The Humbling At Hofstra: How Obama Got His Swag Back

Brother Barack smirks while Mr. Mitt steams.

Now that’s more like it.

Fresh off his appearance two weeks ago impersonating Clint Eastwood’s empty chair, the real Barack Obama showed up for the second presidential debate and he came ready.   He had two weapons with him, one seen and the other unseen.   The first was a microphone.   The second was a gym bag full of shoes to break off in Mitt Romney’s ass.

The debate was made up the usual jabs by the candidates at each other, griping to the moderator how they hadn’t had the chance to respond to the question asked five minutes ago and a lot more give-and-take directly between Obama and Romney.   God bless Candy Crowley and her shoulder pads.  She was just the woman for the job of keeping the two men (somewhat) on point and certainly she was better at it than Jim Lehrer was in his hapless performance at the first debate.

It was a very skilful moment.  It’s the kind of moment when everything lines up in perfect political harmony.   Obama should have been put on the defensive by the Libya question.  He had successfully slipped the question, something Romney could have pointed out, but he had to rush to his pre-programmed talking points and pin the president’s ears back.   Or so he thought.

 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job. But she works for me. I’m the president. And I’m always responsible. And that’s why nobody is more interested in finding out exactly what happened than I did (sic).

The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror. And I also said that we’re going to hunt down those who committed this crime. And then a few days later, I was there greeting the caskets coming into Andrews Air Force Base and grieving with the families.

And the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the secretary of state, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own, Governor, is offensive. That’s not what we do. That’s not what I do as president. That’s not what I do as commander in chief.

MS. CROWLEY: Governor, if you want to reply just quickly to this, please.

MR. ROMNEY: Yeah, I — I certainly do. I certainly do. I — I think it’s interesting the president just said something which is that on the day after the attack, he went in the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror. You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Please proceed.

MR. ROMNEY: Is that what you’re saying?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Please proceed, Governor.

MR. ROMNEY: I — I — I want to make sure we get that for the record, because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Get the transcript.

This was the point where a little voice in the back of Romney’s perfectly coiffed hair should have screamed, ALERT! ALERT!  Why is he so confident?  What does he know that I don’t?

Crowley, playing Miss Instant Fact Check brought Romney back to reality.

MS. CROWLEY: It — he did in fact, sir.

So let me — let me call it an act of terrorism — (inaudible) —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy? (Laughter, applause.)

A knock down, not a knock out, but all the same…

Boom! Head shot.  Romney could not have looked any more pissed if his last dividend check from Bain Capital had bounced.   Mitt will have to call up his proctologist today to see if he can get Obama’s foot extracted.

Romney’s first stumble was less severe than his first, but it was his second Big Bird moment: another “huh?” remark that resonates long everything else that was said during 90 minutes is long forgotten.

CROWLEY: Governor Romney, pay equality for women?

ROMNEY: Thank you. And [sic] important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.

And I — and I went to my staff, and I said, “How come all the people for these jobs are — are all men.” They said, “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.” And I said, “Well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified?”

ROMNEY: And — and so we — we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.

I went to a number of women’s groups and said, “Can you help us find folks,” and they brought us whole binders full of women.

Binders full of women? Unleash the Twitter and Tumblr hounds!

It wasn’t so bad for Mitt when he pissed off Sesame Street viewers.  Kids can’t vote.  Women can and they aren’t likely to forget how Mitt ducked the question whether or not he favors pay equity for them but isn’t so shy when he declares he wants to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood or make an abortion darn near impossible to get.

Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce  summed up just how nasty Mr. Mitt was last night at Hofstra University.   If you aren’t reading Pierce you should be.  With Molly Ivins and Hunter S. Thompson no longer with us, Pierce is the sharpest (and sharpest tongued) commentator on politics we have.

But not even I expected Romney to let his entitled, Lord-of-the-Manor freak flag fly as proudly as he did on Tuesday night. He got in the president’s face. He got in Crowley’s face. That moment when he was hectoring the president about the president’s pension made him look like someone to whom the valet has brought the wrong Mercedes.

