but “watch me lie” isn’t the kind of distraction you’re looking for. Remember…surrogates.

    One final note regarding your upcoming choice for VP: Come on, you know you want it. Now THAT’S a distraction!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 19, 2012, 7:05 am
  6. @Dwight:
    You might want to talk to Mitt about your drug problem. He knows some people that can “help“.

    This advice, of course, only applies after you’ve killed your stash. Until then, keep on keepin’ on!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 19, 2012, 7:35 pm
  7. Ha! So it turns out that Chris Christie was sort of channeling Machiavelli in his GOP convention speech:

    Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Ann Romney: Only One of Them Remembers Mitt at the GOP Convention

    John Gallagher
    Aug 29, 2012

    By contrast, Chris Christie, the husky governor of New Jersey, offered a broader vision for the party–broader not just because of his girth but because he seemed to have been pitching himself as the party’s future. Christie is a Tea Party favorite for his bluntness, and Tuesday night he used the bully pulpit of the keynote address to position himself as, well, a bully. “The greatest lesson Mom ever taught me, though, was this one: she told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected,” Christie told the delegates. “She said to always pick being respected, that love without respect was always fleeting — but that respect could grow into real, lasting love. Now, of course, she was talking about women.”

    In other words, better to be Tony Soprano than Jesus Christ.

    “…better to be Tony Soprano than Jesus Christ…” LOL! Yep, that sounds like Christie. And at least he was just channeling Machiavelli.

    It could have been worse. He could have channeled Joseph Goebbels. Even worse, he could have channeled Goebbels incompetently (I’m looking at you Paul). You know you screwed up your attempt at the Big Lie when the primary thing the press talks about after your big speech is how many big lies it contained(even when it was unintentional criticism). While Paul’s biggie-sized lies may seem like a source of concern for your big speech tonight, Mittens, don’t worry. This whole convention is about one man: Mitt Romney Ronald Reagan. And that leaves you with one task: convince the country that you’re “Reaganesque”. And YOU, Mittens, are an extremely Reaganesque fellow. So does that mean you’re likable? Nope. How about sincere? Not even remotely. But still Reaganesque? Oh yes. So don’t worry, Mittens, you got this one. No Big Lies required.

    Ok, I may have been kind of lying at the end there. You still might want to use some Big Lies. Just keep in mind, the bigger the better but don’t assume that any ol’ Big Lie will do. You want your lie to be “out of this world” big, but not TOO “out of this world” big. Remember Mittens, lie, lie big, but lie wisely.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 30, 2012, 1:34 pm
  8. When the elites’ asshole ids emerge it ain’t pretty. Here’s a bit of advice for the Cameron government: When you’re running a government that’s waging a war on the poor, don’t use the phrases “Best you learn your fucking place,” “You don’t run this fucking government”, or “You’re fucking plebs”. And you definetly don’t want to use those phase all at once. It totally pisses the plebs.

    Now that Mittens’s nightmare of a campaign continues to reveal itself to be a serial surreal gaffe-machine, it’s a little surprising that the Romney campaign hasn’t somehow used a surrogate to push the above “plebs” story as part of a “hey, at least we didn’t do that“-defense. But it’s really only a little surprising…for a lot of reasons.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 24, 2012, 10:18 pm
  9. Mittens, just a few quick thoughts: First off, great job, that was one hell of a job. Seriously, you’ve totally changed the momentum of the race overnight and that was exactly what you and the GOP needed to do. You’ve gone from Mitt the Loser to Mitt the Smoother in under 2 hours and that was a big friggin’ deal. It’s especially important that you were smooth because OMG did you blatantly lie a lot. That was master performance of “hiding the needle in the needlestack”. Because your were Mitt Smoothmey it’ll all gonna be good. Don’t listen to those naysayers:

    My Quick Read
    Josh Marshall October 3, 2012, 11:31 PM

    Two things happened in this debate. Romney had the energy and focus, a long series of arguments packed and tight to dish out in the debate. He didn’t get distracted. He had a game plan he stuck to. What struck me a lot of times through the debate was that Obama seemed pained. He didn’t seem happy. And people like seeing happy people.

    President Obama almost seemed like he came to have a discussion. But debates like these aren’t discussions. You come in knowing what you’re going to say. And you find ways to say it. That’s what Romney did.

    Romney’s focus though came at the cost of a few key things.

