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October 31, 2012

The ESC's Third Annual Sexy Halloween Costumes That Aren't

Happy Halloween! This year we're continuing our tradition of rounding up pictures of our favorite "sexy" Halloween costumes. Sexy Halloween costumes are nothing new, but if you've shopped for a costume in the last few years you've probably noticed that the "sexy _____" costume trend has really gotten out of control. Here are our previous posts on the subject if you want to get caught up:
We were a little bit concerned that there wouldn't be enough new material to do this for a third time, but we shouldn't have worried. The sexy costume industry is constantly innovating. Once again all of the costume pictures in this post are from Yandy.com, but they're certainly not the only offenders. They just have the largest selection.

As always, the most disturbing sexy costumes for us are always the ones that are based on children's TV, movie, and book characters. Because who among us hasn't read a Dr. Seuss book or watched a classic Warner Brothers cartoon and thought "this really needs to be sexed up a little bit", right?

Sexy Grinch and Sexy Lorax

 Sexy Bugs Bunny and Sexy Tweety Bird

Sexy Winnie the Pooh is particularly disturbing because it looks as though she hunted, killed, and skinned him to make her costume.

We actually think that Yandy may have gotten in trouble for their costumes based on Sesame Street characters this year. Check out these Bert, Ernie, and Big Bird costumes, and the masks that show up as "related products" for each one:

 Sexy Green Overalls Set, Faux Denim Overalls Set, and Yellow Dress & Stockings

 Bert Mask, Ernie Mask, and Big Bird Headband

But in the original versions of these pictures that we saw when we first started researching this post, the models were wearing the masks and costumes together. And these costumes make no sense without the masks (not that they actually "make sense", but you know) so we're wondering if maybe they were asked to make it slightly less obvious that they were selling sexy costumes based on characters beloved by preschoolers. But don't worry, sexy Oscar the Grouch made it through unedited:

Sexy Trash Monster

This year we also noticed a trend of sexy video game character costumes. Why stick with the usual choices like Princess Peach when you can step it up a notch and go as sexy Mario and Luigi or sexy Link?

Sexy Mario, Sexy Luigi, and Sexy Link

And while we're on the subject, Fuck No Sexist Halloween Costumes is a great place to go to compare men's and women's versions of costumes for the same characters. You might notice some subtle differences.

Sexy food costumes are always a thing for some reason. This sexy hamburger costume is like 80% bun. Someone must be on a high carb diet.

We're not sure why anyone would want to be a sexy hamburger, but if you're going to do it you should at least have a proper bun/meat/toppings ratio. Maybe these sexy orange and lime wedge costumes would be better:

We actually think the lime wedge costume could be saved if you could get a friend or date to go with you in the sexy beer costume that we featured last year. 

On a more serious note, there are always those costumes that cross the line from random and goofy to offensive. Racist and "politically incorrect" costumes are not okay. Halloween isn't a free pass to dress up like an offensive stereotype. Unfortunately Yandy hasn't gotten this memo, which is why this post includes a special section every year for those costumes that fail to attain a heightened sense of cultural sensitivity.  It wasn't even so much the costumes themselves (although they are ridiculous) that got to us this year, but the names of some of the costumes.

 Reservation Royalty, Hot On The Trail, and Chief Wansum Tail

 Asian Persuasion, Shanghai Delight, and Geisha Beauty to Ninja Cutie

Insert your "sexy cock" jokes here. Or don't, that would be okay too.

 Sexy Rooster

These sexy skeleton costumes don't seem quite anatomically correct to us. And some women's studies student somewhere is probably writing an entire paper right now on the symbolism of these costumes and the idea that even our bones are supposed to be sexy:

 Glow in the Dark Sexy Skeleton and Fever Skeleton Tutu Dress

If we had to say something somewhat positive about Yandy.com, we could say that they really do have something for everyone. No matter what you're into, Yandy has a sexy costume for you. No, seriously:

 Sexy Gnome and Sexy Toy Soldier

Sexy Mime and Cry Baby

But every year there's one costume that stands out above the rest for us as the most bizarre and random sexy costume of the year. Two years ago it was Sexy George Washington (still my personal favorite, and we still call dibs on the Sexy Founding Fathers group costume idea), and last year it was Sexy Hulkamania. This year? Meet Sexy Beetlejuice:

Sexy Beetlejuice, Sexy Beetlejuice, Sexy Beetlejuice! Was there a huge demand for this costume? Is there an ongoing challenge among costume designers for who can take the least sexy characters imaginable and turn them sexy? Our favorite part of this costume is that there's a patch on the skirt that says Beetlejuice so that people know what the hell you're supposed to be and you don't have to the spend the entire night going "I'm Beetlejuice! Yeah, a sexy version of Beetlejuice...no, I'm not kidding". We can't wait to see what they'll come up with next year.

