More smart people saying smart things

Ezra Klein: “What Mitt Romney Doesn’t Get About Responsibility”

The thing about not having much money is you have to take much more responsibility for your life. You can’t pay people to watch your kids or clean your house or fix your meals. You can’t necessarily afford a car or a washing machine or a home in a good school district. That’s what money buys you: goods and services that make your life easier.

… The problem is that [Romney] doesn’t seem to realize how difficult it is to focus on college when you’re also working full time, how much planning it takes to reliably commute to work without a car, or the agonizing choices faced by families in which both parents work and a child falls ill. The working poor haven’t abdicated responsibility for their lives. They’re drowning in it.

Leah Libresco: “Ave atque vale, Jen McCreight”

This isn’t a Jen-specific problem. A lot of women writers have been targeted in the same way Jen has, and in a way pretty much no male bloggers are. It’s disgusting and it’s unacceptable. Jen may need to step back for a while for her safety, but she’s given atheist women and all feminists a pretty big gift: a framework to continue the fight in her absence and a reminder of why it needs fighting.

Sarah Moon: “Esther, Mark Driscoll, and using rape to control women”

The book of Esther contains a powerful message. Women disobeying men and saving the world. Women asserting their bodily autonomy. Women who are brave and strong and active and anything but submissive. It’s a message so powerful that some male Christian leaders have to undermine it because it threatens the control that they have over women.

Craig M. Watts: “Covetous Leaders: How the Religious Right Gets It Exactly Wrong”

We do, indeed, need to be wary of covetous leaders. But covetous leaders are not the politicians who call for the over-privileged to pay more taxes so the poor and weak will stand a chance of staying out of abject poverty and still others will be less likely of falling into bankruptcy. Rather the covetous leaders are the ones who materially benefit from the policies they advance as they protect the interests of the rich. Too many on the religious right are looking in exactly the wrong direction for covetous leaders to chastise.

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  • picklefactory

    Leah Libresco’s comment section makes me very sad.

  •  Especially head-spinny misogynist guy who thinks rape is any sort of sex that isn’t consensual marital sex without contraception. Because if you don’t want kids and aren’t in a long term relationship you aren’t fully consenting…


    At least he thinks non-consensual marital sex without contraceptives is rape as well.

    But really WTF is he on?

    I think I shall wander off and be sick now.

  • Lori

    So my shower epiphany for the day is that Mitt Romney is such a shit about poor people at least in part because he assumes that they’re all lazy whiners just like he & Ann.

    Think about it. Ann’s tale of early married life struggles involves living in a dumpy apartment, eating cheap food and not being able to entertain or do other things they wanted. The thing is, Mitt & Ann chose that. They could have improved their financial situation at any time simply by having one or both of them get a job to bring in some additional income. They decided that they could live with the mismatched carpet squares and the tuna if that’s what it took to be able to manage solely on the hand-out given to them by Mitt’s dad, and yet the fact that they chose it doesn’t keep Ann from whining about how hard it was, you guys.

    I think Mitt assumes that poor people who struggle are just like that. They chose not to work because the benefits of not having a job and living off hand outs are more important to them then improving their lives and then they whine about it because the hand outs don’t cover as nice a lifestyle as they’d like.

  • Lori


    But really WTF is he on? 

    If the comments are to be believed, a combination of the Autism spectrum and general jerkishness. He has decided that his take on the issue is logical (which it is, in a “4 year old logic” kind of way) and therefore correct and that any objections raised to it must be the result of emotionalism on the part of the folks raising them. And since it’s his self-appointed task to troll in order to get people to be rational instead of emotional he’s going to go right on repeating his horrible, offensive ideas about rape no matter how many people tell him to stop.

    The whole exchange was really unpleasant, but I don’t think it was particularly representative of a larger way issue. Because of that some of the other comments actually disturbed me more.

  •  Oh, yeah, there was loads of disturbingness in the comments.

  • I shudder to think about his and Ann’s money management skills if he and Ann lived that badly on $60k in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Let’s generously call tuition $2k a year ($1k for Mitt and $1k for Ann) for both of them, and rent $100 a month.

    So over four years, to pay for school and keep a roof over their heads they paid out


    … okay, now say utilities is another $100 a month.


    Mitt and Ann are trying to tell us that on the $42400 left over they couldn’t splurge on anything?

    Jesus. What did he do, get ripped off by the frat he was in? He must have; there’s no way a rich person with any money managent skills is that stupid about money.

    Remember in high school there’s always someone who tries on the “Hey, I had a hole in my pocket and that money fell out, honest, it’s mine” when you find a $20?

    The frat he was in must have been like that, convincing dear Mittens that in the 1960s they needed $10,000 for four years of frat fees. If that’s true then he didn’t even know the value of money at the time and neither did Ann.

    It makes me wonder if he and Ann just make these stories up to convince themselves they know what it’s like for the 99%.

  • Is that $60K per year or for the entire four years?  If it’s per year, I could  go to school full-time and still have a pretty nice lifestyle on that nowadays.

