The world’s dumbest person is helping Mitt Romney!

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

The rage of the world’s dumbest man: Will Barack Obama win re-election?

We become more doubtful by the day. But then, we watch MSNBC, which seems to be trying extra hard to help elect Mitt Romney.

Last evening, The Dumbest Person on Earth was worried about Romney’s rising approvals among women voters. He spoke with Judith Grey of the Daily Beast about what she called the “emotionally manipulative messaging strategy” some Republican ads are taking.

For Grey’s recent piece on this topic, click here. Last night, in closing her chat with O’Donnell, Grey offered this:
GREY (5/30/12): I don’t think [Romney has] closed the deal. But if you think about the negative press he’s been getting lately, that bullying story that came out just a couple weeks ago, I thought it would have had a lot—you know, the repercussions would have been a lot worse. So, I’m sort of thinking, even in light of all the negative press that’s been coming out, the numbers are rising. And I found that curious and I thought, “Maybe this is really the way to go for the Republicans.”

O’DONNELL: Yes, we have seen the favorability movement in the Washington Post poll in Mitt Romney’s direction.
Classic! Grey thought the new ads might be helping Romney in spite of all the negative press about that bullying story. It didn’t seem to have entered her head that stories like that might help Romney.

Was Romney helped by the bullying story? We have no idea. But over the past fifty years, we liberals have alternated between two basic approaches:

Sometimes, we sleep in the woods. At these times, we aren’t heard from for years.

At other times, we awake with a fury—and we start adopting approaches which help the other side. That is what we thought we saw when we watched The Dumbest Person on Earth conducting his show Tuesday night.

O’Donnell was back from a week in Tinseltown with an exciting new hook: Candidate Romney wasn’t like Goodman, Schwerner and Cheney when he was in high school! And no, we aren’t making that up.

On this particular evening, O’Donnell was angry because Romney had voiced a familiar slogan: “Education is the civil rights issue of our era.”

In response, O’Donnell launched one of his patented low-IQ furies. It’s hard to believe that anyone could be so disrespectful of our history and our martyrs—or so ginormously dumb.

This is the way he began. To watch the full segment, click here:
O’DONNELL (5/29/12): "This is the civil rights issue of our era."

Well, it could be. You could try to make that case, if you were born in, say, 1990 or after that and you’re maybe 21 years old now. Or if you were born yesterday, like Mitt Romney thinks you were.

But Mitt Romney was born in 1947. The civil rights issue of Mitt Romney’s era was civil rights.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to town when Mitt Romney was 16 years old; 125,000 people marched with Dr. King that day in Detroit. Mitt Romney wasn’t one of them. There were hundreds and hundreds of 16-year-olds marching with Dr. King in that crowd of 125,000.

Mitt Romney had a chance to march with Dr. King when he was 16 years old. He had a chance to march with history. And he didn’t do it. The last time he was running for president, he lied and said that his father did do it, did march with Martin Luther King, but his father didn’t do it either.

The civil rights issue of Mitt Romney’s era was civil rights.

Just after Romney finished his junior year of high school, the civil rights martyrs James Cheney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were murdered trying to help people get the right to vote in Mississippi. That was when hundreds of college students just a few years older than Mitt Romney were pouring into the south during the Civil Rights Movement.

A month after James Cheney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner gave their lives for it, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law because the civil rights issue of Mitt Romney’s era was civil rights. The Voting Rights Act was signed into law two months after Mitt Romney graduated from high school.

Did Mitt Romney attend any of the civil rights demonstrations in Detroit during his high school years? No, not one.

Did other American high school kids, both rich and poor, white and black, throughout this country attend civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s, in Detroit and elsewhere? Yes, by the thousands. That’s because they knew that the civil rights issue of Mitt Romney’s era was civil rights.
Those highlighted passages are so dumb and disrespectful that they make you wonder what was in the water at O’Donnell’s own prep school, whose rival is Belmont Hill.

First, a few minor points:

There is no evidence that Romney “lied” about his father and Dr. King. As it turned out, Governor Romney didn’t take part in the march in Detroit which Dr. King attended. But he designated the occasion Freedom March Day in Michigan and he helped lead a related march six days later.

Did Mitt Romney ever attend a civil rights demonstration? We have no idea.

Now, for the ginormous dumbness:

Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner are American martyrs. It’s obscene to use their names and faces as O’Donnell did this night, to criticize someone because he didn’t get killed in Mississippi, the way they did, when he had just completed his junior year in high school.

Aside from the mammoth disrespect, this is monumentally stupid. We graduated from high school in 1965 too. Here’s a clue: Very few people went to Mississippi during the 1964 Freedom Summer—and none of them were in high school. And by the way—Lawrence O’Donnell never did that or anything dimly like it. This is vintage O’Donnell pap, in which he takes three martyrs and uses their names and faces to thrill his viewers with one of his dumb, obscene rants.

How monumentally self-involved is The World’s Dumbest Known Human? After misusing Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner this way, O’Donnell began to muse about his own glory days. Again, we aren’t making this up:
O’DONNELL (continuing directly): High school is not an excuse for not taking a position, for not participating in the great issues of your time. In my one and only run for elective office, president of my high school, my number-one issue was the Vietnam War. I wanted our school to follow the example of colleges around the country and go on strike against the war, a one-day strike, a little demonstration. I came in a close second to Joe Duffy, a legendary athlete at my high school, who was and is an all-around great guy, and needless to say ran a much more disciplined campaign.
If you saw that in The Onion, you’d assume they were making it up. In this case, no such luck! O’Donnell went on to let us know that he attended “anti-war demonstration[s] Boston and Washington when I was in high school.” Somehow, this is supposed to have relevance for something that’s happening now.

