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AdLib On January - 31 - 2012

“What do I hear for these valuable but slightly irregular Florida GOP delegates? Do I hear three million? What’s that Mr. Santorum, twenty thousand? Get away from me boy, you bother me!

Three million, three million…I’d recognize that flabby white arm anywhere, Mr. Gingrich is in for three million dollars! Mr. Gingrich is over the moon or maybe not but the bidding continues! Do I hear four million?

Four million, four million…(THUMP!) …Mr. Romney has dropped an airlifted safe onto Mr. Gingrich containing sixteen million dollars! There are no bidders left…no Mr. Paul, we don’t accept Ayn Rand Gold Standard Buckaroos…someone please escort Mr. Paul to the auction for Bigfoot artifacts…as I said, there are no bidders left so the delegates go to Mr. Romney for $16 million dollars! Congratulations Mr. Romney, you’ve just bought yourself a great set of delegates. Just remember, don’t get them wet or let them eat after midnight! Just kidding ya, enjoy!”

Don’t you love American democracy? Where money is speech and Groupon has special limited time offers for delegates?

In this era of recession, unemployment and foreclosures, when over 46 million out of 307 million Americans live in poverty, our social system may be crumbling due to the damage the top 1% have wrought on it but at least our elections not only remain consistent but provide a money-back guarantee to the highest bidder.

As all the pundits agree, The Emperor With No Clothes is buying himself another transparent suit today. Mitt Romney is expected to win the Florida GOP Primary tonight but what is kind of surreal is that it seems universally acknowledged that it is due primarily to the spending of around $16 million in negative advertising against Newt Gingrich and not because people actually support Romney as their candidate. Add to that, the in-your-face campaign the GOP has made through the Mainstream Media to destroy Gingrich and make clear to their party, “We have decided on who will be our nominee, your job is to vote for that candidate so the image of this being democratically decided can still be argued by us.”

To be clear, Mitt Romney is expected to win the Florida GOP Primary, not because he has made a strong case for why he is qualified, because he is likeable, due to his favorable stands on the issues, as a result of his vision for the future of the nation…no, he is openly touted to win because he spent five times more money on negative advertising in Florida than Gingrich. That’s all.

Is that really a dynamic we should be talking about so openly in public without feeling this whole “democracy” thing is just a sham? Sure, Romney robotically echoes words about American Exceptionalism and American Freedoms but he does so while his campaign manipulates Florida voters like unexceptional rats in a maze as he writes a check for the delegates he’s decided to buy.

And what about Florida voters? They have been subjected to a massive inundation of propaganda that is telling them to do what their told…but when they vote and explain it by saying that they were just following what the commercials told them to do, is that an acceptable excuse? When you have all the voices in the media telling you that you’re being manipulated by all the money spent on manipulating you, shouldn’t you shake your head and say, “I am not a puppet!”

Unfortunately, Corporate America, which backs the big money candidates, has spent many years and many millions (more likely billions) investigating and refining the tools of propaganda and how to both conceive and test ads that will convince people that drinking a “diet” concoction of laboratory chemicals, caffeine, salt and gas is good for them and will make them thin and healthy.

If you can sell the public that eating liquified then molded chicken beaks, guts, feet, ammonia, artificial flavoring and other chemicals are “fun and tasty”, you can convince them that voting for a liquified then molded candidate with artificial positions and sweeteners is a good thing too.

Americans want to be sold on things, they want to be convinced to like things or buy things. It’s actually a good feeling to many people and they welcome it. Actually, now it’s more than just wanting to be sold on something. With the advancement in marketing research, advertisers have learned how to stimulate fear and desire in people in a way that is as highly effective as a sheepdog herding sheep into a corral.

So, many people just can’t help themselves from doing exactly as they’re propagandized to do, partly because the advertisers now know how to wire directly into their brains and partly because they want authority figures to tell them what is good or bad and what they should want or do.

There are many people who see propaganda for what it is and don’t allow something as suspect as a tv commercial to make them buy a body spray because the ad shows it makes gorgeous members of the opposite sex lust for them nor do they vote as ads insist they should. Such people reason for themselves and make decisions based on something they possess as a higher form of life, such as information, reasoning or principle. However, this appears to be a minority of voter/consumers. The reality is that, except for a few exceptions, the candidate that spends the most money on advertising, wins over a majority of people to vote for him/her.

