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Jonathan Chait Is Wrong about Debate Formats

I’m not all that hung up on Obama’s terrible performance in last Wednesday’s debate or in the upcoming ones.

But I do think Jonathan Chait is wrong that the Jim Lehrer format was Obama’s best chance because the upcoming debate formats are worse.

The VP Debate: the Angry Old Man

Chait argues, first of all, that Joe Biden will try to refute Paul Ryan’s budget kabuki, which will end up making the Vice President look like an angry old man.

But you can’t expose your opponent’s misleading budget numbers to win a presidential debate any more than you can expose your opponent’s misleading budget numbers to win a swimsuit competition. The audience has no concept of the underlying facts. The audience will only be able to grasp the atmospherics of the debate. And Paul Ryan is a world-class bluffer. He will spout figures with winsome authority, and Biden will come off as an angry old man.

When DC Democrats talk about Biden’s upcoming debate performance, they seem to forget how Biden did in his debate against Sarah Palin in 2008. That was one of the biggest challenges in 08, pitting a guy with over 30 years service as a successful policy wonk Senator against a blithering, but very attractive female, idiot. It is often difficult for men to get the dynamic of debating women–both respecting them but not bullying them–right, and this was all the more dangerous. But Biden nailed it.

Whatever Biden says to rebut Ryan, he is of all four candidates the most personable to people outside of the Beltway. What are called gaffes inside the Beltway are often regarded as authentic outside of it.

And when Biden delivers lines like the one from his DNC (after 9:00 in the video)…

My dad never failed to remind us that a job is a about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about your place in the community. It’s about being able to look your child in the eye and saying ‘honey, it’s going to be okay.’

… He credibly addresses men and women who otherwise aren’t being spoken to in this election.

If Joe Biden is an angry old man, he’s a lot like the angry old men who will swing this election.

The Town Hall where the questions voters want answered finally get asked

Then there’s the Town Hall debate, where real people rather than a crusty old PBS host get to ask the questions. Chait thinks Obama will fail here because he’ll spend time filleting Mitt rather than answering questions.

Obama’s campaign is talking up its planto roll out a new, tougher Obama who will challenge Romney’s slick evasions. But a town-hall meeting is a whole different animal. In a one-on-one debate, you can fillet your opponent. A town-hall meeting consists of undecided voters pressing the candidates for answers. The focus of the event is on answering the questions of the voters. Using their questions to assail your opponent is bad form — indeed, the Regular Voters who ask the questions, and serve as proxies for the public, can be counted on to implore the candidates to stop attacking each other so much.

But one of the problems with the last debate was precisely in the stupid choice of questions Jim Lehrer asked. Lehrer’s jobs question turned into a tax discussion. He didn’t ask a single question about women’s issues. And his ObamaCare question avoided questions about the substance of the policy as distinct from setting up contrast between identical programs.

I would expect that the questions from real people will be far more favorable to Obama because the things voters care about provide Obama to describe where he has been successful and where the guy who brags about creating $9/hour jobs he admits don’t pay the bills tends to fail.

Plus, some of Mitt’s biggest campaign gaffes have come when he responded to regular questions with douchbag answers–the “corporations are people” problem. Obama may be standoffish, but Mitt is standoffish and tone deaf when speaking with real people. And that, too, should serve Obama.

Debating RomneyShambles

Then there’s the foreign policy debate, an area where even Republicans recognize Mitt’s weaknesses. Chait thinks this will go badly because it won’t provide Obama an opportunity to talk about domestic issues.

And then the final debate centers on foreign policy. Obama can try to use some of the questions to turn to domestic policy, but that risks a scolding from host Bob Schieffer.

But unless Mitt pulls another total Etch-a-Sketch–even from the content of his speech today–he’s going to say really stupid things, such as playing up Russia as our worst enemy.

More importantly, just about every foreign policy–except torture–that Mitt aggressively embraces is unpopular with voters. Mitt almost certainly will call for starting a new war, while Obama will claim (not entirely credibly) to have ended two wars. Even on trade, where Obama’s championing of three new trade deals, Mitt could tack left of Obama, he has chosen instead to accuse Obama of not supporting free trade.