    He basically tossed aside his own tax plan or said he would if his numbers didn’t add up. But then he insisted that he could find enough loopholes to close to afford a $5 trillion tax cut for upper income earners. These are more numbers on the table. That’s really what most of the debate was about — budget numbers. Romney insisted with a straight face that up was down.

    The numbers simply don’t add up. Over a few news cycles that can build up really fast. He says he’ll push massive upper income tax cuts and those have to come at the cost of much higher deficits or big tax hikes for middle income people. His campaign agenda is based on a massive deception.

    That’s the vulnerability Romney brings out of this debate. And it may be bigger than people realize.

    Don’t listen to any of that Mittens. You lied big repeatedlyexactly how you’re supposed to do it.

    Mitt ‘Trust Me‘ Romney. Nice. It’s Rove 101 but that’s still potent stuff.

    The Force is strong with this one.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 3, 2012, 11:09 pm
  10. Remember: It’s not “flip-floppingwhen you have MPD.

    This public service announcement was brought to you by “Brainwashing Victims for Prosperity“.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 11, 2012, 1:29 pm
  11. Mittens, you’re probably super busy right now filling your head with “facts” in preparation for the big debate tomorrow night and you don’t have anymore space left in that head of yours for any more extraneous info. But here’s one last bit of info worth cramming in there: It’s not just about having all the zingers and “facts” at your disposal. Sometimes it’s what you don’t say that matters the most. Because there are certain “aha” moments you really don’t want the audience to have, even if only by accident.

    What are some high priority aha’s to avoid? Well, first off, you don’t want to remind voters that your national tax is now shockingly close to your personal tax plan. That whole “offshore tax haven” thing didn’t exactly go over well. And it’s not exactly resolved. Plus, there’s the Bain “offshore” connection. So, unfortunately, you really just want to avoid talking about taxes altogether. It reminds people too much of, well, you, at this point in the campaign and that’s really not helpful. Mittens, you are unfortunately a walking metaphor for the elite mismanagement of our era.

    Grifter oligarch movements can’t convince the public that we all can’t afford things like an education or retirement if it’s constantly reminded of all the grifting. You can’t run a grifter-economy without mass grifting and really confused voters. Grifter economies don’t run themselves. So please Mittens, just go out there say what you have to say, but do NOT, under any circumstances, remind anyone that this is “Mitt Romney” talking to them. We really need this Mitt-mentum to keep going.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 15, 2012, 8:05 am
  12. Remember Mittens: You aren’t the “Etch-a-sketch” candidate. You are a brilliant battlefield tactician and master of illusions. “Steady…hold…hold…hold… lie!“:

    Analysts: Romney bolstered by right-wing ‘leaners’
    By Tom Cohen, CNN
    updated 5:27 AM EDT, Tue October 16, 2012

    Washington (CNN) — Maybe Mitt Romney’s campaign team isn’t so bad after all.

    After months of criticism, much of it from fellow Republicans, the machine managing Romney’s presidential bid has him gaining support in the final weeks of the race.

    Rich Galen, a conservative commentator who worked in the past for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, said the rise in Romney’s favorability numbers was due partly to support from right-leaning voters who don’t like Obama but weren’t yet sold on the Republican until the first debate.

    To Galen, one reason for the turnaround was a patient strategy by the Romney campaign that waited until the home stretch to unveil a long expected shift toward the middle by the candidate who described himself as “severely conservative” during the primaries to try to appeal to the right-wing base.

    “They hold their fire, hold their fire, hold their fire, and then they sprint to the finish,” Galen said, referring to what he called a “change in what he’s saying and how he’s saying it.”

    The shift “tells me that they had planned for a late-game surge,” he said.

    Other factors point to such a tactic. For example, Romney could have used the Republican National Convention, when he and the party were the focus of the national political debate, to move toward the middle.

    Instead, he waited until the first debate, when he also had the full force of campaign funding available after being limited to primary contributions only until after he formally accepted the nomination at the Tampa convention in late August.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 16, 2012, 7:52 am
  13. Hey there Mitty Mitt? Big Guy. Pal. Why the long face? Oh, that’s right.

