Mitt Romney Is Letting Obama’s Bain Attacks Define Him, To His Detriment

By failing to respond adequately, Mitt Romney is letting his opponent define him for the voters. That could hurt him greatly in November.

Except for the true believers, there doesn’t seem to be anyone who doesn’t agree with the idea that Mitt Romney and his campaign have terribly bungled their response to the attacks centered on his time at Bain Capital, due in no small part that they are telling a story that doesn’t seem to make sense. Because of this, the media continues to talk about the issue while the Obama campaign continues to hammer away on the outsourcing meme and the fact that Romney is refusing to release any more income tax information. All of this leads Charlie Cook to suggest that Romney is in danger of having himself defined by the Obama campaign in a negative manner that he may not be able to get away from:

The strategic decision by the Romney campaign not to define him personally—not to inoculate him from inevitable attacks—seems a perverse one. Given his campaign’s ample financial resources, the decision not to run biographical or testimonial ads, in effect to do nothing to establish him as a three-dimensional person, has left him open to the inevitable attacks for his work at Bain Capital, on outsourcing, and on his investments. It’s all rather inexplicable. Aside from a single spot aired in the spring by the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, not one personal positive ad has been aired on Romney’s behalf. The view that any day or dollar spent on talking about anything other than the economy is a waste has been taken to such an extreme that Romney has no positive definition other than that of being a rich, successful, and presumably smart businessman. People see and feel the reasons for firing Obama every day in the economic statistics and the struggle that so many Americans face daily. The Romney campaign seems focused on reinforcing a message that hardly needs reinforcing, while ignoring a clear and immediate danger to its own candidate’s electability.

The attacks on Bain, outsourcing, and his investments are sticking to Romney like Velcro, and it’s hard to see how that will change until he picks his running mate. Romney has lost control of the debate and the dialogue. Instead of voters focusing on the economy, they are now hearing about investments and accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, as well as about outsourcing and layoffs.

Ezra Klein is similarly puzzled:

That Romney wasn’t better prepared for the attacks on Bain and the questions over his taxes is one of the great mysteries of this campaign. An example: In 2008, Romney turned more than 20 years of his tax returns over to the McCain team in order to be vetted for the vice presidency. So he clearly realized that tax returns could matter for political campaigns. And yet he didn’t call his accountants in 2008 and say “make my taxes simple. Now.” Why?

Kevin Drum agrees with Klein, and points out that Romney has had to deal with attacks over his record at Bain before, when he ran against Ted Kennedy in 1994 and when he ran for Governor in 2002. Additionally, I’d add that the only reason that Bain barely came up in 2008 is because Romney’s candidacy was so relatively short-lived, ending along with the entire GOP race by the beginning of February. Furthermore, there’s the fact that Romney faced a barrage on this very issue from Newt Gingrich and others for several weeks in January. Given all of that, it’s simply inexplicable that he and his campaign would be so seemingly unprepared for the attacks now, or that they would not have already had a strategy ready to define Romney in the eyes of voters before Obama’s campaign got around to doing it.

The general consensus among analysts seems to be that we’re unlikely to see major shifts in the polls because of these Bain attacks, though. As we’ve seen for months now, this election is being played out inside a very narrow playing field. The President is maintaining a job approval rating in the high-40s and he and Romney stay fairly even with each other in the national polls, for example. Additionally, the fact that the economy continues to appear to be faltering likely means that the Obama campaign won’t get a huge swing in the polls from the negative attacks on Romney simply because the American public isn’t all that thrilled with the job the President is doing. At the same time, though there are signs that the Bain attacks are taking root in the minds of voters:

In a swing-state survey from Purple Strategies released Monday, nearly 4 in 10 voters said new information they had learned in the past week made them consider Romney less favorably than they had before, and 42 percent of independents said Romney was “too out of touch” to be president. In Colorado, Virginia and Ohio, Romney’s favorability numbers have dropped from June.

According to Google, Internet searches for Bain Capital have increased exponentially within the last week, as questions about Romney’s tenure have swirled. The states showing the largest uptick in search traffic include Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina — indicating targeted advertisements by the Obama campaign and its allies are driving interest.

“You don’t have to be a political scientist to look at these numbers and see the ads are having an impact,” said Bill Burton, a former White House aide and the senior strategist for the super-PAC supporting the president’s reelection. “The Romney campaign is clearly panicked, or they wouldn’t have sent him out to do every network interview he’s doing.”

Polling on the issue reveals eerie parallels to the 2004 race, when Kerry was “Swift-Boated” on his military service — similarities that could hold a warning sign for Romney.

In the month after the 2004 Democratic convention — when commercials challenging Kerry’s military service first hit — polling from Republican strategist FMA showed that in battleground states, those who saw the commercials and changed their voting intentions broke for President George W. Bush by a 3-to-1 margin.

Similarly, a USA Today survey released earlier this month showed that swing-state voters who had seen political ads and changed their mind about the election were breaking for Obama by a 76-to-16 percent margin.

And, as with Romney, Kerry saw his favorability numbers fade, even on core issues that had previously been considered strengths, like leadership and the economy. Still, in the immediate aftermath of the Swift Boat ads, the national polls showed little tangible change, with the Gallup tracking poll showing Bush and Kerry bouncing within the margin of error.

The parallels between 2012 and 2004 are apparent, and possibly too easy to make. Romney isn’t John Kerry and Obama isn’t George W. Bush. More importantly, though, the economy is in terrible shape this year compared to 2004 when thins were in relatively decent shape. It remains to be seen if these Bain attacks will amount to anything in the polls, or if they’ll even play a role on Election Day. However, the fact that the Romney campaign has been so relatively inept in responding to them means that, if they are sticking, it’s going to be quite difficult to get around them. More importantly, though, as with Clinton/Dole in 1996 and Bush/Kerry in 2004, there is a siignificant likeability gap between the incumbent President and his challenger. As James Joyner pointed out a few weeks ago, despite the fact that they think the economy is bad shape and that the country is moving in the wrong direction, voters still seem to like Barack Obama as a person and that seems to be helping him stay afloat in the polls, especially in the swing states. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, still has a significant likability gap with the general public, not to mention a full 20% of the public who remains uncomfortable with his religious faith. If the Obama campaign succeeds in making Romney more unlikable, even by just a little bit, then that will pose significant problems for Romney in the fall.

Additionally, Mark Halperin hints that the Obama campaign may not be anywhere near done with its effort to define Mitt Romney negatively:

Pause for two beats and pay Prizzi’s Honor-style homage to the ruthless killing machine that is the combined White House-Chicago operation.

They have parceled out their opposition research in a manner both strategic and tactical, selecting specific news organizations at times of their choosing to maximize the drip-drip-drip of the twin stories. They have used left-leaning Web outfits as recipients of over-the-transom gifts as effectively (cumulatively) as the Romney campaign uses Drudge. And they have seen the Boston Globeuse its credibility to drive a ton of news.

The Obamans have dominated numerous consecutive news cycles since the last unemployment numbers came out. And there is more to come for sure. The Gang of 500 is confident it is just a matter of time before Romney relents and puts out additional years of tax returns, an eventuality that the Obama campaign will drag out for days. When some said that the Bain issue was burning out through its use by Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and others in the nomination fight, Chicago was quietly confident the matter could be easily revived with new information and heavy advertising — and Chicago was right. And, make no mistake, the Obamans are sitting on even more research that they will unfurl down the road.