October 29, 2012

Our Favorite Mitt Romney Burns From Newspaper Endorsements of Barack Obama

With the election fast approaching, newspapers across the country are starting to publish their candidate endorsements. Naturally, many of them are endorsing the Obama/Biden ticket because Romney/Ryan sucks. They all make their case for President Obama, but quite a few of them also include the case against Mitt Romney, and some do so in an entertaining and/or delightfully snarky fashion. So just for fun we decided to round up some of our favorite Mitt Romney burns from the endorsements that we've read so far. Check it out (all emphasis is ours):

San Antonio Express-News - Obama has earned a second term:
These shortcomings, however, don't justify a change in leadership, particularly when many of Mitt Romney's proposals — such as an across-the-board 20 percent cut in taxes and the elimination of unspecified itemized deductions — invite skepticism. So does his goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act without offering any meaningful replacement. In addition, the video of him behind closed doors dismissing 47 percent of the population as government-dependent slackers was disheartening and possibly disqualifying for anyone seeking the presidency. 
We started with this one because it's a mild burn. "Disheartening" and "invite skepticism" are such nice polite ways to say "wildly offensive" and "makes no fucking sense".

The New York Times - Barack Obama for Re-election:
Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has gotten this far with a guile that allows him to say whatever he thinks an audience wants to hear. But he has tied himself to the ultraconservative forces that control the Republican Party and embraced their policies, including reckless budget cuts and 30-year-old, discredited trickle-down ideas. Voters may still be confused about Mr. Romney’s true identity, but they know the Republican Party, and a Romney administration would reflect its agenda. Mr. Romney’s choice of Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate says volumes about that.

The Denver Post - Endorsement: Barack Obama for president:
Romney's approach is one of tax cuts for all, drastic Medicare reform, increased defense spending, and what would be catastrophic cuts to other discretionary programs. In the Republican primary, he said he couldn't support a plan that included even $10 in cuts for every $1 in new revenue. To expect the country to balance its budget without additional revenue, in our view, is nothing short of fantasy.

 ...From running to the far right on immigration and women's health in the primary and then saddling his campaign with Rep. Paul Ryan's extreme and unrealistic budget, the Romney of this election cycle is not the man elected in Massachusetts.

Instead, we must judge him on the menu of options he has repeatedly put forward during this campaign. On policies ranging from tax reform to immigration, from health care to higher education, none of Romney's numbers add up. Moreover, he has been unwilling or unable to outline for voters specifics that demonstrate his math works — probably because it doesn't.

Romney has said he will repeal Obamacare, yet insists he can keep its most popular provisions without fully explaining how he would pay for it.

He's calling for 20 percent tax rate cuts across the board. Independent analysts say the government can't come close to making up for that lost revenue without closing popular deductions like those for home-mortgage interest and charitable contributions. Romney's explanations for how he would do that don't wash.

And his pledge to create 12 million jobs in four years sounds good, but Moody's Analytics has predicted that type of job growth regardless of who is elected. 

Asheville Citzen-Times - Allow Obama to build on progress:
The GOP and Democrats disagree significantly on issues from health care, energy policy, women’s health, the regulation of the financial community, the role of government in American life and the role of America on the world stage.

It’s hard to know exactly how these differences apply to the presidential race because, despite having essentially run for president for six years, it’s still hard to get a handle on many of Romney’s positions. It is difficult to know whether a President Romney would be the progressive who governed Massachusetts or the partisan of the campaign trail.

Would we get the Romney who championed universal health insurance for his state or the one who opposes it for the nation? Would he be the governor who said a Massachusetts coal-burning power plant was killing people or the campaigner who said, “I like coal?”

