October 3rd, 2012 / 9:31 am

Do you think it’s inappropriate to talk politics on HTMLGiant? Do you tell people who you’re voting for? Are there any honest Republicans out there willing to write a long ideological rant about Mitt Romney? (Please no liberals.)


  1. Adam D Jameson

      I’m more than willing to talk about politics. I was thinking of live-blogging tonight’s debate. And, yes, I’m very much looking forward to watching Romney melt down even further.

      I haven’t decided yet who I’m voting for. I live in Chicago, so my vote’s mostly symbolic. (I anticipate a clear Obama victory.)

  2. Ethan

      Adam, I’m fascinated by people who haven’t decided who they’re voting for yet. I think SNL summed it up pretty well:


      Seriously though, I hope tonight’s debate cements your choice.

  3. ravi mangla

      Sylvia Browne predicted Obama would not be re-elected. It’s hard to argue against that.

  4. Adam D Jameson

      Ha ha. That video helps, thanks!

      I haven’t decided yet because I don’t need to vote for Obama in Illinois. Mr. O’s been polling consistently in the mid-50s, while Romney’s stuck way down in the 30s. There’s no way Obama will lose his home state.

      So I’m free to vote for a different candidate, even write in whomever. Green? Socialist? I just haven’t decided who yet.

  5. Kristen Iskandrian

      i don’t necessarily feel this way, but i’m glad nicholson baker said it (NYTimes magazine, a week or two ago): “We’re in the middle of a presidential administration in which one man in an office with velvet couches goes down a kill list. Our president has become an assassin. This sickens me and makes me want to stop writing altogether.” i can’t say that anything (other than my own ennui, nausea, etc.) could make me want to ‘stop writing altogether,’ but it might be useful for some to consider, as you’re suggesting, what role, if any, politics plays in one’s writing and reading.

  6. Ethan
  7. Adam D Jameson

      Well, no matter which presidential candidate I (currently) vote for, I’m throwing my vote away. Such is our silly electoral system. The only question is, what room do I have to maneuver inside this cramped space? Even if it’s only symbolic room.

      For a long time I remained a resident of Pennsylvania precisely for this reason. Although that’s been less of a swing state as of late…

  8. Gene Morgan

      Feel like “assassin” is an improvement on mass murderer, which is what every politician/head of state is when they start a war.

  9. davidmmmorton

      I think it’s inappropriate. I hope Romney wins so I can see a mass amount of liberals whine in my FB newsfeed.

  10. Erik Stinson

      your mod button is so cool looking

  11. Erik Stinson

      what’s it like inside a symbolic room?

  12. Gene Morgan

      Makes me feel really important.

  13. Melissa Broder


  14. Trey

      joke about “honest Republican”…

      no… too easy…?

  15. shaun gannon

      i thought the same thing

  16. Two Cents

      Most writers I know are staunchly in favor of Obama or tend to keep their mouth shut. I’m one of those people who tends to keep my mouth shut, but it’s the internet, and anonymity and all that…

      I’m not a Mitt fan and do not identify as a Republican, but my biggest long term concern is the debt and our monetary policy, and though I haven’t heard Mitt spell out any clear picture for how to address these issues, I’m not convinced that Barry even understands them as problems. Barry’s a bright guy, but he’s in over his head when it comes to economics. Mitt, for however aloof he is otherwise, knows money.

      Would I vote for Mitt, we’ll see. Would I vote for Barry, no.

  17. Sean Lovelace

      Fucking liberals

  18. Seth Oelbaum
  19. Adam D Jameson


  20. David Fishkind

      why do you refer to barrack obama as “barry” but mitt romney by his actual first name? “barry” is not an arguable nickname as it contains the same number of syllables as “barrack”… seems [something]

