Your friend and mine Ben al-Fowlkes sent me this wonderful Times article about Mitt Romney in retirement, noting the former candidate’s lament that “darn geese keep pooping all over the lawn.” That was my favorite part for a while, until I got to the part where Ann lays out cold cuts, bread, and “a selection of both mayonnaise and Miracle Whip.” But even that was surpassed by Mark Leibovich’s genius insight that “as a candidate, Romney often appeared as if he were bracing for a light fixture to drop on his head.” True. So why is Mitt Romney so funny?
Last week, we discussed the IRS/Tea Party scandal and the problem of distinguishing social welfare organizations from political groups. Noted parser of fine distinctions Ben al-Fowlkes sent me this follow-up article from the New York Times, in which intrepid reporters who are probably interns researched some of the complainant groups. It’s an interesting read throughout, but it reaches a boiling point of surreality with the last two paragraphs. Quote:
…[T]he Ohio Liberty Coalition, another Tea Party group that has complained about the scrutiny it received from the I.R.S.,… canvassed neighborhoods, handing out Romney campaign “door hangers,” Mr. Zawistowski said. The I.R.S. usually considers such activities to be partisan. But when Mr. Zawistowski consulted his group’s lawyers, he said, he came away understanding that the I.R.S. was most concerned with radio or television advertising. He said he believed that other activities, like distributing literature for the Romney campaign, would not raise concerns. “It’s not political activity,” he said.
At least one of the groups that applied for 501(c)(4) status in the last few years claims that going door-to-door on behalf of a candidate for president is not a political activity. How does one deal with/in such mendacity?
Even in defeat, the Mitt Romney campaign continues to mismanage itself spectacularly. Gawker reports that nine news outlets have complained to the campaign about exorbitant bills for press events, including an $812 per-reporter meal in October. Props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link. One can just image the breathless aide telling Candidate Romney that he lost the invoice for the October reporter meals. “Just make something up,” Romney says. “Something plausible—no more than a grand a plate.” Then he flies into the air atop a jet of molten gold, hits a power line and explodes.
On Halloween, political analyst and former Clinton adviser Dick Morris besmirched the good name of The O’Reilly Factor by predicting that Mitt Romney would win in a landslide. He had sailed that claim majestically around the mediasphere for weeks, despite the fact that it was, you know, insane. Romney did not win in a landslide. No actual data suggested he would, but Morris—an ostensibly unbiased analyst—had, in his own words, “worked very hard for Romney.” Was he deluding himself? Kind of. Was he deluding others? Also yes, kind of, as he explained to Sean Hannity in a thicket of prevarication that is the subject of today’s close reading. Props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link. Bad faith after the jump.
Remember yesterday, when I expressed faint hope that the Republican Party might reform its political behavior now that it, like, didn’t work? Me either. Apparently that’s what I thought, though, and already I am refuted. Fox News—the media wing of the Republican Party—sees no reason to change its ways. Evidence: Rich Noyes’s handy guide to five ways the mainstream media tipped the scales in favor of Obama. According to Noyes, the president’s reelection was abetted by favorable media coverage, including but not limited to “partisan fact checking.” That damned mainstream media! Never mind that Fox News is the most watched cable news network, or that Noyes also claims reporters “buried” the story of the bad economy.