BEATING HIS WIFE: The Rule of Three!


Conclusion—Rachel’s con: There are many ways to quote—or misquote—a White House candidate.

Just yesterday, Maureen Dowd misquoted Candidate Obama, removing his words from their obvious context.

George Will may have done the same thing—to Candidate FDR! In that case, the obsessive columnist went all the way back to 1920 in search of a damning “quotation.”

For our money, Rachel Maddow worked a bit of a con on August 2. But then, what else is new?

Background: Liberals had been complaining about the way Candidate Romney was beating his wife concerning her silly Olympic event. Pretending to honor the Rule of Three, Rachel drove the point home, showing clips of three disturbing interviews with Romney.

To watch the full segment, click this:
MADDOW (8/2/12): It is a sport that requires agility and flexibility and endurance. It’s the sport of avoiding one very specific Olympic sport. Mitt Romney, take it away.

(Start of videotape)

BRIAN WILLIAMS: When is the event and for those of us who don’t follow the sport, what happens? Are there rounds of competition? Is there just one chance? What happens?
ROMNEY: I have to tell you, this is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on.

ROMNEY: My sons gave me a box and said, “If you wear this, Mom will pay more attention to you.” It was a rubber horse mask.
MATT LAUER: Did you wear it?

CARL CAMERON: It sounds like Rafalca, your horse, is going to the Olympics. People are already getting snarky about this, Governor, saying, “Well, this is elitist, this is not a sport that Americans are familiar with.” But it is originating in sort of cavalry history, our country does have that. Any comment to what it means to have your horse there and Ann and your own familiarity with the sport?
ROMNEY: It’s actually Ann’s passion, not so much mine, to tell you the truth. When I get a chance to ride a horse, it’s Western and it’s on the trail.

(End of videotape)

MADDOW: (Disapprovingly; pausing, clearing her throat) "You’re not going to actually see this horse compete," Matt Lauer said. "I mean, this is a big deal having a horse in the Olympics? No interest to be there?"

Mitt Romney’s response: "It’s Ann’s horse. She’s the horse guy."

The whole thing is so awkward. But the effort here is for the candidate to distance himself from this hobby that his family has pursued with a lot of commitment. You even have the Fox News reporter trying to help, suggesting dressage had this long and honorable tradition in cavalry.

But the answer is still, “I’m not even going to watch, I don’t know when it’s happening, I don’t like it, it’s my wife who likes it. Not me."
To her credit, Maddow didn’t say Romney was beating his wife, as several other liberals had done. If you watch the tape, you can decide if her gestures and tone of disapproval were meant to suggest such abuse.

But Rachel had managed to find three examples of whatever Mitt was supposed to have done. Whatever it was the hopeful had done, he had done it three separate times—in interviews with Brian and Matt and even with Carl Cameron.

Telling us liberals a story we like, Rachel met the Rule of Three. Or did she?

We’d have to say she didn’t. Rachel included that exchange with Lauer—a thoroughly typical example of candidate husband-wife shtick. Romney, sitting and laughing with his wife, told a funny old family story—the type of tale every spousal team tells at some point on the stump.

(See Obama, dirty socks, Campaign 2008. Maureen Dowd got mad at Michelle for lowering Barry this way.)

Was Mitt Romney beating his wife when he wouldn’t don that horsey mask that Christmas? No, but Rachel needed three examples—and so, this was included.

How about the other examples? Was Romney beating his wife?

Rachel played tape from the exchange with Williams which set this silly theme into motion. After that interview, ABC’s Amber Porter filed a pitiful news report. She ran two answers by Romney together, making his insult seem great.

She failed to mark one large deletion, making Romney’s reinvented response sound more callow than it had been. In that sense, she flatly misquoted the candidate. But so what?

Porter said Romney was dissing his wife by skipping her horsey event. She had no way to know such a thing—to know that Ann Romney wanted him there, despite the bad politics—but other liberals took the bait, linking back to Porter. Even the sensible Kevin Drum said Romney’s conduct was “really contemptible.” Romney’s remarks “were low even for him,” Digby said on August 2.