The NYT suggested today that Obama let his disdain for Romney overwhelm his

Mr. Obama made clear to advisers that he was not happy about debating Mr. Romney, whom he views with disdain. It was something to endure, rather than an opportunity, aides said.

If the sulky Obama that resulted shows up at the last two debates, he may well lose those, too, just as badly as the first.

But there’s no reason to believe that’s baked into the upcoming debate formats.

Romney Surrogate Jason Chaffetz Goes to Dangerous, Scary Libya

Apparently, Jason Chaffetz would have you believe that Libya is so dangerous it requires we take a full-time military stance. But not so dangerous he can’t do a quick political stunt “fact” “finding” trip to Libya with little warning. Predictably, Chaffetz’ extensive investigation onsite in Libya discovered that politics was dictating security.

“Rather than letting security dictate security, they let politics dictate security,” Chaffetz told Fox News.

Predictably, all this happened not just in time for Wednesday’s Chaffetz hearing on the attack, but more importantly in time for Mitt’s big foreign policy speech today, in which he will say,

The attack on our Consulate in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 was likely the work of the same forces that attacked our homeland on September 11th, 2001.

Imagine what Commander in Chief Mitt Romney would do with the 2001 AUMF if all he needs to determine that the people who attacked the Consulate are “the same forces” that attacked the World Trade Center is to send a campaign surrogate to the Tripoli airport for a few hours.

Speaking of which. I look forward to all the journalists treating Chaffetz’ “fact” “finding” trip as a serious pursuit to ask whether tax payers will be paying for what was clearly designed to serve Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Mitt’s Dirty Tomatoes Will Get Cleaned Up

The other day I pointed out that Mitt had chosen to eat lunch at a place that had not yet agreed to pay $.01 a pound more for tomatoes to ensure basic standards for tomato workers.

As of today, Mitt and the rest of us can enjoy Chipotle burritos in good conscience; the chain just signed onto the Coalition of Immokalee Workers Fair Food Program.

From the press release (h/t Elliott):

Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a farmworker-based human rights organization, have reached an agreement that brings Chipotle’s commitment to sustainable food to the CIW’s Fair Food Program.  The agreement, which will improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers in Florida who pick tomatoes for Chipotle, comes in advance of the winter tomato-growing season, when most of the nation’s tomatoes come from growers in Florida.

The Fair Food Program provides a bonus for tomato pickers to improve wages and binds growers to protocols and a code of conduct that explicitly include a voice for workers in health and safety issues, worker-to-worker education on the new protections under the code, and a complaint resolution procedure which workers can use without fear of retaliation.  The Program also provides for independent third party audits to ensure compliance.

“With this agreement, we are laying down a foundation upon which we all – workers, growers, and Chipotle – can build a stronger Florida tomato industry for the future,” said Gerardo Reyes of the CIW.  “But more than this, today’s news marks a turning point in the sustainable food movement as a whole, whereby, thanks to Chipotle’s leadership, farmworkers are finally recognized as true partners — every bit as vital as farmers, chefs, and restaurants — in bringing ‘good food’ to our tables.”

“Chipotle has an unmatched track record driving positive change in the nation’s food supply and is continuously working to find better, more sustainable sources for all of the ingredients we use — sources that produce food in ways that demonstrate respect for the land, farm animals, and the people involved,” said Chris Arnold, communications director at Chipotle. “We believe that this agreement underscores our long-standing commitment to the people who produce the food we serve in our restaurants.”

That Pico de Gallo Mitt Had for Lunch?

It may have been made from dirty tomatoes.

The Denver press made a big deal out of the fact that Mitt chose to eat lunch at Chipotle today.

Mitt Romney, in Denver to prepare for Wednesday’s debate, stopped in at a Chipotle on Tuesday. He was joined by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who is playing President Barack Obama in Romney’s debate prep.

Romney ordered a burrito with with black beans, pork, guacamole and pico de gallo, according to a pool report.

Now, I’m actually a big fan of Chipotle burritos. But the’ve been stalling on adopting the Coalition for Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Agreement that provides slightly higher wages and better working conditions for workers with a whole bunch of silly excuses.

