Romney: Horses and Bayonets
"Horses and bayonets" became the most memorable catchphrase of the third and
final debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, as the Democratic president
used the past to paint the Republican candidate's worldview as outdated.
Romney had criticized Obama's military policy throughout the campaign, accusing
the president of spending too little on the U.S. military by pointing out that
the Navy has fewer ships than in 1917. When the former Massachusetts governor
made the point again during the debate, President Obama was
ready with the perfect rejoinder: "Well, Governor, we also have fewer
horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed. "We have
these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these
ships that go under water, nuclear submarines." Obama even invoked a children's
board game: "The question is not a game of Battleship, where we're counting
Romney's is a "pointless" comparison, as CNN noted recently, explaining that
it’s "wrong to assume that fewer ships translates to a weaker military" due to
"the technological supremacy of current Navy ships." Hundreds of 1940s-era
fighter planes combined can’t do what one modern
Stealth bomber can do, and the same is true for Navy vessels.
The Washington Post's fact checkers agreed with CNN, saying: "This is a
nonsense fact." Factcheck.org called it "a meaningless claim."
The strength of the U.S. Navy is a particularly important issue in Virginia,
which is home to some of the Navy's largest shipbuilding and repair operations
and is one of the politically divided "swing states" likely to decide the
November 6 election. Both men have campaigned intensely in Virginia, which has
the highest level of defense spending of any U.S. state per capita, providing
the state with about 900,000 jobs. The Hampton Roads area in southeast Virginia
has the largest concentration of military bases and facilities of any
metropolitan area in the world.
Romney held fast to his stance that the Navy needs more ships: "The Navy said
they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We're now at under 285 ... I
want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy."
Obama's "horses and bayonets" comment provided the latest debate-related phrase
to become popular on social media. On Twitter, the mock user name @horsesandbayonettes
quickly surfaced and the hashtag #horsesandbayonets immediately began trending
in the United States, becoming the nation's top trend and third worldwide, even
an hour after the debate ended. A new Tumblr website was created with entries
such as a picture of Obama captioned "We also have fewer bows and arrows and
catapults" and images of Romney riding a horse and carrying a gun with a
bayonet. The online reaction was swift. On Facebook, users created more
than 50 pages named "Horses and Bayonets." The Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee also pounced, posting a meme declaring "Obama just sank Romney’s
battleship" that generated more than 84,000 likes and was shared more than
16,000 times in an hour.
Shades of China, Romney Hominy Plagiarized!
"Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose."
Mitt Romney seems to be obsessed with the "clear eyes" slogan, used by the
small-town high school football team depicted on the now-defunct TV series
Friday Night Lights. It came up again during
the third presidential debate, which took place in Boca Raton, Florida (where,
ironically, Romney’s infamous "47 percent" video was recorded). When the former
Mormon Bishop was taken to task by President Obama for claiming that Russia
remains America’s foremost "geopolitical foe," Romney replied, "I have clear
eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia
or Mr. Putin ..."
Well, there he goes again. Peter Berg, the executive producer of Friday
Night Lights, recently fired off an angry letter to the Romney campaign,
claiming they plagiarized his show’s trademark phrase: "Your politics and
campaign are clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series. The
only relevant comparison that I see between your campaign and Friday Night
Lights is in the character of Buddy Garrity—who turned his back on American
car manufacturers [by] selling imported cars from Japan."
Buddy Garrity does sound like Bishop Romney, who famously (or infamously) wrote
an article entitled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." Romney claims to love American
cars, but his comments about the 47% and his liquidation of American companies
and job during his tenure as CEO of Bane Kapital make it clear that he doesn't
love American factory workers.
In his letter to the Romney campaign earlier this
month, Berg said Romney had "plagiarized this expression" and should "come up
with [his] own campaign slogan." But as is his imperious wont, ignoring Berg’s
fiery missive, Romney has not only kept the phrase in his repertoire, but has
even begun selling cheap plastic red, white and blue bracelets bearing the
plagiarized slogan for $10. And despite Berg’s objections, Romney orchestrated a
flag football game between his staff and reporters who follow his campaign. The
team captains were given rubber bracelets bearing the slogan.
As one critic put it, "Clear Eyes, Zero Class: Mitt Romney’s Now Selling
Plagiarized Friday Night Lights Crap."
Shades of China! Not only did Romney steal the phrase, he's now making money by
selling something he doesn't own. Romney condemns China for stealing American
trademarks and intellectual property, by selling cheap knock-offs, then turns
around and does the same thing himself!
Romney’s obsession with Friday Night Lights seems particularly strange
because Romney was a cheerleader in high school. "He was more at home on the
sidelines, cheering the football team on as a member of the Pep Club, chanting
such cheers into a megaphone as ‘Iron them out. Iron them out. Smooooth,’"
according to The Washington Post.
Obama's Battleship reference seems doubly ironic because Peter Berg
directed the movie Battleship—one of filmdom's
biggest box office busts. Berg’s Friday Night Lights and
Battleship both exude a dizzy, unthinking patriotism. Romney wants to
increase the military budget to 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic
product, even though there is widespread agreement that spending cuts must be
made. According to the New York Times: "Todd Harrison, a senior fellow for
defense budget studies at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary
Assessments, has calculated that even if a Romney administration slowly
increases the military budget to 4 percent of the G.D.P. over two presidential
terms, that would still amount to spending $7.5 trillion over the next decade—or
$1.8 trillion more than the Obama administration plans for the Pentagon’s base
budget in the same period."
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