11/09/2011 12:29 pm ET | Updated Jan 09, 2012

You Can't Make This Stuff up

One of the challenges of political commentary is addressing an issue in an even-handed manner while making your point convincingly. Still, though, there will be those who always fight anyone whose words they're predetermined to disagree with. Thank goodness therefore we have the Republican candidates who are willing to speak for themselves, and in their most recent pearls of wisdom, make our point for us.

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"Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks, if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!"
-- Hermain Cain interview with the Wall Street Journal

Historians have uncovered that this is nearly identical to the words attributed to Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution: "Let them eat cake. And if you don't have cake and aren't aristocrats, blame yourself! Don't blame the landowners who won't hire you, don't blame the laws that the nobility write for themselves. Blame yourself!" Alas, it didn't work out well for Ms. Antoinette.


"Corporations are people, my friend.
-- Mitt Romney, to Iowa State Fair crowd on August 11

Mr. Romney was misquoted. The correct phrase should have been "Soylent Green is people." No doubt the former governor was referencing the sci-fi movie, Soylent Green, where in the future food product is made of humans. His mistake is understandable.


"And now Obama is allowing terror suspect groups to write the FBI's terror training manual,"
--Michele Bachmann claiming that all Islamic terms have been "scrubbed" from the national counterterrorism strategy.

An FBI official responded that Islam has not been removed from training material. It turns out that Rep. Bachmann (R-MN) got her wildly-erroneous information again from the same woman in the audience who'd told her that government injections were causing mental retardation.


"Consistency I think is very important. You may not agree with me on everything, but you don't have to wake up in the morning and wonder is Rick Perry going to be the same guy in two years that he was two years ago."
-- Rick Perry criticizing Mitt Romney for changing his positions

Mr. Perry was elected to the Texas State Legislature as a Democrat in 1984. He switched to the Republican Party in 1989. In fairness, though, Texas voters didn't wait two years to find out if Rick Perry was a different guy than when they'd gone to sleep. It took five years.


"I don't have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration."
-- Herman Cain interview with the Wall Street Journal

Mr. Cain (R-Godfather Pizza) has been widely praised for being the first GOP candidate to admit that he doesn't have facts to back up what he says.


"I'll die on that hill."
-- Rick Santorum pledging to fight for a federal ban on same-sex marriage.

In May, a Gallup Poll showed that for the first time "a majority of Americans believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law." When last seen, Rick Santorum was sneaking off that hill and moving to another, safer one to proselytize on.


"Their parents are the ones who brought them here ... they did not have the legal right to come to the United States. We do not owe people who broke our laws to come into the country. We don't owe them anything."
-- Michele Bachmann in Iowa, saying she "would not do anything" for the children of illegal immigrants.

So much for that whole, "Compassionate conservative" thing. It worked so well for Republicans in 2000. Apparently it's no longer convenient.


"The Occupy Wall Street protestors are Un-American."
-- Herman Cain speaking to the Associated Press at a book signing

No word about how Mr. Cain feels about Tea Party protestors, Or about that whole "right of the people peaceably to assemble" First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.


"Juarez is reported to be the most dangerous city in America."
-- Rick Perry, governor of Texas, discussing border enforcement problems in Texas

Scary as this is, it's even worse for Mexico, where Juarez actually is. Not Texas. No word yet on who reported the story. It is believed to be that same woman in Michele Bachmann's audience. Hey, at least Herman Cain acknowledged that he didn't have the facts to back up what he said.


"Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up."
-- Mitt Romney in an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal

At least he didn't say, "Bah, humbug!" and "If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population." None-the-less, this Christmas Eve Mitt Romney is still going to be visited by three ghosts.


"One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. [Sex] is supposed to be within marriage"
-- Rich Santorum, on pledging to repeal federal funding of contraception.

Sometimes, the reason no president has talked about something is that it shouldn't be talked about. Telling people that they shouldn't have sex if they're not married is one of those things. It's probably something that even a clergyman shouldn't tell people, at least not if they want a congregation. Or live in a time past the 18th century.


"I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period."
-- Herman Cain, on a charge of sexual harassment against him.

No word yet on whether he has the facts to back this up. No word yet, either on Herman Cain's personal definition of "inappropriate." To be fair, none of us in truth have any idea what actually happened. Though there are now four charges (as of this writing, although that doesn't count conservative talk show host Steve Deace's story and GOP pollster Chris Wilson's story, which makes six), charges are not proof. There's only one thing we know for certain that actually happened: the Restaurant Association settled two charges of harassment against Herman Cain and placed a non-disclosure agreement on them. Period.

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