The Tragedy of Mittlet, Prince of Michigan

David Brooks has really done it this time. In today’s column, he’s proposed that Gaius Julius Mittensus Caesar take a few moments in tomorrow’s debate to address the plebeians and reassure them that his performance to date was nothing but the trifling mummery of a rude mechanical; the stuff of which dreams are made that is or is not and dares not cross the bourne to the undiscovered country lest it discover Ophelia in the shower or something. Polonius Mittensus is neither a borrower nor a lender, though despite this he seems to have lost both loans and friends.

And that’s where David Brooks comes in. Cue moronery in five…four…three…two…one…

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to use the opening minutes of this debate a little differently. I’d like to say that I wish everybody could have known my father, George Romney. He was a great public servant and I’ve always tried to live up to his example. The problem is that you get caught up in the competitiveness of a campaign and all the consultants want to make you something you’re not.”

In other words, Mitt’s dad was a nice guy. That totally qualifies him to be president. Obama’s dad was a dick; he ran off on the kid, after all. So if a guy with a total dickbag for a father can become president, what about a guy with a dad who was like the second coming of Christ? Cheese and crackers, folks, he was even a lath-and-plaster man! That’s pretty much carpentry for non-hippies!

“I’ve allowed that to happen to me. I’m a nonideological guy running in an ideological age, and I’ve been pretending to be more of an ideologue than I really am. I’m a sophisticated guy running in a populist moment. I’ve ended up dumbing myself down.”

In other words Mitt’s a spineless sociopath with no moral center and an odd sense of entitlement to the presidency. Thus, he allowed Grover Norquist and the Koch brothers to put on some Barry White, draw a hot bath, and make sweet love to his non-ideological personal opinions until he gushed free-market tea party rhetoric that makes no sense to anyone save for the most sophistic of douchebags.

“The next president is going to face some wicked problems. The first is the “fiscal cliff.” The next president is going to have to forge a grand compromise on the budget. President Obama has tried and failed to do this over the past four years. There’s no reason to think he’d do any better over the next four.”

Shout-out to Timmy, Tommy-Twosies, and Seanny Duff—Southie for fackin’ life, dahg! Leht’s drink some beeyahs and wahtch the Town agahn! Go Pats!

“He’s failed, first, because he’s just not a very good negotiator. You don’t have to believe me. Read Bob Woodward’s book, “The Price of Politics.” Obama spent the last campaign promising to be postpartisan and then in his first weeks in office, in the fullness of his victory, he shut down all cooperation with Republicans and killed any hope of bipartisan cooperation.”

David Brooks believes that one should always reference a book, no matter how stupid the reference might look—why should anyone care that Mitt read Bob Woodward’s book? Also, Obama sucks at negotiating because, well, let’s face it: he’s black and he was negotiating with a bunch of dudes who resemble the dried up shit one sometimes sees on hiking trails. You know the kind—it’s been there for a long time and is shriveled, old, and white. It’s exactly like the Republican congressional delegation.

“Furthermore, he’s too insular. As Woodward reports, he’s constantly leaving people in the dark — his negotiating partners and people in his own party. They’re perpetually being blindsided and confused by his amorphous positions. There’s no trust. If I were in business, there’s no way I would do a deal with this guy.”

I see that someone’s still a bit grumpy about not being invited to any cool White House parties! Also, the idea that Mitt “wouldn’t have done business with [that] guy” is fucking hilarious, as is the quip about Obama being “amorphous,” given that Romneybot has proven on several occasions to be but a mirror of whatever’s convenient, which necessarily makes him an untrustworthy douche. And to get a sense of Mitt’s business ethic, just talk to all the companies that Bain fucked about how awesome it was to do business with an aloof, insular, amorphous, glad-handing ball of crab-infested pubic hair.

“The second wicked problem the next president will face is sluggish growth. I assume you know that everything President Obama and I have been saying on this subject has been total garbage. Presidents and governors don’t “create jobs.” We don’t have the ability to “grow the economy.” There’s no magic lever.”

At this point I’m confused as to whether Brooks is alluding to New England slang or musical theater. Was sluggish growth something that Elphaba sang about? I guess it could have been, seeing as how those damn midgets in Oz were all a bunch of socialists!

“Instead, an administration makes a thousand small decisions, each of which subtly adds to or detracts from a positive growth environment. The Obama administration, which is either hostile to or aloof from business, has made a thousand tax, regulatory and spending decisions that are biased away from growth and biased toward other priorities. American competitiveness has fallen in each of the past four years, according to the World Economic Forum. Medical device makers, for example, are being chased overseas. The economy in 2012 is worse than the economy in 2011. That’s inexcusable.”

