Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mitt's Weirdness - He Shouldn't Have Power

Why Is Mitt Romney So Incredibly Weird?

Everything you need to know about Willard Mitt Romney. An excerpt from Salon's new e-book, "The Rude Guide to Mitt"

Photo Credit: C-SPAN
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The following is an excerpt from Alex Pareene’s new e-book for Salon, “The Rude Guide to Mitt.” It can be purchased atAmazonBarnes & Noble and the Sony Reader Store.
Mitt Romney is weird. When the Obama reelection campaign early in the cycle made the mistake of indicating that its strategy would be to imply that Mitt Romney is weird by repeatedly telling Politico that it planned on calling Mitt Romney weird, Romney’s camp countered by causing a brief and not particularly sincere media brouhaha over whether “weird” is code for “Mormon.” Plenty of Americans think Mormons are weird, yes, but in this case, the simple fact is Mitt Romney is weird, entirely apart from his religion.
He seems incapable of natural conversation and frequently uncomfortable in his own skin. He’s simultaneously dorkily earnest and ingratiatingly insincere. He suggests a brilliantly designed politician android with an operating system still clearly in beta. He once tied a dog to the roof of his car and drove for hundreds of miles without stopping and some years later thought that was an endearing story. All video of him attempting to interact with normal humans is cringe-inducing, as a cursory YouTube search quickly demonstrates. (Martin Luther King Day, Jacksonville, Fla., 2008: Mitt poses for a picture with some cheerful young parade attendees. As he squeezes in to the otherwise all-black group, he says, apropros of nothing, “Who let the dogs out? Woof, woof!”) He seems to have been told that “small talk” is mostly made up of cheerfully delivered non sequiturs.
Every good Romney profile has a “Romney says something bizarre” moment. In Sridhar Pappu’s 2005 profile for the Atlantic, Romney produced a commemorative plate featuring the likenesses of Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower, and announced: “Not only was Eisenhower one of my favorite presidents; when we became grandparents, you get to choose what the kids will call you. Some call you Papa. I chose Ike. I’m Ike, and Ann is Mamie.”
Leaving aside that Eisenhower worship is not particularly widespread in the modern GOP (he failed to kill the New Deal programs and didn’t particularly love Israel), it is not “a thing” that you can make your grandchildren call you by the name of a random dead president. There are a wide variety of names for grandparents based on family traditions and cultures and adorable toddler malapropisms, but I have never heard of a grandparent asking to be called some other non-related person’s name. (“Make the children call me ‘Horatio’ because I so admire ‘CSI: Miami’s’ David Caruso.”)
Even Romney’s family seems to have found this weird: Of his eight grandchildren, only the oldest ever called him “Ike,” according to Tagg, and she stopped when everyone else evinced a preference for “Papa.”
This odd Eisenhower admiration seems like some sort of carefully calculated (but poorly thought out) way to highlight “moderateness” while also appealing to pious sentiment. Romney explains that he admires Ike as much for his personal morals as for his actual acts, and says he feels disappointed in Jefferson, for his affair with Sally Hemings. “What for me makes people like Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt and John Adams and George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan such extraordinary leaders is that they had integrity through and through,” he says. (I guess it’s OK to have an affair, like FDR, and own slaves, like Washington, but Romney draws the line at combining the two.)
He has an odd habit of bragging, or sort of bragging, when dealing with regular folk on the campaign trail. The New York Times (in a feature, by Ashley Parker and Michael Barbaro, entirely about how weird Mitt Romney is) has him telling a woman at a diner that he “stayed at a Courtyard hotel last night,” adding, “it’s LEED-certified.”
In his 2007 New Yorker profile, Ryan Lizza refers to it as “one-upmanship.”
After a voter at the New Hampshire diner told Romney, “My daughter goes to Michigan State,” he replied, “Oh, does she, really? My brother’s on the board of Michigan State.” When another patron said that she was from Illinois, Romney told her, “I won the straw poll at the Illinois Republican convention!”
