Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

A short note, because I don’t enjoy Schadenfreude as much as I used to:

The backlash has already started, and instead of the soul-searching you might expect from a defeated party, Wednesday saw a lot of GOP wags and conservative Web sites positively refusing to come to grips with what happened to them on election night and refusing to blame the proper parties: themselves. For the past four years, in the middle of a recession with high unemployment, the party had avoided analyzing a flawed deregulation policy and instead rushed to denounce the masses of resulting unemployed people as “takers.” It was a classic “blame the victim” mentality, a textbook example of psychological transference on display in a user friendly, Museum of Natural History-style diorama form. A sick strategy embraced not only by the fringe elements but by the party’s very presidential candidate. Wasn’t this the crew that used to say they were on the side of crime victims?

Here’s a page you might want to check out: “Republican Tears.” Here you’ll find out that gays, brown-skinned people wanting handouts and oversexed females took over the country last night so that the American taxpaxer could fund their nonstop government cheese eating and fucking. (You’ll also see, if you watch one telling video, how Karl Rove forced Fox News to hold off calling an Obama victory when everybody else had. There’s no big conspiracy theory about why: He had personally put millions of donor dollars at stake.)

You might say I’m wrong to overlook good-hearted conservatives by posting the Republican Tears link, and the comments by what is apparently the most extreme element of Republican ideology, tossed in with a few pictures of crying white women. ( Incidentally, I have seen a preponderance of crying white women in the election news photos, even though women overwhelmingly broke for Obama. It looks like somebody’s trying to skew the grief incorrectly. What gives?) But anyhow this Web site isn’t a portrait. It’s a mirror. It’s Republican sentiment taken at face value. Everywhere from Fox News to the vile RedState.com, conservatives are making extremism their identity: The new paradigm after a Wall Street financial collapse caused by complicated debt instruments is to blame welfare mothers and immigrants. This transparent, obvious, age-old smear tactic has somehow become our main talking point in the last few months. It’s as wrong as the kneejerk patriotism argument was during the Iraq War. Wrong, wrong, totally wrong. If you have ever said “takers versus makers” during this election, you are part of the problem.

And I hate to say that by “welfare mothers and immigrants” that it’s a not-so-subtle code for black people. You be the judge. The site Jezebel has been collecting all the uses of the word “nigger” used by angry Republicans on Twitter since Tuesday’s Obama victory.

Again, this kind of argument enrages fair-minded conservatives who insist that their real concern about American debt is short-circuited by horrible liberals playing the race card. I am only a tiny bit impressed by this argument. It’s true, if that kind of argument were really happening. (Specifically, that argument never really happens.) Nevertheless, good-hearted conservatives, you must take note: if you are not racists, the racists are hiding among you. They are using you as human shields to avoid being called out. Their birther, immigrant (and even socialism) rhetoric is a very thin disguise, and if you play into such phony arguments, your supposed good-heartedness is being used against you as a tool of somebody else’s will. There was no honest debate about our recession. The conversations had all turned stupid. It was the Republicans’ fault. That’s why they lost the election. Go to RedState.com (and especially read the comment section of this story) to see if anybody is learning that lesson for 2016.

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First of all, I want to apologize for not posting more about Hurricane Sandy. My family was spared the blackouts, flooding and buffeting winds suffered by my fellow New Yorkers in Lower Manhattan, and I didn’t know what I could add by talking about how my bourgeois life was only marginally disrupted. (We had no daycare for a few days, and since we were sufficiently gridded, my wife and I had to take up the slack of our work colleagues without electricity.) I have pictures of downed trees on the Upper East Side, but the havoc wreaked on other places such as the New Jersey Shore and the Rockaways make my tiny slice of hell seem far too miniscule.

It occurred to me lately that I could still be of help by linking people to the various volunteer organizations. I probably esteemed my blog too little to think I could help, but I realize every link inspires somebody.

I gave socks, blankets and water to this organization: https://www.wepay.com/donations/in-good-company-hospitality-relief-fund. You can also give through Occupy Sandy. (https://www.wepay.com/donations/occupy-sandy-cleanup-volunteers). Here is another Occupy Sandy page where you can donate or volunteer to help those whose lives have been upended by the storm, whose houses were mauled and who are still going without heat and water as the temperature drops.

