Republican Opera Buffa


I can hardly wait until Saturday Night Live’s take on The Donald’s endorsement of Mitt Romney yesterday. The SNL writers may have a hard time topping the real event for belly laughs. Mrs. Romney looked like she was about to undergo a root canal and when the four minute endorsement was finished, Donald put Mitt’s hand in such a death grip (so all of the photographers could get the picture) that here was a clear wince of pain on the Mittster’s face.

A day after Romney had declared that “I’m not concerned about the very poor”, he trots out with the biggest blowhard faux-billionaire in America, whose signature phrase is “you’re fired”. Even the conservative press was wincing. Somehow the campaign of the Republican’s is wandering off into irrelevancy.

This morning the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%, dealing a severe blow to the whole Republican narrative that the economy is crashing under Obama.

This is the progress in job growth since Obama was inaugurated. There is no way you can spin this that “things are getting worse. You add in the dramatic turnaround in the stock market, which affects every 401 K and Obama has a good story to tell on recovery.

What’s more interesting is that Romney now wants to fight the battle with Obama over foreign policy.

It did not take long for Mitt Romney to pounce on Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s statement Wednesday that American troops could end their combat role in Afghanistan by mid-2013, 18 months sooner than expected. Within hours, Mr. Romney lambasted it as “naïve” and “misguided.”

Could Mitt be so clueless as to understand that arguing to stay in Afghanistan is a total loser argument, even within his own party? Has he ever listened to Ron Paul’s biggest applause lines in the debates? If the Republicans can’t fight on national security and the economy is clearly on the mend, what is their message? Well the highly unpopular House Republicans have a solution–“Keep you head down and say nothing”.

“Most of us expect the major decisions aren’t going to be made this year,” said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a former chairman of the House Republican campaign committee. “It’s a very political year. The big thing for us is to not be part of the conversation instead of trying to inject ourselves into it.”

As I said, this is too funny not to savor every moment.

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15 Responses to Republican Opera Buffa

  1. len says:

    “The big thing for us is to not be part of the conversation instead of trying to inject ourselves into it.”

    Allah is Merciful. A few more episodes of the House shooting America’s foot off and we’ll have to all buy iCrutches.

    I’d still rather see Obama debate Newt. Watching Obama debating Romney will be like watching LBJ swing a basset hound by his ears: too painful to contemplate.

    To every election comes an unforeseen orthogonal event that changes the momentum of the zeitgeist in a way not predicted. The Pink Event may be that. The ire of women is palpable. They were betrayed and that is No No #1 on their list: betrayal is a Don’t Get Out of Jail penalty. The evangelical wealthy ideological right pressed against Planned Parenthood for a paltry amount that will return bad karma at amazingly amplified speed and ferocity. Their willingness to punish anyone who doesn’t line up to their ideology is now in a bright pink glaring light in front of the very demographic they could not afford to lose: they pissed off women of almost every age, color, creed and persuasion and these ladies will not forget. This doesn’t affect the White House run as much as it makes them look at their local Republicans with a nasty red get out the broomsticks eye.

    And if that continues, thralldom to the Ownership Class snaps like an overstuffed kitchen garbage bag.

  2. Morgan Warstler says:

    1.2M left job market this month, Jon.

    Stop shilling juked stats. Real growth has slowed.

    We’re over 10% without the reductions.

  3. Morgan Warstler says:

    We can get the real growth number turned back around and we can even get the job participation number going back up AND still see the unemployment # get worse.

    Without the full story, you’re just blowing wind.

  4. Alex Bowles says:

    @len That’s the line that jumped out at me too. When one half of “the world’s greatest deliberative body” finds it has nothing to say that isn’t deeply damaging and / or embarrassing, then, well, I just don’t know what to say myself.

    Wandering into irrelevancy indeed.

    Meanwhile, the Net has scored a second front-page victory in as many weeks. First with the SOPA reversal, then with the cratering of Komen’s policy. This is starting to look less like a constituency, and more like a nascent party in its own right. At the very least, it seems like an incubator for a sense of autonomy that both the left and the right are going to struggle to understand (at first), then accomodate, and – finally – to advance, each in their own way.

  5. Jon Taplin says:

    Morgan-You are so clueless. The baby boomers you despise are retiring in record numbers and taking their comfortable pensions with them. We’re happy to leave you with the bill. :)

  6. len says:

    @Alex Bowles

    The money seems to delude the moneyed class into believing everyone wants to join their ranks. They don’t seem to grasp the change in mood as people are turning off the incessant political attacks and watching anything else, that they are cheering up, looking around, noting it isn’t that bad for them as they look as say, Syria, and wish for a happy weekend and an endurable week. One might call it acceptance or one might call it waiting for the change as the song goes. Whatever one calls it, I think they are deciding to let go of directionless angst and get back to work.

