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Taibbi writes: "They may be shit for choosing a good candidate for the presidency, but say this for the Republican primaries: They're fast turning into the most luridly entertaining political spectacle of our time."

The GOP's 'Odd Couple' shares a moment during one of the many GOP debates, 01/10/12. (photo: AP)
The GOP's 'Odd Couple' shares a moment during one of the many GOP debates, 01/10/12. (photo: AP)

The Odd Couple: Romney vs. Gingrich

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

31 January 12


How the GOP race became a showdown between a walking OCD diagnosis and a flatulent serial adulterer

hey may be shit for choosing a good candidate for the presidency, but say this for the Republican primaries: They're fast turning into the most luridly entertaining political spectacle of our time. In an inherently conservative, bottomlessly moneyed, scrupulously stage-managed electoral system designed to preclude chance or weirdness from playing any part in determining our political future, the unthinkable is happening: real drama. This isn't part of some clever but inscrutable master plan, put on by the hidden hands who run this country, to fool or distract the masses. This is an unscripted fuck-up of heroic dimensions, radiating downward from the highest levels of our society, playing out in real time for all of us to watch. Our oligarchy has thrown a rod.

If you're not a conservative voter with a dog in this fight, watching Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and whoever else is running for the GOP nomination this week try to hold on to front-runner status has been great slapstick, like watching a cruel experiment involving baboons, laughing gas and a forklift. No matter how many times you ring the bell, those poor animals are never going to figure out how to move that pallet of bananas - yet they keep trying, taking the sorry show from one state to the next, over and over, as if something is going to change.

The latest ape to fall off the heavy machinery is Romney, who in a single week before the South Carolina primary went from near-certain nominee to national punch line, in genuine peril of becoming one of America's all-time electoral catastrophes. The overwhelming expectation was that Romney would roll into South Carolina, kneel on the ball a few times, and run out the clock on the party's yearlong display of manic instability. Heading into South Carolina, he'd raised $32 million; none of his competitors appeared to have enough cash to keep the lights on for more than a few more weeks, let alone a whole campaign. This experienced national politician, who had run a superbly organized campaign for president in 2008, a man whose very trademark is inoffensiveness and caution, and who for the year has appeared dedicated to saying nothing in public more controversial than "God bless America," needed to hang on for only 10 or 11 more days after his decisive win in New Hampshire without completely wetting himself on television, and the nomination was his.

But he couldn't do it. Less than a week after New Hampshire, Romney committed a series of gaffes that revealed his crucial character flaw: He's a hypernervous control freak who flips out if you try digging around below the paper-thin veneer of his schlock patriotic presentation. The robotic Mormon financier looks like a walking OCD diagnosis, a trim coil of tightly wound energy with perfect coif and tie, seemingly living in permanent terror of a single hair falling out of place. For this type of anal-retentive personality, the messy chaos of South Carolina was a phobic horror. Faced with actual opposition, he lost his grip on everything. At a time when a quarter of the population has zero or negative net worth, when outrage against the financial elite is at an all-time high on both sides of the political aisle, Romney, it turns out, is so weirdly tone-deaf about his status as a one-percenter and bloodsucking corporate raider that any question in that direction sends his eyes pinwheeling. As his electably boring-mannequin act began to crumble, his carefully concealed true self - a deluded gazillionaire nitwit - was suddenly thrust naked onstage for all of America to gape at.

First he made the mistake, in explaining his income as a private-equity vampire, of insisting that the money he receives each year in speaking fees is "not very much." Romney's idea of "not very much" turns out to be $374,327.62 - a microscopic portion of his total earnings, but still a number that all by itself put him in the one percent. Then, in the crucial debate in Charleston on January 19th, he seemed to go into a mental tailspin. With both the debate and the primary slipping away from him, Romney reached into his bag of clichés for an "I'm not from Washington, I'm an outsider like you" speech. Only he ballsed it up: "If we want people who spent their life and their career, most of their career in Washington," he said, indicating his opponents, "we have three people on the stage who've..."

But as Romney looked to his left, he spotted long-practicing doctor Ron Paul. "Well, I take that back," he fumbled. "We got a doctor down here who spent most of his time in the, in the surgical suite."

The surgical suite? But wait, Paul was an obstetrician! "Well, not surgery," Romney corrected himself. "The birthing suite."

Then, as he looked pleadingly at CNN moderator John King, it was Dan Rather time. Dead fucking air. Romney's candidacy was literally dying in front of his eyes. He realized that he had forgotten King's original question, which was about why he had called Gingrich an "unreliable leader."

