Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

News & Supplemental  

Free advice for a multimillionaire

As this is the first post from “Pter­rafractyl’s Nest”, let’s start off with a bit of lev­i­ty in the form of free advice to a mul­ti­mil­lion­aire: Mit­tens Rom­ney. The US nation­al dis­course took a sharp turn towards divi­sive racial and reli­gious pol­i­tics a cou­ple of days ago. Well, more than usu­al. The ker­fuf­fle start­ed after a NY Times report on a leaked brochure out­lin­ing a pro­pos­al for a $10 mil­lion ad cam­paign by the “End­ing Spend­ing Action Fund”, one of the many new “inde­pen­dent” Super PACs to since the Roberts Court killed democ­ra­cy vig­or­ous­ly sup­port­ed polit­i­cal free speech. The brochure described a racial­ly/re­li­gious­ly-charged cam­paign focus­ing pri­mar­i­ly on Oba­ma’s rela­tion­ship to con­tro­ver­sial pas­tor Rev­erend Wright.

The par­tic­u­lar bil­lion­aire that’s inter­est­ed in “end­ing spend­ing”, Chica­go-Cubs own­er Joe Rick­etts, is an inter­est­ing choice for an anti-Oba­ma bil­lion­aire. Not just because he’s cur­rent­ly lob­by­ing the city of Chica­go for a $200 mil­lion tax-pay­er ren­o­va­tion of Wrigley Field — where the Cubs play and where Oba­ma’s for­mer cheif of staff hap­pens to be the may­or — but also because Rick­etts’s daugh­ter, Lau­ra, is one of Oba­ma’s top cam­paign fund rais­ers.

The polit­i­cal oper­a­tive mak­ing the pitch, Fred Davis, is per­haps the least sur­pris­ing fig­ure in this sto­ry: he was John McCain’s media strate­gist in 2008 and pro­posed a sim­i­lar cam­paign focus­ing in Oba­ma’s ties to Wright back then (which McCain reject­ed). Some­what inter­est­ing­ly, Davis was also the cam­paign advi­sor for John Hunts­man. And why is it some­what inter­est­ing that a for­mer cam­paign advi­sor for John Hunts­man would be push­ing to make reli­gion a high-pro­file top­ic in the race between Rom­ney and Oba­ma? Because both Hunts­man and Rom­ney are Mor­mons and with recent polls show­ing that over 40% of Amer­i­cans would be uncom­fort­able with a Mor­mon pres­i­dent reli­gion may not be the best cam­paign focus for Mitt Rom­ney in 2012.

Per­haps not sur­pris­ing­ly, both Rom­ney and Rick­etts dis­avowed Davis’s pro­posed plan after it came to light...sort of:

Rom­ney Rejects Wright-Based Attack as He Decries Oba­ma Tac­tics
By Julie Hirschfeld Davis — May 17, 2012 11:01 PM CT

A Repub­li­can strategist’s plan to air racial­ly tinged ads against Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma drew rebukes from Mitt Rom­ney and oth­er Repub­li­cans while spark­ing a fresh debate over what — if any­thing — is off-lim­its in the pres­i­den­tial race.

Both Rom­ney and a bil­lion­aire activist who was a prospec­tive financier of ads try­ing to dis­cred­it Oba­ma by high­light­ing his ties with a for­mer pas­tor, the Rev­erend Jere­mi­ah Wright Jr., denounced the idea yes­ter­day. Racial­ly incen­di­ary ser­mons by Wright became an issue that Oba­ma had to grap­ple run­ning for pres­i­dent in 2008.

“I want to make it very clear I repu­di­ate that effort,” Rom­ney told reporters, refer­ring to the adver­tis­ing plan. It was said to have been draft­ed by Repub­li­can strate­gist Fred Davis for a super-polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee backed by bil­lion­aire Joe Rick­etts, founder of what is now TD Amer­i­trade.

“I think it’s the wrong course for a PAC or a cam­paign,” said the pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee. “I hope that our cam­paigns can respec­tive­ly be about the future and about issues and about a vision for Amer­i­ca.”

Rom­ney, 65, also took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to accuse Oba­ma, 50, and his cam­paign of the type of tac­tics the for­mer Mass­a­chu­setts gov­er­nor is dis­avow­ing, assert­ing there is a neg­a­tive slant to the president’s re-elec­tion bid.

‘Char­ac­ter Assas­si­na­tion’

“We can talk about a lot of things, but the cen­ter­piece of his cam­paign is quite clear­ly char­ac­ter assas­si­na­tion, and the cen­ter­piece of my cam­paign is going be my vision to get Amer­i­ca work­ing again,” Rom­ney said at a brief ques­tion-and-answer ses­sion in Jack­sonville, Flori­da, in respose to the Wright sto­ry.