Two points:

First, note the instinctive refusal to talk about low-income kids and schools. Like a bad outtake from About Schmidt, O’Donnell raises money for kids in African schools, though only during Christmas. But he instinctively changes the subject when American kids get discussed. Corporate "liberals" are like that.

(Raising money for African kids is a good thing, of course. Except when it's used as a substitute for talk about American kids.)

Second, the troubling political point: Is anyone but O’Donnell so dumb that they can’t see the way this sort of thing might work with unaligned voters?

First, we liberals attack Romney for an incident when he was a senior in high school. Now, O’Donnell attacks him because he didn’t manage to get himself killed after his junior year.

Just a warning from the real world: Many people will watch this sort of think and they’ll start feeling sorry for Romney. They didn’t get killed in Mississippi; neither did anyone else in their family. It will start to enter their heads that some very ratty (Hollywood) people are making some very unfair attacks.

This is an obvious possibility when we push such stupid attacks. Regarding the earlier bullying story, this possibility doesn’t seem to have entered Grey’s head.

Last night, O’Donnell was troubled by Romney’s approvals. It didn’t seem to enter his head that he might be helping Mitt rise.

Like Dowd, an instinctive bigot: On April 11, O’Donnell had to make a formal apology for having trashed Romney’s religion. The big dumb nut just can’t help it.

Tomorrow, we’ll link you to his most ridiculous performance during Campaign 04. Needless to say, he was under-prepared—and highly overwrought.

Did he help Bush with that performance—a performance which got him kicked off the air? In that case too, we have no idea.

But the thought did enter our heads. If you care about political outcomes, you're supposed to think about that.


  1. I agree with Bob that high school behavior is irrelevant when evaluating a mature individual's ability to do the job of President, or any other job, for that matter. However, if the campaign is going to focus on high school behavior, then Obama might be hurt worse than Romney. Obama was a heavy user of drugs, according to his own book.

    1. A "heavy user of drugs"?

      Good lordy, David. Why do you continually have to make things up to get to your false moral equivalency game?

      Here's a clue for you. What Romney did in high school in regards to the bullying incident was WRONG! And again, the issue isn't what happened years ago, but that Romney NOW says he doesn't remember it when everyone else involved not only remembers it, but regrets it deeply. And Romney dismisses it typical high school hi-jinx, one of the dumb things that all kids do.

      Now either he is lying or telling the truth. And either way, it's not good.

      And even if, in the unlikely event, that Obama was "a heavy user of drugs" while he was going through two Ivy League schools with honors, it doesn't make the fact that Romney TODAY -- and alone among his prep school buddies -- is totally without memory or empathy for a kid he attacked doesn't make what Romney did then, or his pathetic attempts to excuse it now any better.

    2. Sometimes when it comes to memory, lying or telling the truth aren't the only options. Memory is fragile and people can misremember (memory can be distorted) or not remember things they don't particularly want to recall without having lied about their inability to remember. It makes total sense that the ringleader of such an activity might be least motivated to recall it, but deliberate lying doesn't have to occur. He may genuinely not remember the incident. Further, people can recall things in one context but not in another, with memory varying from day to day -- it is not this all or nothing black and white phenomena. Remember when Hillary misremembered landing under fire in Sarajevo? She was accused of lying but memory can become distorted innocently, even if the result seems self-serving.

    3. Your memory might also be affected by taking roof hits with the Choom Gang. Just sayin'.

    4. Once again, whether he remembers it or forgot it is equally bad.

      Everyone else remembered it in stunning detail. If Mitt is to believed that he did so many dumb things as a kid that he can't remember them, well that leads you to ask how many other kids he bullied.

      And got away with it because of who his father was.

  2. Bob, did you actually watch the Romney ad that O'Donnell was talking about?

    It showed a white woman, getting out of bed in her nightgown in the middle of the night, lamenting that she exposed her children to future danger by falling for the smooth-talking, bright-smiling, charismatic guy four years ago.

    Nothing sexist about that, is there? Or, dare we say, even racist, either. Nope. Can't say either one. That would be rude.

    1. What exactly is racist about putting a white woman in an ad?

    2. A white woman lamenting she fell for a smooth-talking black guy? And put her children's future in danger?

      Nothing at all.

    3. Any racism or sexism relating to an ad like this is most likely originating from whoever first brings up the race or sex of the person in the ad.

    4. Oh, I get it. So the Willie Horton ad wasn't racist at all, either.

      It just originated from people who thought it was.

    5. "So the Willie Horton ad wasn't racist at all, either."

      We wern't talking about that ad, there is no comparison.

      If you think the ad in question is racist or sexist, then you are helping to render those terms meaningless, and the world is worse off for it.

    6. Any Republican ad that mentions Obama is racist, because Obama is black. Duh.

    7. The ad is more sexist than racist in its assumption that millions of women chose Obama over McCain because he was such a slick talker with a great smile.

      But the sexual/racial undertones behind a white woman getting out of bed in the middle of the night worrying about her children because of the bad choice she made for a black man certainly is there.

