Welcome to this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mailbag! Today, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss the insider secret that Obama's victory is almost guaranteed, whether the latest edition of 'The Newsroom' was in bad taste and how crazy Romney would be to pick Newt Gingrich as his running mate.
The questions:Did you read Michael Tomasky's piece in The Daily Beast about Obama's virtually assured victory via the electoral college? It seems like a fairly airtight argument. Do you think that's why Romney just lies and lies and lies? Maybe it's because he's panicking. They just don't stop even when caught out with a whopper. The just move on to the next lie and hope something sticks. It looks desperate to me. What do you guys think?
Chez: Yeah, I read it. It does seem like a pretty airtight argument and I really appreciated his contention that the reason you'll never hear anybody in the political press talking about it at this stage of the campaign is that it takes all the fun and drama out of it -- all the phony it's-a-tight-race nonsense that drives ratings and page views. I've said before that I think Mitt Romney is the worst candidate the GOP has produced in, well, maybe ever; he's certainly the wrong guy at this stage in our history (although, more than that, he's a completely inept as a politician gunning for the White House). But the one place I worry is when I look at how much money he's raising. Yeah, it's true that money won't technically buy you the presidency when you're a candidate nobody likes, but it can do a lot of damage -- as we've seen. I think if things keep going as they are, Obama should be fine and Romney should be a historical footnote in a couple of months, but it's true that anything can happen.
Bob: Romney's strategic lying is the natural extension of cynical Rove-style politics of the previous decade. They're calculated that the upside of getting people to believe the lie outweighs the downside hit they'd take when the lies were debunked. Meanwhile, the Tomasky piece was interesting but I'm not counting on anything right now. Anything can happen and it's only August. The worst thing that could happen would be for Democrats to get complacent -- and that sort of thing always happens. Romney could absolutely still win, and Democrats should be extraordinarily vigilant until all of the votes are counted.
Ben: I blogged about this earlier in the week Amanda. While I think Tomasky is probably right, I'm not ready to call it a day just yet. And while there is a lot of truth to the notion that the media are making this into a two-way race to get ratings, it is still worth getting very worried just because of how much money Romney is accumulating. I cannot overstate just how dangerous a Romney Presidency would be at this stage in history, and as long as the guy still has a heart beat, I'm worried. I do think Romney is panicking a bit and that's why he is saying pretty much anything to anyone, but he represents the interests of extreme wealth and power so he will remain dangerous due to the insane amount of money he can get his hands on. I'm pretty cynical about politics and the media in general, but when you have one political party that would be considered fascist extremists in any other country outside of Saudi Arabia, I'm all for the dog and pony show if the other side is winning it.
Why did everyone go gaga over the latest episode of 'The Newsroom'? It was typical 'Go America!' BS. Celebrating killing anyone is pretty sick regardless of what they have done. Imagine an Iraqi had managed to kill George Bush after he fucked their entire country up. How would Americans feel about the Arab world dancing in the streets? Would Aaron Sorkin be making sappy tv shows idolizing Iraqi patriotism? I don't think so.
Ben: I was at the White House the night they announced the death of Bin Laden, and I felt pretty confused about it as a Brit. I didn't know anyone who was killed during 9/11, so didn't feel so emotionally connected to it as the people out on the streets celebrating. If I'm honest, I did feel a little uneasy about cheering the death of someone, even though it was a psychopathic mass murderer. Perhaps it would have been different had something that colossal happened in my home city, London, but it didn't, so I don't know. We had 7/7, but it paled in comparison to 9/11. I saw The Newsroom episode and that it was pretty crass. I don't get that type of American patriotism - I'm a Brit so I guess we just process things differently. However, I've been in America so long that I understand that that's just the way Americans are. I'm not a fan of it, but a part of me now gets where it comes from. Not sure if that answers the question, but I'm just being honest.
Chez: What I liked about the last episode of "The Newsroom" was the way it very authentically depicted the drip-drip-drip nature of what happens when a very big story breaks and what it feels like to cover a story that honestly changes history. Granted, Sorkin couldn't help but throw in all those little subplots that have often distracted from the main thrust of the show, but the way he related the tension, frustration and exhilaration as each little detail came into focus was right on the money. Now, as for your issue with the tone of the show, you're of course entitled to your opinion -- the same way that I'm entitled to tell you that you're a fucking idiot. Spare me the aloof, hyper-liberal moral relativism, James. Having worked at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks -- and as an American in general, and one who's incredibly proud of his country despite its many faults -- yes, I teared up, broke down, hugged my friends and even did the Snoopy dance when I learned that our Navy SEALS had put a bullet through Bin Laden's head. And so I very much appreciated Sorkin -- who by the way is liberal to a fault -- relating the various emotions that went through most Americans' heads and hearts on that night, including the satisfaction and relief that the guy who had killed thousands of our people had himself been killed. There are times -- provided you're not some patronizing asshole -- when you stop analyzing every little goddamn thing and just accept that you're going to FEEL things that may be somewhat questionable but that that's just the way it is. I was thrilled the night we killed Bin Laden -- and I still am. But by all means, you go right on lecturing.
Bob: Sorry, James, but the killing of Bin Laden was significant and, honestly, I didn't lose any sleep over it. This is the reality of world affairs and American politics. There was no other viable option and, if nothing else, it offered some sense of closure for the victims of 9/11. When Bin Laden orchestrated those attacks he stepped onto a global battlefield and all bets were off. And regarding "Go America BS" I would recommend that liberals embrace a little patriotism once in a while. There's nothing that's exclusively conservative or right-wing about recognizing the history and significance of the United States, and yet they've practically branded the flag as their own. That's a travesty and we let it happen.
Hey guys, do you think Gingrich is really trying to get on the Romney ticket? The dude went psycho on Romney during the primary and barely gave him the seal of approval after he burnt out and lost all his money. Is Gingrich really that mental? On what planet would Newt be a good pick for VP? Maybe I am not seeing it but are there demographics he can reach that Romney needs? help me out here.
Bob: Of course he is! Gingrich's primary goal is for political power. At this point, he'd steamroll a busload of Young Republicans to get to the White House. Besides, primaries are always brutal. In 1980, George Bush referred to Reagan's economic plan as "voodoo economics" and so forth, and yet they ended up on the ticket together. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were merciless on each other and she went on to endorse Obama, speak at the convention and accept the nomination for Secretary of State. It's all politics.
Chez: Gingrich is one of the most conniving politicians the right has produced in recent memory -- a guy who wants power for power's sake and would do anything to attain it. He may hate Romney but oh how he'd love to be one step away from the Oval Office. I'm assuming, though, that Romney knows this and would never in a million years pick him for VP because if he did his first cabinet appointment would have to be a royal food-taster, like the kind kings used to have centuries ago, since I'm pretty sure Gingrich's days would be consumed by Buster Keaton-style plots to kill Romney by poisoning his lunch, pushing him down a well, dropping a piano on him, etc. etc.
Ben: I hope to God Romney picks Gingrich as his VP. It would make for fantastic TV and a hilarious Presidential election. Can you imagine the spats between Gingrich's handlers and Romney's people? Gingrich is limitlessly narcissistic and ambitious and I would bet money he'd stage a coup at some point arguing Romney wasn't up to the job and that only he, emperor of fantasy moon colonies, would be capable of rescuing America from the grip of the Satanic Muslim Obama. In reality though, Romney's people aren't stupid and there's no way they'd risk their candidates chances by adding a loose cannon like Gingrich onto the ticket.
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