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So Long, Shoebox: Karl Rove’s Last Hurrah

9:12 pm in 2012 election by Phoenix Woman

There is an anecdote that perfectly encapsulates the essence of Karl Rove. It goes like this:

Alongside his ambition and fixation on politics he appears to have believed that the end always justified the means. At [high] school debates he had a mountain of reference cards. Every debater on the team brought a shoebox of cards, but he would bring up to 10 boxes and dump them down, intimidatingly. A team-mate said “there wasn’t a thing on 99% of them”.

That’s our Karl: A boastful blowhard with precious little to back up the boasts, and addicted to ethical shortcuts to make up for his nothingness.

Lost in the blizzard of schadenfreude over his comeuppance and meltdown last Tuesday is this fact: He’s had similar comeuppances in the past, though the resulting meltdowns weren’t quite as spectacular as was last Tuesday’s.

For instance, let us consider 2006. Even as all the evidence was pointing, for those who were paying attention (and who were ignoring the sort of pundit-fog Rove specializes in emitting), to big gains for the Democrats, Rove was adamant that such gains simply weren’t in the cards — his “math”, you see, told him differently, as he announced to NPR’s Robert Siegel in late October of 2006: Read the rest of this entry →

Eastwood v. Chair Left Out of Romney’s RNC Video

5:43 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Remember how a few days ago, the Romney campaign said that Willard enjoyed and laughed at Clint Eastwood’s epic rant against a piece of furniture?

They must not have liked it that much after all:

A video mash-up of speakers from last week’s Republican National Convention does not include an appearance from the ” mystery RNC speaker,Clint Eastwood.

The two-and-a-half minute video posted today to the Romney campaign‘s YouTube account features former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, VP nominee Paul Ryan and of course, Romney himself, but it leaves out Eastwood‘s controversial speech.

Eastwood caused a stir at the convention and on Twitter with a rambling speech Thursday night, in which he interviewed an invisible President Obama in a wooden prop chair.

Dangit, that was the best part of the whole convention!

Richard Grenell out as Mitt’s Token Openly Gay Dude

11:54 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Richard Grenell

Remember how, earlier this month, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tried to get a kinda-sort credit for being gay-friendly when he hired Roy Cohn Award recipient Richard Grenell to be his go-to guy for foreign policy?

Well, even a self-hating gay man was too much for the TheoCons who make up the GOP’s voter and volunteer base, so out he goes.

According to sources familiar with the situation, Grenell decided to resign after being kept under wraps during a time when national security issues, including the president’s ad concerning Osama bin Laden, had emerged front and center in the campaign.

Pieces in two conservative publications, the National Review and Daily Caller, reflected the uproar by some social conservatives over the appointment.

In the National Review, Matthew J. Franck wrote late last week: “Suppose Barack Obama comes out — as Grenell wishes he would — in favor of same-sex marriage in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. How fast and how publicly will Richard Grenell decamp from Romney to Obama?”

Remember, the National Review is supposedly the acme of level-headed conservative political thought and intellectual achievement. And this is what they think of Richard Grenell. If this is what they’re saying, imagine what the “values voters” are saying.

Buh-bye, Richard.

End of the Non-Aggression Pact between Romney and Ron Paul?

10:46 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Previously. (photo:

Just as everyone knew that the Non-Aggression Pact between Hitler and Stalin would eventually be broken by one party or the other, it was a good bet that the Non-Aggression Pact between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul would also eventually be broken once it was clear that Romney had no intention of honoring whatever deals he may have struck with Paul.

What wasn’t clear was that Paul and his people were not only fully aware that Romney couldn’t be trusted to keep his word, but they were also fully prepared to execute a plan to compel Mittens to keep his word, to punish him if he didn’t, or to just plain win outright:

The five states holding primaries on Tuesday—Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island—were all prime turf for Romney: heavily urbanized, high-Catholic populations with comparatively moderate Republican electorates. Romney did as well as expected, running the table in Connecticut and New York, and successfully ending Newt Gingrich’s campaign by seizing the winner-take-all state of Delaware. But, in Rhode Island’s proportional race and Pennsylvania’s loophole primary, Ron Paul managed to slip in and grab delegates. In fact, Paul is expected to finish second in the overall delegate haul for the night despite investing almost no effort in the states contested.

Next stop: Texas, which is not only Paul’s home state but has proportional representation — in other words, it’s not winner-take-all.

Meanwhile, the Ron Paul contigent has made serious inroads into various state GOP branches, such as Minnesota’s. Here’s an example of a Minnesota Ron Paul Republican; his name is Kurt Bills, and he’s, erm, interesting.

Bad News and Good News on the Buying of US Democracy

9:07 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

The bad news: There are at least 25 million-dollar-plus conservative sugar-daddy donors who all by themselves are shoveling tens of millions of dollars (that we know of) into the 2012 election.

