Althouse | category: Mitt Romney



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"Is the United States Creating a ‘Legion of Doom’?/The emerging China-Russia-Iran axis may force the United States to choose between some unappealing options."

 Asks Daniel Drezner (at Politico).

This nascent alliance feeds into an American predilection for lumping all U.S. adversaries into the same basket. During the heyday of the Cold War many U.S. policymakers assumed that the communist bloc was monolithic. In this century, parts of the foreign policy community have frequently posited that the United States faces an Axis of Something. 

In January 2002, George W. Bush called out Iran, Iraq, and North Korea in his State of the Union address, warning that “states like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.” While none of these countries were paragons of virtue, neither were they cooperating with each other or with Al Qaeda. 

A decade later during the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney’s foreign policy warned about an emerging axis of authoritarianism. Romney’s warning was dismissed at the time, but over the past year observers from across the political spectrum have wholeheartedly embraced the idea....

"My party has changed a great deal over the last decade.... I can’t tell you how, but I think we’ll have more voices than one at some point."

"But right now one voice, and that’s President Trump’s voice, is the loudest and the strongest and bucking him is something people will do at their peril."

Said Mitt Romney, quoted in "What Mitt Romney says about Liz Cheney possibly running for president" (Deseret News)

Romney clearly doesn't think that Liz Cheney could be the new strong voice to lead the GOP away from Trump:

"I’m not going to encourage anyone to run for president. I’ve done that myself, and that’s something I’m not doing again. I don’t know if she really wants to do that. She would not become the nominee if she were to run. I can’t imagine that would occur.... I don’t think someone who is seen outside the Trump circle would have any realistic chance of becoming the nominee in 2024, barring something I can’t foresee at this stage. If he doesn’t run again, I think it’ll be people who either were supporters of his or people who didn’t say much about him and then would be open to become the nominee."

ADDED: I had a flash of insight upon rereading "I’m not going to encourage anyone to run for president. I’ve done that myself, and that’s something I’m not doing again." Mitt Romney is running for President. I'll explain in a separate post, because I need the headline "Mitt Romney is running for President."

"Across the country, many mothers say they are rationing food for their babies as they search for more formula."

"Some are driving several hours, only to find more empty shelves. Online, private sellers are gouging prices, marketing cans for double or triple their normal price, and many large retailers are sold out altogether. Since the shutdown of Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis facility, other manufacturers have struggled to quickly increase production because their operations are geared toward a steady level of consumer demand, according to Rudi Leuschner, an associate professor of supply-chain management at Rutgers Business School. 'Some industries are very good at ramping up and ramping down,' Dr. Leuschner said. 'You flip a switch and they can produce 10 times as much. Baby formula is not that type of a product.' On top of the broader supply-chain issues that have emerged during the coronavirus pandemic, such as labor shortages and difficulty securing raw materials, the problem may be compounded by panic-buying, Dr. Leuschner said. Abbott Nutrition said it was doing everything it could, including increasing production at its other U.S. plants and shipping products from its facility in Ireland.... Some parents are researching homemade infant formula recipes on the internet, although health experts have warned that such formulas can lack vital nutrients or present other dangers."

From "A Baby Formula Shortage Leaves Desperate Parents Searching for Food/Some parents are driving hours at a time in search of supplies. Others are watering down formula or rationing it, hoping for an end to the shortage" (NYT).

Is President Biden doing anything to help? I searched the page for "Biden" and all I came up with was:

Republicans have seized on the widening anxiety among parents to blame President Biden, arguing that the administration has not done enough to ramp up production. On Tuesday, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture, asserting that federal officials have been too slow to respond.

Is that the President's argument, that Republicans are politicizing something that he's helpless about? I suspect that if Trump were President, the NYT would craft its language to blame Trump. 

I'd like to hear more about the homemade formula recipes? I looked and saw things that I know my own mother followed in the 1950s, with the key ingredient of canned evaporated milk. The NYT article conveys a warning that "such formulas can lack vital nutrients or present other dangers." Can? What nutrients can be missing? What dangers are there? How about printing the best recipe for homemade formula? 

Breastfeeding is discussed in the article, but the NYT puts a social-justice spin on it:

The shortage has been a challenge for families across the country, but it is especially palpable at grocery stores and food banks in San Antonio, a Latino-majority city in South Texas where many mothers lack health insurance and work at low-wage jobs that give them little opportunity to breastfeed.

