Encore, encore! Behold the physical similarity and stylistic difference between a father and a son.
Encore, encore! Behold the physical similarity and stylistic difference between a father and a son.
We must keep our own council. If Mitt Romney walked into my house right now I'd offer him a drink. And then apologize, because there is no drink left. I'd offer him a hug, and try to conceal my drunkenness. I'd make us a pot of coffee. But the Mormon fucker wouldn't even drink that! And I'd sit him down and try to figure out why he feels he wants to be president of the United States, despite the facts that he has no ideas whatsover, hates meeting new people and will have hundreds of grandkids to attend to in his retirement.
I would ask him earnestly. He would eventually tell me. And I would tell you!
Over to MSNBC, to learn from the most insufferable bastard of all time, Lawrence O'Donnell, that Romney's speech convinced the audience that they had a guy who could take the presidency. I flee to FOX. Where a cigar-shaped priest is talking like the King of Saudi Arabia.
Republican strategist Alex Castellanos: "I thought that speech was good enough." Democratic strategist James Carville: "He competently delivered a speech that was utterly predictable." Professional fence-sitter David Gergen says the speech has "lots of heart" but "needed more soul." I can't take this anymore.
Blitz just said balloons and confetti are coming down. Nothing gets past him!
Michael Beschloss is in bed, so I've got to go to CNN. (Where are the fucking balloons? There they are! Where's all the kids? There they are!)
This speech is getting Romney nowhere.
The ideal solution of all what I have mentioned will not take place except through solidarity, tolerance and moderation and also through standing side by side to face whoever tries to harm our religion and unity.
Thus, we could, by God willing, preserve the history, dignity and pride of our … nation …. If we observed justice, then we could conquer injustice, if we practiced moderation, then we conquer extremism and if we reject dispersion, then we could keep our unity, strength and determination, by God willing.
I suggest hereby the establishment of a center for dialogue … help us stick firmly to our religion and keep the unity and dignity of this nation. God's peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.
Oh, my bad, that wasn't Mitt Romney. That was King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. I keep getting these guys mixed up!
Energy independence: An empty promise since 1977.
12 million new jobs. And a nation leans forward in its chair.
Americans do not need to be told that it's okay to switch party allegiances. My late father's presidential voting record:
President Obama did not, has not, will not, could not "attack success." You'll be judged on your applause lines, Romney, and I do hope you come up with more honest ones than this.
Great stuff about the kids. He's a loving father. But hey, so am I!
Love that talk about family love. He knows it because he had it. But what can he do as president to increase it?
Still cheering that moon landing after 40 years. "When the world needs to do really big stuff, you need an American."
The wife, from the kitchen: "I can't watch it."
I feel a special kinship with the future. Don't you?
Janesville's population is 63,479, FYI.
Switching to something stronger. Run past the wife, now watching the other TV, in the kitchen: "It all just kinda makes me sick. I don't like watching it."
This boy can speak.
"They were never rich. But they were successful." Thank you, Marco.
Making religion the central tenet of American life is not a good idea.
Putting America in context of human history is a good idea.
Our problem with Barack Obama isn't that he's a bad person. Just that he's lazy and plays golf all the time. Sorry, Marco, it doesn't resonate with anybody—as humor, or truth.
Rubio comes on. I want to go to bed.
Regarding Clint Eastwood:
"But why are actors, in general, such blatant and obnoxious asses, such arrant posturers and wind-bags? … The answer is quite simple. To reach it one needs but consider the type of young man who normally gets stage-struck. Is he, taking averages, the intelligent, alert, ingenious, ambitious young fellow? Is he the young fellow with ideas in him, and a yearning for hard and difficult work? Is he the diligent reader, the hard student, the eager inquirer? No. He is, in the overwhelming main, the neighborhood fop and beau, the human clothes-horse, the nimble squire of dames. The youths of more active mind, emerging from adolescence, turn to business and the professions; the men that they admire and seek to follow are men of genuine distinction, men who have actually done difficult and valuable things, men who have fought good (if often dishonest) fights and are respected and envied by other men. The stage-struck youth is of a softer and more shallow sort. He seeks, not a chance to test his mettle by hard and useful work, but an easy chance to shine. … He is, in brief, a hollow and incompetent creature, a strutter and poseur, a popinjay, a pretty one … He is this silly youngster grown older, but otherwise unchanged." —H.L. Mencken.
