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.

Welcome to Thunderdome!

Yes, today is Super Tuesday, and it will quite likely determine the candidate who will go on to challenge Obama in the presidential election. Let’s hope it’s not Santorum. Or Romneybot. Or Ron Paul Kenobi. Or Newton “Fruit n’ Cake.” Actually, let’s hope that all four of them meet up for a grip-and-grin photo op and a meteor strikes them. Yes, that would be the best possible scenario: the meteor that killed the Republican presidential candidate field versus Obama.

Naturally, I’d vote for the meteor; after all, it did more for American politics than Obama ever could.

But since that’s not going to happen, we’ll discuss some actualities. In what appears to be a race to the bottom for Santorum and Romneybot, both are counting on victories in Ohio to propel them to the depths; Ohio is the necessary morale booster for either candidate. Hence all the campaigning and vague talk about “manufacturing”:

At a metal works in Canton and a welding factory in Youngstown, in mailboxes and on the radio, Mr. Romney’s intense focus on these Republican-leaning voters was in evidence on Monday as he made his closing appeal in Ohio – if not as an everyman, then at least as a chief executive who knows how to generate blue-collar jobs and get factories running again.

“Other people in this race have debated about the economy, they’ve read about the economy, they’ve talked about it in subcommittee meetings, but I’ve actually been in it,” Mr. Romney told workers at a guardrail factory in Canton, where he walked among huge coils of steel. “I understand what it takes to get business successful, and to thrive.”

Yes, a predatory venture capital firm is exactly like a factory; really, the douchebags I see outside of Bain’s headquarters at lunch are virtually indistinguishable from the chumps who make sprockets in Bumfuck, Ohio!

Also, there’s no such thing as “the” economy; there are a multiplicity of interrelated economies. When I sell my bike to some hippie, that’s an economy. We’re all in the Goddamn economy, Mittensus. So shut the fuck up.

Santorum, however, was not to be outdone on the pandering front:

Mr. Santorum, who has mixed his faith-based appeal with a workingman’s sensibility born of his Pennsylvania coal and steel country roots, was not about to cede that ground.

At Dayton Christian School in Miamisburg on Monday, he urged a capacity crowd to vote for “a guy who grew up in a steel town in western Pennsylvania who no one gave any chance to be standing here in Ohio in March, because he went out and believed in free people” and in “building a stronger economy based on manufacturing.”

Yes, Rickspittle–your White Christianness and upbringing near some people who worked really hard definitely qualifies you to be president. I grew up in a small farming town; I didn’t farm, but there were some nearby. Thus, I’m not only qualified to talk about farming, but I could also be president! Isn’t democracy grand?

Whether this nonstop blue-collar asslicking will prove fruitful remains to be seen; if the past is any indicator, it probably will. Desperate people are often swindled with vague promises, and in this Republican field, vague promises are seemingly the only mode of discourse available.

But before you vote, blue-collar Super Tuesdayans, just consider this: are you willing to work for $17 a day, where a day lasts 14 hours? No? Then kiss that manufacturing bullshit goodbye.

Also, vote for Ron Paul Kenobi–I’d love to see Emperor Muslimtine crush him beneath his Imperial loafers.

Romneybot Squeaks Out Santorum in Michigan and Arizona

Yes, for the moment, it would appear that Romneybot is holding the lead in the Republican primaries. Yesterday, he claimed victories in Arizona and Michigan; we can but hope that this marks the death knell of Santorum’s “Campaign for an American Catholic Theocracy.” Romneybot, who likely feels as though he was created to be president, was understandably jubilant-seeming:

“I stand ready to lead our party to victory and our nation back to prosperity,” Mr. Romney told a jubilant crowd of supporters. “It’s a critical time in America.”

Ich bin ein Amerikaner! However, Romney’s tough fight in Michigan may not be the golden shower of adulation he always wanted because Michigan awards its delegates by district; thus, Pope John Paul Santorum might take almost as many as Romney. Understandably, Santorum was also pleased with himself:

“A month ago they didn’t know who we are,” Mr. Santorum said, moments after calling Mr. Romney to concede. “They do now.”

Sadly, he’s correct.