(…)

But Romney has not collapsed in the polls by any means, and the President remains short of the magical 50% in most surveys. Maybe Romney’s foreign trip, VP selection, and convention will organically turn the page for him in time. But there are a lot of nervous Republicans outside the campaign who don’t think that’s true. And most of those nervous Republicans would be even more nervous if they knew what Chicago was still, patiently, sitting on.

That’s a sentence that is likely to make any Republican nervous. After all, there’s no reason why the Obama campaign couldn’t hold on to whatever else it might have for months, launching it as part of an opening barrage after Labor Day perhaps. By that time, it will be too late for the Romney campaign to respond effectively with the General Election campaign in high gear. At that point, the powers-that-be in Boston may come to regret their failure to address these issues, which they should have seen coming from a thousand miles away, before their opponent had the chance to start defining them.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Moosebreath says:

    Oh, you don’t mean having a surrogate call Obama an un-American stoner is a good response?

  2. mattb says:

    From Cook: Given his campaign’s ample financial resources, the decision not to run biographical or testimonial ads, in effect to do nothing to establish him as a three-dimensional person, has left him open to the inevitable attacks for his work at Bain Capital, on outsourcing, and on his investments.

    I think part of Romney’s problem is that its difficult to spin his biography in a way that allows him both to unify his base and pick up independents.

    There’s no way to tell that biography without dealing with the following issues:
    (a) his birth into significant privilege (he is in no way middle class)
    (b) Mormonism
    (c) Bain and less than positive aspects
    (d) Healthcare in Massachusetts
    (e) His liberal turn in running for the senate

    And while some of those things could actually presented in a way that picked up folks in the middle, too many of those things risk his own base. Which gets to a bigger problem that the long primary caused Romney — by the end he had to tack farther to the right rhetorically than he’s ever been before.

    I think part of his issue currently is that his campaign can’t figure out how to get back to the middle and still hold onto the more extreme aspects of his base (in particular the talking heads).

  3. Jay Dubbs says:

    He doesn’t want to talk about his faith, his Governorship of Massachusetts, his taxes and now anything that happen at Bain past 1999. Since this makes up most of his life, what’s left to talk about?

    The party that obsessed about birth certificates and now college grades nominated this guy? Really!?!

  4. MBunge says:

    “it’s simply inexplicable that he and his campaign would be so seemingly unprepared for the attacks now”

    As Conan Doyle wrote, if you eliminate the impossible than whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. In this case, the impossible is that these attacks couldn’t be seen coming a mile away. Which means the truth must be that Mitt Romney simply refuses to think about these issues. I would imagine it’s fairly common for people at the top of a system to greatly resist analyzing that system and how and why they ended up at the top.

    Mike

  5. JohnMcC says:

    But just think of all the possible definitions of “Mitt Romney” that exist in the universe. He got a combined MBA and JD at Harvard; he could have had the cache of braininess that surrounded Jack Kennedy. Who robbed him of that identity? Certainly not the Democrats.

    He has lived by a strict moral code in a way that almost no one in American politics has ever done. He spent 3 yrs of his life on a religious mission; he almost lost his life there. He apparently has tithed to his church for his entire lifetime. Who robbed him of that political identiy? Certainly not the Democrats.

    He was the Governor of Massachusetts when the “miracle” of the the internet revolution faltered in that state. He worked for and passed a revolutionary healthcare/health-insurance bill that is approved of by over 90% of the citizens of the Commonwealth. Who keeps him from running on that record? Again, not the the Democrats.

    Finally, he developed a company that created lots and lots of wealth within the rules that applied during the rise of the financial sector of the economy. He didn’t do it by trading non-existent value in bundles of worthless paper for billions of dollars. He did it by analysing and maximizing the chances for his investors and himself to grow rich with real businesses. Some he lost money on but not many. And some he made money on ended up going broke in ways that hurt lots of people. That’s the facts and it wasn’t beanball; but the goal wasn’t to save those jobs it was to make lots of money and he was damn good at it.

    The Democrats have taken that away from him.

    But there is much more to Mr Romney that the Republicans have taken away from him. Probably the best parts of him, I bet.

  6. Jib says:

    The ads are only running in swing states. And in swings states, they have moved the polls. Specifically, Romney’s approval rating has taken a big hit.

    Still Romney should come out of the convention with the lead. Just after the convention is always the high point of any candidate.

    The reason Romney does not respond effectively is that he can not. There is no defense. He did what he did and a large number of people think what he did is wrong. You may not agree, and many people dont, but you can not argue this away. Between now and Nov, you are not going to convince any one who thinks outsourcing is bad that it is actually good. Those arguments have already happened. People have made up their minds.

    The big change in the last few years is the number of people who use to be neutral or positive about financial engineering but post-great recession have turned negative. Again, that debate has already happened. Between now and Nov you will not convince anyone who thinks the way Wall Street ran its biz the last 20 years is the problem that they are wrong.

    So the race comes down to this. Is the number of people who think Wall Street is the problem greater than the number of people who think Govt is the problem. More simply, pick the what you think the biggest problem with the current economy, Wall Street or Govt. If you think it is govt, you will vote Romney, if you think it is Wall Street, you vote Obama. Everything else is just noise.

  7. Tsar Nicholas says:

    It’s the idiocracy, economy.

  8. C. Clavin says:

    There is nothing new here that commenters haven’t been saying for days on end.
    If the Halperin information is sourced…maybe…but what he is saying has been predicted ad nauseum here.
    I’m just sayin…

  9. stonetools says:

    Romney has been getting an ass whupping, Chicago style (whatever that means). But its early days yet. Remember, when Obama was doomed because he said , ” The private sector was doing fine?”
    Romney’s problem is that he is well, Romney. Here is a guy:

    1. Who was born rich.
    2. Who greatly expanded the fortune handed to him by creating a business that maximized shareholder value often at the expense of blue-collar workers and blue-collar communities.
    3. Who safeguarded that vast fortune by engaging in such murky arrangements as hiding money in Swiss bank accounts.
    4. Who has never really shown any concern for the common man or the unfortunate .

    How do you re-define THAT? If the economy didn’t suck, Obama would be ahead by double digits.

  10. Moosebreath says:

    Jib’s analysis seems pretty accurate, except I don’t think Romney will come out of the convention with the lead. I think we’ve already seen Romney’s high water mark.

  11. anjin-san says:

    Part of Romney’s problem is simply who he is. He has sailed through life with the rough patches smoothed out by money, political power, and the family name. Being tall, good looking, and intelligent has not hurt either. He is waiting for the waters to part for him – they always have before.

    My guess is that he is genuinely confused, and probably more than a little panicked that he is encountering this sort of push back this late in his life. He is not equipped to play this game.

  12. mattb says:

    @stonetools:

    2. Who greatly expanded the fortune handed to him by creating a business that maximized shareholder value often at the expense of blue-collar workers and blue-collar communities.

    And not to put to fine a point on it, but that is the same community — especially white, blue-collar males — that Obama has the least traction with (or if you follow Limbaugh, Obama demonstrates his racism by abandoning).

    So Romney desperately needs to keep them on board. And it’s not enough for them to be anti-obama/democrat. They need to make it to the polls on Election day. And at some point, it may not be enough for Romney to simply be “not Obama.”

