Dana Milbank Live

Jan 06, 2012

Dana Milbank chatted about his latest columns and more.

Dana Milbank Live is your weekly opportunity for a give and take with Dana centering on the latest political news in Washington and his recent columns.

Good afternoon, dear reader.

I'm back in DC for 24 hours before a return to New Hampshire for the rest of the show up there.   I've tried to be equal-opportunity this week, picking on Rick Santorum in Tuesday's paper, Mitt Romney in Thursday''s paper and the just-posted column on Newt Gingrich for Sunday's paper. 

Let us discuss this and anything else of interest.

Dana: There was a column in the Baltimore Sun on Wednesday written by a guy who had been in the crowd in 1967 when George Romney made an impromptu visit to San Francisco's hippie district. Despite the fears of his staff and Secret Service, Romney mingled among the kids, asked them what they wanted out of life, and persevered despite one girl continually yelling, "Acid without speed!!" Romney said he really wanted to know what was on their mind because, "I have kids who are your age." Now, can you imagine Mitt doing something similar? (Today, I guess that would be plunging into an Occupy Wall Street encampment.) It sure would be fun to watch.

Acid without Speed would be even better than "Live Free or Die" on the N.H. license plate.

Lukewarm Ron Paul supporters OR Fervent Romney supporters

I would have said that neither such animal exists.  But there were apparently some passionate Romney supporters in the comments section of yesterday's column.  They can be anonymous there, of course, but this raises the possibility Romney lovers will eventually come out of the closet.

What do GOP insiders think about having Mr. Man On Dog as one of their party's leading spokesmen?

They are not terribly concerned because he is equal part Man on K Street.  He's no more likely to shake things up here than Romney or Gingrich.  Those who would are safely out of the running now.   That said, he apparently believes that American women do not have a right to contraception.



I would imagine Ron Paul feels left out

I figured he would, which is why I have him a couple of paragraphs in the column in Wednesday's paper.  Also that apparently makes the Ombudsman happy.

When you address Sharpton as "reverend" are you being ironic or facetious?

Mostly I go with "rev."

"Reverend Al" sounds good.

Technically it should be "the reverend" in a title, and not something you call him in person, but in his case Reverend Al is more like a double first name, like Peggy Sue.

Your piece on Romney's victory lap siezed on the out burts of a Chinese woman inquiring about trickle down and an occupy plant. How do you know she was Chinese and he was an occupier and why does their behavior deserve space when the burning issue of the day is the economy?

Well, she said she was Chinese-American, and he said he was from Occupy.  I did not pretend I was an Arizona cop and ask for their identity papers.   They were both asking about the economy. 

Would you ever eat a Darth Vader burger?

Unlikely, but I am going to attempt to find the best pancakes in New Hampshire this weekend.  Any suggestions? 

Are Newt's charges roughly true? What percent of GOP voters know this? Will it be a disqualifier when they do?

True enough for a primary. 

I don't see that line sticking in New Hampshire, though. 

Vermont and New Hampshire both look like bottles, but Vermont is upside down. Is the reason Vermont doesn't have an early primary because all of the candidates would roll out into Massachusetts?

This sort of astute political analysis is why people come to this chat.

Can perpetual candidate and performance artist Vermin Supreme get some love from you Dana. He's trying to educate us on the upcoming zombie apocolypse and how important it is that we all donate a kidney to each other to foster a sense of community. These are important issues I am upset that other candidates are not discussing...

This reminds me that I was going to ask you what else I should be writing from New Hampshire over the next few days.   I think I might just get me a Darth Vader Burger and go see Vernin, Emperor for a New Millennium.

Did the 20-vote overcount in Appanoos county, Iowa come about from ballot overstuffing or did the vote counters keep counting unmarked ballots that were extras as if they were for the "most electable" Romney?

Silly. It's Appanoose County (with an e at the end), and the problem is obvious.  They still count votes there by using sticks to draw tallies in the dirt. 

Of the current candidates, Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul are both sitting Congressmen. Rick Perry is the sitting Governor of Texas. Exactly how much legislating and Governing have they really been doing? As far as I can tell, Bachmann has been present for votes 4 days since Labor day and Paul about 6. Why is more not made of the fact that these candidates are also elected officials who are apparently *not* representing their constituencies?

