FROM BOTH SIDES NOW: The Big Stupid wins!


Epilogue—Rachel’s brown liquids: We’re going to be good sports and admit it.

Rather plainly, The Big Stupid has won! Just consider the political dynamics of the past week.

Last Friday, Reuters filed a detailed report about Mitt Romney’s conduct at Bain Capital. (For Kevin Drum’s take on the Reuters report, click here.) We’d like to see additional reporting, to nail down more facts. But here’s a political outline:

In 1993, while at Bain, Romney bought a Kansas City steel mill. In 1994, Bain took a very large dividend. In subsequent years, Romney and Bain underfunded the steel mill’s pension funds.

In 2001, the steel mill went belly-up. The federal government had to step in to restore some of the missing pension funds—to make up for Romney’s looting. And it gets worse! Despite that partial federal bailout, the workers got shorted on their pensions—and they totally lost the health care they had earned in their contracts.

The workers didn’t just lose their jobs. They got shorted on their pensions and they lost their health care altogether. And the taxpayers got looted too! Through a federal pension insurance fund, they had to restore a large chunk of the money—the money Mitt Romney stole.

In theory, this episode would help the public understand the nature of our nation’s burgeoning plutocrat rule. For those who care about partisan politics, it represents astonishingly horrible conduct by Romney.

Average voters would hate this story—if they heard it told.

On a political basis, the episode reported by Reuters last week is a dagger aimed at the heart of Romney. Having said that, what did Maddow, Our Own Rhodes Scholar, discuss on her program last night?

Maddow hasn’t discussed the Reuters report all week. But so what! Last night, she started her program with a 19-minute segment about Romney’s very troubling character—as revealed in his treatment of Seamus, his world-famous pet dog!

She discussed his treatment of Seamus, his famous pet dog, in the summer of 1983!

Last night, we finally had to admit it! The culture of the Big Stupid has won. We liberals want The Big Stupid too. The desire for monstrously fatuous discourse comes from all sides now.

Maddow’s segment speaks to an undeniable cultural triumph. We recommend that you steel yourselves and watch the whole segment, all 19 minutes, 36 seconds long. (To endure the full torture, click here.) At one point, Rachel even talks doggy-talk to a photo of Seamus, bringing her glorious self to our level and helping us learn to more fully adore her. Eventually, though, she let us know why this 28-year-old incident Just Totally Massively Matters.

“Brown liquids” were coming from Seamus’ hiney! With her customary brilliance, Rachel explained what does and doesn’t matter about this famous old tale:
MADDOW (1/12/12): The reporter from the Boston Globe who first described the Seamus incident in 2007 did not write about this incident again for four and a half years after he wrote the original story. He finally broke his silence and wrote about it again for the first time this week. The reporter’s name is Neil Swidey.

You can tell that he’s somewhat reluctantly back to this subject, but he knows even as he criticizes some people for exaggerating the story or embellishing the story. He says people have questioned his reporting inappropriately.

He does think that one part of this is important. He says, "To me Romney’s critics have focused on the wrong part of the anecdote. It`s not that Romney put his dog on the roof. I’ll take the Romneys at their word that Seamus loved his al fresco rides. What is beyond debate, though, is that this far into this particular trip, Seamus had ceased enjoying his ride."

Right? This would be the gross part of the story.

"Faced with such irrefutable evidence, most people I suspect would have relented and let the ailing dog cram into the back of the wagon."

Right. Even if you’re OK with the dog being strapped to the roof of the car, once the dog has been up there for hours and is sick, once he is ailing, you take a hose to him and then put him back up there and keep driving with him still strapped to the roof of the car for more hours?
According to Rachel, the key part of the story is this: Back in 1983, Romney should have let Seamus ride in the car after he started to leak those brown liquids. Ignoring the looting of average workers, she devoted 19 minutes to this revealing morality tale. She said this story may play a key role in the coming White House campaign.

