Sometimes Liberals Overreact Too, And Miss The Real Problem

So, I tune in to HuffPo today and on its famously sensationalistic front page I find this:

richard cohen headerWow! I thought. Who the heck did that at The Washington Post? So, I clicked on the link and found this headline:

Richard Cohen Writes Yet Another Racist Column

Dammit, Richard! Can’t you behave? Didn’t you learn anything the last time, and the time before that? Liberals are very sensitive about such things and you should know better.

Because I don’t often read Cohen’s columns, I thought I would at least pay him the courtesy of reading his “racist column,” before I pronounced him a racist. That’s fair, isn’t it? I mean, even though the mothership of left-leaning news and opinion aggregators has pronounced him a bad guy, I want to be fair and see why that is. I’m funny that way.

It took me only one sentence to find out how HuffPo missed the boat on Cohen’s column. The most offensive thing in the piece had to be the parenthetical in the opening sentence:

The day after Chris Christie, the cuddly moderate conservative, won a landslide reelection as the Republican governor of Democratic New Jersey, I took the Internet Express out to Iowa, surveying its various newspapers, blogs and such to see how he might do in the GOP caucuses, won last time by Rick Santorum, neither cuddly nor moderate.

Chris Christie is a “cuddly moderate conservative”? Are you kidding me? Can you see how awesomely awful that description is? There’s not really much of anything cuddly or moderate about Christie’s ideology, as we have previously discussed on this blog, but compared to a non-cuddly and non-moderate nut like Rick Santorum, he looks that way to some observers. I sort of understand the reason for that spasm of false relativity among straight news reporters—they like the guy a lot—but for left-leaning columnists, calling Christie a moderate conservative represents an unacceptably distorted view of the landscape.

Just because the right-wing of the Republican Party is moving further and further into both absurdity and obscurity, doesn’t mean that rigid conservatives like Chris Christie get to be called “moderate.” I’ve also recently heard people refer to Ronald Reagan as a moderate conservative, a description that is also false. Trust The Erstwhile Conservative on this one, richard cohenbut as one of the Gipper’s biggest fans in the old days, I didn’t cheer him on because he was a moderate. Just the opposite. Even though he had to, of necessity, make deals with Democrats, he remained a die-hard conservative at heart. So, it’s just plain wrong to put the word moderate in the same sentence as either Reagan or Christie. And the editors of HuffPo, if they wanted to go after Cohen, should have criticized that gaffe.

But nope, the focus of the sensational headlines was Cohen’s alleged racism. Well, let’s take a look at the offending passage, cited in the HuffPo story (and, by now, widely excerpted and criticized all over the leftish sites):

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.

These comments were labeled “incendiary” by HuffPo. Huh? Incendiary? Hardly. The worst thing about this paragraph, when it is read in the context of the entire column, is that he definitively, without any qualification, says, “Today’s GOP is not racist.” We know for a fact that some fraction of the GOP is racist, although no one thinks the entire party is. But that’s not the point. Some liberals, as far as I can tell, are calling Cohen a racist mostly because of his use of the phrase, “People with conventional views,” which, they say, is wrong because conventional views on interracial marriage have changed. The HuffPo piece cites a Gallup poll showing 87 percent approval for such marriages (30 years ago it was at 43 percent; 50 years ago it was less than 10 percent).

Now, I don’t see how misusing the term “conventional” makes one a racist, and even a cursory reading of the column should have made it clear to anyone that Cohen is attacking the Tea Party and its anachronistic views: “If this is the future of the GOP, then it’s in the past.” And Cohen ends his piece with some advice to Chris Christie about not becoming a Tea Party guy who could win the rabidly conservative Iowa caucuses because then the “Joisey” governor would become “anathema to the rest of us.”

There wasn’t a damn thing racist about Cohen’s column. Essentially he is discussing what I have often labeled “white cultural angst,” the feeling among conservative Christian palefaces that they are losing their traditional stranglehold on the country. When Cohen says these folks don’t much recognize the country these days, he’s right about that and he’s not a racist for saying so.