Occupy Wall Street and the financial hardships millions of Americans are suffering through now should help to inoculate many from being so simply swayed to do as the conditioning they’re subjected to would dictate but when it comes to GOP voters, looking for critical thinking even in the current environment is like looking for Mitt Romney to say “I believe” believably.

What about the Independent Voters, who will ultimately decide who is elected President and which party runs the houses of Congress? Which side of the fence are they on? Will they be just as vulnerable to the hundreds of billions in negative advertising against President Obama that will flood the nation’s air waves? Will they drink their Coke and gobble up their McNuggets, nodding their heads at descriptions of Obama as a “European Socialist”, “An absolute failure”, “Made the recession worse”, “Weak on foreign policy” just as the weak minded Republicans have in the GOP primaries? Or will they reject the old proposition of, “Who are you going to believe, my very attractive and powerful negative ads or your lying memory?”

Also, one has to add to this mix that unlike Gingrich, Pres. Obama will be armed with hundreds of millions to advertise positively about himself, his accomplishments and his vision for the future. And of course, there will be negative advertising against Romney both from Pres. Obama, his Super PAC and other outside groups. You can’t go into a gunfight empty-handed because you oppose guns or, good intentions or not, you will lose. So, as long as we have this corrupt Citizens United ruling in place, as long as there are no truth in advertising laws against political ads (though there may be in the future), as long as we don’t have mandatory public funding for campaigns and far shorter campaign seasons, these are the rules and tools of the game and you stand on principle against using them at your own risk of defeat.

In the end, I am optimistic that most American voters will reject this kind of manipulation from the GOP and will not support an obvious corporate and Wall Street facade as President of the United States. I say this not because I have great faith in Americans’ wisdom, reason or vision.

What I do have great faith in is pain.

When your hand is hurting because someone has pounded on it with a hammer, no matter how wonderful the assurance is that pounding it with the hammer again will make it feel better, bullshit can’t override pain.

People are really suffering across the country and they know why. The majority doesn’t blame Obama for causing their pain though some are upset at him for not making it go away. They have been hammered by the top 1% rigging our democracy and economy in an act of class warfare, to drain them of their wealth and futures so the top 1% can become more obscenely rich and more tyrannically powerful.

Can enough advertising convince most Americans that pounding a hammer on their hand once again will take the pain away and actually make their hand feel wonderful and rich?

I’ll bet all my chicken nuggets that this time, it can’t.

With all that said, we will be live blogging the election today and tonight, you’re invited to share your comments here about our democracy, money in politics, Romney, Newt and this primary throughout the day. Tonight we’ll live blog as results come in but be prepared, it could be a very early night, if Romney’s lead ends up as big as predicted, he could be declared the winner right after polls close as has been the pattern since NH but you can still hang around and chat, someone’s got to drink all these pomegranate martinis anyway!

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

96 Responses so far.

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  1. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    Remember my article back in December? I thought he would shoot himself in the foot with his brain and his mouth.

    Gingrich surprised me in SC.

    But that is beginning to look like SC dynamics more than Gingich’s appeal.

    Now Romney has surprised me. This campaign has been far nastier than I thought it would be since Mitt needs to look forward to bringing the party together.

    But the signs are that Newt is marching forward. What is next?

    • AdLib says:

      In the end, I think Newt will end up the victor in the sense that he will have damaged Romney’s image terminally enough…to be as unelectable as him.

      Newt was indeed his worst enemy and sabotaged himself once he was in the lead, that’s not a comfortable place for Newt and he has twice become off balance when taking the lead.

      But in truth, it wasn’t Newt who won FL for ROmney, it was $16 million or more in negative advertising against him that, as in IA, bought the election for Romney.

      Unless some heavy handed threats or bribes are made to Newt, I do think that he is channeling Bugs Bunny right now and saying, “Of course you know, this means war.”

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        AD LIB….Newt’s hubris is his worst enemy, but there is a powerful visceral anger between Newt and Mitt and I do not think it is going to diminish. As you may recall, I am from Missouri and Newt is not on the Beauty Contest Ballot (our delegates are chosen in a GOP “Convention”) so this will be non-binding. AND there is all kind of talk here about a Gingrich “write in” (i.e. making it known that Gingrich is the real choice). Romney is despised here as a Mormon, as a moderate/liberal, as an eastern elitist, as a tycoon. SO…..