His off-kilter interpretation of casual conversation also involves guessing at the ethnic background of strangers, poorly (“are you French-Canadian?”), and awkward joking (pretending a waitress pinched his ass). And he enjoys congratulating people, seemingly for the feat of existing and being in the vicinity of Mitt Romney.
If Nixon was epically, operatically weird — the sort of president the nation that produced Charles Manson should expect, let’s say — Romney is uninterestingly weird. First reel of “Blue Velvet” weird, without a hint of that subterranean layer of rot and perversion underlying the whole thing. Upon returning to his childhood home in Michigan for a 2012 campaign event, Romney noted that the trees were “the right height.”
Another fun — and weird — Romney fact: He models his hair not on that of his father, or that of Leland Palmer, but on his father’s top religious aide in Romney’s boyhood. From the Globe:
Mitt had grown up hearing people comment on his father’s sweep of slicked-back black hair, white at the temples. But since his early teens, Mitt had patterned his own hairstyle after a man named Edwin Jones, who served as his father’s top aide in running the Detroit operations of the Mormon Church.
“He sat up front, to the side at a desk, keeping records,” Mitt would recall years later. “I remember that he had very dark hair, that it was quite shiny, and that you could see it in from front to back. Have you looked at my hair? Yep, it’s just like his was some 40 years ago.”
“Have you looked at my hair?” There is perhaps some psychological insight there: Romney is worshipful of his father, and has apparently modeled himself on a man his father trusted.
Romney’s commitment to clean living is less an individual quirk than one prescribed by his religion, but it is always amusing when a grown adult acts like a character in an Archie comic. A 2003 Boston Magazine piece has the new governor pouring Diet Vanilla Coke and regular Vanilla Coke for a family taste test. (I can only assume the sodas are caffeine-free, though there is some debate in LDS circles about the letter versus the spirit of the prohibition against “hot beverages,” which does not explicitly mention caffeine.) It also notes Romney’s regular breakfast: “cereal, egg whites, and toast without butter.” At Bain Capital, he refused to put his own money in a company that produced R-rated movies. (He did consent to allow Bain to invest.)
Even the stories of Romney’s supposed temper are ridiculous. He was arrested, in June of 1981, for disorderly conduct while attempting to launch his family boat in Cochituate State Park. He got in a heated argument with a cop who noted that the boat was not displaying its registration. Romney was hauled in in his swim trunks. Charges were dropped when he threatened to sue for false arrest. At the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics Romney got in a public confrontation with a volunteer police officer directing traffic outside an Olympic venue. Police allege Romney said “fuck” multiple times while berating the cop. Romney declined to apologize to the cop, Shaun Knopp, and while the public berating did happen — he mentions it in his book — Romney made a big point of specifically denying that he used a bad word. (In fact, Romney insisted at the time that he specifically said “H-E double hockey sticks.” Like a child. A remarkably well-behaved child speaking in earshot of his second grade teacher.) He told the Boston Globe that he had two witnesses to corroborate his denial. “I have not used that word since college — all right? — or since high school,” he said.
His mother got a bit TMI when Romney was running against Ted Kennedy in 1994. From the Times: “Where Senator Kennedy, who remarried two years ago, is still known for his hard-drinking, hard-living bachelor days after his 1981 divorce, Mr. Romney’s mother, Lenore Romney, who is 85, volunteered in an interview last week that her son and Ann waited until they were married to have sex.”
Romney recently told People magazine, “I tasted a beer and tried a cigarette once, as a wayward teenager, and never did it again.” I’m not sure we should believe him. There’s no way in hell I can imagine Mitt Romney loosening up enough to have a beer.
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene
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Adelson The Odious Wants Romney TO Win REAL BAD-- Why?