You'd think that would activate Biden and the Democrats! 

"Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah on Monday become the second and third Republicans to announce support for Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court..."

"... clinching the votes Jackson needs to secure confirmation later this week to become high court’s 116th justice — and its first Black woman."

WaPo reports.

Murkowski noted Jackson's "independence" and "important perspective," and Romney called her a "well-qualified jurist and a person of honor."

Who thinks it's a good idea to taunt Putin over his short stature? I'm starting a list of these height supremacists.

1. Mitt Romney: "We're seeing a small, feral-eyed man who was trying to shape the world in the image where, once again, Russia would be an empire, and that's not going to happen."

2. Maureen Dowd: "As for Putin’s Napoleonic megalomania, perhaps the Russia expert Nina Khrushcheva summed him up best in a Vanity Fair podcast: 'He’s a small man of five-six saying he’s five-seven.'"


"When you were asked, 'What's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America,' you said 'Russia.' Not al Qaeda; you said Russia. And, the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War's been over for 20 years."

Said Barack Obama, in the third presidential debate in 2012, quoted by Chris Cillizza in "It's time to admit it: Mitt Romney was right about Russia" (CNN). 

So many people took the cue and laughed at Romney, who had been focusing attention on what Obama had said to then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier that year: "This is my last election. And after my election, I have more flexibility." 

Obama's joke — "the 1980s are now calling..." — overshadowed Romney's statement, which was: "Russia is not a friendly character on the world stage. And for this President to be looking for greater flexibility, where he doesn't have to answer to the American people in his relations with Russia, is very, very troubling, very alarming." 

Now, Cillizza says: "What looked like a major flub during the 2012 campaign -- and was used as a political cudgel by Obama -- now looks very, very different. It should serve as a reminder that history is not written in the moment -- and that what something looks like in that moment is not a guarantee of what it will always look like."

How about telling us what you actually said at the time? Because you, Chris Cillizza, were part of the "political cudgel" that — passive voice — "was used." You had the ability at the time to be more than semi-conscious, and as a writer at The Washington Post, you had a responsibility to do more than cheer-lead for Obama, something more than glance "in the moment" and say "what something looks like." 

It was time at the time to say who was right and wrong! And here's what you said at the time:


Oh, the superciliousness of "methinks"! It looks so awful now — that supercillizziousness...

Here's The Week celebrating Obama and Cillizza's wit at the time:

4. The '80s called....

After Obama noted that, earlier this year, Romney had called Russia, not Al Qaeda, our greatest geopolitical threat, the president unleashed his other zinger of the night: "The 1980's are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back — because the Cold War has been over for 20 years. But governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policy of the 1950s, and the economic policies of the 1920s." Boom, "that '1980s called' line was the best line of the 3 debates methinks," tweeted The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza.

Yeah, "boom" yourself. I'm sure the zinger amused Putin.

"Trump got his ass kicked in these debates, so they want to change the rules. It’s like a football team that can’t pass, so they want to make it illegal to pass."

Said Stuart Stevens, "who was Mitt Romney’s chief strategist in 2012 and who worked against Trump’s reelection in 2020," quoted in "Trump blows a hole in 2024 presidential debates/The RNC's move stamps former president’s imprint on future debates" (Politico). 

What is the rule change that is the equivalent of outlawing passing in football? What was Trump so bad at that it corresponds to "a football team that can’t pass"? 

What Trump opposed was the use of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which he accuses of bias, to set up the debates, so I think the analogy should be something more like a football team that believes the referees systematically favor their opponents.

Republicans have long complained that debates and their media moderators are biased against them — what Saul Anuzis, a former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, called “a very serious frustration among Republicans in general, and many of the candidates in the campaigns, that we don’t necessarily get a fair deal.”

I pause my reading this long article and just search the page for "candy." Finding none, I decide not to plow through the entire text. 

ADDED: Stuart Stevens was Mitt Romney’s chief strategist when Romney suffered the most egregious display of moderator bias in the history of televised presidential debates, the thing that made me do the search for "candy." Speaking of getting your ass kicked in the debate! And now he turns around and trashes Trump for directly speaking out about the bias. I guess what Stevens wants is for Republican candidates to endure and just keep trying harder... or maybe enjoy the pleasures of serving in a party that is systematically in the minority.

