Mitt and Mickey Mouse

23 Nov

Published at 15h13


Which Mitt is this? Or, rather, the better question might be, where was this Mitt during the campaign?

For months, he had to fight off the perception that he was an out-of-touch multimillionaire, a vulture capitalist, and a stiff, robotic elitist who thought it was funny to tell out of work folks who were scratching to put a can of beans on the table for dinner that he was “unemployed too.” 

Now that the race is over, he’s pumping his own gas? Without combing his hair? He’s off with the family at Disneyland, riding the rides and whooping it up like a five-year-old? 
Just a few months ago, his idea of being an “Average Joe” was to wear blue jeans — that were so perfectly pressed they had a sharp crease. Apparently, no one told him that that’s kind of the opposite of the whole jeans-wearing idea. 
As much as his staff tried to point out that, “See? He puts on his pants one leg at a time, just like everybody else,” it never quite worked. It was pretty clear from his neatly ironed denim that what his staff said could be true, but it was probably equally true that he had never put his legs in jeans before.
Now he’s off at Disneyland. And, most surprisingly, acting normal! 
As the conservative Washington Times described it:
“Mr. Romney filled his own car with gas, wore jeans and a plaid shirt, and went with his wife, Ann, to see ‘Breaking Dawn Part 2,’ the big finale of the ‘Twilight’ vampire movie series.”
(Just a little break here before we get back to the rest of the Times’ description: 
Surely some liberal jokesters must’ve tried to make something out of the Romneys going to see a movie about a bloodsucker and his wife.)
But that’s not all the Mittster did.
“He went to Disneyland, drank chocolate milk, had pizza and chatted casually with nearby customers,” The Times continued. “He grinned. His hair was tousled.”
Pictures of Regular Guy Romney went viral on Twitter.
Even some of his harshest critics were impressed to see him doing regular things.
Comedian Rob Delaney tweeted:
“I would’ve voted for the man in this picture. RT @BuzzFeed: Mitt Romney went to Disneyland:  ”
So where was that guy during the campaign? 
For months, while he was getting bashed by his opponents and the media, he seemed only to reinforce the stereotype.
Take his response to Texas Gov. Rick Perry during one of the primary debates. Romney insisted that he was right and Perry was wrong on a point about health care. 
“$10,000 bet?” Romney challenged.
Perry, and most real Average Joes, were flabbergasted. Ten grand is a lot of money – for most of us. And it’s not the kind of bet folks run around making. A buck. Ten bucks. Or, as kids do in the schoolyard, “Is so! I’ll bet you a million dollars!”
Not Mitt. It sounded like he thought $10,000 was pocket change. It may be for him, but not for 99 percent of the country. Including Rick Perry.
After he got the stunned look off his face, Perry told Romney, ““I’m not in the bettin’ business.”
The comment haunted Romney for a while. Perry’s campaign put out a web video showing Romney saying it over and over with the words “one bet you can count on … the truth isn’t for sale” superimposed on the screen. He wasn’t alone. The Washington Post reported that then candidate Jon Huntsman bought the website “” and loaded it up with articles about Romney’s faux pas.
Republican strategist Mary Matalin told the Post. She didn’t think the comment would be disastrous for Romney, but it was “one more heavy brick in [Romney’s] political backpack”.
She was right. It was. And he never quite shook it – or the perception that, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once said of the rich, he’s “not like you and me.”
But now Romney is pumping gas, taking in a flick and wandering around in the land of Mickey Mouse? 
Who’s Goofy?
The opinions expressed here are those of the bloggers and celebrity guest writers and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Terra, Terra’s affiliates, subsidiaries, parent companies, clients and partners. They should not be attributed thereto.

The Pilgrims were undocumented immigrants

22 Nov

Published at 12h30


It’s that day. It’s the time for several generations of families to get together to laugh, love, eat too much, and — if they’re like most families — argue at least a little bit about something or other. In other words, it’s like the weekly gatherings that most Hispanic families have, except this time we eat turkey.