But even though there was no racism in the column, there was something very offensive about it, at least for anyone who has looked at Christie’s conservatism objectively, without comparing it to the worst elements of his party. The offense is in assuming that a President Christie would hold policy positions that would be all that different from your average teapartier. Besides Christie’s record, as evidence for my claim I submit to you the following famous quote uttered in 2011 at that annual gathering of wingnuts known as the Conservative Political Action Conference:

If we don’t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and we’ll lose.

That wasn’t some milquetoast moderate who said that. It was the female version of Rush Limbaugh, the mean-spirited, liberal-hating Ann Coulter. She later told Fox, her home away from home, “I don’t care if [Chris Christie] wants to run, his country needs him, it appears.”

That was in 2011. Now, I admit that it is hard to take Ann Coulter seriously as a pundit, but many right-wingers love her, which is why they have made her wealthy by buying her books, and why Fox frequently books her as a guest on TV and radio. Thus, she makes noise in the right’s echo chamber that some hear as music, even if it’s mostly chin music. In any case, Coulter’s love for Christie wasn’t just a whim in 2011. In May of this year—this year, after the 2012 Christie-Obama love fest that pissed off nearly every teapartier in the country—she had this exchange with Sean Hannity on the radio:

COULTER: I’ve told you before: I have eyes only for Chris Christie.

HANNITY: Your buddy Chris Christie is out there sucking up to Obama this week. Don’t defend him.

COULTER: There seems to be a concerted movement by both liberals and conservatives to lie about Christie and make him seem more liberal than he really is.

Ann Coulter may be a lot of things, a lot of unseemly things, but she knows that Chris Christie, should he get elected president, would favor the kind of conservatism that Ted Cruz would love, especially if Christie governed with a Republican House and Senate. Oh, I know that lately she has fallen out of love with the New Jersey governor (she tweeted in June, “@GovChristie’s dead to me”) and withdrawn her support, but to further prove my point, look who she supports now:

coulter on cruz

Case closed. If Ted Cruz and Chris Christie are both suitable candidates for a liberal-hater like Ann Coulter, then obviously there are no significant ideological differences between them. And if Richard Cohen deserves any criticism from the left for his recent column, it is for assuming Chris Christie is some kind of moderate conservative we can all live with.

Because a lot of folks would find it very hard to live under President Christie and a Tea Party-dominated House and Senate.

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Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo

Here is a headline from The Washington Post:

Poll: Major damage to GOP after shutdown, and broad dissatisfaction with government

The elements in this headline, the damage and the dissatisfaction, point to two things, two important things, that every American should understand about the conservative movement, as it is now constituted, in our country:

1) Conservatives have designed their own parallel universe, one in which facts like “Major damage to GOP after shutdown” can’t exist.

I think it is fair to say that Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity represent very well the core constituency of the conservative movement, don’t you? Well, here is what Sean Hannity said to Ann Coulter on Monday night:

All those people that were doomin’ and gloomin’ Repubicans for the shutdown were wrong.

And the classless Coulter said:

The shutdown was so magnificent, run beautifully. I’m so proud of these Republicans, and that is because they have branded the Republican party as the anti-Obamacare party.

So, it’s that easy. There was no damage done to the Republican Party. Poll? Poll smoll.

2) Creating “broad dissatisfaction with government” is the entire mission of the conservative movement.

In their parallel universe, conservatives rejoice over the second finding in that poll. They want people to be dissatisfied with government because they believe government is, as Ronald Reagan famously said, “the problem.”

One would have thought that anti-government, laissez-faire conservatism could never have come back after the 1929 stock market crash and the subsequent Great Depression. It should have been dead forever. But it wasn’t. It came back in 1964 after its adherents forcefully took over the Republican Party, a feat that resulted in the shellacking of their uber-conservative candidate, Barry Goldwater, in the presidential election that year. The movement should have been permanently dead after that. But it wasn’t. As Thomas Frank wrote in The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation:

The conservatism that made such a huge comeback in the seventies and eighties was a mutation specifically adapted to survive a disaster of the 1929 variety. By which I do not mean that conservatism abandoned laissez-faire, its raison d’être, but that from now on it would present itself to the world as a form of opposition to the established order…It would wallow in preposterous theories about the secret treason of the ruling liberals and encourage the darkest imaginable interpretation of the government’s every deed…

Even as he presided over that hated federal government, Ronaldus Magnus, the tutelary deity of movement conservatism, said at a news conference in 1986:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

So, you can see why that headline in The Washington Post doesn’t bother zealous conservatives one bit. They deny the first fact, that much damage has been done to the Republican Party, and fully embrace the second.

