The Romneys and the ‘dignity of work’

The latest in the war on women from your GOP candidate for president, Mitt Romney:

“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.”

Now, contrast that with what happened when Hilary Rosen, the Democratic strategist last week said, “Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.”

Ann Romney,making her Twitter debut, responded, “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.” The blogosphere quickly picked up on the remarks, prompting senior Democratic officials, including Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, chief strategist David Axelrod, first lady Michelle Obama, and the president himself, to distance themselves from the comment and praise the work of motherhood.

Once again, the White House pisses me off for leaving its supporters out to dry. Yes, there is work in raising a family. We all know that. But a hell of a lot of Americans are immersed in the work of raising a family and at the same time working to bring a paycheck home every week so that family they’re raising can survive.

Hilary Rosen was right. Ann Romney never for a day had “to have the dignity of work” under the terms Mitt Romney wants the rest of us to follow. Because we are not worthy. Because our function in the world is to serve Mitt and Anne and all the little Mittsters driving their cars into the family’s garage elevator.

Don’t think for a second that Romney cares about us or our dignity. We are here to serve or be fired. Nothing more.

The Cain mutiny: Herman is out

This really isn’t a surprise (from the New York Times):

An unapologetic and defiant Herman Cain suspended his presidential campaign on Saturday, pledging that he “would not go away” even as he abandoned the Republican presidential race in the face of escalating accusations of sexual misconduct.

“As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul-searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” Mr. Cain said at a rally in Atlanta, surrounded by supporters chanting his name. “Because of the continued distractions, the continued hurt caused on me and my family, not because we are not fighters. Not because I’m not a fighter.”

The fact that he got as far as he did is amazing, considering his utter failure to grasp any major issue. But in the alternate universe that is GOP land, that was a qualification that showed he had an open mind. Not even the sexual harassment issue knocked him out. A 13-year affair proved to be unacceptable to his base, not to mention his wife.

So what does his future hold?

He gets a contract with Fox News to be the official representative of African Americans against Barack Obama. He sells more books. He gets high paying speaking gigs. He’ll syndicate a column. And in four years, he’ll be back in the political spotlight as a pliant media speculate on whether he’ll make another bid for the presidency.

But whatever he does, he should consider harvesting and bottling that pheromone he gives off that makes women come up with what he says are sexual fantasies about him. Put that in a commercial with a Barry White soundtrack in the back, and there’s his next million dollars.

(This was the greatest moment from “Ally McBeal.”)

Frank Luntz’s right wing talking points

You have to give the Republicans credit. When they realize they’re losing the battle of words, they change the words and issue a memo to their mouthpieces. Frank Luntz is their Orwellian thesaurus. Here’s the spinmaster’s rewriting of the Republican jargon to deal with issued raised by Occupy Wall Street, so you should be hearing it now on Fox News or whenever you hear a representative of the GOP speaking (from Yahoo News):

1. Don’t say “capitalism.”

“I’m trying to get that word removed and we’re replacing it with either ‘economic freedom’ or ‘free market,’ ” Luntz said. “The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we’re seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we’ve got a problem.”

2. Don’t say that the government “taxes the rich.” Instead, tell them that the government “takes from the rich.”

“If you talk about raising taxes on the rich,” the public responds favorably, Luntz cautioned. But “if you talk about government taking the money from hardworking Americans, the public says no. Taxing, the public will say yes.”

3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the “middle class.” Call them “hardworking taxpayers.”

“They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers. We can say we defend the ‘middle class’ and the public will say, I’m not sure about that. But defending ‘hardworking taxpayers’ and Republicans have the advantage.”

4. Don’t talk about “jobs.” Talk about “careers.”

“Everyone in this room talks about ‘jobs,'” Luntz said. “Watch this.”

He then asked everyone to raise their hand if they want a “job.” Few hands went up. Then he asked who wants a “career.” Almost every hand was raised.

“So why are we talking about jobs?”

5. Don’t say “government spending.” Call it “waste.”

“It’s not about ‘government spending.’ It’s about ‘waste.’ That’s what makes people angry.”

6. Don’t ever say you’re willing to “compromise.”

“If you talk about ‘compromise,’ they’ll say you’re selling out. Your side doesn’t want you to ‘compromise.’ What you use in that to replace it with is ‘cooperation.’ It means the same thing. But cooperation means you stick to your principles but still get the job done. Compromise says that you’re selling out those principles.”

7. The three most important words you can say to an Occupier: “I get it.”

“First off, here are three words for you all: ‘I get it.’ . . . ‘I get that you’re angry. I get that you’ve seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system.”

Then, he instructed, offer Republican solutions to the problem.

8. Out: “Entrepreneur.” In: “Job creator.”

Use the phrases “small business owners” and “job creators” instead of “entrepreneurs” and “innovators.”

9. Don’t ever ask anyone to “sacrifice.”

“There isn’t an American today in November of 2011 who doesn’t think they’ve already sacrificed. If you tell them you want them to ‘sacrifice,’ they’re going to be be pretty angry at you. You talk about how ‘we’re all in this together.’ We either succeed together or we fail together.”

10. Always blame Washington.

Tell them, “You shouldn’t be occupying Wall Street, you should be occupying Washington. You should occupy the White House because it’s the policies over the past few years that have created this problem.”


Don’t say “bonus!”

Luntz advised that if they give their employees an income boost during the holiday season, they should never refer to it as a “bonus.”

“If you give out a bonus at a time of financial hardship, you’re going to make people angry. It’s ‘pay for performance.'”

OK, so how can we use some of these tips in a GOP talking point.

Let’s say you hear Newt Gingrich say something like: “Job creators in our free market system want to offer young Americans careers. But if Washington take money from the rich and waste it, who’s to stop it from later taking money from hard working taxpayers.”

Now, I’ve used seven Luntz tips in this statement, so the translation is: “Entrepreneurs in the capitalist system want children to work. But if Washington taxes the rich to make sure there’s adequate government spending, who’s to stop it from taxing the middle class?”

The speaker will conveniently not mention that government spending is more likely to benefit the middle class than the rich, because the rich can already pay for everything they need and don’t care about programs that benefit the general public. But beyond that, the damage is done. The concept of child labor is obfuscated in Luntz jargon.

Medicaid money

Here’s a map of federal funding of Medicaid:

Now it seems that many of the states that rely the most on the federal funding of Medicaid are states where GOP congressmen and governors are the most vocal about gutting the program. Which begs the question: Why are the people in those states so willing to elect people whose goal is to make their lives shorter?

Palin punk’d Romney

If I were Mitt Romney and I had let everyone know that I was going to announce that I was running for president in a speech in New Hampshire, I would despise Sarah Palin for this.

This is the front page of the Manchester Union Leader, one of the state’s biggest newspapers. This newspaper has destroyed presidential hopes (ask Ed Muskie). A Republican would sell his first born for an endorsement from this newspaper. Romney coveted a big front page splash on his announcement.

And then the Thrilla from Wasilla brings her buscapade to the state and blows him away.
Don’t think for a minute that she didn’t know what she was doing.

Romney is the “front runner” and a half-term governor made him look like a chump in his own back yard on his big day.

I still don’t think Palin’s ever going to say she’s running for the presidency. I’ll bet she thinks the GOP field will be so scattered come convention time, she’ll just walk in and delegates will fall to their knees, begging her to take the nomination. It’s delusional, but it mavericky.

But in the meantime, people like Romney need to strike back hard when Palin pulls this kind of stunt. Because if they can’t outmaneuver her, Obama can just start enjoying the next four years of his presidency.