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Fight fair, but fight hard

Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

My poor teeth.

They’re sore from grinding them while watching “Face the Nation” on CBS last week. The responses of Mitt Romney spokesman Kevin Madden to Obama mouthpiece Stephanie Cutter were just so … civilized.

Republicans are like that. If they were being stewed by cannibals, they’d suggest adding a little salt.

On FTN, we had Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, coming on like a street-smart thug (or the hair-splitting Bill Clinton), denying she had called Mitt Romney a felon. OK. She just said he was either a felon or a liar.

Madden – looking like he was going to his first job interview – came back with the equivalent of “how hurtful!”

Republicans can’t seem to utter the word “liar.” And the Obama people outsmarted them by having a woman do their hatchet job. They knew members of the GOP would never hit a girl.

Let me suggest how Madden should have answered some of Cutter’s statements. (The disadvantage of a weekly column in this arena is a lot of people will have beaten me to it. Nevertheless, here we go.) Cutters words are verbatim from the “Face the Nation” transcript. Madden’s are how I would have scripted them.

Cutter: OK. So a couple points on what Kevin said. First, if you’re signing a (Securities and Exchange Commission) document with your own signature that you’re the president, CEO, chairman of the board, and hundred percent owner of a company, in what world are you living in that you’re not in charge? What American understands that you don’t bear any responsibility for the decisions that were made at that company if you’re at the head of it? And if he wasn’t the head of it, who was? And the simple point is if you’re telling the SEC that you’re in charge but you’re telling the American people that you bear no responsibility, one of those things is not true.

Madden: Ms. Cutter has just demonstrated that she – and by extension the president –  is as ignorant about corporate operations and SEC filings as they both are about the economy as a whole. I won’t call her charges reckless, because it is clear they are calculated. Her ignorance in this regard seems to be willful ignorance, because minimal research would have shown her to be in error. Willful ignorance is just a way to lie.

Cutter: (Romney) is not going to get an apology. … Instead of whining about what the Obama campaign is saying, why don’t you just put the facts out there and let people decide rather than trying to hide them? The tax returns is (sic) exactly just about that. If – you know – if he didn’t gain any tax advantages from having investments in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and a Swiss Bank account, then show us. Show the American people.

Madden: Gov. Romney has more than complied with the law in this regard, and he will release more information. But it is astounding to hear Ms. Cutter talk about openness when President Obama – at great expense – has hidden everything he can about himself. When will he take the seal off his academic records? When will he release his academic writings? Why has his entire administration been so characterized by secrecy that his attorney general had to be cited for contempt of Congress for withholding documents about “Fast and Furious” gun running?

And so on. Why would you go into a boxing ring with powder puffs on your fists when your opponent is coming at you with loaded gloves? Romney and his crew don’t have to fight dirty, but they have to fight and show passion for what they believe.

(I’d also point out that Obama may well have committed a federal crime when he nominated his wife to be the paid executive director of Public Allies Chicago, when he was chairman of the board. But apparently I’m the only journalist who finds this early ethical and legal transgression of interest.)

Pencil collection: We had no idea that hundreds of thousands of Texas residents lived in squalid isolation – without electric power and indoor plumbing – in roadless wildernesses.

We had no idea their only means of non-pedestrian transportation was the burro, that they were so isolated and without means that they had to subsist on Jimson weed and sage brush, and that for water they had to dig in the dirt with sticks to find moist soil to suck upon. We didn’t know that they never made it to the county seat for a cold beer, but had to ferment their own pulque in earthenware jugs.

They don’t have driver’s licenses, they don’t have credit cards, they don’t have passports, they don’t have library cards and they certainly don’t have voter registration cards.

For this intelligence we are indebted to the U.S. Department of Justice, by way of DOJ’s challenge to Texas’ voter identification law. The department also says these isolated Texans, especially minority Texans, lack the initiative and energy to obtain the simplest form of formal identification the state requires for them to exercise the voting franchise.

With this in mind, please, join with us in our drive to collect used golf scorecard pencils. Golfers just throw them away, and these writing implements could be of great help in the Lone Star State. With them, benighted Texans at least would be able to mark their ballots – if they could find their way to the polls.