        Yes, Money Talks…….

        And yes, he’s got his war bonnet on.

    • foodchain says:

      mitt has to be nasty to show he can’t be put on his heels but more importantly, to tap into the angry voter because they vote

    • DailyKOS made a great point too that Newt stopped his Bain attacks on Romney. Obviously the F&F investment and FL foreclosure attacks backfired on Gingrich because he was just as guilty.

    • I think it was more the negative campaigning sinking in for Romney about Gingrich. Romney was riding high in SC and then Gingrich hit him hard and it was too late to recover. But in FL Romney carpet bombed the FL airwaves and the debates were just the beachhead landings after the bombardment softened Newt up greatly.

    • Kalima says:

      Newtering perhaps? 😉

      I read somewhere that the guy who ran the campaign for Rubio to beat Crist, Stuart Stevens and partner Russ Schriefer are running the show for Romney. I should imagine it will get even nastier.

  2. SallyT says:

    AdLib, since Gingrich is losing by a big margin, do you see him coming out strong in the next debate. I mean, he was rather dead in the last one and this is the result. But, in SC he was agressive, yes, with the media. He has now been shown what gets them to vote for him, so, do you see him using it again in the next debate? Where is the next one? That of course will have impact. Is it Missouri? If it is, agressive will go over big there.

    • AdLib says:

      Gingrich will indeed come out aggressively, he can only operate from a position of disadvantage, as the outsider. When he’s in the lead, he doesn’t know what to do and always self-destructs.

    • SallyT says:

      Wow! I forgot, Gingrich isn’t on the ballot in Missouri! Never mind……….

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I live in Missouri….there is a “writein Newt” movement developing here. The primary here is a non binding beauty contest, so such an effort might pay off with the party which chooses the delegates and is none too happy about Mitt.

        • SallyT says:

          Murph, now that doesn’t surprise me! From the right side of my classmates I have seen stuff for Gingrich and of course Ron Paul but nothing about voting for Mitt.

          • MurphTheSurf3 says:

            I get your classmates now. I thought you might have been some teenage prodigy on our chat space. A sort of Alex P. Keaton.

          • MurphTheSurf3 says:

            Classmates? How so?

            • SallyT says:

              It is just an email club we have among our classmates. You know I grew up there and of course graduated from high school there. We keep in contact as a class. Membership is getting smaller everyday now, it seems, as we get older. I am known as the “liberal” on there. The Republs are always sending stuff out, negative of course against Obama.

  3. foodchain says:

    heard today that Frank Luntz, the GOP “wordsmith”‘has told GOP spokespersons to not use the word CAPITALISM as it was not a favorable concept.

    That kinda takes Mitt’s background and makes it kaka. I don’t think “self-deportation” works as a talking point either. The Citizen’s United is showing itself to be our worst fears in record time: I would wonder that a few of those judges might be regretting their vote.

    As for Newt? you could put a lot of money with him or against him, but the guy is so self-everything that his peaks and valleys are self- created. And the democrats won’t be short of money so the advantage the GOP will have is lying, cheating, scaring as usual.

    • AdLib says:

      Luntz advised them to substitute the phrase “Free Enterprise” for “capitalism” because it tests better with Focus groups. It’s all about deceiving Americans, not having an honest election because they would lose that.

  4. AdLib says:

    O’Donnell is hammering on the same point as Matthews, saying that Romney can’t possibly have any emotional connection to 99% of Americans when his children already have a $100 million trust set up for them.

    That does kind of defy any kind of empathy for most Americans who worry about living paycheck to paycheck, affording college for their kids or even being able to put aside enough money to be able to retire instead of needing to work to pay the bills when they’re 80.

    Mitt Romney can’t “feel your pain”, he can’t relate to most Americans. If he became President, he’d just as matter-of-factly put Americans in a carrier on the roof of his car as he cruised comfortably down the highway.

    There is no getting around this.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Ad Lib….here is a story I just picked up on today. Mitt’s dad apparently gave him and Ann their first home. It was apparently quite a home. The downlow is that this house, free and clear, provided the collateral for the loans Romney got to start his Bain offshoot. So much for, “I inherited nothing.” I have put this on my “more research” list.

      • AdLib says:

        Excellent catch, Murph! That had better be among the many arrows the Obama campaign or DNC keep in their quiver.