Maddow hasn’t yet said a single word about that Reuters report—the report which details the way Mitt Romney looted the pensions and health care of average workers, forcing the federal government to replenish the funds he had cadged. But the child went on, and on and on, about a 28-year story concerning Mitt Romney’s pet dog!

Late in the segment, the darling child unburdened herself about her editorial judgment. She confided in Steve Kornacki:
MADDOW: It’s like the dog story gets shorthanded all the time as “Mitt Romney put his dog on the roof of his car.” Not actually the point of the story.

KORNACKI: It’s much more than that.

MADDOW: You have to get to really the gruesome details before you get why it might reflect on him as a guy. And so, I’ve been putting off doing that for a long time. But I sort of feel like, “Got to do it!”
“It’s much more than that,” Kornacki said. At that point, we had to admit it. Plainly, The Stupid has won!

Maddow’s segment was even dumber than we have let on. She ran through a list of other brainless, shaggy-dog stories about major pols from the past twenty years. George Bush 41 looked at his watch! He had never seen a supermarket scanner! (More on that second story to follow.) But eventually, Maddow brought Kornacki onto the set, and he unloosed a perfect howler—an emblem of the age.

What is Mitt Romney really like? Kornacki didn't mention those looted funds. Instead, he told Rachel about an incriminating photo—the latest tool with which we liberals were stoking our low-IQ rage:
KORNACKI: So that sort of thing, you know, it creates a problem for a guy like Romney, too, you know, where I think of, for instance— There’s a picture that’s making the rounds today, you know, the shoe shine on the tarmac. I don’t know if you saw this one. I don’t know where this came from. But he’s sitting in front of an airplane, I think it might be a corporate jet. And he’s wearing a suit and he’s getting a shoe shine. He’s got a big smile on his face.

MADDOW: He’s not shining his own shoes? Somebody else is shining his shoes for him.

KORNACKI: No, he’s getting a shoe shine. We put this on Salon earlier today. I’m not sure where it originated.

But, you know, it never looks good for a politician to be getting a shoe shine, you know, on a tarmac. But it looks terrible when it’s Mitt Romney and this is your image and this is your background.

And it looks worse when it’s the year 2012 and the economy is in such a bad place, and the Democrats are going to be going after your party for being the one that sort of favors the people who gets shoe shines on tarmacs.
Forget the way he looted those workers! Who cares about lower-class proles like them? The Stupids had some powerful proof of Who Mitt Romney Really Is. Salon had posted a photo of Romney getting a shoeshine! On a tarmac! Maybe in front of a corporate jet! (You know? The kind of jet that is routinely used by the politicians they favor?)

Kornacki didn’t know where the photo came from, but he did know it looks terrible! The children agreed that this was bad for Romney. But wouldn’t you know it? Fifteen minutes later, Rachel took it all back!

MADDOW: You bleached your mind yet of the image of Mitt Romney’s dog getting sick on top of his car amid an hours long car trip from Massachusetts to Canada? I’m still sorry about that. I promise from here on out, at least for tonight’s show, no more gastrointestinal distress and its fluids on The Rachel Maddow Show.

But before we move on completely, one quick note. In discussing Mr. Romney`s potential image problem as a patrician figure, a man of privilege, we did not show this picture, but our guest described this picture, which has been circulating heavily on the Internet today. He described it as showing Mr. Romney sitting on a tarmac appearing to getting his shoes signed. I had not seen this picture before the guest mentioned it. But apparently, it has been everywhere today.

The thing is, this is important to note, this is not a picture of Mitt Romney getting his shoes signed. The scene which was photographed at an airport in San Diego in 2008 shows Mr. Romney actually being wanded as part of being cleared by security. Now, he is outdoors. He is on a tarmac and the wider shot shows that he does appear to be sitting in front of what appears to be a private jet, which is not how most people get security screened. But still, it’s a picture of him being security screened, not a picture of him having his shoes shined.

We will be right back.
“He does appear to be sitting in front of what appears to be a private jet,” the silly child was careful to tell us. And trust us! James Fallows can tell us why this photo proves that Romney is very bad, even though it doesn’t show him getting a shoeshine.