Maddow clowned around with this topic that very evening. But then, she frequently clowns.

Yesterday, on Meet the Press, you saw Maddow get eaten alive by Rich Lowry (who bumbled a bit himself). She didn’t know what to say about the reductions in Medicare spending involved in Obama’s health law.

Everyone knows how to speak to that point. Everyone but Maddow!

On her own program, Maddow clowns among those who share her viewpoint. She never has to respond to guests who disagree with her outlook.

Yesterday, you saw the wages of this game. As liberals, you often get handed silly shit on Maddow’s frequently silly program. When she arrives on Meet the Press, she doesn’t even know what to say about that spending reduction.

Back to her three examples of Mitt Romney’s bad conduct:

The exchange with Lauer was pure piddle. Rachel simply threw it in, assuming her viewers were too dumb to notice. She omitted an earlier part of the exchange, where Romney said he would love to attend his wife’s silly stupid event.

(“I'd love to be there, but this is kind of a busy time for me, so [laughing] I'm not going to be able to.” Rather than stay for the horsey event, he went to Israel and Poland.)

No, that wasn't bad conduct. We're left with two examples.

Regarding the exchange with Williams, Maddow only played the limited part of the tape which let us liberals feel outrage. She dropped the other parts of the exchange where Romney said what a thrill it is to be involved in the Olympics.

How about that third exchange—the (June 18) exchange with Cameron? Rachel let us feel that Mitt had been beating his wife again. She did that by dropping the part of the exchange where Mitt wasn’t beating his wife.

It came right after the part of the clip Rachel played. She knew we mustn’t see it:
CAMERON (6/18/12): It sounds like Rafalca, your horse, is going to the Olympics…Any comment to what it means to have your horse there and Ann and your own familiarity with the sport?

ROMNEY: It's actually Ann's passion. Not so much mine, to tell you the truth. When I get a chance to ride a horse, it's western and it's on the trail. But Ann is very much devoted to the sport, and she loves it. And it's, of course, been an extraordinarily powerful healing element in her life. So, what works for her is something I'm not going to get in the middle of.
Was Romney beating his wife that day? Maybe not so much—but Rachel knew what to cut!

Increasingly, Maddow is the place we liberals go to get dumb and then dumber. Increasingly, her approach is Hannityesque. In this instance, several liberals had flipped out about the way Romney was beating his wife. Trusting our gullibility, she gave us three examples of his misconduct, thereby meeting the Rule of Three. To do so, she had to go back almost two months; she had to edit her clips rather tightly; and she had to include that stupid shit about the horsey mask.

That is the kind of stupid shit you get most evenings from Maddow. Further case in point:

As she closed this segment that night, Maddow promised big news the next evening. Having pleased us with this stupid shit, she promised a “more substantive point:”
MADDOW: The more substantive point here is that this is actually Mr. Romney’s personal business. Not personal business as in it’s his personal business. But literally a business that he and his wife own as a business interest. We know this from the one and only complete year of tax returns Mr. Romney has released.

You see there? That highlighted line is the Romney`s ultimate failed attempt at a $77,000 write-off in 2010 for the care and feeding of that horse, Rafalca, that competed in the Olympics that Mr. Romney says he’s not going to watch and doesn’t care about.

Mr. Romney, in his tax returns, ascribes to his personal business interests, the horse’s upkeep as a business loss. The matter of what is in Mr. Romney’s tax returns and what he says in his tax returns turned into a white-hot political fight today. We have found some tape in the archives that may take this fight in a whole new direction as of tomorrow. We have got that tape that I think nobody has seen in at least a decade and we’ve got that story as our lead tomorrow night.

We’ve got that incredible tape for you tomorrow night. Please be here. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

Now, it’s time for the Lawrence, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.
Rachel promised us some “incredible tape” which she had just found, involving “a white-hot political fight.”

