You’re likely aware that this afternoon—perhaps even as you’re read this—President Obama and the vanquished fragment of corporate software that calls itself Mitt Romney are sitting down to lunch in the White House together. With the Tea Party’s plans to obstruct the Electoral College falling apart on, ahem, their divergence from what the Constitution actually says, this is Romney’s last, best chance to make a play for the Oval Office. What’s his strategy?
Of course he and his strategists will have come up with an ideal lunch order. The White House menu is very flexible: he could probably get just about anything on his plate by asking. The chef, Cristeta Comerford, hails from the Philippines, so this may be the time to meet Obama head-on with a spicy order that evokes his native Pacific Rim. Comerford has also spent time in Vienna, meaning Romney could catch Obama wrong-footed with a request for Topfenstrudel.
Then there’s the conversation. It’s no secret that Obama detests Romney personally and has better things to do than engage in wanton etiquette; he’ll keep his comments terse and practical. This gives Romney an opening to spin a few longer yarns, tell a shaggy-dog joke or three, really dominate the room’s airwaves. That’s the sort of tactic that might not play well with whoever’s waiting to clear the table, however. What’s certain is that both candidates will seek total control of the condiments, which most observers would agree is crucial. If either man comes out of it with mustard on his tie, well, there’s always 2016.
Ever experience something you didn’t realize, until right then, was on your Bucket List? A transformative wave courses through your circulatory system; you feel reassembled. It happened to me, and even now I can scarcely believe it: An old immigrant woman gave me a fist-bump in our building’s elevator.
It came suddenly, with little warning. She got on the elevator on the fourth floor, wearing the usual babushka-type head accessory. She’s very nice and talkative, but I’m often ill at ease because she leaves her apartment door open and just goes about living in plain view all day, and I do not know how to process that. Anyway! She got to talking about the volatile weather and how Al Gore was right.
It was then that I noticed she wore an Obama 2012 button. “At least we won this one, right?” I asked, pointing to my own lapel. She was confused. For a moment, all seemed lost. I pointed again to my lapel, in mounting desperation. “This one,” I stammered. When she at last remembered her button, comprehension took hold of her face, and she solemnly offered a fist for bumping.
It’s hard to say what effect this will have on the course of my journey through this world, but I know I’ll never be the same. What awaits around the next bend may exceed my assumptions again and again. And I hope it does. There’s no better feeling I can name. Hope you can find out for yourself.
Over the course of the 2012 elections, Politico proved itself over and over to be one of the most vacuous, false-equivalence-spouting, stupidly anecdotal, hand-wringing, unscientific and completely myopic outlets for horserace coverage out there. And that’s really saying something, when you consider these morons were also getting paid to publicly characterize the campaigns. (Maybe the fourth estate could stand to be a bit smaller? Just a thought.)
And now, at a time when most newspapers and magazines are taking a look at how Romney lost and Obama won, how the former cut his staffers’ credit cards off and how the latter might lead in a second term, Politico chooses to rehash a would-be viral story from weeks ago: the guy who got the Romney-Ryan logo tattooed on his face. Oh yeah, him! I’d forgotten all about that dude, just like any normal human should have. But even then, in this piece that’s designed to gloat and mock a clearly deranged individual for a few hundred pageviews, they can’t get it right. Check out that headline: “So, maybe that Romney face tattoo wasn’t such a good idea … ” What, you think so? Jesus, I hope you didn’t keep the fact-checkers too busy with that one. Then, this lede: “With the election over, supporters of Mitt Romney have to pack up their campaign signs and paraphernalia and get on with their lives. But what if you can’t get rid of that stuff? Literally.”
Incredible. It’s as if they were typing this up in Microsoft Word and the little paperclip character showed up and went “Hi! It looks like you’re trying to write a blog post from a few weeks ago just to ridicule a guy who has not yet begun to understand how his unexamined actions will dog and haunt him throughout his life, when you could have attempted actual analysis of current events. Can I help?” and then just filled in the rest. Great job, Politico! Now we know you’re as bad as aping Gawker as you are at everything else.
Surprise! Amid all the election returns, you may have missed this stunning result: Los Angeles just made condoms mandatory for the city’s (unfathomably large) adult film industry. Onward, you safe-sexing stallions; no longer will viewers be forced to imagine the transmission of STDs in every scene of explicit penetration. That’s if anyone is still watching.
Local porn stars had protested Measure B, intended to prevent the spread of HIV, by saying their own rigorous tests and screening were enough, and that condoms would ruin their product, resulting in a huge financial loss for the city. Voters, however, were unconvinced:
Nearly 56 percent of LA County voters voted in favor of Measure B, which requires all porn actors to wear a condom and producers to get a permit to shoot raunchy scenes, according to the LA County Registrar’s Office.
The permit fee would pay for inspectors to randomly check porn shoots to ensure all the actors are using protection while working.
I think America just invented a new saddest job: porn set condom-checker. Pretty soon we’re going to need a movie about that guy. Let’s shoot for a regular ‘R’ rating, though—getting that raunch permit is a pain in the ass.
