Dana Milbank Live

Apr 06, 2012

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.

Follow @PostLive on Twitter

Good afternoon, readers.  Or, as Mitt Romney would say, "good morning."

This will be the last of my weekly webchats, at least for a bit.  Instead, starting next week, I'm going to be plunging into the comments section of my columns online and mixing it up with readers there.  The idea is this will allow for more of a real-time conversation.  Not sure what the frequency will be or how well it will work, but these are the Internets, and it's worth an experiment. We'll see how it goes.

Meantime, what's on your mind this beautiful Friday?

Was he the real winner of the Maryland Mega-Millions?

In fact I am the winner of the Mega-Millions. But I left my winning ticket on the counter in the fifth floor men's room of the Post and I haven't been able to find it.

Dana, Saw Z.Z. with you on TV and must say that there is no comparison with Mitt. Your dog is comfortable and calm, has charisma, and I bet does not need an elevator built for all those 'crates'. Also, no need to unzip ZZ and let the dog out....

Every time I go to the NBC bureau now, the security guards ask why I haven't brought the dog. 

What debt crisis? Interest rates on US debt are extraordinarily low. The US has a sovereign currency and has the most productive economy in the world i.e. the furthest thing from Greece. Don't believe the hype.

You are right! Things are so darn healthy here that it's boring. Our debt crisis is easily months, if not years, away.  So I'm thinking I should pack up and spend some time in Greece. Or maybe Ireland or Spain.   Let's do an informal online poll right now and see where I should go, and whether my editors should pay for it.  Suggestions?

I was impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit shown by The Post in the online version of your column about the surveillance industry's spread into the private lives of ordinary people. All those hyperlinks to the companies that manufacture the products mentioned was very enterprising. The Post has finally found a way to monetize its Web presence by imitating the movies and TV with product placement disguised as reporting.

Hey, I get a nickel for each of those links!

Actually the companies were apparently none too pleased to be included in the column.   But we are very big on links at washingtonpost.com.   My own view is that a link should be in the story of it's some hard-to-find or exclusive bit of information, but ordinary stuff should be left to the reader.  I am confident that each of you on this chat could google Mitt Romney without any assistance from me.

Whenever Willard, er, Mitt Romney speaks I am reminded of Newt Gingrich's advice to his colleagues prior to the Republican takeover of the House in 1994. To paraphrase, Newt advised his charges to lie, as the lie ran on Page 1 top fold while the correction ran on page A23, or in this case, in some guy's op-ed in the company town paper (I keed). In this case there is the added bonus that the lie(s) are covered and reported by the newsroom and thus bask in the glow of "fair and balanced reporting" (as it were) while the correction is merely "an opinion" (probably written by a socialist-loving left-leaning democrat (sp) shill). Well played Will... er, I mean, Mitt!

As Newt Gingrich once said, a lie can get half way around the world while the truth is still tying its shoes. (Actually that was Mark Twain.)   

We've given some fairly prominent display to Glenn Kessler's truth-squadding, but your point is correct.

When Mitt was at the Wardman Park hotel this week I was trying to work in something about Willard at the Marriott but I thought this might be too obscure.



Do you need to wear breathing masks when you cover a Romney speech to filter out the asbestos from his fireproof pants?

No but I wear a shower cap so none of his hair product mixes with mine.

I understand that the "anybody but Obama" constituency is voting for Romney. And that the "true believer" conservatives are voting for Santorum. But who are the people who are voting for Newt in the primaries? Their numbers are dwindling, but they're still out there and I can't get a grasp on their political outlook. Thanks.

They are a splinter faction of the Ron Paul electorate.

Dana: Would love your thoughts on the 800K plus conference the government's property management arm put on in Vegas. I'm no fan of Darrell Issa, but I have to applaud him for demanding documents on this. The whole thing is like a rightwing parody of government waste and abuse, only it's for real.