While it’s true that the United States now ranks 5th in the WEF’s competitiveness report, it should be noted that the report is fabricated mainly from surveys given to “business leaders” in the surveyed economy. For instance, while the report draws upon hard data to reach conclusions regarding certain macroeconomic factors, additional subjective variables such as “property rights” and “cooperation in labor-employer relations” are included in the rankings. These subjective categories account for roughly two-thirds of the data used to compile the rankings, while publicly available hard data account for one-third. Thus, two-thirds of the study relies on the subjectivity of human opinion. So let’s not–how would Huey Freeman say it?–”dick ride” the WEF’s competitiveness report.

Let’s also consider that Switzerland, Singapore, Finland, and Sweden all rank higher than the United States, and all provide universal health care to their citizens (with a range of methodologies). So if you take this report at all seriously, SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE DAMAGING THE ECONOMY.

“The third big problem is Medicare and rising health care costs, which are bankrupting this country. Let me tell you the brutal truth. Nobody knows how to reduce health care inflation. There are two basic approaches, and we probably have to try both simultaneously.”

This is laughable. See the WEF’s report on the top 5 countries, and examine their spending on health care services:

Switzerland: 11.4%
Singapore: 3%
Finland: 9.2%
Sweden: 10%
United States: 17.2%

Then, look at how they do it. Only a fucking idiot would say “nobody knows how to reduce health care inflation.” Although I imagine that Romneybot’s plan of starving roughly 47% of U.S. citizens to death has the benefit of substantially reducing the health care burden.

“I’m willing to pursue any experiment, from any political direction, that lowers costs and saves Medicare. Democrats are campaigning as the party that will fight to the death to preserve the Medicare status quo. If they win, the lesson will be: Never Touch Medicare. No Democrat or Republican will dare reform the system, and we will go bankrupt.”

This paragraph is an interesting rhetorical diversion that carries the same semiotic weight as a bag of dicks; that is to say, very little weight indeed. Allow me to rephrase: “Democrats want to do anything to save Medicare, but I’m willing to do anything to save Medicare. We can’t let them do anything to save Medicare, but I will definitely do anything to save it.”

“At last, I’ve tried to be on the level with you. This president was audacious in 2008, but, as you can see from his negligible agenda, he’s now exhausted. I’m not an inspiring conviction politician, but I’ll try anything to help us succeed. You make the choice.”

Unless that plan involves raising taxes to raise revenue, or standing up to small-minded bigots within the Republican party, or anything that involves helping the poor. Because fuck those guys.

David Brooks Would Like Obama to Top Paul Ryan With Something Big

David Brooks, keeper of Burke’s reanimated corpse and devotee of madcap monarchism, is disappointed in Obama:

President Obama is an intelligent, judicious man who can see all sides of an issue. But every once in a while he tries to get politically cute, and he puts on his Keith Olbermann mask.

I suppose it’s to his credit that he’s most inept when he tries to take the low road. He resorts to hoary, brain-dead clichés. He wanders so far from his true nature that he makes Mitt Romney look like Mr. Authenticity.

That’s pretty much what happened this week in Obama’s speech before a group of newspaper editors. Obama’s target in this speech was Representative Paul Ryan’s budget.

Yes, the one time that Obama indulges in the rhetorical flourishes that commonly seep from the hemorrhoidic buttocks of the Republitards he is decidedly worse than Gaius Julius Mittensus Caesar, Emperor of Romneyland and Bearer of the Gold Standard of American Meritocratic Failure. Worse still, his target was Paul Ryan, the handsome little man with the big fat plan!

But before Brooks delves too deep into the pit of right-wing ideological adulation, he wants to remind us of his philosophical centrism:

It should be said at the outset that the Ryan budget has some disturbing weaknesses, which Democrats are right to identify. The Ryan budget would cut too deeply into discretionary spending. This could lead to self-destructive cuts in scientific research, health care for poor kids and programs that boost social mobility. Moreover, the Ryan tax ideas are too regressive. They make tax cuts for the rich explicit while they hide any painful loophole closings that might hurt Republican donors.

You see, don’t you?! Brooks acknowledges the difficulties with Ryan’s plan! He’s a true philosopher! Sadly, though the difficulties that he outlines are actually quite convincing, he betrays his argument and goes on to prop up Obama’s reasonable whinging as a dancing straw man (if he only had a brain!):

But these legitimate criticisms and Obama’s modest but real deficit-reducing accomplishments got buried under an avalanche of distortion. The Republicans have been embarrassing themselves all primary season. It’s as if Obama wanted to sink to their level in a single hour.