The other thing I’m thinking about today, of course, is the election. I was hoping that we were not going to have a close race. That was not simply because I am arrogant about my candidate’s superiority, but because America has remained polarized. When the political center dissolves, it removes an important counterbalance to rigid ideology and partisanship for its own sake, to partisans acting according to the rules of game theory (when they believe everything their side tells them and reject the other side, even when the other side says things that are manifestly true).

There are a lot of last-minute articles hitting the Web that can make you sick if you’re a Barack Obama supporter: in the key state of Ohio, a Republican secretary of state, Jon Husted, has made a last-minute change in the voting rules for provisional ballots that could disenfranchise likely Obama voters and maybe even swing this swing state, this after already shortening early voting hours to make sure that the poll sites were crowded, uncomfortable and foreboding. He’s also installed mysterious new software patches for voting tabulation machines very late in the race.

Meanwhile, a story about the once-distressed auto parts maker Delphi Automotive by Greg Palast in The Nation suggests that Mitt Romney was likely reaping millions off the auto bailout (through a key distressed debt investment) at the same time he criticized the rescue, making cold-hearted comments to the Republican faithful that HE would have let Detroit die without help–rot for its sins of bad management and union hegemony.

All of which Republicans might respond to with a blithe: “So what?” Who cares if Ohio wants to make it tougher for footloose voters and penalize them for their own ballot goofs (even if that particular strategy runs contrary to Ohio law). Isn’t voter fraud a real concern? Aren’t we talking about a bunch of “homeless illiterate winos”? (My friend’s phrase.) But given that some reports say some 40,000 provisional ballots were tossed out in Ohio in 2008, I’d say that’s a lot of winos, even for Ohio, and if it’s true, the state is long overdue for its own Burning Man festival.

They might even say, “So what” to the news about Romney’s investment. After all, doesn’t it prove he’s still a nimble businessman? Mitt made all the money. But it was Barack Obama who gave it away. If Obama is so great why did he not make sure Delphi wouldn’t send jobs to China, gut pensions and basically enrich the vultures who took it over. …

And while we’re at it, they ask, why am I touting Barack Obama in the first place, a man who has kept intact the most loathsome aspects of George Bush’s foreign policy, including a beefed up droning program that can now target American citizens, and foreign civilians, including women and children? How could I support this man? Don’t I have a child?

And they would be right to ask. In many ways, Barack Obama has let me down. But I’m also old enough to know that that’s part of a politician’s job. I have to shrug and insist that Barack Obama’s droning program is not actually targeted at civilians, but at people actually planning bombings and issuing hits on Americans from safe within the bosom of factious countries like Pakistan. I find the outcome loathsome, but not the intent. And Mitt Romney would not change this. In fact, I am sure that Romney, as a foreign policy neophyte, would come under the sway of the same neocons who gave us the Iraq War and make Iran his main issue.

The political process has never been about making infantile demands that a candidate go out and get you what you want. It’s about asking that your views are represented and, when the candidate is narrowed to a choice of two from 300 million, it’s then up to you, the voter to do some work: reconcile your own beliefs, some of which are likely unrealistic and extreme, to those of the body politic. The world can’t be the way you idealize it. If it could be, and you could dictate its terms constantly, you would turn into Adolph Hitler more quickly than you realize, even if you started out as a hippie Rousseauian. Remember what Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips said: “You cannot know yourself and what you’d really do with all your power.” It’s important to politics, ethics and the world that you, voter, not get everything you want.