On the contrary, I think we should encourage more politicians to do exactly as they have been doing.

Hey Dana, how does the fact checking differ for Post editorial writers? Krauthammer wrote that Russia committed "naked aggression against a small, vulnerable, pro-American state (Georgia)" That is not a true statement. The European Union's fact finding mission has established that Georgia began the war by shelling South Ossetia. Why would the Post allow that to be printed with its imprimatur?

You are both wrong.  The war began because of the naked aggression of the Appaloosians.

Mitt Romney's sons have been strangely silent, except for the one outburst about Obama's birth certificate and college GPA. Are they saving their big guns for the general?

They did an event I saw in Iowa. It was for a bunch of high-school kids.  They told a story about how their dad is so cheap he once made the whole family build a fence for the front yard.  The kids were quiet and fidgety. The Romney boys left quickly.

On this topic, do you know of any polyamory support group that has spoken up to say "yes" to Santorum's argument that marriage between two men today means marriage between three men next?

No, but I think "polyamorous" is a word too infrequently used.

Who are the Four Horsemen of the Conservative Apocalypse--Limbaugh, Beck, Dobson and Rove--desirous of having as their 2012 standard bearer to defeat the infidels?

I say nay to that formulation.   Take Rove out: He's fighting as the rear guard* of the establishment.


*not a reference to Santorum

Is his goal to become president or the next Donald Trump (ego wise)?

I believe he seeks the veneration attributed to other world historic figures, such as Churchill.

What's with all the blatant bashing of African Americans by Santorum and Gingrich? Really overtly courting the bigot vote. What think you of Santorum's denial?

Did a segment on this earlier in the week from Iowa with the aforementioned "rev."   Politically, there's little downside for them in ultra-white Iowa and New Hampshire, or in a Republican primary anywhere, for that matter.  Where they're all getting themselves in trouble is when they start taking on the Latinos. Romney's claim that he would veto the Dream Act could be ruinous for him in November.

1) Who will Sarah Palin endorse? 2) If Romney is the nominee, just how conservative of a politician will he feel pressured to name as his running mate?

Sarah Palin already endorsed herself, writing in last Sunday's Topic A.   My favorite line was her saying she would have to "do something that sounds self-promoting, but whatever."

Host a NH kegger for all the candidates kids!

Yes, the Romney and Huntsman kids would love that for sure.

But I like the idea anyway, in part because I am an alumnus of my college dorm's keg-suck team.

You said in one of your earlier answers about Georgia and South Ossetia that "Dana Milbank : You are both wrong. The war began because of the naked aggression of the Appaloosians." As we all know, appaloosans are a type of horse here in the United States. What the Obama administration is covering up is that it was really agitation by a bunch of arabian horses that had disguised themselves as appaloosans, much like the Muslim brotherhood has infiltrated all levels of our government. I expect Glenn Beck to discover this and announce it to the world at any time.

If  Darryl Issa launches an investigation I have a feeling it's going to lead to Mitt Romney's Dressage horses.

Shouldn't Newt just admit he was the inventor of sliced bread and then he can say he is the greatest thing since himself?

Although, he is so perfect there is no need to reinvent the heel.

As a former reporter in Pennsylvania, I say Rick's true character gets exposed within two weeks of being under the national spotlight. You knew him back when. What do you thik?

I think he's smarter than he looks (this is because of the Howdy Doody thing).   I agree that he will not age well in the spotlight, not because of his personal character but because of what has already come out of his mouth about canines and contraceptives.   I think that's part of why the press didn't take him seriously in Iowa.  He's just so obviously not a viable general-election candidate, even in his home state. 

That was really from her? I thought it was a parody.

It did read like a parody.   My hunch is it read that way because she actually wrote it herself rather than leaving it to staff.

If you agree that Krauthammer is factually wrong, why did the Post print it? Have they issued a correction?

Hold your appaloosas. I did not weigh in on the facts in Ossetia.  I have enough trouble keeping up with New Hampshire.

Just read it from your link. Holy...er, cow. I swear I thought Alexandra Petri wrote it. "Gripin'"? She actually dropped the g when she was writing?

