Malaka Of The Week: John Sununu


The dyspeptic duo in a photo by the Associated Press.

I considered writing a post called Exhuming Sununu but decided it was past time to revive the malaka of the week. And John Sununu, like so many others, is overqualified for the “honor.”

I hadn’t seen nor heard of the former New Hampshire Governor in eons. I was, quite frankly, gobsmacked that Sununu has re-emerged not only as a senior adviser to Mitt Offshore but as a spokescreep for the campaign.His last major political role was as Poppy Bush’s White House Chief of Staff. Sununu left in disgrace after a series of mini-scandals involving misusing government planes for personal travel and shit like that. Sununu’s White House tenure was characterized by his horrendous people skills, high handedness and overweening arrogance. Now that I think of it: who better to represent the rich and arrogant Romney than a malaka like Sununu.? One thing I do like about him is that his name is fun to say almost as much fun as Manu Ginobli…

Sununu got in deep shit earlier this week when he said this about President Obama:

“I wish this president would learn how to be an American.”

He later made a classic non-apology apolgy:

Sununu said his “learn to be an American” was an error.

“Frankly I made a mistake,” he said. “I shouldn’t have used those words. And I apologize for using those words, but I don’t apologize for the idea that this president has demonstrated that he does not understand how jobs are created in America.”

But Sununu was less apologetic over comments he made the same day on Fox News that seemed to directly question Obama’s American roots.

“He has no idea how the American system functions,” Sununu told FOX News Tuesday morning. “And we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent … another set of years in Indonesia.”

On CNN Tuesday afternoon, however, Sununu did not indicate he had any regrets over the comment. Instead, he pivoted to another attack on Obama.

“The president has to stop denigrating American values,” he said. “He makes success a terrible thing. He’s sending the wrong message to the American people that if you’re rich, you’re somehow evil.”

The Romney Z-team seems to have decided to shift gears and go after Obama on personal ephemera and things that the voters knew about in 2008. For the moment: they have a hard time sticking to anything. And who better to float trial balloons than a completely dispensable “senior adviser” like Malaka Sununu?

The thing is that the weed smoking/bad poetry writing/Bill Ayers/Rev Wright line of attack is only going to work with the GOP base. The Z-team feels the need to get them riled up but are ignoring how this is likely to backfire with independent and undecided votes. You know, the folks Mitt Offshore needs to win the election. This stuff was out there in 2008 and the voters processed it and moved on. Much as the 2000 electorate processed the Dubya draft dodging, drinking and DWI stories and moved on. When the stories were revived in 2004, they were ignored. The only “personal character” stories that matter this election cycle are Romney’s. That’s the challenger’s lot and no amount of “McCain shoulda nuked Obama” angst on the right is going to change that. Me, I’m glad they’ve decided to spin their wheels.

Back to Sununu and his malakatude. While it’s not surprising for a Republican to traffic in nativist nonsense, it is still disappointing that it comes from Sununu. Sununu was one of the first Arab-Americans to go into elective politics *and* he was born in Cuba or as they say in New Hampshire: “Cuber.”

Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald nailed it in a piece entitled John Sununu should know better.My favorite bit therein was this quote from a speech by ex-Senator John Sununu Jr. about his father’s roots:

In public life, my father recognized, as he began local politics, moved on to serve as governor, and then as Chief of Staff to the President of the United States, that as an Arab American, one of the very few Arab Americans, in public life, I think my father recognized that there would be a greater level of visibility, there would come greater public scrutiny. But that was simply part of the bargain, if you will, that if you wanted to make a difference, if you wanted to affect policy, you wanted to improve the lives of those that were represented, whether at the local or national level in politics, you had to take that scrutiny as it came and rise to the challenge. And I think it is fair to say, that despite my biases, that he was able to do that.

And now John Sr. is busily pandering to nativist know nothings like Rushbo and all for a second 15 minutes of fame. That’s the stuff that malakatude is made of…

4 thoughts on “Malaka Of The Week: John Sununu

  1. The only real american is one who looks like a WASP. Looking at Sununu I couldn’t detect either Arab or Cubam, so he can get away with the true American nonsense. Obama is clearly not WASP. For that matter, it is only within the last 50 years that blacks have legally become real persons.
    I find the Sununu rant interesting in light of Bachmann being on a roll about Arabs infiltrating the highest echelons of govt. Admittedly this predictable slide towards McCarthyism is possibly directed at a certain Whitehouse advisor. But where does this train of thought lead in Sununu being advisor to Romney?

  2. I’m hoping the reaction to Sununu (for some reason his name always makes me think of Sunoco) is grounds for slight hope. The media’s already chewed that toy to death and is hungry for shinier things…like Mitt’s tax returns.
    And I get the feeling Sununu/Sunoco will be eased back into whatever six or seven figure sinecure “employs” him while they look for hatchet men who come across as slightly less, well, nutty.

  3. As an aside, Sununu looks very much like a superannuated version of Dr. Strangelove.
    It’s truly mirth-making, though, to read of John Jr.’s defense of his father, which attempts without any specificity to portray him as a dedicated public servant, when, in fact, the only thing he was dedicated to was spending the taxpayer’s money on himself as quickly as possible. He was so blatant about it that even George H.W. Bush had to tell him to get his ass off the reservation before a tar and feathers party was organized for him.

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