The Portsmouth Herald - President Obama has earned our trust, support:
When you cut through the Republicans' untruths, half-truths and downright lies, it becomes clear that President Obama has helped the American people in his first term despite an opposition party whose stated purpose was his destruction. Despite the Republicans' best efforts to tarnish him, the president remains well liked by the majority of Americans, while Congress has never been more reviled. Most Americans know in their guts that the president is on the side of working men and women. While the past four years have turned his hair gray, the president has kept his cool, has refused to be provoked and still truly believes America works best when we are united in a common cause.

...In the end, it comes down to trust. We trust President Obama to look out for the health, safety and well-being of all Americans. Unlike his opponent, he hasn't written off nearly half of our fellow citizens through a cynical calculation that they are dependents and moochers and therefore not his constituency. Your ears did not deceive you. Romney really said 47 percent of Americans believe they are victims and won't take personal responsibility for themselves and, given the chance to correct himself, he defended those statements. That's what he really believes.

Detroit Free Press - Top reasons to re-elect Obama:
An easy test for the seriousness of a Republican promising spending cuts is how willing he or she is to reduce defense department outlays, the nation’s largest domestic spending category. In Romney’s case, the number’s zero — no defense cuts at all, and in fact he wants to hand the Pentagon extra funding it hasn’t requested. The cuts he’s promised to make — 5% in discretionary, nondefense spending, including pink slips for Big Bird & Co. — fall far short of closing the $4.9-trillion gap.

Romney also says his tax cuts will grow the economy enough to make up the difference, the old “tax cuts pay for themselves” line that helped Bush trash the economy 10 years ago. 

The nation has no appetite for Act II of that operatic tragedy.

Even more troubling has been Romney’s about-face performances in the closing weeks of the campaign. He was a hard-liner during the GOP primaries and the convention, but in the debates with Obama, he has been someone almost entirely different — “Moderate Mitt” is the term some pundits have coined. 
It’s unclear whether Romney is playing for political advantage, or whether he’s just unsure of who he really is. Either is unacceptable in the White House, where the president needs certainty not just about what he believes, but why — and he must be able to rally others to his cause.

Romney’s self-ambiguity suggests he’s not ready to be president.

And if Romney isn’t up to America’s domestic challenges, he’s certainly not ready for the role of commander in chief. He’s moved from seeming ready to declare war on Iran during his first debate to saying, by the third, that America can’t kill its way out of the global war on terror. With the myriad, significant conflicts in the Middle East, southeast Asia and Africa, not to mention the U.S.’ perpetually tense relations with China and Russia, the president has to have a steady, learned hand on the tiller.

Romney does not have that hand.

The Toledo Blade - Re-elect President Obama:
The auto bailouts began under a Republican president, George W. Bush, but Mr. Romney has continued to oppose them. In last week’s debate, he claimed disingenuously that he would have supported federal “guarantees” of private investment in the automakers.

But in the depths of the Great Recession, no such investment was forthcoming. A high-powered businessman — and the son of a Detroit auto CEO who plays up his Michigan roots — might be expected to acknowledge that.

...In challenging the President’s first-term record, Mr. Romney has displayed a chronic eagerness to say anything he thinks will win him the support of the audience he is addressing at the moment. That raises the question of what he truly believes: He has changed positions so often on so many basic issues — health care, women’s rights, government regulation — that it seems his only fixed principle is his own advancement.

 ...A 1964 Blade editorial described the GOP nominee’s father, then-Michigan Gov. George Romney, as “a successful man of affairs who sees nothing soft-headed about wanting to do good for others.” We had hoped to be able to say the same of Mitt Romney. We can’t.

Mr. Romney’s vast wealth, gained largely in the private-equity industry, need not be an impediment to leadership. But he too often seems to have little understanding of the lives, problems, and aspirations of Americans who do not inhabit his economic and social strata (see “47 percent”).

