In recent years, a popular practice for online writers when they need a lively, often over-the-top or humorous quote, post or tweet is: Go to the latest from Matt Taibbi (often on Wall Street and the economy) or Charles P. Pierce (on politics and everything else). I do it myself. For me. Taibbi is more of 2011–12 phenomenon but Pierce and I go way back. Well, as far back as 2009 and his prescient—and naturally quite quotable—book Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free.
If you’re new to Pierce, 58, just know that he first came to attention at the Boston Phoenix, then as a sportswriter for the Boston Herald and staff writer at the Boston Globe magazine. Probably the first line of his Wikipedia bio, however, explains him better: “Pierce’s first job was as a forest ranger for the state of Massachusetts, where among other duties he retrieved disposable diapers from trees so that raccoons would not choke on them.” Today, some might know him best from the NPR shows, ‘Only A Game’ and ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!’ ”
On a personal note, I disclose that I bonded with Pierce this year on Facebook after we both attended (in different cities) a performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.
In any event, this year—in fact, in just the past weeks—he has outdone himself via his daily Politics blog at Esquire online and in print pieces there. I’ve cited him often here at The Nation and there’s far too much incisive or just savagely witty to repost now. I could even devote a full column to his rants since Saturday re Paul Ryan, now constantly referred to simply as the “zombie-eyed granny starver.” But let’s stick to his current calling out of Romney and gang as racists—or at least adopting racism—in their twin ads concerning Obama “gutting” welfare-to-work. I had, in gentler tones, predicted this last week, saying I heard the “dog whistles” of racism.
First, take a look at the latest ad:
Pierce is a longtime Romney watcher (as a lifetime Massachusetts resident), who refers to Mitt as “once my governor and onetime human being.” He had called out last week’s first Romney Obama-loves-welfare ad, but really went to town on the new one which, on top of everything else, is wholly inaccurate (i.e., one fat lie). Pierce titled it, “Mitt Romney is Stuck in the Racist Sewer of Our Politics.” He noted that “Willard” is now “diving into the deepest, oldest, foulest sewer in American politics to retrieve the blackened shards of Strom Thurmond’s soul for a replacement.”
We’ll continue with Charlie in a moment, but note a few updates today at the bottom of this column. Other writers—including Ed Kilgore, Joan Walsh, Jonathan Capehart, Jamelle Bouie and Dana Milbank—have started weighing in on the same subject.