      Otherwise, why not have two fully clothed white women discussing this over coffee?

    8. Oops, double post and perhaps another one. The things seem to be getting lost in hyperspace, then suddenly show up.

    9. Anonymous,

      Do you have any clue that your claim (which I have to believe is now "liberal" currency) that this ad is both sexist and racist is Exhibit B of the case that liberals can't stop themselves from making arguments that turn away everyone else -- who DON'T possess your exquisite sensitivity to supposed racial and sexual overtones?

      Do you even in the slightest get this point?

      Silly me for asking; your highly conspicuous "outrage" tells us all we need to know.

    10. And no white man ever has committed a crime like Willie Horton's, or committed another crime while on furlough. It was just coincidence that Horton, and not some equally reprehensible white man, was chosen as the subject of this ad. Nothing to do with centuries of using black men as bogeymen in the culture, no sir. Just like this new ad has nothing to do with the deeply embedded cultural idea of black men as being particularly menacing to white women. That would come as news to the Scottsboro Boys, among others.

      Actual racists have learned that accusing people who point out their racism as racists is a bulletproof shield against the racism they themselves commit. There is no real racism, because to see it is to be guilty of it, and to not see it, is to be innocent of it. Any corresponding effects on the lives of real people is just coincidence.

    11. Here you should speak for yourself. Two things can be indepenndently true: liberals can lazily and self destructively call race by easy reflex: this becomes tedious at best. Also the morally lazy can ignore the vestiges of Jim Crow when they appear in, say, the cheap race baiting of Glenn Beck and John Voight in the early days of Obama's presidency. YES, it makes some whites uncomfortable to speak of such things, and on them sometimes reasonable people can disagree. It is easy to just ignore them. Aren't you proud?

    12. Anonymous,

      Look, with respect to the use of Willie Horton, there are at least a couple of points. First, it was candidate Al Gore who first used the example of Willie Horton against Dukakis, in the Democratic primaries. It becomes a bit strained to say that he, as a liberal Democrat, was appealing to racist sensibilities when he did so. Second, I'm pretty sure that, in fact, Willie Horton WAS by a good distance the most egregious case of the backfiring of the furlough program. Are political operatives supposed to employ LESS effective examples lest they be accused of racism?

      Now I will say that on the other hand I can see the point that exactly how the Willie Horton case got played might or might not be fairly criticized as appealing to some strain of racism.

      But when one starts to hyperventilate over the use of a white woman waking up at night worrying over her choice for President, and claiming that it has something important to do with a racial dynamic, then, frankly, I think one has lost all perspective on what real racism we should care about actually amounts to.

      In my view, it has been the program of liberals for many years now to define down racism in such a way that it somehow remains ubiquitous, but has virtually no larger significance. There was a time when we regarded someone as racist when they believed such things as: blacks should go to separate schools, or blacks should not be allowed to live in white neighborhoods, or blacks should not be allowed to marry whites, or blacks should not be hired for professional jobs, it is OK to refer to blacks by derogatory names, etc. That, you see, was real racism, racism we could all agree on.

      Today, though, just about anything seems to count as racist by many liberals: one need only apply sufficient imagination to virtually any scenario, and "racism" can be found. This would be the sort of "racism" of the complaint about the ad with the waking white woman. We need not ask whether it might be a natural ad to run (obviously, the appeal is to women -- given that black women aren't likely to be persuaded, why not use a white woman? Isn't the idea of someone waking up at night in worry a cliche?) We need only invent some supposed racial trope that might be shoe-horned into it, and, voila, we've got racism!

      Now I won't say that racism is behind us by any means. But I should think that the election of an African-American man to the highest office of the land, and by a good margin, seems pretty good evidence that racism does NOT have important sway anymore in the power structures of this country. Whatever racism that continues to exist is, itself, quite marginalized in its impact. Many liberals refuse to acknowledge this obvious change, and insist on calling their opposition racist, and acting as though racism is as potent as in the days of Jim Crow.

      Most Americans, though, have noted the change, if these liberals haven't, and find absurd the contrivance of accusations of racism over obvious trivia.

      We are far past the point at which those accusations sway people to the "liberal" side, instead of against it.

    13. "The ad is more sexist than racist in its assumption that millions of women chose Obama over McCain because he was such a slick talker with a great smile."

      False. The ad assumes that millions of *people*, regardless of race or gender, voted for Obama based on his charismatic nature. Your reaction that it assumed women only because of the gender of the subject smacks of sexism, in that you were not able to think in terms of the subject's ability to speak for a broader spectrum of the electorate.

      "But the sexual/racial undertones behind a white woman getting out of bed in the middle of the night worrying about her children because of the bad choice she made for a black man certainly is there."

      I am "certain" that people who are only able to look at the world through a prism of race and gender would conclude this. "Certainly not" for those who do not.

      " it's sexual/racial overtones are explicit. "

      Will someone please explain precisely why? Especially the "explicit" claim. Thank you.

    14. First I'd like to thank Greg for his marvelously incoherent post. Nice work.

      Anonymous at 6:30 PM,

      "And no white man ever has committed a crime like Willie Horton's, or committed another crime while on furlough."

      Um, who is this equally-horrible white man you speak of?