The good news: While rich old white men aren’t shy about coughing up dough for Republicans, corporations aren’t rushing to make donations to conservative causes and candidates at quite the rate that had been feared would obtain in the wake of Citizens United:

…When the Supreme Court handed down its five-to-four Citizens United decision in 2010, pre-vetting Mitt Romney’s credo that “corporations are people,” apocalyptic Democrats, including Obama, predicted that the election would become a wholly owned subsidiary of the likes of Chevron and General Electric. But publicly traded, risk-averse corporations still care more about profits than partisanship. They tend to cover their bets by giving to both parties. And they are fearful of alienating customers and investors. Witness, most recently, the advertisers who fled Rush Limbaugh, or the far bigger brands (­McDonald’s and Wendy’s, Coke and Pepsi) that severed ties with the conservative lobbying mill responsible for pushing state “stand your ground” laws like the one used to justify the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida. While corporations and unions remain serious players in the campaign of 2012, their dollars don’t match those of the sugar daddies, who can and do give as much as they want to the newfangled super-PACs.

Why do we have this silver lining? It’s because of the work of folks like Spocko, Color of Change, and other people and groups that punch well above their weight. Take a bow, folks.

Thumbs on the Scale: How the Conservative Media Helps Romney

9:24 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

(photo: vividBreeze/flickr)

Isn’t it interesting how the US establishment media, even as it went out of its way to push the Republicans’ distorted talking points on Hilary Rosen’s comments concerning Ann Romney, simultaneously ignored things that might not reflect well on Mrs. Romney or her very wealthy husband — things like the full history of her birthday party host Fred Malek, aka Nixon’s Jew Counter?

And no, Malek was not merely following Nixon’s orders, as Timothy Noah points out:

But here’s what Malek left out. Four of the people on Malek’s Jew list got demoted, with Malek’s active involvement. This is what Malek denied to the Post‘s Woodward and Pincus in 1988 (when Woodward and Pincus identified two of the four but were unable to prove the Malek link). “In no way did I take part in moving anyone out of the BLS,” Malek told Woodward and Pincus. “If I had even been peripherally involved or asked to alter someone’s employment status I would have found it offensive and morally unacceptable, and I would have refused.” Please note this comparatively rare instance in which a Washington hack tells a lie in the subjunctive tense. Malek was more than peripherally involved. And he most certainly did not refuse.

The proof is a memo that was withheld from Woodward and Pincus but was made public many years later. The memo, from Malek to Haldeman, notes the imminent demotions of Harold Goldstein, Peter Henle, Leon Greenberg, and Ben Burdetsky. I have no idea how many of these four were actually Jewish, but all four names appeared on Malek’s Jew list. (Malek’s memo did not mention the 13 by name but a  different memo  to Malek from White House aide Dan Kingsley did. Shiskin, oddly, didn’t make Malek’s list of 13, even though he was BLS director at the time.)

When you add all these details to Malek’s story, it acquires a very different meaning. Far from subverting Richard Nixon’s anti-Semitism, Malek enabled it. The fact that Malek later helped install the Jewish Shiskin as commissioner of BLS is not particularly relevant because by then Nixon had presumably moved on to other bizarre and/or hateful obsessions. (I’ve checked the unedited tape of Naftali’s Malek interview, and Malek doesn’t mention the demotions there either.)

Kinda like how the establishment press runs to demonize every single brown-skinned guy with a non-Anglo name caught up in an FBI entrapment net, yet gives far less attention (especially national attention) to right-wing terrorists like Kevin Harpham and James Cummings who don’t need the FBI to bait them into attempting violence.

Paris, 1968. Teheran, 1980. Tel Aviv, 2012?

7:01 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

The person calling himself “Mobutu Sese Seko”, but who most manifestly is not the late Congolese dictator, is in my opinion one of Gawker’s better and more perceptive writers, and he just hit another home run, in the course of discussing Mitt Romney’s all-too-likely illegal foreign policy collusions with his best bud Bibi Netanyahu. While delineating that misdeed, he then cites two others committed by Republican presidential candidates:

… In 1968, with the expectation of a plum position in the Nixon administration, Henry Kissinger persuaded the south Vietnamese to spike the Paris peace talks with unreasonable demands, promising a better deal under a GOP administration. About a half decade and 20,000 dead Americans later, Kissinger brokered an accord like the one he’d scuppered illegally. But it had already served its purpose: Kissinger destroyed Hubert Humphrey’s peace strategy and a huge 1968 campaign plank. Lyndon Johnson refused to publicly condemn Nixon and Kissinger for doing something incredibly fucking illegal (under the Logan Act), lest he be seen to use the office of the president to aggressively campaign for a successor or divulge the shady means with which his evidence had been gathered.

And if that example feels too quaintly historical or insufficiently Middle Easty, there are always the more recent depredations against truth and policy, like announcing Mission Accomplished 40 days after a war’s commencement and eight-and-half years before its end—but only one year before an election.