I’m sleepy today, as I stayed up way too late watching Republicans freak the hell out over the idea of having a black guy in charge of things for another four years (and, you know, the concept that rape victims shouldn’t be forced to keep their unwanted children because even unwanted babies need the love of Our Heavenly Father and should carry the stigma of their conception forever). But it was worth it, because last night’s Fox News coverage was art. Art. With a capital A!
Luckily, The Daily Beast has a good collection of the best moments, including the one in which Karl Rove was like, "No. No. No. Unpossible. This can’t be happening. NOT TO THE WHITE GUYS!" and Bill O’Reilly lamenting the fact that people with accents and limp wrists and vaginas might actually have some sway over how this country moves forward. But for my money, there’s nothing better than watching hottie anchor Megyn Kelly wander around the Fox News HQ in an effort to prolong the admission that her beloved Mitt Romney lost the race.
There’s really not much you can do to influence the course of politics this week besides canvassing a neighborhood now intricately booby-trapped to keep away more canvassers. Time is up and yet you’re still here, waiting. Here are a few thought exercises to keep the mind off your ultimate powerlessness in matters of federal government.
For instance, what kind of dinosaur would make the best pet? Contrary to their depiction in the Jurassic Park franchise, I believe a velociraptor might work quite well. They’re not as big and fearsome as all that, though they’d be tough enough to act like watchdogs. And you could take them for runs in the park! Herbivore-wise, I’d go for a microceratops, only about five pounds and less than two feet tall, for the sheer ugly-cute factor. But there’s no wrong answer!
Or then, which would be scarier: blasting into the cold vacuum of space in a space shuttle or descending to the crushing blackness of the Mariana Trench in a little submersible. I say the ocean is way worse—to the best of our knowledge, space isn’t filled with creepy eyeless alien creatures. And, as a kid, I found The Abyss far more traumatizing than Apollo 13.
Finally, if you were a monarch of some kind, what title would they give you once you’d died? For me it’d probably be “Miles the Beneficently Bearded” or “Miles the Inhumane.” Go ahead, list some of yours! And think up some other thoughts to have, while you’re at it. I’m already back to tracking final state battleground polls.
People keep telling me not to jinx it, but look: Romney is going down, and he knows it. His campaign keeps talking about “expanding the map” to Minnesota and Pennsylvania (markets where they’re now, in the last push, running five or six negative ads in every commercial break, which has to have some diminishing returns.) Meanwhile they’re visiting the many swing states they’ve failed to lock down, like Florida and Virginia—where they’ve also been text-spamming with messages about how Obama approves of same-sex marriages and wants your tax dollars to pay for Planned Parenthood abortions. Turns out gay people and parents of thirteen-year-old girls with cell phones don’t take kindly to that sort of tactic!
And that’s all Romney has ever been: tactics, not strategy. There’s been no consistency, not only in his principles, but in the very approach of this six-year bid for the best, most prestigious, corporate executive Fortune 500 job on the planet. That’s the thrust of a Baffler article by consistently astounding authority on American political conservatism Rick Perlstein, which begins like this:
Mitt Romney is a liar. Of course, in some sense, all politicians, even all human beings, are liars. Romney’s lying went so over-the-top extravagant by this summer, though, that the New York Times editorial board did something probably unprecedented in their polite gray precincts: they used the L-word itself. “Mr. Romney’s entire campaign rests on a foundation of short, utterly false sound bites,” they editorialized. He repeats them “so often that millions of Americans believe them to be the truth.” “It is hard to challenge these lies with a well-reasoned-but- overlong speech,” they concluded; and how. Romney’s lying, in fact, was so richly variegated that it can serve as a sort of grammar of mendacity
The essay is a must-read, and terrifying in its bluntness, but luckily it will also somewhat soothe your anxiety about election day. For while half the country would still coronate a sad husk like Mitt Romney, it’s getting harder and harder for them to do so.
Barack Obama may have gotten an endorsement from a real billionaire yesterday—New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who cited the destruction of Hurricane Sandy and the highly unnerving real threat of climate change as swaying his decision—but not to be outdone, Mitt Romney countered with another well-recognized American billionaire. Yesterday, shocking no one, Fox released a video in which The Simpsons‘ C. Montgomery Burns, the eccentric, insanely wealthy, sort-of-evil tycoon owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, endorses Romney from the dark and stormy headquarters of the Springfield Republican Party.
Although Mr. Burns’ lackey Smithers begins listing off all the headlines that could cost Romney the election, Burns is still preoccupied with one in particular—that of him strapping the family dog, Seamus, to the roof of the car while on a road trip—and decides to "release the hound" to prove his point. The poor pup is subjected to a Pavlovian test, having to choose between "Meat Romney" and "Broccoli Obama." This is all incredibly fitting, especially since earlier this year when Mad did their "Who Said It: Mitt Romney or Mr. Burns?" quiz.
Watch, and be sure to look for the strategically-placed reading materials on the nightstand next to Burnsie’s armchair. As Homer would say, "Mmm… aging meme."