"Now, you asked me an entirely different question," he said to King. "What's..."

The crowd laughed as Romney looked around to the other candidates for help. Gingrich, who despite an utter lack of self-control is a cunning old crook with a keen instinct for combat, moved quickly to drive the knife in. "Beats me. I don't know," he said. "Where are we at, John?" The crowd roared.

Romney was never the same after that moment. The next day, in that very building, I watched as the level of panic in his campaign finally boiled over into violence. Throughout the race, Romney has been targeted by protesters from Occupy Wall Street, who have made it their mission to screw up his rope-line photo ops. In New Hampshire just a week before, Romney had tried to do the campaign-cliché thing and kiss a baby - only to have protesters shout at him, repeatedly, "Are you going to fire the baby? Are you going to fire the baby? Are you going to fire the baby?"

Romney typically has not responded to these provocations. But on the day of the Charleston debate, in a small nearby suburb, a protester asked Romney, "What will you do to support the 99 percent, seeing as how you're part of the one percent?"

At that perfectly reasonable question, Romney lost his cool and spun around awkwardly, arms in and head forward, like a bobbing harbor buoy, to face the protester. "Let me tell you something," he fumed. "America is a great nation because we're a united nation. And those who try to divide the nation, as you are trying to do here and as our president is doing, are hurting this country seriously."

The next day, after Romney took that beating in the Charleston debate, there was another rally at the same convention center. As if in response to his plunging poll numbers, Romney amped up the showmanship and the clich´-flogging, driving his tricked-out campaign bus into the building and adding a desperately bizarre patriotic singspiel component to his stump speech. "I love this country. I love this country," he said. "I love its beauty. I love its people. I love the hymns of our nation." And then he started reciting the lyrics to "America the Beautiful."

"'O beautiful, for spacious skies,'" he said. "'For amber waves of grain.'"

It was the Mormon-underwear version of Bill Murray's "Star Wars, Nothing but Star Wars" routine. All politicians engage in public fakery to some degree, but Romney's plastic-man act is so forced and grotesque, it's actually painful to watch. In this case, the crowd - a small contingent of clean-cut Romney volunteers herded into a convention hall halved in size by a curtain - tittered politely as Romney labored through his hymnal and an assortment of lounge-singer throwaways ("This is a great state - what wonderful people"). When the speech mercifully ended, Romney plunged into the crowd - and that's when the trouble began

I was maybe 10 feet away from him when a pair of Occupy protester-tormenters tried to ask him something. Suddenly, the space around the candidate erupted in commotion. A female police officer roared past me, dragging a young female protester named Adrianna Varedi by the neck. It was such an outstanding chokehold that Varedi's face had already turned purple. The cops rushed her to the exit and, in a moment reminiscent of the scene in Casino in which a gambler's head is used to bash open the exit door, Varedi and another protester were roughly tossed outside.

"I was just trying to ask him a question," Varedi said afterward.

Romney suffers from the same problem afflicting the likes of Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon: He's been living for so long with the delusion that the way he makes his money is fair and honest, he's started to believe not only that he deserves his wealth, but the converse - that the poor deserve to be poor. He's incapable of sympathizing with people who can't pay their bills, because their condition is tied too closely in his mind with the question of how he made his enormous fortune: If you ask Romney to imagine what life is like for someone who's broke, what he hears is you accusing him of making that happen. (In Romneyspeak, you've "attacked capitalism.") In short, he's a narcissist. They're all narcissists, these colossal Wall Street types - they have to be, because the way they make their money makes moral sense only if you're viewing things from the top of the heap. Asking them to step outside that comfort zone, into the world where the rest of us live, is an unthinkable outrage. It's hard to be likable when you can't even temporarily look at things from the bottom up, which is why it was no surprise that Romney flopped among voters in South Carolina who describe themselves as "falling behind" financially; they chose Newt by a margin of almost two to one.

In contrast, even some of the most rabid anti-Republican protesters express a begrudging admiration for Romney's surging foil, Gingrich, who throughout the campaign has demonstrated that he not only doesn't mind yapping with haters and detractors but actually seems to enjoy it. "His security people are pulling him away from us, not the other way around," says Michael Premo, an Occupy protester who riled Romney at a rope line earlier that week.