Jeez, first Obama gets criticized for telling people not to go to Vegas.  Now the administration gets slammed for subsidizing Vegas. Which will it be, folks?

Do you think Priebus was trying to equate it with eventually spinning itself into a coccoon?

This is all a tempest in a chrysalis.

terrible employee or worst employee in the world?

It's been four years since he blew up at me over at MSNBC.  I feel very much ahead of Al Gore on this.

I say we send Dana on a fact finding mission to Vegas to fully investigate

Well, it is not Greece but it may have to do.  I will forward this to Mr. Hiatt.

Kiribti is on the point of drowning under real waves. The Post should send you there to report on the last chance to see, as it were.

Kiribati!   I had to look it up, but it sounds promising.  Will keep this in the basket of options.

You are a brave man, Mr. Milbank... The comments sections of most Wash Post articles are scary places not for the faint of heart. Or maybe the same crazies come to the chat but you spare us and filter them out. Anway, good luck and God speed, we'll miss you here.

What? You aren't going to follow me into the comment section? I'm sure there's nothing to worry about. See, it's perfectly safe in here? Hey? What's that? What the  )(*&%$#&*%^^&*$&%^xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

(Comment deleted.)

Dana, Beat the crowd - I hear really bad things about the Portuguese economy. Start your tour of the debt countries there. Maybe you can work it into some book deal or at least get the Post to pay for it as "investigative reporting". Nice beaches and lots of port for you to drink.

I like their Vinho Verde. Particularly in the summer months.   More I think about it, I think they'll just have to get me an around-the-world ticket so I can hit all of these spots.

I was thinking the exact same thing, Dana...people got so angry with obama re: vegas that he *really* wanted to help them with their very own stimulus - i.e., govt employees spending way too much in the city! What's wrong with all that?

Exactly!  What is it with this Republican war on vegas, as if it's some sort of caterpillar, or woman?

Dana: I have to tell you, one of my major gripes with the Post online is that now, save for the Fix, there are no political chats of any sort. Once there was Paul Kane, Ezra Klein, yourself, Shalaigh Delaney (who I know is no longer with the paper)--the list goes on and on. Not to mention Dana Priest and Tom Ricks, also no longer with the paper, who handled defense and national security chats. Don't expect you to knock your employer, but it seems bizarre to me that Post would just completely give up on politics/national security as chat topics.

Shailagh Murray, that would be.  She has managed to keep Biden gaffe-free for some 15 months-- an all-time record.

I don't think they're giving up the chats; they're trying to tie them to articles and columns rather than having them at set times each week.


Willard Romney was named for J. Willard Marriott. You could have worked that in.

This is actually true.  (Not implying that all the other comments were not true.)

Is your perception that this quality is lacking more in Mittens than his opponents, Rick and Newt? Dr. Paul clearly operates on his own truth spectrum. At least John McCain occasionally uttered non-false statements.

Newt is probably worse, but he's about as relevant as a caterpillar at this point.    While Romney's whoppers are voluminous, I think what distinguishes them is not the number but the gratuitous factor: He could scale them back a bit and they would be true and just as effective.

Caterpillar did benefit from the bailout, so it is fair game for GOP criticism.

Oh, John Deere. Not this again.

Be careful there if you are hospitalized .... Mr. Santorum seems to think they will euthanize you if you don't have a wrist band to prevent it!

True but first they give you marijuana so all in all not a bad deal.  I have spent a great deal of time in the low countries, but happily not in their hospitals.

Is it just me - or does Mitt Romney kinda dislike campaigning. Maybe too long of a campaign? Maybe he doesn't like the need to sometimes improvise or be spontaneous? He just seems (to me) very guarded. To the questions - am I right, and how much of a liability is that going to be versus Obama who seems to like engaging with the public?

Let me amend that slightly.  He likes campaigning (he's continued to campaign as Santorum takes off 5 days or some such). He just isn't that crazy about interacting with people.