Thanksgiving is for everyone in the United States. It may have started with the Pilgrims, long before the United States were united, but it’s a truly American tradition that belongs to all of us who call this country home — citizens, residents, and non-.

Some might disagree with that. They might feel that Thanksgiving belongs only to that first category, the ones who were born here or who took the oath and can now carry a U. S. Passport.

They’re wrong.

The Pilgrims weren’t citizens. They were people who came to escape oppression. They were people who came to look for better lives for themselves and for their families. They were people who were willing to work hard, and work together, to make their homes, their communities, and their country, a better place.

They were immigrants. And they were no different from the immigrants of today — perhaps most especially like the undocumented immigrants. They came without papers. They came without the permission of the people who lived here. They came without jobs. They came without homes.

What they did come with was a desire to succeed, and hope.

That’s why Thanksgiving belongs to all of us here. Because we all have that in common – the hope that today will be better than yesterday, and tomorrow better still, for all of us.

It’s also why those who used their coded language on Election Day, and since, to suggest that the reelection of the country’s first black president was because this was no longer a “traditional America” and that it showed a “moral failure” in the country, are wrong. Dead wrong.

In fact, it’s proof of just the opposite.

But on election night, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly summed up the highly charged undercurrent running throughout the election as he gave his interpretation of why Mitt Romney was losing.

“Because it’s a changing country, the demographics are changing,” O’Reilly said. “It’s not a traditional America anymore.”

Just for good measure, he made sure everyone understood what he meant by “traditional.”

“The white establishment is now the minority.”

Translation: there are too many Hispanics, blacks, and Asians in the United States. And he considers them “moocher voters.”

“There are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things, and who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it, and he ran on it. . . . You’re going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming for President Obama, and women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things, and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”

All right, O’Reilly is a TV version of a radio shock jock. His whole shtick is to berate, denigrate, and agitate.

But it wasn’t just him. Other commentators echoed similar sentiments. Even the losing candidate himself reprised his “47 percent” philosophy in a phone call to donors the day after the election. This time, Romney used the term “gifts.”

“The Obama campaign was following the old playbook of giving a lot of stuff to groups that they hoped they could get to vote for them and be motivated to go out to the polls, specifically the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people,” he said.

“With regards to African American voters, Obamacare was a huge plus,” he explained. “You can imagine for somebody making $25- or $30- or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care — particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 a family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge. Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus.”

The problem with this kind of view is that separates us into an “us and them” mentality. It forgets that, from the Pilgrims forward, this is a nation of immigrants. And it forgets that that is one of this country’s great strengths. We evolve. We adapt. And we open our doors to the world’s tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to be free.

So, on top of all the other things we give thanks for on this Thanksgiving, we should all also give thanks that we are continuing to honor that great American tradition. And hope that we always will.

The opinions expressed here are those of the bloggers and celebrity guest writers and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Terra, Terra’s affiliates, subsidiaries, parent companies, clients and partners. They should not be attributed thereto.

Mitt’s 47 percent “poetic justice”

21 Nov

Published at 15h22


We all know one guy who’ll be crying in his cranberry sauce this year. And there’s bound to be plenty of discussion around the Romney Thanksgiving table about “gifts” and “entitlements” and those darn “Latinos.” (Do they even celebrate Thanksgiving?)

But as the final counts of the Election Day vote totals continue to roll in, it’s becoming increasingly clear that, as Washington Post “Plum Line” blogger Greg Sargent put it, there’s some “poetic justice” coming Mitt’s way.

His final vote count could be 47 percent of the popular vote.

How’s that for irony? That’s the exact number of Americans he said weren’t worth caring about.

You may recall a video that leaked shortly before the election showing Mitt famously (infamously?) moaning about why 47 percent of Americans weren’t worth his time. They were moochers who just wanted government handouts – you know, welfare checks and food stamps, education grants and healthcare – because they were too lazy to work.

After it got out, people called it a “gaffe.” It wasn’t. A gaffe is when someone says, “Corporations are people, too.” (Romney again.) Or, to be fair – or, at least, even-handed – “You didn’t build that.” (Obama.)

