Category Archives: Huntsman

InvisibleObama Loves You Edition

Do you know what the definition of a straw man is? “A straw man is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.” Hmmmm…

The star of this convention clearly is not Mitt Romney, but the straw man we’ll call Invisible Obama, a guy who apparently hangs out with Clint Eastwood and wipes the drool off his chin–you know,  the guy the Republicans made up. I forgot about him.  He’s the guy who wasn’t born an American even though his mother was a US citizen. He’s the guy who apparently closed a GM plant in Janesville before he was inaugurated, “raided” Medicare, killed small business in America, stomps all over your right to self-determination, doesn’t care about women or children… He’s a despicable…oh wait, no that’s Republicans.

WHAT is the purpose of the Republican convention again?  Oh yeah, to make me so mad I could spit nails. Got it.

I’m gonna just set a baseline here. Let’s just say this right from the start and then I can just continue to reference this comment all…damn…night… From Day One of the Obama presidency, the Republican Party as a body decided it would not just obstruct but actively wage war against every single initiative and policy that Barack Obama proposed. So when Republicans rail against him for not getting something done, when Republicans deride him for not doing more for the economy, know that it was the REPUBLICAN Party and since the mid-terms in 2010, the Republican-led House that decided it would categorically refuse to do anything to help this country out of sheer spitefulness, like petulant toddlers. It was the Republican Party led by Boehner and bullied by the Tea Party that chose to drive this country into the ground simply because they hate Obama so much.

It’s Day Three of the RNC and we have to grit our teeth just to turn on the TV and tune into the convention coverage. It’s a fracking slog, if you must know, but I feel like I must at least try. It’s the responsible thing, yes? To listen to the other side spew lies and misinformation? Most of it is supremely uninteresting and simultaneously annoying. There’s Jane Evans touted as a Liberal Democrat up there shilling for Mitt, a parade of Olympic heroes– a move, it seems, designed simply to get the crowd chanting “USA! USA!”

The “surprise” mystery guest for tonight turns out to be Clint Eastwood and I’m sad to say, the guy sounds nearly incoherent.  Who thought this was a good idea–more like both bad and ugly.  Alex Massie at the Spectator tweeted, “Eastwood plainly giving the father of the bride speech at a wedding at which he dislikes the groom and doesn’t recognize his daughter.” Several faltering and unfortunate jokes later, I can only refer you to my comment on obstruction above. All these Republicans are whining and whinging about how Obama hasn’t done anything for the country and I want to say, 1) President Obama done a helluva a lot for this country IN SPITE of the GOP’s best efforts, and 2) see my comment about obstruction up above. People, check out the list of 244 of the President’s accomplishments.

Anyway,  Eastwood has a painfully long extended and very lame conversation with an InvisibleObama, leading to yet another hilarious Twitter meme in which “InvisibleObama” makes snarky remarks about Marco Rubio standing on his foot. In less than an hour, the Twitter account for InvisibleObama’s empty chair has 20,000 followers–can they all vote?

I’m only half tuning into what they’re saying now and occasionally blurting out retorts. Some guy says something about how in the dark days of the past, wealth used to be concentrated in the hands of just a few. Um,  that’s TODAY that you’re talking about.

I’m bored with the speakers. Looking around the convention floor, there are faces you just don’t see. No, I don’t mean that there are no minority faces, although that’s true too–their tent may be big, but it’s also empty. But I mean that certain prominent visages have not been asked to make a speech. No Bushes at all of course. As Milena astutely pointed out, no Dick Cheney? No Palin?

Ahhh Palin.  What fun THAT was (Sorry, is there not enough sarcasm in my tone? “What fun that was….*grimace*And by fun I mean torture.”) What HAS she been up to these days?  Aside from getting bumped off of the Fox News lineup that is…

Paul Ryan didn’t have the expensive wardrobe, but he sure has the faces down.  Paul West had a good analysis in his LA Times piece: “When Mitt Romney was searching for a ticket mate, Republicans pleaded: Don’t pick another Sarah Palin. So it may come as a surprise that, in at least one important way, he ended up doing precisely that with Paul D. Ryan….”