        A sustained campaign of showing what a liar and fraud Romney is on item after item would be very effective in cementing that truth about him and keeping him off message.

        Also, I’d like to know how much that house was worth and how much collateral it provided to him.

        It’s not as hard to make money when you’re given lots of money to begin with, it doesn’t mean one is skilled or bright.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Ad Lib…thanks. Read a great think piece today that said the three words that will undo Mitt are: “I inherited nothing.”

      • SallyT says:

        You mean he mortgaged his house?!? I thought only Ted Kennedy did that!

  5. Kalima says:

    Hi everyone. Although I usually get international breaking news from CNN, sometimes I get your domestic news too. I found this very sad, and really wonder why some people are even voting at all, they seem so very misinformed and gullible. TV ads and debates count, good Lord. I just don’t get it, with the obvious GOP stance on immigration, did the Hispanic community actually listen to those debates, I mean really listen? 😯

    “With about an hour left until most polls close in the Florida presidential primary, early exit polls show the impact of conservatives, gender and Hispanics on the voting among those who responded to questioners.

    Two out of three respondents said they were strongly or somewhat supportive of the tea party movement, and a little less than half described themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians.

    In the Republican primary, men voted in slightly higher percentage than women, 52%-48%. About 15% of those who voted are Hispanic.

    Two out of three said the debates were important to their decision. Just 39% said that the flurry of campaign ads were important.

    While most polls close in Florida at 7 p.m., some in the Panhandle region of the state don’t close until 8 p.m. ET. CNN will not make any projections until after all polls close.

    Tune in to CNN TV for live results from the primary. Also follow our coverage at CNNPolitics.com, on CNN apps, the CNN mobile website and on Twitter at #CNNElections”.


    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      kalima…Sharply focused snap shot of the GOP electorate. Thanks.

      • Kalima says:

        My pleasure K, and here is the latest. This is politics at its lowest form, nothing to be proud of here.To me it’s like Romney has been caught cheating on an important exam paper, and even though he knows we know he cheated, he still keeps taking the credit and the bows. Sickening.

        “Mitt Romney will win the Florida Republican primary and all its 50 delegates, CNN projects.

        Romney becomes the first GOP candidate to win two primary contests this year. He won the New Hampshire primary earlier this month. The battle for the Republican presidential nomination now moves to the Nevada caucuses on Saturday”.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          He may or may not get 50…depends on whether the RNC holds to their judgment and insists on proportional allotment (a penalty for changing their primary date). The Florida RC says it will award the delegates as a block.

        • Great analogy K.

          I find it ironic that 2/3rds of GOP voters like Romney’s debate performance when a big part of Romney’s defense against Gingrich on the F&F and FL foreclosure investment issue was ‘Newt did it too’. That kind of crap will not work on the president.

          The bottom line is obviously the acclimation of wealth is and always was Romney’s biggest priority when Obama’s priorities have always been family and service to the country.

          • Kalima says:

            I agree it won’t wash K, and none of them are a match for the President in debates, he has the facts and truth on his side, apart from his record of actual accomplishments that is. Roll on November, this is just like very tacky window dressing as far as I’m concerned, and when you actually listen to what they have to say about improving the lives of Americans, all you hear is white noise.

    • AdLib says:

      Hey Kalima! The reference to Hispanics in FL is to Cuban and Puerto Rican populations who are very different politically than the majority of Hispanics elsewhere in the nation.

      They are far more conservative and Republican in general and many, like Marco Rubio, are even hostile towards Latinos from elsewhere and support rounding up undocumented workers and deporting them.

      As the 2000 election displayed, FL is a very unusual state where all kinds of things are at play, not a bellweather for anywhere else.

      • Kalima says:

        Thanks for the info, still, the general GOP stance on minorities should make at least some people sit up and think. iI just blew my mind that people say they were influenced by such awful debates without substance, and the nasty attack ads they had been flinging around in the last month o so.

        Makes me remember what my grandmother once said to me when I had done something out of character because my friends had done it or said it. She asked if my friends put their arms on a hot stove, would I do the same?

        Just in:

        “With 21% of polls reporting, Romney had 49% of the vote. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich was getting 29% of the early votes. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum had 13%, and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul had 7%”.

        Great post btw.