The contest now moves forward, and unfortunately Santorum is still with us; we can only hope that Ron Paul Kenobi and Romneybot prove adequate to the task of removing him from the crevice of American politics.

Ron Paul Kenobi and Romneybot Tag Team the GOP Debate, Smearing Santorum Everywhere

I’ve always found it odd that Republicans compete with one another over political rigidity; seemingly, they believe that the candidate who is most inflexible will be the best president. Because no president has ever had to compromise, ever. Also, in their competition they seem to forget that they also govern those who did not vote for them. But fuck those guys, am I right?

In any case, last night’s GOP debate was no different, save for the fact that Ron Paul Kenobi and Romneybot’s budding bromance turned into a WWE-style tag-team effort, which definitely ran wild over poor Rick “The Trick” Santorum:

It was Mr. Santorum’s first time in the cross hairs as a leading candidate, an uncomfortable position that has set back other Republican challengers. He did not recoil or wither under pressure, but he was placed on the defensive again and again, with Mr. Romney and Representative Ron Paul of Texas acting as a tag team in critiquing his record in Congress.

Their power moves were varied:

They criticized his earmarks [BIFF!], his vote for a provision that financed Planned Parenthood [POW!] and his support of the No Child Left Behind law [CRUNCH!], President George W. Bush’s signature education plan now out of favor with conservatives. By the end of the night, the scrutiny seemed to wear on Mr. Santorum, who was taunted with boos when he said he had voted for the education program even though “it was against the principles I believed in.”

Since Santorum has been surging all over Romney’s face in recent weeks, this debate was critical for Romney; thus, he wasted no opportunity to point out Santorum’s flaws. Moreover, despite the fact that most Americans are worried about finding a job, or whether they’ll be able to send their children to college (they won’t), the Republitards took this opportunity to sound out their conservative bona fides on immigration, healthcare, and Romney’s ability to balance a budget:

Mr. Romney played up his status as the only candidate on the stage who had never served in Washington, but Mr. Santorum would not let his rival take credit for balancing the budget as governor of Massachusetts, which is required by state law.

“Don’t go around bragging about something you have to do,” Mr. Santorum said. “Michael Dukakis balanced the budget for 10 years. Does that make him qualified to be president of the United States? I don’t think so.”

Personally, I don’t think a man whose claim to fame is a humorous neologism has much to stand on when criticizing other people’s credentials, but who am I to judge?

Santorum didn’t stand much of a chance against the Iron Bromance, and the night’s most hilarious moment came when Ron Paul Kenobi defended his television ads criticizing Santorum’s legitimacy:

When the moderator asked Mr. Paul why he was running a new television advertisement calling Mr. Santorum “a fake” conservative, Mr. Paul answered simply, “Because he’s a fake.”

“I’m real, I’m real, I’m real,” Mr. Santorum said, shaking his head.

Somehow I don’t think he was quoting J-Lo. Cogito ergo santorum, Rick the Trick.

Brokeback Campaign Stump

What happens when a stiff, patrician snob with little charm and too much cash meets a friendly racist who despite serving in the government for decades wants to abolish the government? What doesn’t happen!

Apparently, Romneybot and RPK are bonding on the campaign trail like two dudes who kind of knew each other a bit but then saw Band of Brothers together and were like, “friends forever, brah!”

Once there was a challenge of a softball game from the Ron Paul clan to the Mitt Romney clan. “They didn’t show up,” Mr. Paul says. “We didn’t schedule it. We really razz them about that, ‘You guys chickened out!’”

When Mr. Paul’s campaign jet broke down last year in Wolfeboro, N.H., Mr. Romney’s wife, Ann, offered to let Mr. Paul, an aide and one of his granddaughters stay the night at their summer home on Lake Winnipesaukee. When Mr. Romney arrived later, he offered his jet to take them home to Texas. Mr. Paul, not wanting to impose, was grateful but declined both offers.

Such is the nature of the political courtship–friendly ribbing and coy refusals leading to hushed whispers and surprised wives. Although considering this quote, I’m not sure how surprised they’d actually be:

The candidates’ spouses, Ann Romney and Carol Paul, “know each other better than any of the other wives,” Mr. Paul said. He and Mr. Romney talk “all the time” and “we’ve met all their kids.” Once he telephoned Mr. Romney just as Mr. Romney was calling him. “Sometimes I’m never sure who issued a call,” he said.