“You’ll get your chance in a moment. I’m still speaking.”

Wow. To me, this was a revelatory, epochal moment. It was a look at the real Willard Romney, the Bain cutthroat who could get rich ruining lives and not lose a moment’s sleep. But those people are merely the anonymous Help. The guy he was speaking to on Tuesday night is a man of considerable international influence. Outside of street protestors, and that Iraqi guy who threw a shoe at George W. Bush, I have never seen a more lucid example of manifest public disrespect for a sitting president than the hair-curling contempt with which Romney invested those words. (I’ve certainly never seen one from another candidate.) He’s lucky Barack Obama prizes cool over everything else. LBJ would have taken out his heart with a pair of salad tongs and Harry Truman would have bitten off his nose.

And Romney bitched endlessly — endlessly — about the rules, and why this uppity fellow on the other stool was allowed to speak before he was spoken to, and why he didn’t get to speak at length on whatever he wanted to speak on because, after all, he is the CEO of the stage. Jesus Christ, I’d hate to play golf with the man. He’s the guy who counts to make sure you don’t have too many wedges in your bag. He knows every cheap subsection of every cheap ground rule, and he’ll call you on every one of them. You couldn’t get a free drop out of him with thumbscrews, and forget about conceding any putt outside two inches. And then, on the 18th hole, with all the money on the line, he kicks his ball out of the rough and denies up and down to the rules committee that he did it. Then he goes into the clubhouse bar and nobody sits with him.

When Obama and  Crowley fact-checked Mitt in real-time about whether the president used the word “terror” in his September 12 remarks, that was a “Drop the Mic and Fold Ya Arms” moment and the Right knew it.  The blogosphere exploded with apoplectic, whiny Republicans spitting on their laptops about “the libbrul media” and Crowley for not repeating Lehrer’s imitation of a doormat.  The talking heads of Fox News said the debate was a tie.  Which means Obama won.

Well played, Mr. President. Makes me wonder who that guy who was standing up there in your spot two weeks ago.

For Obama supporters, when you get that e-mail from Barack Obama today asking “How ya like me now?” in response to his performance in the second debate, don’t just compliment him. Send him a little green. Piss off a Koch Brother.

Victoria Jackson: I’m Even Crazier than Clint Eastwood

What a fool believes no wise man has the power to reason away.

Turns out Clint Eastwood wasn’t the only crazy person at last week’s Republican National Convention.   Far, far further on the talent scale (as in not having any),  former Saturday Night Live bit player, Victoria Jackson, who has evolved into a far-Right, Tea Party slurping bubblehead,  trolled the convention floor  hoping someone might notice her craziness in a sea of crazy people and put a microphone in front of her.

Unfortunately, someone did, and the ukelele-playing, ditz blurted out her opinion on Rep. Todd Akin’s brain fart about “legitimate rape.”   To the shock of absolutely no one , Jackson. a stupider and chubbier version of Sarah Palin, didn’t see what was the fuss over Akin’s remarks.

“The Todd Akin thing was so blown out of proportion — it’s a joke,” Jackson said.  “How many times do people get pregnant from rape? It’s point zero zero one percent. It’s a joke. I read lots of articles. I know people, because I’m 53. I’ve known a lot of people, and I’ve actually never known anyone who got pregnant from being raped.”

“And guess what?” she continued. “If I got raped, I would have the baby. And if I didn’t want to keep it because I had these [mocking tone] horrible nightmares, I would adopt it out. But I think that God can turn a bad thing into a good thing. And that, if I got raped and a beautiful baby who was innocent was born out of it, that would be a blessing. The DNA of a baby is individual. It’s not the mother’s DNA. It’s not the father’s DNA. And that’s why I believe abortion is murder, because it’s not the woman’s body. It has it’s own DNA. If there’s a boy baby inside of me, he has a penis. That’s not my body.”