Gullibly, we tuned in the next evening. That presentation was bullshit too, built around silly interpretations which assume her viewers are too gullible to see past a thing Maddow says.

To watch that segment, click here. You’ve heard nothing about the incredible tape revealed on this show because it was basically pointless.

That next evening, the analysts finally came to us with a formal request. It’s time to stop pretending, they said.

Rachel is largely a fraud, they said. Her presentations are routinely absurd. She’s a millionaire conning the rubes, the fiery young analysts said.

We wanted to tell them to show some respect! But after two nights of this stupid shit, we found their claims hard to resist.


  1. Boooooooooook! She wrote a Booooooooooooooooooook!

  2. As this is the THIRD, LONG post TDH has squeezed out of this fairly minor bit of political back biting, Bob may want to explore his own observance of the rule of three. He does throw in a final shot at Maddow, if the link he's using is still good; She points out that Romney has had it both ways and flipped flopped on the Tax Return issue, as he has on just about everything else. Honestly, I find this something less than earth shaking, but poor Bob has become so sensitized to these terrible attacks on poor Mitt he can't even bring himself to mention what they are about, he just brings on the hate for Maddow.

    To be clear, Digby and Drum were surprisingly tacky in this silly matter. They don't have a dumb TV hour to fill every day; so they don't have the excuse Maddow does, if you want to give her that. Her comments were not really as bad those of these serious liberal bloggers. Nobody suggested, of course, that Romney beats his wife, and TDH misuse of this often misused, hoary old saw doesn't speak well for him as a writer.

    We are now at the parental stage on this one, were the goody two shoes kid (Bob) gets punished along with the bad kid for being such a tiresome tattle tale.

    And as for the final twisting of the knife into the hated les-, I mean, the hated Maddow, I say "Bring It On." Let's start with the most dramatic attempt Maddow has made in an effort to be taken serious, her bestselling book "Drift." Can you imagine TDH trying to take down anyone else yet COMPLETELY ignoring a book on a serious issue they had on the Bestseller list???!!!!

    I think it's two things. To analyze the book would force TDJ to either admit it has value, or make a case against it. The latter would probably run along the lines of the petty snarking we've seen in the comments section by Maddow haters who probably haven't read it. Also, the book is about Defense Spending, a hugely important aspect of our economic crisis of which the Daily Howler continues to have exactly zero to offer. Whatever the reason, however, it's a sin of omission that screams dishonesty.

  3. "You've hear nothing about the incredible tape revealed on this show because it was basically pointless."

    The tape (edited or not)began in 1994 with Willard Romney challenging Ted Kennedy to release his tax returns. Willard said that he would if Ted would. Ted didn't and Willard didn't. In 2002,after his gubernatorial opponents released their tax returns, Willard Romney defended Ted Kennedy's refusal to release his tax returns for privacy reasons and stated that he - Willard - was wrong for seeking their release. Also during the 2002 gubernatorial campaign, when asked why Willard Romney wouldn't release his returns since his opponents had done so, his spokesman said that Willard Romney was still waiting for Ted Kennedy to release his. It is undisputed that Willard's spokesman said one thing and Willard said another in 2002 regarding why he was not releasing the tax returns.

    How this is pointless as it directly relates to Willard Romney's veracity during a presidential campaign is left to the reader's imagination in this unfortunate post.

    In addition, one interpretation of Willard Romney's responses to questions regarding the Olympic dressage competition in which a horse owned jointly by he and his wife was entered would be that he delegates that ownership to her. Another interpretation is that Willard Romney is attempting to distance himself from the notions that he is not like us and instead is a uber-rich type carrying on uber-rich activities. During a presidential campaign, it defies logic for those supporting Romney's opponent to chose the former rather than the latter interpretation.

    These issues are not as substantial as issues concerning foreign policy and the like. However, to discount these issues as pointless when judging a candidates's credibility for fitness in office during a campaign may be what's done on the far side of Neptune rather than here in the real world.