Chipotle however, has remained indifferent to the deplorable conditions faced by workers in its tomato supply chain. Nearly two years have passed since Chipotle launched its “investigation” and many questions now beg to be answered. Where are the results of Chipotle’s inquiry into Florida’s farm labor conditions? Where has Chipotle been purchasing tomatoes in the meantime, and how do workers fare in those fields? Is Chipotle actually supplying its East Coast restaurants with tomatoes from Mexico (the only other viable option to Florida tomatoes during nearly half the year), despite the immense increase in the cost and carbon footprint of Chipotle’s food that would result from such a decision? Or is Chipotle still in fact purchasing Florida tomatoes, despite its claims to have suspended purchases from Florida? Are transparency and human rights not a part of Chipotle’s definition of “Integrity”?

This makes Chipotle–in spite of its shiny image and yummier food–stingier than McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell.

Perhaps the press should ask Mitt whether he thinks the people enslaved by Immokalee tomato growers are takers, just like all the other 47% he loathes?

No Easy Day, WikiLeaks, and Mitt’s 47%: Three Different Approaches to Illicitly-Released Information

Last week, DOD issued a guidance memo instructing DOD personnel what they are–and are not–permitted to do with the Matt Bissonnettte book, No Easy Day, that they claim has sensitive and maybe even classified information. DOD personnel,

  • are free to purchase NED;
  • are not required to store NED in containers or areas approved for the storage of classified information, unless classified statements in the book have been identified;
  • shall not discuss potentially classified and sensitive unclassified information with persons who do not have an official need to know and an appropriate security clearance;
  • who possess either firsthand knowledge of, or suspect information within NED to be classified or sensitive, shall not publically speculate or discuss potentially classified or sensitive unclassified information outside official U.S. Government channels (e.g., Chain-of-Command, Public Affairs, Security, etc.);
  • are prohibited from using unclassified government computer systems to discuss potentially classified or sensitive contents ofNED, and must not engage in online discussions via social networking or media sites regarding potentially classified or sensitive unclassified information that may be contained in NED.

The memo points to George Little’s earlier flaccid claims that the book contains classified information as the basis for this policy, even though those claims fell far short of an assertion that there was actually classified information in the book.

The strategy behind this policy seems to be to accept the massive release of this information, while prohibiting people from talking about what information in the book is classified or sensitive–or even challenging Little’s half-hearted claim that it is classified. Moreover, few of the people bound by this memo know what the President insta-declassified to be able to tell his own version of the Osama bin Laden raid, so the memo also gags discussions about information that has likely been declassified, not to mention discussions about the few areas where Bissonnette’s version differs from the Administration’s official version.

Still, it does let people access the information and talk about it generally.

Compare that policy with the Administration’s three-prong approach to WikiLeaks information:

  • Government employees cannot discuss–and are not supposed to consult at all–WikiLeaks cables. The treatment of Peter Van Buren for–among other things–linking to some WikiLeaks cables demonstrates the lengths to which the government is willing to go to silence all discussion of the cables. (Though I imagine the surveillance of social media will be similar to enforce the DOD guidance.)
  • Gitmo lawyers not only cannot discuss material–like the dodgy intelligence cable that the government used to imprison Latif until he died of still undisclosed causes or the files that cite tortured confessions to incriminate other detainees–released by WikiLeaks unless the press speaks of them first. But unlike DOD personnel who do not necessarily have a need to know, Gitmo lawyers who do have a need to know couldn’t consult WikiLeaks except in closely controlled secure conditions.
  • The Government will refuse to release cables already released under FOIA. While to some degree, this strategy parallels the DOD approach–whereas the NED policy avoids identifying which is and is not classified information, the WikiLeaks policy avoids admitting that cables everyone knows are authentic are authentic, the policy also serves to improperly hide evidence of illegal activity through improper classification.

Now, one part of the Administration’s logic behind this approach to purportedly classified information (thus far without the legal proof in either case, or even a legal effort to prove in the case of Bissonnette) is to limit discussion of information that was allegedly released via illegal means. Read more

Congressman Tim Ryan’s 4 Reasons Obama Is Winning Ohio

The Alliance for American Manufacturing just had a press conference with Congressman Tim Ryan, who represents Youngstown and part of Akron, Ohio, to talk about the role that China is playing in this year’s President election.

