Yes, Our Politics is that Vacuous.

So, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is out with what is being described as his first television ad of the general election (as opposed to the primaries). You can see it embedded above. And although the ad has been met with generally favorable reviews among the commenting classes, I would submit that this fact says less about the ad itself than about just how vacuous our politics has become and how toothless and irrelevant the fourth estate has become.

Because an honest appraisal of what the ad says can only leave the informed viewer shaking his head at a 30 second video that is, at heart, little more than a agglomeration of nonsense, deliberately hollow vagueness and political farce. Promising to describe what a Romney presidency would look like from “day one” the ad describes three policies that Mitt Romney would take that would distinguish him from the President. Let’s take a look at these proposals one by one:

1) Approve the Keystone Pipeline:

In the grand scheme of things, approval or non-approval of the Keystone Pipeline is at once a trivial issue and a momentous one. It is a trivial issue from an economic perspective, because as the ad itself states, approval of the pipeline would lead to the creation of, at most, a few thousand jobs. In an nation of nearly 300,000,000 people a few thousand is just a drop in the bucket, really, and hardly represents the sort of broad, structural reform that would somehow lead to mass re-employment in the wake of the job killing economic collapse of 2008. Approval of the Keystone pipeline will hardly lead to thousands or even hundreds… or even one more pipeline project elsewhere in the nation. It is an issue that has gained a prominence that far outweighs its practical import for purely symbolic reasons. Though it is expected that President Obama will grant the project approval in 2013 (the date to which approval has been postponed, pending review) the project is very unpopular with environmentalists who see it as a retrograde move for a country that should be spending a great deal more time and money researching and implementing clean energy projects that do not further contaminate the atmosphere with the sorts of greenhouse gasses that are slowly poisoning the planet and pushing us toward a global, man-made catastrophe in the form of global warming (and this is where the project is of momentous importance, though for the opposite reasons Mitt Romney would have you believe). Nonetheless, the president’s failure to approve the project thus far represents one of the few instances in which the GOP can plausibly paint the President as standing in the way of job creation, and as such it has become a rallying cry on the Right.

2) Tax cuts for “job creators”

The second of Romney’s proposals consists of tax cuts. In a nation that is drowning in debt (and the trillions of dollars in debt that has accrued and has been projected to accrue since the near collapse of the financial system in 2008 has been one of the Right’s rallying cries from the start of the Obama presidency) Romney promises to somehow make things better by slashing government revenues even further. What’s even more remarkable about this promise is that, unlike previous presidential candidates, Romney’s tax cut promises are here explicitly limited to upper income earners. The phrase “job creators” has long since been code for the nation’s wealthy who, in the mythology of the Right, are solely and singularly responsible for every job that becomes available in this nation. That anyone could plausibly look upon this proposal with favor simply boggles the mind. One has to wonder: is the Republican base so blinded by rage at the sitting president and so sycophantic in their attitude toward the wealthy that they are more inclined to vote for a candidate who promises to cut taxes for the rich, but makes no such promise for them? And is this an argument that is supposed to sway moderate, “undecided” voters? In a nation with a functional press these questions would be front and center. But we have a press that is, apparently as dysfunctional as our government, and so this ad gets plaudits from the pundits instead of the ridicule which it so richly deserves.

3) Replace “Obamacare” with “common sense” health care reforms.

This is where the ad descends in to farce. This is where it truly becomes little more than a naked insult to the viewer’s intelligence. Replace Obamacare with “common sense” health care reform? What does that even mean? Can anyone truly say what sorts of reforms to our dysfunctional health care system are “common sense” (other than the politically impossible proposal of complete nationalization along the lines of Western European nations that spend far less than us for medically equivalent care?). And if Obamacare is “nonsensical” as the ad implies, does that mean that as Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney saddled the good people of that state with a nonsensical health care reform regime? After all, the only person in the room who argues that there’s a dime’s worth of difference between Romneycare and Obamacare is a Mitt Romney who’s desperate to distance himself from the President on a signature issue that has sparked the irrational ire of the Republican base.

So that’s the ad that’s been praised for its effectiveness by pundits both left and right. That praise cannot possibly be predicated on anthying of substance in the ad (because there is none), but is instead a testament to how hopelessly vacuous our political discourse has become. The ad is “good” not because it presents any serious or workable policy proposals, but because it “introduces” Mitt Romney to the American people with sunny images, soothing music and soothing words, and makes the guy seem like a “reasonable and likeable fellow” as a result.


Keystone XL is pumping oil from the Alberta Tar Sands which also happens to be the single largest source of CO2 in the world but you’ll never hear that from the US America or Canada City MSM.

Whatever “good” this ad might do, it (and any Super PAC bullshit ads) will be ruined by the candidate himself who treads upon unlikeable (and cowardly) due to his actions, words and resemblance to an oblivious sack of shit of CEO that one may have worked for in the past or currently.

@ManchuCandidate: Construction of this damned thing seems inevitable. The only thing that makes me feel slightly less freaked is that they’re no longer going over the Oglala (yes, not “Ogallala” — as per usual, cultural appropriation ignores spelling) Aquifer, but plenty more living things will die. And no living things will thrive. Meh. The aquifer is going the way of the dinosaur anyway.

Come and listen to a story ’bout a land that’s dead
We love fossil fuel, but it’s poisonous as lead
One day a mouse was out lookin’ for some food
And up through the ground came some bubblin’ crude
Oil that is
Black Death
Texas Squee

@I’m passing for white:
The shrieking from Alberta was the most amusing part for me. Our PM lumpie wanted to build a pipeline through the Rockies to BC so Tar Sands oil could be shipped to the Pacific. That was till someone figured out the cost (astronomical or as we in Canada City call it, F-35 like) and the massive shit storm of building a pipeline into the protected BC coastline.

“One has to wonder: is the Republican base so blinded by rage at the sitting president and so sycophantic in their attitude toward the wealthy that they are more inclined to vote for a candidate who promises to cut taxes for the rich, but makes no such promise for them?”



It’s really quite remarkable. In this ad, Romney promises:

1) To cut his own taxes
2 ) To do the oil companies bidding (just 2 years after the BP oil disaster!)
3) To repeal a Federal program that’s based on his most significant and successful policy proposal when he was Governor of Massacussets.

That this is being greeted warmly in the press, instead of with the howls of laughter it deserves cannot but fill one with despair.

Didn’t Herman Cain! beat Mitt to that premise?

@Serolf Divad: Oh, I fixed your typo, BTW:

One has to wonder: is the Republican base so blinded by rage at the race of the sitting president and so sycophantic in their attitude toward the wealthy that they are more inclined to vote for a candidate who promises to cut taxes for the rich, but makes no such promise for them?

@I’m passing for white: My understanding is that it is in fact still going over the Oglala, the route change was in order to bypass the Sand Hills.

P.S. The ad is retarded. Anyone who thinks it’s a good ad is a moron. No president has the authority to do on any day, forget the first day, of their administration what the ad claims Rmoney is going to do.

Republicans piss me the fuck off, that goes double for the media.

The only thing that is significantly different about the new Keystone proposal is that the decision can be put off until after the election. And are y’all surprised to know that the proposed market for the tar sands oil-derived refined products isn’t the good old U S of A, but rather the export market? If this idiotic project — one that the good people of Canada are smart enough to reject — will have any effect on gas proces in the US, they might rise slightly.

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