Still, Rom­ney stopped short of dis­avow­ing remarks he made ear­li­er this year on Sean Hannity’s radio show, when he said of Oba­ma: “I don’t know which is worse — him lis­ten­ing to Rev­erend Wright, or him say­ing we must be a less Chris­t­ian nation.”

Asked yes­ter­day whether he believed Oba­ma was try­ing to make the nation “less Chris­t­ian” or that Wright shaped the president’s views and poli­cies, Rom­ney said, “I’m not famil­iar pre­cise­ly with exact­ly what I said, but I stand by what I said, what­ev­er it was.”


Ok, well, kudos to Mit­tens for dis­avow­ing a self-destruc­tive polit­i­cal cam­paign. But this clear­ly could have been han­dled bet­ter. After all, had this doc­u­ment not been leaked and the whole ad cam­paign came to fruition, that could have seri­ous­ly back­fired on the man try­ing to become the JFK of Mor­monism. There are obvi­ous dan­gers that Mit­tens will have to watch for over the next six months if he’s going to avoid more Mor­mon-itis and var­i­ous­ly oth­er gaffes on the cam­paign trail, so here’s where the free advice comes in:

1. First, keep try­ing to remind peo­ple of Rea­gan. Your anti-Mor­mon base can’t get enough of the guy and the more you can asso­ci­at­ed your­self with Rea­gan’s mem­o­ry the bet­ter. With that in mind, don’t say things like “I’m not famil­iar pre­cise­ly with exact­ly what I said, but I stand by what I said, what­ev­er it was.” Yes, you want to seem Rea­ganesque, but not in that way.

2. You will be asked many ques­tions designed to let vot­ers get to know the “Real Mitt”. With so many Amer­i­cans still uncom­fort­able with a Mor­mon pres­i­dent, you may not want to empha­size that aspect of your biog­ra­phy. And that includes avoid­ing indi­rect ref­er­ences to Mor­monism. So, for instance, if you’re asked by an inquis­i­tive reporter about, oh say, your favorite book, be sure to avoid any books that are authored by noto­ri­ous cult lead­ers. And since you’re an obscene­ly wealthy fel­low, you real­ly want to avoid books writ­ten by cult lead­ers when the cult is focused on exploit­ing peo­ple to make mon­ey. You real­ly want to avoid those cults. It also helps if the book isn’t noto­ri­ous­ly awful.

3. If you hap­pened to have already told reporters that your favorite book is one writ­ten by noto­ri­ous cult leader AND that cult is focused on scam­ming peo­ple out of their mon­ey AND that book is noto­ri­ous­ly awful, you may need to get a new favorite book. If this becomes nec­es­sary, just be sure that the new book isn’t writ­ten by a Mor­mon author. That’s just push­ing it. And since you’re sort of an eco­nom­ic vam­pire with a bit of a “Mr. Burns” vibe you prob­a­bly want to avoid any vam­pire nov­els. And, of course, your new replace­ment favorite book should also not be noto­ri­ous­ly bad.

4. Ok, so if you hap­pened to choose a new favorite book that’s about vam­pires and writ­ten by a Mor­mon author and noto­ri­ous­ly bad you’re def­i­nite­ly in unsafe ter­ri­to­ry with respect to indi­rect Mor­monism ref­er­ences. If it gets to this point, be sure to fol­low this last point tip: Stay off white hors­es. Non-white hors­es are ok, but don’t push it. Push­ing the “Mes­si­ah Mitt” meme may sound nice at first but, like strap­ping the fam­i­ly dog to a car and dri­ving to Cana­da, bad ideas often sound good at first. As a vam­pire oli­garch try­ing to trick the nation into vot­ing for its own self-destruc­tion, that’s a con­cept you should be famil­iar with.


2 comments for “Free advice for a multimillionaire”

  1. The updat­ed sight looks great.

    PTERRAFRACTYL’S nest is a wel­come addi­tion in my world. I’ll be tun­ing in like the night­ly news.

    Posted by GrumpusRex | May 21, 2012, 3:55 pm
  2. @Grumpus: Thanks. It’s prob­a­bly going to be less the night­ly news and more a trag­i­cal­ly lit­er­al take on the notion of “tru­ly hor­ren­dous Real­i­ty TV”. And it won’t quite be night­ly there should be a reg­u­lar stream of con­tent here. Although with the world sort of col­laps­ing in real-time there should­n’t be a short­age of con­tent. So stay tuned and put the kid­dies to bed. I’m pret­ty sure it’s R‑rated. Deeply unset­tling con­tent or some­thing like that...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 21, 2012, 11:32 pm

Post a comment