  6. AlphaBitch says:

    Might I please have my pom marti to go? I have to go paint shoe molding for the new place tonight. Oh, what joy! But I can see a finish line AT LAST. Have fun, and write lots of snide remarks. I always enjoy peeking later if I miss the fun! -- AB

  7. Excellent summary AdLib. Romney will win because he has the money and GOP establishment which includes Faux News behind him. No doubt about it now.

    Romney is perhaps the worse opponent to run against an incumbent in modern history. His favorable/unfavorable numbers are just horrible.

    PPP just came out today with them.

    Q: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Mitt Romney?

    Favorable: 31 (35)
    Unfavorable: 47 (53)
    Unsure: 22 (13)

    To put this in perspective even McCain’s favorable were in positive territory just before the election and was in the 60’s favorable for a while.

    Favorable numbers are simply not something you can rehabilitate once they get very negative like Romney’s. People tend to like candidates even less the more they are exposed not more likeable. Like you said Romney running a filthy campaign against Newt (who probably is the only candidate who has a higher negative rating than him) is one thing but running a dirty campaign against a sitting president who has no fatal issues is another thing altogether.

    As much as we Dems like campaigns to be about issues, this campaign could ride on the fact that people find Romney excruciatingly unlikeable and Obama much more likeable.

    • AdLib says:

      I certainly can see how he can attempt to drag down Obama’s positives but I agree, I don’t see how someone who has cemented himself so firmly in negative territory and someone who is plainly so inauthentic and dishonest, can ever rehabilitate himself enough.

      That means of course a brutal negative campaign from Romney and the GOP since they have only one possible path, knocking down Obama below them.

    • choicelady says:

      I agree, KQ -- good work, AdLib, and a clear reminder of the power of the buck over issues, message, and substance. With Romney’s negatives, the only thing he has going for him is money.

      What struck me powerfully is how “right” he looks on that ten thousand dollar bet -- uh -- bill. Then it struck me -- the reason NONE of us can relate to him is that he is the living embodiment of The Old White Guy you see in portraits in history books and historical societies. He’s a throwback to the age of patriarchy, to privilege and dominion, to white supremacy. He probably is a dead ringer for his polygamous great grandfather and all that could mean in terms of attitudes and self-righteousness.

      Oh, I have those ancestors, too -- one of them looks utterly humorless, but I know he ran an underground railroad transit line in central Illinois. Still, I’d not have liked to have “Deacon Cook” for political office -- the light of self-righteous zealotry may well have been shining on his face, too. I’m proud of him. I’m just glad I did not have to know him. Even more glad he never ran for public office. He’d have been insufferable I bet, but in that pre-Civil War day and age, there was no doubt he HAD core values!

      Mitt? Who could be proud of him or his family? I am constantly confused by the drumbeat of money substituting for ideas, character, policy, goals, but now I understand. I think the reason Romney is the perfect GOP establishment candidate is because he has no core and goes where the money leads him. I used to think, for good or ill, that candidates represented the best IDEAS of their parties, but today it’s the most money they can raise, and hang ideas. Ideas just get you into trouble! You have to be accountable! You have to live up to them! So it’s a lot easier to follow the money and go where it takes you. Good speechwriters can pretend you are focused and principled even when you have never been. It will work out OK -- just look at Mitt! He’s ahead -- and no one likes him!

      Mitt’s the best at that practice. He’s the candidate for everyone who doesn’t care.

      • SallyT says:

        CL, I have a great uncle whose first and middle name was Jefferson Davis and an uncle whose first and middle name was Franklin Delano. Hell, CL, I am all over the board!

      • AdLib says:

        Matthews said tonight that most Americans yearn for a better situation in this country, that things will get better but Romney has everything he could ever want and doesn’t share that very basic sensibility.

        All he yearns for is to be called “President Romney” and finish the plutocratic takeover that Bush accelerated.

        When it comes down to it, how many who aren’t Repubs are going to think that this elitist, off shoring, hedge-funding guy who has hundreds of millions in blind trusts…speaks for them?

        • Romney has a real patriotism problem from his actions not words. Here is a guy that spouts American Exceptionalism and then bets against against America by investing in Swiss bank accounts, Goldman Sachs ‘elite’ funds that shorted real estate derivatives and shipped jobs overseas with Bain.

          I know those on the left don’t like attacks against patriotism because the right uses it like a wedge. But I think it’s a fair issue to hit Romney with these unpatriotic decisions. This isn’t that faux Obama hates America stuff when his words or actions never showed it.

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