The Mitt Show

By Jeffrey Page

There are just three rules concerning eligibility to be president. The Constitution, in Article II, Section 1, states you must be 35, must have been born in the United States, must have resided in the U.S. for at least 14 years.

I’m hereby proposing an amendment: You can’t serve as president if you walk around with not even a touch of understanding of the people you wish to govern.

This eliminates Mitt Romney from consideration.

By now you may have heard about Romney’s interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show last week. That was the Q&A in which Mitt unintentionally revealed to Matt that he is George H.W. Bush’s long-lost clone. Both Mitt and George are hugely rich players of presidential politics who don’t know squat about ordinary people. Surely you remember when Bush was running in 1988 and asked a waitress at a truck stop for “a splash more coffee?” A splash. Like it wasn’t Chock Full O’ Nuts, but Johnny Walker Blue Label.

Four years later Bush marveled at the ingeniousness of a supermarket scanner. What a wonder, he said. I imagine the last time Bush drank coffee from a container or went into a supermarket was in 1940. By accident.

Nowadays the Bush role is played by the incomparable Mitt who this week said his tax rate was “probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything.” I guess he couldn’t be sure. I’ll bet you can be sure of your tax rate.

Mitt went on to say that in 2011 he received $375,000 in speaking fees. This he described as “not very much.”

Mitt told Matt that when his opponents raise the issue of how his millions were derived, it’s nothing more than the politics of envy. “I think it’s about class warfare,” he said, and blamed it on President Obama. Actually there are countless Obama admirers who fervently wish he’d open mouth a little wider and speak much more forcefully in discussions about the political and economic classes that exist in the allegedly classless American society.

When Matt asked Mitt to elaborate, Mitt told Matt that when Obama tries to separate the 99 percent from the 1 percent, he is doing something that is “entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.”

He said that. Mitt really thinks that God is a rich Republican with a good golf swing. He really thinks the Lord is offended when people point out the differences between rich and poor. And Mitt really seems to think that St. Matthew was some misguided liberal when he uttered those unfortunate words about rich people getting to heaven only after a camel slips through the eye of a needle. Good old St. Matthew: nice kid, a bit naïve.

Matt asked if questions about wealth can be posed without being seen as class envy. “You know, I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms,” Mitt allowed.

Quiet rooms? That means stay off the streets and shut up. It means don’t bother making those goofy signs.

Consider where we’d be had Romney’s rules of political conduct been the law of the land. School desegregation, Vietnam, reproductive rights, gay marriage, Occupy Wall Street, Tea Party, independence from Britain? All would have been relegated to quiet rooms, most likely with no recording devices, no pesky reporters, no critics.

There’s no there there, the perceptive Gertrude Stein said of the city of Oakland, Calif. in 1937.

There’s no there there, my perceptive cousin Amy said of Mitt Romney this week.


2 Responses to “The Mitt Show”

  1. Tom Bisky Says:

    Jeff —

    Great piece, as always. Re St. Matthew’s analogy: I once heard a biblical scholar explain that, in ancient Aramaic, the words for “camel” and “rope” were similar phonetically, and that generations of translators have mucked things up. Since then, I’ve always assumed that Matthew was simply comparing the difficulty of passing a rope — rather than a thread — through a needle’s eye. This image has a ring of poetic truth that the “camel” doesn’t.


  2. MichaelKaufman Says:

    The worst part about it is that he is the BEST of the four Republicans still in the race. The others are downright terrifying.

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