  13. mantis says:

    Lord Romney need not explain himself to The Help.

  14. Ron Beasley says:

    It’s not just Bain it’s the taxes. Romney has been running for office for 10 years and for president for six and he only has two years of tax returns that aren’t toxic? He should have started cleaning that up at least 6 years ago.

  15. Gulliver says:

    “Mitt Romney Is Letting Obama’s Bain Attacks Define Him, To His Detriment”

    Horsecrap. The media wants to hype the Bain issue on behalf of Obama – and therefore it fills an inordinate amount of airtime on the “news” programs. Romney has to address it somehow and this does not mean he is allowing himself to be defined by it.

    You get enough dog sh*t being spread around your yard by the mongrels and mutts in the neighborhood you eventually have to come up with a plan of action to get rid of the smell. It’s not your habits or values that are the problem, it’s the mongrels that think its their duty to crap in someone else’s yard.

    Speaking truth to power as a concept has become synonymous with doing the Democratic party’s bidding. Journalism died in 2007 – 2008 when the big three ( ABC, NBC, CBS) sold their integrity to the cause of radical liberalism in order to get “the one” elected at all costs.

  16. anjin-san says:

    @ mantis

    need not explain himself

    I think that plays into it as well. Like a lot of rich people, Romney probably keeps his world under tight control with money. The people around him know where their bread is buttered.

    Now he is dealing with the rabble, and that can be a very unsettling experience.

  17. Davebo says:

    @Jib:

    The ads are only running in swing states. And in swings states, they have moved the polls.

    So he’s so bad that Texas is now a swing state? Is he really that bad?

  18. john personna says:

    One suggestion I’ve heard is that if Romney got down to brass tacks, it would be to explain his endorsement of the Ryan budget plan. But details of the Ryan plan test badly with moderate or independent voters. The two campaigns both know this, which allows Obama to set this other narrative. The story goes that Obama has the Ryan plan in its sights for later.

    What’s the Romney economic plan? He cannot tell you, he cannot lead with it.

    Sad really.

  19. C. Clavin says:

    “…The media wants to hype the Bain issue on behalf of Obama…”

    And so why did thuis mythical liberal media hype it for Gingrich???

  20. Gulliver says:

    @ personna

    What’s the Romney economic plan? He cannot tell you, he cannot lead with it.

    Sad really.

    As opposed to the demonstrably failed economic “plan” offered by Obama. Elements of Obama’s “plan” are not just sad – they’re criminal. But of course libs think nothing of trying to circumvent Government and law when it buys a voting block for the next round of elections. By the way, if you’re ignorant (which I have to assume you are based on your apparent politics) I’m referring to Obama’s supposed “elimination” of the provisions written into law concerning the conditions it take to qualify for welfare – i.e you actually have to be trying to find work. He still seems to be under the impression that he’s a king, not a President.

    Actually I love the deep thinking behind Obama’s plan – let’s all just get everything for free! The rich can cover it by paying their “fair share.” GREAT economic plan – if you’re a lunatic or a liberal. Wait….. oh, never mind..

  21. Ron Beasley says:

    @Ron Beasley: Joshua Green thinks it may be the 2009 returns that are the problem. Like many big investors he lost a lot of money in 2008 and as a result may have paid no taxes at all in 2009. Legal – yes, but politically toxic.

  22. michael reynolds says:

    Many bright comments up-stream. I’ll just ad my own off-the-wall suspicion on the tax returns. What if Mr. Romney has more income than he’s been telling his church? LDS members are supposed to tithe 10%, and he seems to have done that in 2010, the only year he’s released.

    But what if he didn’t in earlier years? What if he only tithed 5%?

    That would make it very hard on a personal level for him to release his tax returns. It’s also not something that would jump out to McCain’s vetters. But it would be devastating to an official of the LDS church. I’m just saying it could fit the known facts and would explain his refusal to do what everyone knows he has to do to move on.

  23. Gulliver says:

    @ C. Clavin

    And so why did thuis mythical liberal media hype it for Gingrich???

    Really? Are you pretending to be naive or is this really a question? In case you didn’t notice, the media tried to promote any and all in-fighting they could amongst the GOP candidates. A blow against any one candidate- except Huntsman, who was a spineless political cog; or in other words just the type of Republican the liberal media preferrs – was promoted and highlighted in the interest of weakening the overall field.

    The media was more than happy to promote the early attacks on Romney – particularly since everyone looked at him as the presumptive GOP nominee.

  24. David M says:

    @Gulliver: And you have evidence the media did this because they are liberal rather than looking for ratings?

  25. Gulliver says:

    When the best your candidate can do is attempt to paint a successful businessman as being too successful, you’re in deep, deep kimshi.

    P.S.

    Obama is tied or slightly ahead of Romney in the polls, 110 days out. When the polls under- sample Republicans by 7-10 percentage points.

    Good luck in November, girls.

  26. stonetools says:

    @Gulliver:

    If you really think that Romney’s problems are solely the fault of the “librul ” media, well-keep thinking that. I hope Romney agrees with you and keeps doing exactly what he has been doing.

  27. bk says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Many bright comments up-stream

    Alas, and many that are just plain idiotic as well (for example, parts of Obama’s economic plan being “criminal”).

  28. stonetools says:

    @Gulliver:

    When the best your candidate can do is attempt to paint a successful businessman as being too successful, you’re in deep, deep kimshi.

    Actually Obama is defining Romney as a greedy, dishonest businessman . Maybe for you that’s the same as “successful”.
    With 110 days to go, Romney is on the ropes from the first volley of punches from Obama. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of the fight.

  29. john personna says:

    @Gulliver:

    I keep waiting for rabble on the right to engage with the global economic crisis and write intelligently about the Obama and Romney policy choices. They never do, the never rise above “economy bad, Obama bad.” It is a caveman argument.

  30. Herb says:

    @Gulliver: “Good luck in November, girls. ”

    Who needs luck when we have the media?

    (…..sheesh……)

  31. stonetools says:

    @john personna:

    I keep waiting for rabble on the right to engage with the global economic crisis and write intelligently about the Obama and Romney policy choices. They never do, the never rise above “economy bad, Obama bad.” It is a caveman argument

    The right has one, simple solution for any economic situation, good or bad: tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts in spending for the poor.I don’t expect the recipe to change, whatever the facts.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mitt Romney, on the other hand, still has a significant likability gap with the general public,

    You mean, who wants to have a beer with him? Let’s get real, he-doesn’t-drink-bee.r OF COURSE I don’t want to have a beer with a tee-total-er. Get real, will ya?

  33. Gulliver says:

    @ stonetools

    With 110 days to go, Romney is on the ropes from the first volley of punches from Obama. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of the fight.

    Whatever you’re smokin’ , I want some of it. Obama has lost almost 20 % of the Independents he carried in 2008, he’s lost about the same in the youth vote (those who say they will definitely vote this year as opposed to 2008), he’s lost about 8% of the working – white-males group, and he’s lost a significant percentage of the Catholic vote he previously had, because of his violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.

    This , among other things, is why the polls have to under-poll conservatives to show him being close to Romney.

    By the way, I’d like BBQ sauce with my Obama turkey burger. Please bring out my silverware ’cause I can tell by the smell that it’s done.
    romney.

  34. Console says:

    @Gulliver:

    Your argument is that him and Romney are neck and neck if you look at the right poll… So romney is going to win.