OK, Blitz, you're right. A pretty good video.
OK, I'm sticking with CNN. Wolf Blitzer—or "Blitz," as Herman Cain hilariously called him—says there's an "amazing" video about Romney coming up. I don't care about the video ... I just want to know what sort of thing Blitz might find "amazing."
Here's George, making the infamous "brainwashing" remark that was said to torpedo his candidacy in 1968. That, and the fact that, as Ohio governor Jim Rhodes said, "Watching George Romney run for the presidency was like trying to watch a duck make love to a football."
Okay, the PBS guys are killing me. And Mitt's over on CNN talking about his dad: Mitt's best subject. Because his dad doted on him and he loved his dad. He won't say a false thing about his father ... and he ought to talk about his father a lot tonight.
Taylor Hicks was just bizarrely dancing on the stage, and my wife looked up and said, "Oh my God, is that Joe the plumber?"
One tragic consequence of this election is sociolinguistic: The re-equating, after years of good hippie instincts and marijuana-influenced dialogue toward the contrary, of the word "success" with that other clammy word, "wealth." One thing I like about liberals is that we don't refer to people as "successsful." We say, "He's made a lot of money in the stock market." Which we think is cool. We just don't think it makes him a wholesale "success." He could be an unhappy creep in every other way!
Sorry to say it, but I guess we have to start over: You're successful to the extent that you're happy, and you're rich to the extent that your days and nights are full of joy and excitement and love.
And no, by that definition, we do not resent people who are successful.
We call them our friends.
In my continuing effort to be a good boy, I'm tuning in to public television rather than any of those hideous cable channels. (For now.)
I know what everybody wants to know: What exactly is Murray drinking tonight? Well, in the spirit of bipartisanship and a hatred for social warfare, I'm drinking what you know damn well Mitt Romney would be drinking, if Mormons could drink: chardonnay. (For now.)
On my way out to the liquor store, I’ll tell you essentially where I stand on this election, so that I won’t have to spend the rest of the night concealing it.
I’m an Obama guy. I voted for him and have spent much of the last four years defending him, from friends on the right who think he is a socialist killer of babies at home and friends from the left who think he is a capitalist-oligarchical murderer of innocents abroad.
Me, I like him—and have a hard time figuring out what I’d have done differently in his place, given the political realities of the moment.
But Mitt Romney is hardly some foreign nightmare to me. He’s from where I was born and he grew up in the same context I did—the Detroit car culture in its glory days. My oldest sister actually double-dated with Mitt and my mom worked for Mitt’s dad George.
I felt such a connection with Mitt that I researched and wrote a feature story about Mitt’s growing up years, for the June issue of Automobile Magazine. In the course of that research I found a lot to like about George. And I was very much impressed by how much Mitt’s childhood friends admired him. Here’s a section from my piece:
With his powerful father, "He could have been an arrogant, stuck-up, snotty little brat," says [teenage friend Greg] Dearth. "But he was a great guy—an all-American kid with a great sense of humor, very self-effacing." And although it's been documented that Romney played a teenage prank or two—including once impersonating a police officer in order to scare some female friends—Dearth remembers Mitt as the most straitlaced kid in the neighborhood.
"Those of us who tested the boundaries in high school still marvel at the self-discipline he displayed," Dearth continues. "With a father who was then governor, Mitt knew where the line was and never crossed it. I think it was a sign of his deep respect for his dad and the way he was brought up. I often tell people he has more personal integrity than anyone I know. And I was raised a Unitarian."
Others went out of their way to praise young Romney's moral spine. What of his more recent reputation as a political changeling? "Well, you've got to separate his principles from this incredible drive," says [boyhood friend Phillip] Maxwell matter-of-factly. "He's determined to claim the highest office in the land—to be the first Mormon to do it. He keeps that undercover because he doesn't want to frighten people."
I don’t like Romney’s financial backers and I don’t like political base. I also think he’s actually miscast in the role of political campaigner, and I think the country deserves articulate campaigners as well as good politicians. And no, I don't think being the first Mormon president is the right motive for the job. But I’m eager to hear the man out tonight—to see what he can do to introduce the guy his friends and family sincerely love so well: himself.
See you at 9:00 EST.
