Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

June 2: Mitt Romney’s Day

Jerry Stratton, June 2, 2011

Sarah Palin said something outrageous in Massachusetts today:

Asked about Mitt Romney: He’ll be a great candidate.

Asked about Romney’s position on government health care: In my opinion, any mandate coming from government is not a good thing, obviously and I am not the only to say so, but obviously there will be more explanation coming from Gov. Romney for his support of government mandates.

Asked about Romney’s argument that it makes a difference whether the mandates come from states rather than the federal government: He makes a good argument there that it does. States rights and authority and responsibility allowed in our states makes more sense than a big centralized government telling us what to do. Even on a state level and a local level, mandates coming from a governing body, it’s tough for a lot of us to accept because we have great faith in the private sector and in our own families and in our businessmen and women in making decisions for ourselves. Not any level of government telling us what to do.

Do you feel the outrage already?

No?

Well, how about this: Mitt Romney announced that he is running for president today.

Now do you feel the outrage?

No, not about Romney. About what Palin said.

Don’t see it? She violated the rule. What rule? The rule that says, don’t talk about a candidate’s policy the day the candidate announces he’s running for political office. That’s his day.

Yeah, I never heard of that rule either, but it has suddenly become very important to DrewM at Ace of Spades HQ, who, as far as I can tell, just made it up. Mitt Romney announced today, so today is Mitt Romney’s Day and it’s low-class to talk about his policies.

In every other election I’ve seen, when candidates announce that they’re running, the press starts asking about the candidate’s policies, and how that policy matters.1 That’s something to encourage! I know people in the beltway sometimes seem to think they should get a pass, but talking about a candidate’s policies is not low class.

Worse, Drew’s entire comment rested, in the original post, on a single tweet by a CNN reporter2. The tweet turns out to have been exaggerated3 because it turns out the tweet was just a variation of the headline of the CNN article—and the tweet didn’t even include a link to the article. That’s right: on a blog that continually complains about media bias and deception, he sourced his outrage by referencing a media teaser as proof, devoid of the article it was a tease for.

When called on it by commenters who posted the actual text of Palin’s remarks, he doubled-down on stupid. He did link to the CNN article, but claimed that Palin shouldn’t have discussed Romney and health care policy because she “isn’t in the race”. Discussing policy, apparently, is only for politicians who are actually running and not for the people who vote for them and support them, or who might be running tomorrow.

Sounds like another new rule. The nice thing about this new rule is that it’s asymmetrical. A candidate whose life is centered around running, and thus announces early, gets a pass from everyone else. A candidate who wants to spend a summer driving around the country with their family before making the decision to run or not, well, they can be attacked by all of the career candidates who have already announced.

And then, after making up a strange rule that’s never applied to anyone else, Drew wonders why people think he has a “hidden agenda”.

I don’t think he has a hidden agenda. I think he’s just nuts. This is Calvinball. It makes no sense. Drew doesn’t like Romney’s policies either, he just doesn’t want Palin to talk about them today. For some unexplained reason he wants to make up strange rules that have never applied before and should never apply, about what policies we can discuss on what days, depending on who we are.

I’m not running either4 but I’m going to break part two of Drew’s Romney Rule and make a statement about policy: government-run health care is the most important issue of the 2012 elections. Whether it’s Obamacare or Medicare discussing it needs to be on the table for everyone, not just the politicians who gave us the current broken system. Palin’s comments about tea party independents are right on the mark: the tea party didn’t start because people want politicians who’ll drive over the fiscal cliff more slowly. They want the fiscal insanity to stop and reverse.

We don’t care about defeating Obama. We care about defeating the insane policies he’s produced.

Does government-run health care get a pass today because Mitt Romney announced his candidacy? Seems to me Palin was extraordinarily polite—and that’s reading snippets of what she said filtered through a news outlet that clearly, from their teaser and headline, wants it to sound like a ripping attack. Instead, it’s the kind of discussion we want to have. It wasn’t an attack against Romney’s personal life, or a lie about his record, or a snide remark hiding behind a joke. It was a simple, clear discussion of a candidate’s policy. It’s what our political discussions should be like.