Jackson is another entry in the list of  has-beens like Jon Voight, Ted Nugent, Chuck Norris and Hank Williams, Jr., who have gone public with their dislike of President  Obama, but at least Voight, Nugent, Norris and Williams had a career at one time to be has-beens now.    Jackson has always been a small-timer who had her chances in television and movies to make it big.   It never happened for  her because she lacked the one thing necessary to take that next big step:  a shred of talent.

I wonder if Victoria Jackson would still have the baby if she were raped by and impregnated by “the Communist in the White House?”

Making statements that are provocative, off-putting, uninformed and just plain off the wall is a growth industry on the Far Right and that is Jackson’s claim to fame. There have been many Not Ready For Prime Time Players on Saturday Night Live and for every Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Chris Rock or Adam Sandler that used the show to  go on to greater success, there are the Victoria Jacksons who go right back to the obscurity they were plucked from.

Jackson was the subject of a profile in the Miami New Times chronicling her evolution from bit player on SNL to right-wing dingbat.

Sorry, Miss Jackson.

…when she flew to New York in 1986 to audition for SNL, executive producer Lorne Michaels curled his lower lip and lamented her lack of comedic characters. So the next time she was on Carson’s show, she continued the audition by doing impressions of Diana Ross and Edith Bunker and inventing a character: a glum boss interviewing Carson for a job. She joined the SNL cast that season. With a fire-eater and new baby in tow, she bought a four-bedroom Colonial in Weston, Connecticut; hired a nanny; and commuted to Manhattan by train.

But Michaels’s trepidation had been spot-on. Victoria’s cast was a comedic murderer’s row — including Chris Farley, Phil Hartman, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, and Dana Carvey — and she couldn’t keep up. “I lived on pure adrenaline,” she says. “You always think you’re going to get fired. You’re always competing with your cast members for air time.”

Coming up with characters and premises for skits was a supreme struggle. She confesses that one of her funnier sketches — “Victoria’s Secrets,” in which she wore lingerie and throatily fumbled at being sexy — was a product of begging castmate Jon Lovitz and writer Conan O’Brien for ideas as they walked down an office hallway.

Her nasal voice nixed nuanced impressions. Besides doing backbends and reading poetry on the “Weekend Update” news desk, impressions of Roseanne Barr and Zsa Zsa Gabor were her only recurring gags.

Critics and former castmates haven’t been kind. Nerve.com recently ranked her dead last of 92 all-time cast members and wrote that her “cute-ditsy-idiot act got pretty thin, [and] it turns out it wasn’t an act.” And in the 2002 book Live From New York, an oral history of the show, castmate Jan Hooks sniped, “I just have a particular repulsion to grown women who talk like little girls. It’s like, ‘You’re a grown woman! Use your lower register!'” (Victoria, by the way, claims her weird voice is the result of a medical defect: a “congenital palatal insufficiency.” )

Jackson on SNL: more hair, less poundage.

Look, I’m not qualified for this, Victoria recalls thinking. Maybe this is my mission field. I’m supposed to tell my cast members about Jesus!

But Hartman didn’t want to talk about the Son of God. And Lovitz asked how Jesus, “a grown man,” could have fit in his mother’s womb to be born again. When Victoria left audiocassette box sets of the Bible in each castmate’s mail slot for Christmas, they were angrily returned.

Writer and performer Al Franken, now a Democratic U.S. senator for Minnesota, cornered her once, Victoria says. He said he was “offended” by her “ditsy” act. “Maybe I’m overcompensating,” she retorted, “because everybody here is dying and going to Hell, and I’m supposed to tell them about Jesus.”

Franken went white, she says. “He never talked to me again.”

I can’t imagine why the Jewish Franken wouldn’t want to talk to a proselytizing idiot who mails Bibles to other cast members telling them they’re going to hell.

I give Jackson for taking her minimal talents and getting maximum mileage out of them, but the woman is a fool and nothing but foolishness spills out of her stupid mouth.   But getting mad about what a crazy person says makes no sense.  Not this sad little loser or old guys that talk to chairs.

