Like any truly great politician, the real Mitt Romney doesn’t exist


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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86 Responses

  1. Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

    I think it’s too late.   They should have started shaking him months ago.

    He’s made too many promises to the Republican base, and shown himself too transparently as having no core convictions.    And, I think, people tend to forget, right now, how attractive and comfortable in his own skin Obama is when he’s on the campaign trail.

    I don’t think the contrast will work to Romney’s favor.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      If he shook himself in February, Romney would be out of the race or getting 15-20% of the vote in every primary. To get past the 20% ceiling of Establishment Republicans, he had to move right.Report

    • Avatar Will H. says:

      I don’t think it’s going to hurt much, if at all.
      The contest is between two people.
      Same old choice of lesser evils.Report

    • Avatar Erik Kain says:

      I think it will be very hard for several reasons for Romney to compete with Obama, and this won’t help. He can’t really rally the base – he can bring many of them to the polls, but he can’t rally them. And he will have enemies among so-cons.Report

      • Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

        I suspect that all the Obama team will need to do is to Daily Show his ass–just show short clips of 2012 Romney and 2006 Romney side-by-side presenting completely different versions of himself and his policies.    That he  is so inauthentic and uncomfortable a public speaker will only reinforce the message.

        For all of Obama’s low approval ratings, his likability index is higher than that of any other politician on the national stage, and this is despite the phalanx of people convinced that he’s an enemy of America.    Romney is an incredibly weak candidate, as evidenced by how poorly he’s doing against phenomenally weak candidates.   Put him up against a strong candidate like Obama, and he’ll disintegrate.Report

        • Avatar Will H. says:

          That could easily backfire.
          If they show that Romney is too two-faced, the Democrats might think he’s one of them and vote for him.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC says:

          Forget 2006 vs. 2012. All Obama needs to do is wait until his first debate against Romney in 2012, then take those answers and compare them to early 2012 Romney. (And then, for fun, compare them to 2006.)

          Not having a position worked in the 1980s and before because who could keep track of all that. And it worked in the 1990s and early 2000s because the news networks were idiots who printed whatever people said and did not actually do reporting.

          Then came along camera phones, then came along video on the internet, and then came along SuperPACs that would, you know, actually _air previous positions_.

          And thus ends Schrodinger’s politician, the standard politician who collapsed into a different political waveform depending on who opened the box he was hiding in. In fact, that probably ended in 2006,and at this point it has _retroactively_ ended because all this stuff has been available since 1990 but the news media sucked donkey balls, and continues to do so, but now people _besides_ the news media can put videos in front of people. (Not that I am a fan of SuperPACs, but it’s pretty funny watching them eat the right alive.)

          And at this point the box has no top or sides at all, and the politicians are attempting to change shape in _complete view of everyone_. It’s like Superman was updated to use cell phones instead of phone booths:

          *explosion happens outside the Daily Planet*

          Clark Kent stands up at his desk and says, ‘Excuse me, I have to make a phone call.’, and pulls out his cell phone. Pretending he is on a phone call, he quickly removes his suit, places it under his desk, pulls out and attaches his cape, and says, “It’s me, Superman! What seems to be the problem, Ms. Lane?”

          Lois and Jimmy look at each other. Lois says, carefully, “Right. You’re Superman. Because Clark left. To make a call.”

          Jimmy whispers. “He knows we know he’s Superman, right? Because we can see him change clothes? Because he’s in the same room as us and does it right in front of us?”