Well, I think this is an interesting initiative for you. I'm sure you know very well what a cesspool that "Comments" can be - and I hope what you can do is come back at the commenters with facts and reasoned opinion, over and over again. Or perhaps you can exert more control over which ones get posted and so up the general tone of the conversation. Good luck with it - we'll all be most interested!

To the contrary I intend to descend to the lowest common denominator, so that all of my comments have to be reported to the monitors.

No matter how hard Obama and his media lemmings (hint: you) try to divide this country by gender ("war on women"), race (Trayvon Martin, anything on MSNBC), or income inequailty (Buffett rule, Ryan budget), today's sobering jobs numbers will serve as a reminder to Obama and his media followers that it's really about the economy, stupid. Your thoughts?

Moi? Obama media lemming?  I am so in the tank for Santorum that I am practically drowning.  And I haven't yet mentioned Trayvon Martin in a column.   But, yes, whenever I'm asked about November, I reply with a challenge:  Tell me where unemployment and the stock market will be.

like the band in Spinal Tap, are we going to have to go to eleven Pinocchio's to rate Romney's speeches?

No, I think the standard Gepetto Index works just fine.  He doesn't do the Saddam-attacked-us-on-9/11-type lie; he's more likely to embellish things that have a bit of truth.

Well, it's been nice talking to you. It's one thing to set aside an hour on Fridays -- it's quite another to take the time to wade into the cesspool of 1000, 2000, and even 3000 or 4000 comments that pile up on your hotter columns. Nope, no way, no how. Not even if the WaPo comments system DIDN'T suck wind. Count this regular chatter out.

Any time  Dana goes into the comments section of a column, we will make a note of it on the page.  His comments will appear under "Top Comments" and be highlighted in blue.  We hope that will make it easier for you to find his comments, and that this will foster more (and a higher level of) debate in those sections.

Hi Dana, How much longer will Santorum have to stay in the race before you bring back your Black Knight piece only instead of Hilary the new hero is Rick? That is my favorite ever by you.

Hopefully he will not quit before the Pennsylvania primary.  I have some bowling to do.

Dana, Mitt Romney's spokesperson was on MSNBC this morning and when asked if Mr. Romney plans to disclose more of his tax returns, said that he has already released "hundreds" of pages of records, suggesting volume is more important than content. In your field of journalism, what are your thoughts on volume vs. content?

As those of you who read my columns will already be aware, volume prevails over content.

Wow...that was a brain misfire. Delaney was the British dramatist who died last year.

Yes, Delaney took the buyout from the Post several years ago.

I agree that the comments section of any site is like going into a dangerous neighborhood....are you sure you want to do that? "Chat" is not what you are going to have there....if you go down the wrong alley....you know that's where most of the garbage is allowed. Unless you have a filter.

Well, as I said, it's an experiment.  Once I get roughed up, then euthanized in a Dutch hospital, I may come crawling back to the fixed-time chat.  

Dana - I will really miss your chats! How else am I going to distract myself while Hax is taking forever to type out her latest response?

If my chats were as popular as Carolyn's, I would do them 24/7.

Ocean City, MD, Amigo.

Well, it ain't Santorini.  But there is the Bull on the Beach.  And the Fractured Prune.

Wouldn't he be the most paralyzed president ever? No cooperation from the hard right, no Republican moderates and of course nothing from Democrats. It would be a wasted effort from the start.

The body politics is already a quadrapalegic at this point so I don't know how it would be any more paralyzed under Romney.

I suggest Antartica, and the Post should pick up the ticket to there of course. ;^) Happy Easter!

High on my list!   And I believe I could pick up valuable lessons there because Antarctica is debt free and has a tax rate of zero. 

Okay folks.  Please chat with me from now on in the comments section (at least until I get horrified after a few days and give that up) and keep the conversation going on Twitter (@milbank).  Enjoy the holidays this weekend.

Thanks for tuning in.

In This Chat
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
Milbank Q&As
Recent Chats
  • Next: