Friday, December 23, 2011

Mitt Romney says changing positions can be a good thing

I wonder if this photo/headline combination was a purposeful, editorial decision. It's a nice combination.

We have the headline, "changing positions can be a good thing," combined with the image of Romney who appears to be mid sentence, creating the impression that he is actually saying that thing as the photo is being taken, combined with the guy behind him seemingly rubbing his eye in tired frustation as if to say "I can't believe he just said that."

Then there is the story itself. The entire article (perhaps better described as a blurb), is about a voter in New Hampshire asking Romney about the "flip flop" accusations. Essentially the voter is saying he wants Romney to embrace that, to say, in the voter's words, "Do you want a president who’s inflexible? Or someone who adjusts as more information comes in?"

It's too bad Romney isn't running against George W. Bush. It's really amazing how the argument for Kerry over Bush is now the argument for Romney over [insert other GOP candidate here].

I suppose we should look for this to become part of the narrative of the Romney campaign. He's not a flip flopper, he's a smart guy who adjusts to new information.

I would like the Romney campaign to try an experiment. They should have John Kerry show up at a single event in New Hampshire and pretend to be Mitt Romney. He could give Romney's stump speech and answer questions after, just to see if anyone notices that it's Kerry and not Romney.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Louis C.K.'s new media success

So I've watched the first few episodes of Louis C.K.'s show Louis, and it is quite funny, although at times a little abrasive and melancholy (a weird combination). Oddly enough it's the abrasiveness and melancholy that make the show enjoyable (for me at least). That and Louis C.K. himself. He's a pretty funny guy.

I also find him, or at least his media personality, to be likable. I recently listened to this interview with him on Fresh Air, which is part of the reason I checked out the show. He seems like a genuinely nice guy.

Which is one of the reasons I find this story to be so exciting. C.K. announced that he would be filming a stand up movie and selling it via his website for $5, cutting out any middle-man in the distribution process. No network to deal with. No distributor. No theater. No stores. Just him and the production crew.

This was a gamble that appears to have paid off. C.K. has made over $1 million on the project.

I find this story really exciting for a few reasons.

1) the use of new media for distribution

2) the affordability of the product to make it more accessible to his fans

3) he cut out corporate media and managed to be successful without them

From these first three points, I wonder if we might be seeing a new business model forming for media content. Something that is profitable, affordable and makes it easier to distribute content to a wide audience.

4) he's sharing the profit with the people who worked on the project

5) the fact that the fans spent their hard earned money to support him, he not only circumvented corporate media, he also circumvented file sharing

6) he is putting so much of that money into charity

The significance of the last three points is summed up in something C.K. says in this article, something that needs to be said more often in America these days. It is a sort of radical statement right now, although a simple one that is subversive when you think about it. C.K. says,

I never viewed money as being “my money” I always saw it as “The Money” It’s a resource. if it pools up around me then it needs to be flushed back out into the system.
You don't hear many Americans, especially those who have a lot of money "pooled up around them" talking about "flushing it back out into the system." He is of course making a good pay check from this, as he should. He worked hard and created something people liked and were willing to pay for. He earned his pay day and I say congratulations to him.

But he is also acknowledging it was made possible by the crew who worked on it and that the money it made can do good out in the world, rather than just sitting in his bank account.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christopher Hitchens on his political philosophy

This comes from a post on Mediaite. The last interview Christopher Hitchens gave before his passing this week was with Richard Dawkins. Mediaite has a few clips, my favorite being Hitchens talking about the difficulty of pinning down his political philosophy, either left or right.

“I have one consistency, which is [being] against the totalitarian – on the left and on the right. The totalitarian, to me, is the enemy – the one that’s absolute, the one that wants control over the inside of your head, not just your actions and your taxes. And the origins of that are theocratic, obviously. The beginning of that is the idea that there is a supreme leader, or infallible pope, or a chief rabbi, or whatever, who can ventriloquise the divine and tell us what to do.”

I think this is why I like him so much, even if I found him to be abrasive at times. He had the same starting point for his political philosophy I have for my own: oppose all totalitarians.

The one thing I might add to this quote is the political religion. You could add Lenin to that list of leaders.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

political deception of the day - Romney French ad

Here's a fun political TV ad. A liberal super PAC called American LP put together this video featuring Mitt Romney speaking French. They added in the text of quotes from Romney advocating for more liberal political positions in the past (i.e. pro-choice, pro-gay rights, etc.).

Deception is happening on a couple levels here.

First, I wonder how many people will think the text is an actual translation and not get the fact that the group is only doing this to tap into American (and more so conservative) Franco-phobia. I suppose it doesn't really matter. They actually don't need the text to make the ad effective. The only thing viewers are going to take away from it is Mitt Romney is speaking French. And a lot of GOP primary voters will not like that.

Amazingly, liberals are turning Romney into Kerry.

Second, is the fact that TJ Walker, the founder of American LP, referred to Romney as the "only sane, rational candidate" on the GOP side and said, "The mere fact that we can show him speaking French fluently, we believe, is going to irritate [Republican] primary voters."

It seems liberals are starting to launch attacks on Romney in this year's version of Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos.

Walker at the very least implies that Romney would be an acceptable president or at least an acceptable candidate and yet attacks him. There is an element of dishonesty in that, to compliment Romney out of one side of your mouth and criticize him out of the other.

Finally, there is the open secrecy of it all. How many voters who see this ad are going to realize that it is coming from the Democratic side and that it was made because liberal groups see Romney as the candidate most likely to be able to defeat Obama next year? It doesn't matter that PACS have to disclose in their ads that they are responsible for the content of the message. "Paid for by American LP" has no meaning unless every voter who sees it takes the time to look up that group and critically examine sender motivation in order to fully understand the intent of the ad.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Man, conservatives really dislike Mitt Romney. I don't get it.

This photo is from a post on Mediaite. I suppose one of the most insulting things a conservative can do (in their minds) is to compare you to Barack Obama. I'll never understand the degree of animosity they feel toward Obama, but I can't even begin to grapple with the conservative hatred for Romney.

This morning as I was grading portfolios I had this great discussion from Fora on as background noise, Paul O'Neill and Jesse LaGreca (moderated by Ron Suskind). One of the points made in the discussion by Paul O'Neill is that the one thing we lack at the moment is a figure with true political courage, so we end up with policy made between the 40 yard lines, so to speak. In other words, we are doomed to a series of bland moderates with no real convictions or desire to push monumental changes to fix our current problems (paging President Romney).

This image is a sort of visual representation of O'Neill's point. Obama is in the 40 yard line on the left-wing of the field and Romney is inside the 40 on the right-wing of the field. The difference is that Romney at this point seems like he will say whatever is necessary to get elected. Obama's not a political chameleon.