Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’


Rage Against the Ryan Machine

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

I enjoy Rage Against the Machine. Rage and I both love freedom. I see freedom in removing government barriers that prevent individual success and personal enjoyment of life. Rage sees freedom in calling for people to seize the means of production. I see America as the land of the free, which according to Rage lyrics make me their enemy. I enjoy the music and the passion, but we go down different ideological paths. I’m not alone. Rage has sold millions of records (what’s a record?) but not everyone buying “Rage Against the Machine” or “Evil Empire” or “The Battle of Los Angeles” or “Renegades” is actually a revolutionary liberation Marxist. A lot of their fans were middle class kids who bought the music in a shopping mall off the shelf next to R.E.M. and Roxette.

You can enjoy art without adhering to the philosophy of the artist. I can appreciate a painting by Claude Monet without denying the ability to know an object itself. I’ll buy a ticket to see Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, marvel at his stunts, yet I don’t plan to convert to Scientology.

For Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, apparently, if you don’t agree with an artist you don’t understand the artist. Apparently one of those non-Marxist kids like me who now has Rage on his I-Pod is Republican Vice Presidential pick Paul Ryan. Morello writes about his rage against Paul Ryan in Rolling Stone:

Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn’t understand them. Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen but doesn’t understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine.

Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.

But Rage’s music affects people in different ways. Some tune out what the band stands for and concentrate on the moshing and throwing elbows in the pit. For others, Rage has changed their minds and their lives. Many activists around the world, including organizers of the global occupy movement, were radicalized by Rage Against the Machine and work tirelessly for a more humane and just planet. Perhaps Paul Ryan was moshing when he should have been listening.

While reading Morello’s rant and lamenting it lacks the poetic passion of Rage lyrics, I was reminded of one of my favorite pieces from The Onion – “Where Are You Now, When We Need You Most, Rage Against The Machine?” from 2004. Morello’s harrangue is a case of life imitating art imitating art.

You lifted the nation’s youth up out of the mire and taught us to question, to act. Rage Against The Machine, come back. Bring us more slamming riffs and sonic wallop. Bring us more shredding and axing. Do that thing where you make your guitar sound like bagpipes.

Seriously, we need a healthy dose of your cuttin’, or Bush will win. It’s Vietnow, man, and just like you said before, America’s getting its news-trients from the likes of Benito Hannity and Adolf Limbaugh. We need a musical antidote to the poison. This nation needs another bomb track to ignite it! We are lost, Rage Against The Machine. Where have you gone? The voice of the voiceless is silent.

Surely Zack has ample material for new songs. This empire couldn’t be any more evil. What about Abu Ghraib? If ever anyone was sleeping in the fire, it was those prisoners. Zack, if you’re listening, if you’re reading this—we need you.

And where are you, Tom, Tim, and Brad? You bravely stood up for the dispossessed of the Third World, but in the current political climate, we are dispossessed in our own country. The erosion of our rights and liberties makes captives of us all. Do you no longer care? Did the machine defeat you?

I love the Onion. Maybe to Morello’s point, I don’t understand the Onion, but I do fully enjoy it. If you don’t like cuss words, don’t read the Onion, but if you don’t mind the occasional crude term, you might enjoy this letter “by” Paul Ryan to Democrats from the Onion last week: “Admit It, I Scare The Ever-Loving S*** Out of You, Don’t I?

It’s okay to admit it. You’re frightened to death of me. It might actually be healthy for you to face your fears now rather than later, when Mitt and I are leading by a few points in the polls and it looks like this thing might end badly for you. Face it: I’m not some catastrophe waiting to happen, like a Sarah Palin or a Dan Quayle. On the contrary, you have the exact opposite fear. I’m a solid, competent, some might say exceptional, politician.

Did you get nervous when you read that last sentence? Is it because you know in your heart of hearts that it’s 100 percent true? Is it because, even if you strongly disagree with my beliefs on Medicare, Social Security, women’s rights, and marriage equality, you know my talent as a speaker and my well-thought-out approach to these issues—no matter how radical and convoluted you find them—might just be enough to win over independent voters?