    Well, Mittens, cheer up. You didn’t win the “Wait Like William Wallace Award” for last night’s debate (that one goes to the president) but you were still the best Mittens you could be. So buck up. There’s still hope for President Mittens in 2012. And if things don’t work out this year look at it this way: The nation isn’t ready for an Etch-a-sketch president. But it will be. Someday. Romney/Cthulhu 2050! (BTW, you might need to call Madonna)

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 17, 2012, 11:41 am
  14. One last thing bit of advice before the big debate tonight: Mittens, it’s clear now that you need some help with the ladies. Your wingman just isn’t helping in that department. And it’s not just Paul’s “tough love” approach to the ladies that’s turning them off. It’s a general trust issue. You need to convince the female voters – especially the overworked, hyper-stressed single mom – that you will be there for them. You need to show that you care for them Mittens. You need to be that big glove of love and security that they’re missing in their lives and you need to do that tonight Mittens.

    Now, how are you going to emote the required level of caring during a foreign policy debate? After all, many of the issues the single mom is going to be most immediately concerned about are issues like a lack a health insurance, college unaffordability, and yes, creating jobs, you’re signature “thing”. Unfortunately, these single moms want a president that creates good jobs with things like health insurance, and most of them could never afford a college education to get those “good” jobs that have become a thing of the past. You’re going to have to find a way to explain to those blue collar single mom – women burdened with raising kids on their own but lack a college education and any meaningful long-term career prospects – how you’re going to create an economy and society that provides those moms and their kids with a decent future. You’ll also need to give them some sense of long-term security in an increasingly “flat” world where these single moms are going to be competing directly with underpaid foreign manual laborers robots capable of superhuman feats. So, basically, you’re going to have to explain to the single moms how you’re going to create for them a real chance at a dignified life.

    Well Mittens, you may feel like you’re in a bind when it comes to connecting to women but it’s easier than you might think! Look, just ask yourself, “what is it that women want?” Don’t actually answer that question (that might not end well). Single moms don’t wants a man that comes into their lives and just say “change this, improve that, work harder and why can’t you pull yourself up from your own bootstraps”. No, they want a man that will love them just the way they are. That’s dignity, Mittens. And you, Mittens, do love all the underpaid, overworked, and generally freaked out single moms just the way they are. The single mom without health insurance or any retirement fund isn’t a problem society needs to face together. She’s the model for you’re vision of tomorrow. She’s … Ms. Mittmerica and she doesn’t need to change a thing. It’s the rest of the country that needs to become more like her and under of Mittens administration, it will.

    Just follow this advice, Mittens, and you’ll have the ladies lining up to vote for you on election day! And don’t panic if you strike out tonight. There are other ways we can create those lines…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 22, 2012, 9:09 am
  15. Well hey there Mr. President. Mr. President Mittens. No, this isn’t one of your confused Senor moments senior moments. You are totally going to be president. Why? Well, you lost the debate, yet still won. Your son bought a major electronic voting machine company and no one cares. Your own campaign staffer actually told the world that you’re going to “Etch-a-sketch” the campaign, which you then proceeded to do repeatedly with gusto, and NO ONE CARES. Nothing you do matters Mittens. You’re golden. Dude. Mittens. You are so totally the next preznit! Preznit Mittens! You’re going to be the coolest president ever!

    Now, if you really want to steal the deal seal the deal you need to start walking the talk. That’s right. Don’t spend these last two weeks campaigning. That’s what potential losers do. It’s time for a victory tour. An anti-apology tour that can show the world what a Mittens administration would look like. And it’s not just a victory for you. It’s a victory for your entire base. Yes, it’s time for “Mitt’s ‘Job Creators’ No Apologies Victory Tour”. And don’t worry about the logistics of organizing this on such short notice. Your job-creating friends are already on the case. No truth. No justice. No accountability. No apologies. Pure leadership:

    How to Crash an Economy and Escape the Scene
    By William D. Cohan Oct 21, 2012 8:31 PM CT

    Is it time to put the Great Recession behind us?

    Not in terms of the economy — which remains bogged down with high unemployment, low growth and other aftershocks — but rather when it comes to demanding a rigorous effort to hold Wall Street bankers, traders and executives accountable for their role in causing the financial crisis.

    Should we just chalk it up to such simplified explanations as “animal spirits ran amok” and “these things happen occasionally”? Or should we continue to expend scarce political and law-enforcement resources trying to get to the bottom of what happened, and why, with a goal of holding the right people legally and financially accountable?

    It’s a conundrum, especially since many Americans have lost enthusiasm for the fight. But the path we ultimately take will reveal to us and the world much about who we are as a people and what ethics, values and morality we stand for. It will also have serious lasting implications if we hope to avoid a rerun of what happened over the last five years.

