Political Animal


June 07, 2012 9:22 AM Distractions

By Ed Kilgore

Good to see that while I was so distracted the last week, some things didn’t change. Mitt Romney, for example, is still pursuing his maddening concern-troll tactic of identifying himself with Democrats allegedly unhappy or disappointed with this or that aspect of the Obama presidency. In fact, it’s gotten very weird: he’s taken to citing my TNR colleague Noam Scheiber’s recent book on the Obama White House and the economy as part of his argument that the president sacrificed unemployed Americans to his mad socialist scheme to implement a national health care reform initiative modeled largely on Mitt’s work in Massachusetts.

Now Noam’s naturally having mixed feelings; there’s nothing quite like getting quoted by a presidential candidate to boost those book sales. But he’s made the rather important point that his book suggests Obama may have made a risky choice by devoting attention to health reform that might better have been spent pursuing economic policies Romney has called disastrous:

[I]t’s worth noting that Romney and I have radically different prescriptions for how Obama might have spent his time had he bagged on health care. I argue that Obama should have focused monomaniacally on getting more stimulus; Romney argues that the stimulus was at best wasteful and at worst counterproductive.

So Romney is engaging in a triple deception here: he’s still pretending to think Obama’s approach to health reform is a horrific departure from what right-thinking policymakers would prescribe, and now he’s pretending Obama’s pursuit of health reform prevented him from consummating an economic recovery plan he pretends to consider a job-killing disaster.

The real distraction underway, of course, is Mitt’s own determined effort to avoid discussing his own current “ideas” for both health care (a reversal of reform and the implementation of a “market-based approach” that would eliminate affordable health insurance for upwards of 50 million Americans) and the economy (a combo platter of the worse policies of George W. Bush and Herbert Hoover). But it’s oddly comforting to know that in this turbulent world Mitt Romney can be counted on to remain as crooked as a dog’s hind leg in talking about the actual choices voters will face this November.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • j on June 07, 2012 9:31 AM:

    A random thought
    Romney is Mr 'Wall Street' and heavily funded by the Wall Street crowd, where are the OWS people, they were supposed to be fighting the 1% and are as quiet as a mouse now that Wall Street i9s buying the elections.

  • c u n d gulag on June 07, 2012 9:50 AM:

    Mitt's right!

    President Obama should NEVER have tried the stimulus, or passing health care, or saving Detroit.

    Yes, he wasted his time and a lot political capital, there.

    What he should have done was to follow-up on the ginormuos successes that George W. Bush had, and that Mitt supported then, supports now, and will implement in the future if he's elected:
    -More, and even bigger, tax cuts for the "Job Creators" - since W had one of the most job-happy administrations in history, with economic prosperity for ONE AND ALL!
    W lifted ALL boats - from the little paper ones, to the dinghy's, to the yachts, to the aircraft carriers!!!

    -And more, and even bigger, deregulation, since the economy and markets thrived as never, ever, not never ever never before, under the careful and intelligent stewardship of George W. Bush - the nations 2nd greatest President ever, after Ronald Reagan.

    Ok - I know Mormon's don't smoke, or drink coffee or alcohol.

    But who knew smoking a doob, dropping acid, and doing 'shroom's was ok?

  • TT on June 07, 2012 9:58 AM:

    Romney lies while he's lying about his lies, then lies while lying about the lies he just lied about.

    When you think about it, have we ever seen a presidential candidate this devoted to telling total, absolute, brazen, shameless, fundamental, pathological, verifiable lies on a daily or even hourly basis? What is it with this dude?

  • Peter C on June 07, 2012 10:07 AM:

    Republicans are liars. They lie all the time about practically everything. They have a whole network devoted to it. Lying is the core of their strategy. It's what they do. It's who they are.

  • stormskies on June 07, 2012 10:09 AM:

    Triple deception of course. Buffoon Romney is a pathological liar. What he is doing is a total 'con-job' that is being aided and abetted by the vast amount of the corporate media: they are actively complicit in this con-job.

    Yet it takes incredibly stupid people who are themselves invested in their own delusional/fictional beliefs to agree and accept the con job being perpetuated by Repiglcians in general, and buffoon Romeny and the corporate media specifically.

    And that, sadly, describes a large amount of our fellow citizens.

  • Anonymous on June 07, 2012 10:12 AM:

    "...as crooked as a dog’s hind leg in talking about the actual choices voters will face this November." Dude, you just blew Dan Rather's mind...a terrific analogy in any case. Mittens is as phony as they come, but something tells me the majority of the American voting public has already come to that conclusion. Pray the FSM is good to all of us, come November. The alternative is too horrifying to even consider.