No kiddin'!

I didn't realize you'd once been a reporter here in the Steel City. You must have some really juicy (and none-too-flattering) Santorum vignettes you could publish. For starters, there's that whole flap where the family claimed that a 2-bedroom house in Penn Hills was their primary residence, so the school district would foot the kids' cyber-schooling bill... Not to mention that when Santorum ran against incumbent Doug Walgren, he blasted Doug for having moved his family to the DC area, then after he won Santorum did the same thing. More, please?

There was some sort of a contest during his first run for office in which his campaign promised to fly people on a trip somewhere if they voted for him. Or something like that.  The details are sketchy in my mind, but I recall it raising some FEC eyebrows and being dropped.

Is it true that Rick Santorum (who opposes the Supreme Court's Griswold v. Connecticut decision forbidding states from preventing sales of contraceptives) fitted out his rental vehicle in New Hampshire with a vanity license plate that reads "Sperm: Swim Free or Die"?

I cannot condom this kind of humor and demand that you sheath and desist.

Why Dana, Senator Santorum said that homosexuality was NOT like man on dog, so how could that possibly, possibly ever be offensive to anyone? Didn't your fifth grade teacher tell you the difference between comparing and contrasting? Senator Santorum never, ever compared gay men to men on dogs. He CONTRASTED gay men and men on dogs. Obviously, this is completely unoffensive.

The interview was with my friend Lara Jakes from the AP.  Yes, he's saying homosexuality is not bestiality, but he is saying that to condone one puts us on a slippery slope to the other. 

Here's the relevant part:

SANTORUM: Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —

AP: I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about "man on dog" with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out.

SANTORUM: And that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we're seeing it in our society.

The funny thing is, I remember when he was in the Senate and media would do those anonymous polls of Hill employees, reporters, et al. Only Steve Symms, the former Senator from Idaho, was ranked higher on the dim bulb scale than Santorum.

Smarter than he looks is a low bar in his case, but the man is not dumb.

Do any of the Republican candidates have tattoos? If so, what and where? Thank you.

Well, the Romney affiliated superpac tattoed Gingrich pretty well in Iowa.   I haven't confirmed this but I believe Ron Paul has a likeness of Friederich Hayek on his bicep.

Isn't the question about Perry not why he decided to continue on, but why did he give that speech implying he would pull out? Of course he should stay in - he's the only viable competition to Romney.

We mortals cannot fathom Perry's ways.  God told him to stay in the race, so he is staying in the race.  

This is encouraging to me because it means God has a sense of humor.

Has anyone else noticed how pear-shaped Rick Santorum's derriere has gotten lately (those pleated pants don't help matters, either)? Guess Santorum doesn't believe in leading from behind (snort).

I recommend a larger sweater vest.

I love how she wasn't even consistent within the same sentence: "gripin' and moaning." Yep, I believe she wrote it herself.

u betcha!

Enjoyed your year end review article. As a professional forecaster I sympathize with you. My boss has us publish "reliability statistics" (what our errors have been over the last 1,3, and 5 years) adds a certain amount of humility to what one does. have you ever considered that ?

I am too busy making faulty new predictions.  My latest is about how Romney will cruise to victory, which is why you should put all your money on Ron Paul.

Can you think of an episode at a staged event in recent memory that came off more awkward and flat? And is there more zaniness to come? I recall a McCain event in 2008 where Joe the Plumber may have been believed to be planted in the audience; instead McCain was recorded asking "Is Joe the Plumber here?" several times.

This was probably the best one since Gary Bauer fell off the stage at a New Hampshire pancake flip. 

Ok, I'll be heading up north in a bit.  Thanks for tuning in.  Send me ideas for stories (or pancake places) on Twitter, @milbank.   

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Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank reviews the political theater of the nation's capital in his editorial-page column. His most recent book is " Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America;" his other books are "Homo Politicus" (Doubleday, 2008) and "Smashmouth" (Basic Books, 2001). Milbank joined The Post as a political reporter in 2000 and wrote the "Washington Sketch" column for nearly six years. He lives in Washington with his wife and daughter. • Dana Milbank Bio & Archive
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