    At the moment, the message we are broadcasting far and wide is: There will be no justice; there will be no accountability; let’s return to the status quo as quickly as possible.
    Moving On

    There are, not surprisingly, powerful and articulate voices in favor of moving on. In his book “Unintended Consequences,” Edward Conard, a former Bain Capital partner of Mitt Romney (who is willing to say the things Romney wouldn’t dare and has given $1 million to a political action committee that supports the Romney campaign), argues forcefully that occasional market collapses such as 1929 and 2008 are a small price to pay for a system of capital allocation that has produced vast sums of wealth, extraordinary technical and financial innovation, and an incentive system that rewards people handsomely for taking risks.

    For better or for worse, Conard writes, this is the country that produced Apple Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc. (GOOG) and Facebook Inc. (FB), among the most admired corporations in the world. Conard believes the sooner we get back to untethering Wall Street’s animal instincts the better. That means modest regulation, at best, and an end to any efforts at meting out justice for those personally responsible for the financial crisis because, hey, stuff happens.

    Likewise, in a recent speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, Jamie Dimon, the chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), returned to many of his favorite themes. One was how little he cares for much of what is in the Dodd-Frank law and the proposed Volcker Rule which limits banks’ ability to trade for their own account. He reiterated his belief that the right kind of financial regulation is necessary, in the vein of laws preventing drunk driving. But, like Conard, Dimon said the new regulatory environment is holding back economic growth.

    He said he had discussed the topic with business owners and executives around the country: “They all say it’s terrible. So it’s not just banks. We’ve done it to ourselves, folks. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot and we’re doing it every day. Get rid of that wet blanket and this thing will take off.”

    Even Lloyd Blankfein, the chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), has started to make noise again after a few years of laying low. As part of what the press has nicknamed his No Apologies Tour, which has taken Blankfein to forums and media outlets across the country, he has also called for jettisoning the wet blanket. “Getting rid of some regulations and rules that are impairing people from investing vast pools of liquidity that are on the sideline, that are not owned by the government, that are theirs to invest but are just sitting on the sideline” will help get the economy humming again, he told CNBC.

    Saddle up, Mittens. There’s work to be done.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 23, 2012, 1:04 pm
  16. Batten down the hatches, Mittens! The storm is almost upon you! No, it’s not THAT ol’ wind bag. Or that one. It’s the “Mitt’s a lying liar” pressure building up that you have to worry about because all your hot air has caused that dangerous political weather system to pick up strength. Again. And to make matters worse, there’s an old coldhearted front that’s finally hitting that hot air pocket and threatening to turn the whole thing into a full blown shit storm!

    As always, Mittens, stay calm. Like any storm, the most important thing to do is find shelter, lay low, and prepare yourself to deal with the aftermath. First off, just don’t do anything that reminds the public that you’re a serial liar. That doesn’t mean you stop lying. Quite the opposite. But you have to be sure to avoid saying anything that reminds the people of the fact that you’re constantly lying to them. In other words, you need another distraction. And boy oh boy do you have a distraction. Just last week you managed to snag a critical endorsement that could be the perfect prop for not only deflecting those pesky reminders that you thought privatizing FEMA was a good idea but also displaying to the nation why a President Mittens is exactly who we want in the White House. Acclaimed director Joss Whedon filmed a powerful endorsement of a Mittens Presidency and based it on a topic that really cuts the heart of why people support you and your party: our society’s deep desire to live through a zombie apocalypse. It’s like the rapture where EVERYONE gets left behind. What fun! And you, Mittens, are just the guy to provide it.

    Now, Whedon’s endorsement merely recounts how your “government is the problem, let’s trust the mega-corporations” approach to governing and general nihilism is the type of ideology that destroys infrastructure, shreds the fabric of society, and leaves a country completely unprepared to deal with mass catastrophe. In other words, A Romney administration will give the people just what they want, sans zombie. Maybe they don’t want this apocalyptic fate consciously, but deep down don’t we all want to be a little smarter and tougher? Sure we do, and embracing a zombie apocalypse is exactly the way to do it. You know it, Joss knows it, and now it’s your job to make sure the rest of the country knows that the zombie apocalypse is what they want too and thhat Mittens is the man to guideshamble them to that dark, decaying city on the hill. You already have the zombie vote. Now is the time to snatch that pro-zombie. You have the apocalyptic hell-scape policies and the only thing missing is the actual zombies.

