Posts Tagged Mitt Romney

Are you happy, Mitt Romney?

Well, it’s finally happened. Even the unlikely tag team of Eminem and Clint Eastwood, equipped with an unlimited supply of Chryslers, couldn’t stop Detroit from going bankrupt.

The fact that the Motor City is filing for Chapter 9 protection isn’t too surprising, but the fact that things were allowed to get this bad is.

Many factors contributed to Detroit’s decline: the globalization of the auto industry, a shrinking tax base, and corrupt city management. The result is a city that doesn’t just look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland, it is one.

Detroit has become a city fit for the Road Warrior. Hundreds of buildings are abandoned, authorities can’t even afford to keep all of the streetlights on, and a major international border crossing is owned by some random guy.

How did people let things get this bad? When the photos of eerily abandoned buildings started showing up online, why was no one motivated to do anything? When reports showed that Detroit citizens were waiting almost an hour for police to respond to 911 calls, why was no one shocked that something like this was happening in the United States of America?

Of course, people have thought about it. There have been so many urban renewal projects proposed for Detroit that Popular Mechanics once collected them into a lengthy cover story. Titled “Detroit 2025” it proposed redeveloping the city around its waterfront and building an epic curved bridge to Canada.

However, like most things featured in Popular Mechanics, none of this is anywhere near happening. That would require motivation and money, two things Detroit, and the rest of the country, is short on.

Instead, Detroit is down to weighing the costs and benefits of more basic things, like it’s employees’ pensions.

Saving a city isn’t easy, but it’s still surreal that the story of Detroit is an American story. Who could imagine a city in this great country being reduced to sacrificing basic services, and the contract it made with its employees, just to put together some cash?

This scenario doesn’t require imagination anymore. Maybe it’s finally time for someone to do something.

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The 2012 election is over… Now what?

Obama victory speech 2012If anyone actually reads this, sorry for the missed posts. It’s been a busy week.

I was very pleased by the results of Tuesday’s election, but they do put the country in an interesting place. As Jon Stewart pointed out, Obama is still president, the Democrats still control the Senate, and the Republicans still control the House, so America’s billionaires apparently wasted their money. So how do we keep from repeating the mistakes of the past four years?

Bipartisanship seems to be the key, and it is, but not all the time. If both parties put aside their differences, forgot the ugliness of this decidedly ugly campaign, and compromised to create practical policies, it would be a major achievement for rationality. However, it might not solve every problem.

I’m a fan of Matt Taibbi, but when he wrote, on the morning of the election, that there was essentially no difference between the candidates, I had to disagree.

“When push comes to shove, we all should know most Americans want the same things, but just disagree on how to get there, which is why it should be okay to not panic if the other party wins,” Taibbi wrote on the morning of November 6. That’s true, but sometimes Americans disagree. What then?

The vitriol and plain bullshit slung by both politicians and the media in this election was awful, not just because it made compromise harder, but because it obscured real issues that Americans genuinely disagree about.

Could a woman really believe that Romney had her interests in mind, even after he talked about banning abortion, or after his “binders full of women” comment? If one of the two main presidential candidates make a threat to one’s rights a part of his platform, there is no reason to assume that he will not act on that. Otherwise, why bother having elections?

So the solution to America’s problems isn’t blind compromise. Politicians and their constituents should stop the name calling, and generally recognize their opponents’ humanity, but both sides have the right and obligation to try to enact their policies.

Some might argue that this is what caused the ongoing deadlock in Washington: both parties pushed to get what they wanted done, and tried equally hard to obstruct their opponent.

However, we just had an election, where the majority of the country chose a Democratic president, that seems to point things in a certain direction. The Democrats shouldn’t ignore the Republican constituency, but the Republicans need to acknowledge that, in the White House and Senate races, they lost.

After a major Republican upset in the 2010 midterm elections, Mitch McConnell said that, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Someone really needs to call the Republican party on this counterproductive behavior.

When Mitt Romney is accusing President Obama of being anti-coal, and the President is accusing the former governor of being a corporate raider, some people think that all the parties care about is defeating each other. However, we need to remember that this all started with the Republicans and, now that they’ve lost the presidential race, they need to be stopped from continuing to obstruct the functions of government.

A maxim of journalism is that there are always at least two sides to every story. That’s true, but not every side is equal. In politics, compromise is important, but the job of politicians is to serve the people, and the people have spoken.

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Mitt Romney: Do as I say, not as I do

map of the Middle EastI was finally able to vent my near-homicidal rage against television journalists and concentrate on the issues (imagine that!) in the final presidential debate Monday night. As usual, I was left wondering if Mitt Romney actually hears the words that come out of his mouth.