If Romney is a scripted automaton who could make it through a year's worth of marital coitus without one spontaneous utterance, Gingrich is his exact opposite - taken prisoner in war, Newt would be blabbing state secrets without torture within minutes, and minutes after that would be calling his guards idiots who lack his nuanced grasp of European history, and minutes after that would be lying to two of his captors about an affair he had with the third. In short, Newt versus Romney played out in South Carolina like a classic comic clash of pure psychological archetypes: oral versus anal, chaos versus order, Oscar versus Felix, with Felix throwing a snit and Oscar charging to a wild, messy victory.

As late as five days before the South Carolina primary, Gingrich was still trailing Romney by double digits in the state. His comeback began at the debate in Myrtle Beach, when he had an instantly viral exchange with African-American Fox commentator Juan Williams in which he triumphantly defended the idea that 11-year-olds should get jobs and that black people prefer food stamps to honest employment. The crowd was howling for blood, literally booing Mexico when Williams mentioned that Romney's father had been born there and then, in a moment that one had to see to believe, loudly booing the Golden Rule when Ron Paul sensibly suggested that we "don't do to other nations what we don't want to have them do to us."

You could almost see the light go on in Newt's head. He alone understood that during the primary season, one doesn't worry about how some vacillating Ohio independent might perceive one's rhetoric next fall: One carves up the bloodiest bits of red meat and hurls them at the immediate audience, and one does so with joy and a gleam in the eye. "Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America's enemies: Kill them," Newt said. The debate, remember, took place in the Carolinas, not far from where Jackson's Trail of Tears genocide began, making Newt's remark almost comically offensive. But hey, the Cherokee vote is not a large one, for obvious reasons. The surviving, non-Indian audience cheered wildly.

At the debate in Charleston a few days later, when Gingrich launched into his lengthy tirade in defense of serial adultery, the crowd once again roared with delight. By then, Newt had settled on his winning formula: batter Romney over his personal finances, then get in Romney's face as often as possible, highlighting his "genuineness" in contrast with Romney's seemingly constitutional inability to give a straight answer about anything. A last-minute campaign event laid bare this dynamic. By a curious accident, both Romney and Gingrich had scheduled 10:45 a.m. campaign stops on primary day at a roadside restaurant called Tommy's Ham House in Greenville. The mix-up led to much speculation about a "Ham House showdown," and by 10 that morning the place was teeming with placard-waving supporters from both campaigns, in addition to what appeared to be all 10 million members of America's political media. But the "showdown" never happened, thanks to a classically reptilian cop-out by Romney: Despite his campaign's insistence that it intended to stick to its schedule, Romney showed up 45 minutes early, darted through the restaurant shaking hands Speedy Gonzales-style, and was back in his campaign bus 20 minutes before Gingrich even arrived.

When Newt finally showed up, his supporters greeted him like a Roman emperor back from a slaughter of the Gauls. As he strode into the Ham House, his supporters mocked Romney by erupting in clucking chicken noises. Newt, I'm quite sure, was never happier than he was at that moment in the driving rain and slop of Greenville on primary day. Looking like a king peacock or the mockumentary version of Joaquin Phoenix, gorgeously obese and enthralled with the wonder of himself, Newt plunged through the Ham House crowd, stood on a beer cooler and crowed, "I have a question. Where's Mitt?"

"He left!" someone in the crowd shouted. "He ran!"

Newt grinned ear to ear. "I thought maybe we'd have a little debate here this morning," he said. "I'm kind of confused!"

The crowd cheered again, and Newt settled down to his usual stump speech, about how he was the only choice to stop moderate Romneyism on the right and Saul Alinsky radicalism on the left. The crowd ate him up; everywhere you looked, you found people insisting they were smitten by the "real" Gingrich, as opposed to Romney, who South Carolinians increasingly believed was a closet liberal only pretending to be a heartless conservative.

"When you're being shaped and handled to sound like something you're not, you're going to sound plastic," said Colette Koester, a financial adviser who came out to the Ham House. "Newt's a real person. He's committed to what he says."

The election-night festivities of the two leading candidates were a predictable study in extremes. Romney's event, at the South Carolina fairgrounds, was a morgue. The floor was half-empty, and the campaign barred some of the press from entering, feeding different excuses to different reporters (I was told I needed to RSVP; others were told there was no room in the hall). In the tomblike expanse of the press filing room, you had to pay three bucks for a drink, and all they had was soda.

Across town, meanwhile, half of South Carolina appeared to be packed into a Hilton ballroom that began to stink noticeably of sweat and booze long before Newt showed up. Bodies were stacked together like sardines, and the crowd slobbered over visiting dignitaries like Mrs. South Carolina, a busty blond hottie who seemed to symbolize the earnest possibilities of open marriage. "It's like free admission to Wrestlemania," chirped one attendee.