Posted below is the conversation between Hannity and Coulter I referenced, in case you make a healthful habit out of not watching these folks live. But I think you should watch this five-minute segment because it tells you so much about why these people do what they do. Not only will you hear them denying reality and inventing their own, you will hear Sean Hannity repeating the lie about Consumer Reports, claiming that it is “telling people to stay away” from the ObamaCare website. That lie became so widespread—it even found its way into “straight” reporting—that Consumer Reports published an article titled,

Obamacare opponents have misrepresented Consumer Reports’ position

HealthCare.gov problems do not negate benefits of new health law

So, with that in mind, hear the echoes in the chamber:

Remarks And Asides

I liked President Obama much more when he wasn’t dining with Republicans.

_______________________________

Apparently, so did a lot of Americans:

Obama’s Approval Rating Now Underwater, Poll Shows

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Mitch McConnell, fresh off the revelation that he is more of a scoundrel than we otherwise thought, nevertheless managed to expose the mainstream press, which rather than focus on McConnell’s willingness to tolerate the trashing of Ashley Judd as “emotionally unbalanced,” instead focused on his call for an FBI investigation into the alleged illegal recording that revealed his sliminess.

And that is how miscreants like Mitch McConnell stay in power.

_______________________________

Conservatives are attacking Obama for hurting old folks. Liberals are attacking Obama for hurting old folks. So, why is Obama hurting old folks?

______________________________

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, whom President Obama considers a “friend” and who gets much credit for not being a nutty Republican, nevertheless called the emasculated agreement on background checks for gun purchases, worked out by Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Pat Toomey under the watchful eye of the NRA, “a government takeover of gun shows.”

Let’s get this straight: There are Republicans who don’t want the government sticking its nose in the gun business, but insist on the government sticking its nose in vaginas all over the country.

_____________________________

Senator Rand Paul, Tea Party Wonder Boy at the moment, went to the historically black college, Howard University, on Wednesday and told those gathered that the Republican Party hasn’t changed a lick since, oh, Frederick Douglass was a baby, or something like that.

For his next stand-up comedy routine, Paul will team up with  Alaska congressman Don Young and tour central California and explain to the immigrant workers why “wetback” is a term of endearment and it really shows how Republicans are, and always have been, the party of immigration reform.

_____________________________

And speaking of keeping the GOP up to date, Congressman Joe Barton, naturally from Texas, said not to worry about climate change, since the Almighty’s got everything under control and always has:

I would point out that if you’re a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.

_____________________________

Speaking of brilliant Republicans, Dick Cheney told Republican lawmakers that “We’re in deep doo doo” with North Korea making all those threats and that because of his personal experience of misreading the mind of Saddam Hussein, “you never know what they’re thinking.”

What brilliance, what stupefying brilliance.

_____________________________

Speaking of Dick’s stupefying brilliance, it didn’t take a Dick to figure this out:

Penis Size Study Shows Women Find Men With Big Genitals More Attractive 

______________________________

Speaking of weiners, some of them have eyes but still can’t see:

Anthony Weiner Is Eyeing A Return To Politics

______________________________

Ann Coulter, a skinny version of Rush Limbaugh, “joked” about murdering Meghan McCain, John’s daughter, and all that will happen to Ann Coulter is that conservatives will buy more of her books.

______________________________

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, which hands out awards— “Jefferson Muzzles”— to deserving anti-free speech advocates, handed an award to one of Missouri’s bright-light state legislators, Mike Leara:

There are some…who believe that merely proposing a law that restricts gun rights should be a criminal act. Earlier this year, Missouri State Representative Mike Leara proposed a bill that provides “[a]ny member of the general assembly who proposes a piece of legislation that further restricts the right of an individual to bear arms, as set forth under the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States, shall be guilty of a class D felony.”

Congratulations, Mike! And wear your muzzle proudly!

Romney Hood Rides Again!

Okay, it’s official. Romney Hood is now all-in on robbing the poor and middle class to give to the rich.

In March, Ezra Klein wrote this:

Here’s the basic outline of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget in one sentence: Ryan’s budget funds trillions of dollars in tax cuts, defense spending and deficit reduction by cutting deeply into health-care programs and income supports for the poor.

