Mitt Romney: the sour-grapes candidate

romney bribed with gifts

There were many times during the 2012 election when Romney appeared to have lost the election. One of the most significant was the 47% video:

So, from this, we learn that Mitt Romney believes that almost half the American people are unrealistic, selfish, and greedy.  They can’t be enticed to vote for him, so he won’t bother talking to them.

Whether because of this video, or for many other reasons, he lost the election.

Most Presidential candidates shut up promptly after losing the election. The exceptions are interesting. Nixon complained in 1961 that Kennedy had stolen the election. Nixon then roared back in 1968 (and six years later resigned the Presidency in disgrace, having committed most or all of the crimes he’d accused Kennedy of in 1960). Al Gore didn’t shut up after 2000, with good reason; he’d won the popular vote, and the electoral vote depended on Florida, which was (effectively) decided by the right-leaning US Supreme Court.

But Mitt Romney won’t shut up.

He said, shortly after the election, that Obama won because he promised “gifts” to his followers. Please follow this link to hear that the Salt Lake Tribune had to say about that.

A MSNBC commentator made a very sensible point about this recently: of course Presidential candidates offer us “gifts”! They’re called campaign promises! If I’m presented with two candidates, and one of them promises to end legalized abortion, eliminate “unnecessary” programs in the arts and sciences and education, and opposes gay rights – I will tell him that these are not the “gifts” I require.

Most lately, Romney’s son Tagg (I love that name!) has stated that his father didn’t want to be President in any case. As follows:



“He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” Tagg Romney told the (Boston) Globe. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside.”

The Globe article also noted that “Tagg … worked with his mother, Ann, to persuade his father to seek the presidency.”


So what’s all this about? Did Mitt want the Presidency or not?

Perhaps, as the New Yorker recently remarked, the GOP really ought to have run someone for President who really wanted to be President.

Sesame Street, Elmo, and Kevin Clash

Over the past few weeks, a mini-drama has been growing over Kevin Clash, who voices Elmo, the little red Sesame Street monster.

First there was a man who claimed that Clash had relations with him while he was under 18; then he recanted his claim. Since then, however, two other men have come forward with the same story.

Oh dear.

I love Sesame Street, and the Muppets. During this past Presidential election, Mitt Romney said he was ready to end funding of PBS and CTW, the homeland of Sesame Street, and there was a backlash: people claimed (very fairly) that Mitt Romney wanted to kill Big Bird, inspiring images like this:

Well, Obama won the election.

And now it turns out that the voice of Elmo is a child molester.

Awful? Of course. But oddly timed. I can’t help wondering if this is Republican reprisal for the election, to weaken PBS as a whole. I wonder if they’ve been digging for dirt on PBS, and finally found some.

Clash, if guilty, should be punished. But PBS should not be punished.

The mission of PBS is to make America a little smarter. It made me smarter, back in the 1970s. As for expense: they (together with NPR) receive one one-hundredth of one percent of the Federal budget, for God’s sake!

If we have to jettison Kevin Clash, fine.

But let’s not jettison PBS.

Let your representatives and senators know how you feel about this.

The 2012 Presidential election: why the Republicans lost

Sometimes, when good things happen – as with the reelection of Barack Obama – I begin to reassure himself that things in general are getting better.

And, I suppose, they are.

But some things don’t change.

I had hoped that the GOP would understand, after four years, that Obama is not a fluke or a trickster. I had hoped they would stop pretending that he was the lovechild of Kwame Nkrumah and Lenin. I had hoped also that they would acknowledge that, Obama having won both the Electoral College and the popular vote, that he definitely possesses a mandate from the American people.

I was wrong.

Their party line, after two weeks, is still crystallizing. Given that they can’t admit that they were well and fairly beaten at the polls, they have come up with some (moderately ridiculous, and mutually contradictory) reasons for their loss.