    Good luck with that.

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @Gulliver:
    Ah, yes, the polling conspiracy. Because everyone secretly agrees with you. Oooookay.

  36. The Q says:

    Gulliver meet crack pipe, now put it down….OK, explain to me what “demonstrably failed economic “plan” offered by Obama” means?

    Would that mean tanking the Dow Jones by 50% like W did or does that refer to the DJIA almost doubling from 6800 in 2/2009 to around 13,000 currently?

    Does it mean 8 straight quarters of negative GDP like the economy he inherited from W? or the 13 straight quarters of POSITIVE growth we are now experiencing?

    Did his failed polices double the unemployment rate as did W (4.2% in 2/2001 8.3% in 2/2009).

    Only in the distorted, bizarro wolrld of the wingnut is that failure.

    You must be a repub or a friggin’ idiot? But I repeat myself.

  37. stonetools says:

    @Gulliver:

    So I suppose all this Bain stuff and Romney’s non-response to it is excellent news for Romney! The librul media and even Doug thought that this week was bad for Romney, but if I put on whatever glasses you are wearing, its all pure goodness for Romney! Thanks for clearing that up…..

    I hope Romney continues to triumph just as he has been the last week or so. Victory for Romney is assured…..

  38. jan says:

    @Gulliver:

    You’re making way too much sense for this crowd in here. They have their partisan mufflers and deeply tinted Obama shades on, periodically exchanged for the rose-colored glasses that Obama hands out during his speeches, saying how ‘fine’ everything is, as long as you stick with him.

    In the meantime, Romney is the big, bad ‘Bain’ guy who huffed and puffed, putting 75% of the businesses back together again. Too bad Romney’s business results don’t fit the fabled wolf story. But, obama and his minions will fix that, being the great liars, I mean “storytellers” that they are.

  39. Scott F. says:

    @michael reynolds:

    And on November 6th, it will be the voter fraud conspiracy… the ideology never fails, it is only cheated.

  40. Jay Dubbs says:

    At this point we all just assume that Jan is actually operating out of a cubicle in Boston, right?

  41. Gulliver says:

    @ bk

    Alas, and many that are just plain idiotic as well (for example, parts of Obama’s economic plan being “criminal”).

    Of course, you don’t explain exactly why Obama isn’t breaking the law by attempting to unilaterally (for you liberals, that means all by himself) nullify a provision voted by Congress into law. A provision that was explicitly said by Congress to be an absolute, unchangeable requirement for participation in Government welfare programs.

    Your answer above is the same as most liberal’s answers when faced with unpleasant facts that don’t fit your narrative. Ummmm…. Oh, yeah? Well… you’re just stupid. So there…!

    Please, good citizen, enlighten me on how a President can claim to have a right to nullify law duly voted on and approved by Congress without violating the separation of powers. I won’t hold my breath.

    Please

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @Jay Dubbs:
    I was going to say she’s too dumb for that, but given the Romney campaign . . .

  43. jan says:

    A reality break from hyper-partisan trivia:

    Bernanke gloomy on economic outlook

    Media fail: Chevy Volt makes GM no money, costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars per car

    All right, back to Bain, tax return wars and defining that bad a** republican Romney….

  44. Scott F. says:

    @john personna:

    OTB desperately needs some coherent voices from the right to engage debate in the comments here and write intelligently about policy choices. Instead, we get…

    Surely there are some out there, right? I read OTB to ensure I get a spectrum of views informing my opinions. The front pagers deliver some of that. But, the usual suspects in the comment threads just leave the front pagers high and dry. Why is that?

  45. The Q says:

    P.S. As some know I am old enough to remember WW2 and Herbert Hoover, Fireside chats and collecting tin and bacon lard as a kid to help the war effort (somehow “go out and shop” so we can beat the Nazi’s was never a refrain and complaints by millionaires that taxing them at 90% was un-American was met with angry incredulity by the public.)

    So, to read horsebleep comments by the likes of Gulliver brings back a torrent of memories of how fuc$ked up this country got by listening to the idiots on the right who never learned the lessons of history and now we are doomed to repeat them.

    Ah, yeah, lets deregulate finance capital…..geesh, what could be the harm? Bank deregulation? thats a no brainer….tax cuts with the inevitable wealth stratification….no biggie.

    The central over-riding political issue for me in the last 30 years is the complete and catastrophic failure of the Democratic party to destroy the repubs once and for all.

    How blue collar white male working class stiffs continually vote wingnut in the face of brutal economic hammering by wingnut elites is mind boggling and ultimately tragic for this country.

    So while the modern boomer Democratic party has made it safe for lesbians to kiss in Disneyland and for moms to suck the heads of 8 month fetuses through straws and repealed the Glass Steagall Act, the wingnuts promise pie in the sky prosperity, a chicken in every pot and exploit the very real fears of the working man to their voting advantage.

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @Scott F.:

    The front-pagers are Joyner, a Republican having a crisis of faith; Mataconis, a libertarian unable to really explain or defend his theology; Taylor, a conservative who obviously matured, possibly due to his fatal weakness for logic.

    The reason there are no smart conservatives in the comments is that such creatures are unicorns. This is in part because real conservatives are closer to liberals now than they are to the nuts and weirdos who have absconded with the conservative label. And it’s also because what was conservative ideology has aged-out, been blown apart by reality.

    The hard fact is that regulated capitalism, tolerance for diversity and a reasonable safety net – the lynchpins of liberalism – are all now accepted as necessary. Except by crazy people.

    And liberals have mostly gotten over their tiresome hair shirt, blame-America-first mentality on foreign policy, so that’s helpful.

    Also, there are a host of secondary issues that blur the lines entirely: the drug war being a good example.

    Short version: liberals stopped being huge pussies, conservatives crashed the economy and two wars and totally lost their way, and liberalism won the intellectual battle by being right about civil rights, regulated capitalism, a safety net and so on.

    In order for conservatism to re-emerge, it has to adapt and re-think. They aren’t ready to do that just yet. It would require these things called “intellectuals,” and all they have is Sean Hannity.

  47. anjin-san says:

    @ Jan

    Media fail: Chevy Volt makes GM no money, costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars per car

    You claim to be a businesswoman. Surely you know that Chevy has a divers product offering, and the Volt is just one piece of the puzzle:

    Fueled by record worldwide sales of its Chevrolet brand, General Motors has achieved 2011 sales of 9.03 million units, surpassing both the 8.16 million sold by Volkswagen and the 7.9 million estimated by Toyota. Like other Japanese automakers, Toyota was impacted by inventory shortages caused by the twin disasters in Japan.

    That puts GM back on top of global sales, which is a remarkable achievement given the automaker’s financial health in 2009. GM hasn’t sold that many vehicles worldwide since 2007, prompting GM’s stock to rise slightly on the news. In early afternoon trading on January 19, the stock was selling at a high of $24.93 per share.

    The Chevrolet brand accounted for 4.76 million sales worldwide last year, breaking sales records in 15 markets (including the United States). Chevrolet sales in the U.S. totaled nearly 1.78 million units, representing a growth of more than 13 percent compared to prior year.

    http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1071952_gm-back-on-top-with-9-million-unit-sales-in-2011

    The way you have cherry picked to find a negative for Chevy leads one to conclude you are wearing partisan blinders

    Still waiting for you to show where Obama said “America is not exceptional”. You’ve been ducking for days. Put up or shut up. BTW, I am calling you a liar. Prove me wrong if you can.

