Romney’s Trojan Horse

I was at a conference today when Peter Ackerman, the funder of Americans Elect, gave a speech. It was an empty suit recitation of how our politics are broken and we need a third party. They have somehow managed to avoid registering as a political party even though they plan to be on the ballot in 50 states.

By not registering as a political party, Americans Elect avoids having to disclose all its financial backers. The veil of secrecy permits donor protection for those who worry about retribution from the two major parties, the group says.

This is patent nonsense. When I was an investment banker in the 1980’s, Peter Ackerman was famous as Mike Milken’s enforcer at Drexel Burnham. One of his duties was to raise hundreds of millions for Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital. It is so clear to me that Romney knows the only way he will get in the White House is by creating his own version of Ralph Nader, the man that put George Bush in the White House. So he gets Ackerman to fund this totally phony political party to try and drain off just enough moderates from Obama for Romney to sneak in. When I asked Ackerman if he funded Romney he said yes, but claimed it was 20 years ago, and so it was irrelevant.

What a crock.

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16 Responses to Romney’s Trojan Horse

  1. JTMcPhee says:

    What a surprise. Not. And what are the bits of the real agenda of the rich shits who are hoping to cement a trippple whammmy, Executive, Legislative and Judicial, onto the bent back of former American Republic? Straight-up Kocheanism, with a chaser of Hayekian borscht?

    What’s-her-face failed to buy the Procuratorship of California. But that rotted piece of tripe, Rick Scott, spent $80 million of the money he got away with stealing from Medicare and Medicaid not so very long ago, and is settled nicely in the, well, he declines to actually live in the Governor’s Mansion since it’s not upscale enough for the likes of him, and he’s figuring out how to stealthily steal everything that’s not nailed down and ensure the infestation of creatures that are so inadequately called “Republicans” there and in the rest of Tallahassee.

    Interregnum? With a heaping helping of “Apres moi, le deluge…”

  2. Terrence says:

    If a candidate runs successfully on a platform of fighting bipartisanship in Washington, and four years later a reform group runs on a platform of fighting bipartisanship in Washington, do you think they might be positioning themselves to steal votes from that candidate?

  3. Steven Schmidt says:

    I do not believe Ralph Nader ‘put George Bush in the White House’. I respect Jon’s point of view, and long track record, but would argue that there was much more in play in 2000 and many factors can be pointed at, including Nader himself, the campaign, and Gore himself and his campaign. And of course there was what happened in Ohio and of course the Supreme Ct decision. I would add that, for what it’s worth, I was there and know, first hand, many of the details and much of the history, incl the drafting of the Green Party platform, the first Grn national “40 state organizing effort” (incl ballot access work w/ Richard Winger), the state by state formation of Green parties and subsequent filing w the FEC for national party standing and on and on…. I look back and feel a profound sense of accomplishment in building a major political party, as well as a profound sadness at how the election outcome was determined and most all of the subsequent substantive policy decisions of the Bush administration…. I have written much about this period. Re the Americans Elect organization, I agree w Richard Winger, it is a sham that it acts like a political party, one w seeming deep pockets, but is not transparent in its affairs, its backers strategy, as Jon points out, nor is it up front about how it acts like a political party. Re its potential for splitting the vote or spoiling, given its shallow popular support, I do not see this as a realistic prospect. Re spoiling, I would say that, of the two major third parties Libertarians and Greens, the Libertarians could be a serious problem for the Republicans this time. The Libertarian nominee, Gary Johnson is a considerable force and will pick up where Ron Paul leaves off…. I know Johnson, ex Governor Johnson, he is an Iron man athlete, literally climbed Mt Everest… his company built the Intel fabrication plants in NM, he is wealthy, driven, conservative and will not ‘drop out’ and he is not pleased at the way the R’s treated his prez run. There is much more to this story that hasn’t hit the popular press. I think the third party push this time around will be on the conservative/Libertarian party front, remember they’ve ballot access in fifty states, yes? Ask Richard Winger what this means …. It’s not symbolic politics, they’re in a fighting mood. How many ‘tea party’ types are going to send a message via Romney?

