Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

Mini-Rumination: Mitt Romney’s Birth Certificate

Has anyone seen Mitt Romney’s birth certificate?

How do we know he was born in the U.S.?

After all, his father was born in Mexico – a fact not in dispute.

Isn’t this all a bit…suspicious?

And where’s Donald Trump when we need him?  (The Curmudgeon takes that back.  We’d all be better off if The Donald just went away, wouldn’t we?)

Behind the Scenes at a Romney Strategy Session

A Sketch in One Act

(A small conference room.  Two men are seated.  One is Fred Hamilton, who has been on Mitt Romney’s campaign staff since 2006.  Before that, he worked for Romney in Massachusetts, on the Salt Lake City Olympic committee, and at Bain.  The other man is Jerry Wrightman, founder of the Tea Party organization in Ohio and its current leader.  They are chatting quietly but awkwardly when a third man arrives:  Carl Lemon, one of the Republican Party’s top political strategists.)

HAMILTON:  Gentlemen, thank you for joining me this morning.  As you know, we’re faced with the very challenging task of trying to improve our standing with both the Tea Party and Republicans who are more centrist and voted for Obama four years ago.  We need your help with the Tea Party people.

WRIGHTMAN (grimacing):  Well, your boy’s practically a socialist, what with his health care plan in Massachusetts and his past support of abortion and gun control and the stimulus.  You’re gonna need to show us that he’s different from Obama, because right now, the only difference we see between the two of them is that my people would cross the street if the guy they saw walking toward them looked more like Obama.

LEMON (shaking his head from side to side):  That’s right, Jerry, get it all out of your system now so we can get down to the business at hand.

WRIGHTMAN:  Am I wrong, Carl?

LEMON:  Whether you’re right or wrong doesn’t matter anymore.  We now have two candidates, Romney and the Kenyan.  It’s one or the other.  If you don’t see any difference, feel free to go back to your people and tell them it doesn’t matter who they vote for.  If you don’t really feel that way, though, kindly extract your head from your ass and cut the crap.

WRIGHTMAN:  I’m just saying, Carl.  Yeesh, don’t be so serious.

LEMON:  This is serious business, Jerry.  The future of the republic is hanging in the balance.

WRIGHTMAN:  If you’re not happy with your boy either, we could always put up our own candidate and take our chances with that.

HAMILTON:  Please, gentlemen!  Let’s get back to the business at hand.

LEMON:  No, Fred, hold on a minute, I need to make a point here.  (turns to Wrightman)  Who’s your candidate, Jerry?  Who do you have who wasn’t already rejected in the primaries by your own people?

WRIGHTMAN:  Well, there’s Jeb.

LEMON:  He’s not even one of yours.  Who else?

WRIGHTMAN:  One of our spiritual founders, Jim DeMint.

LEMON:  Really?  Five months before the election and you want to go with somebody no one’s ever even heard of?

WRIGHTMAN:  Chris Christie.  People certainly have heard of him.

LEMON:  No guts, pardon the pun.  Next?

WRIGHTMAN:  Well, there’s…Sarah.

LEMON:  Okay, now you’re just wasting our time.  She’s too busy trying to get rich.  Four years in the White House would hurt her cash flow.  Besides, as a candidate, she couldn’t find that fine ass of hers with both hands.  Even if you had a candidate, it would only take votes away from Romney and ensure that the Kenyan wins.  Is that what you want?

WRIGHTMAN:  No, but…

LEMON:  The primaries are over, Jerry, and the time for buts is over, too.  Romney’s the guy, whether you like it or not, so let’s get back to the problem at hand.

HAMILTON:  Yes, let’s.  Does either one of you have any ideas for something we can do that’ll get the far right enthusiastically behind us in November?

WRIGHTMAN (excitedly):  Social Security.  It’s pure socialism, and Mitt should say that if he’s elected, he’ll dismantle Social Security and let people make their own retirement investment decisions without government interference.

HAMILTON:  Jerry, that’s not quite what we had in mind for…

LEMON (turning toward Wrightman):  Hey, shit-for-brains, do you just want to concede the election to the Kenyan right now?

WRIGHTMAN:  Okay, smart guy, what do you have?