  48. Gulliver says:

    @ the Q

    Gulliver meet crack pipe, now put it down….OK, explain to me what “demonstrably failed economic “plan” offered by Obama” means?

    Forgive me – I rarely visit this site anymore because its full of folks like you that simply defy logic. Also, because I get pissed off to the point that I feel like writing pictures in crayon so that you liberals understand simple facts.. You know, kind of like you get when you’re dealing with a dog that just can’t seem to get the idea of what “don’t piss on the furniture” means. But I’ll be polite. It’s hard, because your lack of understanding unwillingness to face reality is quickly flushing my country – and my children’s future – down the toilet.

    So, crayon picture number one: Obama has not offered a single budget in three years that has gotten any votes in either house of congress. You understand that, right? Even his own party doesn’t dare vote for his fairy-tale “let’s just print more money forever to pay for things” economic plan.

    Crayon picture number two: The real rate of unemployment in this country is about 14 – 16% depending on which report you want to cite. This hasn’t gotten better in the almost four years that Obama has been running the Big Show. Including two years when his party controlled the entire government. Obama’s answer to this problem is literally to say let’s print more money and give it away. (Please see crayon picture number one)

    Crayon picture number three: Obama’s signature legislation – for which he pissed away the first two years when he controlled the entire government is very unpopular, will actually make the economy worse by 1) raising the deficit by 2.6 TRILLION dollars over the first two years according to the CBO and, 2) because businesses are so shit-scared of this administration that they don’t want to risk capital on expansion or new ventures

    Obama’s economic plan is nothing more than to pander to this or that special interest group in order to buy the latino, gay, single-woman, and poor vote in the upcoming election. Since his policies are putting more people under the poverty level every month, I guess he thinks this is a good re-election strategy.

    He has no plan except to do the Stooge McDuck rendition of throwing money up in the air for all of us “simple” people to scramble and squabble over. That, and shouting “Squirrel ! “

  49. C. Clavin says:

    Jan…
    Stop reading right wing nut jobs and you won’t sound so f’ing stupid. Seriously.
    From a GM Exec…yeah the same GM Romney wanted to go out of business…millions of jobs be damned:

    “…GM does have a plan to make the Volt business case profitable, according to vehicle line executive Doug Parks. “In reality, it won’t be profitable at the beginning,” said Parks about the Volt.
    The plan to profitability is to reduce cost on a yearly basis as opposed to waiting the full development cycle to a second generation, typically 5 or 6 years for most cars.  “It is our hope, every year as we have opportunity to improve the performance and even take cost out, that at the end of the first lifecycle we make money,” he said…”

    GM sold every Volt they made.
    I know you want to move back to the 50’s.
    Some of look forward to the future.

  50. @jan:

    The Chevy Volt timeline starts in 2007. I was skeptical of it then, but back then, Republicans loved it! It was the American free market alternative to that no good, self-accelerating, Japanese, Prius.

    Laughing out loud. Obama can take office in 2009 and it can become all his socialist fault. You are too funny.

    BTW, you should have some kind of “nut detector” and use it so you don’t high-five thoughts like “Bain is a liberal media invention” … laughing some more now,

  51. Gulliver says:

    Correction – not “two” years, the intent there was to say “ten” years.

  52. @Scott F.:

    I don’t know, is it the completion of the RINO purge cycle?

    When no one reasonable is a real Republican, who’s left?

  53. C. Clavin says:

    Gulliver….
    Really? No budget for 3 years? How is the Government running?
    Oh wait…thats right…budgets aren’t required. That’s just something people who don’t know anything bring up when they are desperate to prove they aren’t as dumb as everyone thinks they are.

  54. wr says:

    @Gulliver: Funny, you keep saying how confident you are that Obama is toast, but we can smell the panic coming off your posts.

    Even the looniest of right-wingers know how badly Romney is blowing it now. That’s why they’re amping up the hysteria — “That mean black man in a criminal!”

    It’s just sad.

  55. Gulliver says:

    @C. Clavin and jan

    GM does have a plan to make the Volt business case profitable, according to vehicle line executive Doug Parks.

    See, jan! According to liberals you don’t have to actually be successful, you just need to “have a plan” to be successful! How could you be so silly, jan? Seriously! The Volt isn’t a failure, it’s just a “success in progress that needs more taxpayer dollars to carry it through the tough times… or at least until someone actually wants to buy one.

    Remember, jan, the goal of killing jobs in the petroleum industry – errr, I mean, using clean energy – is teh big picture here. Not whether or not Obama is pissing billions of your dollars away on companies like Solyndra, Fisker, etc.

    Liberal think. The new LSD.

  56. @Gulliver:

    The [Volt] production design model officially unveiled on September 16, 2008, as part of General Motors centennial celebration at the Wintergarden headquarters in Detroit.[39]

    Magic Obama, he can socialize the Volt retroactively!

  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @jan:

    In the meantime, Romney is the big, bad ‘Bain’ guy who huffed and puffed, putting 75% of the businesses back together again.

    Yeah, keep telling yourself that line of bull sh!t, jan. The truth is a little more complicated.

    In the meanwhile, I would appreciate it if everyone cut the “job-creator” bullsh!t right now. If they “create” jobs when they hire some one, do they “destroy” jobs when they lay someone off? No, and no. They do not create jobs. They create wealth. That is what they went into business for to begin with, is it not?

    So, where do the jobs come from then? Successful economies. Economies that work for all. Not just businessmen, but the guy at the long end of a wrench. We matter too.

    And all I know is, we haven’t had one of those in a long time.

  58. The Q says:

    Jan, (insert SNL’s Dan Ackroyd’s famous “you ignorant ……” here) there was a man named Walt Disney. He drew the mouse, produced the movies, created and built the Magic Kingdom, planned EPCOT and Disney World, hosted the TV shows and was paid 50 times the salary of the disneyland janitor. Thats my generation.

    Robert Iger was paid $31 million last year or more than a thousand times what the average $26,000 employee of Disneyland makes.

    Thats the boomer generation.

    How in your twisted, demented little boomer mind can this doosh who has created nothing justify such lofty multiples of salary when the dude that was the true genius, creative mastermind, founder, architect and the BUILDER of the empire settled for far less?

    Look in the mirror boomers and weep.

    Oh, sorry, Iger is WORTH more than Walt obviously….. right wingnuts?

    And you fools wonder why Romney is having trouble connecting? The worm is turning and its 1932 and the wingnuts aren’t fooling folks with impunity anymore.

  59. wr says:

    @Gulliver: “See, jan! According to liberals you don’t have to actually be successful, you just need to “have a plan” to be successful! How could you be so silly, jan? Seriously! The Volt isn’t a failure, it’s just a “success in progress that needs more taxpayer dollars to carry it through the tough times… or at least until someone actually wants to buy one. ”

    So in the world of Gulliver, a product has to be profitable immediately, or it’s a disaster. Funny, I’ve always understood that most new businesses take several years to turn a profit. And in the case of a radical new technology, where the initial investment is huge, it could take even longer.

    Apparently, in Gulliver-land, that never happens. If there isn’t profit on day one, it will never never never make any money at all.

    Good to know all the crack business minds are on the right.