What Romney’s pick of Ayn Rand-fan and right-wing social engineer Paul Ryan shows is just how desperate the embattled candidate is to keep the Ann Coulter-Rush Limbaugh creeps on his side. And while there will be a lot of whoppers told between now and November 6, the biggest whopper of them all was told this morning by Paul Ryan:

I believe there is no person in America who is better prepared, because of his experience, because of the principles he holds, and because of his achievements and excellence in so many different arenas, to lead America at this point in our history.

Because of the principles he holds“? Huh? Maybe he means that Romney is better prepared because he has held at one time or another most of the available principles:

I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose.’ [1]

‘I never really called myself pro-choice.’ [2]  

_____________________

‘It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.’ [1]

‘I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there.’ [2]

_____________________

‘I like mandates. The mandates work.’ [1]

‘I think it’s unconstitutional on the 10th Amendment front.’ [2]

_____________________

‘I will work and fight for stem cell research.’ [1]    

‘In the end, I became persuaded that the stem-cell debate was grounded in a false premise.’ [2]

_____________________

‘I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.’ [1]    

‘Ronald Reagan is… my hero.’[2]

Wow. Romney does have the monopoly on principles alright.  But what about Ryan himself? He certainly sounds like a man of principles, especially now that he is charging President Obama with failing to fix the mess George W. Bush left us. But put your peepers on the following, a graphic presented by Chris Hayes on MSNBC this morning:

One would have to squint really hard to see how Ryan’s austerity-for-all-but-the-wealthy-because-we’re-going-off-the-fiscal-cliff principles today mesh with those principles he actually used to cast votes in that crucial period leading up to the Great Depression. As Chris Hayes put it,

Those are his votes—we’re not event talking in the abstract—I mean Paul Ryan was sitting there during that period of time, making those votes, and I think what drives people crazy is the sense that, “You burned the house down and now you’re complaining about there being no house!”

But as with Mitt Romney’s principles, those votes were Ryan then and this is Ryan now:

President Obama, and too many like him in Washington, have refused to make difficult decisions because they are more worried about their next election than they are about the next generation. We might have been able to get away with that before, but not now. We’re in a different, and dangerous, moment.

Yes, the moment is different, and it is beyond dangerous to put anywhere near the White House a man who helped create the mess we are still living with today. Especially a man who appears to have learned nothing from the mistakes of the past.

These days both Romney and Ryan are hell-bent on demonstrating that trickle-down economics, a scheme of giving mythical “job creators”—those fortunate few who already enjoy a disproportionate share of America’s wealth—more and more in hopes some of it will, like a leaky faucet, slowly drip on the rest of us.

Perhaps now, at this moment when Romney has doubled-down on the failed economics of the past by picking a Randian True Believer for his running mate, it is appropriate to look at a sentence in Robert Reich’s recent column:

The 400 richest Americans are richer than the bottom 150 million Americans put together.

Think about that. No, really, think about it. Read it again. And again. As Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan stood on that retired battleship this morning, they unequivocally and unapologetically stood for those 400 folks, who will do just fine no matter who wins the election.  The question is where do those 150 million Americans, who stand to lose so much if Romney wins, stand?

Paul Ryan did get something right this morning. People have now been given a choice:

What kind of country do we want to have? What kind of people do we want to be?

The selection of Paul Ryan, an advocate of radical austerity for all but the wealthy, has definitely given folks a choice, and we shall soon see how deeply planted in American soil are the roots of extremist Tea Party philosophy.

Because Paul Ryan is its champion.

Is Romney A Decent Guy?

Responding to my post, “Romney: Champion Of Ugly Americans Everywhere!a thoughtful commenter named Treeske wrote:

…one feels almost sorry for this, probably very decent guy’s clumsiness, or is it truly arrogant ignorance (like you mentioned) the elite so often fall victim to?

Tree,

You know, I hear the description of Romney as a “decent” or “nice” guy all the time—mostly from Democrats who then go on to bash his brains out!—but I’m not so sure what kind of guy he is in terms of being decent or nice.

I mean, is Romney’s decency defined by his willingness to say literally anything to achieve the presidency?