      You are exactly the kind of twit I'm complaining about as you are obviously far more concerned about dubious, unproven racism than about the people who were needlessly raped and tortured. In fact, you don't seem concerned about those people at all.

      If you want to know why the meme about how liberals are more concerned about criminals than their victims retains so much power I have what I think is a pretty good suggestion about the first place you should look. I know the example isn't completely analogous, of course, but you most people would care about the victims first and worry about the racial implications second.

      And that is one of the things that separates liberals like you from normal people.

    15. Braintree, A) you would at this point seem to be a reverse racism fetishist and B) kind of slow. In the case of the slavery thing you, by deliberate stupidity or not, simply said I said that which I did not say. Today you are more carefully vauge, people frightened of losing arguements often pretend to not understand the other person. BUT let me know where you get confused and I'll try to help....

    16. It almost would be funny if this wasn't such a classic example of the shambles our political discourse is in. Here we are in a thread at the Daily Howler of all places and here is

      highly_adequate May 31, 2012 7:44 PM

      demonstrating that no matter how many times Somerby repeats himself trying to set the record straight there's always going to be a


      type around to make sure it stays crooked.

      highly_adequate authoritatively states:

      >>>>>Look, with respect to the use of Willie Horton, there are at least a couple of points. First, it was candidate Al Gore who first used the example of Willie Horton against Dukakis, in the Democratic primaries. It becomes a bit strained to say that he, as a liberal Democrat, was appealing to racist sensibilities when he did so....<<<<<

      You can read Media Matters' 2005 take on a sighting of this widely disseminated falsehood: "Ingraham, Hannity revived claim that Al Gore brought up Willie Horton'". I prefer Somerby's 2002 summary [my emphasis]:

      >>>>>Is it true? Did Al Gore “bring Willie Horton to the American people?” Did Al Gore “bring Willie Horton into that race?” Only in the dysfunctional world of our deeply devolved public discourse. What actually happened in 1988? In one of 45 Dem debates that year, Candidate Gore challenged Candidate Dukakis to defend a Massachusetts furlough program under which convicts serving life sentences without hope of parole were released on weekend passes. In particular, Gore noted that two furloughed prisoners had committed new murders while on weekend leave. (Willie Horton was not one of these convicts.) The program was almost impossible to defend.

      But Gore only mentioned the program once, and he never mentioned any prisoner’s name; never mentioned any prisoner’s race; never ran any TV ads on the topic; and never used any visuals. More specifically, he never named Willie Horton, or mentioned his specific crime (Horton committed a brutal rape while on leave). In the Bush-Dukakis general election, the Bush campaign—and an independent, pro-Bush group—made extensive use of the Horton incident. In particular, the independent group used visuals of Horton which seemed to emphasize his race (he was black). In later years, as he neared his death, Bush campaign director Lee Atwater apologized for his own conduct in pushing the racial aspects of the Horton matter.

      Did Gore “bring Willie Horton to the American people?” As usual, Hannity was lying, once again. Meanwhile, Alan Colmes again sat silently by as his partner slandered Gore, misled his viewers, and dragged our discourse through the mud where Hannity’s kind has always been happiest. What does it mean? What does it mean when the world’s most important democracy conducts its public discourse this way? We can say one thing: It means that Sean happens. Gaze again on the devolved, corrupt culture we now laughingly describe as a “press corps.”<<<<<

    17. HB from a public computer.


      Using the term "reverse racist fetishist" is mere name calling.

      What would you call the idiots on the left who insisted for months in the face of absurdly mounting evidence that the lacrosse players were innocent that they were rapists because of "white privilege?"

      What would you call all the poeple who leaped to the conclusion that George Zimmerman was guilty even though the case was dubious from day one?

      Name calling is a poor substitute for addressing an issue. Reverses racism among the liberal rank and file is rampant. So is misandry. And it's killing us.

      I'm sorry you can't seem to bring yourself to face reality, dude. But thank you for being another in a very long line of unintentional Republican fifth columnists.

      And if I'm wrong about the whole slavery thing, then please explain what you meant.

    18. If it had been a black woman or man, it would also have been racist.
      So, OP thinks only a white male figure would be neutral.
      Nothing racist or sexist about that, is there?

  3. I'm also trying to wrap my brain around the notion that all sorts of false stories about Al Gore, including privileged youth growing up in a posh hotel, cost him the 2000 election, but a true story about Mitt Romney's privileged youth is helping him win 12 years later.

    1. An unfair attack creates sympathy. The attacks on Al Gore were not perceived as unfair because you had to know they were lies to know where the unfairness was. The problem with Gore was not that he had a privileged youth and lived in a hotel but that he said he grew up on a farm and was perceived to be a liar when ads said he lived in a hotel. But if you had read what Somerby said about this, you would know this.

    2. I know. That's why I called the tales about Gore "false stories."

      But since you missed my point, here it is again. I'll try using simpler language and shorter sentences this time.

      1. Somerby: Mean, false stories cost Gore the 2000 election.

      2. Somerby: Mean, true story will help Romney win the 2012 election.

    3. Here's what you don't get, Anonymous at 4:05:

      Al Gore never refuted the stories so the accusations stuck.

      The smear about the luxury hotel was about the quality of his upbringing and thus a regrettably successful knock on his character as an out of touch elitist.