(Naturally they didn’t lose because of their message, or their candidate, or their poor organization, or their alienation of large chunks of the electorate.)

Here are some of their rationalizations:

1)    We were outnumbered! (This is from Rush Limbaugh. I let this one speak for itself. Imagine being outnumbered in a democracy!)

2)    Voter fraud was rampant! (See this ridiculous Wisconsin senator’s statement that, if voter ID were universal, we wouldn’t have any more of these silly Democratic victories.)

3)    Obama voters were bribed with “gifts”! (Romney himself said this recently.)

4)    Poor beautiful Paul Ryan – he of the big luminous eyes – recently commented that he and Mitt lost because of the “urban vote.” What do you think that means? Why, minorities, of course. Minority voters kept Obama in, and Romney out, of the White House. How uppity of them!

I recently found a wonderful graphic showing minority representation in the House and Senate (including women, who are certainly not a minority of the US population). Here it is:


Please examine it and tell me how many Republicans you find.

Now tell me what conclusions you draw.

Here’s to another combative – but, I hope, constructive – four years.

Voting cute

There is an old truism that the handsomer presidential candidate usually wins. Sometimes it’s true: Warren Harding was very distinguished-looking, and Kennedy was certainly better-looking than Nixon.

I voted for Barack Obama last week (of course I did!), but I have to admit, to my shame, that I don’t think he was the handsomer of the two candidates. Mitt Romney, for all his wishy-washy political loathsomeness, is very good-looking, and Paul Ryan is perfectly dreamy.

Somehow, however, I managed to vote with my brain, not my hormones.

Does this really work? One wonders whether McCain’s advisors thought Sarah Palin added sex appeal to the campaign. (I honestly wonder if Romney’s advisors thought the same about Ryan.) John Kerry (who’s merely acceptable-looking) chose the soap-opera handsome John Edwards as VP in 2004. (It was only later that we discovered what a scuzzball Edwards really was. OMG! Fox News was actually right about something!) Clinton was certainly a more attractive man than either George H. W. Bush or Bob Dole.

And so on, and so on.

Does it really make a difference?


In 1972 I managed to get my mother to register to vote, so that she could vote for George McGovern. (Dad registered too, and I’m certain he voted for Nixon, not that it did the country much good.) Mom got a little nostalgic. “This is only the second time I’ve voted,” she told me. “The first time was in 1948, and I voted for Tom Dewey, because he was so cute. I loved his mustache.”

So there you have it.

Lessons from the 2012 Presidential campaign

It has taken me a little while to compose myself after Election Night 2012.  Now that I’ve stopped screaming with joy, however, I’ve jotted down a few things I’ve learned over the past few weeks and months.

As follows:

Probably you shouldn’t try to redefine the word “rape.” It doesn’t make you many friends. (Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock: hear me?)

Money doesn’t necessarily win elections.  When it’s quite evident that you’re trying to buy a House/Senate seat (McMahon in Connecticut, Hinckley in Rhode Island), you will probably lose. And Donald Trump publicly mocked Karl Rove for wasting millions of dollars of PAC money on candidates who lost. (As a Tumblr commentator said: Who knows more than Donald Trump about wasting money?)

Lying is very traditional in American presidential elections, but it’s getting easier and easier to disprove a lie. Probably people should try to lie less (or at least more cleverly). And they should not openly flout the fact-checkers.



In a state where people traditionally hate and fear state troopers (like Rhode Island, for example), the opposition party shouldn’t nominate a state trooper as their candidate. (Bye-bye, Brendan Doherty.)



Don’t make fun of your opponent. It makes you look small. (This one goes out to former Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who insisted on belittling his opponent Elizabeth Warren as a liar, as ugly, as untrustworthy, as a “college professor.” It didn’t work, did it, Scotty?)



Do not, in your concession speech, imply that God made your opponent win in order to make the Apocalypse happen sooner. (Okay, Mr. God-be-the-glory Todd Akin?)