  21. reynard

      i feel sure that there are something like thirty government agencies that don’t have names or known budgets & that the world is pretty much controlled by pirates, as it has been for centuries & that these pirates also established academia & gave a lot of you people the jobs you don’t deserve & what’s funny is that they are of course the liberals (one of obama’s top three funders is the university of california) & of course the republicans are supposed to be the pirates (this goes without saying) but the truth is pirates don’t give a shit about politics, it’s like when the roman politicians did not believe in the gods, they just care about #winning so who cares if the invisible man pushes buttons that open the floor beneath a person’s feet, the ground does not even belong to you, so who cares whether or not you describe in detail the ground you do not own? you do, because you want to work for a piece of it, but it’s all been munched up by the fucking pirates i mean i just think it’s a silly question altogether, no one is forcing you to write anything ever

  22. Matt Rowan

      That’s always my question to people on both sides of the political aisle, why do you insist on referring to your opponent by something other than what they’d no doubt prefer to be called? I know it goes back (at least) as far as the old Rovian tactic of not conceding anything to your opponent, or probably more aptly, your enemy. But why lower the discourse that way? Calling the Democratic Party the Democrat Party, because they aren’t quite democratic, and suchlike?

  23. Two Cents

      I sometimes say Bill Shakespeare. I used “Obama” in the first paragraph. Isn’t Romney’s actual name Willard? Is Barry offensive? But read into it, I guess. You seem to have a theory…

  24. William Owen

      I’d much rather see someone like Bin Laden, and the leadership of terrorist groups or dictatorial regimes assassinated than subject the poorest members of two (or more) nations to the debasements of war. We have decades ahead of us dealing with the fallout and cost of Shrub’s wars. The citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq will likely be dealing with those costs for their entire lives. Assassination seems like the more civilized route.

  25. Mike Woods

      i don’t get a vote because I’m from the wrong country, but it’s curious how similar the ‘state’ of politics is to Australia at the moment. Like we are all having this ideological crisis. Vote for s/he we hate least. I’ll be watching the debate and chuckling at how similar the rhetoric is across the ocean

  26. William Owen

      I’ll grant that Mitt knows money, he’s always had far more than his fair share of it, but I am wholly unconvinced he knows what to do with it, or more importantly, how to actually create value with it.

  27. Matthew Simmons

      Mitt’s actual first name is Willard.

      Also, Mitt is actually short for “Mitten Clips.”

  28. Adam D Jameson

      I don’t really get the “knows money” argument. Mitt Romney knows asset management stuff—private equity, venture capitalism and the like—some of which is arguably applicable to being president, but is hardly synonymous with it.

      The transition of the US economy, over the past 40 years, from manufacturing to finance management has largely been responsible for the dismantling of the middle class, and the tremendous inequality between rich and poor. That’s what Mitt Romney “knows.” That’s what assets managers do.

  29. Adam D Jameson

      Mr. Rowan, you repugnant republicrat democratologue you!

  30. Adam D Jameson
  31. Two Cents

      What you’re describing, is, in my mind, a philosophical difference.

      Those philosophical differences aside (is the transition from a manufacturing economy to a services/finance economy better or worse, good or bad, or whatever?), Willard has a much stronger grasp of economic theory and practice than does Barrack Obama. That’s objectively and empirically true.

      I think Obama’s lack of expertise in economics is a major liability.

  32. Matt Rowan

      Stop describing me only relatively accurately, Adam!

  33. Trey

      can you please objectively and empirically demonstrate that mitt romney has a much stronger grasp of economic theory and practice than does barack obama?

      just wondering, seems like a pretty contentious claim (especially since it seems pretty intangible, i.e. how do you prove who “has a grasp” on what, and how strong that grasp is, etc)

  34. Adam D Jameson

      It’s not philosophy. It’s factual. The gap between the rich and the poor in this country has sharply risen over the past 40 years, and it’s directly due to the financialization of our economy. All across the US, as manufacturing jobs disappeared, the middle class has suffered and been eroded. Meanwhile, the wealthy few have done spectacularly. The rich are richer than ever. Tax rates are lower than ever. I think we have enough data by now to understand this phenomenon. It’s very easy to see how government has aided and abetted this.

      That’s the kind of expertise Mitt Romney will bring to government, and that’s what his and Ryan’s policies are entirely about: making the rich richer.