  • c u n d gulag on June 07, 2012 10:12 AM:

    Oh, and Ed, you've been a real trooper for continuing to post while you're going through all of what you and yours have gone through, and are still going through.

    Thank you.

  • Anonymous on June 07, 2012 10:14 AM:

    I have a real problem when people attribute Romney's actions to any sort of a thought process. I honestly don't believe Romney (and Bush II) do any philosophical thinking. He does what he's told which is why he gets into trouble when he is forced to deviate from the script.

    Could this be a means of control by the Republican "deep thinkers"? It wouldn't be the first time a light weight was put forward to get his marching orders from others. If this is the case it would answer why he has changed his positions so many times over the years - different handlers, different backers.

    If so, look for him to change his position again as the race progresses and he falls farther behind.

  • berttheclock on June 07, 2012 10:21 AM:

    Is it really a lie if a large portion of the electorate pays no attention?

    Well, technically, of course it is a lie, but.............

  • Peter C on June 07, 2012 10:21 AM:

    @J asks, "where are the OWS people".

    I suspect they are back home trying to feed themselves and their families. Hopefully they are back in their own neighborhoods mobilizing their neighbors. We can't expect other people to do our protesting for us. Only the 1% can afford to do that these days.

    The Republicans have chosen Romney as their standard-bearer. The Ryan budget is a document of, by and for the super-wealthy. THE REPUBLICANS ARE THE 1%!

  • Diane Rodriguez on June 07, 2012 10:27 AM:

    The majority of the media has given Mitt carte blanche for any twisted contortion of lies he wishes to perpetrate. It's quite obvious that if the sky is blue but Romney maintains it's green, the crawl line on the TV will say "Romney states the sky is now green, long live Romney".

    Frankly, I am more disgusted with the media's role. Romney isn't even good at lying.

  • Gandalf on June 07, 2012 10:27 AM:

    The truly amazing thing about all this is how easily the american people are fooled by these tools. given the fact of how many people are on computers every day and how pathetically easy it is to check up on the unadulterated hoseshit that the republicans spew every chance they get it's a teastament to how truly lazy and stupid the american electorate relly is. And by the way Ed my deepest sympathy goes out to you. I don't think anyone can know how you feel but we can support you. I lost my ten year old daughter a few months ago and I know where your at. Your a trooper.

  • berttheclock on June 07, 2012 10:28 AM:

    Meanwhile, Ever Moaning Joe was so upset with the NYT going after Mitt with an article about one of his mansions. He had his Repub cohorts, Halperin and Senor crying with him and collectively wringing their hands over how badly Mitt is being mistreated by the NYT, yet, nothing is said about the other side. Moaning groaned about the equestrian story of Mitt's wife and, now, the mansion.

    BTW, many of the OWS crowd in Portland gathered, recently, in front of a house that was going to be taken by the Sheriff and blocked the bank and the law from taking possession. They have many signs up in North Portland which read "We Support our Neighbors".

  • Hannah on June 07, 2012 11:15 AM:

    Gandalf: I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine losing a child so young, or at all, for that matter.

    Ed: condolences on your loss. Good to have you back, amazed it's so soon.

    You both take care of yourselves.

  • T2 on June 07, 2012 11:17 AM:

    I'm beginning to understand that a Mitt Romney presidency will just be a mechanism for others to get what they want. Romney will be a figurehead. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Dick Cheney ended up being his VP.

  • berttheclock on June 07, 2012 11:45 AM:

    Yes, Gandalf, I appreciate very much the kind thoughts offered by Hannah. When, I was five, my best friend and big sister of 10 died from problems with Rheumatic Fever. To this day, I can not recall one thing for the year following her untimely death.

    Howver, as to your comment about the numbers of people using the net, how many are only surfing for YouTube events so they can forward them to friends?

  • exlibra on June 07, 2012 1:04 PM:

    Gandalf, so sorry to hear about your loss. Of all the losses a human can suffer, the loss of a child has to be the absolute worst.

  • c u n d gulag on June 07, 2012 2:16 PM:

    OMG - I'm so, so, sorry.

    Losing a child is far worse than losing a parent or step-parent.
    You prepare yourself for that your whole life.
    Nothing ever prepares you for what you went through, and your loss.

    My sincerest condolences.