Monday, August 27, 2012

The elephant in the room


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Why WOULD Mitt Romney tell jokes about President Obama's birth certificate? Why does he keep running ads suggesting that the Obama administration has been dismantling work requirements for welfare, even though those claims have been thoroughly debunked?

Watch how uncomfortable Chris Matthews makes these icons of propriety, from Tom Brokaw on the left to Reince Priebus on the right, when he suggests the obvious, which is that the Romney campaign is now using code words and phrases to appeal to their base (read white male voters). This is Willie Horton all over again. There's no doubt about it. And the more that Reince Priebus calls Chris Matthews' attacks "garbage," the more we know they have stung.

UPDATE (8/28): Chris is not exactly backing down from his comments:

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7 comments:

  1. I am surprised you see the reaction of Brokaw and the hosts of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, as anything other than what it was ... embarrassment for Chris Matthews. I was squirming for him. He has lost any objectivity and it is a sad sad thing to watch as I have been a fan of his for twenty years.

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    1. I notice you didn't answer my questions.

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  2. Sorry about that. Your questions seemed rhetorical and the obvious question that was unasked in your article and begged to be answered is why are people like Chris Matthews claiming racism? I'll answer that first and your other Qs afterward.

    Right before or after the clip you showed Matthews filmed his "Hardball" program; which I faithfully tape and watch. On it were Howard Fineman and Michael Steele as guest on his expert panel. Chris went straight to his latest schtick and for almost twenty minutes we have these two ultra left 60 something year old white men arguing with a black man that Romney and Republicans are playing the race card and or are racist. Seriously! Think about it. What a hoot.

    To your questions ==>

    << Why WOULD Mitt Romney tell jokes about President Obama's birth certificate?>>

    A bungling attempt at humor by Romney in his home state. Stoopid in the atmosphere we are dealing with right now. He should stick to the economy, jobs, the debt and Obamacare.

    Having said that, I wouldn't have dreamt that Matthews would call it a dog whistle or racist. I don't laugh at Chris or Howard Fineman. I think they believe what they are saying. Because of that it saddens me. What an uncomfortable position for them to live in. But I would guess 80% of voters (Dems included) don't agree with them. We know we are not racist. They are actually pushing people away, including blacks, Latinos and women. Like I said, I do believe they believe what they are saying.

    << Why does he keep running ads suggesting that the Obama administration has been dismantling work requirements for welfare, even though those claims have been thoroughly debunked? >>

    I agree with you. Those adds should be pulled.

    Pretty simple: bad and tasteless humor // misleading add that should be stopped.

    The debates will give Obama a chance to corner Romney on the adds and Romney will have his chance to do the same to Obama on the Bain issues.

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  3. OK, it was a stupid joke, but what was even possibly funny about it? Now if Romney had told a joke about what might be hidden in his tax returns, that could have been funny. This joke, however, the crowd only loved because it feeds into their feeling that Romney is a true American and Obama is some kind of foreigner. And there is no other reason why Romney would tell THAT kind of joke.

    As for the welfare ads, note that they are not being pulled. They are being expanded. That is because they feed into right wing resentment about freeloaders on welfare, something political candidates have been milking for decades. Note also that ads about granting waivers to two states for the TANF program have nothing whatsoever to do with the economy, jobs, the debt, Obamacare or any other real issues. But they are the most effective thing Romney is doing right now.

    And all that means that Romney's campaign has made a deliberate decision to go after the votes of resentful white voters. The same people who did the Willie Horton ads in 1988 are working for Romney right now. And I mean exactly the same people. And these are the only tactics they have left. They are losing on all the substantive issues.

    Objectivity is not necessarily a virtue in journalism, if it means that you always mindlessly equate both sides. Truth is a virtue. Chris Matthews was telling the truth, and that's why he was getting under everyone's skin.

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  4. << OK, it was a stupid joke, but what was even possibly funny about it?>>

    Joe, I agree with you, there was nothing particularly funny about it. Audiences do weird things during live speeches. Like the laughter and hooting after Biden’s “they gonna put yall back in chains”. When stupid stuff is said during live speeches in front of partisan crowds we often get stoopid reactions.

    << As for the welfare ads, note that they are not being pulled. They are being expanded. >>

    And we agree that the adds are misleading. The only recourse is to attack Romney’s campaign and go after him at the debates. We agree on this. But stop the foolish racist stuff. It's self sabotage.

    << Objectivity is not necessarily a virtue in journalism, if it means that you always mindlessly equate both sides. Truth is a virtue. Chris Matthews was telling the truth, and that's why he was getting under everyone's skin. >>

    He is not under everybody’s skin. Seriously, I am embarrassed and feel sorry for the man; just like Scarborough was. He has turned into a bigot. Yesterday was an all-time career low for him. Brokaw, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, Michael Steele all distance themselves, said they didn't agree to his face or were critical of him. Finally Gingrich, wrecked him. He has been the butt of conversation for 24hrs. Only the tiny sliver of people who agree with him think he won yesterday. He harmed himself and the Dems yesterday. The party took a step backward.



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    1. You could be right that this ends up not playing well for the Democrats, but don't you think it is interesting that Romney runs ads that are blatantly false and pandering to people's worst fears and resentments (and arguably racist, though you don't have to agree with that), and you think the Democrats suffer for this, by reason of the actions of a TV journalist?

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    2. Joe, I think you are correct. Re-reading my comments and the last sentence where I said "He harmed himself and the Dems yesterday. The party took a step backward" I would say Chris did himself no favors and his comments would reflect poorly on the Democratic Party only to the extent that they agree with him. Having said that, he can sway opinion of voters. And the only sway he has with this type argument is to push voters away. Anybody who agrees with him is long ago decided Obama is their man.


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