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The Daily Banter Mail Bag!!: McCain vs Bachmann, Romney's 'Retirement' and Weiner's Comeback!!

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Welcome to this weeks edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag where Bob, Ben, and Chez answer reader's questions on a variety of Banter worthy topics!! Today, we discuss John McCain's partial redemption, Romney's retroactive retirement, and Anthony Weiner's proposed comeback to politics!

The questions:

Hi Bob, Ben, Chez, what did you think about John McCain's rebuke of Michele Bachmann? Is this redemption for his appalling behavior in 2008, and going off the edge in terms of wanting to blow up anyone who disagrees with America? Given the state of the GOP it was a ballsy move if you ask me.

Ben: In a word, no. Look, I'm all for giving credit where credit is due, and McCain did the right thing by standing up to the xenophobia in his increasingly insane party. But the man is a loose cannon who was responsible for allowing Sarah Palin to get near to real political power - a crime I would say is almost akin to treason. Not only that but McCain has cheer led war at every given opportunity, supported Bush's massively irresponsible tax cuts, and refused to stand up to his party on matters that really make a difference (the debt ceiling, global warming, gay rights etc). I don't buy into the whole 'Maverick' brand around McCain -I think he's a pretty nasty, Right wing career politician who will say or do pretty much anything to make himself relevant.

Bob: Every once in a while, between filibustering with the Republicans on everything, McCain tosses in one of these kinds of speeches in order remind people of his cred as a "maverick." But in the absence of any real legislative action, the gestures ring hollow. Besides, he successfully repeated the conspiracy theory on the floor of the Senate and for the record, thereby, in a roundabout way, reinforcing it. Remember, too, that McCain participated some of the Obama-pals-around-with-terrorists fearmongering in 2008, not to mention the red-scare "spread the wealth around" talk. What would be truly ballsy is if McCain voted in favor of cloture during a filibuster or took the initiative to work with Democrats on some bills. Instead, he followed up his historically irresponsible act (elevating Palin to be potential vice president and, perhaps, president) by caucusing with the Republicans on everything.

Chez: Sorry, man, but no way. Yeah, McCain smacked down Bachmann but all that really tells you is just how far off the deep end the latter has gone. It takes a lot to become a pariah in the modern Republican party but I think Bachmann may finally be doing it; she's leaving anyone with a brain no choice but to tell her to sit down and shut the fuck up. As for McCain, he's getting credit from the left for something that requires no real effort at all; it's something he should be doing. Plus, while it was a welcome comment, he's got a long way to redeem himself for opportunistically foisting Sarah Palin on this country. I'm not sure he should ever be forgiven for that.

Can you please explain retroactive retirement? How does Romney get to decide when he retired even though there's a paper trail with explicit evidence detailing exactly when he stopped having anything to do with Bain? Is this something rich people just assume they can get away with?
Rob B.

Chez: The beauty of Romney's campaign is that I think it's progressing on a dare. Romney's become so adept at lying -- it's now so instinctual for him -- that I'm not sure he even notices when he does it anymore and if he does he's comforted by recent experience which has taught him that no one will ever call him out on it. The "retroactive retirement" thing is preposterous to the point of being a punchline, and yet Romney's people don't care one bit about putting it out there. They know full well that the media won't call their guy a flat-out bullshit artist -- the equivalent of a ten-year-old who comes up clever excuses for why his parents caught him with a hand in the cookie jar -- and they just assume the general public is fucking stupid. Which it kind of is, unfortunately.

Bob: Oh yes. You're exactly right -- rich people and powerful CEOs absolutely feel entitled to do things for which the rest of us would be chastened or arrested. In this case, Romney is likely fighting against a lot of seriously bad fallout, so it's both a move of entitlement and desperation. If he perjured himself on his financial disclosure forms, there could actually be some sort of legal action here. At the very least -- at the bare minimum -- the Obama campaign, by seizing on this aspect of Romney's career, have neutralized the one thing he really had going for himself: his private sector experience. As soon as he mentions it in a debate or in front of the press, he opens himself up to attacks like, "Oh, your private sector experience in which you made your money by outsourcing jobs overseas and dodging taxes with offshore bank accounts. Good job!" I don't the president will say "good job" at the end because he's not as snarky as me (thankfully).

Ben: In the world of political doublespeak, I actually really like this one. Retroactive retirement is a brilliant concept and one I shall be using from now on. On my high school record, it says I was suspended for bad behavior aged 15, except now, I've decided that I  graduated aged 14 so wasn't actually there at the time. You see? I never did it!

Do you think Anthony Weiner should get back into politics? He's an ambitious guy and I think he won't stop at Mayor. How far can he actually go given the nature of his ? Ben Cohen's article was interesting and I kinda agree. He seems like a complete narcissist/ego maniac and I think there's enough of them in politics already.
Carl D.

Bob:He's welcome to get back into politics if he wants to, but he won't get my support. He was reckless, stupid and irresponsible and we don't need progressives and Democrats who act like that. Same goes for John Edwards. Everyone's allowed to make a living somehow, though I hope he doesn't try to weasel his way back into politics, otherwise he'll only continue to embarrass the movement. By the way, let me be clear here. I don't care about his horny Twitter sexting or whatever he did with his free time. My objection has to do with the stupidity of his behavior knowing how the modern press latches onto sex scandals, not to mention his neophyte behavior in social media -- specifically allowing those pics to leak out.

Ben: Yep, you're spot on Carl. While Weiner is talented and passionate, he is a massive liability who can't seem to control his urges. I really can't understand what would drive a human being to want to become a politician - it seems like the most horrendous job on earth, and I think there must be some sort of psychological need for attention to want to put yourself through what is necessary to be successful. I'm not saying they are all like this - there are clearly some good politicians out there - but it's a bit like the whole celebrity business where people just want to get on TV to give their life some sort of validity. Most people are content with good friends, a somewhat meaningful career and a reasonably happy marriage/partnership. Politicians and celebrities often are not, and they fill the void with attention grabbing antics that would otherwise be seen as a cry for help. You can just tell by his demeanor that Weiner has some big problems - he's very intense, completely full of himself, and generally a bit of a douchebag; all signs of a deeply insecure person who would benefit from a bit of therapy rather than a career in public office.

Chez: You haven't seen the last of Anthony's Weiner. Count on it. The fact that he is such an egomaniac guarantees that he won't be able to stay out of politics, and as Ben said that's exactly the reason why it might not be a good idea for anyone to cast a serious vote for him. Yeah, he did some good as a congressman, but then he undid almost all of it by engaging in unbelievably risky, stupid, self-obsessed behavior because his cock apparently demanded it. If he's his age and can't control his own sex drive and megalomania then he certainly isn't someone I want anywhere near the nuclear codes. Wait, the mayor of New York City doesn't have nuclear codes? Well, in that case bring it on. Maybe he'll rename the Empire State Building the "Weiner Tower" and have Christo cover the base of it in gray Calvin Klein boxer briefs.

Got a question for the mailbag? Email us at and we'll get to it next week!!!