Romney on Tour

August Kleinzahler

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.


  • 31 July 2012 at 7:04pm
    Rebentisch says:
    I see, you really don't like the US Republican candidate. But why smear him in a that way? Why the hate talk? At least in Germany we are interested and open to get to know candidates from both sides, and there are many US citizens residing in Europe. Ah, I see, you "don’t give a good goddamn what the hell [we] think". But let me tell you, you don't have to express your political bias by affections, and US Presidential candidates probably should be more open-minded when the rest of the world is listening and disapprove swearing.

  • 1 August 2012 at 3:48am
    Jason Farago says:
    While I agree with the sentiment of the last paragraph, I should point out that Justin Bieber is in fact Canadian, and therefore ineligible for the presidency (he's also under 35). As this member of Congress points out, he is therefore a prime target for the Arizona immigration forces, under a law Mitt Romney called "a model for America":

  • 1 August 2012 at 8:55am
    Colin says:
    August Kleinzahler is from, I think, California, one of the places Romney has a shot at governing, and so can be excused for hating Romney no matter what he says. But when Romney says perfectly sensible things about the stupid way the Olympics have been managed by the Tories, shouldn't the British left be on side? I haven't seen that response anywhere.

    Does this mean that we simply care more about tittering at the Republicans than about what happens at home?

  • 1 August 2012 at 10:04am
    Geoff Roberts says:
    I've heard it said that we survived Bush and that Romney couldn't be any worse. I also heard the view that Europeans 'respect' Reagan, now that he has gone to meet his maker. Europeans tend to regard Republican candidates as cornbelt hicks who have no idea about what makes the world go round, well, this time I fear that we will find that Romney will be worse, far worse than Bush (II), Nixon and Reagan. I shudder at the thought that Romney will soon be telling us that he's about to bomb Iran.

    • 1 August 2012 at 5:22pm
      Bob Beck says: @ Geoff Roberts
      The only thing that worries me is voter-ID laws in various swing states, passed by Republicans, which tend to suppress the Democratic vote. Otherwise, despite the lousy economy, I think Obama can probably win. For a former governor, and also someone who ran for the nomination in 2008, Romney is an amazingly inept campaigner.

      Call it wishful thinking, but if stories about dissension among his top handlers start leaking out of Romney's campaign team, we'll know he's really in trouble.