  4. Alex Bowles says:

    Romney’s setting himself up to get played. Like, severely.

    Regarding the kerfuffle with / resignation of Ric Grenell, who is both gay and neoconservative as all hell.

    The private conversation among many Republicans in this town is that this was unjust and unfair. The Romneyites are correct when they say they tried to talk him out of it. But they kept and keep their views quiet. The gay-inclusive elements in the elites simply do not have the balls to tackle the religious right. And this is particularly true of Romney, as this case now proves. The Christianists gave Bush a pass on social issues because of his born-again Christianity. They trust Mormon Romney not an inch. And this week demonstrates without any doubt that Romney will therefore not be able to deviate from their wishes an iota. He has no room to maneuver.

    As Jon likes to point out, Obama loves the Rope-a-Dope play. His team used it masterfully earlier this year in getting Conservatives to take hardline positions against abortion AND contraception. When that blew up, the entire primary field – already batshit crazy by any objective standard – went into superfroth overdrive, yanking Romney even further to the right, especially (entirely?) on the social issues. This is entirely to Obama’s advantage.

    After all, there are still sharp divisions on the left between the Occupy set and the Rubinites, and this has led to some lackluster polling for Obama. But if there’s one thing that both factions can agree on, it’s that the fundies are a singular menace. If Obama’s team can keep forcing Romney’s hand, baiting him into advocacy for the positions that will unite the left against the GOP, Romney can be expected to sideline himself.

    And I think Mr. Schmidt is right about AE going nowhere. It’s got SuperPAC written all over it. I know they started laying their foundation before ‘SuperPAC’ became such a dirty word, so they may not have recognized what a liability their secretive structure would become. Unfortunately (for them) the body politic has since developed a set of very hostile antibodies, and those can easily reattach to AE.

    Meanwhile, the civil war unfolding in the GOP is still playing itself out. Had Santorum gotten the nod, the fever may have run its course sooner. But if Romney is made to hew the same line, it may not make a difference. And if the libertarians feel they’re being force fed a losing agenda, count on them to vector in another direction, dulling if not splitting the GOP vote, and sealing the deal for Obama.

    After all, the fundies are also big fans of the war on drugs, militarizing the police, and propping up the Pentagon uncritically. These positions are huge, long-standing problems for the libertarians. If the fundies can’t reach a compromise on the things that matter most to the Ron Paul supporters (ha!), they’ll have a hard time dealing with field united against them – which it will be if they stick to their guns on the social front.

    Obama’s real vulnerability is on the banks. Specifically, the glaring untouchability thereof. Fortunately for him, this is one opening that the GOP absolutely won’t exploit (Exhibit A: Elizabeth Warren). So while Obama has the option of splitting the GOP, the GOP is far to compromised to return the favor in the only way they could.

    I’m not predicting a landslide. At the same time, I think it’s Obama’s to lose.

  5. JTMcPhee says:

    @Alex Bowles
    Too bad so much of the Narrative and the discourse on the political stuff is couched in the same handicapping and Vegas-odds (see here: frame as the natter about sports and entertainment. Since unlike those kind of peripheral things (which barring the soccer fan battles and rapper-killings and such aren’t really life-or-death), making it all about the fates of figureheads and favorites kind of obscures and debases the actual life-or-death stuff. The personification of the parts of the “process” into Candidate/Incumbent visages seems to me to siphon off and redirect a lot of the intelligence that ought to be applied toward that silly survival-of-the-species set of “issues.”

    The election game being what it is, there really is a lot of wisdom in the observation that there is damn-all little correspondence between what the Enlightenment thought of as free will and the franchise, and enshrined in our national mythos, and all the visible and invisible sneaky subtle dishonest parts of the “persuasion” and push-polling and the rest and actually drive the electoral-college outcome, that are used to put a glossy topcoat on the rusted-out junker that our nation has become. Albeit a junker with a shitload of “Deathrace” war toys, up to and including a potential Nukular Winter, bolted to its corroded chassis.