      I’m not going to say Obama’s the greatest, yadda yadda yadda. But he’s by far the lesser evil in this regard than Romney/Ryan. Again, my sole point here is that I think it’s silly to make a broad claim like “Romney knows money” or “Romney understands the economy.” He is the product of, and comes from, a very specific approach to finance that’s been around now for 40 years and has had very specific consequences for our economy and country. And all of his policies are easily seen in light of it; it’s not like he’s shy about any of this stuff. He discusses it endlessly—he loves it! And why not? It’s been great for him; he’s made a fortune from it.

      Me, I’m not a Republican, and I’m not a Democrat. Believe me, I have my problems with Obama. But I also believe in very basic things, like rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, and working to combat climate change, and making sure the education system doesn’t collapse. Very practical everyday stuff. And one thing I’m not in favor of is giving wealthy people more money so they can invest it in more hedge funds and offshore accounts. The idea that that kind of finance creates social wealth, or even lower-class wealth, is clearly a total joke. And Romney is 100% behind perpetuating that idea. So, yeah, I’m glad Obama doesn’t “know economics” the way Romney does.

  35. deadgod

      Still backing the Browns in this year’s Super Bowl?

      Very disappointing performance–Obama has to fight lies about the economy and about himself.

      The only thing ‘prevent’ defense/conservative offense prevents, when you have a small lead late, is you from winning.

      (Not ‘you’-Adam; you-safe-player.)



  37. Adam D Jameson

      Trey, I don’t think Two Cents is describing anything factual.

      Romney has a background in finance, and it means a very specific thing. (See my comment below.) It’s not like money or the economy is some single thing that someone can “know” or “not know.” Romney has been very clear about the assumptions he brings to the finance sector, and how he thinks the economy should be run. Like the man says, he loves firing people and moving jobs overseas. His job at Bain Capital was to counsel companies on how to improve their bottom lines. This is not something that has anything to do with the social good, or with creating jobs, etc. It has to do with returning a profit for venture capitalists. My godfather worked for a company that was acquired by Bain Capital. Everybody lost their jobs and the company was liquidated. That’s what companies like BC do!

      So, yeah, I find it frustrating when people approach Romney like he’s some economics wizard. I’m not calling the man stupid, or saying he doesn’t know something. But it’s important to understand what kind of work the man has done in finance, and what companies like Bain do—which has nothing to do with social responsibility, creating jobs, worrying about the middle class or the poor, etc. Which are the things I expect the government to do.

      The government is not the private sector. It is not a for-profit enterprise. Its function is to guarantee social liberties, and provides social services, and invest in infrastructural projects that the private sector might not want to invest in, or should not be allowed to invest in.

      When Republicans go on about the private sector being “more efficient” than government, that’s code for them saying “some pal of mine would like to own that, so he can turn a profit off of it.”

      Just watched the debate. Romney was full of that argument—the private sector is always more efficient than government. That’s nonsense. It’s code for let’s privatize Social Security, let’s dispense with Medicare, let’s privatize everything, etc. Turn it all over to the finance sector. Let them siphon wealth out of it, provide profits for investors.

      It’s madness!

  38. Adam D Jameson

      You’re also a very tall, strong man who I’m afraid to arm wrestle!

  39. Two Cents


      He has an MBA from Harvard and spent half his life running a hugely successful company.

      Obama cannot match Romney’s knowledge and experience in business and economics. Just as Romney can’t match Obama when it comes to civil rights legislation (as well as a variety of other issues).

      Like, if you have a phd in physics and spent ten years working in a physics lab, you probably, and in most cases, objectively and empirically, have a better “grasp” of physics than someone without that experience. That’s what I mean.


      I agree that the modern economy is problematic to a lot of people, but I don’t see it changing. I think people are going to have to learn to adapt. New technology–automation of most basic manufacturing tasks–are inevitable. This isn’t Romney’s fault, nor people like him, in my opinion. Maybe that’s where our philosophical differences are.