    My dad just told me that at the time Mittens was going to school, he and my mom (together) made $5,000 per year. 

    FWIW, Brigham Young’s website says that tuition was $250 (I assume that’s per semester)  in 1971.

  • BC

    I started working in the private sector in 1969 and my goal was to make $10,000 per year.  I figured if I made that, I could have a decent lifestyle.  

  • MikeJ

    In 1969 when Romney entered BYU, the US median income  was $7,280. Assuming that $60 was spread over four years, he got more than half of the households in the US while he was “struggling”.

  • MikeJ

     Two quick corrections. $60 should have been $60k, and of course it should have said *twice* what half of the households made.

  • Well, according to Mitt, he sold off some stock for about $60,000 in 1969 and this, according to him and Ann, was what they lived on while he (or they?) went to university.

    Even spread over four years, a dollar went pretty far back then and he and Ann sure weren’t “struggling” by any reasonable definiton of the word.

    EDIT: Apparently, according to the Romneys, Ann was pregnant and so Mitt and Ann were already raising children while he went to school.

    Granted, you need to spend extra on children, but even so I refuse to believe $60,000 between 1969 and 1975 (when Mitt graduated) was a real hardship. In fact, I’m surprised Mitt took six years to get his bachelor’s degree. It sounds like between shitty money management and shitty time management, the Romneys are hardly poster children for anything except how rich people don’t understand money as well as they think they do.

  • Crena23

     If commenter like that are the norm for the catholics on her page, I remain ever more mystified why she suddenly found their arguments so compelling.

  • P J Evans

    My father was in a good job for that time, and I don’t think he ever made even $30 thousand a year. So my feeling about Mitt and his college funding is, ‘quit whining about how hard you had it, because you’ve never been anywhere close to a hard life’.

  • Nathaniel

    Dammit, I hate disqus.

  • Nathaniel

     No, that’s not what the name I wrote was! GAH!

  • Grogs

    I think Mitt’s cluelessness  is just epic. It’s not like he’s the first rich guy to ever run for President, but he really seems to have a knack for rubbing it in. I imagine that every head in the room was nodding when he made his comments, too. There was the woman who was lamenting on how hard it was for her to convince college kids or the ladies that do her nails that they should vote for Romney (wonder why?) or the guy complaining about how he had to work so hard he never had time to see his kids. I imagine it must be terribly uncomfortable to work 80+ hours a week to bring home $5 million per year as opposed to, say, working two or three minimum wage jobs to bring home $20K.

    For the 60K thing (where did that number come from anyway? I’ve heard the story, just not a specific number), for the one year of college I had to take out student loans, I got about $22K, of which maybe $10K went for tuition. If I had done that for a full four years, I would have had about $48K total to live on after tuition. That’s *still* less (in 2005 dollars) than what Mitt and Anne had to live on in 1970.

    I almost wonder if the reason they lived in a crappy apartment wasn’t because BYU restricted them to living in certain (crappy) apartments close to the school. I know BYU has some pretty draconian rules, so it wouldn’t surprise me. I know my school had so “married student housing” which was not pretty to say the least. Also, how many college kids worry about “entertaining?” I’m not sure I ever remember anyone ever ‘entertaining’ when I was in school. Parties, sure, but it doesn’t seem like having a crappy apartment would be a big deal in that case unless the people you’re inviting are a bunch of snobs.

  • AnonymousSam

    In other news, Texas governor Rick Perry explained today how separation of church and state is Satan’s creation, along with some interesting hints about our nation’s Christian roots and Biblical values (you mean keeping women in ivory towers, murdering natives and keeping slaves?) and how we need Christian soldiers who will stand up against Obama.

    Yeah, I’m all for letting the south secede entirely this time.

  • Lori

    Apparently, according to the Romneys, Ann was
    pregnant and so Mitt and Ann were already raising children while he went
    to school. 

    Yet another choice. One which, according to the GOP, people aren’t supposed to make until they can fully support a child without handouts. For sure a man with a wife and child on the way is supposed to do whatever he has to do, like get a freaking job, to get them out of a dumpy apartment. None of that applied to Mittens because he got his hand outs from his rich family, and that’s totally different.

    The Romney’s  really are awful. I can’t think of one thing about them that doesn’t disgust or irritate me in some way. Just an awful, awful family.

    An example not specifically about money—Tagg & his wife used a surrogate to have their twins. I have no problem with that*, but it turns out that the surrogacy contract included a clause that allowed either the surrogate or Tagg & the Mrs. to opt to terminate the pregnancy if the fetus was found to have genetic abnormalities. Their lawyer says that it was an oversight. I have two words to say to that—Bull. Shit. Once again abortion is the biggest evil that ever eviled, accept when some rich white person wants one. Preventing further trauma to a rape victim or saving a woman’s life aren’t good enough reasons, but preventing  rich people from ending up with a defective product is.

    *No problem with surrogacy that is. I have issues with the way fertility treatments are treated in GOPworld, but I’m not going to lay that all off on Tagg & his wife. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them using surrogacy, I don’t think needing to use surrogacy makes them defective or “less than” and I’m glad it turned out well for them.