June 2 should become Mitt Romney’s Day. The day we make fun of pundits who make up the rules for when it’s a class violation if we discuss the policies of politicians.

June 2, 2015: Mitt Romney Day 2015

The competition this year, from pundits in the press who see nothing wrong with Hillary Clinton running her own email server and then erasing the whole thing, but who still make references to Richard Nixon’s 18 minutes, made choosing the Mitt Romney Day winner difficult this year. But, well, that was months ago, and “at this point, what difference does it make?”

At least the newspeople didn’t actually work in the White House themselves and help Clinton erase the messages.

For that, for this year’s Mitt Romney’s Day award, for pundits who make up the rules for when it’s a class violation if we discuss the policies of politicians, the award has to go to George Stephanopoulos.

He interviewed Peter Schweizer, author of the wonderful, if scary, Throw Them All Out about his current book, Clinton Cash (which I have not yet read), about people who throw money at the Clintons in a transparent attempt to win favor.

Stephanopoulos gave Schweizer a hard time for it. After all, Schweizer used to work for President Bush as a speech writer.

That’s right, George Stephanopoulos, former Clinton Press Secretary1 and senior advisor, said that news from a former Bush speech writer was discountable for that reason.

But it doesn’t stop there. Stephanopoulos was attempting to discount Schweizer’s claim that people were donating to the Clintons in order to gain favor with the Clintons. Turns out, he could have said, “Hey, Peter, even I have given $75,000 to the Clintons. Do you think I was doing it to gain favor?”

But, of course, he didn’t ask that question. Because he knows that the answer, not just from Schweizer but from everyone else in the United States, would be yes, we do. The revelation would have reflected badly not on Schweizer, but on himself and his attempt to paint Schweizer’s revelations as irrelevant.

June 2, 2013: Mitt Romney Day 2013

Two years ago, I nominated June 2 as Mitt Romney’s Day:

The day we make fun of pundits1 who make up the rules for when it’s a class violation if we discuss the policies of politicians.

In a year of race cards a-flyin’ from Eric Holder and the press that supposedly reports on him, this was going to be a tough contest. Then came a very late entry from Democrat Party Communications Director Brad Woodhouse:

POTUS asked AG to review how leak investigations are done but some in the media refuse to meet with him. Kind of forfeits your right gripe.

Woodhouse realized he needed a hail mary to win Mitt Romney Day and tweeted that on May 29, just 2 days before the deadline for this year’s contest. I’m guessing that the rush explains a lack of proofreading that’s egregious even for Twitter.

Here’s Ace’s summary of Eric Holder’s off-the-record press conference:

This administration takes freedom of the press very seriously.

No, you’re not allowed to quote me on that.

Follow the logic here:

  1. The Attorney General announces a press conference to discuss how they handle press freedoms.
  2. They then announce it’s going to be off the record.
  3. News organizations realize that a press conference on freedom of the press that they can’t report on is wasted effort, and choose not to go.
  4. Brad Woodhouse tweets that ignoring a press conference you can’t report on anyway forfeits your right to report.

Congratulations, Brad. You are this year’s Mitt Romney Day winner!

Your prize is in the mail. However, due to the administration’s sequester shell game, it may or may not arrive intact.

  1. If the press is doing its job. If the press isn’t doing its job, it’ll ask about process and ignore any answers that reference record or policy.

  2. In the comments, he justified this by saying “You get multiple short first reports and you add longer pieces as they become available.” First you report based on the headline/teaser, then you read the article to see how you did?

  3. Which is to say, it was a lie.

  4. And I’m going on a month-long cross country trip, too.

  1. <- If I were running for president…
  2. The bowels of the media ->