Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thinking about politics

Once again, Matt Taibbi nailed it when it comes to describing Mittens:

Romney can’t even be mean with any honesty. Even when he’s pandering to viciousness, ignorance and racism, it comes across like a scaly calculation. A guy who feels like he has to take a dump on the N.A.A.C.P. in Houston in order to connect with frustrated white yahoos everywhere else is a guy who has absolutely no social instincts at all. Someone like Jesse Helms at least had a genuine emotional connection with his crazy-mean-stupid audiences. But Mitt Romney has to think his way to the lowest common denominator, which is somehow so much worse.
Most presidents have something under the hood – wit, warmth, approachability, something. Even the most liberal football fan could enjoy watching an NFL game with George Bush. And even a Klansman probably would have found some of LBJ’s jokes funny. The biggest office in the world requires someone who buzzes with enough personality to fill the job, and most of them have it.
But Romney doesn’t buzz with anything. His vision of humanity is just a million tons of meat floating around in a sea of base calculations. He’s like a teenager who stays up all night thinking of a way to impress the prom queen, and what he comes up with is kicking a kid in a wheelchair. Instincts like those are probably what made him a great leveraged buyout specialist, but in a public figure? Man, is he a disaster. It’s really incredible theater, watching the Republicans talk themselves into this guy.
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/romneys-free-stuff-speech-is-a-new-low-20120713#ixzz20sVw7rqn

I haven't had much to say on the subject of politics lately. I look at what's happening in general and find myself being quietly amazed a day would come when I'd start missing Richard Nixon. To paraphrase Robert Reich, calling Romney an empty suit is an insult to empty suits everywhere. Something like a third of the voters in this country describe themselves as independents not affiliated with either party, and it's easy to see why. The Republicans have allowed themselves to be hijacked by the crazies, the tinfoil hat crowd that used to hang around on the fringes being laughed at, and, with a few rare exceptions, the Democrats have evolved into Eisenhower Republicans.

One thing that astounds me about that lunatic fringe, the teabaggers and closet racists, is the way they cling to their delusions and conspiracy theories. They keep rehashing the same weird obsessions -- the birth certificate, President Obama's Hyde Park house, his college grades -- as though if they say some of this stuff enough times it'll start to sound sane. I don't get it. The whole birth certificate fantasy is so convoluted and bizarre it's just laughable, and why would anyone care what type of grades any politician received in a freshman English composition course?

Ditto the bizarre speculations about the Obamas' purchase of their house in Hyde Park. The big question the teabaggers and conspiracy nuts keep tossing out is "How could they afford it?!" The implication is that there were backdoor deals and special favors. Pshaw. The house cost $1.65 million  when the Obamas bought it in June 2005. They did conventional financing just like any other home buyer. At the time of purchase, the Obamas had a healthy combined 6-figure income and his book was a best seller. If there were shenanigans going on, the mortgage would be a lot closer to paid off than it is right now. Based on the information provided on the President's 2011 income tax return, at this point in time he probably still owes close to $800,000 on the house. 

As a fan of "House Hunters" on HGTV, I feel confident in saying that there are a lot of buyers out there who could purchase just as much house with much, much shakier credit than the Obamas had in 2005. Back in 2005, with the housing bubble expanding at full force and banks issuing mortgages on McMansions to Waffle House fry cooks, anyone could buy a lot of house without much effort with absolutely no need for any political favors, shady dealings, or influence peddling. Episode after episode of "House Hunters" back then featured buyers who'd be described in what can only be termed lower middle class income terms ("Ellen is a secretary while Joe is a graduate student working toward a Ph.D. in philosophy"), buyers whose joint income in a sane world might have made them eligible for a Habitat for Humanity house. Then the narrator would intone, "They've been pre-approved for $600,000." WTF? These people can't be taking home much over $3,000 monthly between the two of them and they're buying a house that with a conventional fixed rate 30-year mortgage would have payments close to $4,000 a month? Of course, we know now that they weren't doing conventional mortgages -- they were being suckered into doing interest only and indulging in a fantasy that low payments would last forever -- but that's the subject for a different post.

Bottom line, though, is that if manicurists and fry cooks were being sold over-priced McMansions, why should there be any mystery over how a successful upper middle class couple could manage to buy a house in Hyde Park, especially when their household included two white collar wage earners with 6-figure annual incomes?  


  1. Your time would be better spent pulling weeds, or boating, has the other half got that old boat in shape yet?

    If not tell him to get his ass away from the puter and get buzzy on it.

  2. None the less, come the election, Romney will get approximately 50% of the votes. Which says more about American voters than his emptiness. .

    And we thought Dan Quayle was a joke ...

  3. Probably true, Bill. But it's hard to imagine 50% voting FOR Mitt. They're voting against.


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.