          “Let’s just humor him for now.” replies Lois.Report

    • Avatar Scott Fields says:

      The thing with the Etch A Sketch is that some of the lines don’t go away no matter how hard you shake them. Especially if you draw in the same space over and over again.  There’s too much video tape of the Republican primaries for Romney to make disappear, no matter the shortness of the general public’s memories.Report

  2. Avatar ktward says:

    Romney … handsome? Huh. I guess beauty’s in the eye of the beholder.  I suppose he has charisma, in a Caddy Salesman kind of way. He is tall. Can’t argue with you there.Report

    • Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

      I consider him “Ken doll handsome.”Report

      • Avatar ktward says:

        As in painted plastic?Report

        • Avatar Liberty60 says:

          As in anatomically correct.Report

          • Avatar ktward says:

            Anatomically correct? Dang, I got totally gipped. Never buy a Ken doll out of the clearance bin. Lesson learned.Report

          • Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

            This is apropos of nothing, but it’s one of my favorite stories, so I thought I’d share it.

            In 1961, Mattel Toys was having so much success with their Barbie doll, they decided to come out with a boyfriend, Ken doll.    The task of creating the Ken doll was left to Mattel’s European subsidiary.

            When the first shipment of Kens arrived from Europe, Mattel realized they had a little problem.    The Ken’s had semi-realistic penises, and, well, we are God’s country and everything.   So they had to hire workers to glue miniature underpants on the first shipments of Ken dolls–these dolls are collectors’ items today.    Later manufacturing runs rendered Ken natively unit-free.Report

          • Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

            Friends of mine in college had placed a naked ken doll in their fish tank, which contained, among other things, a sucker fish.  Fun times.Report

            • Avatar Anne says:

              we gave a friend a blow up doll for his birthday…a barbie filled with black powder and a fuse in her back

              was that wrong of us?Report

        • Avatar Will H. says:

          Romney’s hair is painted plastic.
          In fact, all of the Republican contenders have Ken hair.
          I’m not asking for Ian Gillan over here.*
          I’m just saying.

          * Though I would take a Gillan candidacy very seriously.Report

  3. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    Why Romney Will Win

    The unknown female said, “So you’re all for like, ‘yay, freedom,’ and all this stuff. And ‘yay, like pursuit of happiness.’ You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”

    Romney:  “If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for, vote for the other guy. That’s what he’s all about, okay? That’s not, that’s not what I’m about.”

    [Cheers, applause]Report

    • Avatar Liberty60 says:

      The unknown female said, “So you’re all for like, ‘yay, freedom,’ and all this stuff. And ‘yay, like pursuit of happiness.’ You know what would make me happy? Free birth control coverage as a part of my compensation that I pay for with my labor.”

      Romney:  ”If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for, freedom to use birth control, vote for the other guy. That’s what he’s all about, okay? That’s not, that’s not what I’m about.”

      WordPress seems to have made gibberish  of your thoughts. FIFY.

      You’re welcome.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        Rewriting the quotes isn’t cool, brother.Report

        • Avatar Liberty60 says:


          Which is why I corrected your misquoting of a woman’s request to purchase insurance covereage with her labor.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Romney’s going to make birth control illegal? That’s a war on women!Report

            • Avatar Will H. says:

              Don’t worry, JB.
              It will still be legal to put it in her butt.
              And to pull out in time.
              That should help to reduce unwanted pregnancies.
              The holistic way.
              It’s organic™.

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Perhaps you were unaware that’s an actual quote that happened yesterday, Lib60.  I did try to embed the video, but it didn’t take.  Perhaps we’ve just had a misunderstanding.


            Yes, the gal really was talking free contraception.  I’d have thought it unfair to use it here, if one of our respected commenters hadn’t said the same thing here @ LoOG the other day.  There really are folks who feel that way.

            Newspapers and magazines routinely cut the hemming and hawing, so I did in the last comment.  RCP found it necessary to put Romney’s hem-haws in [to embarrass him?], so here’s their transcript unabridged:

            Question from woman in Peoria, Illinois: “So you’re all for like, ‘yay, freedom,’ and all this stuff. And ‘yay, like pursuit of happiness.’ You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”

            Romney: “You know, let me tell you, no no, look, look let me tell you something. If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for, vote for the other guy. That’s what he’s all about, okay? That’s not, that’s not what I’m about.”