LEMON (smiling):  Actually, I do have something.  We need to create our own issue, like Willie Horton in ’88 or those swift boat loons we ginned up to sell their souls to the devil back in 2004.  We need to pay a lot of attention to something that most people don’t care about and use it to take over a few news cycles and score cheap ideological points that rally people – in this case, the screwy people.

WRIGHTMAN:  You establishment Republicans have no respect for us, and it’s going to hurt you.

LEMON:  I’m scared, Jerry, I’m scared.

HAMILTON (ignoring the last exchange):  What do you have in mind, Carl?

LEMON (sitting forward):  Student loans.  We hit them on student loans.

WRIGHTMAN (laughing):  That’s your big idea?  Student loans?

LEMON:  It’s perfect.  There’s a big fuss going on in Congress over student loans.  The interest rates are scheduled to rise and Democrats are falling all over themselves trying to prevent that.  Republicans are saying they’ll go along in exchange for spending cuts, but that makes them look like they’re just getting in the way for the sake of getting in the way.  In other words, politics as usual.  The way to score points is to take a stand, regardless of what that stand is.  In this case, they should refuse even to consider preventing the interest rate increase and start talking instead about de-funding the entire federal student loan program.

HAMILTON:  What?  You have to be out of your mind.

LEMON:  Great – a strategy critique from a guy whose next successful political strategy will be his first.  Not only should we do it, but your boy should lead the way.

HAMILTON:  Seriously, Carl, that’s a terrible idea.

LEMON:  No, it’s a perfect idea.  Look, long-time Republicans – real Republicans, not your Tea Party wing-nuts…

WRIGHTMAN (interrupting):  Hey!

LEMON:  Real Republicans have their own money.  They don’t need student loans to put their kids through school.  Well, in this campaign, they’re no longer student loans:  they’re government handouts.  They’re unfunded mandates.  They’re entitlement spending we can no longer afford.  Real Republicans don’t need student loans and don’t want to give other people handouts to put their kids through college when they’re putting their own kids through school without the government’s help.

HAMILTON:  Technically, it’s not an entitlement.

LEMON:  It will be when we talk about it.

HAMILTON:  What about the middle class?

LEMON:  Polling shows the middle class doesn’t make voting decisions on issues like this, so there’s no risk of alienating them.

HAMILTON:  What about the poor and minorities?

LEMON:  Fuck the poor and minorities.  Why should you care about the poor and minorities?  There’s not a chance in hell they’ll vote for your guy, so why should you care about them?

WRIGHTMAN:  So how does this help win over my people – assuming you’re even serious about trying to win us over?

LEMON:  Quit the posturing, tea-boy.  Do you remember during the primaries, when the Kenyan said that every kid should go to college and…

HAMILTON (interrupting):  No, that’s not what the president said.  He said that every kid who wants to go to college should be able to go to college.

LEMON:  Let’s not let this strategy get bogged down by the facts, Fred.  Remember swift boat.  Do you remember what happened?  Santorum called the Kenyan an elitist and said that not everyone needs to go to college and that saying so was an insult to honest working people everywhere.  He got tremendous traction on that, especially among your tea-baggers.

WRIGHTMAN:  That’s Tea Party, Carl.  Tea-baggers are a totally different thing.

LEMON:  Whatever.  Your people ate it up because so many of them didn’t go to college and have never understood all the fuss about college.  Going all the way back to Nixon in ’68, Republicans have always scored huge political points taking shots at all those liberal college-boy eastern elitists in politics and the media.  Your people didn’t go to college, Jerry, and they don’t particularly care whether their kids go to college, either.  So then tell me, who are student loans for?  (momentary silence)  I’ll tell you who they’re for:  they’re for eastern elitists and big-city liberals.  Why should Tea Party Republicans – your people – turn over their hard-earned money to subsidize college for those people ?

HAMILTON:  So you want to make fun of educated people?

WRIGHTMAN:  I think I’m starting to like this.