  60. Gulliver says:

    @ the Q

    Ah, yeah, lets deregulate finance capital

    Nobody in the Romney campaign is saying that – to suggest otherwise is lying

    ..tax cuts with the inevitable wealth stratification….no biggie.

    Nobody saying this either. In fact the main line of thought for the GOP now is a flat rate of tax which by definition is fair to everyone since everyone pays the same percentage. The “tax cuts” you reference are currently already in place, it’s the existing structure that is in play. Again, you’re a liar.

    The hard fact is that regulated capitalism, tolerance for diversity and a reasonable safety net – the lynchpins of liberalism – are all now accepted as necessary

    No one is saying that capitalism shouldn’t be regulated, no one is saying that we shouldn’t betolerant of diversity, and no one is saying that we shouldn’t have a reasonable safety net. The ironic fact is that it is only the GOP that is trying to take steps to ensure a future safety net exists.

    What you describe as foundations of liberalism are nothing more than what everyone wants. Liberals just want to dictate to everyone else how much is “enough.”

    Sorry, you don’t get to decide for me how much diversity, regulation, or safety net is “enough.” I didn’t leave my citizenship behind when Obama goes into office, and I will still have when he’s gone three months from now.

  61. C. Clavin says:

    Thanks Gulliver for proving my point…you know nothing.
    What’s really dangerous for this nation is un-informed and mis-informed voters like you forming hard and fast opinions based on nonsense. It’s the Fox News syndrome.
    I suggest you look up the Dunning-Kruger Effect…then look inward.

  62. anjin-san says:

    The Q

    Great point. An incandescent genius like Disney understood that everyone that worked for him needed to make a living, and that as an owner he could live very well without eating the whole pie.

  63. C. Clavin says:

    “…a flat rate of tax which by definition is fair to everyone since everyone pays the same percentage…”
    Seriously? You believe that? Really?
    You should buy a dog, name it “Clue”, then you will have one.

  64. anjin-san says:

    “See, jan! According to liberals you don’t have to actually be successful, you just need to “have a plan” to be successful

    Do you enjoy making a fool of yourself? A few points:

    > Having a plan to be successful will certainly help you to get there, but there are never any guarantees. Welcome to the real world.
    > Products fail all the time. Inventions fail all the time. Sometimes they fail, but they turn out to be good ideas ahead of their time, or they pay unanticipated downstream benefits. Look up the Northrop Flying Wing.
    > If you don’t fail sometimes, you are playing it too safe. Read Richard Branson’s book, he is very articulate on that subject.

  65. Gulliver says:

    @ wr

    So in the world of Gulliver, a product has to be profitable immediately, or it’s a disaster.

    Ummm, no. I just don’t want to float a bad idea with my money, against my will, to the detriment of other companies that can actually make my life , my family and society more secure and efficient. Like cheaper energy. Which means tapping th huge resources of fossil fuels we have instead of chasing unicorns for the sake of some nebulous environmental “sustainability” standard.

    Chase your unfeasible and unachievable fantasies ( read alternative energy as a substitute for coal, LP, NG, and oil) on your own dime. Don’t use mine.

  66. Gulliver says:

    @ C. Clavin

    Gulliver….
    Really? No budget for 3 years? How is the Government running?…. budgets aren’t required

    Yes, they are. According to federal law. Educate yourself.

  67. Gulliver says:

    @ wr

    Funny, you keep saying how confident you are that Obama is toast, but we can smell the panic coming off your posts.

    Want to bet $100 on the presidential this November? I’m utterly serious. We can arrange it through Pay Pal or some other neutral party to hold the money.

  68. The Q says:

    Gulliver meet crayon, now put it down…..ah, I guess you didn’t understand my question about his “failed” economic policies, instead I get flatulent gibberish that skirts the issue.

    Now, can you answer the questions I posited?

    Where is the dow asswipe. Can you imagine the howls of disdain ringing down from the wingnuts if the dow was at 3300? since thats what W’s wingnut policies did?

    Or if the economy had gone into a1929 warp drive downward, instead of the positive GDP growth we’ve had. Hey, I do think even ignorant wingnuts can distinguish between “negative” and “positive”….ooopps you guys can’t.

    Oh and by your logic how can companies be “so shit-scared of this administration that they don’t want to risk capital on expansion or new ventures” if under Bush these same companies contributed to negative GDP, but under Obummer, we’ve had positive growth? Somehow, this just doesn’t add up. Oh, I forgot you’re a wingnut and wingnut logic says, “companies loved W, therefore we had a depression. companies hate Obozo, therefore we have a recovery.

    Gulliver, see Ackroyd, Dan and the whole ignorant …..thing

  69. anjin-san says:

    no one is saying that we shouldn’t have a reasonable safety net

    Umm, yea, actually they are. Giving a senior citizen a voucher for health insurance is not a safety net, it is a sick joke. Insurance companies don’t want to cover them, for one thing.

    I’ve gone through 2 rounds of breast cancer with my 80 year old mother. She is a bright woman, but she is old now. She can’t hear all that well. She gets confused easily. She forgets things. Her eyesight is not good. She is having a very difficult time of it without the additional burden of trying to get insurance from people that don’t even want to sell it to her.

    Sorry, but the Ryan plan.. “Here’s your voucher granny, good luck” will not help her.

  70. C. Clavin says:

    So I’m thinking…if Romney paid zero taxes for any year…how do you run a campaign saying “I pay no taxes, but I still need a tax cut”.
    How do Republicans then argue for tax cuts?
    He could do serious damage to the Republican brand, because if you take away tax cuts, the only idea they have left is controlling uteruses.

  71. anjin-san says:

    I just don’t want to float a bad idea with my money, against my will

    Wow. You must be out in front of the Pentagon every day protesting they way they pour tax dollars into rat holes that make defense contractors rich, but so often turn out to be boondoggles otherwise.

  72. David M says:

    @Gulliver: Not only are the formal budgets not really important, they are not binding. They don’t actually spend any money, it’s the appropriations bills that do that.

  73. Gulliver says:

    @ C. Clavin
    Seriously? You believe that? Really?

    So. The concept that everyone pays exactly the same percentage of their income is unfair? Let me get this straight. In C Clavin-land, equality means some pay more and some pay less. So, unequal = equal, and you think that you should be able to shame those paying the most right now into paying more. In the interest of fairness…

    Wow. Just….wow. Your emotional logic simply overwhelms the obviously ignorant , common, and mathematical concept that “equal” is the same as “fair.”

  74. C. Clavin says:

    Gulliver can’t be a true Republican…he’d want to bet $10,000.

  75. Gulliver says:

    @ the Q

    Oh and by your logic how can companies be “so shit-scared of this administration that they don’t want to risk capital on expansion or new ventures” if under Bush these same companies contributed to negative GDP, but under Obummer, we’ve had positive growth?

    Ahem…

    Bush Administration- 5.3 % average unemployment
    Obama Administration – 9.0% average unemployment (according to the administrations own estimates)

    Sorry, you’re hopelessly and irredeemably silly. Good day.

  76. DRS says:

    So how come Romney’s tied with Obama if Obama sucks so badly and Romney is just the bestest ever?

  77. David M says:

    @Gulliver: The average unemployment is useless and it contains absolutely no information of value. What might be useful is the change in the unemployment rate.

  78. C. Clavin says:

    Gulliver…
    Even the tea baggers at FreedomWorks call for deductions In their Flat Tax plan so that everyone doesn’t pay “exactly the same percentage”.
    Like I said…you’re uninformed. Woefully un-informed.