Is Romney being a nice guy when he tells lies constantly about Mr. Obama and suggests he is less than an American, helping to legitimize the weird fantasies of amateur and professional right-wing Obama-haters?

Is his decency indicated by an unseemly eagerness to carve up his belief system so as to make it compatible with the extremists in the Republican Party, extremists who seek to alienate large swaths of society?

Is Romney’s niceness defined by a willingness to custom-make his principles in order to get the approval of creeps like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter?

Does a nice guy do the things that Romney has done, like the the dog incident or the haircutting incident or the haircuts he gave workers and their pensions when Bain took companies over and loaded them with debt in order to make a profit? Do good guys do that stuff?

Was Romney being nice when he brought health care reform to Massachusetts but now is being doubly nice when he opportunistically attacks the same reform when Obama fought to bring it to all Americans? Huh?

Is it decent of a guy to store some of his dough overseas in order to shield it from taxes that help support our country? How many roads weren’t built because Romney’s beer money is resting in Bermuda?

Does a nice guy have offshore companies the financial and moral significance of which are kept secret from potential voters?

Does a decent guy keep his tax returns hidden from the millions of taxpayers he seeks to govern?

Look, obviously I don’t know Mitt Romney personally. And I admit to some prejudice in the matter, being a drinker, a Democrat, and an opponent of fundamentalist religion, especially the kind of freakish fundamentalism at the center of Romney’s life that keeps him clothed in special skivvies and away from alcohol.

I can only know Romney by what comes out of his mouth, like the many lies he has told and keeps telling about Mr. Obama, or by what kind of policies he says he will pursue should, God forbid, Americans make the mistake of putting him in charge.

And while judging his personal decency by his religious aversion to the drink or by what comes out of his mouth might sound like I’m swimming at the shallow end of the pool, I do have some Romney-approved company:

Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.

Remarks And Asides

Ann Coulter, in the context of Sarah Palin suggesting herself as the brokered-convention choice for GOP presidential candidate, said this:

…the conservative movement, does have more of a problem with con men and charlatans than the Democratic Party. I mean, the incentives seem to be set up to allow people — as long as you have a band of a few million fanatical followers, you can make money.

Forget Game Change, the movie or the book, which has exceedingly diminished Palin’s standing outside of Fox “News”; Palin really knows she has a credibility problem when someone like Ann Coulter, with a few million fanatical followers of her own—many of whom will drop twenty bucks or so on her latest book, lovingly titled, “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America“—goes all nasty on her.

But for once Coulter got something right if only because it takes a charlatan to know one.

_________________________________________

Speaking of credibility problems, here in Missouri yesterday, Mittens said “we’re going to get rid of” Planned Parenthood, should conservative voters put him in the White’s House, presumably by overlooking these inconvenient facts:

♦ He sought Planned Parenthood’s endorsement during his run for governor.

♦ He attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser during his run for governor.

♦ Said he supported Roe V. Wade.

♦ Said he supported “state funding of abortion services through Medicaid for low-income women.”

♦ Said he supported including information about contraception in public schools.

♦ Said he supported abortions even after 24 weeks if they were done to “save the life of the mother, or when there is a substantial risk of grave impairment to her health.”

♦ Said he supported efforts “to increase access to emergency contraception” known as “the morning after pill.”

Of course all that stuff happened a long time ago—way back in 2002!—which in Romney years is a whole lifetime.

_________________________________________

Now-former Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith has caused a stir via his last-day-on-the job op-ed in The New York Times. Among other things, he accuses the firm of promoting people into leadership who essentially screw Goldman’s clients while making oodles of cash for the company:

I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.

Smith begs the board of directors to do something:

Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm. And get the culture right again, so people want to work here for the right reasons. People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm — or the trust of its clients — for very much longer.

Obviously, Greg Smith’s next gig will be at the Gotham Comedy Club, as he is a very funny man.  Next, he will urge Mittens to give back all that Wall Street campaign dough!

_______________________________

Speaking of comedy, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee all—all!—voted against a renewal last month of the normally bipartisan Violence Against Women Act. Why? Oh, come on, you could have guessed this:

Republicans objected to new language in the bill that would extend protections to undocumented immigrants and LGBT victims of domestic violence, as well as allowing native American authorities to prosecute some non-native offenders.