      Picking on gay kids once or twice in the dim dark past when even liberals made fun of gays (listen to the original recording of "Alice's Restaurant" sometime)can be regarded as isolated, youthful indiscretions that Romney has denied anyway. Most people are not going to care about this because they have more important things to worry about like, you know, not being reduced to poverty.

      The problem is that when liberals obsess over this stuff and act all snotty to those who aren't we 1) insult them and 2) distract them w/o any help from Republicans from the fact that conservative policies are actually going to put their financial and physical security into even greater question than they are now.

      If liberals didn't exist conservatives would have to invent them.

    4. Well, Heironymous, try selling "Al Gore never refuted . . ." to the guy who does your thinking for you.

      He is still in the process of writing, some 12 years later, a book no publisher wanted based on the theory that Gore lost because meanies like Kit Seelye, Ceci Connelly, Frank Bruni, Maureen Dowd and Chris Matthews kept saying mean, nasty things about him while other meanies like E.J. Dionne remained silent.

      And of course, Gore's silence while the Rove machine was defining him for the voters while casting Rove's guy as the swell fella you'd love to have a beer with (except that he is a teetotalling recovering alcoholic) had nothing to do with the close outcome of the 2000 election.

      As far as "liberals obsess over this stuff" I have no idea how you know what liberals obsess over, but the bullying story was certainly no surprise to me, nor is it something I worry about.

      What bothers me far more are the right-wingers who call themselves liberals who instantly wanted to write off the whole episode, and Romney's non-denial denial of it and his non-apology apology for it, as just some sort of "youthful indiscretion."

      Sorry, but we went down that path during the Clinton impeachment when we learned that Henry Hyde, the lead House prosecutor, kept a mistress on the side when he was 40 years old, and then it started raining all sorts of adulterous Republicans -- Bob Livingstone, Newt Gingrich, Helen Chenoweth.

      But never mind the hypocrisy of all that. Bill Clinton committed the high crime and misdemeanor of getting some BJs on the side.

      So I ask you, when does a guy so lacking in empathy that he says he can't remember rounding up a group of guys to gang up on another kid and cut his hair begin to bother you so much that the long worn-out "youthful indiscretion" excuse no longer works?

      Or is this yet another one of those IOKIYAR -- "It's OK If You Are Republican" -- behaviors that we condemn in Democrats but Republicans skate on?

    5. "Well, Heironymous, try selling 'Al Gore never refuted . . .' to the guy who does your thinking for you."

      Dear Anonymous at 6:54, the fact that I disagree with Bob shows 1) I do my own thinking and 2)the fact that the evidence you provided to accuse me of being some sort of intellectual slave to Bob actually shows the exact opposite reveals that you are quite the idiot.

      And the rest of your post nicely proves my point. Yes, Al Gore was being slimed to beat the band and never stood up for himself. He narrowly won the election that was stolen from him precisely because he allowed himself to be painted as a weird, lying exaggerator. If he had stood up for himself and pointed out how Bush used his daddy's influence to cravenly duck Vietnam, he could very easily have turned the tables. He could have also done very well for himself by attacking the press which Americans quite understandably haven't liked for years. Even given the fact that you are an obvious dolt, I really don't see why you can't grasp such a simple reality.

      What Romney did was a half century ago. People change over time and Romney claims he doesn't even remember the incidents which is a form of denial. Voters simply don't decide who they're going to vote for based on high school stuff they're not sure about. They want more immediate, relevant facts like how Romney screwed workers while at Bain Capital (an issue, which, BTW, worked great for Ted Kennedy in their Senate race). It's not a question of whether brutalizing a gay person is OK. Brutalizing a gay person is most definitely not OK. What I'm concerned about is focusing on what it takes to win elections rather than wasting time on stuff that only liberal give much of a crap about. We can't win elections if we only appeal to ourselves. There aren't enough of us.

    6. I'm not less likely to vote for Romney because he cut a kid's hair in high school but I'm less likely to vote for Obama because that is the type of "issue" that defines the democrats now. Also it is disturbing to think they hope to achieve a social condition in which such nonsense DOES matter to voters.

    7. I must have missed the news cycle when Romney refuted his bullying episode.

  4. Yawn. O'Donnell, as usual, is overwrought and a tad absurd, but this can only be seen as some great outrage by someone who devotes way, way to much of his time to hating Lawrence O'Donnell's guts. And if you want to get technical....

    Don't you have SOME idea if Mitt Romney ever joined in a civil rights march? Aren't the odds rather overwhelming that if he had, you would have heard about it?

    Much of the conservative line of our day bates O'Donnell's dubious response. Guys like David in Ca will always tell you what a brave, great guy MLK was, just before or after dumping on everything he stood or fought for. David Mamet's disgraceful book of last year was about the ultimate in this awful tendency. But, I doubt Bob even reads what the right is putting out anymore, between Collins, Maddow and O'Donnell, he has his hands full. But if Obama loses, are we really going to look back on THIS as the reason?

    I would challenge anyone to listen to the Dennis Miller clip I posted yesterday, if you want to know why Obama may lose. The righty is protected by an impenetrable wall of smug, and liberals like Bob just like to tweak other liberals because they know they won't hit back. That is why we may soon be returning to the economic policies of George W Bush, and why we might get our own private 1930s. But don't blame those people who pimp this insanity, it's always the liberals fault.