  79. C. Clavin says:

    Gulliver…average unemployment?
    What is that bullshit?
    Bush took a 4.5% rate and raised unemployment 40%. He left a 7.6% rate and a market shedding 700,000 jobs a month…during a 9% contraction of GDP.
    Obama stabilized that free fall and limited the further increase to 10%.
    I know you are a little slow…but 10% is 1/4th of 40%.

  80. mattb says:

    @Gulliver:

    Bush Administration- 5.3 % average unemployment

    Using Gulliver’s rational, going by average time of species on earth, the Dinosaurs were far more successful than Humans.

    Of course solely looking at averages one misses that entire spectacular catastrophe and total extinction part that marked the end of the dinosaur’s long reign.

  81. I probably shouldn’t chase the rabbits Gulliver and Jan put out for us … but this is too good:

    The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 contains a new tax credit for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles for less than a year after the first 250,000 are sold. The credit is a base $2,500 plus $417 for each kWh of battery pack capacity in excess of 4 kWh to a maximum of $15,000 for any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds (12,000 kg) [17] and up to $7,500 for 12 kWh or more in passenger cars (vehicles up to 8,500 pounds (3,900 kg) ).

    So not only does the Volt predate the Obama inauguration, so does the $7,500 credit.

    If you want to blame anyone (I think the credits are stupid), blame the 2008 congress who stacked the deck to feed $7,500 to GM … oh and George W. Bush, who signed it into law on October 3, 2008.

    So there you go guys. Every time you are asked about Obama commie volt, point out that it is actually GWB’s commie volt.

  82. C. Clavin says:

    @JP…
    There you go blaming Bush again.

  83. al-Ameda says:

    @Gulliver:

    Good luck in November, girls.

    In a related matter: See you at the re-inauguration party in February 2013, honey.

  84. al-Ameda says:

    @Gulliver:

    Bush Administration- 5.3 % average unemployment
    Obama Administration – 9.0% average unemployment (according to the administrations own estimates)

    There you go again – you guys are incorrigible

    Funny how you ignored the 2008 collapse of the financial and housing markets, the very one that caused the vaporization of $14 Trillion in wealth and income from the economy and was the direct cause of the 2009 recession, and of the increase in the UE rate 4.7% in April 2008 to 8.3% in February 2009, and the continued rise in the UE rate to over 9% during 2009.

  85. An Interested Party says:

    Forget Romney…anyone who has to use Bush to somehow paint Obama as being worse has already lost the argument…and this business of characterizing one’s political enemies as dogs, urinating and defecating all over the place…pathetic…

  86. wr says:

    @anjin-san: “Great point. An incandescent genius like Disney understood that everyone that worked for him needed to make a living, and that as an owner he could live very well without eating the whole pie. ”

    Sure. Until some of those “everyone” decided that they’d like to make a slightly better living than the one he chose to offer, and they went on strike. Then he decided that all the people who he had once counted on were really commie scum and should be punished to the fullest extent possible.

    Which is why workers should never be forced to count on the benificence of the Romneys and the Disneys of the world. If you have no strength, which can only come through solidarity, you have nothing except what the rich guy feels like giving you.

  87. wr says:

    @Gulliver: “Chase your unfeasible and unachievable fantasies ( read alternative energy as a substitute for coal, LP, NG, and oil) on your own dime. Don’t use mine. ”

    I pay for the highways you drive on. I pay for the army that protects you. I pay for the food inspectors that keep you safe. I pay for the FBI, which stops terrorist attacks against you. And you know something? I don’t even like you.

    But that’s the hard thing about living in a civilzation. We all chip in to pay for national priorities, even if we don’t agree with all of them. Don’t like it? Go buy an island, you miserable little whiner. Or accept that in a nation of 300 million people, you won’t get everything your way — and that actually isn’t the definition of socialism.

  88. wr says:

    @Gulliver: Yes, I’m dying to bet with a pseudonymous internet troll. How exciting!

  89. Scott O says:

    @Gulliver:

    So, crayon picture number one: Obama has not offered a single budget in three years that has gotten any votes in either house of congress. You understand that, right? Even his own party doesn’t dare vote for his fairy-tale “let’s just print more money forever to pay for things” economic plan.

    You do understand that those votes on Obama’s budget were gimmicks put forward by Republicans, right?

    “Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Miss., introduced a budget amendment representing the president’s budget request; the Sessions amendment was voted down 99-0. (You can read it HERE.)

    A similar effort from Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-SC, was rejected in the House 414-0.

    Sessions told reporters that it was “stunning” that no one voted for the version of the Obama budget he put forward. “A sitting president of the United States, seeking reelection, can’t lay out a plan that will gain a single vote in the House or Senate for the financial future of America,” he said. “It speaks volumes

    While the Sessions and Mulvaney bills put forward the same topline numbers as those in the president’s budget, neither offered any specifics. The Sessions legislation was 56 pages long; actual budgets are closer to 2,000 pages long.”

  90. Scott O says:

    @Gulliver:

    Crayon picture number three: Obama’s signature legislation – for which he pissed away the first two years when he controlled the entire government is very unpopular, will actually make the economy worse by 1) raising the deficit by 2.6 TRILLION dollars over the first two years according to the CBO and, 2) because businesses are so shit-scared of this administration that they don’t want to risk capital on expansion or new ventures

    I saw that you meant 10 years not 2 but you’re still wrong.

    “Over the 10-year period from 2012 through 2021, enactment of the coverage provisions of the ACA was projected last March to increase federal deficits by $1,131 billion, whereas the March 2012 estimate indicates that those provisions will increase deficits by $1,083 billion.”

    So 1 trillion over 10 years. Originally it was projected that the ACA would reduce the deficit but economic recovery has been slower than expected. Which ties into your 2nd part of this crayon picture. I believe most businesses aren’t expanding due to lack of demand. The economy sucks, we all know it and believe it or not that didn’t start on 1/15/2009. I know you feel that Obama’s policies are wrong but what exactly do you think Romney will do differently that will improve things?

  91. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @Gulliver:

    So. The concept that everyone pays exactly the same percentage of their income is unfair? Let me get this straight.

    What you flat-taxers don’t seem to understand is that the wealthy get to enjoy more of the benefits of our economic system than your average Joe. The guy making $40k doesn’t get to drive the Mercedes home to his mansion every night, because a 20-percent tax on $40k prevents him from enjoying that little perk; but not the guy making $400k.

    So, I will totally be on board with you and your flat tax when everyone else also gets to share the same benefits from the economic system for paying the same tax. Until then, I’m totally OK with those making more paying more so they can drive that Mercedes home every night.

  92. Scott O says:

    For the record Romney’s ideas can be seen at his site, http://www.mittromney.com/issues. To me much of it sounds like a rehash of Bush’s ideas. Cut taxes, increase defense spending and assume gdp will start growing at 4%.

  93. Ron Beasley says:

    @michael reynolds

    It would require these things called “intellectuals,” and all they have is Sean Hannity.:

    I wouldn’t limit it to Hannity, I would say all they have is snake oil salesmen and there are many. The intellectuals don’t get any air time on FOX because they would only piss off the FOX demographic.

  94. Ron Beasley says:

    @Scott O: Exactly – Romney is Bush redux. The scary part is the foreign policy.

