Romney Goes Through With Campaign Against France (Using 2003 Comedy as Evidence)

In February the Boston Globe reported on Mitt Romney’s plans to use France-bashing as part of his campaign, including using “First, Not France” as a slogan. At least sometimes Romney is consistent, as he tried some France-bashing in an appeal to the religious right:

In France, for instance, I’m told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past.

It looks like Mitt Romney is basing his view of France on a 2003 comedy, but his conservative supporters will probably believe it. Maybe if we sent him the complete DVD set of The West Wing we can change his view of the United States. But what if he watches Weeds instead and tries to escalate the drug war?

Update: Ana Marie Cox believes Romney got this idea from a science fiction story by fellow Mormon Orson Scott Card. The book, The Memory of Earth, is a fictionalization of the Book of Mormon set in outer space.

Stephanopoulos Grills John Edwards–Is This Shilling for Hillary?

NewsBusters has a tough job in maintaining an entire web site based upon the right wing’s myths of liberal bias in the mainstream media. Generally failure to promote the world view of the far right, or showing signs of ojectivity, is seen as liberal bias to the right. There’s a real opportunity when John Edwards is being interviewed by George Stephanopoulos. Stephanopoulos asked the hard questions and, instead of being credited for doing so, is portrayed as shilling for Hillary. Not knowing what is going on in the head of this former Clinton advisor, NewsBusters very well might be right that he was trying to give Hillary some help, but if he had failed to ask the hard questions, I bet conservatives would then fault Stephanopoulos for going soft on the liberal candidate.

Regardless of whether Stephanopoulos was trying to help Hillary, these are the types of questions to expect, especially should Edwards get the nomination. I haven’t verified these questions from an objective transcript, and for now I’ll accept the account from NewsBusters. John Edwards does not deserve any more of a break than the Republican candidates who have displayed such opportunism, and these are the type of questions that should be asked considering his record:

  • You know, a lot of Democrats still in the Senate think that your position [on Iraq] is cynical political theater. How do you respond?
  • But all that means that the funding is going to run out at some point. The Democrats don’t have the votes. And the President’s not going to budge. And do you think the Democrats should be saddled with the idea of completely cutting off funding for the troops?
  • You know, Senator Dodd, he’s also running for President. His campaign shot back at your statement saying it would be better if you had stayed in the Senate to fight instead of carping (?) from the sidelines. How do you respond to that?
  • Wouldn’t you be in a better position to help stop the war if you had stayed in the Senate instead of, you left the Senate, and now that’s held by someone who wouldn’t vote the same way you vote?
  • You know, there’s been a lot of talk in this campaign. You’ve said several times now that you made a mistake in voting for the Iraq war resolution. But Scott Lehigh of the Boston Globe last month wrote a story that said that you did not counsel that kind of candor during the 2004 campaign. Here’s what he wrote. He said (with graphic on screen): “[A]ccording to several Kerry-Edwards campaign aides, Edwards argued repeatedly that the two should stand by their votes, even after it had become apparent that Iraq had neither weapons of mass destruction nor collaborative ties with the Al Qaeda… ‘I specifically remember Edwards having a very distinct take,’ says one person in attendance… ‘We should stand by our votes, say we would vote that way again. If you admit a mistake, it shows weakness in time of war. That’s what the Republicans want us to do.’” So, do you think you’ve compounded your mistaken vote by refusing to be candid in the last campaign?
  • So, you no longer believe that admitting that mistake is a sign of weakness in any way?
  • There seems to be a pattern of that in this campaign, and your opponents have pointed out several issues where you’ve taken different positions from which you took in the past. Pointed out that you voted for the “No Child Left Behind Act” back when you were in the Senate. Now you call that a mistake. (Graphic on screen listing “Edwards’ ‘Mistakes’”.) You voted for free trade with China back when you were in the Senate. Now you say you wouldn’t do that. You voted for, when you were in the Senate, storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Now you say you’re against that, of course the Nevada caucuses are going to be quite early this time. In the Senate, you voted for bankruptcy reform. Now you say that was a mistake, you realize it hurts the poor. That’s a lot of mistakes admitted on big issues for a single term in the Senate. How do you explain it?
  • Let me ask you a question I asked Mitt Romney though a few months ago, because he’s faced similar questions about shifting position on issues. How do you convince voters that these are not conversions of convenience? A lot of people look at the stances you took in the Senate, sort of carving yourself out as a hawkish new Democrat. Now, times have changed, and you’re casting yourself as an ultra-liberal in the primaries. How do you convince voters these are not conversions of convenience?
  • Back in the last campaign, you were also a strong critic of offshore tax shelters. Here are you in the Vice Presidential debate. (Video of Edwards discussing Halliburton, and how tax loopholes should be closed.) But, in 2005, you went to work for the Fortress Investment Group whose hedge funds were incorporated in the Cayman Islands, and that brought tax advantages. One of your former advisers told the Washington Post, “That work raises the question: Is John Edwards the guy he says he is?” What’s the answer?
  • Senator, let me turn to the issue of taxes. You’ve proposed reversing the Bush tax cuts for people earning over $200,000 a year in order to pay for healthcare. And last week, at the Democratic convention in California, you went farther and said we should consider new taxes on excess profits and excess income. What is excess income?
  • But you did cite another tax on excess income. Does that mean you’re open to raising taxes on the wealthy beyond reversing the Bush tax cuts?
  • So, just to be clear, in order to reduce the deficit, and pay for our other programs beyond healthcare, you would raise taxes beyond reversing the Bush tax cuts, maybe even back to the level before President Clinton was president?

Even if NewsBusters is right that Stephanopoulos was trying to help Hillary Clinton, I’m glad he did this now. Exposing his weakness now might increase the chances that the anti-Hillary forces concentrate their support on candidates more qualified to be President. I also hope that Stephanopoulos proves that NewsBusters is wrong by subjecting Hillary Clinton to similar tough questioning.