 The Star-Ledger (NJ) - Barack Obama: The Star-Ledger editorial board's pick for president:
Instead of facing these hard truths, Romney runs from them. He would cut income tax rates by 20 percent, and says he’ll cover the cost by closing magical loopholes he won’t name. Even if that were true, his goal is to break even, ignoring the need for more revenue.
His military buildup would dwarf Ronald Reagan’s, adding $2 trillion in spending over the next decade. The $4 trillion hole would deepen to more than $6 trillion. He then promises to restore the $700 billion cut in Medicare growth. That digs the hole to nearly $7 trillion. And if closing loopholes doesn’t cover the cost of his enormous cut in tax rates, that cost would be layered on top.
This is not an honest plan. It is an undisciplined jumble of political planks — some designed to woo his base during the primary, others to attack the president during the general election.
...his policies consistently favor the wealthy over the middle class, and the budget plan drafted by his running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, relies on spending cuts that overwhelmingly land on low-income families. His plan to starve Planned Parenthood is extremist nonsense that will leave many women without basic cancer screening.
He has flipped positions on abortion and gun control, on health care and taxes, on gay rights and climate change. The list goes on and on, and reflects a serious character flaw. Yes, Abraham Lincoln compromised on slavery and Reagan compromised on taxes. Good politicians stay flexible to manage their coalitions. But Romney’s flip-flops are chronic and self-serving. He is consistent only in the way he floats with the political winds. That is not leadership; it is pandering. And it means he can’t be trusted.
A final concern: Romney is an unsteady player in global affairs, striking a belligerent tone in almost every theater and relying on many of the neocon advisers behind the disastrous policies of George W. Bush. That is unnerving, especially when combined with his inexperience and his promised military buildup.

The Los Angeles Times - Obama for president
The most troubling aspect of Romney's candidacy is that we still don't know what his principles are. Is he the relatively moderate Republican who was governor of Massachusetts, the "severely conservative" one on display in the GOP primaries or the more reasonable-sounding fellow who reappeared at the presidential debates? His modulating positions on his own tax plan, healthcare reform, financial regulation, Medicare, immigration and the national safety net add to the impression that the only thing he really stands for is his own election.

The Sacramento Bee - Endorsements: Barack Obama for president:
The scariest part of a Romney victory is the potential that he and Paul Ryan would attempt to shape the U.S. Supreme Court to match their religious and political beliefs, including opposition to abortion. As Ryan made clear in the debate Thursday, "Our faith informs us in everything we do." That could mean Romney would appoint justices who oppose abortion and gay marriage, even though Republicans normally pledge to "get government out of people's lives."

...Romney has been all over the map on climate change, health care reform and fiscal policy, and he seems determined to lead us into a costly war in Iran, regardless of the consequences.

We've seen this script before. We don't want it again. We'd urge you to return President Obama to the White House for a second term.

The Washington Post - Four more years for President Obama:
Mr. Romney, by contrast, has embraced his party’s reality-defying ideology that taxes can always go down but may never go up. Along that road lies a future in which interest payments crowd out everything else a government should do, from defending the nation to caring for its poor and sick to investing in its children. Mr. Romney’s future also is one in which an ever-greater share of the nation’s wealth resides with the nation’s wealthy, at a time when inequality already is growing.