            This is what this election is–or should be—about, the two visions of what a government is for.

            I am genuinely curious about how much pierces the leftosphere.  Did you hear about Rep. Ellison [D-MN] saying the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?  BHO egregiously misquoting Rutherford B. Hayes last week?  I hear everytime Sarah Palin takes a dump, but I really don’t know how well the infotainment door swings the other way to your side.

            Do they let you hear stuff like this, or just the gaffes, the Etch-a-Sketch stuff?  I’m really curious.

            ROMNEY:  The simple truth is that this president doesn’t understand the genius of America’s economy or the secret of the American economic success story.  The American economy is fueled by freedom.

            SUPPORTERS: (applause)

            ROMNEY: The history of the world has shown that economic freedom is the only force that has consistently lifted people out of poverty.  It’s the only principle that has ever been able to sustain prosperity.  But over the last

            Under Barack Obama, those pioneers he mentioned would have faced a very difficult time trying to innovative and invent and invest and create and build jobs.  You see, under Dodd-Frank, they would have found it almost impossible to get a loan from their community bank.  And, of course, the regulators would have shut down the Wright Brothers for dust pollution.

            SUPPORTERS: (laughter)

            ROMNEY: You know? (chuckles) And of course the government would have banned Thomas Edison’s light bulb.  Oh, by the way, they just did, didn’t they?  Right now!  Yeah.

            SUPPORTERS: (cheers and applause)


            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

              If Edison is stopped, that means Tesla wins. That makes me support Obama even more. 🙂Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

              Also, I’ll add, I think health care and education should be like national defense, incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge to its citizens.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                That’s what the election should be about, Jesse.  Mostly.  All this douchebaggery is unnecessary—there are 2 visions and we must pick one.

                However, I remain curious whether any of you gentlepersons of the left had heard about the exchange between that woman and Romney.  [That you heard Romney’s speech on freedom would be out of the question, of course.  But I do think there’s a libertarian contingent out there that prefers the economic freedom rap to the free contraceptives/healthcare/education vision, and will respond to it once it breaks through the media filter.]


            • Avatar ktward says:

              I am genuinely curious about how much pierces the leftosphere … BHO egregiously misquoting Rutherford B. Hayes last week?

              Indeed. That infamous lefty President Reagan made precisely the same egregious misquote in his1985 presentation speech for the … wait for it … National Technology Awards ceremony.



              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Does that mean you heard about BHO’s gaffe, Ms. Ward, or that you hit the internet after reading it here?  This is the part I’m curious about: not that the president erred, but that Sarah Palin’s run-in with Paul Revere was something I heard quite a bit about.  As a gentleperson of the left, did this come to your attention?

                How about the “free contraception” question [one you’re in sympathy with if I recall your recent comment correctly], that the questioner made look rather silly, and made Romney, with an apt response, look pretty good.  Did this cross your infotainment path?

                Because as moments go, this was Romney’s best in about…forever, and should have been the lede at least somewhere.  Not a Mondale “Where’s the Beef?” moment, but we take what we can get these days.

                I do realize you’re very busy these days.  My question wasn’t really directed at you.  Peace.


                BTW, President Obama was far more ungracious than President Reagan in muffing the Rutherford B. Hayes quote.


                “One of my predecessors, President Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone: ‘It’s a great invention but who would ever want to use one?'” Obama said. “That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore.”

                “He’s looking backwards, he’s not looking forward. He’s explaining why we can’t do something instead of why we can do something,” Obama said.

                Reagan’s speech mentioned Hayes in passing, more wistfully than condemnatory, and pegged no argument on the misquote.



              • Avatar Liberty60 says:

                Well, there you go again.

                Did the girl on the vid say “free contraceptives”?


                Are you constantly hitting the refrain that this debate is about liberals wanting to give away free contraceptives? Or better yet, trying to force the Church to dispense them next to the holy water and votive candles?