    So how are you going to convince that public that you are the man to usher in an era when the dead rise again? Simple, you just need to clearly explain how it is that your policies will provide the public not just with the death, decay, anarchy, and general excitement of real zombies. And not just regular zombies. No, Mitt, you’re going to deliver SUPER-SIZED zombies! They’ll be running to the polls to vote for you! And the best part is that you don’t even need to lie! (Note, if telling the truth might feel a little weird and unnatural at first here’s a trick: just pretend your lying). So here’s how you do just that in three easy steps:

    1. First, and this is the easy one, just reiterate your health care plans. Make it clear that a large number of voters simply won’t have access to the kind of health care required to addressed long-term chronic diseases in the future after you voucherize medicare. This is an important part of creating the zombie apocalypse so don’t hold back.

    2. Next, you need to explain where the zombies are going to come from in the first place. Well, it just so happens that recent studies have come out highlighting the growing understanding of the underlying link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s. And what do we have lots of in this country? That’s right, diabetes. And what does Alzheimer’s do to the brain? It rots it! And what does that leave us? Super-sized diabetic zombies! At least there should be super-sized zombie in the future…as long as it’s a future without healthcare for things like diabetes. It’s all coming together Mittens:

    NY Times

    Mark Bittman September 25, 2012, 9:52 pm
    Is Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes?

    Just in case you need another reason to cut back on junk food, it now turns out that Alzheimer’s could well be a form of diet-induced diabetes. That’s the bad news. The good news is that laying off soda, doughnuts, processed meats and fries could allow you to keep your mind intact until your body fails you.

    We used to think there were two types of diabetes: the type you’re born with (Type 1) and the type you “get.” That’s called Type 2, and was called “adult onset” until it started ravaging kids. Type 2 is brought about by a combination of factors, including overeating, American-style.

    The idea that Alzheimer’s might be Type 3 diabetes has been around since 2005, but the connection between poor diet and Alzheimer’s is becoming more convincing, as summarized in a cover story in New Scientist entitled “Food for Thought: What You Eat May Be Killing Your Brain.” (The graphic — a chocolate brain with a huge piece missing — is creepy. But for the record: chocolate is not the enemy.)

    The studies [1] are increasingly persuasive, and unsurprising when you understand the role of insulin in the body. So, a brief lesson.

    We all need insulin: in non-diabetics, it’s released to help cells take in the blood sugar (glucose) they need for energy. But the cells can hold only so much; excess sugar is first stored as glycogen, and — when there’s enough of that — as fat. (Blood sugar doesn’t come only from sugar, but from carbohydrates of all kinds; easily digested carbohydrates flood the bloodstream with sugar.) Insulin not only keeps the blood vessels that supply the brain healthy, it also encourages the brain’s neurons to absorb glucose, and allows those neurons to change and become stronger. Low insulin levels in the brain mean reduced brain function.

    Diabetes causes complications too numerous to mention, but they include heart disease, which remains our No. 1 killer. And when the cells in your brain become insulin-resistant, you start to lose memory and become disoriented. You even might lose aspects of your personality.

    In short, it appears, you develop Alzheimer’s.

    A neuropathologist named Alois Alzheimer noticed, over a century ago, that an odd form of protein was taking the place of normal brain cells. How those beta amyloid plaques (as they’re called) get there has been a mystery. What’s becoming clear, however, is that a lack of insulin — or insulin resistance — not only impairs cognition but seems to be implicated in the formation of those plaques.

    Suzanne de la Monte, a neuropathologist at Brown University, has been working on these phenomena in humans and rats. When she blocked the path of insulin to rats’ brains, their neurons deteriorated, they became physically disoriented and their brains showed all the signs of Alzheimer’s. The fact that Alzheimer’s can be associated with low levels of insulin in the brain is the reason why increasing numbers of researchers have taken to calling it Type 3 diabetes, or diabetes of the brain.[2]

    Let’s connect the dots: We know that the American diet is a fast track not only to obesity but to Type 2 diabetes and other preventable, non-communicable diseases, which now account for more deaths worldwide than all other causes combined.

    We also already know that people with diabetes are at least twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s, and that obesity alone increases the risk of impaired brain function.

    What’s new is the thought that while diabetes doesn’t “cause” Alzheimer’s, they have the same root: an over consumption of those “foods” that mess with insulin’s many roles. (Genetics have an effect on susceptibility, as they appear to with all environmental diseases.) “Sugar is clearly implicated,” says Dr. de la Monte, “but there could be other factors as well, including nitrates in food.”

