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Friday Talking Points -- Smile, Mitt, You're on Candid Camera!

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Wouldn't it be amusingly ironic if Mitt Romney only managed to get 47 percent of the national popular vote for president? It would renew my faith that the universe has a sense of humor, that's for sure.

Mitt Romney seems to be in the midst of what could be called an "extended macaca moment," desperately trying to divert people's attention from the video released earlier in the week. To show the level of this desperation, Mitt just did something he really hates to do -- he released another year of tax returns for the public and press to put their grubby little hands all over. When Mitt is releasing tax returns to change the subject, you just know he's in a bad place politically.

It may still be way too early to confidently predict the outcome of this year's election, but it isn't too early to call Mitt Romney's campaign (so far) an unmitigated disaster. Or maybe a "Mitt-igated" disaster, I'll have to check the dictionary. Any doubts as to the truth of this were dispelled today with the news that Mitt's campaign gave out bonuses to all the top staff, just after the Republican National Convention -- to the tune of $192,440. See, Republican politics should be run just like Wall Street -- it doesn't matter how badly you screw things up, you still get a fat bonus to take home when the dust settles. Yay!

Things weren't supposed to go this way, of course. A Democratic president with high unemployment led to a disgruntled public which seemed ready and willing to hand over the Oval Office keys to Any Generic Republican Candidate, a few months back. But then they got a look at Mister Generic himself, Mitt Romney, and have apparently decided that this Barack Obama fellow might deserve a second shot after all.

Republicans are still clinging to their hopes that Mitt Romney is the second coming of Ronald Reagan (no, really -- this is what they've come to), and that the proper electoral model for what is about to happen is 1980. Instead, the election is looking more and more like 2004, with the parties reversed. The rich white guy from Massachusetts who lacks charisma and can't seem to relate to average voters gets beat by a not-as-popular-as-he-once-was incumbent.

But, as we said, it's probably too early to draw such conclusions, as there certainly will be plenty of time for that after the votes are counted.

Let's see, what else is going on this week? The surge in Afghanistan is now officially over, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal had an anniversary but nobody even noticed, and Occupy tried to hold their own first birthday party. Oh, and the United States Constitution is now officially 225 years old, so join me in saying "Happy birthday, foundational American governmental document!"

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

The most impressive thing this week was the news that more U.S. soldiers have come home from the "graveyard of empires," Afghanistan. The anti-war folks will point out that the surge never should have happened in the first place, and at this point it's hard to argue otherwise, but it's always a good thing to see more soldiers coming home rather than heading out to foreign battlegrounds.

Maxine Waters beat a rap with the House ethics watchdogs, which cleared her name of the insinuation of wrongdoing for personal gain. But just proving your detractors wrong isn't really "impressive," rather more of a vindication. Elizabeth Warren performed well at her debate with Scott Brown, but certainly still has room for improvement in debating on television, so we're going to pass over her as well (Warren has been posting some impressive poll numbers, we should at least mention, though).

Joe Biden deserves at least an Honorable Mention, for posting the highest television ratings of any speaker during the Democratic National Convention. Way to go, Joe!

But our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week is none other than James Earl Carter IV, grandson of ex-president Jimmy. Carter was the one who found the Romney video online, and who ferreted out the person who posted it anonymously -- and then promptly put it in the hands of Mother Jones, and the rest is history. Carter doesn't approve of Romney's characterization of his grandfather's time in office, apparently.

For performing this public service, James Earl Carter IV is our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week. His action certainly set the tone of the campaign, all week long. We even have an amusing photo of the two Carters to share, which had been filed under "Ten Epic Yawns." All I can say is, nobody in the Romney camp is yawning now.

[James Earl Carter IV is a private citizen, and it is our policy not to provide contact information for people not officially in politics.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

We really don't have a Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week. The folks at the Justice Department who were disciplined over Fast and Furious seem far enough down the chain of command not to be political appointees, and we just didn't notice any others who made the scandal sheets this week. Maybe it's because I'm just getting over a cold, so I could have been so befogged with cough syrup earlier that I missed somebody, who knows? Feel free to make suggestions in the comments, as always.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is being hypocritical in his stance against his state's upcoming ballot measure which would legalize marijuana for all adults, but he barely even rises to the level of a (Dis-)Honorable Mention, in our opinion.

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 227 (9/21/12)

This past week was one of those when instructing Democrats how to frame talking points becomes almost redundant -- both because they just write themselves, and also because Democrats are actually doing a fairly great job of jumping all over Mitt Romney and his disdain for 47 percent of America.

In other words, it's now officially "Shooting Fish In A Barrel Week." Or, at least, 47 percent of them.

