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“Pretending To Be Relevant”: Man Who Failed Twice At Becoming President Thinks He’d Be Better At Being President Than Hillary Clinton

Mitt Romney, once governor of Massachusetts and a failure at winning presidential elections, pops up every now and again to tell us that he is not running for president. These TV interviews can be grating, but they’re also charitable: Romney gets to pretend he actually is relevant, or even president, and his opinion is afforded the sort of faux-weight that only a Sunday news show can provide. It’s political cos-play.

This week, it was Romney on Barack Obama’s follies, and Romney on Hillary Clinton’s presidential bona fides.

You will likely not be surprised to hear that Romney shared his disappointment with Obama in an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “I think the president is really out of touch with reality,” Romney said of the man who twice accomplished what he, himself, could not. “He’s so out of touch with reality that he hasn’t taken the necessary steps. . . . He’s too busy on the golf course. I don’t know if you can see the reality from the fairway, but he doesn’t see reality.” (Nailed it, Romney thought after letting go of that zinger.)

Obama’s foreign policy is fundamentally flawed because it is “based on common humanity, and humanity is not common,” Romney said. “Bad people do bad things.” Apparently the president is not hip to the fact that ISIS is “bad.”

Romney is, per Romney, a more skilled politician that not just the current president, but also the Democratic frontrunner for 2016. Asked if he would deliver a better performance in the White House than Clinton, Romney said there was “no question in my mind,” though he conceded one complicating factor: “The American people may disagree with me.”

During both of his failed presidential campaigns, Romney tried to use his record as a businessman as proof that he knew how to run the government (because he ran companies, remember?). He repeated that winning line on Sunday: “You’ve also got to have people who have actually run something. . . . I don’t think Hillary Clinton has that experience.”

“My time has come and gone,” Romney said, during the nationally televised interview.

If Romney changes his mind and reneges on his oft-repeated promise not to run for president again, perhaps he can point to comments by high-profile supporters such as himself as evidence of his political vitality. In Mitt he trusts.

 

By: Kia Makarechi, Vanity Fair Daily, September 8, 2014

September 12, 2014 Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates, Mitt Romney | , , , , | Leave a comment

“Avoiding A Costly Military Enterprise”: Republicans Wrong About Every Foreign Policy Conflict Of The Last Few Decades

Late last week, with tenuous evidence emerging of the Assad regime possibly having used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) expressed his ongoing frustration with the Obama administration. “I’m worried that the president and the administration will use the caveats as an excuse to not act right away or to not act at all,” he told Fox News.

McCain’s not the only Republican who feels this way — the fact that President Obama may look for “excuses” not to use the U.S. military to intervene in an another Middle Eastern country is a growing point of conservative consternation, as opposed to relief. On “Fox News Sunday,” Brit Hume sounded pretty disappointed when he described Syria as “a costly military enterprise of the kind that this president now seems to loath to undertake.”

As if that were grounds for criticism.

On the same program, Bill Kristol went further:

“This is not a president who wants to start another war, that’s the way he sees it. I think it’s totally irresponsible for the American president to have that. Nobody wants to start wars, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

I’m not entirely sure “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do” is a sensible principle for U.S. foreign policy as it relates to launching yet another war in the Middle East, but Kristol seemed rather confident in his position. And it’s not like Kristol has a tragically awful track record on these issues, right?

And on “Face the Nation,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) went just a little further still.

“[F]our things are going to happen if we don’t change course in Syria. It’s going to become a failed state by the end of the year. It’s fracturing along sectarian/ethnic lines. It’s going to be an al Qaeda safe haven.

“The second thing, the chemical weapons, enough to kill millions of people, are going to be compromised and fall into the wrong hands. And the next bomb that goes off in America may not have nails and glass in it.”

Yep, it sure sounds like Graham believes the U.S. has to intervene in Syria or we’ll face a chemical weapon attack on American soil. The “smoking gun as a mushroom cloud” argument didn’t go away; it just evolved.

For his part, John McCain, making his ninth Sunday show appearance of the year — the most of anyone in the country — now believes President Obama is to blame, at least in part, for the Assad regime’s offensives.

“What has happened here is the president drew red lines about chemical weapons thereby giving a green light to Bashar Assad to do anything short of that — including scud missiles and helicopter gunships and air strikes and mass executions and atrocities that are on a scale that we have not seen in a long, long time,” McCain said.

The senator, who has the misfortune of being wrong about nearly every foreign policy conflict of the last few decades, added that he does not want the U.S. to invade Syria, but prefers to give “assistance” to rebels fighting the Assad regime.