                Hell yeah.

                That’s the dishonesty Romneyism here. Its Romney-esque level dishonesty,  that the mandate- that people should be able to exchange their labor for contraceptive insurance coverage- is the same as wanting to hand out free slut pills for coed orgies.

                So yes, every time you trot out that tired line, expect someone like me to brush you back from the plate and correct the gibberish.


              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                This “How dare you argue that liberals want health care to be free!” stance works better in threads where there aren’t liberals arguing that health care should be free.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                wow its like the months of talking about health care policy never happened. Maybe they really didn’t.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Greg, scroll up a bit. Here, I’ll quote Jesse:

                “I think health care and education should be like national defense, incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge to its citizens.”

                Pretending that nobody has argued that health care should be free of charge works better in threads where nobody has argued that health care should be free.Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                I would expect several major revisions.
                Congress is like that.
                You didn’t hear much about the revision to the identity theft statute in 2011, but it happened.
                Those codes are revised all the time.
                Administrative policies under the executive branch are a bit more predictable.
                But those will likely be revised with every incoming president.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                As Greg pointed out below, Jaybird, I want health care and education to be as free as national defense and the interstate system is.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                “I look at this situation from a different perspective than you do. Which means you are lying.”Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                People exchange their labor for contraceptives now.
                They get these little green vouchers in exchange for their labor.
                These vouchers have the picture of… ummm… Rutherford B. Hayes on them.
                Then they take these vouchers to a dispensary which has all kinds of medications right there, in a safe, dry place.
                You probably have to walk around the dispensary for about ten minutes or so until they can find (hopefully) the right medication to give out.
                And you’ll likely end up spending some more of those Hayes vouchers on crap you really don’t need while you’re walking around.
                Now, there might be some law that says that a doctor has to fingerbang you once a year before you can get any medication.
                But it’s not like you have to pull a doctor from the club.
                You show up at the guy’s office and he’s ready to fingerbang away.
                But you can’t just get fingerbanged by any old doctor.
                You have to call an extortionist in collusion with your employer to ask permission to get fingerbanged first.
                If you don’t ask permission to get fingerbanged, you might not get your medication.
                That’s just the way the system works.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                Fwiw, I had heard about the misquote because it ran as the top story for a while on Talking Points Memo. Just saying’.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                RTod, TPM aspires to play it straight.  I’ll put them up next to Fox News anyday and see what a dispassionate analysis yields.

                If only there were such a thing as a dispassionate analysis.  But I am sincere about TPM aspiring to play it straight.  We could do worse, and we often do.

                Did TPM cover the Romney rejoinder to the “free contraception” gal?  It really was his finest moment of the campaign so far, and she made the left look like one big idiot.Report

              • Avatar ktward says:

                Does that mean you heard about BHO’s gaffe, Ms. Ward, or that you hit the internet after reading it here?  This is the part I’m curious about: not that the president erred, but that Sarah Palin’s run-in with Paul Revere was something I heard quite a bit about.  As a gentleperson of the left, did this come to your attention?

                That’s a fair query. The gaffe did come to my attention elsewhere. In fact, I posted on another blog about it nearly a week ago:

                What I find curious? The hand-wringing solemnity on the Right over this gaffe. To my mind, it’s a perfect example of a non-story if there ever was one.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley says:

            Ka-ching!  Round 1 goes to Liberty60 with a knockout.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      Do I read this correctly as a guarantee Romney will win?Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        Bank it.  Romney is the most demagogue-proof of any GOPer except Daniels, who will be the VP.  [A Paul Ryan, the most serious cat in Washington, would be torched in his boots for actually proposing concrete things.]

        The issue in November is Barack Obama’s presidency, and Romney is keeping his powder dry, as am I.

        And keep in mind, I’m on record as admitting that I can’t say with a straight face that John McCain [for whom I voted, duh] would have been a better president than BHO, or even have been a good president.  I blame nobody for voting for Obama instead.

