Expert, Airtight Political Punditry by Dan Harmon
I don’t think Mitt Romney actually wants to be president. Not being, myself, a politically clued-in guy, I base this mostly on body language and tone of voice in these fun video clips that get posted by the other side. I see him getting pouty and snippy, acting the way I’ve felt so many times when nobody appreciated all my fancy gifted specialness and I wanted to go home and do bong hits and wait for the world to miss me. Like a nine year old being told he has to choose between second dessert and the zoo.
I saw this youtube clip of Romney speaking to his reporters (I call them “his” because I assume they’re reporters he’s carting around, as opposed to actual journalists, all of whom died in some consequently unreported plane crash in the seventies) I don’t know where he’s standing but it looks like the back of a Staples. It literally says “ballpoint pens” on a wall behind his head, as if his handlers are attempting a message about utility over appeal, like this candidate is a well-needed if weirdly-smelling eraser or bottle of white-out. He offers up a relatively meaningless, certainly familiar, dare I say traditional squirt of political diarrhea that all of his kind squirt three times a term, something about not being in anyone’s pocket, specifying that his campaign “isn’t run by lobbyists.”
Then you hear an exasperated, high pitched voice from off camera say, “come on, that’s not true, Governor.” It’s one of the Romney Reporters, some poor blogoblob that’s been given access to a politician in exchange for releasing press releases, and apparently, in a sadder, day-late-dollar-short version of Network, he’s mildly irritated as hell and can pretty much take it forever but doesn’t feel like it anymore. This reporter wants to hold Romney’s semantic pinky toe to a low flame on this issue, he demands clarification, isn’t so-and-so on his campaign and isn’t he part of this or that, etc.
He has one job, this reporter: to redirect diarrhea from the conveyor to the pallet and now he’s up and gone all Lucy on us. Now he’s looking at the camera going “waaaaaah.” Maybe it’s mental and spiritual exhaustion brought on by the anti-yoga of pretending Romney is human within pretending Romney has a shot within pretending elections matter. Maybe he figures he has a better shot at a bigger apartment if he gets a mention on The Daily Show, or, maybe, if you’re cynical enough, he’s been promised a seat on Obama’s plane by a buddy from college. Whatever his motive, he’s too young to have seen anything with Robert Redford in it, so he does what he thinks Amy Adams might do in a movie about famous reporting, which basically amounts to heckling. It’s as close to a nervous breakdown as someone that’s allowed to be close to a politician is allowed to have. It’s as close to holding a rich dick accountable as the poor are allowed to do without jail time. But it’s nothing terribly egregious or outrageous. If it feels that way, it’s because it never happens, a fact which is a lot fucking weirder than a chubby guy getting irritated while sitting cross legged on the floor of what I really feel is a Staples.
What’s weird is Romney’s reaction. Or maybe it’s not weird at all, maybe it’s uncomfortable how normal it is, having watched clips of this guy for six months acting like a puppet on a Canadian kids’ show about the metric system. The second he hears someone accuse him of lying, Romney lowers himself to the reporter’s status and just boldly whines right back at him. They instantly become a couple bickering in a grocery aisle. Lots of “can I finish” and “is that what I said, Eric? Did I say that?” kind of stuff. We’ve all been there. Perfectly relatable and therefore forgivable on both sides.
Until you remember, with embarrassment and horror, that this guy that sounds like he’s being given a hard time by his girlfriend about Grape Nuts after a long day at work is, in reality, a billionaire being given a not-so-hard time by a subordinate pseudo-reporter about a run-of-the-mill lie he’s telling while running for Motherfucking President of the God Damn United Fucking Nuclear Armed Fucking States. He’s running for Abraham fucking Lincoln’s job. He wants us to pay him to oversee the fucking planet and he’s breaking a sweat going toe to toe with a kid that I’m pretty sure interviewed me at Comic-Con.
I am a very bad person. I get bitchy. I snip and snap and bully when Erin wants to go look at a famous mansion and I want to go to a dinosaur museum, or when I want more pizza than she ordered, or when I want to watch Clive Owen in Time Exploder and she wants to watch Jason Siegel in Funny Wedding. I turn into a whiny, selfish, defensive cock. If you saw how I talk to my partner when I’m not getting what I want, you wouldn’t want me to be your friend, let alone your partner.