Many of those same rebels, it’s worth emphasizing, have already pledged allegiance to al Qaeda, a detail McCain generally prefers to overlook when he argues we should give them resources and weapons.

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, April 29, 2013

April 30, 2013 Posted by | Foreign Policy, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Flabbergasted Or Intoxicated?: John Boehner Says There’s No Difference Between Raising Revenue From Middle Class Or Wealthy

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner told host Chris Wallace that it doesn’t make a difference whether new revenue in a deal to avert the fiscal cliff comes from the middle class or from the wealthiest Americans.

Boehner, who said that he was “flabbergasted” by the White House’s opening offer (despite the fact that it’s exactly what President Obama campaigned on), blasted the president as “not serious” for demanding an increase in tax rates on the wealthiest earners.

When Wallace asked if Obama has a mandate on the issue — given that raising taxes on the wealthy was arguably the central issue dividing the president and Mitt Romney in the presidential election — Boehner argued that it doesn’t matter whether new revenue comes from the wealthy or the middle class.

Listen, what is this difference where the money comes from? We put $800 billion worth of revenue, which is what he is asking for, out of eliminating the top two tax rates. But, here’s the problem, Chris, when you go and increase tax rates, you make it more difficult for our economy to grow, after that income, the small business income, it is going to get taxed at a higher rate and as a result we’re gonna see slower economic growth, we can’t cut our way out of this problem, nor can we grow our way out of the problem, we have to have a balanced approach and what the president wants to do will slow our economy at a time when he says he wants the economy to grow and create jobs.

Boehner is wrong on two points. First, there is no reason to believe that restoring Clinton-era tax rates on incomes over $250,000 will prevent the economy from growing; on the contrary, rate increases on the wealthy in 1992 and 1994 were followed by a tremendous economic boom. Second, it clearly matters where the revenue comes from; as Boehner and the Republicans’ own rhetoric acknowledges, the middle class needs fiscal relief — not an increased burden.

The full interview between Boehner and Wallace can be seen here; the exchange on tax rates begins at the 5:33 mark.

Perhaps Boehner doesn’t care where new revenue comes from because he hasn’t yet figured it out. When Wallace pressed Boehner to name specific loopholes and deductions that he’d be willing to eliminate in order to make up the revenue lost by extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, Boehner declined — as Romney and Paul Ryan did repeatedly during the campaign – telling Wallace, “I’m not going to debate this or negotiate this with you.”

 

By: Henry Decker, The National Memo, December 3, 2012

December 4, 2012 Posted by | Fiscal Cliff | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Sixty Festering Minutes Of Crap”: Why Do The Sunday Shows Suck So Much?

In the American media landscape, there is no single forum more prestigious than the Sunday shows—particularly the three network programs, and to a slightly lesser extent “Fox News Sunday” and CNN’s “State of the Union.” The Sunday shows are where “newsmakers” face the music, where Washington’s most important people are validated for their importance, where issues are probed in depth. So, why do they suck so much?

I live and breathe politics, yet I find these programs absolutely unwatchable, and I can’t be the only one. On a typical episode, there is nothing to learn, no insight to be gained, no interesting perspective on offer, nothing but an endless spew of talking points and squabbling. Let’s take, for instance, yesterday’s installment of “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” We start off with dueling interviews with Obama adviser Robert Gibbs and Romney adviser Ed Gillespie. Were you expecting some candid talk from these two political veterans? Of course you weren’t. “If you’re willing to say anything to get elected president,” Gibbs says about Mitt Romney, “if you are willing to make up your positions and walk away from them, I think the American people have to understand, how can they trust you if you are elected president.” Which just happens to be precisely the message of a new Obama ad. What a fascinating coincidence! And you’ll be shocked to learn that Gillespie thought Romney did a great job in the debate: “Governor Romney laid out a plan for turning this economy around, getting things moving again. He had a fact-based critique of President Obama’s failed policies that the president was unable to respond to.” You don’t say!

Then we move to the roundtable, featuring, naturally, the stylings of James Carville and Mary Matalin. I just have to know what these two are thinking, because whatever it is, it certainly won’t be just “Your guy sucks! No, your guy sucks!” Of course, that’s exactly what it will be. Add in Peggy Noonan and her empathic super-powers to determine what the country is feeling and feel it right back at us, Jonathan Karl to repeat some poll numbers and conventional wisdom, and Paul Krugman to grow increasingly exasperated as he attempts without much success to yank the discussion back to reality, and you’ve got yourself a barn-burner of a debate.