David Atkins will link to the post. Krugman will link to that.

Can we talk? Rachel Maddow is one of the silliest children in the country. Last night, she showed the world that The Big Stupid has won.

Let’s review:

One week ago, Reuters filed a startling report about Mitt Romney’s past conduct. He looted a company, ripping off its workers. He made the federal government expends funds to make up for some of his looting.

Those average people didn’t just lose their jobs. They lost their health coverage too, and they got their pensions reduced. And the nation’s taxpayers got looted as well! All so Romney could walk away with very large sacks of cash.

Of course, Maddow walks away with big sacks of cash each day too. For that reason, Romney’s looting of average people may not strike her as strange. Whatever! She hasn’t mentioned this Reuters report. But last night, she devoted 19 minutes to the way Romney once treated his dog.

It was OK to let him ride on the roof—until the brown liquids began!

Much more was wrong with the ludicrous segment performed by this deeply foolish child. One example: A less silly child might have helped us recall the tarmac story used against President Clinton. He had a haircut on a tarmac! It showed us that Clinton was an elitist! (More to follow.)

That said, we’ll admit it—The Stupid has won. Your country is in the hands of The Dumb.

Our Own Rhodes Scholar won’t tell us liberals what Romney did to those average workers. All that counts is that silly old tale about the gent’s pet dog. In the past thirty years, your country has slid beneath the waves as we have increasingly “reasoned” this way.

Can your country survive these elites? Actually no—it cannot.


  1. You are right, Bob. I felt sick watching that segment last night. The message I got was: This is stupid, we know it's stupid, but by golly, stupid matters.

    The stupid matters because you make it matter, stupid!

  2. a rhode's scholar isn't worth what it used to be, unfortunately. ms. maddow is giving them a bad name. even more unfortunately, many liberals/progressives, desperate to find am alternative to rush, etc., blindly support her, willingly suspending logic and disbelief.

  3. Since Seamus came down with diarrhea, it was fortunate that he was in a cage outside the car, rather than loose inside the car.

  4. David in Cal is right-- I don't think that it makes you elitist or uncaring to keep dog feces off your car's interior and your family.

    Clearly, Mitt should have taken everyone to Canada in that private jet, where Seamus would have been safely stowed in the baggage hold as pets generally are on flights.

  5. " I had not seen this picture before the guest mentioned it."

    That's just fucking pathetic and anybody who takes Maddow seriously should be ashamed of themselves. How a lazy, vapid person like that could be questioning anybody else's elitism is simply beyond me.

  6. Alas, Dear Reverend Al has joined the Seamus Bandwagon as of last night. He must have picked it up from Rachel.
    Will it never end?

    Speaking of Rhodes scholars, Rachel is a Doctor, a Phd. in Poly Sci.
    When she was on Air America, she had a segment called "Ask The Doctor", whereby she would answer questions on subjects she knew nothing about. All in good fun of course, but it usually set my teeth on edge.

  7. I'm glad to see so many seeing the point that a dog suffering from diarrhea is probably best left outside and not inside the car.

    What's weird is how many people jumped to the conclusion that the dog's diarrhea was directly related to the trip. Dogs eat stuff they shouldn't and get sick all the time. If he got sick on more than one trip, then you would have a case that it was being on the roof that caused the problem. But he did get sick only once.

    Liberals can be just as stupid as conservatives in their tribal hatred. Unfortunately, right wing tribalism seems to play better with the public than left wing.

  8. If the dog was on the roof because he was having stomach problems BEFORE the trip, as some here want to believe, why hasn't Romney ever said that when questioned on the incident?

  9. Don't look for much hard info on TV, you won't find it. However, there was a Daily Show episode that featured Ellen Schultz, author of "Retirement Heist." The book is not a sexy read, that's for sure. But if you want to understand the many different and LEGAL ways corporations destroy pension funds and wittle down their retiree healthcare obligations, then read this book. You'll also have a better understanding of the nasty things that companies like BAIN do.

    Grace Nearing