  4. One things for sure, you're a walking and talking review of the movie Groundhog Day, Greg.

    1. Just think, if TDH writes about this AGAIN, tomorrow, than I can too! And we will have broken the curse of threes.

    2. You should be more worried about the curse of futility.

  5. That's about two minutes of one broadcast out of approximately 200 minutes of performance time in a week, and she says little except the indisputable point that he is trying to distance himself.

    That segment appeared on August 2. Today is August 13. So why is The Howler trying to outdistance Maureen Dowd? She only puts a personal hate on Obama every once in a while. Here, for Maddow, we get 2000 words of relentless diatribe on Maddow for some cherry-picked segment of her show every day. I doubt that those who have acquired their case of Maddow-hatred on this blog would, if they took the time to decide for themselves, find the remaining 198 minutes of her show in a week fraudulent.

    1. Speaking for myself, I didn't acquire a hatred for Maddow from this blog, but rather from her old satellite radio talk program.

      What infuriated me then: her looseness with "facts," yes, but mostly her fawning love for our military.

      Her show, beloved by many liberals, including some close family members, continues to suffer mightily from the first problem -- I am happy that the Howler sees fit to continue to show how.

      Her book suffers mightily from the second problem -- not to mention it's irrelevancy to the Howler's subject matter.

      Poor Greg is now reduced to trying to imply that the Howler has some problem with Maddow's sexuality.

      Frankly, Greg, you are in the gutter again.

      Here's a rag. Clean yourself up, scumbag.

    2. Glad a nicked you on the bigotry.thing; your views on Maddow are such utter nonsense.we can now well see were you are actually coming from. Your bigotry against gays, which may stem from the family conflicts you site, is obviously tied to to your name calling/hate speech.
      As to what you at least pretend to be too thick to grasp: like the few on the left who approach defense dept issues, Maddow attempts to be respectful to those in the service. This is in many ways a good thing, and there is no real way around it. This is not fawning, and although she writes with a finger on the scale to spare Obama, there is plenty in the book that is quite damning.
      And of course, in that TDH has gone to such endless lengths in making Maddow a huge deal, it has everything to do with what he is writing about, my sad, silly little weasel. You pretend to take issue with THE WAY Maddow covers the Military, but logic suggests you don't want anyone going near the subject, and a gay woman? Forget it.

    3. Please elucidate upon the "logic" that suggests that Anon 8:37 am doesn't wish to get near a subject that he brought up in the first place, and reveal too the "logic" behind your charge that he is a bigot.

  6. Still waiting for someone to defend the way she selectively edited the quote. That just seems like blatant intellectual dishonesty. Can you honestly respect someone who operates like that?

  7. I like Rachel but I was disappointed that she stumbled over that answer on MTP. The savings in spending in Obama's plan are on the side of payments to providers and insurance companies, which is the difference, correct? While Ryan/Romney want to cut it from the benefits. This is going to be a major talking point and Maddow wasn't prepared to answer it that day - the conservatives on there always have the latest talking points!

    1. Isn't that Somerby's critique of Maddow in a nutshell? Heavy on the snark, light on the difficult work of being knowledgeable and well prepared.

    2. Agree. Somerby treated the MTP performance as an aside, but that's what deserved real attention, not the foolishness about the horse.
      Let me say first, though, that I don't mean to blame Rachel for Lowry's insulting treatment of her. He was awful -- empty and overbearing -- and I can't imagine him behaving like that to another man. It's the second time in recent months that I've seen an obnoxious conservative man interrupt and attempt to silence Maddow in argument. They seem unable to accept her as a peer in the discussion.
      That said, Rachel doesn't handle it very well, and as a journalist with a prominent public profile, she needs to learn how. This time, as last time, she met the hectoring clown down at his own level, and both Maddow and Lowry ended up looking like a couple of bickering teenagers. I was very disappointed to see her, first, accept his framing of the issue and, second, fail to work around his aggression. It made her easy to dismiss. More homework might help her make a rational argument against these guys and their prefab talking points.

  8. WOW!

    Greg and the Somerby-haters take note: THIS is how you spam a comment thread!