No, you hang up first!

It’s hard to deny the intense homoeroticism of the campaign trail; chubby, balding punditards eating hot dogs; sad, lonely, and probably curious Promise Keeper boys handing out bracelets; it can be lonely out there. But who would have thought that these two veteran campaigners would ever see eye-to-eye?

Such is the loving bond that two men can form on the long, hard road.

Hotlanta is Too Hot for Romneybot

Or perhaps his circuitry can’t handle humidity; either way, it looks like our favorite Patrician stooge will abstain from the March 1st intellectual fray otherwise known as the Republican debates.

Sources cite scheduling conflicts, but it’s just as likely that Romneybot has some bad memories of Peachtree Street.

Republican Punditards Can’t Seem to Connect with Romneybot

Sadly, poor Mittensus just can’t seem to please the Republican punditards:

From the television studios of Fox News to the pages of The Weekly Standard, the refrain of the conservative opinion machine is virtually the same: Mitt Romney doesn’t talk to us, doesn’t get us.

You see, to be a viable conservative candidate, you have to stroke the massive egos of the Republican punditard caucus: you have to feed Rush ham while rubbing his belly; you have to shave Ann Coulter’s back; you have to discuss the Reagan Doctrine with Charles Krauthammer while nude; you have to procure the tears of a newborn baby for Michelle Malkin’s beauty regimen; and you have help William Kristol molt (a lengthy process, I’m told).

All of this is understandably a sideshow to the main event: being elected president. Yet the punditards disagree; participating in their horrorshow is necessary to proving your worth as a candidate:

“The real problem here is that it shows he doesn’t have fluency with conservative ideas,” Charles Krauthammer, the conservative columnist, said on Fox News.

Or, as Rush Limbaugh noted the other day on his radio show, “I have never heard anybody say, ‘I’m severely conservative.’”

I doubt the real problem is the awkward phrasings that are second nature to a patrician douche like Mittensus.

Instead, I think the actual source of the animosity between conservative punditards and Mittensus is likely this: Mittensus represents, unlike them, the conservative ideal; that is to say, he’s a wealthy, well-groomed white male with an Ivy League background that descends from an elite white, Christian family. Plus, he wasn’t raised in Canada and doesn’t have degrees from foreign universities (I’m looking at you, Krauthammer–you socialist bastard).

But perhaps I’m giving the punditards too much credit; after all, the reflective capacity of conservative assclowns is “severely” limited. So perhaps it’s just been butthurt all along.

In either case, that Mittensus doesn’t coddle the conservative commentariat is a plus in my book.

Santorum is Hot on Romney’s Tail

According to a recent poll, it looks like the numbers gap between the two candidates has all but closed, with the possibility that Santorum is taking the lead over Romney:

Rick Santorum has pulled slightly ahead of Mitt Romney in Republican primary voters’ preference for the presidential nomination, a national CBS News/New York Times Poll shows.

Santorum has the support of 30 percent of GOP primary voters in the poll, following by Romney at 27 percent. Ron Paul is now in third at 12 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich at 10 percent.

Just three points over Romney, Santorum’s lead in the national survey is within the poll’s margin of error.

Santorum has been nipping at Romneybot’s heels since his victories in last week’s caucuses; whether Skynet will choose to send cyborg assassins from the future to eliminate the threat is uncertain.

Regardless of what happens, Mittensus will have to change his strategy and attempt to appeal to Santorum’s base: the uneducated, the evangelical poor, and various sewer mutants. At the very least, we’ll be in for some amusement as Romney tackles tent revivals and boat shows in a vain effort to lock up Santorum supporters:

“I say, young man–what moniker is this fried confection called by? And would you object terribly to wiping your mouth before you speak to me?”