Earlier in the day, in the wake of the release of a WaPo poll showing Obama with an 8 point lead in OH, Adam Serwer had suggested, “There’s a great piece of journalism to be done about how Obama nuked Romney in Ohio.” So I asked Ryan for the four top reasons why Obama is doing so well in OH.

He listed, in order:

  1. The auto bailout (Ryan’s district also includes GM’s Lordstown Chevy Cruze plant)
  2. Obama’s successful WTO trade complaint against China’s tire dumping (which affected Akron)
  3. The Administration’s investment in education and research
  4. Mitt’s campaigning against Proposal 2, which protected collective bargaining for OH’s public workers

As Ryan said of Mitt’s anti-union campaigning, “he was against [OH’s teachers, police, and firefighters] when they needed him.”

Obviously, Ryan’s not an unbiased observer. But he does represent a bunch of Ohioans who appear poised to swing the election to Obama.

Maybe Mitt shouldn’t have spent so much time demonizing workers?

An Airplane Window on Mitt’s Thinking

Let me start by saying I’m grateful that Ann Romney–as well as the pilot and co-pilot who were in the cockpit of Ann’s chartered plane where a fire broke out Friday, forcing them to make an emergency landing–are safe. I’m sure the entire episode was frightening and I’m happy that the pilots didn’t panic about the fire.

But now that she is safe–but looking ahead to six more solid weeks of chartered air travel–I’m surprised by Mitt’s problem solving process. The solution to this scare, Mitt says, is to make it possible to open windows on planes.

“I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”

Never mind the obvious reasons you can’t have windows that open on jets, never mind the additional problems introduced if you tried to have open windows in the cockpit, where the fire and smoke–and therefore the greatest risk–broke out.

I’m more interested in what this says about Mitt’s problem solving.

If it were my spouse on the plane, I’d want to know the cause of the fire–preliminarily they say electrical problems–and more importantly why it wasn’t prevented. On a commercial jet, a pilot would have to follow a pre-flight protocol to try to identify any failures; did this charter? On a commercial jet, you’d have the maintenance schedules to track whether someone overlooked an electrical problem; did this charter jet?

The charter company Mitt uses most–Air Charter Team–is a broker. It doesn’t operate or staff the planes involved. They contract our to other operators. They ensure the safety of the planes they deal with by contracting with a research company to grade the teams they use.

Air Charter Team has contracted with Aviation Research Group (ARG/US) to provide our customers with comprehensive safety information on the charter operators and pilots we utilize on your behalf. The report our company receives on each air charter operator and pilot gives us the background and safety information we need to make a sensible decision on who to use for your private jet charters.

[snip]

The CHEQ report (Charter Evaluation and Qualification report) has three major components that air charter companies use: historical safety ratings, current aircraft and pilot background checks, and on-site safety audits. Analysis of these components results in four potential levels of safety rating: DNQ, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each level reflects analysis and ranking based on increasing amounts of detailed information on the charter operator.

If it were my spouse who had had an emergency landing on a charter my campaign was using (and presumably would use for the next six weeks), I’d want to double check this assurance. Was Ann on a Platinum graded plane? Were the reports in the plane’s historical aircraft checks accurate?

That is, I’d want to know if the subcontractors my contracted service was using were fulfilling my needs. But not Mitt. This guy–a guy with a a JD/MBA–thinks first of a way to minimize the damage from a fire that would be dangerous under any circumstances, rather than ensuring very obviously procedural means to try to avoid a fire were in place.

Such a method of problem solving–even a problem that affects him personally–doesn’t say much about what kind of problem solving he’d do as a President.

Update: According to the pool reporter, Mitt was joking about the windows.

How to Make Mitt’s Tax Rate Look 3.5% Higher Than It Was

As you’ve surely heard, Mitt has finally released his tax return for 2011 along with a statement signed by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and certified by its General Counsel, Diana Weiss, summarizing what he paid for a 20 year span of time: 1990-2009.

Mitt’s campaign admitted this afternoon that he had paid more taxes than required this year to ensure he fulfilled an earlier statement that he always paid at least 13%. Had he deducted everything he could have, TPM figures, he’d have paid 12.2%. So we know what we’re seeing was manipulated for public consumption.