    And that’s bad for the Republicans.

    The winners of the Florida primary were the Florida TV and radio stations. We finally see what we need: very rich people spending money like their wallets are on fire. That’s the up side of this otherwise clownish political season. The clowns are spending. And we say… spend!!

  7. JTMcPhee says:

    @Jon Taplin
    Gotta say not all of us are “retiring.” And how many of us have “comfortable pensions” after the (Smart) Money People got done with us? And how many are waiting for the (Smarter Than Us) Money People to finally figure out how to kill off the last vestiges of the New Deal, default on the Special Treasuries that sit quietly in a corner, given in exchange for Real Money we-all were required to pay into what was supposed to be a “Trust Fund,” and walking away with another $4 trillion of OUR earned money?

    We ain’t leaving whining parasites like Worgon with the bill — we are applying liniment, limping down to Walmart or pushing medication carts and our fellow Oldsters around in wheelchairs in for-gross-and-disgusting profit “nursing homes,” and saying “WELCOME to Mecca!” with bright and shining faces, and paying (in my case, at least) about $4,000 a year for our “free socialized Medicare.” Not counting the cost of medications, of course.

    I know you were just tweaking his snotnose, but still…

  8. Alex Bowles says:

    @len It did cross my mind that the election finance madness means more media people getting paid. Something tells me this is a bad thing to grow dependent on, but as a rough fix for people still on the mend, it’s better than the alternatives (i.e. no fix at all).

    Hope your own ordeal is progressing if not well then at least tolerably, and that you’re feeling detached enough from the (current) bout of idiocy to just let it quietly implode on its own time. Here in CA there’s sunshine to enjoy. Like everything else, it’s not infinite in its supply.

    I came across this poem this morning, and it seems especially apt.

    Under One Small Star
    My apologies to chance for calling it necessity.
    My apologies to necessity if I’m mistaken, after all.
    Please, don’t be angry, happiness, that I take you as my due.
    May my dead be patient with the way my memories fade.
    My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second.
    My apologies to past loves for thinking that the latest is the first.
    Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home.
    Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.
    I apologize for my record of minuets to those who cry from the depths.
    I apologize to those who wait in railway stations for being asleep today at five a.m.
    Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing from time to time.
    Pardon me, deserts, that I don’t rush to you bearing a spoonful of water.
    And you, falcon, unchanging year after year, always in the same cage,
    your gaze always fixed on the same point in space,
    forgive me, even if it turns out you were stuffed.
    My apologies to the felled tree for the table’s four legs.
    My apologies to great questions for small answers.
    Truth, please don’t pay me much attention.
    Dignity, please be magnanimous.
    Bear with me, O mystery of existence, as I pluck the occasional thread from your train.
    Soul, don’t take offense that I’ve only got you now and then.
    My apologies to everything that I can’t be everywhere at once.
    My apologies to everyone that I can’t be each woman and each man.
    I know I won’t be justified as long as I live,
    since I myself stand in my own way.
    Don’t bear me ill will, speech, that I borrow weighty words,
    then labor heavily so that they may seem light.

    Wislawa Szymborska (2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012)

    So there you have it. Onwards.

  9. len says:

    @Alex Bowles

    Thanks Alex. That’s beautiful. I’m faring well even if locked at home when not at work. My baby girl is celebrating her 18th with a dozen roses and I’m writing new songs. Samantha Brown was great fun to make. All is fine. This election is yet another season of silly and wasted promises. a clown act. The important stuff is all local. :) The beating drums in the Middle East should give us all the willies but it seems to be beyond our control too.

  10. John Papola says:


    What are we to make of what (hopefully) seems like the beginning of a real recovery… right in the middle of the winding down of so-called “stimulus”? Obama has hitched his policy to Keynesianism. His “jobs bill” hasn’t passed, but it was more of the same. The gang from Krugman and Delong to Baker and Bernstein have all been decrying how “austerity” is hurting the recovery. There’s been no austerity of course. Those claims are just dishonest. But we also haven’t gotten the increased spending they claimed was crucial for accelerating job growth. So what’s happening now, if it persists, will be one more nail in the coffin of defunct, vulgar keynesianism… which again, is the explicit and sole economic policy of the Obama administration. There’s really no way for someone keeping track of the actual policies, predictions and record to claim credibly that Obamanomics is working. It’s not.

    For a great starter on the superior framework for thinking about economics, I strongly recommend this short piece by Arnold Kling:

    Now, Romney will be no better a president, though I doubt he’ll be worse. His econ seems very top-down and equally technocratic. So that’ll suck. His foreign policy is more bellicose in rhetoric, so that’s bad. But I doubt much will change, just as little has change between Bush and Obama.

