off the record
Is The New Yorker responsible for Paul Ryan’s name on the 2012 Republican ticket?
According to an excerpt in Time magazine from Double Down, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s new book about the 2012 presidential election, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney chose Mr. Ryan as his running mate after reading a profile of the congressman in The New Yorker.
What makes old people cynical is listening to the exact same lies being propagated year after year—and seeing them be just as effective as they ever were. I grew up during the Vietnam War, and I never thought I’d live to see the same hollow rationales, the same shameless appeals to patriotism trotted out to Read More
Don’t worry, it’s SFW: The Agenda Project Action Fund—you know, that fun progressive policy organization behind those very popular Granny Off the Cliff and Romney Girl videos—is back with more YouTubes! This time, it is taking on Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s pro-life agenda with a little something it calls “My Country, My Choice,” but could be accurately described as a “big ol’ tease.”
Big Apple Idolatry
– Just in time for the vice presidential debates, here’s Paul Ryan looking like Zach Morris’s stand-in during a TIME Magazine photo shoot that teased him by saying it was considering naming him its man of the year. Yeah, right!
First Lady Style Watch
Word has gotten out from publicists and fashion news authority Women’s Wear Daily that first lady Michelle Obama has endorsed yet another one of Barbara Tfank’s ladylike designs for a heavily monitored public appearance. It is said to be the fifth time that the first lady has donned a Barbara Tfank frock. She wore the ravishing outfit at a meet-and-greet in Gainesville, Fla., for a young girls’ after-school program called Girls’ Place on September 17.
“A friend, who Tfank had shown the unusual fabric to, spotted the dress on C-SPAN and called the designer to tell her the news,” reported WWD.
According to our perhaps inaccurate tally, this means that Ms. Obama has worn Tfank to more public appearances than any other high-end American fashion designer, which leads us to ask: Is Barbara Tfank Ms. Obama’s new designer of choice? Has Ms. Tfank overtaken the feminine and playful aesthetic of Jason Wu?
The blue-collar success stories piled up so fast at the Republican Convention in Tampa that one would have been forgiven for assuming that the party was made up entirely of the sons and daughters of garage mechanics, fruit pickers and removers of rotting animal carcasses from the nation’s highways.
Over and over again, speakers informed us of how they came from families of hard-working strivers, with parents who fought their way up from nothing. Such tales were almost de rigueur, especially if they involved “starting a small business.”
Before telling us how little girls now approach her with reverence and awe, Susana Martinez, the runaway egomaniac who is the governor of New Mexico, informed us that her mother and father started their security guard business by handing her—then an 18-year-old girl—a “Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum,” and posting her in the parking lot of a church during bingo games. There are those who might assume that this accounts for Ms. Martinez’s decision, as a prosecutor, to specialize in child abuse, but never mind.
Well, at least she can’t claim it was a liberal news bias this time: Fox News contributor Sarah Palin took to Facebook today to kvetch about being bumped from the interviews (plural?) she was slated to give tonight about her BFF, John McCain. Whose birthday it is, apparently.
So you’re at the Republican convention in Tampa, and between the oppressive heat, terrible food and lack of indoor smoking areas (What is this, Canada?!) you’re thinking of just ending it all by throwing yourself between Artur Davis and a superlative.
Abortion has come back to the forefront of the political race after Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, who is currently running for a Senate seat, made a very stupid remark about women not getting pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape.”
The damage is done: Republicans are treating Akin like a leper; he’s been asked not to attend the RNC and to drop out of the race by no less than Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and it’s doubtful his campaign will ever recover from this gaffe.
And while it’s good that Todd Akin’s comments have gotten people talking about an issue that has been mainly pushed aside this election, some of the outraged responses to the Congressman’s statement are in (almost) as poor taste as the original remark. Here’s how we shouldn’t be talking about the issue of “legitimate rape.”
To many people, the name Ayn Rand is a punch line, an occasion for a little eye-rolling, a superior cackle or a dismissive tweet (crazy Russian bag lady/right-wing hypocrite/home-wrecking lunatic, etc.). When Rand was alive—a small, feisty woman who chain-smoked and spoke in a thick Russian accent—she was condemned by intellectuals across the spectrum. To the left, she was a reactionary, a fascist, a capitalist pig who advocated for a complete separation between government and economics, limitless individualism and the virtue of selfishness.
To the right, she was an atheist; to moderates, an absolutist. Her books were often dismissed as over-the-top, Nietzschean romance novels for alienated adolescents, and her philosophy, Objectivism—which Rand described as “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute”—is ridiculed to this day.
Not that any of it made a dent in her legacy. Before her death in 1982, she declared, “I will not die, it’s the world that will end.” Turns out she was onto something. Unlike a great many of her contemporaries (e.g., James Gould Cozzens), who scarcely register today, Rand is still selling books—more than 800,000 a year, on average, for a total exceeding 25 million.