Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Vote Mitt

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 8 2012 9:57 AM

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Vote Mitt

ALBUQUERQUE -- In the run-up to the 2008 election, the Daily Beast mastered a form of clicky concern-trolling -- the column by a Lifelong Liberal Who Can't Support Obama. The crowning acheivement was some twaddle by a former Democratic speechwriter who saw in Obama some kind of disrespect for women or the working class or lawnscapers, I think.

Well, the Beast is back. Because this word is cold and lacks justice, Buzz Bissinger's phone-in about his Romney vote is apparently getting more readers than Eli Lake's Libya scoops. It's actually a bit less readable than Bissinger's similarly tossed-off defense of Lance Armstrong, which 1) relied on quotes from Bissinger's son and Armstrong himself and 2) was a cover story. Today, it gets a link only because this graf is so revealingly tossed-off.

I believe that Romney’s move to the center is not yet another flip-flop sleight of hand, perhaps naively. I believe he will send to the political Guantanamo those dirty old white men of the party ready to bomb Iran (speaking of wars, are we out of Afghanistan yet, despite our so-called allies killing our soldiers? See Obama policy).
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This is hilarious -- the standard "oh, I guess Obama will do what I want a president to do" piece of 2008, written by Bizarro. There's no evidence that Romney will banish those "ready to bomb Iran," and beaucoups evidence that he'll promote them. As Ari Berman writes in a nice "why are not of you paying attention to this?" piece, Romney's foreign policy allies and surrogates include John Bolton, Robert Kagan, Eric Edelman, Dan Senor, and the less-famous "Robert Joseph, the National Security Council official who inserted the infamous 'sixteen words' in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union message claiming that Iraq had tried to buy enriched uranium from Niger." His intelligence advisor? Cofer Black? His position on Gitmo itself? Say it along with me: "I want to double Gitmo." His position on Afghanistan? It's a little mushy ("listen to our commanders on the ground"), but the gist is that we're not getting out for two more years and two more months.

Does Bissinger know any of this? Does it matter? He's a low-information voter who happens to be extraordinarily good at long-form writing. (Buy this.) He saw Romney in the debate, and saw Obama, and said "Jesus, really, that's the president right now?" There are millions of people like Bissinger.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.