He's ready to spend $100 million or more to make the Obama Justice Department go away.

Jon Stewart IS Funny- Sheldon Adelson Is NOT Funny!

Adelson Is As Funny As Polio

Earth To Dainty David Axelrod- Listen up! We cannot afford to lose!

David Axelrod Says Calling Mitt Romney 'Weird' Is Now A Fireable Offense

First Posted: 08/12/11 01:21 PM ET Updated: 10/12/11 06:12 AM ET
Hey, kids, remember a few days ago, when Politicoran a statement from a "senior Obama adviser" saying, "There's a weirdness factor with Romney, and it remains to be seen how he wears with the public?" And also the word "weird" was used by "Obama's advisers in about a dozen interviews" in reference to Romney? Which made it pretty clear that the Obama re-election strategy against Mitt Romney was just to straight up call him a weirdo all the time? Well, all of that is now null and void, as David Axelrod made clear on Morning Joe today that anyone using the word "weird" would be fired from the campaign.
The word "weird" gets you fired? That'sextraordinary. (Though I imagine it won't apply to the numerous aforementioned advisers who have now very firmly planted the idea that Mitt Romney is "weird" in the public's consciousness.)
But that was what Axelrod said, while also calling the original Politico story "garbage."

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STEELE: Do you think taking it to the level of referring to Romney or any of the Republican candidates as "weird," is that more personal or is that more a reality in terms of an issue you want to talk about? How do you guys plan to really define this discussion if the team is already throwing out stuff, we want to show America he's weird. How about we just speak to the issues?
AXELROD: Michael, lets you and I make common cause right now. No one on my team believes that. And anyone who purports to be a source within the Obama camp who used that term and some of the other terms that were in that story according to unnamed sources should be ripped out of whoever's Rolodex considers them sources. That doesn't reflect our thinking. We have real legitimate differences with Mitt Romney, some of which I just spoke about.
SCARBOROUGH: Again, this is the news here. That Politico story that said that the Obama campaign said they wanted to, quote, kill Mitt Romney, that you were going to trash him, that you were going to make him look strange, that you were going to make fun of his tight jeans which I think are kind of sexy, all that is garbage, right? Are you saying that story is false?
AXELROD: Yes, I think -- all of it is garbage. I'm still trying to get my mind around your fascination with his jeans. All of that is garbage.
SCARBOROUGH: If the President found out or you found out or the Chief of Staff found out that somebody working for President Obama was trying to take that tack, would you all fire them?
AXELROD: I would -- if someone used words like 'weird,' I would certainly do that, yes.
Wow, okay. Let's get our head around this: it's now no longer acceptable in the Obama campaign to say that Romney is "weird." Well, the Obama campaign had better get used to constantly implying that Romney is as normal as a blue sky in springtime, because here's how politics works: the second anyone from the Obama camp says something that even glances at the implication that Romney is at all strange, there's going to be a demand for someone's head on a plate -- if not from Romney's Camp Of Perpetual Anguish, then from the media.
But beyond that, who gets fired in politics for calling somebody "weird?" Good lord, this is not touch football, this is running for president! Don't you have to be a pretty strange person to want to run this country in the first place? What's more, as Greg Sargent points out, it's not like the Romney team is planning on hewing to the same standard. Their constant message has been: "OBAMA, HE'S WEIRD."
Romney’s announcement speech was all about reinforcing the message that Obama isn’t one of us. He questioned Obama’s appreciation of America as “we” understand it, and suggested Obama has transformed our country into something no longer recognizably American. Romney has accused Obama of “counterfeit values” that would “change the very character of America.” Romney has said: “I believe in the Constitution — and I believe in the greatness of America,” clearly insinuating that Obama doesn’t.
Romney has explicitly stated that Obama’s American-ness and cultural instincts will be central to the 2012 campaign. “The American people have established a perspective on the President which is going to be lasting — that he has not understood the nature of America,” Romney said earlier this year. No, the parallel is not perfect, but the two cases are awfully similar.
This has just been the strangest series of events. Referring to Romney as "weird" or "phony" or "inauthentic" is pretty sound strategy. You can tie it to things Romney has done. He's flip-flopped on countless positions. That's inauthentic! He's turned his back on his CommonwealthCare health care reform plan -- the very thing that got him in the presidential mix in the first place. That's phony! HE STRAPPED A CAGED DOG TO THE ROOF OF HIS CARThat's weird! But if you say these things now, you will get fired, per David Axelrod.
Good luck keeping to these absurd new rules of engagement, David!
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Mormons Have A Public Opinion Problem

About half of all American adults hold an unfavorable view of the Mormon Church. A recently conducted national poll of over 1,000 Americans reveals that slightly more Americans hold an unfavorable view of the LDS church than a favorable view. The poll also reveals some of the sources of these negative opinions toward the Mormon church. When Americans think about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, thoughts about polygamy, false doctrine, family values and cult-like qualities come to mind.

So the mystery is unveiled: fewer than half of American adults hold a positive opinion of the LDS Church.