David Brooks Thinks Romneybot Should Run a Self-Diagnostic

No doubt Gauis Julius Mittensus Caesar is quite happy this morning. Why? Well, perhaps it’s because over his daily mug of the blood of the poor his favorite columnist, one David Brooks, the ever-screeching Burkean bagpipe, offered some sociological insight from the 1950s: Mittensus is “other-directed,” and if he aims to win the presidency, he ought to harp on some bad talking points like that idiot Santorum.

But maybe you think “other-directed” sounds good; ‘He likes to volunteer,’ you think to yourself. Sadly, “other-directed” seems to be the worst of the types! It lacks the dedication to tradition that growing up on a farm gives you (tradition-directed, yay!), and doesn’t possess the individual certainty of moral rectitude that one receives whilst growing up during an industrial period (inner-directed, what-what).*

Seemingly, contrasted to the other types adumbrated in The Lonely Crowd (Brooks’s “I practically invented American Studies” selection of the week), it’s the worst possible type! According to Brooks’s analysis (which unfortunately I’ll have to rely on because I seem to have misplaced my well-annotated copy of The Lonely Crowd), the “other-directed” type is the sad product of the modern economy:

The other-directed personality type emerges in a service or information age economy. In this sort of economy, most workers are not working with physical things; they are manipulating people. The other-directed person becomes adept at pleasing others, at selling him or herself.

The other-directed person is attuned to what other people want him to be. The other-directed person is a pliable member of a team and yearns for acceptance. He or she is less notable for having a rigid character than for having a smooth personality.

Sadly, our armchair Lacan (I can name-drop, too, Brooks!) lacks the courage of his convictions, and waivers on his analysis: Brooks doesn’t know Mittensus, really, but he certainly does seem like an “other-directed,” gladhanding android.

This tendency to seem like a shallow automaton works against poor Mittensus because according to Brooks, this is a bad time to be seen as “other-directed” (though that particular character type is an inevitable product of our modern paradigm). We’re at a crisis moment in America, dammit—the people want values! Is this the nation that defeated communism? Hell yes it is! Thus, the American people want a gunslinging cowboy that they can drink beer with and have homoerotic fantasies about! There’s nothing erotic about an android wearing Hermes.

Brooks claims that this desire for certainty and uprightness of character is particularly strong for Republicans—they prefer their homoerotic fantasies to involve airport bathrooms and vacations with rent-boys; Republicans prefer their gay sex with layers of secrecy and a clearly demarcated power dynamic. They also prefer a candidate who has unshakeable convictions; a candidate willing to make the hard choices and govern with a giant phallus of doom. Having noted the deepest desires of Republicans, Brooks offers some advice for Mittensus:

If Romney is to thrive, he really needs to go on an integrity tour. He needs to show how his outer pronouncements flow directly from his inner core. He needs to trust that voters will take him as he really is. He needs to tell his own complicated individual story and stop reducing himself to the outsider/businessman advertising cliché. He needs to tell us what about his character is more fundamental than his national park patriotism and his skill at corporate restructuring.

Brooks also thinks that Mittensus needs to stop with all the Goddamn used-car salesman flip-flopping platitudes. If he’s going to govern, he’s got to be willing to send a few grannies to their deaths, and moreover, tell those bitches he’s doing it while he eats a slice of pie.

For Brooks, the granny-killing type is exemplified by Santorum; with or without media attention, Santorum would still want to kill your grandmother and shove your gay cousin back in the closet. If only Mittensus would learn that crazy, categorical bullshit wins the day, he too could be president.

*I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that David Brooks does not know what the fuck he’s talking about with regard to Victorian morality. In fact, there was no such thing; what we regard as Victorian “morality,” was largely a construct fabricated confluence of particular social and cultural factors, as well as later interpreters. Victorian “morality” does not exist; it is a fiction dreamed up by Sigmund Freud and perpetuated by conservative scholars. Stick with the Enlightenment, Brooks.

Breaking News: Santorum Collects in Colorado

This is breaking news, people (well, as breaking as the New York Times updates I get, anyway). Apparently Santorum just covered the Colorado caucus and emerged victorious; no doubt this will force Skynet to reconsider strategy.

Also, I’m going to bed, so feel free to do your own Goddamn research as to what this might mean for the future of the GOP.

Bonus alternate headline: Colorado Caucus is Deep into Santorum

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