Shorter Question Everything
• Florida, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia: The Republican National Committee ended efforts to sign up new voters before the deadline in key states for the presidential race because of questions raised over registration applications tied to the party.
Mitt Romney’s op-ed for the Wall Street Journal is just more of the same old hackneyed right wing talking points; Obama is weak, Obama apologizes for America, Obama hates Israel, we need to pump more money into the military so we can be even more threatening, etc.
But this pile of empty verbiage is amazing in at least one respect: somehow, Romney managed to write an entire piece about Middle East policy without mentioning either Iraq or Afghanistan. An odd omission, perhaps explainable by the fact that both of these long-term wars were fairly well devastating to the jingoistic “American strength” line Romney’s feeding to the right — so Romney just pretends they don’t exist.
• Why telegraph the debate strategy? As a tactical matter, I have no idea why Team Romney would consider it worthwhile to tell reporters in advance that the candidate has memorized “zingers” written by his staff. By announcing the plan in advance — “Romney = Zingers!” — the campaign is only inviting eye-rolling when the candidate forces the lines into the debate. No one will be impressed with Romney’s quick wit because we’ve already been told (a) the zingers were written by others; (b) Romney’s been forced to memorize them; and (c) he’s been “practicing” his spontaneous delivery for over a month.
• About that Lyme Disease mailing: At first blush, the mailing doesn’t even make any sense. Romney/Ryan promises to combat Lyme Disease though “improved synergy”? What does that even mean? And what happens to those who contract the illness, but lack basic coverage after Romney/Ryan destroys the Affordable Care Act? But it turns out, there’s more to it than that. Laura Helmuth explained over the weekend that there are niche conspiracy theorists on this issue in Virginia, and in classic dog-whistle fashion, Romney’s appealing to them by speaking their language.
• The White House confirmed but sought to downplay a report by a conservative website on Sunday that it had been the victim of a cyberattack, volunteering to POLITICO that no harm had been done. The Washington Free Beacon reported that Chinese hackers had attacked a computer system in the White House Military Office. A White House official speaking on background late Sunday confirmed there was an attempted hack but said that it affected an unclassified network, was “isolated” and that there was no evidence that any data had been stolen.
• House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) insisted Monday night that he didn’t support the budget sequester put into place last summer that Congress is now trying to get out of. But, well, he did vote for it.
• Brown To Warren: ‘I’m Not A Student In Your Classroom’
• Here’s one that even The Onion would reject as too blatantly ridiculous: American right-wing radio and TV clown Glenn Beck believes that Sean Smith aka Vile Rat, the EVE Online diplomat who was killed earlier this month during the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, was actually a CIA agent, relaying communications to his fellow undercover agents at Something Awful. No, really. Really.
• Austin Tice: “It’s like a caricature of a jihadi group. It looks like someone went to the Internet, watched pictures of Afghan mujahedeen, then copied them.”—Joseph Holliday, who researches Syrian rebel groups at the Washington, DC-based Institute for the Study of War, speaking in the Washington Post about a suspicious video that has emerged of Austin Tice, a captive US journalist believed to have been kidnapped by the Syrian government.
• President Mikheil Saakashvili conceded Georgia’s elections to rival Bidzina Ivanishvili during a live broadcast on Georgian television Tuesday.