Gorka the gurkha

Apologies for the untimeliness; this article ensconced itself in the bowels of a rarely checked folder. Anyway, I thought I’d amend and post it, since press-campaign relations aren’t likely to get any less inane or ornery in the foreseeable future. A few weeks back, Mitt Romney’s traveling press secretary Rick Gorka told heckling reporters to “kiss [his] ass” and “show some respect” as the campaign cadre disembarked from Poland’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Background here is, as ever, important: the reporters were ticked off because Romney had taken only three questions over the duration of his entire trip; Gorka and co. were probably fending off aneurysms from Romney’s inability to stay on message and refrain from hand-crafting dumb soundbites. Reactions to the episode split rather predictably, with liberal commentators decrying the harshness of Gorka’s language or, like Jon Stewart, noting the irony of Gorka’s swearing as he delivered an exhortation for the press to shut up at a holy site. And Romney supporters have dutifully lined up behind Gorka, the newly christened one-week Fox News hero of the week (since transferred to ex-Navy Seal Birther-cum-Swift-Boater Larry Bailey.) And they’re right for the wrong reasons. We have no need of such specious sewage-spewing in American politics, especially in the context of foreign affairs.

Both factions should be chided for naivete Continue reading

Menino on wire: why Boston’s mayor shouldn’t block Chick-fil-A’s Beantown branch

Boston’s mayor Thomas Menino today released a leonine letter expressing displeasure at the possibility of a Chick-fil-A franchise across from Faneuil Hall. In a Sorensonian press release, the mayor “urged [Chick-fil-A] to back out of [its] plan to locate in Boston” and mocked president-in-poultry Dan Cathy by wholeheartedly welcoming his accusation that Boston “is guilty as charged” of being on the gay rights forefront. If it were a speech, the apex would be obvious: “There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it .” Nothing like a little provincial pandering (about a local landmark most residents have never visited) brewed in progressive righteousness. Even so, that’s a beautifully articulated sentiment and fit for a mayoral epitaph one day.

On balance a memorable performance, I think, for Menino. His letter isn’t particularly ballsy or brave in Massachusetts (the 50 Shades of Liberal State), Continue reading

Senator Ackbar, patron saint of the unlikely conclusion: why foreign policy will decide the 2012 election.

The dark-horse of foreign-policy will ride again in a bizarre mirror-image redux of the 1992 election. As Bush campaigned on foreign policy achievements, Clinton enlisted the American public in an economic argument. Bush, by failing to adapt, was rewarded with loss as an incumbent. November will be a repeat of that dynamic–but reversed–and thus foreign policy will be the most important issue.

Foreign policy offers Obama the ability to upend Continue reading

The gaffe that lurketh–behind the non-gaffe

“He wanted to be glad, and he was glad, somewhere in the vanity of his ego, and yet, when he looked back at Munoz as he was leaving the green field, a bleak sadness suddenly seized his heart at the sight of the crestfallen face of the boy he had struck. And he knew then that war is no good, because vanquishing a man is as bitter as being vanquished.”

     Penned by Albert Camus in The First Man–the autobiographical novel cut short upon the author’s death– the above reflection has, I think, set the standard for a grown man’s looking back to assess his childhood cruelties, a standard which Mitt Romney has failed in braindead fashion to meet. Continue reading

Meanwhile at cnn

Historical repost from January 2010.
In a distinctly out-of-character move, I turned on the television tonight while I was eating, only to see a breathtaking display of incompetence and stupidity by Wolf Blitzer. Let me preface my thought with the disclosure that while I was eating lunch today, I stumbled upon CSPAN caught in a rare moment of excitement: Rep. Patrick Kennedy screaming and pointing in a tirade against the media’s coverage of the war and of Congress. Kennedy was expressing frustration at the fact that political news had been covering Eric Massa’s labyrinth of inanity for nearly two days; Kennedy decried the fact that the war in Afghanistan receives almost no coverage nowadays.

Later, at dinner, Wolf Blitzer Continue reading