Do you get chills just thinking about how strong my appeal actually is?

I have another question for you: How scared are you that I can convince people I’m right? Because I’m good at it. No, I’m really good at it. You see, I know how to turn up the charm and charisma without putting people off. Then I back up what I’m saying with arguments that, when they come out of my mouth, sound completely accurate and well-reasoned. And I do it with such passion that people automatically recognize me as a man with deep convictions he will stand up for, no matter what.

In 2000, Rage Against the Machine supported Ralph Nader’s Green Party campaign for president against the “Republicrats” (George W. Bush and Al Gore). During the primary that year, Michael Moore took a traveling mosh pit through Iowa offering the endorsement of “The Awful Truth” to any candidate that jumped into the pit slamming to the sounds of Rage. Alan Keyes, the guy who six years later would be creamed in a U.S. Senate campaign by a state legislator named Barack Obama, did it. Moore went on to direct a video for Rage resulting in the lock down of the New York Stock Exchange. Those was all frivolous shenanigans, not exactly working “tirelessly for a more humane and just planet.” Perhaps Michael Moore was directing and moshing when he should have been listening.

In this presidential election, Republicans might paraphrase lyrics from Rage, “Paul Ryan is relentless. We need a movement with a quickness. You are the witness of change and to counteract, we gotta take the power back.”

Much of the country is ready for change from the Obama Administration.  That has folks like Morello raging against the Ryan machine.

Hat-tip to Red Alert Politics for “Tom Morello’s misguided rage” and hat-tip to @KarlRove for Tweeting that last bit from the Onion.


How Mitt Romney could win Mississippi

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

In Mississippi, Mitt Romney is the underdog. The Mississippi-Alabama primaries (some are calling the Sweet Tea Primary) have been called “an away game” for the former Massachusetts governor - especially when competing against Georgia native Newt Gingrich. A second place win with a portion of the delegates (Mississippi delegate primer) in both states would be a victory for Romney. But he has a chance for a major upset.

But first, a quick look at the other campaigns. (Also, my column last week shared some of the thoughts of grassroots leaders from the Gingrich, Santorum and Romney campaigns - Madison County Journal: “Tuesday will be super in Mississippi“.)

Newt Gingrich has strong ties to the leadership of Rankin County which is the most influential county in Mississippi’s Republican Primary. He also has ties to a number of folks who worked with him while he was Speaker of the House and Trent Lott was Senate Majority Leader. Gingrich speaks Mississippian. Two months ago he would have won the state out right. His primary strategy and fundraising strategy requires wins in Mississippi and Alabama to carry him toward the Texas Primary where Governor Rick Perry has endorsed him. If he only wins one state, I suspect he continues. If Newt Gingrich fails to place first in either state, his campaign will really need to evaluate whether or not to continue. If he does not win Mississippi and Alabama, I’m not sure what case he makes to carry on. (I share similar thoughts in this piece in The Hill: “Gingrich campaign’s survival depends on Tuesday’s Deep South GOP primaries“.)

If Gingrich loses and gets out, then Santorum could really benefit. Santorum will then be head to head (with some folks going for Ron Paul) against Romney. A great night for Santorum would be losses for Gingrich, but wins for himself. He appeals to the evangelical voters in Mississippi and Alabama, along with homeschool moms and the prolife community.

But Mitt Romney has a chance to win Mississippi.

First he has endorsements from Republican leaders in the state: Senator Thad Cochran, Governor Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Auditor Stacey Pickering, Treasurer Lynn Fitch, Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith, Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney and a number of state legislators and local officials including Senator Merle Flowers from DeSoto County (Memphis suburbs and vital GOP Primary county) and Senate Pro Tem Terry Brown from Lowndes County (Golden Triangle area: Columbus, Starkville, West Point). Add to that the celebrity redneck endorsement by comedian Jeff Foxworthy.

Second, Romney’s team has campaign county chairmen doing grassroots work in each of the top twenty Republican counties in the state that account for more than three-quarters of all GOP primary votes.

