The sheer number of patents in the U.S. is fueling frivolous litigation and drastic action is needed to make patents more difficult to obtain and easier to invalidate, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit said Tuesday. > more ... (0 comments)
I’d like to answer this question:
The perception of Bush as inexperienced and unprepared on this front was not wrong. This is arguably more worrisome in Romney’s case because he appears to have no firm principles, which makes him more vulnerable to influence from his advisers, and because he usually has a reputation for being very detail-oriented in his understanding of other subjects. Bush was poorly informed about foreign affairs, but that was a function of his lack of intellectual curiosity. What accounts for Romney’s apparent lack of interest in a subject that he still can’t seem to stop bringing up? I don’t know, but I submit that it’s not a good sign.
I propose that this can be entirely explained by what we already know about Romney. We know already that Romney switched from being pro-choice to being pro-life due to a political need, but that process (as this Slate piece I’ve linked to before suggested) wasn’t one where Romney just decided one day that he wanted to be president and that he was changing his position to win votes. The piece makes it clear that ambition was the driving factor in the change, but not on a conscious level–it’s almost as though Romney supplied the goal and delegated the job of getting there to his brain, while still being able to maintain a consistent throughline.
Why couldn’t he have done the same with foreign policy? Daniel frequently notes that Romney’s complaints against Obama are all from 2009, but doesn’t this make sense if Romney was keyed into FOX News in 2009–a fair assumption–and heard over and over again that Obama was the worst foreign policy president ever and was using rapidly-forgotten detritus like, who knows, the Churchill’s bust incident, and that that was the goal he set his brain to get to? Obama’s foreign policy has hardly been perfect, but it has been perfectly bipartisan, and it’s hard to come up with a single action Obama took on foreign policy that ought to infuriate Republicans on general principle. The only thing that comes to mind are Obama’s intermittent attempts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, which do deserve credit from us liberals as they count as one of those points where Obama was willing to swim upstream to accomplish a key progressive goal. But those efforts have not been entirely successful, and thus are of limited propaganda value. What else are you going to bash Obama about? His bipartisan Afghanistan policy? Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Ending the Iraq War? Hell, there aren’t even very many obvious ways to hit Obama on not intervening in other nations’ affairs. He went into Libya, after all. He didn’t go into Iran or Syria (thank God!), so Romney has attacked him on those, of course. But after that, the pickings get thin.
So, the basic problem here for Romney is that he’s tried to perfectly mimic the Republican brand, particularly the FOX News variety. This includes a liberal amount of ignorant hawkery, and constructs a narrative of how Obama is, like, Jimmy Carter times a thousand, unable to face our enemies (USSR Iran), not being nice to our friends (The Shah Israel), and just won’t stop apologizing for America (when?). This narrative only makes sense if you ignore substantial portions of Obama’s record on foreign policy (and add a few things to them that didn’t happen), and the key themes of his record are (1) following through on winding down America’s wars, while (2) essentially continuing all of Bush’s security policies and building on them in several ways (e.g. drones, Libya), and (3) working with Republican and Democratic hawks, rather than, I don’t know, just outright saying we won’t bomb Iran. That’s a mixed bag, though it’s relatively hard for Republicans to argue with on the whole. Ultimately, I suspect Romney cares very little about this on an intuitive level because, as Larison notes, he hasn’t taken even the most basic steps to understand the situation or formulate any real vision. But he will keep shouting about it because he’s talked himself into thinking that the Honduras coup is one of the most important historical events ever, because the pundits on FOX were yammering about it right when he was forming his critiques of Obama for 2012, and he’s responsive to what his electorate wants, to say the least. Sure, Mitt Romney might not feel it matters deep down in his soul, but how could you? Honduras resolved all that years ago, it’s the deadest of horses. But Romney will shout about it for as long as he can. This is just a reminder that the idea that Mitt Romney will be some sort of sober, low-key technocrat in office is quite simply fanciful–a guy who can convince himself of the cosmic importance of such ephemeral twaddle is not someone you want anywhere near power.
I was thrilled to find out that Chris Elliott’s classic one-man show about FDR is available on these here intertubes. It’s a gleefully inaccurate account of the president’s life, and a brilliant skewering of the silly conventions and pretensions of one-man shows. I completely lost it when Roosevelt escaped the Japanese attack on the White House by slipping away to a deserted island:
Glad to see Elliott is having some success with Eagle Heart. He’s long been one of my favorites.
