Be glad Mitt Romney didn’t visit Auschwitz. That could have really been ugly. You know people like Mittens, as his former constituents in Massachusetts used to refer to him, without affection, also Mitt the Shit. You may even be related to someone like Mitt, perhaps by marriage: the sort of counter-intuitive person who, as if by some sinister gravitational pull, will inevitably step in it every time he opens his mouth. You may find something endearing about him, you may even love him in your own fashion, but you try, as best you can, not to go out in public with him if it’s at all possible. You certainly wouldn’t take him with you to Europe or the Middle East.
It’s almost possible to feel bad for Romney and his blundering. Many Americans found George W. Bush’s lurchings-about endearing. In fact, Bush’s handlers turned his capacity for saying stupid things in a stupid manner to his advantage. Hard to say who’s handling the Republican nominee these days, but there doesn’t seem to be any Romney to handle: he’s more like a projection on a wall or in the sky through some conjuring of shadow and light. Or a variation on Woody Allen’s Zelig: there he is with Lech Walesa; there with Cameron; there with Netanyahu. Oh, God, there he is frantically trying to figure out how to adjust his frozen smile at the Wailing Wall. Here comes Sheldon Adelson, Newt’s former benefactor, being trundled into an ‘intimate’ breakfast fundraiser with his henna’d combover, deranged smile and a pocketful of millions. ‘Shelly, shalom, shalom shalom, wonderful to see you looking so well.’ This does not sound convincing on the lips of a country club Republican. Now it’s fat old Lech they’re trundling on over there in Gdansk. ‘Fuck Obama,’ he growls into Mittens’s appreciative ear.
Sure, these are photo ops for all the old Jews in Florida, the American Poles in Chicago, Cleveland, Akron. Sure, Romney’s mouthing hateful, stupid notions about the Palestinians, Adelson clapping behind him like an overexcited old seal. Bad move telling the Brits that they blew security at the Olympics and that passport control at Heathrow’s not looking too good either, the cheeky boor. Dave, Boris and the tabloids teed that one up and sent it screaming 350 yards down the middle of the fairway. But then the Brits seem to live for catching Americans out saying stupid stuff. And we like nothing better than obliging you. But none of that really matters very much, just as Obama’s premature and obnoxious grandiosity in front of hundreds of thousands at the Brandenburg Gate before he was president didn’t really matter, at least to the American voting public. We don’t give a good goddamn what the hell you think.
What matters is that this is a presidential contest that a Republican ticket of Justin Bieber and Michelle Bachman could probably win, what with the economy tanking and little enthusiasm among Democrats for Obama. But what has the gruesome old Republican pooh-bahs tearing their hair out by the roots is that Mittens just might lose it.