        I have no reservations in saying that Mitt Romney will be a good president, and that Barack Obama has not been a very good one, at least for the vision of America that I hold and I hope the majority of Americans still do.  [See above, the free stuff vs. freedom thing.]Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

          I bet you a beer.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            A beer, Cahalan? Dinner.  For four.

            If nothing else, it’ll make me start posting again.  I’m such a sore thumb among the contributors that even my comments call for my ouster from the mainpage, even though I so seldom post there.

            I’ve been keeping my promise to management that I wouldn’t disrupt things if they mainpaged me.  Later this year, the election debate will turn more to facts and the competing visions for America’s future.   If we play our analyses straight, there should be no disruptions.

            Me, I think both visions are valid: the communitarian state with free contraception, healthcare, etc., and the libertarian state that leaves a lot more up to the individual, and attempts to manage the resulting chaos rather than abolish it.

            Then there’s the deficit.  Dennis Miller said Romney should just stick the national debt clock on the front of the podium and stop talking.

            I hear that part.  This election isn’t even about America.  It’s about Greece.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew says:

              You want stakes, Tom?  How about we bet our presence here?

              If Romney wins, I will never post a comment or post here again.  if Obama wins, you will do the same.

              How about it?Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                Walking the plank is a bit much.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew says:

                Uh, are you Tom?Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                That’s what that “Will H.” in boldface is there to indicate.
                I’m just saying that there are reasonable limits.
                Which, by differentiation, would imply that there are also unreasonable limits.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew says:

                It might be a little weird for me to propose betting our first-born to Tom, so I guess I have to agree.  This is rather closer to reasonable from where I sit.  But in any case, it’s a proposal to Tom, so why not just leave it up to him?  He can decline; there are no necessary effects here.  Are you on his “team”?  His enforcer?

                Who are you to say what is reasonable, short of the very extreme, Will H.?  This one isn’t that extreme.  I’m very willing to make this bet with Tom. Posting here is not to me as precious as the idea of my first child.   Maybe this bet would be right up Tom’s alley, too.

                I’ll let you know when I have a wager to propose to you, Will H.  Cool?Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                No, not at all.
                There’s a difference between calling a guy out and cutting throats.
                “Take a walk” is getting into the cutting throats department.

                And no, I’m not Tom’s enforcer.
                It has nothing to do with the person or the site. That trail is out there if you care to go search for it.
                I could tell you that I serve peace and justice, and go on and on about it, until you think that I’m some deranged person that believes I am a member of the Justice League of America.
                Then again, I could say it in one word:

              • Avatar Michael Drew says:

                These were stakes that, it seemed to me, were rather available to us to follow through on.  I’m not sure Tom and I will ever be in each other’s company.  He seemed to be asking for higher stakes.  There they are.  We could make it a month-long hiatus if we wanted to dial it back a bit. I’m not telling anyone to take a walk; it’s aproposed bet.  And “take a walk” is in the cutting throats department. Not sure how to respond to that.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Brother Drew, it’s only a blog.  I answered you in good fun.

                My reply to Cahalan was with great affection and familiarity.  I do not address anyone but members of my karass by their last names.  Better you should offer WillH the wager of a dinner, that win or lose you should both benefit from the pleasure of each other’s company.

                Let us chill.  Whoever wins in November, our greatest duty as Americans will be to refrain from being at each other’s throats, yes?


              • Avatar Will H. says:

                Two problems with that:
                1) I would probably take him to dinner anyway if we were to happen to meet up, and
                2) I don’t gamble, any or at all.
                So it doesn’t work.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Of course it works.  You grab the check either way, so it’s not gambling.  😉  Peace, I’m out.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew says:

                My response to your response to me is in the record.  i wasn’t raring to bet.  i had a different question.

                This was in response to your stated desire to up the stakes with Pat.  I’m taking this as a no, thanks.  Good ’nuff.