LEMON:  You see, Fred?  The uneducated guy like this.  Our target here isn’t just the Tea Party, either:  this’ll also resonate with working-class conservatives, Republicans, and even blue-collar Democrats.  These people didn’t go to college, never wanted to go to college, don’t care if their kids go to college, and don’t want to subsidize people who do go to college.  This issue is just ripe for us to pull out our tried and true strategy that when we propose something that we know will be unpopular with some people, we just insist that we should let the market decide without government interference or intervention.  No one knows what that actually means, but our base eats it up and it scares the crap out of the liberals.

WRIGHTMAN (smiling):  I think I like it.

HAMILTON:  Wait a minute.  Are you forgetting that Mitt has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young and both an MBA and a law degree from Harvard?  And that Bush senior had a degree from Yale and Bush junior had a bachelor’s degree from Yale and an MBA from Harvard?

LEMON:  That’s the beauty of it.  You respect the Bushes and I respect the Bushes, but the Tea Party people can’t stand them.  To a member of the Tea Party, the only difference between W and Teddy Kennedy is a dead party girl in the river.

HAMILTON:  You’re kidding.

LEMON:  No, I’m not.  Believe me – I’ve polled on it.  Look, Mitt went into Philadelphia a few weeks ago and said that the whole education establishment’s mystique about small class size is a crock, remember?  And has he gotten any meaningful pushback from that?  No – barely a peep.  Don’t you see?  This also gives us an opportunity to take a few shots at overpaid public school teachers and their unions if they try to fight back.  Tea Party people hate public employees and their unions with a passion.  If you walk through a Tea Party crowd when Mitt gets on a stage and starts talking about overpaid teachers and their unions, the men will practically have hard-ons they’ll be so excited.

WRIGHTMAN:  I can sell this to my people.

LEMON:  But we can take it even further.  We can take shots at all those elitist, liberal-run universities that claim they’re non-profit organizations so they can evade taxes.  We can talk about the huge salaries they pay their administrators and professors and their astronomical tuition, too.  We can compare their tuition to that of legitimate internet universities and ask what in the world they’re doing with all that tuition money.  And the best part of this angle, just a little cherry on top, is that the high and mighty Washington Post will have to sit out the whole thing because it owns one of those internet colleges and would go belly-up tomorrow without it.  We’ll have that bitch Katherine Graham’s tit in a wringer.

HAMILTON:  Carl, you realize Katherine Graham’s been dead for more than ten years, don’t you?

LEMON:  Who cares?  You get my drift.

HAMILTON:  So you’re saying you want Mitt to be the anti-education candidate?  Are you serious?

LEMON:  Serious as a heart attack.

HAMILTON:  The governor’ll never go for it.  He values education and respects educated people.  Look at him, his family, his kids, the people around him.  He’s never going to question the value of higher education.  He may question its cost, he may question some of the things being taught, but question the value of higher education?  It’s not going to happen.  He’s just not going to go there, Carl.

LEMON:  Oh, he’ll go there.

HAMILTON:  What makes you think that?

LEMON:  Because not believing it won’t stop him from saying it.

HAMILTON:  What?

LEMON:  Oh, come on, Fred, he does it every day.  Health care, abortion, the stimulus, stem cell research, the minimum wage, amnesty for illegals, gun control, bailing out banks – do you want me to go on?  He’s constantly saying things he doesn’t believe so people will like him and vote for him.

HAMILTON:  That’s not true.  People change over time, their views evolve.

LEMON:  Save it for your book, son.  This is politics.  People say things they don’t believe to get elected.

HAMILTON:  Not the governor.

LEMON:  Yes, the governor.  Take it to him, let him decide.  You can keep your hands clean and tell him it’s my idea and you’re only being an honest broker.

WRIGHTMAN:  You guys realize I’m sitting here, right?

LEMON:  Some things are unavoidable.

WRIGHTMAN:  The Tea Party wants action, not just talk.  Even if you get him to say it, what good does it do us if it helps him get elected and then he doesn’t do it?

LEMON:  Good lord, are you people stupid.

WRIGHTMAN:  Excuse me?

LEMON:  It’s about the table, nimrod.

WRIGHTMAN (Looks for a moment at the conference room table): What?

LEMON:  The table.  What you guys want is a seat at the table in a Romney administration.  Romney says things like this, he gets elected with your help, and you and your cult get a seat at the table where they decide real things, not nonsense like student loans.

HAMILTON:  He’ll never go for it.

LEMON:  Does he want to be president?

HAMILTON:  Of course he wants to be president.

LEMON:  Then he’ll go for it.

HAMILTON:  No he won’t.  He’s a man of principle.

LEMON:  John McCain had principles.  He wouldn’t talk about Reverend Wright, wouldn’t talk about this guy being born in Kenya, wouldn’t talk about him being a Muslim, wouldn’t talk about his wife being ashamed of being an American, and where did it get him?  Now he’s just an old, cranky, bitter guy, just like Bob Dole before him.  Principles are for losers.  If your guy wants to be president badly enough, he knows what he has to do to get there.  Say what you want about Mitt, but he’s a focused and disciplined guy who knows how to keep his eye on the prize.  He’s not gonna go soft now, not when it’s closer than ever.  Six years, more rubber chicken that the colonel could possibly imagine, there’s no turning back now.

(There’s a knock on the door.  Without waiting for an invitation, Mitt Romney enters.)

ROMNEY:  How’s it going, fellas?

HAMILTON (looking up and forcing an unconvincing smile):  This is a sticky challenge, governor.  We’re tossing around a few ideas but haven’t yet come up with anything solid.

LEMON:  I’m not sure I agree with that.  I have something for you, governor.

ROMNEY (looking to Hamilton):  Fred?

LEMON:  Fred doesn’t like it, governor, but I think it’s worth sharing.

(Hamilton tilts back in his chair, visibly unhappy.  Romney notices and nods at him.)

ROMNEY:  Let’s hear it and I’ll decide for myself.

HAMILTON:  Well, governor, it’s like this…

THE END

April News Quiz

1.   Eleven Secret Service agents have been accused of visiting prostitutes while in Columbia recently to plan for an upcoming visit by President Obama.  This is a problem because:  a) it’s wrong to pay for sex; b) it will contribute to the U.S. trade imbalance; c) it violates the Obama administration’s “buy American” policy; or d) it’s going to cost the president the all-important prostitute vote in November?

2.   While the late Dick Clark didn’t actually create American Bandstand and was only its second host, not its first, he went on to build a television empire by creating and producing such memorable programs as:  a) um; b) er; c) uh; or d) come to think of it, he never created anything that wasn’t total crap?

3.   The focus of the Chinese government these days is:  a) raising worker productivity at factories so it can continue to sell cheaper and cheaper goods to the U.S. and other countries; b) fighting inflation caused by low unemployment and rising wages; c) enforcing the one-child-to-a-family law; or d) measuring Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, and Cambodia for drapes?

4.      It’s important to stop Iran from getting the bomb because:  a) it would be a threat to Israel; b) it would be a threat to the rest of the middle east; c) it would be a threat to U.S. interests; or d) we’re all tired of hearing politicians and news anchors struggle to pronounce “Ahmadinejad”?

5.   The “Buffett rule” calls for:  a) rich people to pay more taxes; b) rich people to pay the same tax rates as everyone else; c) rich people to pay less taxes than they do now; or d) limiting customers to only two return trips to the line at Old Country Buffet?

6.   To improve the economy, Mitt Romney will announce his support for:  a) lower taxes, so rich people will have more money to create jobs; b) no change in the current tax structure, because if it works for his family, it should work for everyone else; c) reduced federal spending on safety-net programs like unemployment, food stamps, welfare, reduced-price school lunches, and Medicaid because he doesn’t worry about poor people; or d) anything that the polls tell him will make people want to vote for him?

7.   The Trayvon Martin murder case has proven to be a bonanza for:  a) opponents of  “stand your ground” laws; b) the NRA, which feels vindicated because a good man was able to save his life because he was armed; c) Geraldo Rivera, because it’s been a while since we’ve heard him say something stupid on television; or d) Jesse Jackson, who has been mostly invisible since Barack Obama was elected president because he no longer could claim to be the only person who could speak on behalf of all African-Americans?

8.   “Brangelina” is:  a) getting married; b) Italy’s ambassador to the U.N.; c) an excellent pinot grigio that goes especially well with veal; or d) who cares?