Even granting the importance of the fiscal issue, a case might still be made for Mr. Romney if Mr. Obama’s first term had been a failure; if Mr. Romney were more likely to promote American security and leadership abroad; or if the challenger had shown himself superior in temperament, capacity and character. In fact, not one of these is true.
...there is no way to know what Mr. Romney really believes. His unguarded expression of contempt for 47 percent of the population seems as sincere as anything else we’ve heard, but that’s only conjecture. At times he has advocated a muscular, John McCain-style foreign policy, but in the final presidential debate he positioned himself as a dove. Before he passionately supported a fetus’s right to life, he supported a woman’s right to abortion. His swings have been dramatic on gay rights, gun rights, health care, climate change and immigration. His ugly embrace of “self-deportation” during the Republican primary campaign, and his demolition of a primary opponent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for having left open a door of opportunity for illegal-immigrant children, bespeaks a willingness to say just about anything to win. Every politician changes his mind sometimes; you’d worry if not. But rarely has a politician gotten so far with only one evident immutable belief: his conviction in his own fitness for higher office.
So voters are left with the centerpiece of Mr. Romney’s campaign: promised tax cuts that would blow a much bigger hole in the federal budget while worsening economic inequality. His claims that he could avoid those negative effects, which defy math and which he refuses to back up with actual proposals, are more insulting than reassuring.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Obama for president: A second term for a serious man:
As to Mr. Romney, we are puzzled. Which Mitt Romney are we talking about? The one who said of himself, in 2002, "I'm not a partisan Republican. I'm someone who is moderate and ... my views are progressive." Or is it the Mitt Romney who posed as a "severely conservative" primary candidate? Is it the Mitt Romney who supported abortion rights and public health care subsidies in Massachusetts or the one who is pro-life and anti-Obamacare now? Is it the Mitt Romney who wants to cut taxes by $5 trillion or the one who can't remember saying that now? Is it the Mitt Romney who said in May that 47 percent of Americans are moochers or the one who said last week that's not what he believes?
Mr. Romney apparently will say anything that will help him win an election. As a president, he might well govern as a pragmatic chief executive, or he might sell himself to the plutocrats and the crazies who have taken over his party. He is asking Americans to take a lot on faith — there's nothing to see in his tax returns; he can cut taxes and whack away debt while trimming deductions he will not specify.
Mr. Romney's business career is the only way to judge his foundational beliefs: He did not run a company that built things and created jobs and strong communities. He became fabulously wealthy by loading up companies with tax-deductible debt, taking millions out up front along with big management fees. Some companies were saved. Others went bankrupt. Mr. Romney's firm always got out before the bills came due, either in lost jobs, bankruptcies or both.
If the nation's most pressing issue is debt, why elect a president whose entire business career was based on loading up companies with debt?
In picking Mr. Ryan as his running mate, Mr. Romney signaled that he's ready to perpetuate that model in public office. The middle class hasn't had a raise in 20 years. Income inequality has reached record heights. Mr. Romney is the very embodiment of what's gone wrong with the economy: Too many people at the top create vast wealth that they do not share, either by creating jobs or by paying fair tax rates.
If more Americans were paying attention, this election would not be close. Barack Obama would win going away, at least 53 to 47, perhaps even 99 to 1.

The Durango Herald - Re-elect Obama:
Obama has done a reasonably good job handling an almost unprecedented economic mess – a situation that has proved far worse than anyone knew as it developed. Still, there is room for debate about the direction the country is headed.
Unfortunately, the Republican Party has offered no credible alternative. Its platform consists of little more than nostalgia for the 1950s, and its presidential candidate largely remains a mystery.
Romney has publicly demonstrated no core convictions beyond his obvious belief that he should be president. He apparently thinks that simply not being Obama is qualification enough.
It is not.
... [Romney] has gone from supporting reproductive rights when running for the Senate in 1994 to saying in 2007 that he would gladly ban abortion in all cases. He now says he would allow exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother.
Romney has shown some consistency on other women’s health issues. He has repeatedly said he would strip Planned Parenthood of all funding and allow employers to exclude contraception from health-insurance coverage. He wants to talk about the economy but fails to understand that reproductive autonomy is an economic issue for women.

Santa Fe New Mexican - For president, Barack Obama:
In the world of Barack Obama, raised by a single mother and grandparents, propelled to the top through his own hard work, intelligence and drive, we all do better when we come together. He has never forgotten the struggles of his youth, understanding better than most the necessity of individual initiative. To Obama, government is not the enemy. It is not dispenser of all wisdom or wealth, either. Government is the safety net that catches the weak, the sick, the old and the very poor. It is also our collective will in action — building, defending and securing our nation. Obama will not privatize Social Security or reduce Medicare to a voucher system that costs too much while not guaranteeing treatment. He understands that Medicaid, which underwrites medical care for the very poor, must be protected from budget slashers who think nothing of leaving sick people at the emergency room door while asking for more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

Mitt Romney’s world is very different, one of privilege and wealth, where in his view, 47 percent of all citizens are takers who won’t assume responsibility for their lives. He had the good fortune to be born in a two-parent home, and should be credited for taking his comfortable start and building a fortune with it. He is a model of a citizen, a good father, husband and church member, contributing to his greater community with both his time and treasure. However, his vision for the United States — with almost half the population moochers — will not lift the least of us up. Instead, it will continue to divide the country along class lines, further splitting us between the haves-a-lot and everyone else.

The Philadelphia Inquirer - Obama will do a better job:
Like a carnival barker cajoling a mark into spending the last bills in his wallet, the Republican Party is counting on Americans' not remembering that they've seen this trick before.

