You Can't Tax Comedy Gold

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Memo to Mitt Romney: BETTER SCHEDULE SOME EXTRA ZINGER PRACTICE.

The debates are starting! Soon, the two candidates will stand in the same room and say all the same shit they've been saying for months and/or years. But IN THE SAME ROOM. Some have dreaded Romney's debate performance, on account of him being a stiff, awkward, unlikable little fuckhead, but since we're not members of the Romney campaign, what we have to worry about is Romney suddenly developing a personality in the next two days. To that end, Mondays With Mitt will explore the comedy stylings of Mitt Romney. No theme song, but feel free to whistle "Yakety Sax" as you read.

"We have been watching the president say a lot of things about me and my policies -- and they're just not right, And if I were to coin a term, it would be 'Obamaloney.'" - Mitt Romney, in August, coining a term.

You may be wondering why, for the past two months, the Romney campaign has not been using the genius Romney terminology "Obamaloney" to point out all the lying Barack Obama's been doing about Mitt Romney. Well, there are two reasons for that.

The first reason is that the Romney campaign is pretty sure there's a point at which Rovian judo backfires. Projecting your own flaws onto your opponent can be effective, but it can also keep certain ideas as part of the public discourse longer than is helpful. And I'm guessing the Romney campaign doesn't need the concept of one campaign lying about another at the top of the media's agenda.

Also, "Obamaloney" sounds like a fifth grade taunt from 1958, because that's where Mitt Romney lives. In the world of fifth-grade taunts from the Land Before Time.

"When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound." - Mitt Romney, addressing his wife's emergency landing in Denver.

When this quote was first reported, I interpreted it as Mitt not understanding how air works, and reacted accordingly on Twitter. I considered the possibility that he was joking, weighed the odds of Mitt being clueless about air vs. the odds of him cracking wise at the expense of his wife on a burning plane, and went with the numbers.

And was apparently wrong. Subsequent footage and pool reporters said Romney wasn't being serious about the windows thing. Now, I'm not averse, in a general sense, to comedy at the expense of tragedy, or even averted tragedy, or even averted more-uncomfortable-than-dangerous. It just seemed a really off-putting, fucked-up thing to add to your political campaign.

In retrospect, off-putting comedy from a fucked-up campaign is Romney's modus operandi.

"Romney's team has concluded that debates are about creating moments and has equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practicing since August. His strategy includes luring the president into appearing smug or evasive about his responsibility for the economy." - The New York Times, on Romney's debate prep.

I think I just became a single-issue voter.

Who the fuck needs two months to practice snappy comebacks? I don't care how stiff and awkward you are. I mean, he might need even more than two months to practice snappy comebacks, it's just that two months was all they had between coming up with the strategy and Wednesday's debate.

If you can't manage to internalize the issues, the talking points, and the mood of the electorate in such a way that you have to memorize and practice "zingers" before a debate, I don't want you running the fucking country. End of story.

That said, this story gives me hope. Hope that, under pressure, Mitt Romney will decide it's time for one of his zingers, and be just off enough that it's obvious to everyone watching that he went for a pocket zinger and fucked it up. Because that will be Romney's greatest joke ever. Or make Romney the greatest joke ever. Something like that.