Again, Brooks equates Obama’s rightly spoken criticisms with the entire Republitard campaign’s rhetorical fracas. So not only does Brooks cast a straw man in his Théâtre de l’Absurde, but he proceeds to light it on fire! Zut alors! Brooks also found Obama’s “tone” to be unacceptable, as well as his use of 80s liberal clichés (paging Ronald Reagan, would Ronald Reagan please report to EVERY FUCKING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE’S STUMP). He then reminds us, in true Brooksian fashion, of his familiarity with the Great Books curriculum:

Social Darwinism, by the way, was a 19th-century philosophy that held, in part, that Aryans and Northern Europeans are racially superior to brown and Mediterranean peoples.

And for those of you following along on your “How to Write an Essay By David Brooks” rubric, now comes the moment when Brooks cites studies to demonstrate his wonkishness and objectivity:

There are, indeed, real differences, but in the short term they are not a chasm. In 2013, according to Veronique de Rugy of George Mason University, the Ryan budget would be about 5 percent smaller than the Obama budget, and it would grow a percent or two more slowly each year. After 10 years, government would be smaller under Ryan, but, as Daniel Mitchell of the Cato Institute complains, it would still take up a larger share of national output than when Bill Clinton left office.

If only Obama had cited the Cato Institute he wouldn’t have lost all his credibility.

But Brooks isn’t done with Obama yet, because Obama had the temerity to assault Ryan’s asinine Medicare revamp (you know, the one that’s a giant giveaway to the insurance industry, and will likely lead to poor old bastards dying on the street or in their shabby trailers—but fuck them, right? Hahahaha!).

Obama claimed that Ryan’s plan “will ultimately end Medicare as we know it.” Which seems accurate, as that is the ostensible goal of the reform: ending the bloated entitlements and denying the fat coverage that’s bankrupting the nation. But alas, Brooks doesn’t care for that phrasing, most likely because it accurately reflects the plan’s intentions, and so he reminds us that such claims were voted on by the Internetz and were deemed false.

For Brooks, Obama’s rhetoric is a symptom of the pervasive disease: Democrats refuse to do the things that Republicans want them to do without complaining about it. However, it seems as though Brooks’ outrage is the outrage of an assclown; that is to say, he takes Obama to task for something that every Republican has been doing since the beginning of the primaries. According to Brooks, “Obama shouldn’t be sniping at Ryan. He should be topping him with something bigger and better.”

“He should be topping him with something bigger and better…” I see now that I’ve completely misunderstood this piece! Clearly we’ve merely wandered into one of Brooks’ sexual fantasies. Sorry, Dave! But maybe next time leave a fucking tie on the door or something!

Drill Here, Get Gas

As gas prices climb, Republicans are looking to blame it on Obama, who as we all know, runs the oil companies and also owns every gas station in America. What an asshole!

In a closed-door meeting last week, Speaker John A. Boehner instructed fellow Republicans to embrace the gas-pump anger they find among their constituents when they return to their districts for the Presidents’ Day recess.

“This debate is a debate we want to have,” Mr. Boehner told his conference on Wednesday, according to a Republican aide who was present. “It was reported this week that we’ll soon see $4-a-gallon gas prices. Maybe higher. Certainly, this summer will see the highest gas prices in years. Your constituents saw those reports, and they’ll be talking about it.”

Four dollars! That’s crazy talk! Nowhere in the world pays that much! Except for all of these places.

This strategic embrace of rhetoric could have a negative impact on Obama’s reelection hopes, however, as many Americans are quite gullible (especially the old bastards who should have been Carousel’d long ago–you know, the ones who vote). Obama’s energy policies, according to Republicans, are the real problem:

“They want higher energy prices. They want to push their radical agenda on the public,” Rick Santorum said at a campaign event last week, accusing Democrats of pushing alternatives to oil. “We need a president who is on the side of affordable energy.”

Yes, Obama wants higher energy prices. Presumably because it will anger Americans, and he relies on the anger of Americans to fuel his Muslimtanic baby-killing rituals. That’s why he decided to approve exploration in Arctic waters. Oh, wait, that doesn’t make any fucking sense, does it?

Yes, it would seem that despite Obama’s relatively conservative approach to domestic energy development, he’s still responsible for high domestic energy prices. Personally, I think the Republitards are angry because Obama is a way better Republican president than any of their past choices.

