Monday, March 12, 2007

Personal Asides: What I Like About Romney…Trivia Answer: It’s Joseph Smith…Terry’s Next Trivia Question…Ann Coulter Gets Rapped but Guess Who Doesn’t?



Mitt Romney came into the Chicago Club reception room at 7 a.m. Wednesday, smiling but with an inner-steel reserve fitting for an incipient president. I liked him immediately. He’s every inch a take-charge executive. When we sat down around the table, I pulled a piece of paper out of my jacket. He tried to take it from me saying, “that’s for me, is it?” I said: no, it’s my introduction of you. But I liked his brisk way.

So after I introduced him, he fielded a few questions and then a woman sitting to his left and a third of the way down the table, asked him a technical question about an issue in which he has staked out principal interest. Because she was obviously better filled-in than we and he was better-filled in than we, we watched the exchange. It went like this in paraphrase:

She: But why didn’t you do thisandthat?

He: I didn’t because it would have had no effect.

She: Yes, if you had done thisandthat.

He: I’m telling you, it would have had no effect.

She: If you had done thisandthat it would have signaled a great deal and could possibly have had an effect.

He: I researched it; my legal staff researched it. I personally read every paragraph and semicolon and comma of the draft and I’m telling you it would have had no effect.

She: If you had done thisandthat it would have had an effect.

He: [voice rising]. I just said and I say again, I researched it, had the best legal minds I could find look at it and they agreed unanimously it would not have had any effect.

She: But it would if you had done thisandthat.

He [voice at same tone]: Are you a lawyer?

She: No.

He: [voice still at same tone]. I am! I’m a graduate of Harvard Law and I tell you once more it would have had no effect.

She: It would have if you had done thisandthat.

He: [voice still at same tone but now showing more exasperation]. I see there’s nothing I can do to assuage you. Let me say it again, it would not have had any effect. Now, I can put you in touch with my lawyer and lawyers who would verify what I have just said. Would that be sufficient?

She: It would have had an effect if you had done thisandthat.

He: [decided exasperation]. Next question!

Not only was Romney’s temper slowly rising so was the temper of many others in the room because of the lady’s persistence which many may have taken as heckling. But on reflection, as one listener, I am grateful to the interrogator for her persistence which enabled us to see that an incipient president of the United States can get mightily fed up. So often these sessions are cut and dried. Thanks to her, it was not.

The next thought I had was: was he wrong in showing exasperation? Do you automatically lose when you show exasperation after heckling…especially from a woman? My view after turning it over in my mind several times…is no. To cave and play patty-cake would not have been appropriate. Romney didn’t lose it. He served notice that he’s not a wimp. On balance, Romney behaved very well. And if the lady were Hillary Clinton, I would feel he was justified in holding his ground and had not lost it. Did he make a venial sin by referring to his Harvard Law education? At first I thought he had. Now on reflection I think the reference was needed because of the legal nature of the question which would warrant his giving his credentials for making the decision that was criticized.

Anyhow I hope she goes to the next session with a presidential candidate if there is to be one…because she enabled him to show a firmness I admired.

Which shows you how different the candidates really are. McCain is supposed to have the temper but showed very little of it at the meeting I attended. Romney was supposed to be a smooth article, unruffled but clearly wasn’t. I liked his exasperation right from the get-go.

Joseph Smith.

The answer to Terry Przybylski’s trivia question as to who was the first Mormon presidential candidate: Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion. He announced his candidacy for president in 1844—shortly before he was killed at Carthage, Illinois at age 39. George Romney, Mitt’s father, was the next, in 1968. Smith’s announcement for the presidency stirred a huge resentment that helped take his life. After raiding a newspaper in Carthage which was preparing to publish a diatribe on the church’s views on polygamy, Smith was arrested and held in the village jail. An angry crowd stormed the jail and killed Smith while he was supposedly under arrest. The Mormon church split for a time, then re-formed under the leadership of Brigham Young who led the group to Salt Lake City, Utah.

The first—and only—one to get the answer right was Joe Morris who sent it to me by email. Almost all the others picked George Romney.

Terry’s Next Trivias.

This time I’ll use two from the fertile imagination and perspicacious intellect of Terry Przybylski, former journalist, political history expert and Spiritual Son. First: Many know that John F. Kennedy was the youngest elected president at 43 in 1960. Second: Many know that Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest man ever to become president through the assassination of William McKinley in 1901—at 42. Now who was the youngest Republican nominee for president?

Republicans recently announced that they will hold their 2008 national convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ironically, Minnesota has now gone longer than any other state without carrying for a Republican for president. Who was the last Republican to carry Minnesota for president?

Remember: no search engines.

Ann Coulter.

Ann Coulter has been rapped…I say deservedly so…for saying almost as an afterthought in her speech to CPAC that John Edwards is a faggot. But the other day Bill Maher said that if Dick Cheney were killed, the lives of a great number of American soldiers would be saved. Not a single criticism did I hear. Also the other day Michael Medved interviewed the producer and director of the film “The Assassination of George W. Bush” which features mis-applied films of eulogy by Dick Cheney snipped from the Reagan funeral and cunningly applied to the supposed event. Did anyone hear a criticism of this film aside from Medved’s?


  1. I didn't hear that Maher comment - I don't have cable and wouldn't watch his show if I did. What passes as political commentary among his liberal viewers is really inciting murder. The point being, if Cheney were dead, he couldn't send any more soldiers to Iraq.

    Cheney has had multiple heart attacks, and now a deep vein thrombosis. Physically, he's not a healthy man. It would be one thing if Maher said, "If Cheney had a fatal heart attack..." Wouldn't that be more probable? A man dying of heart problems rather than a well protected man being killed?

    No, Maher said "killed". Why?

  2. I would suppose General Dwight D.Eisenhower-

  3. Maher is a punk; in a more worthy time his comments would disappear into the ozone. The fact that a no talent jerk like Maher has any forum is sad commentary on diminished hearts and heads. I have no time for Bill Maher.

    We had Billy Mahers when I was growing up and they never seemed to enter adulthood with the teeth God gave them.

  4. We're pretty close to it --- not just here, but on the internet in general.

    "Maher is a punk; in a more worthy time his comments would disappear into the ozone.."

  5. I wonder if "Who the gods will destroy, they first drive insane-" isn't a perfect fit for modern Republicans? One MN official demands to be sworn in on the koran, and now Al Franken is promoting a run for senator in the Go-Fer State. I seldom admit I grew up there.

    Wouldn't Berkeley or Seattle be even more silly locations for the Party of Drinkin' to convene?

    P.S. I second all Bill Maher putdowns. As they say in TX, "He ain't worth a pinch of shit."

  6. Lovie's LeatherMarch 12, 2007 at 7:13 PM

    but I am going to say it was Nixon in '72... now I am going to look up the real answer and hope I am right... I just hope Reagan didn't win it in 1980....