When Newt finally arrived, he plunged into a booming victory speech that used the same tired, redbaiting clichés trotted out by every candidate in the race. (Some, in fact, were the same clichés Romney used, the only difference being that Romney described Obama as taking his inspiration from Europe, while Gingrich also pointed the finger at San Francisco.)

Most ludicrously, Gingrich - virtually his whole adult life a confirmed Beltway parasite, as voracious a consumer of lobbyist money as has ever been seen in modern America, a man who in the past decade took more than 1.5 million consulting dollars from Freddie Mac alone - asserted that his victory was a triumph against the Washington insider. "So many people," he said, "feel that the elites in Washington and New York have no understanding, no care, no concern, no reliability, and in fact do not represent them at all."

The crowd roared, and Gingrich, in a thrilling demonstration of sheer balls, moved on to insist that he'd won the race not just because he was a peerlessly brilliant television presence, but because - get this - he represented good values. "It's not that I'm a good debater," he said, "it's that I articulate the deepest-felt values of the American people."

This, of course, was the final irony: that South Carolina - a nest of upright country church folk proud of their exacting morals and broad distrust of buggery, stem cells and Hollywood relativism - had chosen as its values champion Newt Gingrich, a man who has been unfaithful not just to two wives but also two religions (raised Lutheran, he is currently Catholic by way of Southern Baptist). We've all heard the various sordid stories from Newt's past - the divorce papers reportedly thrust in the lap of his hospitalized first wife, the alleged multiple affairs, the unpaid tax liens, the 84 separate allegations of congressional ethics violations, one of which landed him a $300,000 fine. This is a man whose campaign is being fueled almost entirely by gambling money contributed by Sheldon Adelson, a Vegas casino magnate and hardcore Zionist who handed Gingrich two $5 million checks - two of the biggest political contributions in American history. (Newt, in return, has dismissed the Palestinians as an "invented" people, remarks that Adelson reportedly approved.) There is a distinct odor of corrupt indulgence around Gingrich that may not bother sinners like you and me - but sure as hell ought to bother Southern evangelicals, who a decade and a half ago wore us all out wailing about the nearly identical personal failings of one William Jefferson Clinton, another flabby, smooth-talking hedonist who, in the pulpits of America's megachurches, was whispered to be the earthly vessel of Satan himself.

But evangelicals accounted for two-thirds of the South Carolina vote, and Newt cleaned up with them, beating Romney - a man whose genitalia has never even been rumored to be somewhere it shouldn't - by a margin of more than two to one. Even odder was the fact that this hilarious fraud was being perpetrated on behalf of a man who was consigned to the historical footnotes well over a decade ago. After all this time, it ends up being Newt Gingrich? Really? How can a guy who was kicked off the B list in the Nineties be the headline act in 2012? It's like finding out that Eric Roberts has been picked to MC the Oscars. In an era of popular revolts on both the right and left, it is sobering to think that the American power structure is so desperate, so bankrupt of fresh deceptions, that it is now forced to recycle the dregs of the dregs in its attempts to pacify the public.

The two other contenders in the race each had good reasons to be shocked by the sudden emergence of Gingrich as the standard-bearer for Republican values. Former senator Rick Santorum earned a place in American pop culture as the nation's leading pious, finger-wagging bore, the Anita Bryant of his time - he was famous for comparing homosexuality to bestiality, for opposing not only abortion but contraception, for calling it "radical feminism" when a mother worked outside the home. Yet for all his creepiness, Santorum at times has come across as the sanest, most human of the candidates, adopting the exact "Jesus, what a couple of disgusting assholes!" look that any of us would have if forced to stand on a stage next to Romney and Gingrich. Genuinely religious, with a genuinely working-class background, Santorum nonetheless was beaten senseless in the South Carolina polls, receiving fewer than half as many votes from evangelicals as the philandering Gingrich.

Then there was Ron Paul, whose unaccountable predicament was on display in the Ham House madness. As Newt stood in the packed restaurant, gloating over Romney's cowardice, a small contingent of Paul supporters crouched in the rain at a Hardee's parking lot across the street, seething over the latest slight to their candidate's dignity. "The machine would rather have Huey or Dewey or Louie or whatever," sighed Ted Christian, watching the media blitz at the Ham House.

During the past two election cycles, Paul supporters have literally been forced to party-crash other candidates' events in order to get their message out. In this case, Christian and his friend Michael Toppeta decided to blitz the "Ham House showdown" by showing off a pair of spiffy "Ron Paul 2012" campaign vans - one featuring a professional paint-and-stencil job, the other a pleasingly Mystery Machine-esque vehicle done up with $3 worth of finger paint from Michaels.

