Pious Baloney

The joke going around now asks how much would you donate to save the entire U.S. Congress if it were held hostage by terrorists demanding $100 million and threatening to douse them all with gas and set them on fire. As a man going from car to car collecting donations in a long traffic jam tells one driver who wonders what everyone on average is giving: “Roughly a gallon.”

Even with the price of gas going up, I’d give two.

With the “sequestration” (can anyone think of an uglier word coined by some pretty unsavory characters?) kicking in now, polls currently reflect a contempt of Congress that is solidly in the “utter” range.

Mitt Romney - CaricatureIn the midst of our ongoing–how long is forever?–farce of negotiations over taxes and budget cuts, who again should be riding in to add to the comedy? If you don’t know, it’s Mitt Romney himself, perhaps on his wife’s dressage horse Rafalca, to save the day. I found this news quite startling, since I thought even the Republicans didn’t want to see his smiling face again any time soon.

It’s the buzz about town that the former candidate and his wife will be on Fox News Sunday where we will get the opportunity to hear him again lay out his master plan to fix all the ills of the country and to show his incredible leadership skills. While doing so, of course, he won’t miss the chance to criticize President Obama for “flying around the country and berating Republicans and blaming and pointing.”

According to an advance press release, the Mittster said Washington is letting a “golden moment just slip away with politics,” as he described watching the unfurling fiasco over the sequester. He described it as the “hardest” part about losing in November.

Romney said the automatic spending cuts which have now taken effect should be seen as an “opportunity” to finally solve America’s fiscal problems — by coming together on a “long-term fiscal” package.

“I mean I see this as this huge opportunity and it’s being squandered by politics, by — by people who are more interested in a political victory than they are in doing what’s right for the country.  And it’s very frustrating, I have to tell you,” he said. “The hardest thing about losing is watching this — this critical moment, this golden moment just slip away with politics.”
Gee, I wonder who he’s talking about?

By coincidence, I just finished reading Calvin Trillin’s new book Dogfight in which he reviews last year’s election campaign. What is amazing is that his book is almost entirely in verse. As he told Charlie Rose recently during an interview, he’s been walking around for the past year speaking in iambic pentameter.

Although the campaign was “only” last year, it seems so long ago. I had almost recovered from the Mitt and all the anxiety the campaign churned up as the Republicans paraded a colorful host of crazies en route to their assault on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But things never settle down. Now we have the “sequestration” and the looming budget debt ceiling fight coming up at the end of March.

Fortunately, we also have Mitt–rested, well tanned and at the ready–who undoubtedly would bring fresh clarity and deep wisdom to the fray if given the chance. With all this gravitas, perhaps we may even get a bit of comedy thrown in to lighten things up.

Dogfight by Calvin TrillinTrillin sets the comedic stage for Mitt redux in his book by questioning which man last year would prove the best candidate, which would have enough fight in him to defeat the other. In the preface, he writes,

Mitt Romney put Seamus on top of the car.
(“He liked it up there, and we weren’t going far.”)
Obama, in boyhood, while in Indonesia,
Once swallowed some dog meat without
anesthesia.
Though dog lovers wouldn’t be either man’s
base,
A dogfight seemed what was in store for their
race.
And people were saying, “We wonder which
dude’ll
Emerge as the pit bull, and which as the
poodle.”

During last year’s campaign, the political journalism organization Politico revealed that, except for Romney, all the non-office-holding contenders for the Republican Party nomination were on the Fox News payroll. With this first interview following his defeat, is Mitt perhaps testing the waters for some new form of post-Bain employment? We can only imagine a program featuring Mitt and Karl Rove debating strategy.

As Trillin comments about last year’s search for the ideal Republican candidate,

The far right looked for someone who’d
befit
The ticket–that is, someone not named
Mitt
But someone who could strongly lead
the nation
Without the faintest whiff of
moderation.

The Mittster reportedly will tell his Fox interviewer this Sunday that the president is simply grandstanding and posturing when pointing the finger at the Republicans for their unwillingness to compromise:
“It’s politics. It’s, ‘okay, how do we do something that will get a headline that will make it look like those terrible Republicans aren’t willing to come together?’”

I’m just disappointed that Romney didn’t pick up on Obama’s reference this week that he can’t perform a “Jedi mind meld” on the GOP, an apparent conflation of Star Wars and Star Trek. The referees could have barked out, “Let the biting begin” as the two circle one another again in the pit, snarling over whether it really mattered if the correct wording should have been a Jedi mind trick and Vulcan mind meld! Meanwhile, government workers face furloughs, FAA controllers will be grounded, border agents will sit at home, and food inspectors will go vegan. And who knows what a sequestered kick in the groin will do to make the slowly recovering economy wince anew.

In this current contretemps, what must Newt Gingrich now be thinking about Mitt? Just last year, as captured by Trillin,

“It’s pious baloney.” Yes, pious baloney.
What Mitt speaks, Newt says, is remarkably phony:
His outsider citizen pose is all hooey;
He’s hungered for office like Thomas E.
Dewey.
And what he had done all those years
spent at Bain
Was not create jobs but cause working
stiffs pain.
While Newt coves Mitt’s smooth
exterior with blotches,
Obama’s campaign staff just carefully
watches.

So however we finally emerge, if ever, from this self-inflicted budgetary “sequestering” wound, we probably won’t have Mitt to kick around much longer. In the interview, Ann Romney describes the “adjustment” she and her husband made after the November elections, going from being surrounding by crowds and Secret Service agents to just being by themselves again. She concluded: “But the good news is fortunately we like each other.”

In the verse of Trillin:

What voters saw in Romney was, all told,
That at his warmest he was rather cold.
They couldn’t really feel enthusiastic
About a man who might be made of plastic…
…His profile’s divine,
His shoes have a shine;
They’re almost as shined as his hair.
And voters ignore
That seeking Mitt’s core
Has failed because nothing is there.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to watch the full interview on Sunday. I’d even give up on Downton Abbey for this show!….Not.

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Image: Mitt Romney - Caricature by DonkeyHotey via his flickr photo stream and used under creative commons license.

David Evans

I'm retired from another life and live in the mountains of eastern West Virginia with my muse Jody along with one remaining dog.  We've decided no more dogs and cats.  Losing them is just too painful. Being independent and no longer in the reins of someone else's driver, I now have the chance to revisit the many people and places that have enriched my life. The good folks at Wesleyan College in central West Virginia guided me to a graduate degree in fine arts in early 2018.  My plan is to use some of the skills I learned from two years in this creative writing program to tell my story.