Some of my liberal friends take solace in what Barack Obama has done. He got a famously difficult health care law passed that removed health insurers’ ability to turn away those with pre-existing conditions. He helped save the auto industry. He finally took care of Osama bin Laden, picking up a massive political obligation abandoned by his feckless predecessor. He also went against the tide of loony right and left to save the financial services industry. Sure, it gave ammunition to all naysayers that he made the rich richer with your tax money and rewarded risky Wall Street behavior with your cash. This is true. It’s also true, as far as it goes, to say John Lennon was a criminal, because if you are given to insanely insular, black and white thinking, that’s a true statement. What Michael Moore, Glenn Beck, Mitt Romney and nobody else will say out loud, because it’s uncool, is that a failed banking system would have plunged our country into a nightmare of depression, privation, mass unemployment and crime. This is not an opinion. It is fact. The economic meltdown was a systemic failure where risk was passed around and shared promiscuously by everybody, and the malaise, had it not been stopped, would have ravaged all parts of the body the way septic shock works in a human body, shutting down organs one by one. This chaos would have disproportionately ravaged the poor, not the rich. The Occupy Wall Street Cassandras want to know why Wall Street didn’t suffer in the recession. As I’ve said before, they ignore the fact that there used to be bank called Lehman Brothers that was allowed to die by George Bush and company because of that very same idealism the downtown lefties claim as their own: The bankers must fail. Yet  Lehman’s collapse alone caused much of the panic in the markets, the collapse of stock prices, the wiping out of value, and the eventual decimation of jobs.

By March of 2009, the stock market had bounced back and the recession eventually ended. That left unemployment to tackle. Again, there is something that nobody in the press will say, and the candidates won’t try to articulate, maybe because it sounds too clinical or patronizing. But employment is a lagging indicator. I’ll say that again, because nobody understands it. In the process that is recovery, freight orders pick up first. Small companies take the lead before larger ones do. Companies clean house to boost their stock prices, laying everyone off. When they boost share price, they spend capital first on technology, and when orders come back, they start looking for staff again. For the past 30 years, they have sent much of this staffing need overseas at first. They have a global labor force to choose from now that is much cheaper than the U.S. worker because for years this labor force was locked behind logistical barriers and iron curtains. When things pick up, jobs in America come back online.

This process has become slower in the last 30 years as more work goes overseas. And guess what: There is nothing a Barack Obama or a Mitt Romney can do about it–except hire more government employees, which there is no political will for. When Barack Obama’s enemies gripe that he can’t blame George Bush for his problems anymore, you need give only one answer: “Yes he can, because our high unemployment is still the result of somebody else’s recession and its lagging indicator unemployment. Again, that is not opinion. It is fact. For Barack Obama to make a dent directly would have been to do the thing nobody would let him do: expand government. A lot.

Then there is the other complaint. He should have cut taxes. I’ll stop with that argument here, because he did. What he didn’t cut he kept insanely low. None of you noticed and didn’t read. You don’t deserve any more time on this subject.

I guess when I pull the lever for Obama, it will not be as much for the man this time as I’m voting for the closest thing we have to rationality. I do not believe Mitt Romney is as uninformed, unsophisticated, or irrational as a lot of Republicans. I do not think, if he becomes president-elect tonight, that we’ll have on our hands somebody quite as embarrassing or incompetent as George Bush and Sarah Palin. I believe, though, that he has, whether he likes it or not, become the standard bearer for the worst of American thinking. Neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama is going to stop droning. Neither one is going to send anybody in the Wall Street scandal to jail. But the bad ideas and intentions still accrue to Romney’s side of the fence. The idea that Clinton era tax rates are now the devious plot of a socialist “anti-Colonialist,” the idea that global warming reports are a liberal plot, the idea that the only acceptable big government is an overbuilt military, the idea that schizophrenics must have guns to protect everybody’s Second Amendment rights, the idea that rapists must be allowed to see their sperm fructify a victim’s egg, the idea that cheap gasoline is somehow a natural right of Americans, the idea that higher taxes harm the rich at all–this is all garbage thinking that has to be cleaned out almost daily by the process of confrontation, dialectic and due diligence. People who think are constantly bombarded by those who have faith. I’m talking about faith of all sorts, whether it’s that there is a sky god watching over you personally or that a democracy is a self-cleaning oven and that a free market solves every problem by itself. These faiths are always carrion to proof and reason, but the faithful smile knowing that their faith, a priori faith, will never ever have to prove itself. It is both subject and predicate of a meaningless sentence.

If I concede that presidents actually do very little–that they rarely push buttons and that policies then pop out like Pop-Tarts, if I notice instead that they try to ride waves of idealism or discontent through the force of their charisma and personalities, then I feel pretty safe with this statement: Mitt Romney is a horrible presidential candidate. He’s thoughtless in his statements, tone deaf. He doesn’t know when to pick his battles. He doesn’t know the difference between sang froid and heartlessness, at least not when it comes to speaking to a large audience. He doesn’t know when to appear statesmanlike and when to pick a fight. All politicians lie. When Mitt Romney does it, somehow it seems even more opportunistic, crass, dirty and ham-fisted. He may or may not be a man of religious conviction, but one tends to notice not the trail of missionaries he’s left in his wake but all the people he’s fired. He brags about it, after all.