Switch channels, and you’ll find some politicians angling for a 2016 presidential nomination come on one of the other Sunday shows to get asked questions about the polls and repeat the same things their co-partisans are saying. If you’re lucky (actually, it won’t take luck, because you can find it every Sunday), you can watch one of the two party chairs deliver those same messages. Has there ever been a single human being in America who has said, “Wow, that interview with Reince Priebus was really interesting”? Or said the same thing about an interview with Debbie Wasserman Schultz? It’s not because they’re terrible people, it’s because as party leaders their job is to come on the air and spout talking points with maniacal discipline, no matter what they get asked. And they’re good at that job. But if you listen to them for a while, it begins to feel like a virus of cynicism is eating its way through your brain.

I wonder what the producers of these shows say to each other as they’re putting together their programs. “Hey boss, we locked down Reince Priebus for Sunday!” “Awesome—the show is going to be great!” “I hope Carville and Matalin aren’t busy—they’ll bring the heat!” “Ooo, you know who we should try for? John McCain! He’s only been on our show 12 times this year, and I know people are dying to hear what he has to say.”

There could be another way. For instance, “Up With Chris Hayes” on MSNBC shows what the Sunday shows could be. Hayes doesn’t bother interviewing politicians or party hacks; instead, he brings on people who know a lot about whatever issue they’ll be discussing, aren’t constrained by the need to score partisan points, and might have something interesting to say. With a little creativity, you could come up with any number of models for how to make programs that are interesting and informative.

But the Sunday shows don’t seem to have any desire to change the 60 festering minutes of crap they splurt through the airwaves every weekend. The three network programs combine for around eight and a half million viewers every week, and I’m sure everyone involved thinks they’re a great success.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Contributing Editor, The American Prospect, October 8, 2012

October 9, 2012 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Giving Specifics Would “Take Me Too Long”: Paul Ryan Is Not In The Mood For Truth Telling

On Fox News Sunday, Rep. Paul Ryan claimed that Americans don’t know enough about what a Romney-Ryan presidency would do, which explains the campaign’s current troubles. But when Chris Wallace pressed Ryan to discuss the specifics of the Romney-Ryan tax plan, the mathematics of which have confounded non-partisan experts, he refused even to say how much the tax cuts the ticket has proposed would cost.

Everyone expects Mitt Romney to bob and weave around basic questions he doesn’t want to answer. But Ryan makes such a show about telling hard truths. Turns out Ryan’s self-righteousness has mainly served to make it more insulting when he bobs and weaves himself.

“It would take me too long to go through all of the math,” Ryan explained Sunday morning. But Wallace wasn’t asking for “all” of the math, just basic numbers. As usual with the GOP ticket, the only specific figure Ryan wanted to discuss was how much he and Romney want to drop tax rates. Wallace repeatedly asked Ryan whether Romney’s proposed tax cuts would cost $5 trillion, a question meant to establish one side of the budget equation before moving to a discussion of how Romney would pay for the cuts. But Ryan repeatedly refused to go through the addition and subtraction, instead insisting that the numbers eventually come out in his favor — Romney’s proposed tax cuts would cost nothing, he said, because Romney would offset them by cutting loopholes, primarily for upper incomes.

But which loopholes, and where does Romney draw the line between middle- and upper-income Americans? Ryan had nothing too specific there, either. The best he could do was repeat the nice-sounding logic of the Romney-Ryan plan:

You can lower tax rates 20 percent across the board by closing loopholes and still have preferences for the middle class for things like charitable deductions, home purchases, for health care. What we’re saying is people are going to get lower tax rates and therefore they will not send as much money to Washington.

Wallace went on to ask Ryan what Romney’s highest priority would be if the GOP ticket’s tax plan didn’t turn out to be revenue-neutral. Ryan answered that “keeping tax rates down” is “more important than anything.” Since Ryan kept insisting that he and Romney need not make a choice between tax cuts and, say, controlling the deficit, he probably didn’t mean for his statement to sound ominous. But since he merely said — and did not show — that Romney’s math could add up, ominous his statement was.

Wallace should have followed up with a question about how, even if Romney and Ryan managed to cut taxes and kept federal revenue where it is, they could then plausibly fix America’s long-term budget mess without additional money. Then again, Ryan didn’t seem to be in the mood for any hard truth-telling.

 

By: Steven Stromberg, The Washington Post, September 30, 2012

 

October 1, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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