“If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.” – Paul Ryan [via Roger Simon, Politico]
IT BEGAN with Mitt Romney’s 47% disaster in front of mega-wealthy donors. Paul Ryan saying that Mitt Romney was “obviously inarticulate.” But according to multiple reports now, Ryan is trying to save himself so he can live to run another day.
Roger Simon’s piece has spread like wildfire and is causing a gigantic ripple.
The new Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News polls of likely voters emphasizes the disaster in making.
The New York Times, in collaboration with Quinnipiac University and CBS News, is tracking the presidential race with recurring polls in six states. In Ohio — which no Republican has won the presidency without — Mr. Obama is leading Mr. Romney 53 percent to 43 percent in the poll. In Florida, the president leads Mr. Romney 53 to 44 percent in the poll.
The surveys, which had margins of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for each candidate, also included a Pennsylvania poll, where Mr. Obama is leading Mr. Romney by 12 percentage points.
The Romney campaign continues to argue that it’s the polls that are wrong. Sean Hannity is leading this embarrassing talking point through Dick Morris, with both of them making even bigger fools of themselves than usual.
When a tape was shown in Ohio on “Morning Joe” today the “stench” was in full view. The crowd started chanting “Ryan. Ryan. Ryan.” Romney stepped up and when he shook Ryan’s hand you could see what Paul Ryan was saying to his running mate. It looked like “Sorry, man.” Romney smiled, then started saying “Romney-Ryan. Romney-Ryan.”
It was horrifying.
As the Simon report goes, things got worse when Paul Ryan broke out a PowerPoint presentation, which allegedly made Team Romney “furious.” *[See Update Below]
It’s the second presidential election where the top of the Republican ticket is the drag and the veep nominee is the draw. There’s something bigger at play than Mitt Romney’s “stench” and when he loses in November it’s set to explode.
Naturally, no writer wants to put a blinking sign indicating “This Is a Joke” above his or her parody piece. But editors should realize that if there is even a chance that such a sign is necessary, it’s probably best to spike the whole idea. – [Bloomberg]
UPDATE: After the column by Roger Simon swept the political world, a clarification was slipped in at the end of the piece by Politio. It took a clarification call from Buzzfeed to Politico to confirm what Simon was actually writing about.
[Author’s note: Jonathan Swift did not really want Irish people to sell their children for food in 1791; George Orwell did not really want the clocks to strike thirteen in 1984; Paul Ryan, I am sure, calls Mitt Romney something more dignified than “Stench” and Microsoft did not invent PowerPoint as a means to euthanize cattle. At least I am pretty sure Microsoft didn’t.] – Politico
“Stench,” referred to in Simon’s column in a quote satirically attributed to Paul Ryan, comes from this New York Times column:
If the Republican ticket loses in November, the rush by Mr. Ryan and other 2016 hopefuls to position themselves for the Iowa caucuses “is going to look like Best Buy the night after Thanksgiving,” said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa. “I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him.”
Some people directly attributed the “stench” line to Paul Ryan, using it as a rogue rallying cry.
You can see how I used it above, capitalizing on Simon’s column to drive the point, though I did so carefully, as I honestly wasn’t sure what the hell Simon was doing. I’ve already written about Ryan going rogue, utilizing his quote “obviously articulate” as the first example, when Romney talked about the 47%. Let me add that the “multiple reports” about Ryan distancing himself links to a Dave Weigel where he links to others and the actual use of PowerPoint to show off his inner wonk. I will not issue a retraction to this piece, because it’s not warranted in my view, as the subject is the polling “stench” out of three battleground states, as well as the embarrassing video where Paul Ryan gets whoops and Romney does not, which adds further aroma to Romney’s candidacy.