Tuesday, September 18, 2012

If Romney's lost Bobo ...

Years ago before we had viral video, there was a bumpersticker campaign that went viral that said "I Found It". I think it was some kind of religious message, but I'm not even sure about that. I've always thought of it as a failed marketing campaign, because lots of people saw the slogan but almost nobody knew what the product was.

It sparked some satire though, just as viral videos do today. Lucinda did a song: "I think I lost it/Let me know if you come across it". There was also a bumpersticker that said "I lost it". I saw another that said, "I stepped in it."

Someone should give Mitt Romney one of those stickers after the major foot-in-mouth event he experienced Monday when Mother Jones' David Corn published video of Romney letting his attitudes toward the other half hang out while speaking to a group of his fellow plutocrats at a fundraiser this year, SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters 09/17/2012. And they're publishing more:

SECRET VIDEO: On Israel, Romney Trashes Two-State Solution 09/18/2012

Romney "47 Percent" Fundraiser Host: Hedge Fund Manager Who Likes Sex Parties 09/17/2012

Dave Gilson, Who Was at Romney's "47 Percent" Fundraiser? 09/18/2012

Maybe Romney should have gone to one of the sex parties instead. The fundis would find a way to ignore it, and it would make him seems less of a stiff to other voters. [groan, bad pun]

Back in the 1960s, when TV news regularly contained actual journalism, CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite showed up in polls as the most trustworthy man in the country. When Cronkite raised major questions on the air about the course of the Vietnam War and the reliability of the Johnson Administration's version of it, Lyndon Johnson commented that if he had lost Cronkite, he'd lost America.

Now, the possibility of David "Bobo" Brooks achieving Cronkite's level of credibility is so small that the probability would qualify such a thing as a "black swan" event. But I wonder if Romney and his handlers might not be thinking today, "If we've lost Bobo..." Because Bobo does specialize in trying to make even the most reckless and irresponsible Republican ideas sound sensible and reasonable and nothing to get worked up about. So it's notable that even Bobo is distancing himself from Romney's indiscreet plutocratic self-revelations published by Corn, as he does in Thurston Howell Romney New York Times 09/17/2012. Naturally, it comes in typical dicey Bobo-speak:

This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?

It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.

It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.
"Americans believe in work more than almost any other people." Say what? He probably means that Americans take less vacation time than western Europeans, which is true. But then, you never know from what corner of the Republican alternative reality Bobo may be pulling stuff.

Bobo has a scoop here, though. He's discovered that there are hardcore rightwingers in the Republican Party! Who knew that such a thing was going on? Lawdy, Miss Mellie, brang me the smellin' salts, ah thank ah'm gonna just faint daid away!

Or, as Bobo puts it, "The Republican Party, and apparently Mitt Romney, too, has shifted over toward a much more hyperindividualistic and atomistic social view - from the Reaganesque language of common citizenship to the libertarian language of makers and takers." Reagan, of course, drew the same kine of lines. He just wasn't enough of a fool to blurt out his sympathy for plutocratic values in as crass a way as Romney does.

The best bobo can do to defend his candidate in this column is, "Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater." Or maybe he says those stupid things because that really the way he thinks. And even Bobo continues directly, "But it scarcely matters." Because voters have to assume that the Romney they see and hear is the President Romney they would be getting if he's elected.

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"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


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