Twice, the former Massachusetts Governor told President Obama that, “Criticizing me is not a foreign policy.” That seems like a noble statement, except Romney spent almost the entire debate criticizing the President while offering only a vague phantasm of what he would actually do if he wins on November 6.

Romney criticized nearly every aspect of Obama’s foreign policy, from the drone strikes that killed al Qaeda’s leadership, to his use of economic sanctions on Iran, to when he “skipped Israel” during a trip to the Middle East.

Obviously, debates are all about criticism, but if Romney wanted the President to say something constructive instead of just attacking, why didn’t he?

Instead, Romney went for semantics. He said he would put tougher sanctions on Iran, and label China a “currency manipulator,” which is apparently more severe than actually prosecuting China for trade violations, as Obama has done.

When asked what he would do if Israel decided to attack Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities, Romney begged off saying he wouldn’t answer a hypothetical question like that. Instead, he used the time to attack Obama… again.

Perhaps it was because Romney didn’t know how long it would take Israeli planes to reach Iran: earlier in the debate, he said Syria was an important ally for Iran because it gave the latter access to the sea. Iran has its own coastline, and the two countries do not share a border (Iraq is in between).

So much for building a foreign policy on ideas instead of criticism. Obama, on the other hand, gave specifics, as he always does. He outlined the aforementioned cases against China, and reminded Americans who was responsible for eliminating their arch enemy, and a dictator that even the Republicans’ favorite president, Ronald Reagan couldn’t take down.

With regards to Iran, Obama, said he would put every option on the table. That sounds a lot more presidential than Romney’s “answer.”

Conservatives probably have their own criticisms regarding Obama’s policies, but what I want to emphasize here is Romney’s “do as I say, not as I do” mentality. If attacking your opponent doesn’t help build a foreign policy, then stop wasting time attacking your opponent. It goes both ways.

Romney doesn’t seem to think the laws of language apply to him; he thinks that he can say one thing and have it mean something else. That is one of many reasons why he is unfit to be our president.

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Watching the watchers, or, Do we want a moderate moderator?

Watching last night’s post-debate coverage, I noticed that moderator Candy Crowley came in for criticism along with the two candidates. Despite her job title, Crowley’s performance was a part of the media circus trying to glean some meaning from what went down in that Hofstra University auditorium. I like that, and I think people should take it a little further.

I’m not saying that the moderator should be a factor in determining which candidate wins a debate, I think that should be based solely on the facts. We have enough subjectivity in our debate coverage already, and that’s why I think consumers of media should scrutinize the people that produce it.

The starkly different roles played by Jim Lehrer and Martha Raddatz in their respective debates started this fire, and legitimately so. Lehrer failed to ask specific questions, and couldn’t even get Mitt Romney to answer the non-specific questions that Republicans love. Raddatz, on the other hand, kept both Joe Biden and Paul Ryan in line, and forced them to give specifics instead of talking points. Which do you think was more informative?

Now it’s time to take things a step further. We should not only rate a moderator’s performance, but the news organizations that cover politics.

It has to be consumers of media that do this; having news organizations rate each other would be akin to releasing Cthulhu and having him define objectivity. Rather, this should be done informally, preferably on an individual basis.

This more about thinking about what we need to know than judging or punishing people’s stupidity. We simply need to ask ourselves: What do I need to know to make an informed decision in this election? Be specific (you’re talking to yourself, after all) and don’t couch it in terms of pre-existing narratives. Just be honest.

The follow-up is obvious: Is the source of my information, be it a news network, paper, or website, answering my questions.

A candidate’s job is to get elected, the media’s job is to inform the electorate. Said electorate should not have to suffer through ignorance if a candidate misses an opportunity to draw blood in the debate arena. The media needs to tell people what candidates aren’t telling them, and put everything in context.

If you watched CNN, MSNBC, or Fox, or read the New York Times or Huffington Post, on debate night and still don’t know what’s going on remember: you have a choice.

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It’s all about the presentation

As President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney stepped away from their podiums on Wednesday night, I was satisfied with the President’s performance. It was only when the post-debate coverage started that I became nauseous.

The mistake I made was apparently listening to what the candidates were saying more than their mannerisms. The general consensus is that Obama looked like he was asleep, while Romney was fired up and confident.

That may be true, but what Romney actually said doesn’t amount to much. At the beginning of the debate, moderator Jim Lehrer said he wanted the candidates to explain their positions in detail. Obama did that, and Romney did not.

Obama gave a detailed account of his work over the past four years, including a surprisingly long string of legislative victories (from Obamacare to the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”) and an explanation of what he will do in the next four, if reelected.