    A “win” for Obama ain’t the same thing as a “win” for a hot left-hander in the pennant race.

  6. len says:


    The analysts want to frame the narrative as if we are out here thinking about the election instead of feeling it. The push to unite the left unites the war for equal rights with the war on the Christian religion in the main and a war on religion in general thus uniting visceral discomfort with taking away hope and replacing it with a bet on yet another group of faceless donors to a campaign for a man a majority don’t quite identify with and whom the other plank of the campaign urges us to distrust. Given a recipe for that much uncertainty, the electorate may suddenly and without warning swing toward “ol fashioned values”.

    Obama may have outsmarted himself.

  7. Alex Bowles says:

    @len Calling mendacious fundamentalists “Christian” while asserting that resistance to their open bigotry is “a war on religion” is like printing “An important part of a balanced breakfast” on boxes of Froot Loops then saying any disagreement constitutes “a war on breakfast.”

  8. len says:

    War is what they believe it is. The conceit of Christianity is not that they believe in God but that they believe God loves us.

    Should we not love whom God loves? The rest is mendacious politics. It has nothing of love in it.

    But to make one the cause of the other is to fail to notice failure to be Christian, in my opinion. Call on better spirits. OTW, a visceral reaction and a social network burstiness may exhibit a sensitivity unecessary to the changes that most certainly will happen otherwise.

    Offtopic… Sat night and PBS has the Secret Sisters on right now. The Tall Man is the best producer of live country there is. Loving this…. Something Stupid was perfect. :) Whatta great sound.

  9. Alex Bowles says:

    Jonathan Haidt has been getting a lot of press since the publication of The Righteous Mind, wherein he argues that liberals and conservatives view the world through (and disagree with each other because of) very distinct moral filters. William Saletan, writing for the New York Times, provides <a href="this background:

    Haidt has read ethnographies, traveled the world and surveyed tens of thousands of people online. He and his colleagues have compiled a catalog of six fundamental ideas that commonly undergird moral systems: care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority and sanctity. Alongside these principles, he has found related themes that carry moral weight: divinity, community, hierarchy, tradition, sin and degradation.

    So how do these relate to value judgements? And why do people reach such different conclusions about the same things?

    The problem isn’t that people don’t reason. They do reason. But their arguments aim to support their conclusions, not yours. Reason doesn’t work like a judge or teacher, impartially weighing evidence or guiding us to wisdom. It works more like a lawyer or press secretary, justifying our acts and judgments to others…(To explain this) Haidt invokes an evolutionary hypothesis: We compete for social status, and the key advantage in this struggle is the ability to influence others. Reason, in this view, evolved to help us spin, not to help us learn.

    So yes, it’s a war because they say it is. Also, we appear to be natural born bullshitters. This tendency is especially interesting in relation to Harry Frankfurt’s essay “On Bullshit”, summarized here by a Wikipedian (I’ve cited this piece elsewhere, but it bears repeating).

    In the essay, Frankfurt defines a theory of bullshit, defining the concept and analyzing its applications. Bullshit can either be true or false but bullshitters aim primarily to impress and persuade their audiences, and in general are unconcerned with the truth or falsehood of their statements. While liars need to know the truth to better conceal it, bullshitters, interested solely in advancing their own agendas, have no use for the truth. Thus, Frankfurt claims, “…bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are”

    I suppose this is the problem with systemic change; if it renders well-honed bullshit ineffective (often by simply revealing it as such), threatening whatever social status that bullshit props up. Imploding myths mean constructing a new set from scratch, and that can take a very long time. Far better to fight for the existing ones, I suppose. But just the sheer number of fictions that people are fighting to maintain suggests that much more trouble is in store.