"After Mitt Romney was photographed drinking a Diet Coke while running for president in 2012, the church posted a statement on its website clarifying its stance on caffeine, saying it 'does not prohibit the use of caffeine.'"

"The Word of Wisdom, the church’s health code, specifically bans hot caffeinated drinks, like coffee and tea. Brant Ellsworth, an associate professor at Central Penn College in Summerdale, Pa., specializes in the history of the church. He said that its clarification about caffeine did not likely spur the popularity of soda shops in Utah... 'Moms can’t function without caffeinated beverages,' said Ms. Durfey, a mother of two. 'We’re exhausted... I don’t know a single mom who cannot [sic] go through the day without some form of caffeine. I think that has definitely aided in the popularity of soda shops, because L.D.S. women can’t have coffee, they can’t drink alcohol. So their vice of getting that relaxation, that energy, and that whole kind of ritual I guess you could say — I feel like soda is their only option.'... As a nod to her hometown, Atlanta, Olivia Diaz, who is 27 and lives in Orem, Utah, likes to order Life’s a Peach — Dr Pepper with peach and vanilla syrup flavorings, and half-and-half to make it 'extra dirty.' (The term 'dirty' refers to the flavor add-ins, and its use in marketing was the basis of a 2015 trademark lawsuit, when Swig sued Sodalicious.)... Many of the dirty sodas, which come in sizes up to 44 ounces, can contain up to 1,000 calories."

The second-highest-rated comment over there is: "I’m not usually a humorless scold, but this is not a good thing. Completely empty calories, mountains of probably not biodegradable waste, and cutesy names/flavors tailored to an eight year old. I’ll stick with plain old water, and a glass of wine before bed. But then, I’m a grown up. And don’t get me started on 'The Church.' Cheers."

"Democrats are winning more college-educated white voters and fewer non-college white voters, as pollster shorthand puts it, and Donald Trump supercharged this trend...."

"[T]he sorting that educational polarization is picking up... puts Democrats at a particular disadvantage in the Senate, as college-educated voters cluster in and around cities while non-college voters are heavily rural.... This is why Shor believes Trump was good for the Republican Party, despite its losing the popular vote in 2016, the House in 2018 and the Senate and the presidency in 2020. ... Shor has built an increasingly influential theory of what the Democrats must do to avoid congressional calamity.... To avoid it... they need to internalize that they are not like and do not understand the voters they need to win over.... Democrats should do a lot of polling to figure out which of their views are popular and which are not popular, and then they should talk about the popular stuff and shut up about the unpopular stuff.... [O]ne difference between 2016 and 2012 is that Romney was complicit in making economics the center of the campaign. Like Obama, he preferred to argue over tax policy and spending cuts and was plainly uncomfortable talking about immigration or race. He ran, self-consciously, as a former management consultant who would govern on behalf of America’s makers rather than its takers. Trump descended a golden escalator to call Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists. What was Clinton supposed to do?"

"Well, Jake, there's a political slogan, end endless wars. But that doesn't translate it into a serious policy decision."

"And the real policy is this. You can't, as one party, end a war. It takes two parties to end a war. The Taliban and the radical violent jihadists in the world, they haven't stopped fighting. They're going to continue to fight us. The war is not over. We're just no longer at a place where the war had its apex, where the Taliban was able to allow al Qaeda to grow and to attack us on 9/11. We went to Afghanistan because we got attacked on 9/11 and lost thousands of American lives. Now America is more in danger. The reason we have a military is to protect America. And by -- the decision to pull our military out of Afghanistan puts us in greater danger. We -- look, don't forget, we went to Afghanistan to knock down al Qaeda. But we stayed in Afghanistan to make sure they couldn't reconstitute to attack us again. So, pulling out means we are less safe. And, also, recognize the war is not over. We're just in a weaker position. We don't have boots on the ground. We don't have eyes on the ground. When they say, look, we have over-the-horizon capacity, that's a fancy phrase. What does that mean? It means we're not there."

Said Mitt Romney on State of the Union" this morning. Transcript. Video:

"When you were asked, 'What's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America,' you said 'Russia.' Not al Qaeda; you said Russia. And, the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War's been over for 20 years.""Well, Jake, there's a political slogan, end endless wars. But that doesn't translate it into a serious policy decision."

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