A gaffe is an off-the-cuff slip-of-the-tongue which, in today’s frantically Twitter-speed world of journalism and pseudo-journalism, the media and the candidate’s opponents seize upon to embarrass and attack him with.

Mitt’s “47 percent” wasn’t a gaffe.

It wasn’t even a Freudian slip, where someone means to say one thing and inadvertently says something that reveals what they’re really thinking about. George H.W. Bush’s tongue-fumble about Ronald Reagan before a crowd of listeners is frequently cited as a classic.

“For seven and a half years I’ve worked alongside President Reagan,” Papa Bush said, “and I’m proud to have been his partner. We’ve had some triumphs. We’ve made some mistakes. We’ve had some sex – setbacks.”

(You can see it for yourself here.)

That’s funny.

That’s a slip.

That’s not what Mitt did.

He thought he was just talking to a bunch of similar-minded fat cat donors, so he could just open up and tell them what he really thought.

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” he said. “All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

That’s what he really thinks.

And what does he think he should do about it?

“My job is not to worry about those people,” he continued. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

So here’s the poetic justice part:

Believe it or not, more than two weeks after the election, only about 10 states have actually finished counting all the votes cast. Part of the problem is what are known as “provisional ballots.” Those are the ones people cast, but there’s a question about the person’s eligibility or something that puts them in doubt. The local elections office has to determine whether it should really be counted or not.

Well, the provisional ballots, it turns out, tend to be heavily Democratic. That could be more irony for Romney since one of the reasons there are so many provisional ballots is because Republican officials around the country tried to impose a bunch of new rules to prevent minorities they thought would vote for Obama from being able to.

They’re also still being counted in heavily Democratic states, like New York, which had its election process thrown into chaos by Hurricane Sandy.

So as more are being added to the final total, Mitt Romney’s percentage of the popular vote is slipping ever closer to 47 percent.

Tuesday, it stood at 64,185,237 votes for Obama, 60,099,431 for Romney and 2,136,965 for “Other,” according to Dave Wasserman’s “Popular Vote Tracker” for the Cook Political Report. That comes to 50.77 percent for Obama and 47.54 percent for Romney.

And Wasserman told Sargent that because of the way the count is trending, he’s absolutely certain Romney will finish below 47.5.

The blatantly biased Daily Kos has launched a “Romney 47 percent watch” based on Wasserman’s tracker, and is savoring Mitt’s slide with regular updates.

“If Romney hits 47.49 percent, his totals will round down to 47 percent,” the “Kos,” Markos Moulitsas, wrote. “It doesn’t matter of course, but it would be delicious irony to see him finish the election at that very famous 47 percent mark.”


The opinions expressed here are those of the bloggers and celebrity guest writers and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Terra, Terra’s affiliates, subsidiaries, parent companies, clients and partners. They should not be attributed thereto.

President Marco Rubio in 2016?

20 Nov

Published at 15h43


Arizona hasn’t even finished counting votes from this year’s election, but that’s not stopping Marco Rubio. He’s off and running – for 2016!

Naturally, he says he’s not. Of course not. Why would anybody think that? Why, it’s perfectly normal for a Latino senator from Florida to go bouncing around Iowa talking to voters about national politics.

Of course it is … not!

The occasion was innocent enough (Not!). He was the featured guest at Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s 66th birthday party and fundraiser Saturday night.

Some 700 Republican voters and donors together in a single room, in the state that holds the first primary election in the nation – Gee, who could think he’s testing the waters?

In fact, Rubio made it a point to dismiss the possibility, with a joke.

“Look, let’s just address right up front the elephant in the room,” Rubio said, “because anytime someone makes a trip to Iowa, people start speculating about what you’re going to do in the future and all of that.

“I am not now, nor will I ever be,” he said, “a candidate for offensive coordinator of Iowa.”

You can almost hear the knee-slapping all the way back to his home in South Florida.

Another clue: Rubio nearly did a full split trying to straddle the gap between creationists and evolutionists.