Greg Sargent tells us another way it was manipulated: by taking an average of the rate paid each year, rather than taking his total income and his total taxes and calculating that percentage. This has the effect of hiding the years when he paid almost no taxes on a whole lot of income.

Center for Tax Justice notes one reason this kind of average skews the PwC summary greatly.

Further, the summary provided by his lawyer is playing games by averaging Romney’s 20-year tax rate. Including the years 1992-97 skewed his rate upwards because during those years, the capital gains rate was 28 percent instead of the 15 percent it is now. If they’d averaged only the last 15 years, his rate would have been much lower.

And we know that the averaging has skewed the tax rates. Consider the last bullet from the PwC letter:

 Total federal income taxes owed, total state income taxes reported, and total donations deducted during the period represent 38.49% of your total adjusted gross income for the period.

You’d think, given the campaign’s admission they were just averaging the tax rates overall, this would be the sum of those averages. But it’s not:

If you add up those three average amounts, it equals 42.01%. Yet PwC admits that the total is actually just 38.49%–over 3.5% lower than the summed averages.

Furthermore, there seems to be more funny business going on here. That last bullet is not including like categories: it adds up “total income taxes owed,” “total state income taxes reported,” and “total donations deducted.” Why distinguish between what was (or is) owed at the federal level from what was reported at the state level?

That inconsistency of verbiage carries through to the base definitions earlier in the memo.

Each of the bullets defining the average–federal, state, and charitable deductions–takes the amount from “the federal income tax returns prepared during the period.” But when the memo confirms that the lowest rate Mitt ever paid was 13.66%, it refers to the “federal income tax returns as prepared,” without the “during the period” qualifier. This leaves open the possibility that Mitt has submitted some revised tax returns since that period–which ended in 2009. Given that there have been questions about Mitt’s residency, I wonder, too, why PwC didn’t take state amounts from state returns. Also, when the memo says “donations” in the last bullet, is it referring solely to charitable donations, or might it include gifts to his sons? Keep in mind, too, that it refers to amounts deducted, not amounts paid; Bain execs have long tithed stocks to the Mormon Church.

When TPM asked Mitt’s campaign whether they had amended earlier returns to come up with these results, they didn’t answer right away.

Did Romney artificially inflate his tax rate using the same strategy in other returns? That’s the biggest question raised by the disclosure of his move to take fewer deductions in 2011.
The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to questions over whether Romney amended any of his previous returns.

At the very least, the 2nd and the last bullets both allow for the possibility that Mitt’s federal returns have been changed. Indeed, when you consider Mitt’s rate before the change in capital gains had to have been far far higher, it may well allow for years when Mitt didn’t pay any federal taxes, but has since revised his returns to pay at least 13.66%.

And in any case, we know that the averages given skew his tax and donation rates by at least 3.5%.

Update: This post was modified for clarity.

Mitt Romney Guilty Of A Hate Crime

Yes, I am absolutely serious about the implication in the title of this post.

I was scrolling through my twitter feed about lunchtime here, after doing some work, and found this exchange between two people I follow, Carrie Johnson and Dan Froomkin:

Well, after reading the article Froomkin referred to in his tweet, an AP report on an Amish hate crimes conviction handed down today, I thought there were clear parallels with Mitt Romney’s known pattern of misconduct. Here is the key gist of the AP report on the Amish hair cutting hate crime:

Sixteen Amish men and women were convicted Thursday of hate crimes including forcibly cutting off fellow sect members’ beards and hair…….A federal jury found Samuel Mullet Sr. guilty of orchestrating the cuttings of Amish men’s beards and women’s hair last fall in attacks that terrorized…

Hmmmm, where do I remember a completely similar, in every way, violation of a human individual’s sanctity and rights to individualism and free expression, not to mention of course, forced hair cutting, under the Constitution of the United States? Oh, yes, it was from the once and always juvenile and self entitled Mitt Romney:

Many of today’s principals would be likely to throw the book at a student who pinned down a classmate and clipped his hair, as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney did as a high school senior in 1965.

Romney was not disciplined at the time. If such an attack happened in the public schools of 2012, it would probably lead to suspension and might also be referred for expulsion, a number of local school leaders said following a Washington Post report of the incident involving Romney.