9.   Speaking before an NRA audience last week, gun enthusiast and rock’n’roll has-been Ted Nugent declared that “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”  This statement suggests that:  a) Nugent doesn’t realize that Mr. Obama is already president; b) the cocktail hour was before rather than after the speeches; c) the Secret Service will be knocking on Nugent’s door in the very near future; or d) there’s more to those 1980s “This is your brain.  This is your brain on drugs.  Any questions?” commercials than many of us realized?

10.   The Pulitzer Prize committee did not issue an award for fiction this year because:  a) the members of the selection committee all voted for their own books and refused to consider any others; b) the espresso wasn’t good and the croissants weren’t fresh so the committee adjourned after just a few minutes of deliberations; c) committee members had a book in mind to which to award the prize but because the book isn’t available in a Kindle version they were afraid giving it the prize would stir the wrath of the folks at Amazon.com and jeopardize their own future book sales; or d) there haven’t really been any good novels published since Jacqueline Susann died in 1974?

Mini-Rumination: George Washington and Mitt Romney

Just something to chew on for those who think that Mitt Romney, because he’s so wealthy, can’t possibly understand the concerns of ordinary Americans and isn’t suited to be president for that reason.  At the time of the revolutionary war, George Washington – you know, I-chopped-down-the-cherry-tree, I-cannot-tell-a-lie, first-in-war-first-in-peace-first-in-the-hearts-of-his-countrymen George Washington – was, if not the wealthiest man in the colonies, then certainly one of the wealthiest.

Something to think about.

No, Mitt, We Do Not

During the 131st (or was it the 132nd?) Republican presidential candidate debate last Saturday, Mitt Romney made the following statement:

The right course for America is to return to the principles that were written down in first words in the Declaration of Independence, we were endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, among them, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have the right in this country to pursue happiness as we choose and as people pursue education and work hard and take risks and build enterprises of all kinds, they lift themselves and don’t make us poorer, they make us better off.

The Curmudgeon is especially struck by Mr. Romney’s assertion that “We have the right in this country to pursue happiness as we choose…”

No, Mr. Romney, we do not.

What we do have in this country is the right to pursue happiness as we choose within the bounds of the laws of our land.  As Americans, moreover, we have long and willingly embraced a standard that goes above and beyond mere laws:  we have chosen as a people to operate not only within the bounds of law but also within the bounds of what is considered right and fair and decent – even when those concepts are not always covered by law.  It is imperative that you understand this, Mr. Romney, because so many of the people for whom you speak do not believe or accept this at all.

No, Mr. Romney, we do not have the right to pursue our happiness by deceiving and exploiting the weak and the uneducated and the unfortunate and the trusting, as Mr. Romney’s Wall Street friends like to do.  That means not telling clients to purchase the stock of companies that you know are failing, that you know are about to go out of business, that you know your own company is trying desperately to sell before it loses millions.

No, Mr. Romney, we do not have the right to pursue our happiness by abusing those who have placed their trust in us for our own financial gain – even if our actions in doing so technically fall within the letter of the law.  That means not selling mortgages to people who can’t afford them and not selling them mortgages at inflated rates.

No, Mr. Romney, we do not have the right to pursue our happiness by preying on those who are different from most of the rest of us – whether their difference is a matter of race or gender or sexual preference or physical capabilities or any of the many other characteristics that distinguish us from one another.  And you, Mr. Romney, should be especially respectful of this concept because there are so many people out there who oppose you simply because of how you choose to worship your god.

No, Mr. Romney, we do not have the right to pursue our happiness by lying to regulators, by lying to customers and clients, and by lying to public prosecutors.

No, Mr. Romney, we do not have the right to hurt others in the name of personal profit.  That means we do not have the right to hide behind bankruptcy laws to help money-making businesses shed union contracts and drop employee benefits that were negotiated in good faith over many years.

No, Mr. Romney, we do not have the right to pursue our happiness by lying about those who oppose us simply to curry public favor, as those who shared the stage with you last Saturday night are doing repeatedly, and then simply attributing it to nothing more than campaign rhetoric and the heat of the moment.

No, Mr. Romney, we do not have the right to pursue our happiness by attempting to impose our religious beliefs on others – again, something to which you should be especially sensitive.