I've even got a bonus talking point, because it was so easy to come up with more than seven this week. Remember, back in the Election 2012 Dark Ages... say, a month ago... when Mitt Romney and the Republicans were all whining that President Obama was "being divisive"? It was a big talking point on the right, for some reason. Obama was "dividing" the country up and "setting groups against each other." Remember those halcyon days?

Well, Republicans apparently haven't. So, please, do your best to remind them of the reeking stench of their hypocrisy this week. Unless, of course, they denounce Mitt Romney's "47 percent" remarks, but I wouldn't exactly recommend holding your breath and waiting for that to happen.

 

1
   Say that to their faces, Mitt.

The most odious point should really be the first one you bother to use. All else follows, really.

"So Mitt Romney thinks that wounded war veterans are, to use his term, 'victims.' I cannot tell you how disgusted that mischaracterization makes me feel -- words fail me. These brave men and women who have put their lives on the line for this country -- and are now being supported by a grateful America, as they should be -- have to listen to a man who never wore his country's uniform disparage them and what they have been through. Well, wounded or not, Mr. Romney, I'd like to see you say that to their faces. I think I know what their response would be."

 

2
   Don't forget the seniors

Seniors vote, remember. Especially in places like sunny Florida.

"For all the seniors out there would have worked hard all their lives and contributed to programs like Social Security and Medicare, I would like to say to Mitt Romney how dare you call my parents 'not responsible' and 'victims'! How dare you use such language to speak of someone who lived through the Great Depression, especially considering that you have never wondered where your next meal was coming from for your entire life. The nerve of simply writing off 'The Greatest Generation' in such a fashion is downright offensive -- not just to me, but to all the parents and grandparents out there whose vote Mitt Romney is seeking."

 

3
   Donor regret setting in yet?

This one is too easy a knife to twist.

"Mitt Romney just handed out almost two hundred thousand dollars in bonuses to his campaign team. Boy, if I were a Romney donor, I'd be hopping mad to hear that. The gang who can't shoot straight is being lavished with extra money from Mitt Romney's campaign? And he's supposed to be the one who understands business? Maybe Wall Street banking, where everyone gets a bonus no matter how badly they blow it, but as I said, if I had donated that money, I'd be picking up the phone to the Romney campaign right about now. If not putting a stop payment on the check."

 

4
   Romney wants to expand the 47 percent!

I went into detail on why it is laughably ironic to hear Republicans complain about a result their own policies have largely created earlier this week. But since Mitt released a tax return today, let's hit him on that argument instead.

"Since, by Mitt Romney's figuring, no other taxes than income taxes seem to 'count,' let's look at Mitt Romney's tax burden. Since 'capital gains taxes' are different than 'income taxes' they don't really count towards Mitt's total, which leaves Mitt paying less than one percent in income taxes. Paul Ryan wants to get this down to zero for Mitt and everyone like him -- that's part of his budget. So what Ryan and Romney would do would be to move a whole bunch of millionaires and billionaires into that 47 percent they talk about. They don't hate the 47 percent -- they want to be part of it!"

 

5
   I guess farmers don't count, either

This one should be aimed at every single Republican in the House of Representatives, back home on the campaign trail.

"The Republican House left town without doing its job -- and because of their incompetence, America's farmers have no idea what the federal government will be doing to help them during a year that saw a devastating drought across over half the country. Senate Democrats and Republicans passed a bipartisan farm bill, but the House couldn't get the job done. I guess Republicans have decided it's not their job to worry about the farmers of America, even if they aren't part of the other 47 percent Mitt Romney's ignoring. Hope all those farmers are paying attention to which party is working for them, and which party refuses to do its job."

 

6
   What battlegrounds?

Mitt Romney doesn't seem to be having much luck in the polls these days. Which is, of course, worth pointing out.

"All the pundits talk about the 'battleground states' but according to all the polls I've seen, Barack Obama seems to be leading in just about every single one of them. I just saw Mitt Romney can't even count on North Carolina anymore, which I think was just about the only battleground state he had been polling consistently well in. I realize the media loves to keep all these states labeled 'battlegrounds' to prolong the suspense of the race, but it seems to me in quite a few of these the battle's really already been won."

 

7
   That one looks like a campaign going down in flames, doesn't it?

I saved the best one for last. This is up there with the "trees are the right height" quote from Michigan. When a reporter asked Mitt Romney recently whether he would be campaigning more extensively in the near future, the New York Times reports Mitt's response:

"Ha, ha. We're in the stretch, aren't we?" Mr. Romney said before promptly changing the subject and pointing to the sky. "Look at those clouds. It's beautiful. Look at those things."

 

Chris Weigant blogs at:
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