But finally, Mississippi has a strong history of supporting the national frontrunner in the Republican Presidential Primary. Granted, usually by the time Magnolia State voters go to the polls, the presumptive nominee has been chosen and the primary is simply an endorsement: 2008 John McCain with 78.9%; 2000 George W. Bush with 87.9%; 1996 Bob Dole with 60.3%; 1988 with George H.W. Bush 66.0%. If Mississippi Republicans determine that Romney will be the nominee, they might get behind his inevitable campaign and support him. Further, many Republicans are ready for the primary to be over and fear extending it will only hurt the GOP chances in November. While I disagree (my blog post here), many voters in Mississippi are ready to get behind one candidate and begin the general election, and that helps Romney as well.

Despite the polls (post here), I don’t expect Mitt Romney to win first place in either Alabama or Mississippi; but if Republicans in the Sweet Tea Primary decide they’re ready for the primary to be over and begin the campaign against President Obama, then they just might transform the frontrunner Romney into the presumptive Republican nominee.


Mississippi Primary Delegate Primer

Monday, March 12th, 2012

This past Saturday awarded 66 delegates from Guam, Kansas, Northern Marianas Islands and the Virgin Islands. Romney took all 9 from Guam; all 9 from NMI; and took 7 from the Virgin Islands with Ron Paul claiming 1 there as well. Santorum won big in Kansas with 33 delegates, but Romney took 7 from Kansas as well. That puts the new AP delegate total at 454 for Romney, 217 for Santorum, 107 for Gingrich and 47 for Paul.

The Dixie-Island Primary on March 13 posts another 119 delegates: 50 from Alabama, 40 from Mississippi; 20 from Hawaii; 9 from American Samoa.

Mississippi’s 40 delegates will be awarded as explained on the Mississippi Republican Party web site:

Mississippi has a total of 40 delegates to award. A candidate needs 1,144 to secure the Republican nomination. Of the 40 total delegates, 3 are from the RNC (MSGOP Chairman, RNC committeeman, RNC committeewoman), 12 are from the four Congressional Districts (3 each), and 25 are At-Large.

The At-Large delegate allocation is proportional, but a candidate must get 15 percent before they are awarded any delegates. If a candidate wins a majority of the vote (50 percent plus 1), they will receive all 25 At-Large delegates. The same rules apply for the delegates awarded by Congressional Districts.

A few notes on delegates:

–Mississippi’s RNC National Committeeman Henry Barbour has already pledged his support and delegate vote to Mitt Romney.

–Be sure to watch Mississippi’s Second Congressional District. That district gets 3 delegates just like the others, but it is a strong Democratic district with many independents likely choosing to vote in the Democratic Primary between incumbent Congressman Bennie Thompson and former Greenville Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson. Expect lower Republican turnout in that district, but the delegates count just as much.

–If Gingrich, Romney and Santorum each run within a few points of each other, it is very unlikely that Ron Paul can win any delegates from Mississippi.


GOP Presidential Primary Polls in Mississippi

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Rasmussen Reports - Statewide telephone survey of Likely GOP Primary Voters shows Mitt Romney with 35% of the vote, while Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich each draw support from 27%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul runs last with six percent (6%). One percent (1%) prefers some other candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided. (Survey of 750 Likely Republican Primary Voters was conducted on March 8, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.)

American Research Group - Mitt Romney leads the Mississippi Republican presidential primary with 34%. Romney is followed by Newt Gingrich with 32%, Rick Santorum with 22%, and Ron Paul with 8%. In a similar survey conducted March 7-8, 2012, Gingrich was leading Romney 35% to 31%. (Survey of 600 likely Republican primary voters conducted March 10-11, 2012.)

Public Policy Polling - Newt Gingrich is holding on to a slight lead with 33% to 31% for Mitt Romney, 27% for Rick Santorum, and 7% for Ron Paul. (The PPP poll used automated telephone interviews on March 10-11 to survey 1,256 likely Republican voters in Mississippi and Alabama. The poll sampling error for Mississippi is 3.8%.)


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