    Bob's dichotomy of the sleeping liberal as opposed to the raving liberal is not
    completely wrong. The problem is, to the Daily Howler when he is civil he is always sleeping and when he is fighting he is always raving.
    Finally, it's fairly natural Romney would get a bump from kiss assy press coverage at this point ( See Time Magazines absurd blessing on the Bain years, if, unlike Bob, you sometimes venture beyond the New York Times and MSNBC), as Daily Howler readers know, they like a close race! We will know a month or so after the convention who will win, unless it's going to be too close to call again.

    1. Right, Greg, because the behavior of one of the most famous and public members of the liberal left is going to have no effect at all on how the voters regard us.

      Pure genius, dude.

    2. If O"Donnell is one of the most famous on the left we are sunk anyway; but thanks for ignoring the obvious validity in what I"m saying.

    3. Hieronymous forgot to add "influential." Let's not forget how deeply influential that "dumb" Lawrence O'Donnell is. Why millions of liberals from coast to coast hang on his every word!

      And Greg, your point is well taken. If liberals are asleep when they don't fight and raving when they do, then what kind of Harvard Debating Society rules will satisfy Somerby? Just what kind of rhetorical tightrope must every liberal media member negotiate that would satisfy Somerby's strict rules, especially when he won't apply the same rules to buffoons like Dennis Miller and Rush Limbaugh to the point that he will even rush to Rush's defense when he calls a law student a "slut." And why? Because Bill Maher, Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman are said sexist things, too, so its perfectly OK for Rush to call a 30-year-old law student a prostitute for exercising her rights as an American and testifying about the health care needs of women for contraceptive medications.

      But did Rush's words cause Bob to clutch his pearls and swoon? Nope, it was all those mean liberals who thought he finally crossed the line and used the free market system to organize and fight back.

      Darlings! That just can't be done in the polite society that exists only in Somerby's mind.

    4. "but thanks for ignoring the obvious validity in what I"m saying."

      Well, gosh, Greg, I'm so happy to see you have no problem displaying your egoism. I'd suggest that the "obvious validity of what [you're] saying" is for others to judge. Last I recall you were accusing people who were right to be skeptical of the case against Zimmerman of being the very same kind of people who supported slavery. I guess I missed the obvious validity of that too.

      I reread your post. It really seems to be quite a mess.

    5. I think i can judge the validity of what I'm saying just fine, and since you are clearly unable to grasp the basic points laid before you (today) or ineptly misunderstand other material (wrong again on the slavery thing) you are in a poor posistion to judge my ego. You need to actually listen to what others are actually saying , and then see if you can respond. I 'm afraid you inability to reason is the mess.

    6. HB from a public computer.

      "I think i can judge the validity of what I'm saying just fine..."

      If you really think that you are one arrogant bonehead. NO ONE is able to do that on a consistent basis. That's one of the reasons we have freedom of speech. Because it's understood that we all fall short from time to time and are talking out of our bodacious bottoms.

      And I notice that you almost never seem to support any of your positions.

      And, again, please explain your point about slavery.

    7. The comments are a lot less boring than the blog.

  5. "we may soon be returning to the economic policies of George W Bush"

    We really never left them. Just saying.

  6. Re-posting because I think Mr Somerby has got it wrong. I think the attack by Mr O'Donnell was a bit over the top in its theatricality but I don't think it is going to help Romney win the election because there is a kernel of truth to the accusation that O'Donnell is making. Here is the original post:

    I don't get the vitriol. Mr O'Donnell has a fairly simple thesis:

    Romney states that education reform is the "Civil Rights Issue of our time". Apparently, it is a big enough deal - on the scale of Civil Rights protests from the 50's and 60's that Romney HAS to fight for the cause of Education. So if Romney is going to fight for THIS cause would it be reasonable to assume he could have fought for the cause of Civil Rights back in the 60's? And if it is reasonable to think that he COULD have fought for that cause DID he fight for that cause?

    Romney didn't HAVE to compare the state of education as the "Civil Rights issue of our time" that was the analogy HE was making. However, as Mr O'Donnell points out it seems that Romney didn't give 2 shits about the actual civil rights issue at all. Although I think it is a bit of a stretch to think that Romney should have marched in Birmingham - I think the fact that Romney did not come out with public statements about his church's discrimination of black people becoming ministers is very damning. I also think it is particularly damning that Romney does not have a history of advocating for the rights of minorities. Maybe I missed that Op-Ed? I would be happy if people could point me to the opinion pieces where Romney has demonstrated his solidarity with the plight of black people in this country.

  7. Bob has said repeatedly that his criticisms of supposedly progressive commentators are meant to show how they hurt the progressive cause. That said, it's legitimate to take issue with his focus on MSNBC and a few NYT columnists. Are the particular pieces that Bob focuses on really those most likely to swing the election?
    So, a challenge to Bob: What stories are currently either not being told or are being told poorly that, if they were told well, would most advance the progressive cause? Conversely, what unfair/untrue stories are being told that most harm the progressive cause?
    One of the former that immediately comes to mind, and which Bob has highlighted, is that the pensions of at least one company bankrupted by Bain were dumped on a government agency.
    More please!

