Feb 2, 2021
Sunday Bloody NYT Sunday: Special Chris Christie Implosion/Mitt Romney Monotony Double Feature
You don’t even need to open this week’s Sunday New York Times to know that it is going to be wall-to-wall Chris Christie. First there was the news that he may have blocked Hurricane Sandy aid to Hoboken because the mayor there didn’t love Chris Christie’s real estate development as much as she should have, With those revelations, Christie’s transformation into out-of-control mob boss continues apace. Next up: Chris Christie kneecaps all of Trenton for failing to pay him protection money.
Even the Republicans who once wanted to be sittin’ in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G Christie are now fleeing from him like his cooties are lethally contagious.
The governor had envisioned traveling to South Carolina this spring to campaign for Senator Lindsey Graham, who faces a conservative primary challenge. Mr. Graham, in an interview last week, said Mr. Christie’s presence would be an unwelcome distraction.
“If you brought him in South Carolina today, what would we be talking about?” Mr. Graham asked. “We’d be talking about him.
Once you’ve lost Lindsay, you’ve lost America.
Speaking of losing America, the Times has a piece about the sure to be big box office hit Mitt, the behind-the-scenes look at Mittens’ failure to impress America with his mad almost-human skills. The problem is that there is no behind the scenes Mitt. He is exactly as boring in secret as he is in public.
But “Mitt” offers an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at the man who could never quite connect with the voters he so desperately needed to persuade.
There is Mitt Romney the man of faith, kneeling in prayer with his family in a hotel room. There is Mitt Romney the self-aware presidential hopeful, acknowledging that he may be a “flawed candidate” because of his reputation as the “flipping Mormon.” And there is Mitt Romney on election night in 2012, cleareyed but stunned as he watches the country slip away. (“Boy, all those states, huh,” he says. “Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada.”)
Did we not know all these things during the campaign? Prayer-y, Mormon-y, unaware that he was going to lose? This must be some definition of “behind the scenes” that we were hitherto unaware of. Now, if this showed Mitt snorting lines of coke off a stripper’s stomach, we might be more interested. On second thought, probably not, because it would still be Mitt Romney and therefore he would somehow do even that in a really boring way.
Maureen Dowd was tasked with watching this snoozefest too, which we assume she only agreed to do in exchange for getting to write yet another piece about Bill Clinton’s penis at a future date to be announced. She finds it just as boring as it no doubt is, and in order to hit her required length, has to take a detour into speculation that Mittens might make another run in 2016.
Maybe Romney sees the film less as a eulogy than a prologue. There are rumors in Republican circles that he’s thinking about another run.
A Republican fund-raising operative even told BuzzFeed that donors are so worried about 2016 now, many tell him, “I think we need Mitt back.”
It seems preposterous that we’d go through a third Romney run, but with Chris Christie imploding and Barbara Bush denouncing dynasties and shooing Jeb out of the race, maybe the 66-year-old sees an opening. Maybe he no longer feels, as he tells his family in the film on election night in 2012, stoically writing his concession speech, “My time on the stage is over, guys.”
We can’t decide if we’d be overjoyed or dismayed to endure another two years of watching Mitt sleepwalk his way around America, because we’ve probably made all the robot-human jokes imaginable and we’ll all just have to sit around waiting for him to build another garage for his cars or his horses or his indentured servants or some other tone deaf bit of nonsense.
Two longreads you should dive into later today once your hangover allows you to concentrate for more than a few moments at a time again: The arrest of the founder of online illegal drug paradise Silk Road and a piece about private student loans and for-profit colleges that makes the financing sound like something out of Enron:
In January 2010, ITT came up with a solution: the Peaks Private Student Loan Program, which increased the amount of private money available for its students.
The program was financed by an off-balance-sheet trust that raised over $300 million from investors, to whom it issued debt. This debt was guaranteed by ITT, but an unaffiliated lender used the cash to make loans to ITT students. Those loans were then put into the trust.
Because the lender was unaffiliated with ITT, the loans qualified as private money under the 90-10 rule [which mandates that only 90% of tuition can be covered by federal loans]. The company, therefore, ensured that its students could keep tapping into federal grants for the other 90 percent of their education costs
Read the whole thing, but be prepared to have to draw a flow chart or something to figure out how yet another for-profit college figured out a way to get maximum scummy.
We are pleased, from a faith in humanity standpoint, that this week’s social etiquette column does not have a parade of people asking whether they are justified in being horrible. In fact, they are nice normal questions like “should I let another couple horn in on my private dinner plans with my special someone” and “how do I tell my boyfriend that it makes me sad when he constantly corrects my grammar?” These are legitimate social etiquette questions, which is sad for us because it leaves us nothing to mock.
Oh wait here is something for us to mock. Smug craft beer people are highly mockable, basically because of their smugness.
Two weeks ago, a beer drinker in Fresno, Calif., called Hill Farmstead Brewery in Vermont to ask where he could buy its craft beers. “You have to drive to the airport, get a ticket, fly to Burlington, rent a car and drive an hour and a half to the brewery,” the owner, Shaun Hill, replied with a laugh. But he wasn’t joking.
Silly little Fresno man, thinking you could buy something you want with a reasonable amount of money, rather than flying across the country to get it. When will you learn that craft beer is a habit that only the rich can sustain, because the bullshit business model of enforced scarcity demands it.
Now Mr. Hill says he fields questions like the one from the Fresno caller every day. He estimates that thousands of people have made long-distance beer runs to Hill Farmstead Brewery, some traveling from as far as New Zealand, Norway and Japan.
The people flying in from Japan to buy the beer are probably the same type of people that are buying absurd homes in New York City that have seven fireplaces. Weirdly, there are only three bedrooms and two baths in the place, so this is apparently for the fairly small, yet terribly cold, family that needs an excessive amount of fireplaces at their disposal in order to flourish.
On to the columnists! Ross Douthat is dull this week. OK, let’s be honest. Ross Douthat is dull every week, but sometimes his foolishness shines through and we find him laughable. Today, we just have to hear about his implausible world wherein Marco Rubio (R-Drymouth) and Mike Lee (R-Boring) are vanguards of some new conservative reform thinking that will magically propel the GOP back into the halcyon days of Ronald Reagan. The amount we believe this and care about this are both absolute zero.
Thomas Friedman is kind of boring too today. We have been let down by the social etiquette people, Ross Douthat, and now Thomas Friedman. It is almost as if the Sunday New York Times does not want us to mock it! Friedman’s column is some boring words strung together about a recent speech by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Duncan covered some well-worn ground about how what we really need are parents that help kids more and demand tougher lessons at schools. We do not disagree with this! But we also do not live in a fantasy land where parents, particularly impoverished parents, have the resources to help their children through trigonometry. At least Friedman only calls the kids themselves lazy once or twice in this one, which is an improvement for him.
Perhaps next week the columnists will return to their usual form and some exceedingly terrible people will write in with etiquette questions like “I murdered my neighbor for being poor and slovenly. Should I bury the body or simply leave it for the street sweepers?” and we’ll have a post that just writes itself.