So I will, with a bit of a grudge, be voting for Barack Obama again. In tough times, when the arguments are stupid and miss the point, again, it’s nice to have a competent politician around.

Update: I did vote today, but it took a long time. The lines were full of voters from the areas ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. I also noticed that my election district had changed, which meant I wasted 20 minutes or so in the wrong line. If you are in doubt about where you are voting in New York, you can check out this site.

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–*If you apologize to an old lady for running her over with a car, you are apologizing for American values.

–*If you’re going to do the necessary job of cutting military spending, it’s better to do it from the labyrinthine offices of a giant bicameral building where nobody can see you, so you can blame the person who signed your cuts. That’s much better than sitting in such an easily recognizable big “white house” which will attract attention and scorn.

–*Joe Biden did not support the Iraq War. We invite you to go to the Congressional Record and unlearn that now.

–*Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan agrees with the Obama administration’s policy of sending no troops to Syria. But it is indefensible that in doing so, Obama has not yet called the French-controlled U.N. a bunch of cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

–*Paul Ryan wants to cut loopholes for the rich. By “loophole,” he’s using the Webster’s definition–a small opening through which a firearm can be fired, most likely at the poor people coming to steal the rich person’s food.

–*Paul Ryan does not believe you can separate religion from politics, a point of view that places him squarely in the tradition of other Ottoman sultans.

–*We learned from Paul Ryan that unemployment continues to go up and Lindsay Lohan is currently dating Samantha Ronson.

–*Paul Ryan says that Barack Obama’s intelligence failures on Sept. 11 were indefensible. He will not clarify which September 11.

–*Joe Biden’s continued laughing is highly distracting to many viewers, who insist it was disrespectful right at the point they were just getting mesmerized into non-critical thinking.

–*Moderator Martha Raddatz kept the candidates’ feet to the fire, especially when she called upon them to bravely make obeisance to a sky god.

–*Iran is a rogue nation and theocracy on the verge of gaining nuclear weapons. Obama has tried to introduce sanctions, but according to Ryan, that’s not fast enough. The sanctions must be faster than a centrifuge, Ryan says.  We’re talking 1065 hertz!

–*Obama might have been introducing worms and using other covert methods to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program and cripple it, but according to Ryan, the Obama administration has no credibility with the Iranians. When asked to define credibility, Ryan says it is not about bombing or threatening invasion or killing scientists … no “credibility” is just too difficult to explain and he will fill in the details later when he is vice president.

–*We’ve had 8% unemployment since January 2009. Most economists would see that as a lagging indicator of a credit-spurred recession. But that’s a long sentence. “Obamacare” is much shorter and easier to say.

–*Actually now unemployment is 7.8%, which just doesn’t have as much polemical magic as August’s figures did. Shit.

–*We learned that when the going gets tough, Joe Biden can come out and give the fight of Barack Obama’s life.

–*Paul Ryan plans to cut the same amount of Medicare as the Obama administration. But at least it won’t be rationed. It will just be gone. And you can take that to the bank.

–*Reviewers were relieved that, in this post-racial world, two filthy Irishmen can now have a spirited argument in public.

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–*Mitt Romney’s economic plan assumes that even people like Donald Trump are small businessmen. But Trump is actually very tall.

–*If beloved Sesame Street character Big Bird wants to keep his job, he’s going to have redevelop his skill set, moving from education into customer service at Dell Computers. I’m sorry, did I say Big Bird? I meant all teachers.

–*Mitt Romney believes we have a trickle down government, and that it instead ought to come in a more convenient spray bottle.

–*When it comes to government helping the economy, Barack Obama has one word: railroads.

–*Mitt Romney’s health care plan would continue to help people with pre-existing conditions if Mitt Romney’s fingers are crossed.

–*The word “rationing” is so exciting to the basal ganglia of Main Street Republicans, that they need not even think about what it means. Thank you, George Will.