"It's a fiscally responsible design job," Christian proudly declared.

"I just wanted to show that we can do a professional job like that," Toppeta added, regarding the more high-end van. "That we're not just a bunch of hippies or whatever."

Both actually and metaphorically, the Paul campaign is forever being consigned to the parking lot outside the main event, despite the fact that Paul is the only Republican candidate with consistent, insoluble support across the country. Polls also show that Paul tends to fare much better against Obama than any candidate besides Romney: A recent CNN poll showed him in a dead heat with Obama in a one-on-one contest. Yet everywhere he goes, Paul is hounded by reporters asking him which of the other mannequins he's eventually going to throw his support to. The grown-ups in the party establishment and their lackeys in the press simply refuse to take Paul seriously, which is part of the reason Paul is so extraordinarily attractive to young people (in both Iowa and New Hampshire, he scored almost half of the under-30 vote).

But the Republican Party is not dominated by 22-year-old college students reading The Fountainhead for the first time and finally understanding what it is they've always hated about their ex-hippie parents. No, the party is dominated by middle-aged white suburbanites who hate Mexico, John King and the Golden Rule and are willing to flock to anyone who'll serve up the Fox News culture war in big portions and without shame or hesitation. Romney might have memorized a few I-hate-Obama sound bites, but voters simply don't believe him. Gingrich alone offers GOP voters the emotional payoff they want out of an election - an impassioned fight against the conspiracy, played out in thrillingly contrary three-hour debates on health care with the liberal Satan. Gingrich lives for confrontation: He was born for this sort of insurgent primary politics.

The only problem is, he's a bloviating, egomaniacal hog clinging to a third marriage who suffers from incurable diarrhea of the mouth and, according to polls, is one of the most intensely disliked politicians in America, making him an utterly absurd choice for the general election. If Gingrich ends up winning the nomination, Obama will essentially be running against the political version of Gilbert Gottfried or raw garlic - strong tastes that some like quite a lot, but many more can't stand to even be near. If that happens, every Democratic flack from Leon Panetta to Obama himself will have to wear restraints to keep from publicly crying out in joy.

All of which makes the goofball theater surrounding the GOP primaries seem even crazier. With a weak economy and a vulnerable president in the White House, the Republican Party had a real chance to reseize power, if it could only have grasped the gravity of the situation and put forward a plausible candidate. And a plausible candidate would have been better for everyone, not just Republicans, because the nation will suffer when Obama cruises to victory next fall on a sea of open-marriage jokes, instead of having to face a cogent argument against useless bailouts, endless wars and economic mismanagement.

But the GOP chose to snub any semblance of substance, floating one candidate after another - from Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann to Herman Cain and Rick Perry - who could not hold on to the lead for more than a few hours before tripping and falling into the machinery. It now appears that whoever winds up winning the Republican nomination will be a reform-hating friend of the one percent who will happily gobble whatever hundreds of millions of dollars Wall Street has left over to donate to the GOP, after it's finished lavishing its election-year tribute on Barack Obama. The best we can hope for, it appears, is some truly high-quality reality-show drama. The campaign is a circus like we've never seen before. We may get worse candidates, but at least we're getting a better show. your social media marketing partner


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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

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+56 # Rick Levy 2012-01-31 20:19
The rethulicans not only don't understand the reality of life for the 99%. They don't understand reality period. It's a chilling thought that the best candidates they can offer are the likes of these two bozos.
+13 # AndreM5 2012-02-01 10:07
"Repub Bozos" certainly is a more apt description than baboons.

Besides, of course, baboons--no matter how entertaining or conservative--a re not "apes." They are actually old world monkeys belonging to the genus Papio.

On the other hand, "bozo" is a species unto itself, spawned from an evil test tube with genetic donations from the likes of Bachmann, Norquist, Murdoch, Palin, Rove, Kristol, Perle, Atwater...

Ew. I have to stop now and go take a shower. Ew.
+31 # dloehr 2012-01-31 22:58
What are the odds that those few with REAL power in or over the Republican party are using these spectacles revealing the candidates as idiots, fools, sociopaths and just plain weird -- what are the odds that these clowns are preparing the way for a new candidate, who can mobilize the majority of Republicans to pick HIM as presidential candidate: Jeb Bush. So Jeb shows up as the -- perhaps even reluctant -- savior, to rescue the party from being consigned to the loony bins of history. Right now, it's making the most sense. Or am I missing something?
+4 # kelly 2012-02-01 08:03
But when is this supposed to happen? As the little braggart pointed out last night(by the way, can you believe that speech--some "concession"), 46 more states to go. I know Rove is somewhere in the background with his superpac ready to pounce in and place all of his organization to work, but you have to be on ballots, as Gingrich knows, and you have to grass roots together, etc. New people right now would not be feasible, even if the clowns they're putting up right now are just that, clowns.
+2 # dfvboulder 2012-02-01 08:36
Can't say that your missing something --except that maybe this wasn't meant to make sense.

We'll see...
+5 # Alice 2012-02-01 13:23
I think the republican old-timers have been gob-smacked by the way this election has played out. I also do not think Jeb Bush is enough of a red-meat-throwi ng wild man to fit the pitiful remains of the party. He also is not hard enough on immigration, and he has lobbied for a Medicare fraudster. There is also his last name to consider...
+9 # susienoodle 2012-02-01 00:10
It's as though reality shows have taken over. Herman Cain was obviously playing like he was a contestant. But it seems the other candidates haven't figured it out.
Don't remember what year Dumb and Dumber came out, but that is what our country has become. Has sunk to the lowest common denominator.
I am always amazed to find out there are exceptions, whew; lets hope they show up this time. We could have been spared so much had they showed up in 2010.
Of course, then the tea party would not have flamed out as quickly, so maybe it's just as well.
+3 # Alice 2012-02-01 13:26
I'm not so sure the tea party has flamed out. I think this primary run has shown the result of the tea party's influence on the rest of the party. The candidates are playing to crowds that sound like they are watching a wrestling match rather than a political debate.
+12 # Susan W 2012-02-01 01:07
It is so comically absurd I still think it's a plot to make sure O wins another term and continues to follow the Republican agenda and further enriches his corporate backers. There can be no other explanation for this batch of clowns.
-1 # tomo 2012-02-01 11:55
Agreeing with you, Susan, and with Matt's expectation of what the outcome will be in November, I confidently predict that the next President of the United States will be--drum roll--BARACK OBAMA. Only it's damn shame. If Obama wins, we get another four years of consolidation of corporate power over our justice system, our economic system, our environment, and our lives. I continue to wonder that there haven't been enough genuine liberals and progressives left in the Democratic Party to begin a challenge to renomination of Obama. While his weirdness makes it a shot-in-the-dar k, I think the best a conscientious voter can do is vote for Ron Paul--who, by all indications, sincerely [and sanely] believes it is time we broke our bad habit of invading other countries and randomly imprisoning or killing anyone who seems not to welcome our presence.
+16 # angelfish 2012-02-01 01:15
I REALLY like the "Odd Couple" analogy, Matt! Sheer genius! The pair of them are a real sorrow and a pity to the ReTHUGlican Political scene. Mitt, the Stepford Husband, won handily in Florida tonight and, in all probability will be their candidate in the Fall. It won't make much difference WHO they Nominate, the President will be re-elected in a landslide and the Show will be OVER at long last!
+2 # AndreM5 2012-02-01 10:10
Well, if they are that cute together expect to see them on the same ticket.
+2 # lilpat126 2012-02-01 01:50
Jeb Bush is too smart to try to run so soon after his brother. He would be an idiot if he did. I realize that Israel and the neo-cons are trying to push us into war with Iran, but Hopefully Jeb won't fall for it and try to run.
+8 # AndreM5 2012-02-01 10:10
"Hopefully?" Why "hopefully?" Who cares what Jeb-boy does?
+2 # Anarchist 23 2012-02-01 02:56
Wow-the new new new new new new new Newt vs Gott Mitt Uns Romney. Jocularity. Last time I was in Argentina when this all went down in 08, now I'm in Bangkok. Considering the Buddhist ethos and the devotion of Thais to their monarchy and vice versa-Thailand is another candidate for my new country! Bye bye Miss American Pie
+3 # hd70642 2012-02-01 04:17
You can not expect folks that have lead a sheltered life to know anything about life or to have aquired any concept of really or actual know how .Undoutely these are folks that would hire somebody to change a light bulb .
Your best writers be it Mark Tawain or Gene Roden bary actually lived life before before writting about it.These clowns do inspire me to make the effort of obtaining a passport
+8 # 666 2012-02-01 06:57
The REAL tragedy of this election cycle is that we no longer have Hunter S. Thompson to write about it...
+2 # AndreM5 2012-02-01 10:12
But he did show us how to "Fear and Loathe" the process.
+1 # Javelina13 2012-02-07 02:20
Quoting 666:
The REAL tragedy of this election cycle is that we no longer have Hunter S. Thompson to write about it...