Yes, one would hope that “today’s principals” might treat the brutish otherism and hatred of Willard “Mitt” Romney a bit different today. But, seriously, the same intellectual, moral and character deficits that are present now, were present to any competent mind then. Mitt Romney’s hate crime conviction worthy act was not mere misguided words, as so many engaged in at during those times, but instead it was a violent and injurious physical felonious assault. You can call it partisan to say this, and you would be a bloody ignorant and simpering fool to do so. I trust most of you in the national, main stream media, who actually have the time and claimed IQ to actually read this and react intellectually.

This is the “intellect” and “mind” that now seeks to lead the, still, most powerful nation on earth? Mitt Romney would be headed to federal prison if past were but falsely discarded prologue.

Mitt Romney is now, and always has been, a self important, self entitled, brutish chameleon that blithely does whatever he wants, and is willing to say whatever it takes, to get over on others. That is not a leader; it is the mark of a congenitally entitled power mad, craven, flip flopping, and hollow shill.

It is the mark of a man who is a pliable and troubled soul in need of counseling, and the antithesis of a leader for the enlightened and informed free world. Which also kind of explains Mr. Romney’s craven and supremely self serving attempt to try to capitalize on the death of US ambassador Chris Stevens while the event was still very much in play as an United States foreign relations interest.

That is not the mark of a leader, it is the mark of a cowardly lout. Such was, and is, the best the GOP had to offer in their self proclaimed can’t lose year of destiny.

For any halfway informed citizen, and certainly for the supposedly intelligent members of the political press, the foregoing are some things you ought to consider and report. To report a false horserace that is serving to yourself (as Romney always is to himself) is one thing; but to ignore facts in craven servitude thereof is yet another. I know leading members of the press will see this, where will you go? Have you even the small balls to follow on?

There are choices in the political landscape. They may be constrained to where it is a choice between the lesser of two very much evils. That is indeed the choice before the nation today. The problem is the evils are painted as equal, and that is a lie.

Where will the national press go? I think I know, and I suspect it is to feign ignorance. But just to make the stakes clear, if the national press covered the facts and results of Matthew Shephard, and now are willing, through AP or otherwise, to report on the Amish hair cutting hate crime, then YOU NEED to make the analogy to the current man who is guilty of the same effective conduct and hate crime, and who now seeks to be elected President of the United States.

Really, it is the least you can do national press. Can you keep up national press? Can you truly exercise your duty of fair reportage and duty to the American people? Can you? Show your work.

Can the major media pick up on the resolute similarity, and absolute analogy, of these cases? I am not sure the national media has that root awareness, nor public responsibility in their bones.

It will be interesting to see where the national press really stand. I have no illusions of intelligence in that regard. We shall see.

Gosh, silly me, for condoning, much less expecting, such honesty.

[Impossibly perfect graphic by the one and only twolf. Seriously, twolf is our friend; follow him!]

Tim Pawlenty Gives Mitt the Bain Treatment

Here’s part of how Mitt would make money at Bain Capital: He’d get a organization that had real value. He’d suck that value out of the organization. It would go into debt. And often, before the organization lost too much of its value, Mitt and Bain would cash out.

That’s sort of what Tim Pawlenty is doing now. For just over a year, Pawlenty has enjoyed a prestigious position serving as the Co-Chair of the GOP’s favorite to become President of the United States. As I vaguely recall (the speech itself, as with all things T-Paw, put me to sleep), he got a prime speaking slot at the RNC.

And now, with Mitt’s campaign in debt, and its value sinking quickly, Pawlenty has cashed out. He’s moving onto the next lucrative gig, serving as CEO of the Financial Services Board.

Here’s what the banksters’ lobbying group has to say about the kind of leader who bails out on an organization just 8 weeks before its big day.

“Tim’s leadership, vision and ability to find common ground make him the right choice to represent the broad membership of the Financial Services Roundtable,” said Tim Wilson, the group’s chairman and CEO of Allstate.

“He is exactly the kind of leader we need to continue to improve our industry’s reputation, advocate firm-but-fair regulation and help maintain our global leadership of the financial markets.”

These sleazebags all deserve each other. Mitt deserves being abandoned with his value in decline. T-Paw has just gone from selling one discredited looter to selling them all. And the banksters now have a charisma-impaired guy with no loyalty leading their fight.