Frankly, I don’t think Ryan did himself any favors with his overblown, overstated claims yesterday–journos and bloggers and just about everyone is still raking him over the coals.  A trending hashtag on Twitter this morning is “#LyinRyan“– for you non-Twitterers, that’s NOT a good thing. And when someone says in a piece on FOX News “”to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech…” your cred has slipped…way down. Sally goes on to say, “Republicans should be ashamed that there was even one misrepresentation in Ryan’s speech but sadly, there were many…”

Hilariously, Gawker has a list of seven things Paul Ryan said that were true, including: “There she is–my Mom, Betty” and “My Dad, a small town lawyer, was also named Paul.”

But at last, we have gotten to the man of the hour: Mittelschmerz Romney. I’m a little surprised to note that Romney’s acceptance speech, while irritating, doesn’t get me nearly as riled as I was when Condi Rice was onscreen. I’m not sputtering and incoherent like I am with some of the other speakers, but I think that’s because there’s just nothing to get excited about one way or another with Romney. He lacks charisma, lacks fire, and is just completely uninteresting. The one time I’m ready to spit nails is when the word “bipartisan” emerges from Mitt’s mouth. Don’t fracking even MENTION the word “bipartisan” to me–no one at this convention gets to say that word.

Aside from this though, I predict that the Mittelschmerz will continue to have image problems.  Back in early August, Pew Research Group released a poll noting that, “By a 52% to 37% margin, more voters say they have an unfavorable than favorable view of Mitt Romney. The poll, conducted prior to Romney’s recent overseas trip, represents the sixth consecutive survey over the past nine months in which his image has been in negative territory.” Frankly, I don’t see that shifting radically after this convention. I mean, he was trending down even before he famously staged three major gaffes in three countries,  condescending to the British, stomping all over delicate diplomatic ground with the Israelis and Palestinians, and  insulting journalists in Poland. Little foreign policy sumptin sumptin for everyone. Anyway, back to popularity (not that elections are like running for prom queen or anything) Romney’s popularity actually took a DIP before the convention…

Is he getting a convention bounce?  Yeah, 1-2 points, which is normal. But know what?  convention bounce, whatever,  Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight notes that going into the Republican convention, Obama leads in 12 of the fifteen national polls released at the end of August. “Enjoy this moment of polling clarity,” he says.


As per usual it’s up to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to get me through the week with a shred of sanity. Jon’s got a wonderfully ridiculous Romney bio video narrated by Leonard Nimoy.  The video for 8/30 wasn’t up as of press time, but should be posted soon. PLUS his guest is  Michael Steele, who is surprisingly ready to dish on the Republican convention.  Can’t blame him for being bitter after the way Republicans blamed him for everything from the party’s debt (what was that about fiscal responsibility?) to picking storm-prone Tampa for the convention.

Apparently it’s Disgruntled Republicans Week on Comedy Central. Gov. Jon Huntsman, the last even semi-reasonable Republican — remember, the guy I might have been able to actually vote for? — was on Colbert and nailed it, “SuperPACS are destroying democracy. It’s an abomination.”  When it comes up on, watch it.  It will do your heart good. Favorite line, when Stephen asks Huntsman “Romney says he’s not going to be beholden to factcheckers. How important do you think the facts are to this campaign?” Huntsman also gives his opinion… in fluent Mandarin– Translations anyone?


Once again, I will reiterate,  plan to vote early, and plan to get everyone you know to vote. I’m looking at you folks in the swing states especially. If you’re not already registered,register to vote now!

The deadlines to register for each state are here, and many states have a deadline to register of 30 days before the election. That means your registration must be postmarked October 8, but the alert among you will note that that is also Columbus Day. So some states have moved the deadline BACK to October 6. Check your local registration deadline carefully!



Thank God it’s over.

Herky-Jerky Edition

Does this make more sense from *this* angle?

Ever have those days when you wonder, “If I look at it this way, maybe it will make more sense.” And yet still the Republican world makes no sense to me…

Whatevs.  I report, you decide.