–*Today’s episode of Sesame Street was sponsored by the letter “C” … for China.

–*People in public regularly grab Mitt Romney by the arm without fear of reprisal.

–*Mitt Romney is going to crack down on China. Also, he’s going to crack down on Mount Everest and the San Andreas Fault.

–*Barack Obama wants to help small businesses, especially by making them feel special with avalanches of 1099s mailed right to their doors every time somebody buys a hammer from them.

–*Big Bird owes his job to China. Which is kind of a funny thing to bring up, since every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan also owes his job to China.

–*Mitt Romney hates it when the government mistreats small businesses, especially since that’s big business’s job.

–*The free market needs to be free. Also, we have to stop corporations from sending jobs overseas. If you think you can work out that contradiction in terms, then why don’t YOU be president, you know-it-alls.

–*Mitt Romney doesn’t care about 47% of Americans. No, actually we did not learn that last night, because Obama was too nice to bring it up. It was his wedding anniversary, after all, and he was probably not feeling mean spirited.

–*Haters don’t make good presidents. They do, however, make excellent constituents.

–*Barack Obama has taken money away from seniors and Paul Ryan has never done such a thing. There is nothing written anywhere, nothing with Paul Ryan’s name on it, nothing that says “Budget” by Paul Ryan that says something like he’s taking money away from seniors. Not one bit of black ink anywhere.

–*Wealthy people will do fine no matter who is president, says Mitt Romney. They will also do fine no matter what the tax rate is. Or what the health care bill says. They will also be fine if the earth’s water runs out, if a giant asteroid hits the planet, if the U.S. sells Florida to Spain, if soylent green is made out of people. … I’m sorry, why are we not raising taxes on the rich again?

–*The GOP has apparently made a small tactical shift by not running a drooling moron for high office.

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Political pundits took to the airwaves with awestruck reverence Tuesday as Mitt Romney shrewdly drew fire away from incendiary comments he made about the United States’ response to attacks in Libya with a brand new gaffe saying he didn’t care about 47% of Americans.

“This is a game changer,” said journalist Carl Bernstein. “Last week, everybody was talking about Mitt Romney’s heartless, misleading comments about America’s response to the riots in Northern Africa. Today, they are again talking about his waging of class warfare against those who take the earned income credit, including seniors. I’m humbled by his cagey political instincts.”

Romney was caught on tape at a fund-raiser for wealthy donors insisting that 47% of Americans don’t pay income tax, therefore they would likely be in the tank for Barack Obama on election day, and he has no hope of winning their vote. He called them government dependents, falsely suggested they pay no federal taxes and furthermore said they were enfeebled and unwilling to help themselves.

His brilliant tactical move of calling half of America moochers set off a media firestorm, as pundits, bloggers and reporters across the country quickly noted how quickly he had defused the unforgivable Libya gaffe.

“This is a Machiavellian maneuver of such cutting skill that one’s hair turns curly,” said Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The week before, Romney had suggested that the United States had shamefully apologized to Islamic extremists for attacking U.S. embassies and personnel. He had, however, distorted the timeline of the diplomatic comments. The comments were meant to assuage Egyptian protestors angered about an anti-Islamic film produced in the United States. They were issued before the attacks, not after. Romney’s gaffe led to an outpouring of outrage that he had politicized an attack on American diplomats for short term political gain.

But as of Tuesday, this anger was largely forgotten as Americans had stopped talking about his international inexperience and turned back to his class chauvinism and heartlessness.

“Mitt Romney knows how to change a conversation,” said his running mate, Paul Ryan. “Just when you think you’ve got him pegged as a neophyte on the world stage, he’ll remind you that he’s also out of touch economically.”

Breitbart.com issued a philippic against the mainstream media for not reporting more about Romney’s tactical brilliance, not only his suggestion that half of America has not paid income tax under the Republican-championed earned income tax credit amid recession, but that he was further able to downgrade this cohort into a bunch of lazy welfare mothers in one fastidious rhetorical flourish.

“One day he’s suggesting that Obama, who has been droning Al Qaeda operatives five times as much as George Bush, is somehow appeasing Islamic extremists. The next day, he’s excoriating half of American for being on the dole, including millions who are presumably working. If that’s not politicking worthy of Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Ronald Reagan and Seneca, I’ll show my bare ass in Macy’s window,” wrote Breitbart columnist Ed Lee.