  • Jessica_R

    The wealthy republican I always go back to when it comes to Mitt is Teddy Roosevelt, which is why I don’t give Mitt an inch. Teddy Roosevelt was also a fantastically wealthy son of privilege, who went to the best schools and never had to want for anything. And yet he had a sense of the public good that is utterly absent from Mitt and the current GOP. He liked to hunt and had several homes, but he didn’t turn Yellowstone into a private hunting lodge, he started the Parks Service. 

    You are what you do, nothing less. What Mitt seems utterly unwilling to understand is that we’re not jealous of his wealth, we’re exasperated and infuriated by his utter refusal to admit the privileges that gave him that wealth and his attitude that he doesn’t owe the public good a damn thing. Just our money and admiration. 

    I am surprised the campaign is still letting Ann do press, she’s awful, a Lina Lamont of Salt Lake.

  • Lori

    Ann is now  being used “sparingly” so people “don’t get tired of her”, so it seems that the campaign has finally figured out that there’s a big difference between “more likable than Mitt” and “actually likable”.

  • hidden_urchin

    ”Anne is now being used ‘sparingly’ so people ‘don’t get tired of her’…”

    Too late.

    What really got me is how she lashed out over the criticism of Romney. That indicated to me that she doesn’t really have the temperament to be involved in his campaign in any capacity other than family photos.

  • Lori

    At least when Mitt losses the election he’ll have somewhere to go—-Honduras, aka home of Libertopia.

    I don’t even care that this makes me mean, I think this scheme is going to be the most entertaining thing I’ve seen in years.

  • Hey, didn’t Rush Limbaugh promise to fuck off to Costa Rica already?

  • Also: Proponents say the tiny, as-yet unnamed town will become a Central
    American beacon of job creation and investment, by combining secure
    property rights with minimal government interference.

    Say, didn’t they try that in, oh, pre-20th century Britain? Or 19th century Germany until Bismarck finally realized that pragmatism is the better part of valor?

  • Lori

    He should have left right after SCOTUS upheld the bulk of the ACA, but strangely the moving van does not yet seem to have arrived at Casa Asshat.

  • Maybe he’s waiting until Libertopia gets built. :P

  • Hawker40

    So he’s waiting for someone else to do the hard work of building Libertopia before he jumps in?

  • Kiba

     a Lina Lamont of Salt Lake.

    “People?” “I ain’t people!”

  • Why not? Right-wing jerks like him are famous for ignoring the hired help when they loudly trumpet their I-did-it-my-very-own-self accomplishments.

  • P J Evans

     I’d rather just see the wingnuts move to Somalia or Eritrea. A lot of people in Texas don’t like Gov. Goodhair and his ideas.

  • You know what I love about that article? The proponents of the special city say they’re modelling it on Texas law.

    I recall reading that Texas had a rather high number of payday loan places and pawn shops per capita; income inequality tends to correlate with the increasing number of ways to strip poor people of their assets and income, so I doubt that the folks praising Texas really grasp what it is they’re praising in that article.

  • Lori


    so I doubt that the folks praising Texas really grasp what it is they’re praising in that article.   

    I think you’re giving them way too much credit. I think they know exactly what they’re praising, they just assume they’re going to be the winners instead of the losers. Standard Glibertarian crap.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I was particularly fond of this bit:

    “Texas law is also very familiar to American business people, and it is very familiar to Hondurans, because a lot of Hondurans have gone there or have family there.”

    There’s so much cluelessness packed up in there, I don’t even know where to begin.

  • Reading about Mark Driscoll causes very ugly, violent, thoughts in my head which would be less than legal if actually put into practice.  I will decline to share the details of them here, as doing so would be unproductive at best and alienating at worst.  

    Suffice to say, the male bravado-styled influence he has amassed props up his ego to the point that I believe rational debate and refutation of his ideas would be impossible without… “humbling” him before hand.  

  • Lori


    I think Mitt’s cluelessness  is just epic. It’s not like he’s the first
    rich guy to ever run for President, but he really seems to have a knack
    for rubbing it in.  

    Speaking of Mitt’s epic lack of suitability for his current job, never mind the job he’s trying to get; I’m not a fan of Maureen Dowd, but this line from today’s column about the Romney campaign made me LOL:


    Sometimes in the course of human events, we must ask, as Hemingway did
    in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” what is that leopard doing at this

  • hidden_urchin

    Yeah, I read that and said, ” Have any of these people actually lived in Texas?”

  • Jenora Feuer

     And my immediate thought on that was ‘Wasn’t something like this tried before, back in the 1920’s?  Oh, right, Fordlândia…’Of course, the other obvious connection is Bob the Angry Flower does Atlas Shrugged 2.

  •  There was also the Republic of Minerva, a reef paradise with no taxes, subsidies, or welfare system. Their mistake was trying to use land that was claimed by the nearby actual nation of Tonga, who summarily booted them off.