    1. Very good. And the sort of coverage Time has given Bain, as I mentioned, is a good place to start.

    2. 1. Schools have been improving and are not in crisis -- teachers are doing a good job and do not need to be laid off and have their pensions taken away. Teachers are not the enemy of improving education.
      2. There are major flaws in the proposals of conservative candidates and these are the reasons we should not vote for them -- not personal idiosyncrasies and quirks that make them human beings. What Romney did to Bain is more important than where his dog rode on family trips.
      3. Obama should be supported based on his policies and accomplishments, not by calling his opponents racists or bigots or treating them like idiots (calling them low-information voters, for example, as a euphemism for "hicks."
      4. Social security is not in trouble, is not going bankrupt. Scaring people into believing they will never collect social security only benefits conservatives who want to dismantle the system. Liberals should be educating people about how SS works, not confusing them and obscuring this point.
      5. All consumers of media need to realize that millionaire journalists are not trying to inform them but may be playing them in the interests of those who pay their salaries.

      Are these points really so hard to understand?

    3. "Low-information voters" is not a euphemism, it's a valid descriptive. It's not an automatic term of disparagement, nor is it a value judgment, as "idiots" and "hicks" are.

    4. Exactly. "Low-information voters" could be those who have better things to do with what little spare time they have than to pursue a hobby as a political junkie.

      This isn't to say that what they might base their vote on -- such things as perceived character, or a personal connection they feel to a particular candidate, or which guy seems to understand their plight better -- is unimportant.

  8. How many people watch O'Donnell? Seriously, how many? Has anyone here ever had someone begin a conversation with them by saying, "Did you hear what Larry O'D had to say last night?" The next time anyone says that to me, it will be the first.

    1. Even more to the point, how many people saw the segment that's got Bob's panties in a wad and said, "Gee, I was going to vote for Obama, but I feel so sorry for Romney now, I'll vote for him."

    2. It doesn't happen like that. It happens over time when a voter observes the ridiculous "issues" that consume Democrats (free birth control and gay marriage) and realize they no longer relate to them because they couldn't give two craps about those issues.

  9. Shorter dopes:

    No one watches MSNBC. I don't know anyone who does.

    Pointing out bad behavior on MSNBC is worse than bad behavior on MSNBC.

    1. Even shorter and dopier:

      The vile Lawrence O'Donnell will single-handedly win the election for Mitt Romney. How do I know this? Because Bob Somerby, the guy who does my thinking for me, says so. And he is NEVER, EVER, EVER wrong!

    2. I have a handful of friends who watch MSNBC regularly. I hate to say it, but they are tribalist Dems, Obama can do no wrong, the system is out to get him, Republicans are singularly evil, etc. They have their heels dug in, there's no reasoning with them. It's remarkably similar to my conservative buddies during the GWB administration, their FOX-fueled finger-pointing is a the yin to MSNBC's yang.

    3. And of course, you stand on that precious moral high ground in the middle, unsullied by either your "liberal" or "conservative" friends, who are both equally as nutty as they are wrong.

      How precious of you!

  10. Both the bad behavior and the pointing out of same are irrelevant.

    1. Irrelevant indeed.

      I got a challenge for those who think Bob is always right and don't have to think further.

      When Bob goes off on an MSNBC host, go to their web site and match up what they actually said, in full context, against what Bob says they said.

      Now unless their brain synapses are totally atrophied by now of worshipping at the Altar of Somerby, I think they'll be surprised at the difference.

    2. Hey there Sparky,

      How about backing up your charge with an example? Whatever your opinion of Somerby, he routinely posts the transcripts in question or links to the footage so readers can judge for themselves. I think ya'll are better off with the self-hating Irish bigot line of attack.

  11. What we are seeing are the beginning stages of desperation. And desperate people have a habit of being stupid and self-destructive.

    Why so desperate? Obama's re-election is now in doubt and certainly not the "sure thing" that MSNBC personalities may have envisioned. It sure looks like they're starting to come unhinged as the prospect of a Romney presidency becomes more credible. If Romney continues to do well and with five whole months to go before the election, the possibility of seeing some complete meltdowns is excellent.

    Of course this applies to everyone else on Team Obama as well, politicians and media types alike. I think the chances of someone making a horrendous, game changing "own goal" as they see Obama's fortunes fading is really quite high.

  12. If the point is that MSNBC would be one factor in the election of Romney, Somerby is 100% correct.

    It is nearly certain a number of voters' minds have been changed by the MSNBC approach to certain issues like the Trayvon Martin case and the Mitt Romney "bullying" story.

    I've never voted a straight ticket but usually voted Democratic especially in federal elections. The MSNBC reaction to the "bullying" story is one typical example of why I for one no longer take Democrats seriously (hysterics such as equating an unwanted haircut with rape). I might have done the same thing at 18 or cheered on someone who did, and while I would not do it now it changes nothing about my opinion of the 18 year old Romney, but does change my view of the Democrats and media people who reacted in ways regular people find bizarre and ridiculous.

    1. Oh noes, good thing the Fox News network never leaves people dismayed about the antics of Republicans and media people reacting in ways regular people find bizarre and ridiculous.

    2. "The MSNBC reaction to the "bullying" story is one typical example of why I for one no longer take Democrats seriously (hysterics such as equating an unwanted haircut with rape)."

      Welcome to your new niche audience, Bob. Neo-cons disguising themselves as independent-minded, who now claim that because of its coverage of two stories on a single network, they will never take the entire Democratic Party seriously again. As if they ever did.

      And he claims, with absolutely no evidence at all, that he is certain "a number of voters" (how ever many that may be) agree with him.