                Peace, Tom.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                Let us chill.  Whoever wins in November, our greatest duty as Americans will be to refrain from being at each other’s throats, yes?

                Meh, at least until early December.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                I offered Tom a wager on the election a week or two ago.  I’ve been too buy to get on here much lately, so I’m not sure if he’s responded or not, but my offer still stands. That’s not an ideological offer, either, as I have no intention of voting for Obama this time around, and I think a strong Republican candidate could beat him. But I don’t see a strong Republican candidate in the offering at this time, I think the economy is warming up enough to mitigate that issue sufficiently,* and merely being not-Obama isn’t going to enough. And I don’t see the elements of radicalism that Tom sees.

                And I’m sincerely–not snarkily, not nastily, not vindictively, but sincerely–asking Tom to please explain to us what attacks the Republicans are going to use to persuade moderates/swing voters that Obama is radical, because I honestly don’t understand what he’s seeing.

                I really don’t think he can just be relying on this birth control flap as the path to Obama’s defeat. Granted Obama got a higher percentage of the  Catholic vote than either Gore or Kerry, and dropping down to Kerry’s numbers would be disastrous. But since a majority of Catholics support insurance coverage of contraceptives (52%, compared to the 54% who voted for Obama) I don’t see Obama losing them over this particular issue.

                *If I’m wrong about the economy, and it dips, then I think Romney definitely could win.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew says:

          I’m certainly not betting anything very valuable on it one way or the other.  But I admire your certitude, I think.

          In what sense would you say you are keeping your powder dry, I wonder?Report

        • Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark says:

          If you’re so sure that Romney will conquer all, and that the issue is Obama, then answer me this?

          Why does he feel the need to lie so much about Obama?

          • Obama goes around the world apologizing for America
          • Obama has increased the naional debt mor than all other US presidents
          • Obama wants “equal [economic] outcomes” regardless of work, education, or effort
          • Obama wants to force Israel back to its pre-1967 borders
          • Obama is planning to end Medicare

          If he was such a sterling candidate, facing such a second rate one, I would imagine that he could try to win on non-fictional contrasts.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Heh, McSnark.  That crap’s the cannon fodder.  The real hurt is coming.  At some point, the nation is going to examine President Obama’s record.  But that time isn’t now.  Nobody ever won the election in March and Romney knows that.  His job now is to slip past Rick and Newt [he’s already cut a separate peace with Ron Paul], and that shouldn’t be hard.

            Many miles to go, sir.  What I think will happen is that America will not give into the sophistry, the technique, the gotchas, the Etch-a-Sketch, and in the end decide which of the two visions should be our course to the future.  Obama and Romney, in my view, as men are equally worthy and equally crappy.  [More worthy than crappy, we hope, either way.]

            So much the better.  Instead of succumbing to the douchebaggery of one side or the other, we should decide where we should go from here.  I think the 2 visions are different enough to choose one.Report

  4. Avatar Kenny Bee says:

    I would love it if a serious third party existed in this country…..I’m not happy with Obama’s job performance (and yes, I expected him to walk on water AND heal the sick, and I wont be happy until he does BOTH!) but the Republicans are crazy. It just stinks in both parties. I guess this is what happens when they spent the past twenty odd years throwing poo at each other; everyone ends up smelling bad.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Things fall apart; the center-right cannot hold;
    The least bad lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches from Tampa to be born?