It looks as though the Teahardists really are going to take down Dick Lugar. I have to say that I’m unclear as to what their grievances are with him. With Bob Bennett I had a pretty good sense of whey they were angry with him: he voted for the TARP Bill and supported the principle of health care reform (though not, of course, the ACA). Lugar voted yes on TARP as well, but other than that I have no clue (and not everyone who voted yes on TARP has been purged, by any means).
I suspect Lugar has been doomed just by having been around for a long time, and he’s on relatively friendly terms with Obama and worked with him on START and other arms control measures. Which doesn’t seem like much to me. To be honest, I don’t really understand the strategy of the Tea Party in these primary contests, if there even is one. Taking down Bennett made some amount of sense–election for a Republican in Utah is guaranteed, and if you can get in someone more right-wing, why not? But dumping Lugar turns a cakewalk Senate election into a dead heat, complicating Republicans’ Senate dreams even further, just like taking down Mike Castle ruined the GOP’s chances with that seat. Yeah, yeah, I know, better to have 30 pure Republicans than 70 fake ones or whatever Jim DeMint said, but these days the fake ones almost never abandon their party on big votes. Just like “pro-choice” Republican Senators all voted for the Blunt Amendment to limit contraception. The Tea Party doesn’t really have a firm grasp on the dynamics of their own party–dynamics they largely created by taking down even mild dissenters like Bennett, Bob Inglis, Castle, and so on–and thinks that they need to take down even more randomly-chosen Republicans to scare them into submisison. And that’s potentially a good thing for Democrats. Looks like Joe Donnelly made the smart call to run for the Senate, he appears to have a real chance to reclaim an Indiana seat for the Blue Team.
For Lugar I have some sympathy, as he’s one of those Republicans who are Good For Something (specifically arms control). But then again he limited his dissent during the Bush years to mild murmurings of disapproval. Much like Chuck Hagel, he was uncomfortable with how things went on Iraq and other things but never actually did anything about it. You don’t get points for attempted courage. So I’m not really that broken up.
The Times has an interesting piece, which argues that elite Republicans strongly want Mitt Romney to stop attacking Obama so much, and spend at least some time outlining a positive vision:
“Mitt Romney has to come up with a plan and policy and principles that people can rally around,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert of Utah, a strong supporter of Mr. Romney who said it was “fair game” to point out differences with the president. “It can’t just be negativity.”
Calls for Mr. Romney to adjust his approach, which the campaign has so far resisted, carry special weight because they come from many of his best-known supporters, like Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, and Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana.
In interviews, Republican leaders said they agree with Mr. Romney’s attacks and understand that he is trying to harness the anger of the Republican base. But they said he has not yet struck the right balance between explaining what is wrong with his opponent’s record and what is admirable about his own.
Let’s set a few things down in advance. Mitt Romney is a smart guy. He has decent instincts for what he needs to do in order to win any given election, the problem is always that he’s less than graceful as a public figure. I find it easy to believe that these Republicans are entirely correct that nonstop bombthrowing from now until November is going to be a suboptimal strategy, after a point the attacks will be easy to tune out and dismiss. It would be better, strategically speaking, for Romney to offer a contrast with Obama, rather than just hammering away endlessly at differences that, in a lot of cases, most people don’t care about.
But there’s one problem with this advice, one which I would be seriously pissed off about if I were Romney: these elites want to have their cake and eat it too. After all, it was people like these who made the Ryan Budget a non-negotiable position for GOP candidates. Remember how Newt Gingrich was flayed after denouncing it? In politics, that sort of ritual slaughter sends a message: don’t mess with us on this. The message was duly received by Romney, who went from being on the fence to supporting the plan outright. Ryan’s Plan is electoral poison, and we’re only beginning to see just how bad it’s going to be for the party: it’s just beginning to become a factor in House races and Republicans are being dragged down by it. Romney wisely decided to downplay the Ryan Plan and has focused solely on saying that Barack Obama is the worst human being in history, and now these same geniuses insist that he be more positive? About what? That’s a bad joke, almost. But keep in mind that a lot of these folks live in a bubble where Paul Ryan would be an enormously helpful addition to a national ticket. I’m sure if you asked Mitch Daniels, he’d say that all he needs to do is to explain what the Ryan Budget does and they’ll win the argument. Problem is, as the Political Wire post shows, only 41% of swing state voters support the plan when presented to them in Ryan’s own language. And that’s not the only side they’re going to hear on the topic. Even if Romney were inclined to fight this fight, there’s just no way he can win it starting at those numbers. That’s not the path down which the presidency lies and Romney fucking knows it. If Republicans wanted someone who was going to fight their ideological crusades they should have nominated Rick Santorum, and not the most self-oriented politician in a generation. This is what “electability” looks like, folks. If they’re surprised, they’re fools.
