Monday, January 14, 2008

Slate Slugs Mitt -- Twice

Vintage Brylcreem ad= Out in the land of wolverines, post-infancy native Willard (a.k.a. Weepard) Mitt Romney skips blithely down the icy streets. In his elbow crook is the tiny basket brimming with his hopes and dreams and ambitions. The salesman who would be President aspires.

Ridiculing him from the windows are two separate Slate columnists.
The former is far less fun, but lists our let's-play-governor's itty-bitty issues there.
He's an unabashed free-trader in one of the few states where industrial unions (the most implacable foes of free trade this side of John Edwards) still have a significant presence. He's selling himself as a Reagan-esque optimist in a state where pessimism reigns (and frequently with good reason). His economic policies—extending the Bush tax cuts, running away from his own successful efforts to expand the social safety net in Massachusetts, essentially ignoring the housing mess—may resonate with the dwindling core of wealthy Michiganders. But they may do little to attract the state's shrinking ranks of Reagan Democrats.
The great snark though comes in Reed's description of Willard's campaign as "the greatest fake reality show ever. " Moreover, he wonders how we can survive the stumble to the election without this terrible theater.

He alludes to the phony Christmas with the family scenes and the boneheaded sons' commentary featuring Tagg. While we in Massachusetts know what a patronizing total fraud our Cap'n Brylcreem is, Reed contends that the rest of the nation has gotten to enjoy the clich├ęs and ham-fisted dialog.

"The Romneys was designed to be the most manipulative, invasive, manufactured reality show in political history," Reed writes. He continues, "Yet now that we're all hooked, the suits want to pull the plug, just when it was getting good...The great irony of Romney '08 is that much of what he wants us to believe – from family values to leadership skills – might well have proved to be real, if he weren't running such a transparently phony campaign that makes everything ring false."

So, there it is. Michigan voters have piddled away from the pretender who is somehow linked to a popular former governor there. Both Huckabee and McCain have a good shot at beating him there, which would surely end his slither toward the White House. For the nation then, Michigan's primary asks the vaguely itching if not burning question of how much bad theater can we take?

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