WHAT? We've got Taibbi!
+6 # walt 2012-02-01 07:04
This all sums up in a single sentence: The GOP's only goal is to defeat President Obama.

We have watched the GOP in Congress for three years as they thought that obstruction would improve their chances, but that has back-fired.

One can only conclude that the big money powers and the racists are frightened!

So what next? Hopefully the demise of the GOP.
-61 # Robt Eagle 2012-02-01 07:40
Taibbi, where is your critical article on Obama and his clown show??? Obama has done more to destroy America in his three years in office than all the previous presidents prior to him. Taibbi, why don't you write an article about Obama's great things that he has done over his three years in office, and please do not give him credit for what the Navy SEALs have done and the CIA for finding the bad guys. Obama had to give the go ahead on the ops because they ran the bad guys to ground and if Obama let them go like Clinton did, bama would be impeached as well. Obama is a true do nothing president, except send us into financial ruin due to his policies. By the way, write critically about Eric Holder and his corrupt DOJ that has destroyed so much of truth and justice in America. Sad, but Taibbi can just throw stones at Republicans' open debates, he is not a real journalist doing investigative reporting. Run the bad guys to ground Taibbi and start with Eric Holder!!!
+15 # Bruce Gruber 2012-02-01 09:23
Obviously we need a balanced, cleared headed, independent journalist like Rush or Sean or Bill to plumb the depths of honesty and enlightenment to prove that the President who "has done more to destroy America in his three years in office" really "is a true do nothing president". You've certainly clearly captured the nature of how NOT to look beneath the "skin" you see in the game.
+19 # coach777b 2012-02-01 10:14
Herr Eagle:
I've been reading your posts for a while and you sound like you are mentally unhinged. Your hatred for Obama has blinded you to the point that you lash out publicly in these forums in such an idiotic way that all the reader can feel is pity. Perhaps, there is some spillover from your previous hatred of anything Clinton. Hatred is a sad thing to rely on as your primary motivator. In the arena of political discourse, I hatred loses!
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-02-01 13:04
I don't think he's looking for your pity. Judging from his response to you (with the insults straight out of Mad Magazine), I assume he's looking for your laughter.
+6 # Riley1 2012-02-01 07:40
This whole debate is farcical whoever wins the presidency the American people get screwed.The status quo will not change till the body politic takes hold of the power vested in the legislature and the executive branches of government.
That power must be in the hands of the people run by the people for the people not by a polarised Republican or Democratic Party corporate power base.
The True 99% as one entity saying enough is enough.
That revolutionary unity of the people has to happen before change takes place.
If not look forward to more of the same in the future as the corporate owned state pile on more and more intolerable pressure on the 99% till the American people get angry enough to make that change happen .
The point I am making is the American people have not been angered enough for the tipping point to arrive to take them to their true freedom from slavery to the corporate state just yet. This seems to me simple common sense.
If there is a better argument I would like to hear it. Rednecks , Conservertives , liberals , d anyone of any political persuasion . Is there any other realistic way of change without the old Mao tse Tung proclamation. “ power comes out of the barrel of a gun”
+7 # 2012-02-01 07:52
I am sick and discusted with the millions of dollars thrown away in negative ad campaigning. Romney had bigger bucks to do this, plus hire a debate coach, so now he wins the Florida caucus. This does not make the man, and speaks powerfully about what is wrong with our election system. None of the 3 main candidates have any wisdom about running the country; they are the Three Stooges.
+11 # peterjkraus 2012-02-01 09:28
We´re fucked.
+12 # pro 2012-02-01 10:05
Maybe the central problem is not the government, politicians, linguists, multi-national corps.

Maybe it's the American people. Undereducated, provincial, obese, greedy, self-centered, passive, arrogant in comparison to the world they know so little of.

People like and vote for those they believe like them back
even if those people are in sales.

Watched TV in past 25 years?

Is anyone honestly surprised by how low we can go?
+11 # Billy Bob 2012-02-01 11:07

Seriously, the only difference between gang-grinch and romney is that newt wants to end the social safety net, and romney says:

"I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it."