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney wants voters to forget their familiarity with the prize he's dangling before their eyes - a return to the disastrous economic policies that preceded the recession. Given that context, Romney's prize is no better than a fake pearl.

Stop playing the blame game, the Republicans say to anyone who dares remind voters of what led to one of the worst economic collapses in U.S. history. They have kept former President George W. Bush under wraps lest he refresh voters' memories.

 The GOP would prefer the nation repeat history rather than remember it.

...America doesn't need an Etch A Sketch president whose positions change with the type of audience he's speaking to.

Akron Beacon Journal - Obama for president:
Romney would be more credible as a candidate if on one occasion he had told the far right something it did not want to hear. Instead, the man who once was a moderate, appealingly pragmatic, has massaged positions, ducked and performed full flips, saying little about his leading achievement as the governor of Massachusetts, health-care reform, which served as a model for the president. The obvious question then surfaces: What does he really think? What would be the tilt of his presidency?

...Romney cannot walk back easily his comments at a Florida fund-raiser about 47 percent of Americans refusing to take responsibility or care for their lives. He either was telling the crowd what he thought it wanted to hear, or he believes what he said. Either way, the words aren’t worthy of a president.

La OpiniĆ³n - Re-elect Obama:
But the Romney alternative [for immigration reform] is self-deportation and state laws like Arizona's, in which undocumented immigrants are seen as a danger instead of as contributors.
For all the boasting on the business savvy he would bring to steering the economy, Romney has said little to nothing about how immigrants make a positive difference in our nation's growth. This, in the face of the Partnership for a New American Economy emphasizing that passing a legalization measure like the DREAM Act would add $329 billion to the U.S. economy.
The blunt reality is that Romney has not worked to gain the trust of Latinos. Left up to Romney, Justice Sotomayor would not be sitting on the Supreme Court. The Republican candidate has said that given the chance, he would have voted against her nomination.
With a candidate, campaign and party that have failed to engage Hispanics, one can only wonder whether a binder of Latinos would even be on a shelf at the White House under their reign.

Las Vegas Sun - Obama is our choice for president:
Mitt Romney has presented himself as a reasonable alternative to President Barack Obama, the idea being that Romney, a seasoned and successful businessman, knows how to turn the country around. That sounds appealing, given that the country’s recovery from the Great Recession has been painfully slow. But, after studying the campaign, we’re not sure who Mitt Romney really is or what he really stands for.

Romney has been called a flip-flopper, but his changes over the past year would make a chameleon blush. Consider:

 • The Mitt Romney of the primary ran to the right of his opponents to curry favor with the Tea Party. He proclaimed himself to be “severely conservative,” a hawk who talked about cutting foreign aid and denounced Obama as weak on foreign policy. He pledged to dismantle Obamacare and said government should get out of the housing market and let it “bottom out.” 
 • The Mitt Romney since the primary has resembled the Massachusetts moderate whom conservatives complained about. On foreign policy, Romney says he wants to increase aid, and he was nearly indistinguishable from Obama in the last debate. And despite his opposition to Obamacare, which happens to be modeled on Romney’s own health care law from Massachusetts, Romney wants to replace it with policies that include key parts of Obamacare. And on housing? He pledges some unspecified help, blames Obama and plans to gut regulations designed to protect homeowners.

So what does Romney believe? We’re not sure. His campaign has been short on specifics. Where he has offered detailed plans that differ with the current administration, they haven’t been persuasive. For example, his grandiose plan for the economy literally doesn’t add up, and it would put a new burden on the middle class to the benefit of the wealthy and larger corporations — the “job creators” that haven’t been creating jobs lately despite record profits.

How a Romney administration would govern is something of a guessing game given his ever-shifting positions. The indications, however, show that the nation would see a foreign policy run by neocons who have been all too willing to send Americans into harm’s way overseas, and on domestic policy, the middle class and the “47 percent” would be left behind.

Arkansas Times - For Obama:
If it's true that united we stand and divided we fall, America will come crashing down should Mitt Romney be elected president. He's already declared half the citizenry worthless, and said that as president, he'll concern himself only with the others. All those deemed unworthy of Romney's attention are low- and middle-income Americans, people who, unlike Romney himself, had no rich father's shoulders to stand on. These are the people who most need a friend in the White House. Romney promises the back of his hand.