    What I can’t figure out is whether all this effort is what’s holding us up, or if it’s what’s holding us back. I suspect the latter, but I can’t say why. My inner press secretary will have to get back to you. In the meantime, I’m glad you’re enjoying the moment. That’s probably the wisest use of time.

  10. len says:

    Cutting to the nit: for all the polemics any side can muster, for all the conflicts they can corral, some American voters are asked to accept images to which they have a visceral revulsion in the context of what they are asked to accept as a greater good from those with whom they do not believe they identify. This is electoral math at work; not the enjoyment of the moment.

    They may surprise you. What I would be doing is presenting positive images of people in society doing well by each other first by showing that they are in society and second, that privacy and private lives and private acts mean exactly that. Corral the common belief and immedidate need that we have a right to human rights. That is the winning strategy.

  11. Alex Bowles says:

    There’s an open market for anyone who can create an image that can be interpreted in two very different ways while leading both sides to conclude (though for different reasons) “yeah, that works.”

    I like the idea that the conservative and liberal outlooks are can be profoundly complementary, and that the goal of political development should be constructing systems that facilitate a productive balance.

  12. len says:

    Let them see the good in it and trust the good in them to see it. In the coming months, unless this is just a smiley face moment for the press, a conversation among people who’ve found or lost perfect moments because of their aversions, fears and conceits would open up some hearts and then they might better accept the changes that will come. I’d like to see folk like Elton and his mate talk about how their lives would be affected, what their hopes are, how it can be when we let love be.

    Social networks are evolving us too. Once upon a time we could put social dams in place by staying out of certain neighborhoods and parties. Now, no degrees of separation and friending means occassionally a hole will open up in the socialverse and two faces separated by many years of willing if unhappy about it will come face to face and have to decide or notify and instruct how to close the hole. There is no formal etiquette for it, just a message button that stays open until someone locks it and covers the hole.

    Civility doesn’t unbreak the heart. It does keep respect alive.

    Here’s hoping all the lonely people find someone to love, Alex.

  13. Steven Schmidt says:

    @Steven Schmidt
    a bit more about Ron Paul and Gary Johnson and the question — whither goes the Libertarian/tea party vote in Nov?

  14. Steven Schmidt says:

    Update on the Gary Johnson factor

    May 23, Public Policy Polling >One thing that could make the race more competitive in Arizona, perhaps more so than other states, is Gary Johnson’s presence on the ballot as the Libertarian candidate. He pulls 9% in Arizona and he takes a lot more support away from Romney than he does Obama, narrowing Romney’s lead in the state to 45-41….

  15. Steven Schmidt says:

    more polling re 2012 Libertarian ‘swing’ vote, as Romney cavorts in Vegas w/ Trump and pushes ‘I’ll make nice w/ anyone to get 50 pt one’…. does Romney’s percentage game pay off?
    >Johnson’s libertarian proposals… “43% less” and he believes there’s “an opportunity to win” if he’s “in the debates” and the way in is to poll “15% against Obama and Romney” and the “pie in the sky” is “80% of Americans are saying they would vote for a third party candidate” if they had a choice …. hmmmm –

  16. Steven Schmidt says:

    from Clearwater, FL on a humid Sunday morning

    I’m remembering our 2000 Florida election, rife w/ voter suppression, list purging, rejected ballots, irregularities and more… 2012 is shaping up as a repeat performance [June 3 2012]

    Of course this year will not be the first time Floridians have had trouble casting a ballot. Most of us remember the perfect storm of Florida election administration that kept the 2000 presidential election hanging on 537 votes for over a month, only to be finally handed to George W. Bush by a 5-4 vote backing an unsigned Supreme Court opinion.

    The pathetic scene in 2000 was created by a convergence of administrative errors, technical glitches and a lack of judgment at the highest levels of election administration: broken polling machines, inaccurate and incomplete voter registration lists, inadequate language translation, inaccessible polling places, poorly trained poll workers and an overall lack of preparation for a large voter turnout that created long lines, eligible voters being turned away and valid votes left uncounted…

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