  95. anjin-san says:

    Romney seems to be making a desperation embrace of birtherism, with surrogates saying Obama “needs to learn to be an American” and that “the current administration resembled foreign governments”

  96. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds: Thank you for your words. You expressed these ideas better than I could have. I occasionally comment here and have been a Republican since 1972 and consider myself to be a conservative person; however, I believe today’s so-called conservatives are radical nihilists who are unpatriotic raging destructors of our countries institutions. The flip side of the 60s radicals.

  97. Davebo says:

    I think Jan and Gulliver should really get a room.

    Preferably in another country.

  98. Davebo says:

    Is anyone here familiar with the phrase “Seagulling”?

  99. Scott says:

    @Davebo: In management, it is a person who swoops in, make a lot of noise, makes a mess, and swoops away

  100. jukeboxgrad says:

    Andy Borowitz on twitter:

    McCain: “Romney had all his money hidden in Switzerland. Sarah Palin was better, because she had never heard of Switzerland.”

  101. gVOR08 says:

    @Scott F.:

    OTB desperately needs some coherent voices from the right to engage debate in the comments here and write intelligently about policy choices. Instead, we get…

    Surely there are some out there, right? I read OTB to ensure I get a spectrum of views informing my opinions. The front pagers deliver some of that. But, the usual suspects in the comment threads just leave the front pagers high and dry. Why is that?

    Like you, I come over here to see the conservative side of the spectrum, and the conservative commenters are pretty discouraging. NYT spent, one assumes, a fair amount of effort and money trying to hire a good editorial spokesperson for the right. They ended up with Bill Kristol and then Ross Douthat. There seems to be a real dearth of thoughtful comment from the right. Once conservatism in actual practice becomes nothing but a defense of the wealthy and powerful, it becomes difficult to make a rational case for it.

  102. KansasMom says:

    @An Interested Party: Not to mention using “girls” as a put down.

  103. J-Dub says:

    @michael reynolds: Among the Tea Party types, Hannity is an intellectual.

    Besides, what are the options for a thoughtful person in the Republican party? Some, such as myself, took option A) Join the Democratic party. For those in office, many took option B) Retire, or option C) Lose in a primary.

  104. Murray says:

    Woaw.

    Who would have thought a post about Romney’s nothingburger would elicit such a storm of passionate comments.

  105. bobtuse says:

    @michael reynolds: keep plugging this wonderful, fun take on Romney undertithing!

  106. jukeboxgrad says:

    There seems to be a real dearth of thoughtful comment from the right.

    A few smart conservatives like Posner have been saying that for years:

    I sense intellectual deterioration of the once-vital conservative movement. … My theme is the intellectual decline of conservatism, and it is notable that the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings. … By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Conservative intellectuals had no party. … The conservative movement is at its lowest ebb since 1964.

    (link, link)

    And he recently spoke out again:

    I’ve become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy

  107. stonetools says:

    Looking at the spewings of Jan and Gulliver, one notes the absence of anything other than ” Obama bad!!!”

    It might be a good idea if we could start a thread to debate the Romney economic plan, such as it is. Then we could see if the conservatives here could actually defend their guy’s plan. How about that, OTB front men?

  108. john personna says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    Yeah, and I notice that conservatives who are smart in other parts of their lives will dumb down when they play politics. They know it annoys liberals, and that is fun for them, but they man not be aware how it drags them down. Stupid is as stupid does.

  109. john personna says:

    @stonetools:

    One hopes they are smarter than their comments.

  110. @stonetools:

    It might be a good idea if we could start a thread to debate the Romney economic plan, such as it is. Then we could see if the conservatives here could actually defend their guy’s plan. How about that, OTB front men?

    On this, I have a guess. I think that none of our OTB hosts like the Ryan budget or the fact that Romney endorsed it. I don’t think they like the extra trillions the Ryan/Romney plan would add to the debt.

    I worry though that despite this being the single most important domestic issue of 2012, they’ll soft pedal it, and vote for Romney anyway.

  111. anjin-san says:

    Dumbing Down:

    Jon Stewart went after “Fox & Friends” host Gretchen Carlson last night. Saying she plays the “troubled mom, just trying to make sense of this modern country,” Stewart explained Carlson seems to be dumbing herself down in order to connect with an audience that sees intellect as an elitist flaw.

    After showing clips of Carlson talking about Googling the words “ignoramus” and “czar,” Stewart was flabbergasted:

    How do you get a job on television if you appear to be one of those people who need to pin their address to their coat so a stranger can help them find their way home?
    Determined to get to the bottom of it, Stewart conducted a Google search of his own. According to his findings, this “troubled mom” is a graduate of Stanford and a classically trained violinist. With this in mind, Stewart challenged Carlson: “I don’t want to have to turn you on tomorrow to see you’re actually surprised that the Interior Secretary is in charge of the outside stuff.”

    The video clip is a classic:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/09/jon-stewart-calls-out-gre_n_385158.html

  112. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    They know it annoys liberals, and that is fun for them, but they man not be aware how it drags them down.

    And that’s perhaps the biggest problem of the type of cheap sensationalism that Limbaugh (and others coming out of the “Morning Zoo” school of radio) popularized. When everything shifts to a game mentality (i.e. winning at all costs including side stepping real conversation and moving straight to emotional attacks) you can no longer have a serious discussion.

    What’s worse is that even when the time comes that those individuals want to talk about something seriously, they’ve poisoned the “well” if you will thanks to one too many inane comments that are based solely on “winning” versus actually discussing facts.

  113. stonetools says:

    @john personna:

    Then maybe they should just come out and say, ” The Republican candidate’s economic plan suxxx, IMO. If anyone can put up a defense, go ahead”.,

  114. Barry says:

    @Eric the OTB Lurker: “So, I will totally be on board with you and your flat tax when everyone else also gets to share the same benefits from the economic system for paying the same tax. Until then, I’m totally OK with those making more paying more so they can drive that Mercedes home every night. ”

    In addition, the ‘flat tax’ is based on the ludicrous and patently dishonest pretense that the same people who carved out so many exemptions and loopholes will stop.

  115. stonetools says:

    @anjin-san:

    Dumbing Down:Dumbing Down:

    The party of Hayek, Friedman, and Buckley has now become the party of Limbaugh and Faux News. How have the mighty fallen.

    Getting back to Romney, he has decided not to try to defend his record at Bain, but instead he is ” taking off the gloves” and launching personal attacks on the President, trying to portray him as some sort of pot-smoking un-American hippie from the foreign country of Hawaii.

  116. @stonetools:

    instead he is ” taking off the gloves” and launching personal attacks on the President

    OMG, the party of Tsar, Jan, and Gulliver.

  117. stonetools says:

    From Jim Penthohouktis:

    Yes, Romney probably really does believe in growth through austerity

    The Hubbard op-ed and the Hoover study certainly suggests a President Romney would impose austerity on Washington in order to create prosperity on Main Street. Less government, more growth.

    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/07/yes-romney-probably-really-does-believe-in-growth-through-austerity/

    Uugh! It failed miserably in Europe, so let’s try it here!!

  118. Mr. Replica says:

    I do not have much to say on the thread topic that has not already been said, either by the author or in the comments section.

    I would tho, like to throw my hat in the ring in support of an OTB contributor discussing their take on Romney’s/the GOP economic platform.