Tonight The Indecisive Candidate will attemt to win over The Undecided Voter.
You know the Undecided Voter, right?
He's the fellow who likes the Red Sox and the Yankees.
This dame likes her steak rare and well done.
His shoe size is 10 but 11s feel so good he wears 13s.
She doesn't know whether to wind her wristwatch, or shit out of the hole in the ground.
He has padded toilet seats and wears shoes with velcro fasteners.
She would believe the last thing she heard, if she could remember it.
An empty cab drove up and these two got out.
And they're the ones from whose cold, dead hands Mitt Romney—who has troubles of his own when it comes to commitment—has to pry the proverbial fence tonight.
This should be good.
Join me back here tonight as I live blog the Republican National Convention. I'm going to be out of town and out of pocket for next week's Democratic show, so let's get our rocks off here—TONIGHT!
I'll come online about 9:00 EST. I hope to see you here.
On Saturday Roger D. Fisher died. The author of Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, used his focus on mutual interest to help resolve conflicts between Egypt and Israel, to end apartheid in South Africa and to end the hostage crisis in Iran.
He wasn't invited to to most of these conflicts, according to The New York Times. He just went.
"Our sense growing up," says his son Elliott, "was that he would read the newspaper and think, 'Oh, shoot, there is something to fix.'"
And Fisher's Harvard colleague John Kenneth Galbraith once toasted him by saying, "Whenever I thought, 'Someone should do something about this,' it eased my conscience to learn that Roger was already working on it."
Who will take his place?
You show me a hero and I show you a bum. —Pappy Boyington, WW II fighter ace
But as someone who made a hero of Tiger Woods, another athlete who many others found aloof but who I once saw as a role model for living an intelligent, organized, focused, confident life—I'm not feeling like telling Armstrong fans, "I told you so."
Though my fascination with Woods the Person has waned, I still root for him to win tournaments, for the same reasons I always did: so I can bore the bejeepers out of my grandkids, the way people who saw Babe Ruth in his prime must have bored theirs.
But I've mostly stopped having dreams about meeting Woods and having heart-to-heart talks with him in which I offer him insights about his life that rock his world. (What? You have no dreams like that about anybody? I played a quiet round of golf with Barack Obama not too long ago, just me and him. We didn't talk politics, just golf. I won, and he was gracious about it. And the whole thing was better for you not having been there.)
With Armstrong, the letdown must be more severe, because his integrity is not the only thing in question; his actual achievements have been officially stripped away.
But such distinctions are only pedantic quibbles next to the power of our feelings for our heroes—feelings that overwhelm facts.
Our very mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and lovers all let us down at one point or another. And we still adore them. Why would it be different with our heroes?
So Lance Armstrong fans, as a Tiger Woods fan (and for that matter as a Kurt Vonnegut fan who found the recent biography true-sounding and crushing), I'll be the last to harangue you about your guy. And I reckon that you'll be less likely to harangue me about mine.
That Pappy Boyington quote above: I read that in his autobiography when I was in fifth grade. I understood what it meant.
And I rejected it.
Dopey as it will sound to some, I still do.
"I read your blog," people tell me apologetically. "But I don't usually comment."
Is this what it's come to? People feeling guilty for not expressing their opinion on ... everything?
When I was a little kid, I remember my dad expressing disdain for the sports announcer Howard Cosell.
What didn't Dad like about Cosell?
"He's opinionated," Dad said, with a depth of feeling that caused me to turn that term around in my head for years—what was the line between having a point of view and being opinionated?—before the term all but disappeared from the American lexicon.
Now, you get to the end of a news article and there's a thumbnail picture of your face with a blinking cursor and a little box in which you're to answer the question, What do you think?
If The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers today, you'd get to the end and it would say, "What do you think?"
I don't think something about everything!
I think if I'd have asked Dad why he objected so deeply to opinionated people, he'd have said that they're suffocating. They steer every conversation their way, they frame every debate, they don't let other people's personalities breathe and they shatter every sweet silence with yet another one of their "views."
And I think he admired people who expressed opinions only about issues they'd thought a lot about, read a lot about, maybe even done something about. Which meant that they didn't express opinions all that frequently.
So instead of apologizing for not commenting my blog, maybe you should demand an apology from me, for writing so goddamn often.
"The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold," he said.