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Politico
  • Politico Asks: Is Rick Perry Too Dumb or Just the Perfect Amount of Dumb?

    Don't know if you've noticed, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between a really stupid Republican politician and a really smart one. The in-between ones, you can pretty much pick out no problem; they're usually the ones at the very bottom of the opinion polls.

    But the smart ones and the dumb ones. They're all mixed in together at the top, and you can't really make out if this particular person is a highly-functioning politician in spite of his or her mental incapacities, or if he or she is playing a brilliant game of "hide the brain cell."

    Case in point, Politico's lead banner headline at the time of this posting: Is Rick Perry Dumb?

    Doubts about Perry's intellect have hounded him since he was first elected as a state legislator nearly three decades ago. In Austin, he's been derided as a right-place, right-time pol who looks the part but isn't so deep — "Gov. Goodhair." Now, with the chatter picking back up among his enemies and taking flight in elite Republican circles, the rap threatens to follow him to the national stage.

    "He's like Bush only without the brains," cracked one former Republican governor who knows Perry, repeating a joke that has made the rounds.

    So, people have been claiming that he's dumb since way back when he was elected to the Texas state legislature almost thirty years ago? And then he somehow managed to get elected governor and eventually ended up as the uncontested frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination? All while presenting himself as a person who wears cowboy boots because he can't manage the finer points of shoe-tying.

    So, I ask you: Is he an extremely lucky Chauncey Gardiner-type person who just bounced from one happy opportunity to the next with the innocence of a special needs puppy? Or is he — like Ed Norton's Aaron Stampler in Primal Fear — a sociopathic genius wearing the mask of an idiot to cover his true intentions and manipulate a trusting public into getting what he wants?

    Furthermore, let me ask you this: If you were a sociopathic genius seeking public office in Texas, what would you do?

    But conversations with both Perry admirers and critics reveal a more complicated assessment about the mind of a politician who has never lost an election — and ranks as the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

    He is not an ideas man. Perry hasn’t spent his political career marking up the latest Cato or Heritage white papers or reading policy-heavy books late into the night. Advisers and colleagues have informed much of his thinking over the years.

    Genius or moron, it seems to be working for him. And I'm really not sure one way or the other. I'm also not sure how much it really matters.

    All I really am sure of is that we're all really really gonna die. Really.


    Tags: Politico, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Perry, Texas
  • Michael Steele Caught in a Compromising Position with Women

    michael-steele-rnc-thumbs-upWouldn't it be ironic if the party known for fighting a woman's right to choose actually offered its own female employees a health plan that covered abortion procedures — as, for the record, most employer health plans do?

    And don't you think they'd notice that clause in their policies before some Politico reporter did?

    The Republican National Committee will no longer offer employees an insurance plan that covers abortion after POLITICO reported Thursday that the anti-abortion RNC's policy has covered the procedure since 1991.

    "Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose," Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. "I don't know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled."

    Steele has told the committee's director of administration to opt out of coverage for elective abortion in the policy it uses from Cigna.

    Yep, issue settled, unless you happen to have a uterus, a job at the RNC and an unwanted pregnancy.

    Oh well! At least the GOP's loyal donors can sleep soundly again, secure in the knowledge that their dollars will not go toward standard insurance policies that cover legal health care services for people with uteri. Nope, their dollars will only go toward important things, like web design.


    Tags: Abortion, Michael Steele, Politico, Republicans, RNC
  • Joe Biden Attempts to Calm Public by Freaking Everyone Out

    Was2103205Vice Presidents are great for providing balance in an administration. For example, Barack Obama has spent this week successfully reassuring the country that there's no need to panic over swine flu. And just so the message from The White House doesn't appear too one-sided, VP Joe Biden went on TV today and basically told all Americans to hide out alone in the forest and live off their own urine until further notice.

    “I would tell members of my family — and I have — I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now,” Biden said on NBC’s “Today” show.. “It’s not that it’s going to Mexico. It’s [that] you’re in a confined aircraft. When one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft. That’s me. …

    “So, from my perspective, what it relates to is mitigation. If you’re out in the middle of a field when someone sneezes, that’s one thing. If you’re in a closed aircraft or closed container or closed car or closed classroom, it’s a different thing.”

    As one might expect, the idea of crippling the airlines and subways didn't go over very well with Biden's handlers, so a "clarifying" statement was quickly released. I don't know, something about it being opposite day.

    So, no need for alarm. As long as we don't fly to Mexico, we can all feel free to resume riding the subway and sneezing in each other's mouths.


    Tags: Joe Biden, Politico, Swine Flu, Today Show
  • As Missouri Goes, So Goes 46% of The Nation

    You thought the election was over, but you were wrong, except now you actually are right. According to Politico, Missouri has been called!

    Missouri finally, goes for McCain.

    The Republican won the state by a bit more than 4,000 votes.

    That would leave Obama at 365 electoral votes.

    Now, on the one hand, you've got those 365 electoral votes for Barack Obama. But on the other hand, Missouri has gone to the victor in 25 of the past 26 elections.

    So you're either ignoring numbers or history. They say those who ignore history are forced to repeat it, but they don't say anything about those who ignore numbers, so I'm going to go ahead and call the election for John McCain.

    UPDATE: Politico has added a correction, pointing out that state officials have yet to formally call Missouri, so there remains a sliver of possibility that Barack Obama will be our next president.


    Tags: John McCain, Missouri, Politico
  • John McCain's Campaign Enters the Spin Cycle

    It's amazing how the Beltway politics/media merry-go-round feeds upon itself.

    In just a few hours yesterday, the following vicious cycle occurred…

    * In Monday morning's paper, The New York Times runs a story reporting on McCain campaign manager Rick Davis' consulting work for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which netted him $2 million.

    * Davis and McCain spokesman Steve Schmidt hastily organize a conference call with political reporters, in which they accuse the Times of being "an organization that has made a decision to cast aside it's journalistic integrity to advocate for the defeat of John McCain."

    * Blogger Ben Smith from Politico, who was in on the conference call, immediately writes a blog piece criticizing the McCain camp for several inaccurate statements made during the call.

    * McCain spokesman Brian Rogers announces that Politico is also "in the tank" for Barack Obama.

    * The New York Times writes an online news article about how the McCain camp "lashed out at The New York Times on Monday, accusing it of dropping its journalistic standards."

    * Bill Keller, the executive editor of the Times, does an interview with Politico defending his paper.

    * Hundreds of media sources, from The Wall Street Journal to The Atlantic to The Washington Post report on the brouhaha.

    * Everyone takes a break and has lunch.

    I'm not sure what happened after that because I got a really bad headache and had to lie down.


    Tags: New York Times, Politico, The Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post