And no, Mr. Romney, we do not have the right to pursue our happiness by demonizing those who so happen to hold views different from our own.

These words might suggest that The Curmudgeon has a low opinion of Mitt Romney, which is not true.  There is little or no reason to believe that Mr. Romney has engaged in any of this inappropriate behavior – but the people behind him, the people who support him, unquestionably have, raising the question of whether Mr. Romney really means these words or just believes he needs to use them to get elected.

But if he really does mean them, if he really means that “We have the right in this country to pursue happiness as we choose…” he is not fit to be president.

Mitt Romney’s Hair: Enough Already

You may have heard of Mitt Romney; he’s running for president.

The Curmudgeon is on the fence about Mr. Romney.  On one hand, he seems like an awfully capable guy.  The history of his professional life is that if you hand him a problem, he will produce a solution.  That’s a pretty terrific talent for a leader to have.  On the other hand, it’s often unclear what Mr. Romney believes in other than that he should be president.  He’s changed his views on some issues, and it’s not clear whether his actual views have changed or if he’s changing them in response to the politically shifting winds.

But The Curmudgeon is sick and tired of reading about Mitt Romney’s hair.  Reporters don’t invest a great deal of prose on Ron Paul’s wrinkles, on Michele Bachman’s figure, or on Rick Perry’s gait, and there’s no reason for them to write – constantly – about Mitt Romney’s hair.  They need to get over it, because it comes across as smarmy, snarky, and nasty.  And jealous, too – as in “I wish I had a head of hair like that.”  (For the record:  The Curmudgeon’s scalp is completely devoid of hair; not a single strand remains – by choice.)

It also comes across as lazy – lazy as in “Yeah, I could’ve gone out there and reported a real story, but it’s easier to sit in my cubicle and just make smart-mouth comments about Mitt Romney’s hair.”

So now, The Curmudgeon calls for the press to stop writing about Mitt Romney’s hair.  It may have been cute or clever the first time, or even the first dozen times, but now it’s just old and worn out and so very 2008.  If you can’t think of anything more important, more relevant to write about, it’s time you stepped aside and let a real reporter or a real columnist do the job.

That means you, Michael Barbaro and Ashley Parker, who wrote in the November 24, 2011 New York Times – in an article devoted entirely to Mr. Romney’s hair – that “By far his most distinctive physical feature, Mr. Romney’s head of impeccably coiffed black hair has become something for a cosmetological Rorschach test on the campaign trail, with many seeing in his thick locks everything they love and loathe about the Republican candidate for the White House.”

And that means you, Kathleen Parker, a syndicated columnist who on November 10 wrote in a piece published in the Washington Post that “Few can identify with a man who never touches coffee or alcohol, whose hair is as precise as the crease in his pants.”

And that means you, Alex Beam of the Boston Globe, who wrote on December 2, 2011 that “It’s back. It’s black. It’s under control – or is it? It’s Mitt’s hair.”

And that means you, Peter Funt of the Wall Street Journal, who on August 22, 2011 wrote that “The GOP nomination fight will ultimately hinge on the one factor that always tips presidential elections. That’s why we can say that Rick Perry will beat Mitt Romney by a hair.  For over half a century, voters have unfailingly elected the candidate with the best hair—the guy with the lock on locks.”

And since it would hardly be fitting to give The Curmudgeon’s hometown paper a special break, that also means you, Thomas Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who started out the new year on January 1, 2012 by writing “An icy wind scoured the parking lot of the Hy-Vee supermarket, ruffling Mitt Romney’s perfect hair as he urged about 500 rain-soaked people to stand up for him in Tuesday’s Republican caucuses.”

All of you:  just cut it out.  It’s irrelevant, it’s wrong, and it’s why people like The Curmudgeon and so many other find themselves losing their respect for the press in this country.

Mini-Rumination: The Return of Mr. Potatoe

Overheard backstage last week, just moments before former vice president Dan Quayle endorsed Mitt Romney’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination:

“Please, Dan,  in the name of all that’s holy, please don’t endorse me.  People already have enough reasons not to like me.  I’ll give you anything you want – money, the name of my barber, my first born, anything.  PLEASE DAN!”