He left out another infamous electorally-inspired meddling — to wit, Reagan’s October Surprise from 1980: Read the rest of this entry →

Santorum Picks Up On Romney-Paul Arrangement

1:40 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Six weeks ago, back when Romney seemed ascendant, Jon Walker commented that Mitt Romney would do well to be very, very nice to Ron Paul, as Paul holds Romney’s fate in his hands:

With Mitt Romney now on a glide path to the Republican Party’s nomination, there is one thing that could completely doom his chances of becoming President and that is Ron Paul. Paul’s dedicated base might not be large enough for him to win the nomination, but it is large enough to destroy Romney’s hopes in the general.

A week later, the Washington Post reported on the friendship — and de facto alliance — between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul:

The remaining candidates in the winnowed Republican presidential field are attacking one another with abandon, each day bringing fresh headlines of accusations and outrage.

But Mitt Romney and Ron Paul haven’t laid a hand on each other.

They never do.


Romney’s aides are “quietly in touch with Ron Paul,” according to a Republican adviser who is in contact with the Romney campaign and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss its internal thinking. The two campaigns have coordinated on minor things, the adviser said — even small details, such as staggering the timing of each candidate’s appearance on television the night of the New Hampshire primary for maximum effect.

One advantage for Romney is that Paul’s presence in the race helps keep the GOP electorate fractured. But there is also a growing recognition that the congressman plans to stay in the contest over the long term — and that accommodating him and his supporters could help unify Republican voters in the general election against President Obama.

“Ron Paul wants a presence at the convention,” the adviser said — and Romney, if he is the nominee, would grant it.

Of course Romney would grant it. As Jon Walker said six weeks ago:

If I were Romney I might even consider using the excuse of “reaching out to Paul’s base for the sake of party unity” as a convenient way to justify tacking to the left after basically securing the nomination.

And now, this week, Rick Santorum’s finally picked up on all of this:

Asked at a Tea Party rally here why former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas seemed to be ganging up on Santorum during Wednesday’s debate in Arizona, the former senator from Pennsylvania quipped, “Yeah, look, I didn’t know we picked president and vice president before the election.

“The coordination that I felt at that debate was pretty clear,” he said. “I felt like messages were being slipped behind my chair. It’s pretty remarkable that in 20 debates, Ron Paul never attacked Mitt Romney.”

Frankly, I’ve been astonished that Santorum didn’t start publicly addressing this before this week just passed.

More on the Romney-Paul arrangement — or “bromance” — in the video above.

Ron Paul, Mitt Romney’s Best Friend, Neatly Splits Anti-Mitt Primary Vote

9:11 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Ron Paul, far from being the ultimate anti-establishment guy he’s advertised to be, is working his tail off to ensure his good friend Mitt Romney wins the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. That’s not me saying that, that’s the Washington Post saying that:

The Romney-Paul alliance is more than a curious connection. It is a strategic partnership: for Paul, an opportunity to gain a seat at the table if his long-shot bid for the presidency fails; for Romney, a chance to gain support from one of the most vibrant subgroups within the Republican Party.

“It would be very foolish for anybody in the Republican Party to dismiss a very real constituency,” said one senior GOP aide in Washington who is familiar with both camps. “Ron Paul plays a very valuable part in the process and brings a lot of voters toward the Republican Party and ultimately into the voting booth, and that’s something that can’t be ignored.”

Ever wonder why Romney and Paul have avoided attacking each other, much less with the same sort of vigor that they attack the other Republicans in the race? Now you know.

Look at the results of the last two primaries. The not-Mitt vote was much stronger than the Mitt vote, but split between four candidates. Ron Paul’s function is to help Mitt by making sure it stays split.

Norm Coleman, Real Man of Genius. NOT.

10:09 am in Elections, Politics, Republican Party, Tea Party by Phoenix Woman

Republicans spent all of 2010 using the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act to help get themselves several state legislatures, governors’ mansions, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Opposition to “Obamacare” is right up there with racism as a key motivational factor for Republican base voters, and promising to repeal it is a part of the campaign-promise arsenal of every Republican candidate for any office from president down to dogcatcher.

So what does key Romney surrogate and would-be Vice President Norm “Ignore the Blonde behind the Curtain” Coleman do? He starts rolling out the Romney general-election spiel, doing the pivot away from the base before Romney has the nomination securely in the bag:

Norm Coleman, an adviser to presidential hopeful Mitt Romney whose advice was once described as “critical” by the candidate, believes that his boss — or any Republican — won’t be able to repeal Obamacare if they defeat Barack Obama.

“You will not repeal the act in its entirety, but you will see major changes, particularly if there is a Republican president,” Coleman told BioCentury This Week in an interview that aired Sunday, according to The Hill. “You can’t whole-cloth throw it out. But you can substantially change what’s been done.”

The rest of the Romney campaign immediately went into full Damage Control mode, disavowing Norm and his comments early and often, but it was too late.

Way to win over the Floridian Tea Partiers, Norm. Oh, and if you don’t think Newt won’t use this to remind the GOP that Romney’s Romneycare is similar to the hated Obamacare, you are sadly mistaken.

Norm, I think you can forget about being anyone’s Vice President during this lifetime. Newt must still be cackling over this one.