Really, while Romney’s current strategy is far from the best imaginable, it’s probably the best he can do considering the constraints the right forced him to accept. Though I almost want to see him take this advice, mentioned later in the NYT piece:
Mr. Herbert, the Utah governor, said that he wanted to hear Mr. Romney discuss a topic he routinely skirts, for fear of reminding voters of his prodigious wealth: his successful career.
Mr. Romney, he said, should frame his financial success as a totem of the America he is fighting to restore — a free-market economy, unburdened by overregulation and big government, in which entrepreneurs thrive and, in turn, employment grows.
“He has been way too timid about talking about his successes in the private sector,” Mr. Herbert said. “It’s what’s great about America. I can be the next Bill Gates or Mitt Romney.”
This is…incredibly stupid advice. It would be one thing if Mitt Romney had a rags-to-riches story. But his story is accurately described as riches-to-more riches, which is quite a bit less inspiring. I don’t think reminding the public of the opportunity gap between them and the Romneys of the world is going to go over so well. And the Gates comparison is oh so flawed: Romney didn’t invent anything, he restructured companies to keep them from failing. I’ll readily admit that private equity firms like Bain Capital have their niche in the financial ecosystem. But the simple fact is that Mitt Romney is a lot closer to Gordon Gekko than to Bill Gates, and the difference between Romney and Gekko is a question of degree, not one of kind. And unless you’re a rich Wall Street trader, Gekko is not an inspiring figure.
- Library Grape: More Hannibal, Please
- Library Grape: Let Them Eat Cat Food: Santorum Calls For Americans To Suffer More
- vegasjessie: Dangerous Fundamentalism: The Taliban and the American Tealiban
- Political Analytical – Insight and Analysis on Politics and Reason: Mike’s Blog Round Up
- Library Grape: What the Crippity-Crap?
- Follow Library Grape On Facebook
- ABC News Interview With Tortured Guantanamo Detainee
- The DLC shuts its doors
- Today's Liberal Menace: Bake Sales
- Medical Marijuana: Not Just For Hippies Anymore
- Game Reset
- Just When You Thought Tebowing Couldn't Get Any More Irritating
- Alert: Presidents Can Walk and Chew Gum at Same Time
- I'm Back!
- Something to Think About
- May 2013 (25)
- April 2013 (36)
- March 2013 (56)
- February 2013 (42)
- January 2013 (71)
- December 2012 (67)
- November 2012 (40)
- October 2012 (44)
- September 2012 (35)
- August 2012 (39)
- July 2012 (36)
- June 2012 (35)
- May 2012 (42)
- April 2012 (42)
- March 2012 (64)
- February 2012 (71)
- January 2012 (67)
- December 2011 (57)
- November 2011 (72)
- October 2011 (63)
- September 2011 (55)
- August 2011 (53)
- July 2011 (44)
- June 2011 (71)
- May 2011 (91)
- April 2011 (101)
- March 2011 (104)
- February 2011 (96)
- January 2011 (71)
- December 2010 (73)
- November 2010 (59)
- October 2010 (80)
- September 2010 (64)
- August 2010 (39)
- July 2010 (46)
- June 2010 (27)
- May 2010 (54)
- April 2010 (34)
- March 2010 (38)
- February 2010 (47)
- January 2010 (62)
- December 2009 (57)
- November 2009 (72)
- October 2009 (76)
- September 2009 (50)
- August 2009 (85)
- July 2009 (56)
- June 2009 (141)
- May 2009 (103)
- April 2009 (113)
- March 2009 (66)
- February 2009 (43)
- January 2009 (87)
- December 2008 (18)
Wine Labels2012 Election 2012 Elections Abortion Barack Obama Bullshit Bush Christianity Congress Conservatives Democrats Economy Fail Foreign Policy Fox News Gay Marriage Hatred Health Care Ignorance Insanity Iran Law LGBT Issues Libertarianism Lies Media Mitt Romney Music Paul Ryan Policy Polls Quotes Racism Rebuttals Recession Republicans Right Wing Sarah Palin Scandal Stupidity Teabaggers Torture Truth Video War Crimes War on Terror