At this point, you’re probably wondering “wait a minute, what about the oil companies? don’t they make billions per quarter? let’s get some of that cash!” Well, shut up about that. If you tax the oil companies, they’ll stop drilling for oil. That’s right, they’ll close up shop on one of the most valuable commodities in the world market and open bakeries in Williamsburg. Where will you get your gas then, chump? Yet one New York representative still insists on pointing out the obvious:

“House Republicans are very good at using every argument they can to shield oil companies from paying their fair share,” said Representative Steve Israel of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “They have been relentless and fearless protectors of oil company profits.”

Regardless of what happens, expect a great many stories on your local news about how the gas prices are too damn high, featuring “real people” at the pump. Hooray, a whole summer full of idiots complaining! Sounds very American.

Admiral McRaven to Obama: U.S. Special Forces Are All Out of Bubblegum

Some dude once told me a story about his encounter with a Navy SEAL, and I have no reason to doubt him. He was an MP in the Navy, and he’d been ordered to arrest a Navy SEAL; for what, he did not recall. He found the SEAL in a bar, drinking beer and giving off a general vibe of badassery. He and his partner walked over to the SEAL and told him he was under arrest; the SEAL calmly stood and allowed them to cuff him. Then, he tore loose from the cuffs with no effort, let loose a roar, shot lasers from his eyes, turned green, stabbed people with adamantium claws, and crushed someone’s head with Mjolnir.

Like I said, I have no reason to doubt that story. And because of that, I have to lend my support to Admiral McRaven’s (how could he be anything other than a spec ops badass with that name?) suggestions for expanding the role of the U.S. special forces:

The plan would give him more autonomy to position his forces and their war-fighting equipment where intelligence and global events indicate they are most needed.

It would also allow the Special Operations forces to expand their presence in regions where they have not operated in large numbers for the past decade, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Like any badass president (see JFK), Obama has utilized the military’s special forces as his preferred method of pimp-slapping terrorists; however, some military commanders bristle at the thought of allowing special forces commanders to operate with more independence. Yet officials, including Admiral McRaven of the clan McRaven, stress that operational authority would be maintained:

Officials stressed that in almost all cases, Special Operations forces would still only be ordered on specific missions by the regional four-star commander.

“It’s not really about Socom running the global war on terrorism,” Admiral McRaven said in a brief interview last week, referring to the Special Operations Command. “I don’t think we’re ready to do that. What it’s about is how do I better support” the regional combatant commanders.

This support includes a greater operational capability to assist other regional special forces groups, and to provide general global ass-kicking wherever it might be required.

Nevertheless, some might see a concern with the expansion of an elite group of ninja badasses that could easily topple any foreign government; however, these people are hippies and they should shut the hell up. Think of it this way: if you were the President, and the Justice League (or those stupid Avengers) were real, and they were like “Hey, President–what can we do for you today?” would you say “Oh, nothing, that’s cool–I love hippies and peace and all that shit.” Hell no you wouldn’t! You’d tell Superman and Batman to go kick some ass, that’s what you’d do.

Because you’re an American, and not some Goddamn hippie.

Obama’s Sack Has Upset Some Republicans

The latest kerfuffle over pretty much anything the president does, any time, is regarding his sack. More specifically, the sacks and scarves and tees he sold at a New York fund raiser:

Republicans contend the sale might violate campaign-finance rules. The gear will sell for a fraction of the price the designers’ merchandise typically fetches at department stores. Republicans say that suggests they relied on corporate resources to keep costs low, which could amount to illegal campaign contributions. On Mr. Lam’s website, handbags range in price from $340 to $1,890. The three scarves offered on Mr. Thakoon’s website go for $325 apiece.

“This raises serious questions about whether corporate money, property and employees were improperly used in the design and production of these items without reimbursement,” said Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.

Apparently the problem arises with the employees of the designer: employees are not allowed to be be paid for political work; instead, they must volunteer. If the employees of the designer got paid, it would be considered a contribution from a corporation.

The Obama campaign denies this and claims that the designers spent very little time on the items, and that everyone involved was a volunteer; really, it’s not a stretch to imagine that members of the design community are Obama supporters. According to Narciso Rodriguez, the design for Obama’s $45 tee did not take long, and that “sketch-time is not really work.” Rodriguez also said that he “designed a T-shirt for Mr. Obama’s 2008 presidential bid and volunteered this year because ‘the president is cool … someone I believe in.’”

There is no word yet on whether the Republicans will object to Obama’s forthcoming custom product endorsements, such as Cue Sports “Obama-Style Shaft Cleaner and Conditioner,” or Aramith’s “Obama 2012 Ball Restoring Formula.”

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