The Al Smith Dinner: I Have To Give This One To Romney

Having watched the Al Smith dinner last night, I have to cast my vote with Mitt Romney as the better delivery and jokes though President Obama had some good material as well. You decide, but let’s put ideology to side and for once just focused on what matters: the jokes. While we are not selecting the comedian in chief, at least we have a common measure of success in a roast.

Below is President Obama’s remarks.

Of course, neither man wrote these jokes but, judging on the raw material, I am afraid that I have to give it solidly to Romney on this one. What do you think?

91 thoughts on “The Al Smith Dinner: I Have To Give This One To Romney”

  1. vernonlee 1, October 20, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Charity, my Aunt Fanny. What I’d like to see is people declining to attend and donating the cost of their plate, plus their (or rather, their company’s) costs to send them, to whatever charity this supports.

    Expensive, fancy events like the Al Smith dinner shouldn’t be necessary but folks with a lot of money like white tie events for charity to prove how generous they are. Frequently, they get the big expensive party and there is little money left over for the charity.

    I would hope that every attendee would write a check that at least equals their price of admission and that every penny goes to Catholic Charities which does really good work for the poor.

  2. Bruce 1, October 20, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Just what campaign promises did Obama keep in the first four years?
    He promised to leave only 50,000 non-combat troops in Iraq. Not sure about the numbers but the combat deaths in Iraq are way down.

    He promised to escalate the war in Afghanistan. He did that.

    He promised to take the war to Pakistan. He did that.

    He promised to go after bin Laden. He claims he did that. (I think bin Laden was already dead for some time)

    He promised health care. He delivered a medical insurance for more.

    There may be more but the first three were reasons to not vote for him.

  3. Folks,

    Nobody commented Blouise’s comment.

    I thought that it was great in its clear characterization of “us”, and accurate too. Which fraction do you belong to? Of course, she did not mention the “best” category, which you feel you belong to—–heh?

    OS had the best one-liner. And ElaineM was the big surprise, delivering more bite than her usual message heavy comments. Cool.

  4. NickS,

    If we compare them in white tie and rolled up sleeves, my choice is clear.
    And “ideologue” is not a pejorative in my world, as it is in yours. Ayn Rand was a clear ideologue, so what do you have against them.

  5. Swarthmore Mom,

    Thank you deeply for the Obama “Romnesia” video.
    If I had any doubts then they disappeared after seeing that. He is a man, not a huckster like Romney.

  6. Hussein was a PRESIDENT and an amateur jokester, like most pops. Romney was the con-man he always is: one slip and the fish is off the hook. So in that sense he wins.

    BTW, folks: Re-distribution can be seen another way also. Romney is for the continued re-distribution of produced value to the one percent. And this audience
    of one percenters were clear who of the two they shared values with. Their applause proved that. Do we have anything in common with the one percent???

    They did.

  7. I wish an end to these events.

    They really have nothing to do with us, and the press pretending they do is ricidulous. Yes, Katie Couric and Roger Ailes: we get that it has something to do with *you.*

    Charity, my Aunt Fanny. What I’d like to see is people declining to attend and donating the cost of their plate, plus their (or rather, their company’s) costs to send them, to whatever charity this supports.

  8. Swarthmore Mom-

    I thought that George W. Bush’s joke about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction was hilarious. Best practical joke ever.The Iraqis didn’t get it at all.

    Too bad Al Smith isn’t running for President.

  9. Being NY born and bred I’ve always hated the concept of the Al Smith dinner as an homage to the Cardinal of the Diocese. Since many of NYC’s Cardinals have been involved in both war mongering, censorship and sexual repression, I find the deference given to this dinner by politicians, despite its purported charitable cause offensive. I can say though that it historically been about light hearted joking and to use it as a political forum is bad form.

  10. Elaine, Already made my pick, Dr. Jill Stein. Relax, I’m in NY and Obumer has it without me.

    Blouise, Colbert at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner – my favorite too. That was the first I heard of him and he just blew the doors down!

  11. Finally Liberated From Facts, Mitt Romney the Pure Bull Artist Takes Flight
    By Matt Taibbi
    POSTED: October 19, 2012

    You know those Balsa wood airplanes – not the glider-types but the deluxe models, powered by rubber bands, with little propellers on the nose? I thought of those planes watching Mitt Romney debate Barack Obama the other night.

