Posted by: mutantpoodle | September 1, 2012

Full Circle

So yesterday, coming off a convention dominated by a sadly doddering octogenarian actor scolding an empty chair, Mitt Romney had another oopsie:

[Obama] didn’t know what it takes to actually make the economy work. Paul Ryan and I understand how the economy works, we understand how Washington works, we will reach across the aisle and find good people who like us, want to make sure this company deals with its challenges. We’ll get America on track again. [Emphasis mine]

I’m pretty sure he meant country, but seeing how he wants to sell most of the United States off to the highest bidder, I’m not sure there’s a distinction.

Anyway, this works out nicely, because companies are incorporated, which makes them corporations, and, as Romney has also pointed out, corporations are people, so…

America is people.

People like Jodie Chiarello, home destroyed by flooding from Hurricane Isaac, whom Romney met yesterday.

Now, I have no problem with Mitt Romney visiting a disaster area. (He came on stage in Tampa after the Clint Eastwood thing, after all, so he’s clearly comfortable in that scenario.)  But usually, the candidate waits a few days to let the sitting President come in and also to stay out of the way of people who are there to actually help disaster victims.

So Mitt should have thought this through, perhaps, because he is not an elected official at any level, has no recovery apparatus at his disposal, doesn’t run a company anymore (and when he did, it wasn’t a Home Depot or Lowes, that could have actually, you know, helped), so all he’s got to offer is sympathy. It wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate to headline this stunt as Retiree from Massachusetts takes in disaster sights in Louisiana.

So this is what the putative leader of the free world tells Ms. Chiarello, who is now, of course, homeless:

“He just told me to, um, there’s assistance out there,” Chiarello said of her conversation with Romney. “He said, go home and call 211.”

Um, what part of “homeless” is so hard to understand?

Mitt Romney just spent most of Thursday evening trying to convince us he was a warm, caring, empathetic guy, and by all accounts it was pretty effective. But telling someone that there’s assistance out there and to go back to your submerged home and make a phone call might undermine your case.

Again, Romney has no power to do anything for disaster victims for at least five months – if he’s lucky. So instead of telling her what she already knew, perhaps he could have asked Ms. Chiarello how she’s doing, does she know where she’s going to stay, and told her that she’d be in his prayers.

At least he didn’t tell her that his Vice Presidential nominee wanted to pull $10 billion out of disaster assistance budgeting so the Ryan budget plan would look more balanced. So I guess that’s good.

Ryan, by the way, is under fire for a new statement in direct contravention of the truth, or whatever the media is calling lies these days. In this case, his claim that he ran a marathon in under three hours. For those of you without calculators, that’s under 7 minutes a mile. 6:52/mile, to be exact.

In case you’re wondering, that’s very fast. and quite a few people thought Ryan was, shall we say, making it up. And yes, it turns out he was:

This evening, the terrific running journalist Scott Douglas figured out that Ryan had actually run a 4:01 in the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1990, when he was a college student. This is not quite so fast. A 2:55 would have put Ryan in a hundred and thirtieth place, out of the thirty-two hundred and seventy-seven men in that race. A 4:01 put him in nineteen hundred and ninetieth place. It’s the difference between racing and running.

Now, Ryan says he just goofed, but as someone who runs, I can tell you I know my mile splits. In my 20’s my best times for a mile were around 6:45 – for five miles tops. (Today, sadly, I’m in the 8:00 – 8:30 range.) I find it hard to believe that a fitness freak would “accidentally” shave over an hour off his marathon time. On the other hand, Ryan and accuracy have rarely been seen in the same vicinity, and at least this little lie isn’t about things that will change the way everyone under 55 in this country gets healthcare when they retire, so perhaps I should let it pass.

Finally, the last word on Mitt and Clint.

Romneyites have been falling over themselves to take responsibility blame someone else for the Clint Eastwood performance art disaster.  Tom Scocca calls them out:

They screwed up the un-screwuppable. This was like having one of the featured guests at the State of the Union drop his trousers on camera. If you botch that, how are you going to execute the more complicated constitutional duties? Mitt Romney can’t handle Clint Eastwood trying to do him a favor, and he wants to take on unfriendly negotiations with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Vladimir Putin?

And the Eastwood appearance was a miscalculation long before any furniture got dragged out onstage. The campaign had hyped it as a special secret appearance, causing waves of speculation about what political coup Romney might have in the works. Was he going to bring out Gen. David Petraeus to endorse him? The SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden? He might redefine his whole candidacy in one memorable moment.

And then … they dragged out an actor. A known Republican. Imagine the Obama campaign staging the same windup, only to bring out Robert De Niro. It would be humiliating.

Even if you don’t like Romney or support his politics, you’re supposed to acknowledge that he knows what he’s doing. He could have acted like he knew what he was doing. “I liked the speech,” he could have said. “I thank Clint for giving it.” Instead, we get a panicky and mean-spirited organizational freakout, with anonymous staff trying to deflect responsibility.

Regardless of whether or not you believe corporations are people, the president of the United States is a corporate entity—a staff, acting together on behalf of the orders and principles from the top. And based on this 24 hours, Mitt Romney, Inc., is a bungling, blame-shifting mess.
Other than that, Mitt, how was your week?

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