  40. William Owen

      And the fact that Romney parrots those same Republican lines of thought, despite being given the money to start his company by his father, despite failing to turn that company around later and needing a government backed loan to keep it from bankruptcy (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-federal-bailout-that-saved-mitt-romney-20120829), shows that as long as they properly insulate themselves they know they can borrow and spend as much as they want, without ever having to pay for those costs. In business you set up an LLC, pay huge bonuses to all the executives, and when the SEC or FDIC comes calling, you beg a loan and use it to settle up and let the entity die.

      Romney said himself in the debate he doesn’t have a plan to pay for his $5,000,000,000,000 tax cut. He said he likes to have principles, which he’ll bring to office, and work out how to make the plan revenue neutral. So the cuts are in place, its just the paying for them that needs to be hacked together with congress.

      Then there was his bit about grading schools, so parents can see what schools are good and which are failing, and can put their kids into those good schools, which is very simple to do when you can just buy a new house in that new community that has the much better school and just move. Because buying houses is like buying cereal and some eggs at the store.

      Its the disconnectedness of Romney that I cannot help but see, the sense that he has led a completely different life from most Americans which prohibit his ability to effectively govern.

  41. deadgod

      No, Etch does not “objectively and empirically” have a much stronger grasp of economic theory.

      Objectively, his criticisms neglect salient facts and his proposals are self-contradictory and, when they’ve been employed in the past, have led to results opposite to the outcomes he predicts for them.

      For example, Etch constantly refers to the anemic job recovery. In fact, the US has had 30 months of job growth overall and 4.5 million ‘new’ jobs in the private sector since ’09. The highish unemployment rate–considerably lower than that Obama inherited–is due to public sector job losses: governors ‘letting go’ – and not replacing or hiring as needed – teachers, firemen, and so on. And for a year and a half an Obama jobs stimulus has languished unvoted-on by the Republican House.

      Etch’s plan to balance the budget relies on the fundamental supply-side theoretical premise: that cuts in taxes, especially for the wealthiest ‘earners’ and spenders, result in increased tax revenue, and so require no offsetting by diminution in spending.

      Supply-side theory’s capacity to produce purportedly desired outcomes is as disproven by experience as is the flatness of the Earth.

      Objectively, Etch’s economics–Ronnienomics–have failed to produce outcomes as predicted for 30+ years and have, instead, had the econocidal effect of cascading genuinely earned wealth from the middle class and working poor up to the undeserving money-management class.

      –which, I’m guessing, is the source of your assertion that Etch “empirically” has a better grasp of economic theory: Etch made a shit-ton of dough managing money.

      Look again at the economic effect of borrowing heavily to ‘buy’ companies, saddling those companies with that debt, looting their fiscal assets (by ridding them of pension obligations), then bankrupting them at no cost to the original borrower/’purchaser’.

      Empirically, the grasp Etch has demonstrated is in how to destroy middle-class and working-poor corporate job-engines.

      –but Etch’s theorizing is that that destruction is salutary because it evidences economic ‘freedom’.

      Objectively and empirically, what Etch has proven his grasp of is how a parasite can kill its host, not how that host can survive healthily.

  42. deadgod

      I think it would be “inappropriate” to smother political talk at a literary salon–at least, up to some level where other interests aren’t excluded.

      For example, the VIDA conversations have everything to do with readers and writers thinking and talking about the reading and writing they do.

      Likewise with conversations about ethnic representation in writing and the capacity of writers to make their perspectives and interests in that regard available to as many readers as might be interested and entertained by those writers.

      Every time writers want to talk about money, book stores, monetizing internet writing, publishing, publishing racketeering, and so on, that’s all appropriately literary “political” talk.

      ‘Politics’ is also a form of discourse, or at least has a discursive existence. –so talking about political writing (and political-language technique/artistry) is as ‘literary’ as talking about poetry, fiction, philosophy, historiography, and so on.

  43. Two Cents

      It seems like the point of this post was to ask, 1) “Are there really people who traffic this site who might vote for
      Romney?” and 2) “If so, on what grounds?” I don’t want to get into a
      sparing match, but I will say, as someone who answers yes to the first question, that a lot of what deadgod and Adam are saying is not quite how I view things.

