Our weekend laughs come from the comedy stylings of Mitt Romney, or at least a few of the writers who find him a rich source of mordant humor.
Jonathan Chiat in New York Magazine ran this photo with the caption: Together we will go to a magical realm where two plus two equals eleven.
In looking for cover for his tax plan which cuts more for the preposterously wealthy, to be paid for by lesser mortals, Romney tried to cite a new study. It required contortions even a climate crisis denier would admire. Chiat:
Republicans have been frantically denying the math, which Obama has turned into the potent (and accurate) accusation that Romney’s plan would cut taxes on the rich in order to raise them on the middle class. Republican economist Martin Feldstein tried to defend Romney by doing his own study showing that Romney’s math could work, but in an epic blunder, inadvertently confirmed the charges. Despite cutting all kinds of methodological corners, Feldstein’s study found that the threshold above which Romney would have to raise taxes was not the $250,000 he promised but $100,000 a year. That means Romney would have to raise taxes on a huge chunk of income below $250,000 a year, just as the TPC study found. Feldstein dealt with this problem by writing his column about his study as if it disproved rather than confirmed the TPC, and other conservatives have gone on pretending the same thing.
But what Romney says about his plan is "mathematically impossible." Even the Minister of Magic couldn't make it work. But smoke and mirrors have worked to bedazzle the public before.
"The basic problem for Republicans is that their highest policy priority is to cut the effective tax rate paid by the richest 1 percent of Americans, but the vast majority of the voters don’t share that goal. Handling that problem is the single biggest challenge the Republican party faces. Normally, when a party has an extremely unpopular position, it just jettisons it. But Republicans care so much about this goal that they won’t give it up, which makes sense — you compromise on your secondary goals, not on your primary goal. Still, this ultimately places them in the position Romney finds himself and Paul Ryan and George W. Bush have found as well — the only way they can get elected is to obscure the real trade-offs and make up a bunch of fake numbers."
Getting at the depths of Romney's fail on the tragic events in Libya and Egypt caused New Yorker writer Amy Davidson to venture into the surreal as well.
"The incident is also a problem for Romney for some of the same reasons that the stories about Bain Capital are—and, indeed, it reprises some of the same themes. Trouble at the Embassy? Go after those you’ve decided are the employees who aren’t performing; put aside questions of loyalty, or about the difficult times they may be going through. Act as though all that’s needed for a transformation is a little managerial sleight of hand. Don’t be distracted by suffering, not even by the knowledge that some of the people doing the same jobs as the ones you’re attacking, in another branch office, are dead—that the next of kin for a couple of the victims haven’t even be informed. He wasn’t reckless and premature in his judgments, just efficient: “It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values”—suggesting either that Mitt doesn’t care that he got the chronology wrong, or that he has more control over the space-time continuum than anyone suspected. (Come to think of it, time travel might explain some of his investment returns.) "
Once again a writer points out that Romney has " fictionalized the Embassy statement and demonized its authors."
A number of GOPer politicians got away with this in the recent past. But maybe not this one. In at least one poll, 49% said that President Obama believes what he says is true. 48% said the opposite of Romney.
Update: Meanwhile, Nicholas Kristof gets a little caustic in his Sunday column:
"DIPLOMACY is a minefield, and Mitt Romney spent the last week blowing up his foreign policy credentials to be president. He raised doubts about his capacity to deal with global crises, and we were left hoping that if that 3 a.m. call ever went to him, he’d have set up call forwarding."
To conclude with a poll question that may wind up inspiring something on the real Saturday Night Live: when asked who would win a fistfight between Obama and Romney, a clear majority picked Obama.
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