    3. MSNBC isn't losing voters for Democrats because of its coverage of two stories, it is an example of an obsessive focus on stories that don't matter to the vast majority of voters outside of liberal tribalists. Not only are those stories defining the Democrats and Obama, but most people whose votes are up for grabs oppose the tribalists' point of view.

  13. Fox News has been purveying swill for years. Democrats have been on the receiving end. Did Fox News swing the election for Obama because Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly said mean and/or overblown things? Are we living in a halcyon era of liberal ascendancy because the conservative cable channel is mean to Democratic politicians and contemptuous towards everyday liberals? How does this work, exactly, where the mean liberals on the little-watched cable channel determine the outcomes of elections by creating sympathy for their targets, but the mean conservatives on the widely-watched cable channel create no such effect? This theory of yours, Bob, is like saying Fox's fixation on the War on Christmas delivered the White House to Obama. It's an absurd proposition that you couldn't possibly mean.

    1. And those, indeed, are the $64,000 questions.

      One must wonder, had he lived 240 or so years ago, how Somerby would be wringing his hands to the damage that Thomas Paine was causing to the independence movement with all the mean things he was writing about the British.

      Assuming Bob would be on the side of independence.

    2. Equating Thomas Paine with Lawrence O'Donnell and Gail Collins is typical of the insanity of liberal tribalism.

  14. People are totally missing the point. It's not that O'Donnell is influencing so many people. He's not. Bob understands this. The point is, for a long period of time, there was no push-back from progressives. The thing is, there is finally some push-back. Problem is, our push-back sucks. It convinces no one. The point is not to be anti-Shaun Hannities, but to actually make good arguments. We don't do that. Our arguments suck. And there's no good reason for it, other than simply being lazy. Simply calling everyone who disagrees with us stupid racists gets us nowhere. We have truth on our side, yet we play in the mire as if we don't.

    1. No, the point is whether you trust the intelligence of the Americans to sort through competing voices from all sides of the political spectrum and make an intelligent decision, no matter how clumsy some of those voices may be at times.

      "Simply calling everyone who disagrees with us stupid racists gets us nowhere." And that certainly is the Somerby spin. But does that mean that on those occasions when someone is being both stupid and racist, you can't call them out on it?

      Here's my analogy. Bob has appointed himself referee to a street fight. One side brings guns, knives and chains. The other side is restricted to boxing gloves. And Bob complains when the side with the boxing glove breaks the other guy's nose.

    2. "No, the point is whether you trust the intelligence of the Americans to sort through competing voices from all sides of the political spectrum and make an intelligent decision,"

      This is just silly Fourth of July rhetoric--obviously there are a significant number of voters (across the political spectrum, but probably more on the right) who can be influenced by really stupid arguments or who can vote for someone for really stupid reasons. You implicitly concede this with your gun, knife and chain analogy. That's obviously a reference to the nasty arguments used by the right, which have very little basis in reason, and you evidently want the left to use the same arguments.

      That's the real issue--can one appeal to people using intelligent arguments? I hope so, because for one thing judging from what I've seen on MSNBC, when the liberals resort to Fox News style tactics (and no, I don't think MSNBC is as bad as Fox) they just aren't very good at it.

    3. Correction--you want the left to use the same style of "reasoning", not of course exactly the same arguments.

    4. Bob isn't content to stop at saying that the liberal pushback channel sucks. He also suggests, with greater and greater frequency, that the liberal pushback channel is creating sympathy for its targets and threatening to tip the election towards Republicans.

    5. I don't know if he's right about that--Bob is right that the great liberal channel sucks, except for the Chris Hayes show but he might be giving them more importance than they really deserve. Lawrence O'Donnell, for instance--I never hear anyone talk about that clown, though unfortunately Maddow does have a bit of a fan club among liberal TV watchers. But how many voters are really going to be influenced by this garbage? I don't know. Frankly, I hope the number is small.

      He might do better to give most of his attention to the NYT and the rest of the press. The NYT has influence that goes beyond the number of people who actually read it, which is more than you can say about the idiots at MSNBC.

  15. "Did he help Bush with that performance—a performance which got him kicked off the air? In that case too, we have no idea. But the thought did enter our heads. If you care about political outcomes, you're supposed to think about that."

    Classic case of talking out of both sides of your mouth. You have "no idea" of the effect of O'Donnell's unhinged rant against the Swiftboater, but because you have "no idea" you think it is still possible that O'Donnell helped swing the election to Bush.

    Well, here's a clue for you -- O'Donnell's rant, seen by few and remembered by fewer, what had far more effect on the "political outcome" was this:

    Kerry had no answer for the classic Rovian tactic of using surrogates to attack an opponent's strength and turn it into a weakness. The attack even reached the point where it was claimed that the military hands out Silver and Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts like lollipops on Halloween, which should have insulted any combat veteran.

    And once again, like Gore in 2000, Kerry offered no counter-attack to a deeply personal smear at all. Instead, he stuck by the Marquis de Somerby rules, like Gore before him, and stuck to the "issues" while Karl Rove was engineering yet another campaign that effectively defined Kerry as an anti-war hippie coward who got his medals by subterfuge and trickery, while his guy took a powder on his National Guard obligation.

    But forget all that. Somerby has "no idea" if Lawrence O'Donnell's five minute rant helped swing the election Bush's way. But it could have. Maybe.

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