    Romney’s journey toward the presidency has been a marvel to behold. Dating back to his first political steps – his race against Ted Kennedy, followed by his assault on the Massachusetts governorship – Romney has been constantly twisting and contorting himself, exchanging position for position, trading pro-choice for anti-choice, flirting with pro-gay rhetoric before shifting swiftly the other way, pioneering state health care reform before bashing virtually the same plan designed on a national scale, claiming the center on everything from guns to global warming before careening right as a presidential candidate.

    Then, just within this year, the contortions took him all the way around again, in a corkscrewish motion, as he first careened as far right as he could stand to win the primary season, and then twisted some more to come all the way back to his version of the center to run as a kindler, gentler sort of centrist alternative to Obama. I was shocked to hear him say aloud in the second debate that the richest people would not have their tax burdens reduced, especially since he spent the entire primary season running as a supply-sider who would create growth by cutting taxes on capital gains, interest, dividends, and eliminating the estate tax, cuts that overwhelmingly favor the very rich.

    From the start of the first debate, Romney has almost seemed liberated, spouting line after line of breathless, ecstatic inventions – things that are, if not lies exactly, at the very least just simply made up out of thin air, and seemingly on the spot, too. The business about the $25,000 “bucket” of deductions which he prefaced, with seemingly half of America watching, with the phrase, “Let’s pick a number”: awesome. Then there was the jobs plan that creates 12 million jobs, another number seemingly plucked out of the ether: it turned out that when asked to justify the number, the Romney campaign cited three studies, none of which came anywhere near justifying claims of a 12 million-job increase. This is from Paul Krugman’s new column on the subject:

    “Just for the record, one study concluded that America might gain two million jobs if China stopped infringing on U.S. patents and other intellectual property; this would be nice, but Mr. Romney hasn’t proposed anything that would bring about that outcome. Another study suggested that growth in the energy sector might add three million jobs in the next few years — but these were predicted gains under current policy, that is, they would happen no matter who wins the election, not as a consequence of the Romney plan.

    “Finally, a third study examined the effects of the Romney tax plan and argued (implausibly, but that’s another issue) that it would lead to a large increase in the number of Americans who want to work. But how does that help cure a situation in which there are already millions more Americans seeking work than there are jobs available? It’s irrelevant to Mr. Romney’s claims.”

    That jobs line is when I thought of the Balsa wood plane. Romney has spent his whole political career being so careful: in all his previous races, he’s used his admittedly very quick mind and slick presentation skills to walk one political tightrope and rhetorical razor-edge after another, trying to run as a pseudo-conservative Republican in traditionally liberal Massachusetts, while in primary season this year, he tried his best to maintain a whiff of centrist cred as a national politician even as the immediate demands of the Republican primaries forced him to veer sharply right. The psychic energy it takes to internally manage all of those past contortions (and future calculations) while publicly walking a razor’s edge is no joke: it takes a special man to do it.

    But now Romney’s finally all the way to the endgame, and he’s just letting go. No more being careful, and weighing himself down on debate stages with painstakingly parsed positions (this was frequently the situation in the primaries, where Romney’s performances were always restrained and cautious, even when he “won”). Now there’s no more future to worry about and he’s just casting off from his moorings and being what he basically is at heart, which is a salesman and bullshit artist of the highest order.

  12. I think Prof. Turley has a dog in this race. He’s writing about jokes at the Al Smith dinner and I don’t recall any blogs about a very big threat to democracy – voter suppression. I just read about another new low brought about by the Repubithugs. They are posting billboards in poor neighborhoods that “voter fraud is a felony with penalties of 3 1/2 years in jail and $10K fines. Add that to employers threatening their employees, destroyed voter registrations, and using Democratic call sheets to do phone banks for Rmoney. These people are scum.

    And I am so looking forward to Nick’s and Bron’s “apologies”.

  13. IA, all the members of the House Oversight committee have security clearances and are supposed to be fully briefed on security protocol. To date, they seem to have taken their oath of office seriously. Maybe that policy needs to be revisited. If anyone at the State Department wants my opinion, it is that Rep. Issa’s security clearance needs to be revoked, along with whoever else voted for the document dump.

    Technically, they are allowed access to such documents with the understanding they will be handled with care. Private Bradley Manning is in the brig right now for doing something close to the very same thing. Perhaps some jail food would be good for Mr. Issa and his gang.

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