Victoria Jackson saying stupid stuff  is like the pigeon that sits in a tree and shits all over your just washed car. It just gonna do what it does.    It has been speculated may Jackson is  trying to pull off a bizarre bit of Sasha Baron Cohen performance where he plays a role to the max  like Bruno, Ali G., and Borat,  but I doubt it.  She doesn’t seem to have Cohen’s mad genius for occupying a character in a believable way.    Jackson is content to be a Tea Party princess happily bubbling away with her insipid observations about people she doesn’t know and issues she doesn’t understand.
Even Tito Jackson is more relevant than Victoria Jackson.

Clint’s Million Dollar Mistake

“Do you feel lucky?”

Wait.  Dirty Harry debated a chair?

Who the hell thought that was a good idea? I love Clint Eastwood, but he looked and sounded every bit of his 82 years.

Did someone in the Romney campaign think it would be funny for  an old man to talk to a chair?    While the attendee’s at the convention applauded, Twitter exploded in shock and awe.

There is a reason conventions are scripted. Clint’s empty chair act weirdest convention moment I have ever seen.

~ Howard Kurtz

AND NOW I AM AFRAID TO SIT DOWN BECAUSE WHAT IF THE PRESIDENT IS IN MY CHAIR AND I JUST CAN’T SEE HIM?!

~ Elliott Holt

I love you, Clint. I always will. But you changed the theme of the RNC from “WE BUILT THIS” to “I CAN’T WATCH THIS”.

~ Patton Oswalt

Clint Eastwood became huge star as a man of few words As a surprise guest on the Tampa stage he had too many words (I say as a friend)

~ Tom Brokaw

“I don’t think I’ll use the teleprompter.” “Uh, okay.” “And I’ll need a chair.” “You can’t sit during your speech!” “It’s not for me.”

~ Jonathan Chait

Eastwood’s appearance at the closing night of the Republican National Committee was going to be the big wow finish.   Eastwood, a lifelong conservative in liberal Hollywood was going to come on, speak for five minutes before a primetime audience as the warm-up before Mitt Romney gave the biggest speech of his political career to a national audience.

“A man’s GOT to know his limitations.”

Instead Eastwood decided he didn’t need the teleprompter and instead of five minutes he rambled for almost 12 excruciating minutes where he “debated” an empty chair that was supposed to symbolize President Obama.    But that wasn’t enough for Eastwood.  In his imaginary “debate” with the imaginary Obama, Eastwood sneered about not wanting  “lawyers” in the White House (Romney has a law degree from Harvard), blamed Obama for the war in Afghanistan which was started by George W. Bush and implied Obama told him and Romney to “fuck themselves.”

This was a speech Team Romney approved.  Presumably the inaccuracies, distortions and suggestions they perform sexual acts upon themselves.   They knew what Eastwood was going to say even if they didn’t know how he was going to say it.   The chair and going way off-message when Clint started “hot dogging” it  to use his own words?  That was a surprise.    Then when it all went sideways and ass up, the New York Times intercepted some Romney advisers  probably on their way to drinking themselves into unconsciousness.

Behind the scenes, Mr. Eastwood’s convention cameo was cleared by Mr. Romney’s top message mavens, Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens, who drew up talking points that Mr. Eastwood included, in his own way. They gave him a time limit and flashed a blinking red light that told him his time was up. He ignored both. The actor’s decision to use a chair as a prop was last-minute, and his own.

“The prop person probably thought he was going to sit in it,” a baffled senior aide said on Thursday night.

 Mr. Eastwood’s rambling and off-color appearance just moments before the biggest speech of Mr. Romney’s life instantly became a Twitter and cable-news sensation, which drowned out much of the usual postconvention analysis that his campaign had hoped to bask in.

It also startled and unsettled Mr. Romney’s top advisers and prompted a blame game among them. “Not me,” an exasperated-looking senior adviser said when asked who was responsible for Mr. Eastwood’s speech. In interviews, aides called the speech “strange” and “weird.” One described it as “theater of the absurd.”

Eastwood ‘s reinvention as a performance artist became the story instead of Romney’s speech to the nation.  Nobody even cares about that.