His claims that he’s not making a run for Barack Obama’s seat in the White House would have been a lot more credible if he had come down flatly on either side of the debate. He didn’t. He did a tap dance that would have won on “Dancing with the Stars.” He should keep his career options open. He could be a shoe-in (no pun intended) for the part of Billy Flynn in the musical “Chicago” – “Give ‘em the old razzle-dazzle. Razzle-dazzle ‘em!”

“I’m not a scientist, man,” Rubio said in a just released interview in GQ magazine. “… Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”

Smooth operator!

The whole answer is even better. He not only did the Artful Dodger routine between the Bible and fifth-grade science, he slipped in a “politician’s pivot.” That’s the political equivalent of a basketball player’s crossover. You fake in one direction, and when your opponent moves that way, you reverse the ball back between your legs and cut in the other direction. Done right, they’ll never know what hit them.

Rubio’s move wasn’t as good as Amare Stoudemier’s (let’s face it, Amare actually blew past Michael Jordan with that move), but that’s OK, this was just a pre-season game.

Here’s his full answer:

“I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”

Did you catch it? Head fake – “I’m not a scientist,” then toe the line between the two positions. Then – Wham! – cut back to the economy (It’s the economy stupid!). Then drive for the goal.

Whether he admits it or not, Rubio is a likely contender. Latino. A Tea Party fave, who was so loved by the far right he forced Florida Gov. Charlie Crist right out of the GOP for not being conservative enough.

Mitt Romney reportedly vetted Rubio as a potential running mate. Marco made 60 appearances singing the praises of Romney and so many interviews his staff lost count. He was the one who stepped up with the smackdown that pretty much ended the bitter, shrill and massively offensive immigration rhetoric the Republican candidates were flinging around.


Rubio won’t say he’s running. And he won’t say he’s not, either. (Refer to his “offensive coordinator” quip, above.)

But here’s the deal: Rubio is certainly familiar with the saying, “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”

The same is true in politics.

“If you act like a presidential candidate, talk like a presidential candidate and follow the well-worn path of past presidential candidates, then you’re a presidential candidate.”

So Rubio should stop ducking around.

The opinions expressed here are those of the bloggers and celebrity guest writers and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Terra, Terra’s affiliates, subsidiaries, parent companies, clients and partners. They should not be attributed thereto.

Are these the death throes of the GOP?

19 Nov

Published at 20h37


Is this the end of the Republican Party? Is the Grand Old Party about to splinter?

Everybody knows the GOP faces a demographic problem. Namely, Hispanics are an increasingly large and influential group of voters, and they tend to vote Democratic — and in larger and larger percentages.

But in the wake of Mitt Romney’s devastating defeat, and his even more damaging “gifts” excuses for the defeat, the Republican factions are lashing out at him, and one another.

And it’s escalating.

Much of it, naturally is directed at Romney.

It’s understandable that party members want to distance themselves from the failed candidate. Nobody likes a loser. Politicians especially. They view losers like lead weights, ready to drag them down with them. Even more so when the loser is mouthing off that blacks, Latinos, and the young, were for sale. That they could be bought with government handouts, “gifts” as Romney called them. The implication being that we’re all so lazy, don’t want to work, and are so dependent on government “gifts” that will give our vote to the first person holding a welfare check with our name on it.

Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez shilled for Romney throughout the campaign. It was hard to find a gathering of more than three Latinos were Gutierrez wouldn’t show up singing the praises of the former Massachusetts governor with the pseudo-Mexican past.

Now, of course, it’s a different story. Sunday, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Gutierrez laid into the guy he was loving up so much just two weeks ago.

“I don’t know if he understood that he was saying something that was insulting,” he said.

Nice defense for his former pal — “bless his heart, he doesn’t mean to be a racist. He just doesn’t know any better.”

But that’s just Mitt bashing. Where it gets interesting is in the other stuff Gutierrez had to say. Because his criticism there went far beyond dissing a candidate in a dunce cap. What he added was evidence of the widening schism within the party, threatening to rend it apart.

