Daily Archives: April 24, 2012

One thing seems sure — you won’t get “change” of any kind with Mitt Romney

This morning on the radio, I heard a discussion of what a challenge Obama has in his re-election effort getting young people to back him they way they did in 2008.

Those young people, the argument went, wanted “hope” and “change,” and didn’t get enough of it.

I can see how that might have the effect of dampening enthusiasm, perhaps even of suppressing turnout.

What I don’t see it doing is translating to support for Romney. Unless these young folks really delude themselves, or unless the change they want is of a rightward bent — in which case, they’re still deluding themselves.

And most of us know this. It’s why the GOP base went running to everyone else they could think of before settling on Romney — they knew he wasn’t a True Believer on the kind of change THEY wanted.

And I knew it, which was why I saw him as the most palatable candidate in the field — the real conservative. Romney is a manager. He wants to manage the nation to prosperity. And maybe he can do that. But he’s not a revolutionary, or a counter-revolutionary. He’s a manager.

Now you might throw at me various statements that he’s made or positions he’s taken that contradict that, to which I’ll say, Right. And he’s also the father of Obamacare, but you don’t see him acting like it, do you? As you may have noted, his positioning is somewhat… flexible… based on what he thinks is needed to get the job done at a given time.

I backed Romney — reluctantly — because I didn’t like the kind of “change” that the GOP field was offering this time around. Repealing Obamacare. Endangering the full faith and credit of the United States by absolutely insisting that budget cuts not be accompanied by any kind of tax increases. I didn’t want any of that stuff.

When McCain and Obama ran four years ago, there were changes I looked forward to with each. I believed McCain would manage the War on Terror much better than Bush had. I knew he had the courage to take on things like comprehensive immigration reform. With Obama, while being reasonably certain that he would NOT institute the kinds of national security changes his base hoped for (and I was right — in fact, he has pursued the war with a stronger hand than Bush, and gotten away with it) and he just might give us meaningful health care reform. I even sorta had hopes for a rational energy policy.

But Romney’s virtue, to me, is that he does not represent the kind of change that his party has stood for since 2010 (or perhaps I should say, since the day after Election Day 2008, which seems to be the moment that party went off the rails). That’s a good thing.

I still don’t understand how ANYONE was fooled by John Edwards, at any point in time

Here is an explanation by one accomplished professional (Walter Shapiro) who was completely taken in. Excerpts:

About three weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, my wife, Meryl Gordon, and I had an off-the-record dinner with John and Elizabeth Edwards at the Washington restaurant Olives. The dinner was at the blurry intersection of Washington life—ostensibly social (Meryl had bonded with Elizabeth after writing an Elle magazine profile of her husband in 2001) but at its core professional (I was a columnist for USA Today and Edwards had White House dreams). Everyone was in a shell-shocked daze after the terrorist attacks, but my only clear memory of that dinner was Edwards’ palpable dislike for John Kerry, an obvious rival for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

That was the beginning of a political-journalistic courtship that now makes me cringe. With Edwards on trial in North Carolina on charges of violating federal campaign-finance laws—after the disgrace of being caught with a mistress and denying being the father of her baby—I wish I had befriended a comparatively more honorable political figure like Eliot Spitzer or Mark Sanford…

In hindsight, I feel like the jaded city slicker, bristling with self-confidence that he can never be fooled, who ends up hoodwinked by the smiling rural Southern confidence man. Please understand: I did not deliberately put a thumb on the scale when I wrote about Edwards. It was more that I was convinced by Edwards’ sincerity when he talked passionately about poverty and the Two Americas. And I especially believed (because I spent so much time with Elizabeth) the romantic myth of the Edwards marriage.

Many Edwards insiders from the 2004 campaign say the vice-presidential nomination (bestowed by, yes, John Kerry) changed him. The entourage, the plane, the Secret Service detail and the frenzy of a fall campaign all supposedly fueled Edwards’ self-importance and sense of entitlement. But as I struggle to understand my own entanglement with a scandal-scarred presidential contender, I wonder if this arbitrary division between pre-veep Edwards and post-veep Edwards is too glib.