Does Eastwood deserve to be being mocked so mercilessly?   Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.  He tried to have a debate with an invisible Obama and made himself look old, crazy and goofy all at the same time.   It was supposed to be inspirational, but all I saw was an old man up past his bedtime.

Even the inevitable “make my day” quip sounded creaky and tired.   Sudden Impact was 29 years ago.  It wasn’t my favorite Dirty Harry movie then and it’s as creaky and old as Eastwood is now.

When Clint walked off the stage did he think he won the argument with the chair?  Or was auditioning for a job providing the voice of Grandpa Simpson?

Even liberals who disagree with  Eastwood’s politics like his movies.  It’s his right to endorse anyone he wants, but it’s no fun to watch a beloved icon get old, go senile and start babbling crazy shit all at once.

There is speculation the Democrats might want to have a little fun by trotting out an octogenarian of their own as cool as Eastwood, but Betty White misses the target age ats 90 and unlike Clint,  still seems to have most of her marbles.   But what would be the point of dogpiling on Eastwood?   He embarrassed himself, upstaged Mittens and became the sensation of the convention for all the wrong reasons.  There is a statue of limitations to a joke and I doubt the Democrats will try to make the mistake of looking like they’re picking on Eastwood.

In Clint’s new movie, Trouble With the Curve he plays an old man who can’t do his job any longer due to his failing eyesight.  Nobody will have any trouble believing that story.

Eastwood’s claim to fame was killing off bad guys with a bang.  On the last night of the convention he left a lot of Republicans whimpering.

The Man With No Name versus The Man With No Shame

"Karl, a man's got to know his limitations."

Between Madonna’s creaky dancing, M.I.A. flipping off millions of viewers, the Giants sending Tom Brady and Bill Belicheat home for a loser’s lunch, there were quite a few commercials broadcast during the Super Bowl trying to get people to buy, eat, drink, watch or do something.

Only one has pissed off Bush’s Brain, Karl Rove. This one.

Halftime in America.

For a multitude of reasons, some Republicans are crying foul. One, because many of them (like Mitt Romney) were opposed to the auto industry bailouts that saved Chrysler and GM from collapsing.

Two, because they also fear the beneficiary of Eastwood’s commercial is President Obama.

You can almost hear Karl Rove panicking.

This is a sign of what happens when you have government getting in bed with big business like the bailout of the auto companies,” Rove complained. “The leadership of the auto companies feel they need to do something to repay their political patrons.”

“I was, frankly, offended by it,” he added. “I’m a huge fan of Clint Eastwood. I thought it was an extremely well-done ad, but it is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics. And the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising.”

Although Obama did sign off on $85 billion in aid to the auto industry after taking office, Rove’s former boss, President George W. Bush, also provided over $17 billions in loans in 2008.

Rove’s objection to the commercial is a clear sign that Republicans are worried that the auto bailout will benefit the president’s re-election effort.

Eastwood says politics has nothing to do with it.

Clint Eastwood is setting the record straight about his improbably controversial Chrysler ad that aired on Sunday’s Super Bowl.

TheGran Torino” director went on the defensive Monday, dismissing suggestions that the ad is a partisan love letter to President Obama.

"Me fight Clint Eastwood? Now that's funny."

Speaking to Ron Mitchell, a producer at Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” Eastwood asserted, “I am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message … just about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it.”

Eastwood, who served as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, in the 1980s, added that he is “not supporting any politician at this time” but noted that, if Obama or any other politician “want to run with the spirit of that ad, go for it.”

Eastwood’s manager, Leonard Hirshan, was also dismissive of Rove and company’s claim, telling New York magazine, “He rewrote it to make it suit his needs … People have to understand that what he was doing was saying to America, ‘Get yourselves together – all of you – and make this a second half.’ It’s not a political thing.”

The most offensive thing about Rove being offended is his own boss started the ball rolling with the bail-outs for the auto industry.  For Rove, the master of down n’ dirty Texas-style politics, to sneer at “Chicago-style politics” is the ultimate example of the pot calling the kettle black.