Well, the good news is that the longer I wait between posts, the fewer candidates there are to worry about on the Republican side.  We ditched Bachmann almost immediately when she finished dead last in Iowa and she threw her support to Ron Paul. Uhhh, watch your back, Ron. She’s looking for a Veep slot, I think. No seriously, ’cause word is she isn’t running for re-election in Minnesota –a bright spot in this whole debacle. And oh, Iowa?  Count those votes again, maybe you’ll come up with ME as the winner. Mrow.
Google MeGuess it doesn’t matter ultimately though since no one seems to know how Iowa’s caucuses are related to, oh, say, actual delegates at the GOP Convention. Okay, Santorum. You win. Go you. Thanks, Iowa.  Now he’s insufferable.

New Hampshire winnowed out Huntsman, who finished third, but decided that his ticket to ride was back home. On his way out he endorsed fellow Mormon Romney (Is that like Highlander? In the end there can be only one?) And with him goes the last chance for any semblance of sanity in this race.

Perry corndogThen South Carolina peeled away Perry. Sadness.  A lot of good reality-TV type antics and Holy Roller nonsense leaves the race with him, and frankly I just can’t see Paul and Santorum stepping it up to be quite the brand of cuckoo-bananas that Bachmann and Perry were. Still he kept things interesting to the end, throwing his God-given support behind the MOST family values, MOST God-riddled, MOST holier-than-though candidate possible, “She turned me into a Newt….A Newt?…I got better….” Gingrich. In my humble opinion Perry helped him into a win in South Carolina. How else to explain the bizarre 40% that Newton took in the Palmetto State? Even paleo-cons like Daniel Larison know he’s toxic: “Republicans are faced with an unfortunate predicament entirely of their own making: they can rally behind the Republican Bill Clinton to try to stop Romney, or they can nominate the liar.”

Keep your forked tongue behind your teethWait, we’re talking about the same Newt, right?  The doughy guy who used to be Speaker of the House before he was charged with 84 ethics violations, fined $300,000 and forced to resign in disgrace? That guy?  The one who led the impeachment charge against Bill Clinton while he himself was five years into an adulterous affair with Callista Bisek while still married to Marianne Ginther, who had been diagnosed with MS? That Newt? The one who asked Marianne for an open marriage so he could keep boffing Bisek, but continued to give pretentious, holier-than-thou speeches on family values? The sleazy, self-righteous boor with a bilious disposition?

For those of you who sat through  the South Carolina debate, Old Grimr Wormtongue may have defined a whole new level of hypocrisy.  Jon Stewart’s take on the debate from Monday night isn’t posted yet, but look for it here by Tuesday.

Ahh, there’s so much more.  I had wanted to shine a light on Old Sanctimonious and Looney-Paul, but there’s time yet.  And there’s Florida.  Oh Florida.  Where Wormtongue is enjoying a surge.  Savor it now, ForkTongue. The voting public is a fickle beast.

And if you’re looking for some amusement, try the NY Times’ hilarious interactive Stump Speech analyzer. It helps you ID the key concepts and catchphrases each candidate like to employ.

There will be more on “Schmerz in my Mittel” Romney soon, I promise.  Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten him.  I’m just aghast that Newt  Wormtongue is enjoying such resurgence. Don’t worry. I’ll get over it. In the mean time. Leo sends along this lengthy but absorbing background piece on Mittens. Well worth a read.


Obama's story
…and I can sing Al Green. (Thanks to Dina for the link!)
Newton Leroy Gingrich-Testa di cazzo


Colbert SuperPACIt’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s SUPERPAC

And in case you’ve been missing out on Stephen Colbert’s wicked wicked ways, early last year, Colbert started his own Political Action Committee, under the tutelage of (for real) former Federal Elections Commission chairman Trevor Potter. What has ensued has been a hilarious, revelatory and highly disturbing sashay through the latest changes in campaign law–ones that allow for unlimited money to be poured into political campaigns with little-to-no checks on what these organizations can do. Colbert’s commitment to the perfect satire knows no bounds– he testified in front of the Federal Elections Commission (for real) and everything. And he was granted to right to form the Colbert SuperPAC.