The danger signs and character flaws were always there, and I failed to notice them. I was certainly not alone in my blindness. David Axelrod, for example, was Edwards’ first media consultant during the 2004 primary campaign. Even after Axelrod drifted away to concentrate on a long-shot Senate race for a candidate named Barack Obama in Illinois, he returned for Edwards’ last stand in the Wisconsin primary. I recall running into Axelrod in the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee on primary day and hearing him say of Edwards, “He’ll be president someday.”…

Yes, the “danger signs and character flaws WERE always there,” and they stuck out a mile. While I hadn’t reached the point of completely dismissing him in print as a phony, you can see my uneasiness with him in this column from 2003:

… There are few things more unbecoming than a millionaire trial lawyer presenting himself to a crowd as the ultimate populist. Huey Long could pull it off; he had the common touch. So did George Wallace. But John Edwards is one of those “sleek-headed” men that Shakespeare wrote of in “Julius Caesar.” He may be lean, but he hath not the hungry look. Mr. Edwards is decidedly lacking in rough edges. Not even age can stick to him.
His entrance was predictably corny. Other speakers had unobtrusively climbed the back steps onto the platform. Mr. Edwards snuck around to the back of the crowd, then leaped out of his hiding place with a huge grin and his hand out, looking for all the world like he was surprised to find himself among all these supporters. He hand-shook his way through the audience to the podium, a la Bill Clinton , thereby signifying that he comes “from the people.” Watch for that shot in upcoming TV commercials.
His speech was laced with populist non-sequiturs. For instance, he went way over the top exhibiting his incredulity at Bush’s “jobless recovery,” chuckling with his audience at such an oxymoron – as though the current administration had invented the term. (A computer scan found the phrase 641 times in major news sources during calendar year 1993 ; so much for novelty.)…

(The point of the column was to say that some protesters who were there to picket Edwards were even worse than he was. But first I had to establish what I’d thought of him. This incident formed part of my better-known “phony” column in 2007, in which I particularly concentrated on a detail I had not used in this piece — because it involved such a subjective impression that I didn’t have the confidence to attach importance to it until I’d had more experience with him.)

I’m not smug for having been put off, from the first time I saw him in person, by what seems to have taken in others. I’m just surprised that they didn’t see it, too.

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity, Amen (the cover)

This post is a ripoff of a post by Burl Burlingame over at his Honolulu Agonizer blog, headlined “Great Songs Are Inevitably Covered.”

I owe him a debt of gratitude because, while I had heard of the “Greatest NASCAR prayer ever,” I had never bothered to listen to it. It’s… remarkable. That is to say, it’s remarkable to me as a Catholic. Maybe you protestants pray like this all the time. But I doubt it. I went to my cousin Jason’s church for Easter Vigil this year, and there was nothing like this.

The original prayer was actually like this. The version above has been “songified” by The Gregory Brothers. I don’t know who they are, but they definitely rendered the pastor’s effort more awesome.

Here is some bare-bones explanation of the prayer, posted on HuffPost last July:

Prior to Saturday night’s Nascar Nationwide Series race in Nashville, Tenn., Pastor Joe Nelms was tasked with delivering the invocation. What happened next plays like a scene straight out of Will Ferrell’s “Talladega Nights.”

And here is a followup at The Christian Post:

A Tennessee pastor claims he was emulating the apostle Paul when he was called on to deliver the opening prayer at a NASCAR event in which he thanked God for his “smokin’ hot wife,” among other things. Some fans have called it the “best prayer ever” while critics are calling it disrespectful and possibly blasphemous.

Joe Nelms, pastor of Family Baptist Church in Lebanon, Tenn., insists that he was just trying to be like the first-century apostle, but some wonder how far Paul would go in his effort to become “all things to all men.”…

Although the prayer might have offended some people, Nelms said the prayer was not really for Christian audiences. He was more trying to reach out to the unsaved or those turned off by church.

“Our whole goal was to open doors that would not otherwise be open. There are a lot of folks who think churches are all [full of] serious people who never enjoy life and [who have] just a list of rules.”

His invocation was all about showing the world what Christian joy looks like, he said, sharing a bit of his testimony. “We who have been saved by Christ, we know that living has just begun. When I accepted Christ, that’s when I really learned what joy was.”

Despite criticism, Nelms’ evangelism effort has apparently paid off; several people have contacted him expressing a desire to give church a try.

The cover is by some kid named Roomie, who posts a lot of music videos on YouTube.

And that’s all I know.