Yeah, he'll "fix it" alright.
+9 # ABen 2012-02-01 13:29
If the current GOP wasn't controlled by the Teabagger trolls, Jon Huntsman would be the front runner, but he is too thoughtful and rational for this crowd of petulant children.
+2 # tm7devils 2012-02-01 14:35
With what the GOP has on the table now, it might have a better chance in the general election if they add a 'write-in' candidate during the RNC.
One thing is for sure...the Dems can save a lot of money on electioneering. ..they can sit back and watch Faux News, Lim'bug' and their candidates dig their hole deeper and deeper.
"I do love it so!"
+4 # Amir Mashay 2012-02-01 15:34
I Dunno. It's not so funny, not so entertaining. I stayed away from most of the debates, and now that I'm watching, it's scary to think that ANY of them might be president. Huntsman people liked because they thought he was "reasonable" and he served in China, so he was viewed as being more worldly than the average Repugnant. And I'm so tired of Paul being called "honest," when he's not forthcoming about his white supremacy trash involvements; his "honesty" is just his natural style. Throw all a dem bums out!
+2 # cordleycoit 2012-02-01 20:42
They are pathetic pair of liars pretending to real humans. I wonder how they get mates who will stand in public next to people who live like they do.They are the floating rich attached to nothing. All of them save Paul will do as they are told. They have been paper trained and will do tricks.
+5 # CalGal 2012-02-01 21:47
Ken Doll vs. Scum Bag. Fingers crossed not just for Obama, but for common sense to win out over blind baah baah sheep mentality. One would send our sons to war in Venezuela and parachute tons of cell phones into Cuba so that folks could spy and report on their neighbors. The other is so out of touch with reality he doesn't see that the only reason he's paying 13 percent tax on tens of millions in income is due to the very "government entitlements" (otherwise known as tax laws) he wants to take away from seniors who have slaved their whole lives to earn. Crackpots both and I hope they fall hard. I also hope that Obama puts a cap on the amount of investment income that can be taxed at a low rate. One final rant: The most condescending gesture of this whole campaign was when Mitt threw $60 at the woman who said she couldn't pay her utility bill. I wish she'd spit on it and thrown it back in his face. Pity the media played stupid on that one.
+3 # moby doug 2012-02-02 03:15
Wrong-me, with a tsunami of $ from his banker buddies, has now overwhelmed the Grinch in Florida and it's all over but the shouting. The very embodiment of swindling Wall Street will be the Repig presidential candidate. All he has to do is figure out a way (by reprogramming electronic voting machines?) to persuade the other 99.99% he's on our side. The results from South Carolina, packed as it is with idiot in-bred Confederate fantasists, were never going to mean much.
+7 # teineitalia 2012-02-02 14:22
Matt, you continue to be one of my very favorite wordsmiths. I will be laughing all day over baboons,laughin g gas and a forklift. The oligarchy has thrown a rod, indeed.

And when I am done laughing, I will want to cry for my country. I keep wondering... is this the best the other party has to offer? Is this some kind of sick joke? I have lived on American soil for most of my life, in the states and in her territories, but I cannot remember a time when candidates running for the highest office in the land... and one of the most important jobs on the planet...have been this insane, or the voters this stupid. I guess de-funding and under-funding education has really paid off for the powers that be.

p.s. Robt Eagle, you really need to get a life. And a library card. Turn off Faux Noise and hate radio and pay attention to what's happening here. Matt Taibi doesn't give Obama a pass; he has called him out many times, including in this article. Taibbi is no fan of useless bailouts and endless wars. Pay attention! Stop with the hatred of all things Obama. Bush left him a steaming pile of shit on the steps of the White House ... try to remember that.
0 # Travlinlight 2012-02-04 10:25
American politics in the 21st century is an exercise in schizophrenia, but what else could it be in a TV-ad culture that lives only to consume and consume until it finally consumes itself. Nothing is real but the watery and earthly graveyards that will be this planet at the end of the line of Mac-Worldism.

Dr. Strangelove is the crippled, warped deathhead behind all our politicians' masks. The doomsday machine runs 24/7 365, and its flickering neon sign reads PROGRESS IS OUR MOST IMPORTANT PRODUCT. The doomsday machine runs on flesh and cash and dead dinos, and it is always hungry.

There has always been a black hole at the center of our faux republic, whose most precious documents of freedom have a subtext that reads DEAD ON ARRIVAL. Some few brave souls have tried to bring all the words to real life, but the dead weight and dread freight of the zombiepoppas who run the machine has almost always killed them off or shoved them offstage.

The black hole is the oblivion that swallows all delusions and daft dreams. The doomsday machine is racing toward it 24/7 365. See ya all the next time around.
0 # Javelina13 2012-02-07 01:52
TweedleNewt and TweedleMitt?

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