President Obama’s White House chief of staff Jack Lew concurred.

“A lot of us thought that Mitt Romney’s comments about Libya were unforgivable,” said Lew. “But this week, we can barely remember them because all our mouths are open fly-catcher-wise at Mitt’s brazen admission he thinks half of Americans are feeble welfare moms watching TV in a basement all day. All I can say is that it was a master stroke. Well-played!”

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Romney, Severely

In a recent speech, Mitt Romney referred to himself as “severely conservative,” an idiom strange to many ears. What other words most often  follow “severely” (according to a Google search)?

–*Severely anemic

–*Severely atypical mole

–*Severely abnormal mole

–*Severely autistic

–*Severely bloated

–*Severely bruised toe

–*Severely bruised knee

–*Severely burned tongue

–*Severely chapped lips

–*Severely constipated

–*Severely cracked heels

–*Severely dry skin

–*Severely damaged hair

–*Severely depressed

–*Severely emotionally disturbed

–*Severely enlarged liver

–*Severely endangered species

–*Severely fatigued

–*Severely greasy hair

–*Severely high blood pressure

–*Severely hydrotreated heavy naphthenic oil

–*Severely herniated disc

–*Severely hypokinetic

–*Severely itchy scalp

–*Severely itchy skin

–*Severely itchy vulva

–*Severely impacted wisdom teeth

–*Severely jammed thumb

–*Severely jammed toe

–*Severely jet lagged

–*Severely knotted hair

–*Severely knotted muscle

–*Severely keratinized or ulcerated leukoplakia

–*Severely bruised knee

–*Severely low blood pressure

–*Severely low iron

–*Severely lupine

–*Severely lonely

–*Severely mentally ill

–*Severely matted dog

–*Severely matted hair

–*Severely neglected children

–*Severely nearsighted

–*Severely neutropenic

–*Severely overweight

–*Severely obese

–*Severely oily skin

–*Severely painful hemorrhoids

–*Severely painful periods

–*Severely painful gas

–*Severely pulled back muscle

–*Severely retroverted uterus

–*Severely red eyes

–*Severely retarded

–*Severely swollen tonsils

–*Severely sprained ankle

–*Severely stuffy nose

–*Severely tired

–*Severely tilted uterus

–*Severely underweight

–*Severely undervalued stocks

–*Severely underpaid

–*Severely visually impaired

–*Severely violent criminals

–*Severely wounded

–*Severely wrinkled hands

–*Severely worn dentition

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(Originally posted Sunday, January 13, 2008 )

Backhanded Compliments Given By The Presidential Candidates To Their Opponents

Barack Obama: “Speaks well and is clean and well groomed and eats with a fork.”

Hillary Clinton: “She certainly does swing a big dick.”

John Edwards: “Cares a lot about the people in the ambulances he is chasing.”

Mike Huckabee: “He’s a very good, caring, altruistic, moral Christian woman.”

Bill Richardson: “He’s undoubtedly Hispanic.”

John McCain: “He’s probably the most moderate, level-headed guy you could expect him to be for someone who was tortured in the Hanoi Hilton for several years.”

Rudy Guiliani: “He was undoubtedly the mayor of New York City on Sept. 11.”

Mitt Romney: “He is probably the hardest working, most sensible and best looking member of the Mormon Cult we have ever seen.”

Ron Paul: “His message of wanting to dismantle the government is certainly appealing to a lot of wildly passionate, iconoclastic, luddite secessionists.”

Dennis Kucinich: “It’s certainly inspiring that a poor, short socialist from Ohio can marry a tall, hot British redhead with a tongue stud.”

Fred Thompson: “A slow, shambling, macho, country lawyer type, he is one of the best character actors we have. And he plays fictional roles, too.”

Alan Keyes: “He serves a very important role in the Republican Party that I don’t think, for the sake of politeness, any one of us has to say out loud.”

Mike Gravel: “He has certainly managed to keep his name on the list of candidates.”

Duncan Hunter: “He is probably the luckiest candidate, because absolutely nobody knows who he is.”

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