The President talked about investing in education and the green energy industry as ways of improving America’s position in the international community, while growing the economy. He also discussed an ongoing effort to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years. Whether you agree with his policies or not, you can’t say the man didn’t explain himself.

Romney refused to go into details. He said he wouldn’t cut taxes by the rich by $5 trillion, he would reduce the deficit, and that he would or would not do many other things, but he never explained how.

In fact, Romney seemed quite evasive about answering questions on his policies, at least to this viewer. When Lehrer questioned him about federal funding for education, Romney went off on a tangent about Obama’s green energy funding, without even mentioning schools or teachers.

Romney may have been more aggressive, but what he was saying utterly lacked substance. This debate was supposed to be an opportunity for candidates to introduce and elaborate on their plans for the next for years, but all Romney did was attack Obama. We still don’t know any more about his plans for this country than we did on October 2.

Obama made his share of mistakes too: he filled in some of the blanks of Romney’s vague policies to make himself look better, and he really was lacking energy. Still, does that negate outright lying and evasiveness? Does the fact that Romney continued to quote the “$716 billion Medicare cut” number, even though it was debunked during the party conventions, not matter because Obama didn’t smile enough?

People may be disappointed with the President’s performance, but that is no reason to give the win to Mitt Romney. At the very least, it’s a tie, between a man who impulsively says “$716 billion of Medicare cuts and $90 billion to green energy” regardless of their truth or context, and a man who says rational, sensible things in a less-than-exciting manner. I know who I’m voting for.

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Where is Mitt Romney from?

Mitt RomneyWith the Republican Convention going on this week, I thought it would be a good idea to say something ridiculous about Mitt Romney…

Mitt Romney may never have shown anyone his birth certificate, but that doesn’t mean much because it’s still hard to tell where this man is actually from.

Romney’s unusual mannerisms give him the air of something not of this Earth, and his itinerant ways just add to the mystery. He was born in Michigan, and spent his childhood there while his father ran American Motors and started a political career. After that, things get confusing.

Mitt left the state of his birth to run the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, then became governor of Massachusetts. Then, after failing to ingratiate himself with Bay Statahs, he retreated to his lairs.

The GOP Presidential Candidate currently has three homes: one each in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and California. Obviously, that’s not unusual for a man as rich as Romney. It’s just strange that he doesn’t seem to prefer one domicile over the others.

Only America could produce something as milquetoast as Willard Mitt Romney, but that still doesn’t answer the question of where his true home lies. Where will he go to vote in November?

Maybe Mitt is too big for one state; with so much money, he can move about at will and still count on a steady flow of cash (not income, according to the tax codes) from his investments. He’s like the romantic loaners of folk songs and beat literature, except with perfectly coifed hair, an aversion to alcohol, drugs, and anything spontaneous, and a large, creepy family.

Then again, what else would you expect from a man who comments on the height of trees?

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Is Mitt Romney an alien?

Mitt RomneyAs the 2012 Presidential campaign grinds on, many questions have been asked about Mitt Romney. From his record as governor of Massachusetts to his involvement with Bain Capital, Romney has had a lot to answer to. However, one important question has not been asked: Why is this man so strange?

Certain presidential candidates come across as unlikeable or make the occasional gaff, but nearly everything Romney says is bizarre. It’s not that he’s saying anything incredibly offensive, it’s just that every time he opens his mouth he does not sound human.

“I only like to hunt small game; a critter, if you will,” Romney said in 2008. You couldn’t come up with something more stereotypically aristocratic if you tried, and most human beings would know that. Clearly, Romney did not, because he said it again in 2012.

Given Romney’s proclivity for talking like a top hat-wearing plutocrat sent from central casting, it’s easy to see why people think he is out of touch with the average American.

“I thought he was in sport but he wasn’t in sport,” Romney said of an especially tall chap he met on the campaign trail. Was he born in 1889?

Sometimes, though, Romney says something so odd that it goes beyond stereotypes, like when he said he liked being in Michigan because the trees were the right height.

Romney’s interest in tree height isn’t the only strange thing about him; his behavior is also very odd. He infamously strapped his dog to the roof of a car, which doesn’t sound like a case of animal abuse so much as an indication that Romney doesn’t know much about pet ownership.

Then there’s the Romney family’s involvement with dressage, or “horse ballet.” It may be an Olympic sport, but this seems like a pretty esoteric interest, even for people with plenty of money to blow on esoteric things. Also, who names a horse (or anything) Rafalca?

All of the evidence points to one conclusion: Mitt Romney is an alien posing as a human being in a quest for world domination. It was a nice try, but Romney (or whatever his real name is) is still a fake. After all, what human being has such a giant head, and hair that never moves? It’s time we force this invader to come clean and end this threat to our planet.

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