Colbert transfers his SuperPAC to Jon StewartWhen Colbert discovered that, according to a Public Policy Poll, he was leading John Huntsman in South Carolina, Colbert predictably decided he should explore a presidential run.  But wait, Stephen, admonished Potter, you can’t have a SuperPAC and be a candidate. And so, vested with the right to do so under the unbelievably simplistic– nay, moronic– rules of SuperPAC-dom, Colbert  transferred the awesome power of his SuperPAC to none other than Jon Stewart.  Watch and learn, my little PACsters. It’s a civics lesson and comic genius all rolled into one.
Now remember, a SuperPAC may not coordinate with a candidate (Wink, wink, nudge,nudge, Say no more! A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat…), and yet, they are clearly in support of certain candidates, even if the candidates themselves are frustrated by their inability to control messaging. But if you want to know which SuperPACS go with whom  (and who has come up with most glurge-istic, flag-waving, freedom-ringing, barf-worthy names), take the Washington Post’s quiz. To find out more about campaign finance, CNN has this handy primer. Be warned, you’ll want to smack your head repeatedly against the table when you read all this.



Folks, I’m going to email the rant for one more edition, but after that it will only be available by subscribing on the WordPress blog via the link in the upper right corner of this page. So if you’ve been enjoying the Rant, if you want to keep following it into the deep dark jungle that is an election year, please subscribe directly. You’ll still get your Rant in your inbox, but it makes it easier for me if I can post and email all in one swell foop. Thanks!

And if you are enjoying things please feel free to pass the link along to your friends. I only bite the heads off of ridiculous primary candidates occasionally and there’s rarely any blood…


Grousy Cat sezGROUSY CAT SEZ:
Hakuin used to tell his pupils about the Grousy Cat who snoozed at a local teashop, praising her political acumen. The pupils refused to believe what he told them and would go to the teashop to find out for themselves.Whenever Grousy Cat saw them coming she could tell at once whether they had come to give her a scratch under the chin or to find out who she was voting for. In the former case, she would graciously purr if they rubbed under her chin. In the latter, she would beckon to the pupils to follow her behind a screen. The instant they obeyed, she would swipe them with her left paw. Hard.Nine out of ten of them could not escape her swat.

Bread and Circuses Edition

Well, hello there!

It’s been a while since we all met, and yes, I admit I’ve been laying low, because, well…come on, people, it was just too early to start getting my dander up and keep it up. After all, I’m older now and it’s going to take a strategic meting out of dander to keep me going through this election.  I don’t want to waste my precious political ire on flashes in the pan like The Pizza King or The Donald. I mean, remember back in 2008 at this time, some people thought that Hillary Clinton had the Dem nomination sewn up and a junior senator named Barack Obama was considered a long shot? We were still talking about Mike Huckabee’s big lead in Iowa and what a nice wholesome guy John Edwards was.

But as we all hurtle into the election year, I can’t resist the call to battle, nor do I feel that any of us should. There’s just too much fun ahead.

Bread and circuses, folks.  Roman poet Juvenal said: “…duas tantum res anxius optat, panem et circenses.” “Long ago, from when we sold our vote to nobody, the people poured away our cares; for the public, who once commanded the military, government offices, legions, everything, now represses itself and anxiously chooses only two things, bread and circuses.”

Except that here in America we can’t even frickin’ vote ourselves a grain supplement– we just get circuses.  Yep, we can’t even do the Decline and Fall of Civilization correctly.

But I digress. It’s another year of wondering what this circus gets us in the end, why it matters and what we should be doing about it.  I invite you to subscribe to my new blog with the link at the top right of this page and enjoy a year of political ranting with me. And if you’re really having a good time,  please feel free to pass along the link to any of your friends.

Let’s get this party started!


If you’ve been assiduously avoiding the entire Republican campaign scrum, I applaud you. Really, you haven’t missed anything of consequence at all.

