Robert's Virtual Soapbox

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OCTOBER 4, 2012 3:41PM

Mittens’ Etch A Sketch at full tilt

Rate: 4 Flag

Etch A Sketch art

Unfortunately, in the United States of Amnesia, you pretty much can “shake it up and … start all over again”* — and to a stunning degree, get away with it.

I watched last night’s presidential debate online as it unfolded live.

While everyone is declaring Mittens Romney the “winner,” I don’t see it.

It’s obvious that the multi-millionaire Mormon Mittens has shifted his message abruptly to the center in order to appeal to the so-called “swing voters” (a.k.a. “undecideds,” “independents,” etc.). It wasn’t nearly long ago enough (it was in May) that Mittens told his fat-cat donors that 47 percent of us Americans can go fuck ourselves that we now can believe Mittens’ claim of last night that he just wuvs every last one of us.

I believe the Mittens of May, not the Mittens of October.

Only when we reduce the presidential debates to pure theater, in which truthfulness doesn’t matter (theater is, after all, fiction), only when we view the presidential debates as entertainment, like a wrestling event, can we say that Mittens “won” last night’s debate.

Mittens lied every time his lips moved – contrary to his claims, a Mittens presidency would look like much the illegitimate George W. Bush presidency did, but we wouldn’t even have Big Bird — but hey, Mittens steamrolled all over senior-citizen moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS (whom Mittens badly wants to fire)! What a bad-ass alpha male Mittens is!

Frighteningly, it apparently is the “swing voters” who (at least largely) decide presidential elections these days, and if you are one of them, you just now are paying attention to the presidential race and you have no idea that just the day before yesterday, Mittens was singing a hard-right tune. If you just first tuned in last night and you believe everything that you are told, indeed, Mittens, from his debate performance — and, like it is with theater, it was a performance – might not strike you as that bad a guy.

Luckily, we need look only to the presidential debates of 2004 – in which John Kerry clearly cleaned dipshit George W. Bush’s clock, yet Bush “won” “re”-election nonetheless – to remind ourselves that a real (in Bush’s case) or imagined (in Barack Obama’s case) poor performance in the presidential debates certainly doesn’t spell certain doom for an incumbent president’s election (real or imagined) to a second term.

I expect Mittens to gain a percent or two in the nationwide polls over the next week, but I don’t expect that boost to last, and I still expect Barack Obama to win re-election. I expect that Obama will have learned from the chatter after his first debate with Mittens and will adjust his game accordingly.

The question remains, however, as to how easily the New and Improved! Mittens can dupe the “swing voters” who just now are paying attention.

*The infamous Etch A Sketch quote, recall, was that of (former?) senior Mittens campaign operative Eric Fehrnstrom, who in March told CNN, “I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.”

When you shake up an actual Etch A Sketch, everything disappears without a trace. Real life, however, isn’t that neat and tidy, yet Team Mittens apparently is going forward with the Etch-A-Sketch plan nonetheless. Indeed, according to the Mittens playbook, we’re even to just erase already the infamous “47 percent” remark that Mittens uttered just back in May.

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Nice illustration. Mitt makes the world seem so simple and shiny. When we face serious complexity, it's just less appealing. I have heard that Obama was meeting with the families of some dead soldiers before the debate. That would put a damper on things. And it was pretty amazing how nothing that he'd been saying for the past year seemed to matter to Romney at all. He suddenly promises that insurance companies can't drop people with pre-existing conditions? And he plans to add not subtract teachers? And he's putting money INTO Medicare? And he's saving jobs by repealing Obamacare? That last one is contradictory because by his own record as a state governor in Massachusetts, the jobs outlook improved under Romneycare. But never mind the facts. Romney believes he's entitled to an elevator for his cars as well as his own facts.

You have to admit that he's a salesman with a slick line though. He knows how to pivot like he should've been in ballet.
Indeed, Obama has been burdened with the incredible responsiblity of actually being president for the past three-plus years now, while Mittens has only been fantasizing about being president for the past five or six years. It's much easier for an outsider like Mittens to be rosier than it is for someone who's actually done the job -- and who inherited the colossal mess that George W. Bush left him.

The squeaky-clean facade that Mittens parades -- replete with his 1950s-era nostalgia -- is part of his Mormon upbringing, no doubt.

Again, I have to wonder how many clueless "undecideds" will buy Mittens' candy-coated bold-faced lies and actually cast their votes for him, actually believing that this mult-millionaire vulture capitalist actually gives a shit about THEM.
It's hard to debate a liar and I doubt Obama prepared for it. By the next debate, I expect he will have considered a better approach.

Consider how powerful it will be if Obama says, Just 3 months ago, Mitt, you promised this. Now you're saying that. What will you say in November? Which of the things you have promised voters do you actually plan to do?
Yes, it strikes me that Obama did not expect Mittens to pull so many complete 180s on his political positions in the debate. Probably on the $5 trillion argument especially, Obama was unprepared for Mittens to just flat-out lie about his obvious intent to give the filthy rich (even more) tax breaks, a la George W. Bush.