  6. Avatar Scott says:


    He was telling the truth, so what?  Potential candidates appeal to the the majority of their party to get the nomination and then widen their message to win the general election. I know it is hard to believe but even Dems do this.Report

  7. Avatar MFarmer says:

    The silly season, indeed. I’m up to my eyebrows. ***&/Report

  8. Avatar greginak says:

    Jay- uh yeah i read that. Free of charge is not the same as free. Free of charge means i don’t pay over any money for the stuff you just gave me. Defense is free of charge. I walk around defended by planes and soldiers everyday, but i don’t give my Visa card to somebody to pay my daily defense subscription. Defense isn’t free, i pay for it with my taxes. That is how “free” stuff like defense, education, and i would agree, health care should be paid for. Was he really advocating we pay for any of those things with a giant flowing money tree or by gold jelly beans from magic sparkle unicorns. I don’t actually remember any universal health care peeps saying HC should rain down like pennies from heaven. I think something called taxes were suggested.

    Also I’m guessing his comment was delicately spiced with the exquisite flavors of pith and or snark.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Greg, I think when someone says “free X” they don’t ever mean literally free X’s that fall from the sky. I mean, “buy one get one free” isn’t literally free. When you, BSK, and I all had a conversation about free-of-charge contraception, the “free of charge” was assumed by all, at least I thought. The general meaning in these conversations is that the person using it is not (directly) paying for it. That when I open a bank account, I am given a free toaster that I am not directly paying for, even if the interest they make on my account is actually paying for it. That when I get a soft drink at a fast food joint, I get free refills even though that was built into the cost of the soft drink in the first place.Report

      • Avatar Will H. says:

        Let me think….
        We have about 300 million people in this nation. 51.25267% are female (I have no clue why I remember that number, I just remember numbers fairly well)
        So, 300 x 0.5125267 = roughly 154 million
        Say about a quarter of those are of child-bearing age.
        154 / 4 = 38.5 million
        Say we can pay for it at $500/yr (half of Fluke’s figure)
        38.5 x 500 = 19.25 billion
        Ok, so we’re back to the 300 million…
        19250 / 38.5 = 64 & 1/6

        About $5.25/mo. for every man, woman, and child in the United States.
        It’s not a make me or break me amount.
        But if the registration on my vehicle went up by $64 from one year to the next, I’d certainly notice.

        Not free.Report

      • Avatar BSK says:

        FWIW, I didn’t realize we were talking specifically about FREE contraceptives, only comtraception coverage. I am in favor of the latter; the former, only ifit makes sense, which Will has me pretty convinced it does not.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      <i>Was he really advocating we pay for any of those things with a giant flowing money tree or by gold jelly beans from magic sparkle unicorns.</i>

      No, but the standard Democratic line is that they be financed by raising taxes exclusively on the rich. Which means that for most people it’s functionally equivalent to funding by magic sparkle unicorns. “We will give you free stuff, and it will be paid for exclusively by people who make more money than you” is a reasonably accurate summary of what Democrats are proposing.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        Nah, I’m OK with a slightly higher tax burden for everybody. Of course, in my perfect world, they won’t be paying back student loans or paying health insurance premiums every month, so it works out pretty well.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        HEY! a substantial part of those rich dudes still contribute to Democrats.

        (I think Field Negro, for one, has clocked in at $2000 for Obama — which is maxxed out, I believe. And as a lawyer in philly, he makes enough to be rich.)Report

  9. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Pandering is what democracy is all about. To get elected, you have to tell the people what they want to hear. And the median voter in the primaries wants to hear different things than the median voter in the general election. All politicans do this–Fehrnstrom was just dumb enough to say it explicitly.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      Yep, he was.  Really, though, the problem is more that he said it colorfully and memorably than just that he said it explicitly.Report

  10. Avatar MFarmer says:

    Actually the Etch-a-Sketch metaphor is perfect for Washington — let’s shake these assholes, clean the slate and reset.Report

  11. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I remember someone bitching to me once about how “uninformed” Americans are because so many of them didn’t know about some horrid thing Dick Cheney had said, and wondering if my knowing about it had added to the quality of my life in any way, or what it even means to be “uninformed” when there’s so much media connection to contemporaneity now. After I stopped watching the news, I felt happier. Life is too short to know about everything that happens everywhere in the world, the vast majority of which you can never affect in any way.Report