Apparently, Rove would prefer Chrysler and GM fail so the blame could be placed on Obama and the Democrats than for the two automakers to stay afloat and any credit be given to the president.

You don’t need a degree in political science to figure out why Rove is pissed at Eastwood.   Lending his iconic image and considerable credible to a recovering Chrysler was a masterstroke on the part of whomever reached out to Eastwood for his participation.  For the Turd Blossom to think he can now talk smack about Eastwood reeks of a case of Obama Derangement Syndrome so advanced Rove is beside himself with frustration.

Peddling negativity, fear, gloom and doom can take you only so far. Americans are at heart relentlessly optimistic about their country and prefer to look forward with hope than back with dread.

Karl Rove is not in the optimism business. He’s in the electing Republicans and demonizing Democrats business.

Perhaps the question should be put to Rove: “Why do you hate America?”

Personally, I thought it was a terrific ad and everyone I’ve asked about it agreed it embodied the spirit of Americans coming together in a common purpose. It’s a novel experience for a prominent conservative to say something nice about Detroit and the auto industry.

Rove doesn’t want to pick a fight with Eastwood. He’s way out of his weight class. But if Rove wants to throw down with Eastwood, I’d recommend against it, but it would be a short fight with two hits; Clint hits Karl and Karl hits the ground.

America can’t be knocked out by one punch, but you can’t say the same for Rove.   I’d put down my money for a chance to see Rove get cold-cocked and laid flat out on his ass.

What Clint Eastwood Thinks About Gay Marriage

Mr. Eastwood strongly disagrees with your opposition to gay marriage

Clint Eastwood is an iconic actor having played Dirty Harry, Josey Wales, and The Man With No Name to name a few and has won awards and accolades as the director of Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River and Letters From Iwo Jima.

He’s also one of the coolest guys ever to walk the earth.

At 81, Eastwood is a Libertarian who is at the perfect age. The age where he doesn’t give a damn what anybody thinks as he makes crystal clear in an interview in GQ magazine.

I’ve always liked Clint the Squint.   Even when I didn’t like one of his movies or his conservative politics, I’ve always liked him.   He’s principled, direct and doesn’t talk stupid bullshit just to get a cheap headline.  Some actors who are publicity hounds would have made a big deal of it when President Reagan copped the Dirty Harry iconic line, “”Go ahead.  Make my day.””

Eastwood just shrugged it off and went about his business. Like I said: cool.

Plus, he loves jazz.  Anybody that loves jazz scores extra cool points in my book.

It’s safe to say anyone wanting to have a long and successful career in politics will have neither if they speak forthrightly and directly about what they think. Actors are freed from the burden of having to turn their words into action which means they can speak freely in a way a politician never can.

For example, ask Mr. Eastwood what he thinks about gay marriage and he has a clear and unequivocal answer.

I don’t want Clint Eastwood to run for president. We’ve tried actors in that role before and I didn’t care for the last guy who had the gig. I’ll settle for J. Edgar being a good movie.

In light of the staged farce that was Kim Kardashian’s 72 day/$14 million dollar wedding, it is safe to say the biggest threat to the sanctity of marriage isn’t two gay people who want to be one.

Those who oppose gay marriage say it’s a mockery of their concept of “one woman + one man” don’t seem to view shrewd deals that aren’t actually marriages that are staged for money and attention with the same critical eye.

Sham celebrity sex marriage is a bigger threat than same-sex marriage could ever be.

Apparently, as long as it’s two heterosexuals mocking the institution of marriage it’s okay. But two women who have been in a committed, loving and monogamous relationship for years wanting to put a ring on it is a threat to all that is holy and sacred.

Which is, as Mr. Eastwood said, “crap.”

“I was an Eisenhower Republican when I started out at 21, because he promised to get us out of the Korean War,” Eastwood says in the interview. “And over the years, I realized there was a Republican philosophy that I liked. And then they lost it. And libertarians had more of it. Because what I really believe is, let’s spend a little more time leaving everybody alone.”

Works for me.