I don't know why Obama didn't make political hay out of the infamous "47 percent" remark. It was (is) quite germane to Mittens' sudden claim that he cares so very much about every American to point out that not even six months ago he stated that he already has written off almost half of Americans as lazy, worthless ne'er-do-wells.

In retrospect, since the economy has been the voters' No. 1 concern, and has been so slow in its recovery, it probably was predictable that a debate on the economy would be Obama's toughest.

I sure the hell hope that Obama mops the floor with Mittens' hairdo when they debate foreign policy. On that point, hopefully Obama will remind us of how successful Mittens' world tour of this past summer was...
"While everyone is declaring Mittens Romney the "winner", I don't see it." I thought the same thing. At first he seemed more energized, although clearly lying a mile a minute. But then I just saw this manic, sort of crazed individual throughout his whole performance. And then that pose while Obama spoke. It was weird and creepy. However, I'm not a fan of Obama and this whole corporate presidential race. But I agree with your points about theatre and such.
Yes, don't get me wrong: Obama has been a deep disappointment. He promised "hope" and "change" but mostly has refused to make a significant, much more radical, departure from the status quo. He campaigned like Howard Dean but governs like Bill Clinton. If I could take back my vote for him in 2008 (as well as the hundreds of dollars that I gave him for that campaign), I would.

All of that said, of course Mittens would be a much larger disaster in the White House, and for that reason, I admit that thus far I have given Obama $90 toward his re-election after months of having refused to give him a penny. (That $90 is much less than I gave him in 2008.) But, since there is no question that Obama will win all of California's 55 electoral votes, no matter whom I vote for, I probably will vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on November 6. Obama broke most of his campaign promises, and while I have been able to suck it up and give him a little bit of money in order to try to prevent a President Mittens, he doesn't deserve my vote again.
You cannot debate with a liar or a bully. He bullied Jim Lehrer. He lied continually, changing his position on most issues. If the President had argued with him, he would have looked foolish and become angry.
I thought it best to let Romney continue with his frantic recitation of all he memorized and then attack later with examples. If left alone someone might babble and say something stupid like " I love Big Bird, but we should quit funding PBS". It is not like the President could play video of opposite statements. I believe we will see a different approach in the next debate.
Granted the President was subdued. Anyone would look subdued next to Romney, who was so hyper--and so rude--he reminded me of a really big hummingbird who drank a whole can of coke in one swallow. Someone should remind Romney that John Kerry was also considered to be the debate winner, but did not go on to win the election. I'm hoping, and I'm betting, that Obama knows very well he's going to have to come back swinging in the next two debates. I think too, that the Town Hall format is not going to be as kind to Romney as two candidates + monitor. And I'm very much hoping that the 47% remark is going to come up in one of the next two debates. It took Romney over two weeks to apologize--unconvincingly--for having spoken so disparagingly of almost half the nation. I think he's a lot sorrier it made his poll numbers tank than he is for having SAID it.

Obama is imperfect, nor have I always agreed with him. But a Romney-Ryan presidency would be a disaster all the way around.

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LSD: You're preaching to the choir. I found Mittens' bullying to be reprehensible. This indeed is the same Mittens who once held down a young, long-haired gay man and forcibly cut his hair. Fuck, I'm surprised that Mittens didn't give Jim Lehrer such a haircut...

However, this aggressive behavior has been spun by the idiots in the media as a "victory" for Mittens. Who cares that he lied continuously? He was decisive! (That's what they used to say about George W. Bush...)

I don't know that Obama should continue to remain "above it all." I recall that Al Gore remained "above it all" during the late-2000 fight for the White House, and the result of Gore's refusing to get his hands dirty in the fight was eight, long, nightmarish years of George W. Bush.

While we might see Obama's behavior during the debate as more responsible and mature (because it was), unfortunately, I don't think that we can say that the "swing voters" see it that way. It seems to me that most of them love a good brawl, want that wrestling-like entertainment, truth be damned, even their own long-term well-being be damned.

The Big Bird, thing, though -- yeah, it didn't help Mittens to shake his image as a cold-hearted bastard by stating that he'd fire Big Bird. (Is Big Bird, I wonder, the mascot of the 47 percent? You know, those lazy sloths who want the guv'mint to pay for their tay-vay?)

Shiral: I didn't see Obama as all that subdued. I saw him as calm, collected and thoughtful. Again, I doubt that Obama saw it coming that Mittens would lie to the degree that his pretty-boy running mate Paul Ryan lies, and I surmise that Mittens' incredible amount of lying caught Obama off guard.

Agreed: Mittens' 180 on his "47 percent" comment is utter bullshit, is entirely unbelievable, so much so that I think that he would have been better off to just let it go than to claim now that he just LOVES the "100 percent." You can't make such a severe statement as he did just a few months ago and then claim that that wasn't what you actually believe at all.

Also agreed that a Mittens-Pretty Boy presidency would be disastrous -- which is why I've given Obama some money. However, the Democratic Party continually disgusts me with its refusal to follow through on its promises to govern progressively, and I'm sick and fucking tired of being presented with only the choice of two evils, one greater and one lesser -- which is why I'll probably vote for Jill Stein for president.