By God, if you’re not a heterosexual and you don’t come into the country legally, you deserve what you get, girls!

___________________________________________

Finally, more from The Comedy Channel Fox “News” via Steve Benen:

The Dow Jones industrial average soared yesterday, closing at its highest level since before the start of the Great Recession. The Nasdaq composite index, meanwhile, closed yesterday at its highest level in more than 11 years.

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) offered a unique take on these developments yesterday, telling Fox News’ Neil Cavuto the recent upswing may be tied to the 2012 presidential election.

WEST: Well, I would think maybe the markets are maybe looking five to six months down the road, when we have a change in leadership in this country–

CAVUTO: Wait a minute, you think that this is built on a Republican either capturing the White House or Republicans capturing the Senate? … You think that the markets are getting bubbly in anticipation of a Republican taking the White House?

WEST: Oh, absolutely.

Now, that is funny enough on its own. But Benen points to a Bloomberg article last month that makes Congressman West’s assertion even funnier:

The BGOV Barometer shows that, over the five decades since John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, $1,000 invested in a hypothetical fund that tracks the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) only when Democrats are in the White House would have been worth $10,920 at the close of trading yesterday.

That’s more than nine times the dollar return an investor would have realized from following a similar strategy during Republican administrations. A $1,000 stake invested in a fund that followed the S&P 500 under Republican presidents, starting with Richard Nixon, would have grown to $2,087 on the day George W. Bush left office.

Mitt Is No Massachusetts Moderate

Everyone by now has heard that when he was asked if he followed NASCAR, Mitt Romney said:

Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.

Now that, along with his comment that his wife drives “a couple of Cadillacs,” is how Romney appeals to everyday Joes (without the six-pack, since Mittens doesn’t drink). He may not take a lunch bucket to work, but he has some great friends who own lunch bucket factories.

While I know that no one is going to actually believe Mitt Romney is Joe the Plumber, what I fear may end up happening, particularly since Rick Santorum is hell-bent to run as an unelectable theocrat, is that Romney comes off looking like a political moderate. I heard him so referenced twice in one hour on Monday morning—on MSNBC!

Sure, compared to Santorum, he appears slightly more reasonable. And by slightly I mean, well, slightly. The difference between them is like the difference between a humid 100-degree day here in the Midwest and a humid 99-degree day. Both days make you miserable, and it would take a person with preternatural discernment to meaningfully distinguish the two.

The biggest difference is Romney’s unwillingness to openly discuss his fondness for policies inspired directly by his so-called Christian faith. And the reason for that is clear: he understands that a goodly number of GOP voters think he is only a “so-called” Christian, so why bring it up at all?

Other than the religious angle, there just isn’t that much to convincingly argue that Romney’s political philosophy is significantly less wacky than Santorum’s, especially since Mittens hasn’t gone out of his way to distance himself from Santorum’s journey into social-issue theocracy.

The truth is that Mitt Romney has somewhat clumsily adapted his politics to appeal to a very narrow range of voters in that orgy of absurdity known as the GOP primaries.  And I am convinced that he means it this time, even though he is having a hard time convincing a majority of right-wingers.

But I’m not the only one who believes that Romney’s heavy petting of the far right-wing of his party would result, should he be elected president, in policy children that only a teapartier could love.

None other than Ann Coulter, who is one of the most vile conservatives in the history of the breed, is a Romney enthusiast. She famously told Sean Hannity, a fellow vile conservative who refers to Mr. Obama as “the Anointed One“—without a peep of criticism from falsely pious Christians like Coulter—that she recently spoke to Romney at a fundraiser and said,

You owe me! And you’d better be as right-wing a President as I’m telling everybody you’re gonna be!

She told Hannity that Romney laughed and said, “Don’t worry.”

And if Ann Coulter isn’t worried, that means the rest of us should be.

Have Foul Mouth, Will Travel

“I, too, think you could go back to what I was saying in kindergarten and it would be quite consistent with what I’m saying now…”

—Ann Coulter, on Morning Joe, 11/29/2011

 

I don’t know why anyone would want to spend time with Ann Coulter, and I certainly don’t know why anyone at MSNBC would think she should take up valuable time on its network, when there are so many other places where she could go to spit.