Don’t assume that gay marriage is a passing fad. Before Tuesday, every popular referendum on gay marriage had failed, and the Republicans / social conservatives were convinced they had a failsafe way to defeat gay marriage: bring it to a popular vote. Well, on Tuesday, four states voted, and three (Washington, Maine, and Maryland) upheld gay marriage. You can be sure the GOP will be less confident in future about this particular strategy. (So Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee can take their Chick-fil-A sandwiches and jam them up one another’s asses. And they can make sure those sandwiches are up there real tight, too.)

And finally:

The country is changing. We are more diverse, and more tolerant, as a whole. (A commentator in 2008, shortly after Obama’s first election, said that bigotry and intolerance in the USA would decrease over time, but (like seawater evaporating) they would become more concentrated and intense. I remember thinking this was a very wise thing to say. Now, after four years of concentrated intense vicious hatred of Obama and the liberal agenda, I see how prescient he was.) But we are not Sarah Palin’s America, and we are not Mitt Romney’s America (whatever the hell that was supposed to be about). We are a multicolored America. We do not care to be ruled by Christian law, or Sharia law, or any kind of religious law for that matter. We like our marijuana. We like being married to our common-law partners. We like Planned Parenthood. We like knowing that, if we become ill, we will not go into bankruptcy if we go to the doctor. We have no problem with electing women, and gays, and differently-abled people; in fact, we’re proud to be represented by them.

Let the right-wing nuts shriek about socialism and the Death of America, kids. They’ll tucker themselves out in a while, and we can have some peace, maybe even through Inauguration Day.

And I’m sure the 2016 campaign won’t begin before June or July of 2013.

(I plan to vote for Hillary. How about you?)

For Election Day 2012: Homer Simpson votes Republican!

I learned a lot from this clip. I already knew that Romney invented Obamacare. However: did you know that the government actually paid Romney taxes for five years? And that Romney has six wives, all named Ann?




And vote, for God’s sake.



Living under an enemy administration

On Election Night 1980, I was in the Graduate Center Bar at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, watching the election returns. The media declared Reagan the winner over Carter fairly early, as I recall. I was standing next to a short fat guy, who muttered: “Now it’s our turn.”



I got the creeps all over as he said it.



As it turned out, I had the creeps for another twelve years.



I have lived under a Republican Presidency for most of my life, as I calculate it: 1957-1960 (three years of Eisenhower, which I barely remember, as I was a toddler); 1969-1976 (seven years of Nixon/Ford, which was intermittently disastrous, but not entirely catastrophic); 1980-1992 (eight years of Ronald Reagan, tragedy/comedy, and four years of G. H. W. Bush, mostly comedy, with the terrifying exception of Operation Desert Storm); and eight years of George W. Bush (pure disaster).



So that’s thirty years of my life under a Republican administration. And I am still alive.



To be sure, Eisenhower was not out to kill or disenfranchise me. Nixon, much as he was a rascal, did not try to do so either. Gerald Ford, God bless him, was not the kind of person to do harm to a little periwinkle like me. G. H. W. Bush was a quasi-jerk, but not as extreme as his son. G. W. Bush was a total jerk, and eight years of him was agony.



Mitt Romney has declared himself against gay marriage, abortion, Affordable Care, etc. He says he wants to “take back America.” From whom? I don’t have it at the moment; I feel, in fact, that I am not so much in control of anything in America. So who’s he taking it back from?



Mitt Romney is the total anti-package. He is what I do not want.



I do not want to find myself on election night in November 2012, with a sweaty little fat man standing next to me, watching Romney being declared winner, and hearing him say: “Now it’s our turn.”



Once is enough.



Kids: you know what you have to do.



Vote, please. Vote your hearts. And make sure your friends and family vote. (And if you’re unlucky enough to have family in a Republican-controlled state, help them get their ID cards.)



Keep climbing.



We can do this.


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