“I was shocked. And frankly I don’t think that’s why Republicans lost the election,” Gutierrez said. “I think we lost the election because the far right of this party has taken the party to a place that it doesn’t belong.”

Well, heck. If only those folks on the far right were a bunch of yahoos that the rest of the GOP could dismiss easily. But they’re not. They are party stalwarts, leaders, and shining stars.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a staunch conservative Republicans like to trot out as the face of party inclusiveness because he’s a minority of Indian descent, took his turn bashing Romney over the gifts comment.

He called Romney’s comments “absolutely wrong.”

“We have got to stop dividing the American voters,” Jindal, who is taking over as the Republican Governors Association’s chairman, told reporters at the groups gathering in Las Vegas. “If we’re going to continue to be a competitive party and win elections on the national stage, and continue to fight for our conservative principles, we need two messages to get out loudly and clearly. One, we are fighting for 100 percent of the votes. And second, our policies benefit every American who wants to pursue the American dream, period.”

That was just for starters.

In an opinion piece he penned for CNN, Jindal wrote:

“In the aftermath of the presidential election, Republicans have been inundated with advice to moderate, equivocate, and even abandon their core principles as a necessary prerequisite for winning future elections.

“That is absurd. America already has one liberal political party; there is no need for another one.”

There it is. This is more than a tug-of-war. These are the opening salvos of something far more serious.

Gutierrez is a businessman, and a champion of their interests. And Romney certainly made defending businessmen, a.k.a. the wealthy, a fundamental, inviolable tenet of his campaign.

Which is why some of the other comments Jindal made in his CNN piece are further evidence that the GOP is not only soul-searching, but may be looking to toss some of the old flotsam overboard.

“Quit ‘big,’” he wrote. “We are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, or big anything. We must not be the party that simply protects the well off so they can keep their toys. We have to be the party that shows all Americans how they can thrive. We are the party whose ideas will help the middle class, and help more folks join the middle class. We are a populist party and need to make that clear.”

So where are we going with this? And how far will it go?

In many ways this is just the obvious extension of what the Tea Party began four years ago. Their ultraconservative, take no prisoners, make no concessions political style empowered the Michele Bachmanns, Allen Wests and Rick Santorums at the extreme right wing of the party. It even emboldened and elevated the fiscal conservatives like Paul
Ryan, and encouraged Republican members of the House and the Senate to confuse obstructionism with governing.

But this is going farther. This is a recognition that the divisions within the party are growing irreconcilable.

And if things continue this way, there may not be room for both of them in the party.

The old guard represents the old way. The new faces, Jindal, West, Bachmann and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (Yes, he won his seat because he was a tea party favorite, who just happens to be Hispanic.), represent a new direction. But even there there is division.

The conservative wing, the “far right” Gutierrez was complaining about, takes a strict hard line on immigration. It was their influence, led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, that forced Republicans at the national convention to adopt anti-sanctuary, anti-amnesty, tougher border enforcement, and self-deportation as part of the party’s official

Rubio, for all his small government, fiscal conservativeness, has tried to get his fellows in the GOP to tone it down. And now, following the Election Day drubbing that denied the Republicans their much-coveted and highly anticipated control of the Senate, he’s not alone.

Fox News post Sean Hannity and House Speaker John Boehner are among a growing cadre within the party, who are suddenly saying — and without a hint of irony — immigration reform is an idea whose time has come.

How they’re going to get people like Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum or Iowa Republican Steve King, who has likened immigrants to dogs, to go along is hard to imagine.

So, the GOP faces what is easily the greatest challenge of its history, figuring out if a bad marriage is better than none at all. And, with the political reality of the United States changing around them, whether either way will save them.

The opinions expressed here are those of the bloggers and celebrity guest writers and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Terra, Terra’s affiliates, subsidiaries, parent companies, clients and partners. They should not be attributed thereto.

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Carlos Harrison

Carlos Harrison is an award-winning journalist, editor and writer of 14 books in English and Spanish. Born in Panama, he has covered national and international events for more than 20 years.

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