    Nothing is going to change until their backs are against the wall, guys. The troops won’t come home until our creditors start demanding higher interest.

  11. Morgan Warstler says:

    “The baby boomers you despise are retiring in record numbers”

    This is false Jon, I don’t think you are lying, but you truly are misinformed.

    But even if you were in some alternative universe correct correct, you are admitting that the DECLINE IN UNEMPLOYMENT IS NOT BASED ON A GROWING ECONOMY.

    Some logic helps.


    1. The 1.2M was technically from a US census recount.
    2. Boomers are in fact working longer, part time, etc.
    3. The working population is still growing (getting bigger).
    4. The real employment participation number is falling.

    Jon, look you’ll be closer to a solid point when you say (and this should happen this year), the UNEMPLOYMENT # WENT UP, bu that’s good news because labor participation went up too.

    We HAVE TO GET a bigger percentage of people working.

  12. Morgan Warstler says:


    when I said #3 “The working population is still growing (getting bigger)”

    I mean the # of people who are 16-70 (and could/should be working) is continuing to increase.

  13. JTMcPhee says:

    An alternative explanation for what looks momentarily and slightly like a bit of “recovery,” subject to derangement by any number of little sidelines like tripwires in the Strait of Hormuz and trillions of Notional Counterfeit Dollars more in new derivatives every day or week and all the efforts under way to start reinflating the Real Estate Bubble and the New Tech Bubble…

    Speaking now about that set of honest-toilNot rooted in any kind of “voluntary associationalism,” but in that characteristic of humans that appears midstream in all kinds of disasters — like all those Japanese after the devastation of WW II, policing up tin cans and hammering them into the little wind-up toys of my youth that gave the phrase “made in Japan” its former meaning of “cheap tripe.” Before Toyota, etc.

    Too bad so many of us, faced with the theft by the moneyed class of all our “comfortable livings,” facilitated by the Combustion Consumerism vulnerability of too many of us to self-indulgence without foresight, and with the need to re-fill our personal and national and state and local coffers even while the predators and parasites continue to bleed the carcass, just hunker down, put our shoulders to the wheel, suck it up, apply our mostly government-provided educations to inform our ingenuity and ground our industriousness, and get the Wheels of Commerce back on the taxpayer-funded (that’s US, as I recall) road.

    And the “voluntary associationalists” kind of skip past what appears to be the case, that there has in fact been a lot of “stimulus,” and that maybe pinched view of what can actually work, economically, in the real world of 7 billion people, and that sneering in the general direction of “keynesianism,” are maybe not the lodestone pointing to True North for the most of us. I’m satisfied that decency, and fairness, and sustainability and even predictability, exist somewhere in the middle of all the cloud-cuckooing and pragmatistical talking points and Absolute Truths on all sides. I, personally, am reasonably sure that “voluntary associations” in the broadest sense are pieces of the jigsaw, but if they end up running the show you might as well turn Worgon loose with his Ice Flows and Revenge of the Nerd against all those Hippie Boomers, even the ones whose Really Smart Kids have Boomeranged back around to “re-claim” “their” rooms in their parents’ house and “their RIGHTS” to the family cupboard and refrigerator. But then his game (and he’s hardly alone in that) seems to be to kill the old folks, and either inherit or just steal whatever wealth they have been able to accumulate.

    And yes, there’s a boatload of stuff that’s wrong with “government,” but I would sooner have even a POS like Boehner or Gingrich or Rmoney (intentionally sic) with their hands on the levers of coercive power that will inevitably exist in any set of humans, than a Carnegie or a Ford or any Banksta you care to name.

    Did I miss something? Did our resident “voluntary associationalist” disavow all or any part of the series in “Naked Capitalism” laying out a future where “government-like organizations” will provide “security” or any of the other bits of civilization, but only for money up front? Straight Milo Minderbinderism?

    “No austerity”? Must only be impacting where I live and at my little socio-economic level… One has to love the dismissive condescension of “just dishonest.” And what the Obamites have been up to does not look like any version of even “defunct, vulgar keynsianism” I ever read about, unless you look at it very much slantwise. Maybe there’s a special secret definition that’s not generally known outside the “voluntary association…” At least in the faux-Manichaean, binary worldview of certain enthusiasts…

  14. len says:

    Wow! Reefer Madness: The Sequel. So Morgan, how are J. Edgar and Uncle Ho getting on together in hell? Still pit mates? Still arguing about who was better in bed, Clyde or Jane?

    Hippiespoitation movies on a double bill with blaxpsloitation movies at the drive in by the high school. How 1972!

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