Today on Morning Joe, Coulter was explaining why conservatives should not only ignore former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s flip-flops, but should try to understand them. He can actually beat Obama, she now says, even though earlier this year she predicted Romney would lose. About Republican primary voters she said:

What do they not understand about Massachusetts—most liberal state in the union—he ran against Teddy Kennedy? I mean, you’re flipping from positions you held when you came within five points of taking out that human pestilence…

There it was. That’s why, I suppose, a cable television producer—even on so-called liberal MSNBC—would book a guest like Ann Coulter. That quick little cheap shot at a dead man, that blasphemous, slanderous attack on not just a late liberal hero, but a man who served his country for nearly 50 years, is how Ann Coulter has grown rich.  She has no other perceivable talent outside of her ability to present a practiced profaneness, a rehearsed rudeness, an oddly skillful scurrility, all, unfortunately, made for cable TV.

The only Morning Joe panelist who responded, albeit feebly, to what Coulter said about Ted Kennedy was Mike Barnicle, who was good friends with the former legislator.  Barnicle meekly mumbled something in protest, saying “We miss him in Massachusetts and, I think, the country,” then going on to claim that if Kennedy had been alive during the protracted health care debate, he would have shut it down after five months, or something like that.

Not much of a defense from a friend.

Mika Brzezinski was silent. Joe Scarborough said, “Alright, let’s go to news.” That was it.

Sensing something was wrong with what they had done, or not done, the team came back, after a visit with Buddy Roemer, with an obviously ad hoc segment dedicated to the memory of Ted Kennedy, complete with much praise and video of someone Scarborough called at least three times, “a great man.”

But by that time Coulter was safely on her way to another gig, another opportunity to practice her pornographic trade.  Turning tasteless rhetorical tricks is how she makes her living, you know.

And we who watch cable television are her johns.

Remarks And Asides

Jon Huntsman, for a brief shining moment the only adult in a room full of Republican presidential hopefuls, essentially sealed his doom in the Republican primary by making the following statement about the Evil One, the America-hating Kenyan socialist, Barack Hussein Obama:

He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love. But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better President; not who’s the better American.

Nice knowing you Jon, even if it were only for a few hours.  Once upon a time, most Republicans were like you.  We will miss your kind.  How about becoming ambassador to, oh, I don’t know, say, China?

                                                                           [Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America]

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Speaking of Huntsman, even if his civility toward Obama doesn’t do him in, his expressed tolerance and “respect” for states that have legalized or may legalize gay marriage will.  Again, thanks for the memories, however brief, Jon.

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Speaking of “the gay,” former Texas A&M cheerleader and long-time governor of Texas, Rick Perry—who had a one-night-stand with secessionism—will be prepared, should he decide to run for president, to combat old rumors that he is, well,  a Kenyan homosexual.  According to Politico, Perry’s top strategist said:

…unfortunately there are always going to be some people who feel the need to spread false and misleading rumors to advance their own political agenda. 

Noooooooo.  Really? 

I don’t know just how Governor Perry can prove to conservative Republican primary voters that he doesn’t have the gay.  We all know by now that a Certificate of Live Heterosexuality won’t do. 

I guess we’ll just have to “take him at his word,” won’t we, Ms. Bachmann?

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Fox “News” and other conservatives got their prayer shawls in a tangle over NBC Sports godlessly excerpting “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance during its golf telecast.  Now, I for one am comforted to know that conservatives, always eager to embrace policies that would take us back to the good old days, are content to stop at 1954, the year “under God” was wedged into the pledge.

That is progress.

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Speaking of Fox, Ann Coulter, who makes a good living from saying dumb and outrageous things that have the virtue of being consumable by gullible conservatives with disposable income, said on Bill O’Reilly’s “show” Tuesday that Afghans are “perfectly happy being poor, ignorant and having a 30-year lifespan.”

That, my friends, passes for high-brow Christian comedy on Fox “News.”

Or, maybe it’s serious commentary.  It’s hard to tell.

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Finally, and speaking of high-brow Christian comedy or serious commentary, I found the following on “The Blaze,” a website founded by the caliphate-obsessed, Obama-hating Mormon, Glenn Beck.  By the way, OIL_ROBB‘s comment, complete with misspelling and dumb insult, reads like it was written by a certain Globe blogger I know: 

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