But on the eve of the Iowa caucuses you might be wondering what year we’re in– Romney? Ron Paul? NEWT GINGRICH?  No, seriously?  O, Republicans, this is what you call a field? Santorum or Perry?  I bite my fist…no, no, you go ahead, you choose Rick Santorum (*urk*) or Ron Paul (*uggglmph*) as your candidate to run against Barack Obama.  ‘Cause loose-cannon nutjobs like Sarah Palin helped SOOO much in the last election.


Heigh-Ho, Heigh Ho!

We’ve gotten a god-awfully close and horrendously loud look at each of these fine specimens and have thrilled  to the tales of their woeful upbringings, when the nanny wouldn’t bring them a second cup of hot chocolate or served the smoked salmon too chilled. I present to you, the seven dwarves: Gore-y, Sleazy, Looney, Slimy, Sanctimonious, Pesky and Irrelevant. Settle in. Get to know them.  My guess is that…God help us…no one is dropping out of this party until New Hampshire.

Mitt RomneyGORE-Y

Thus named because the former Massachusetts Gov soooo reminds me of a GOP version of Al Gore.  No matter what they do, dagnabit, his handlers just can’t seem to warm up poor Mitt Romney, Mormon underwear or no.  And despite that he is possibly the Republicans’ best hope for any kind of a challenge to Obama in 2012, the rest of the field continues to savage him like he’s a T-bone steak in a pit bull fight. Go ahead,  he’s still the front-runner going into Iowa at around 22% in the latest Iowa polls. But with a net worth of somewhere in the region of $200 million, it’s hard to picture Romney as “in touch” with the pulse of average Americans. I mean, really, when was the last time he had to buy himself a quart of milk? And he’s stood by as The Newt got nicely Swiftboated on his behalf by Restore Our Future.  Watch this space for future SuperPAC games.


How is it that we are still even speaking about disgraced former House Speaker Newt “Contract on America” Gingrich? Shall we revisit his Dickensian plan to ship children of welfare recipients to orphanages? His dystopic suggestion to make DNA testing part of universal healthcare reform? His brrrrrrilliant idea to fire school janitors and instead make the poor kids do the cleaning? What’s next? Send them to the shoe blacking factories, or coal mines?

It’s not too surprising when you consider that Newtie-boy’s net worth is placed around $6.7 million, which we presume includes his half million dollar interest free account at Tiffany’s. Bizarrely, the good folks in Iowa were warming up to the thrice-married (Remember when he served his first wife Jackie Battley divorce papers while she was being treated for cancer in the hospital?) Georgia native. Such was his success that the forces of evil had to unleash the hounds of hell a little earlier perhaps than originally scheduled, and the “Romney-boating” of Newt in Iowa has been bloody. Still, perhaps on name recognition alone –“Yeah, I’ve heard that name before…I’ll vote for that…”–he’s clinging to 15% and fourth place in Iowa. But he’ll be out within months is my prediction –Dude, you didn’t even bother to secure your name on the ballot in Virginia WHERE YOU LIVE. Sic transit gloria mundi, sweetcheeks.


Okay, so yeah, that isn’t seriously looney Ron Paul, it’s Heaven’s Gate looney Marshall Applewhite. But ya gotta admit, there are similarities.  Tea Party darling and Texas Congressman Paul is running a close second to Romney at 21% in Iowa. I try not to speak ill of the mentally unstable, although Paul is seriously testing my patience. Do I think he’s laughably ridiculous(“The regulations are much tougher in a free market, because you cannot commit fraud, you cannot steal, you cannot hurt people”), ridiculously laughable (“This superhighway would connect Mexico, the United States, and Canada, cutting a wide swath through the middle of Texas and up through Kansas City”), or plain old scary (“opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions,” or that “if you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be,”)? Let’s just say I’m not turning my back on him in a dark alley.

Of course, like all the rest, he’s just one of the “little guys” –I guess a net worth of between $2.29 million and $5.3 million makes you one of the lesser millionaires of our era.