...Today's Republican Party won't tolerate moderation and generosity in a presidential candidate. One might even feel sorry for Romney, except that he himself clearly feels no discomfort saying whatever is politically expedient, no matter how false.

The New Yorker - The Choice:
Romney’s conviction is that the broad swath of citizens who do not pay federal income tax—a category that includes pensioners, soldiers, low-income workers, and those who have lost their jobs—are parasites, too far gone in sloth and dependency to be worth the breath one might spend asking for their votes. His descent to this cynical view—further evidenced by his selection of a running mate, Paul Ryan, who is the epitome of the contemporary radical Republican—has been dishearteningly smooth. He in essence renounced his greatest achievement in public life—the Massachusetts health-care law—because its national manifestation, Obamacare, is anathema to the Tea Party and to the G.O.P. in general. He has tacked to the hard right on abortion, immigration, gun laws, climate change, stem-cell research, gay rights, the Bush tax cuts, and a host of foreign-policy issues. He has signed the Grover Norquist no-tax-hike pledge and endorsed Ryan’s winner-take-all economics.

But what is most disquieting is Romney’s larger political vision. When he said that Obama “takes his political inspiration from Europe, and from the socialist democrats in Europe,” he was not only signalling Obama’s “otherness” to one kind of conservative voter; he was suggesting that Obama’s liberalism is in conflict with a uniquely American strain of individualism. The theme recurred when Romney and his allies jumped on Obama’s observation that no entrepreneur creates a business entirely alone (“You didn’t build that”). The Republicans continue to insist on the “Atlas Shrugged” fantasy of the solitary entrepreneurial genius who creates jobs and wealth with no assistance at all from government or society.

...Romney, breaking with custom, has declined to release more than two years of income-tax returns—a refusal of transparency that he has not afforded his own Vice-Presidential nominee. Even without those returns, we know that he has taken advantage of the tax code’s gray areas, including the use of offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands. For all his undoubted patriotism, he evidently believes that money belongs to an empyrean far beyond such territorial attachments.

But holding foreign bank accounts is not a substitute for experience in foreign policy. In that area, he has outsourced his views to mediocre, ideologically driven advisers like Dan Senor and John Bolton. He speaks in Cold War jingoism. On a brief foray abroad this summer, he managed, in rapid order, to insult the British, to pander crudely to Benjamin Netanyahu in order to win the votes and contributions of his conservative Jewish and Evangelical supporters, and to dodge ordinary questions from the press in Poland. On the thorniest of foreign-policy problems—from Pakistan to Syria—his campaign has offered no alternatives except a set of tough-guy slogans and an oft-repeated faith in “American exceptionalism.”

The Salt Lake Tribune - Too Many Mitts:
Nowhere has Mitt Romney’s pursuit of the presidency been more warmly welcomed or closely followed than here in Utah. The Republican nominee’s political and religious pedigrees, his adeptly bipartisan governorship of a Democratic state, and his head for business and the bottom line all inspire admiration and hope in our largely Mormon, Republican, business-friendly state.

But it was Romney’s singular role in rescuing Utah’s organization of the 2002 Olympics from a cesspool of scandal, and his oversight of the most successful Winter Games on record, that make him the Beehive State’s favorite adopted son. After all, Romney managed to save the state from ignominy, turning the extravaganza into a showcase for the matchless landscapes, volunteerism and efficiency that told the world what is best and most beautiful about Utah and its people.

In short, this is the Mitt Romney we knew, or thought we knew, as one of us. Sadly, it is not the only Romney, as his campaign for the White House has made abundantly clear, first in his servile courtship of the tea party in order to win the nomination, and now as the party’s shape-shifting nominee. From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: "Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?"

The evidence suggests no clear answer, or at least one that would survive Romney’s next speech or sound bite. Politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience. Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear.

...If this portrait of a Romney willing to say anything to get elected seems harsh, we need only revisit his branding of 47 percent of Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, yet feel victimized and entitled to government assistance. His job, he told a group of wealthy donors, "is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Where, we ask, is the pragmatic, inclusive Romney, the Massachusetts governor who left the state with a model health care plan in place, the Romney who led Utah to Olympic glory? That Romney skedaddled and is nowhere to be found.

...In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.

Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.