    If the rate of Alzheimer’s rises in lockstep with Type 2 diabetes, which has nearly tripled in the United States in the last 40 years, we will shortly see a devastatingly high percentage of our population with not only failing bodies but brains. Even for the lucky ones this is terrible news, because 5.4 million Americans (nearly 2 percent, for those keeping score at home) have the disease, the care for which — along with other dementias — will cost around $200 billion this year.

    Gee. That’s more than the $150 billion we’ve been saying we spend annually on obesity-related illnesses. So the financial cost of the obesity pandemic just more than doubled. More than 115 million new cases of Alzheimer’s are projected around the world in the next 40 years, and the cost is expected to rise to more than a trillion of today’s dollars. (Why bother to count? $350 billion is bad enough.)

    Make those last points clearly Mittens: “If the rate of Alzheimer’s rises in lockstep with Type 2 diabetes, which has nearly tripled in the United States in the last 40 years, we will shortly see a devastatingly high percentage of our population with not only failing bodies but brains. Even for the lucky ones this is terrible news, because 5.4 million Americans (nearly 2 percent, for those keeping score at home) have the disease, the care for which — along with other dementias — will cost around $200 billion this year“. Voters need to understand that we can’t have the zombie apocalypse if we have a quality healthcare system and under a Mittens Administration we will not have a quality healthcare system. It won’t be fiscally possible Just keep making that point.

    3. Finally, in order to convince the public that are you, indeed, serious about the long-term commitments required to ensure a zombie apocalypse, remind voters of the GOP’s championing of the right of school kids to stuff themselves with as many calories as they can shove down their gullets for lunch. Childhood obesity isn’t just a looming massive healthcare problem for the adults of tomorrow. It’s our surest source of future zombies. If you want zombies tomorrow you need to overfeed you kids today. That’s just common sense.

    Also, don’t ever mention this.

    And that’s it! That’s all you need to do to win the pro-zombie vote, and between the pro-zombie vote and the currently-a-zombie vote you should be a guaranteed winner on election day. You don’t represent the party of “Let him die“. You represent the party of “Let him die so that he may rise again and chase us around and make life exciting”. It’s the party of “Romnesia for the rest of us!” and that’s a winning argument Mittens.

    One final bit of Halloween advice: There’s inevitably going to be a tiny segment of voters out there that DON’T embrace a zombie apocalypse. Granted, they’re probably those wuss 47-percenters that don’t appreciate your rugged independence and won’t vote for you anyways, but it’s still worth at least a lie or two to try and snag some more votes. So, for those people that aren’t keen on getting chased by an obese zombie some time in the next few decades you can also point out that you, Mittens, have been blazing the trail on providing the zombie cure! And how’s that? Well, you know how to kill a zombie, don’t you Mittens? You need to destroy the nervous system of course. And what better way to destroy an entire zombie hoard than with a little microbe that will do just that: attack and destroy the zombies’ brains. And, oh look, it just so happens that a certain former governor inexplicably allowed a certain company to secretly mass produce a certain microbe that attacks nervous systems. Don’t worry Mittens. Sandy has nothing on you. Nothing.

    Mittens Romney: Zombie father. Zombie hunter. Zombie President.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 31, 2012, 3:04 pm
  17. Ok, Mittens, I can’t believe I have to remind you of this at this point in the race, but here goes….

    Mittens, you don’t get to pass policies that entrap and abuse the nation’s children until AFTER you win! I guess that wasn’t obvious. *facepalm*

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 5, 2012, 10:44 am
  18. Well, I guess this is it, Mittens. It’s shocking, I know. But Mittens, also know this:

    It’s not your fault.

    It’s not your fault.

    It’s not your fault. Ok, that last one might actually be your fault…for a variety of reasons. Not that it should have been a problem, but, you know, a society’s collective moral failings tend to skew electoral outcomes.

    Anyways, to summarize, it’s Karl’s fault

    Seriously Mittens, in retrospect, there was just no way you could win this election for reasons far beyond your control. Sure, maybe you could have shown some leg every once in a while, but it’s not like you didn’t try. Let’s face it, you could have been running against Beelzebub and you still would have lost!

    Let’s not focus on the past. You may not be the White Horse candidate, but you were my White Horse candidate, Mittens, and that’s how I’ll always remember you: that strange stranger that rode into town, dropped a ton of cash, and then galloped off into the sunset. Good times, Mittens, good times.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 9, 2012, 12:26 am
  19. brilliant ………. simply brilliant

    Posted by latitude38 | November 12, 2012, 8:42 am

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