Spit and determination (and possibly a bit of lube?) have propelled Santorum (<==CLICK HERE ONLY IF YOU’RE NOT AT WORK AND THE KIDS AREN’T AROUND.) to around 19% in Iowa. The former PA senator and Fox News talking head, has seen a God-mandated resurgence in his rising Iowa numbers — just, please, don’t Google him. He’s a man of the people too, and with assets valued at around $2 million, he might actually be one of the closest to you and me in net worth. Don’t get too close to me though, Rick… step back, there’s a good boy.

Now thankfully, universally considered “second tier,” the Texas Governor is on the slide and if we can thank God for anything, it’s the message he sent through His only Son —on Funny or Die— about Rick Perry. It wasn’t just his fumbling debate flubs,  or that his absurd “Strong” ad generated its own meme, or the fact that he couldn’t remember how many Supreme Court Justices there are, or what the voting age is. No, I like to think that it was the kind of facial wrinkle problem that even $1.1 million (according to Forbes) can’t fix.


Michele Bachmann–that’s two “Ns” for “NumbNuts.” Go ahead. Admit it. You thought that that crazy whatsername from Minnesota would be lost in the mists of time by now.  That after years of making incomprehensibly moronic pronouncements,  (“I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out under another, then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter. I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.” “If we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.” “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”) she would be not just written off, but actually swathed and buckled tightly in a white longsleeved jacket and gently placed in a padded and soundproofed room. But the Congresswoman, who according to financial disclosures is worth between $1.3 million and $2.8 million, hangs on in Iowa at 8%.  Think about it people.  That means 8% of poll respondents will actually admit to supporting her. Be afraid.


Poor Jon Huntsman.  Yeah, I know, you’re saying, “Who? Oh that guy,  the good-looking one? Mormon Number 2?”  The former Utah governor, who also served as ambassador to China under Obama and (*gasp*) speaks fluent Mandarin is probably the Republican that you or I would actually vote for if forced to choose at gunpoint. Amazingly, he is who I was electronically matched with at Project Vote Smart’s VoteEasy’s Match Game. Try it yourself…. His campaign is running on reserves –Huntsman’s personal net worth is between $15 million and $90 million, so guess what? He’s for eliminating the capital gains tax–but he’ll doubtless hang on til New Hampshire where he’s actually polling pretty well. In Iowa, he’s running way under the radar. Probably because he’s not cray-cray enough for the party.

Now to be fair, President Obama ain’t in the poorhouse either, having brought up his net worth to about $5 million with his best selling books. But my point is, let’s not try to even imagine that any one of these people knows what it’s like to struggle today in America.  None of their kids are being reaped for The Hunger Games, let’s just say. But if I gotta choose who I think is actually going to, oh, y’know, DO SOMETHING in the next four years, yeah, I’m picking Obama.

This circus, while hilarious, is nevertheless distracting us when we could be focussing in on bigger pictures, real issues that need to be addressed in the country — ballooning costs of health care, poverty in America, alarming fossil fuel dependency and all of its ramifications. We have a Congress mired in its staunch adherence to doing absolutely nothing and a divisive atmosphere and kindergartener attitude in a country that needs to pull itself together and grow up.  After two years, the much vaunted Tea Party has done exactly what it said it would do– nothing.  Can we take back the House?  Sure hope so.

Happy New Year, everyone!


Grousy Cat sezGROUSY CAT SEZ:
A young student of Zen visited one master after another. He called upon the Grousy Cat of Shokoku.

Desiring to show his enlightenment, the student said: “The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no relaization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received.”

Grousy Cat, who was grooming quietly, said nothing. Suddenly she swiped the student with her left paw.  Hard. This made the student quite angry.

“If nothing exists,” inquired Grousy Cat, “where did this anger come from?”

“I’ll tell you where,” the Grousy Master continued, “From those moronic, jingoistic flagwaving Ron Paul campaign ads–that’s where! I mean where does he get off? I’ll tell you where! In Iowa.  He can get off the bus in Iowa, get under it and stay there!”

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