      I don’t think Etch’s policies are as simple as the rich get richer. I think Etch genuinely cares about working class people, and I do see a distinction between how someone runs a business and how they govern. I also think Etch has proven his ability to work with people of different ideological stripes and make concessions to the other party when it’s politically prudent to do so. Finally, monetary policies like QE3, which are happening under President Barrack Hussein Obama Esquire’s watch, and which he seems oblivious to, are as supply-side as supply-side economics get — give interest-free money to banks and let it trickle down.

  44. abysmal

      So running a company (managerial microeconomics) somehow equates to expertise in macroeconomics? To extrapolate on your physics example, Romney may undeniably be more experienced with string theory, but this is quantum mechanics. The two can not only be non-coterminous, but outright countervailing (debt for example).

      It isn’t like Romney or Obama are personally designing economic policy anyways. You really should be analyzing their advisers.

  45. deadgod

      Whether Etch genuinely cares about working-class people is irrelevant (though I’m curious what evidence points to such concern). The political point is that Etch has never manifested a concern for working people in any policy way–except as ants and, of course, as an ATM for LBO ‘value’-‘creators’.

      Etch’s gubernatorial history is not one of having worked with people of different ideological stripes. His version of HeritageFoundationcare was an insurance-company bonanza; the eventual law was compromised unacceptably by Democrats, who overrode his veto of MA’s current health-care set-up. Do I have that wrong?

      Worse, the fact that Etch can’t stand up to the cultural and fiscal extremists at the center of his party indicates that, in his case, there’s no one there for scientists or mathematically grounded economists to talk to. His superficial expediency conceals purely a creature of ideology, and not any commingling of the two (as one sees in real political compromise).

      Quantitative easing–cheap borrowing terms from the bank-of-banks–is the policy decision of the Federal Reserve, who operate independently of the President. Bernanke, a Rove/Cheney hold-over, does nothing “under the Kenyan Moozlim’s watch”. Perhaps Obama approves of QE; it might even slowly be working, despite Republican sacrifice of the working poor and middle class to discredit Obama in credulous eyes.

      “Supply-side” doesn’t mean ‘decreasing the price of a resource for everybody‘; it refers to ‘stimulating activity by tilting the field downhill for the team that’s ahead’, which makes the winningest look winningier but both damages the ability of all competitors to win and, more to its ideological self-contrariety, makes the ‘competition’ less competitive.

      In the sense that QE is ‘supply-side’, so, too, is a progressive income tax.

      Truly, these are not personal questions: where is the economic argument for fiscal conservatism? where is the Infrastructure Fairy?? And where is the evidence–not under Ronnie or Hanoi George!–that any Republican (or, hell, any libertarian) who preaches the Infrastructure Fairy doesn’t benefit from and want to benefit from democratic socialism?

  46. Two Cents

      So we agree! See ya at the pub, dude.

  47. Don

      If you think the daily terror and violence of robotic death squads (aka drones) in rural Pakistan, Yemen, and throughout N. Africa is only directed at terror leaders or dictators, you are mistaken.

  48. William Owen

      Well I don’t, so I’m not.

  49. Adam Robinson

      I love how you don’t have to “load more comments” anymore. Now I can scroll through all these and not read them much faster.

  50. Adam Raymond J

      I think a preference for assassination is intellectually consisten with our modern mindset (post-modern?): the idea anything can be done if we apply enough thinking, hard work, and technology. I think I’d also like to say something about how we accept things as they are — as in, not applying ideals or values to the world but instead trying, without recourse to metaphor or religion say, to define things specifically and to be “realistic” about it all. Like we’re economists or something.

  51. Adam Raymond J

      The way third parties work in America, since we don’t have proportional representation like most parliaments do, they steal votes from the major parties and then the major parties turn to those third party voters like “Hey guys, look at this, isn’t this cool? Look what I’m doing here! Will that make you like me?” It’s not great, but when a lot of liberals stop supporting Dems or conservatives Repubs it can get them really scared.

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  53. Richard Grayson

      No. Yes. Probably.