But here’s two really important things about me: I don’t do it in public and I DON’T WANT TO BE FUCKING PRESIDENT. And if Romney says he does, he’s either lying or he’s an even more twisted mind than all my politically invested friends would have me believe. Because I know a person that knows they’re bad for a job when I see one talking, and he is one. And darn-tootin’ he can hear himself, and knows a shitty, dangerous employee when he hears one talking. So if he truly “wants” to be President, knowing what he knows about himself, then he “wants” America to suffer. And that would KIND OF MAKE HIM A TERRORIST, an accusation which I’m proud to take incredibly lightly as an American.
But honestly, I don’t think that’s the case. I don’t think Romney hates America. I just think he’s lying when he says he wants to run it at this point. If you think about it, what’s the single biggest crime a candidate in his position could commit in the eyes of the most powerful organizations? Embezzlement? Murder? Rape? EAh, those are pretty big crimes, and some entities would be very disappointed in him, but they’d also be boons to other entities, especially the media. Think about the one thing he could do that would piss off an unparalleled number of entities equally and simultaneously, to the point where he’d be ruined forever. I submit that he’s not allowed to say: “Folks, it seems very unlikely I’m going to win, and I have to say, I don’t think I fully want to win, because I am learning that it’s hard to even ask for the job without getting very irritated and told I’m fucking up a lot, so it seems like a huge waste of a lot of people’s money and the President’s time to follow through on this, and we’ve got a deeply troubled nation to get out of a real bind together, so I suggest we skip the remainder of the circus and I concede.”
Think about the uncountable trillions of dollars he’d be flushing down our collective toilet if he just gave up. CNN alone would have him killed, purely out of revenge for stealing their Olympics. Let alone every sponsor committing to the coverage, let alone the lobbyists that are or aren’t running his campaign but are certainly invested in it. Let alone his own political party, which could have chosen ANYONE but trusted HIM to keep lying, let alone the theoretically opposing political party banking on his straw to stay dog-shaped, let alone, most importantly of all, the bilaterally symmetrical, single entity called the bipartisan system. And believe me, it is a single entity in every way that matters. Ask the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization that stopped moderating the debates in 1988 lest they become “an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.” Hoodwinking, you say, ladies? By whom? Well, in their words: “The TWO campaign organizations [that] would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.”
Yeah, they sure would. And when the LWV left, they sure did. And do. Together. In tandem. And we have a word we use for two things doing the same thing in the same place at the same time. We call it “one thing.” No matter how much it calls itself two. Daddy’s the one that hit you, kids, he’s not a different guy when he’s sober.
And it’s that thing, which is a big blob of things made up of things, and only made of people on its lowest level, that would sooner destroy a human being than be momentarily inconvenienced. It’s this thing, made up of all of us, representing none of us, that has this poor rich dumbass by the balls, now. This all too human, snippy little billionaire throwing bitch fits at fake reporters on his own junkets. It seems clear to me that he wants out now, all too late, and isn’t allowed out. He has to finish playing his little role while offending the least amount of the Thing he can, because if he screws up badly enough, he can walk away from this Thing with a lot less than he had when he arrived.
The irony is, as every four years, the loser is closest to the lever that could bring it all down. He could sacrifice himself, say what he’s feeling, create history, change things for people… if not people for things. He could just continue his surrender to humanity, a few steps past frustration, all the way to honesty. He wouldn’t get elected but we’d remember his weird name a lot longer than we’re going to.
The non-irony is, he’s only been allowed this far because he’s vetted. Much like the fake reporter that irked him, he’s not capable of doing much damage or he wouldn’t be in a position to do it. It’s not in a fiber of any politician’s being to lead, only to preen or squirm depending on approval. Just like it’s not in the fiber of this Thing called “The People” to coordinate, to demand, to take ownership of the country it created and stop pitting clowns against dipshits in an American Idol contest so we can tell ourselves we did something literally by pulling a lever. Each of us has it in EVERY fiber. Because each of us is human, and American. But united, we blow it, because then it’s not our fault anymore. United, we are that thing we can’t see, with its hand up Romney and Obama’s asses, making them talk nonsense to each other.
That was self indulgent and cynical. Well, fuck you, it’s a blog. Your refund’s in your mom’s butt, I’ll get it for you Friday night.
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